Mr. Heath Macquarrie (Queens):
Mr. Speaker, I may say that I was delighted that so much of this sitting was given over to a discussion of the maritime provinces. We are not an overly sensitive people, but we do not like to be ignored. It is a very happy situation for us to find that we are now being considered since this new government has come into office.
Along with the matters that have been discussed heretofore there is in the province of Prince Edward Island another pressing problem which underlies and affects the only three industries of which we may boast, namely agriculture, fishing and the tourist
The Address-Mr. Macquarrie trade. For years and indeed, I think, ever since Prince Edward Island has sent its members to the Canadian parliament there have been discussions about one particular aspect of transportation, namely the link with the mainland. During the administration of Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier this matter was discussed day in and day out, and finally in the administration of Sir Robert Borden our province was given continuous service with the modern car ferry as it then was.
We are hoping that history may repeat itself, and that the present Conservative government may be able to provide what is at this time the modern answer to our transportation problems. We feel that the time has come to build a road to the isle. We feel that a causeway across the Northumberland strait, is in this modern age of technology and science, not only feasible but indeed quite possible within a reasonable space of time. The service now existing, while once very adequate, is now incapable of coping properly with the traffic of goods across the strait. It is also a costly operation, causing an annual deficit of about $lf million to keep our ferries running.
We therefore feel that the building of a causeway upon which there may be some reasonable toll would be a self-liquidating project. It would give us a link with the mainland and, better still, it would give the mainland a link with us! Such a causeway would improve our three basic industries and would give a tremendous boost to the economy of our province.
I hope the Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Transport will give this their most careful consideration.
I know that my friends and colleagues from Prince Edward Island will not allow anyone to forget their very great interest in this problem. I know of no greater memorial to this government, which we hope will stay in power for a long, long time, than the development of such modern and fine engineering projects, and particularly such a fine boon to the maritime provinces as this particular project which is so close to our hearts.
It has been pleasing indeed to observe the type of legislation which the government has put through. I have been greatly interested in it all, and so have the people of my constituency. The old age pension increase is one example. My personal preference at one time had been for $60 per month as a fair and reasonable amount. But the calculations and the explanations of the minister with respect to the economic and fiscal
situation struck me as altogether satisfying. I am impressed with the fact that this new increase is 37J per cent over 1949 as against a 23 per cent increase in the cost of living for the same period.
There is one feature about this matter which has a special appeal to the people of my province, and that is the increase in allowable absence from three to six months. Many of our people in years gone by found it necessary to move to the United States, especially the New England states. In this, you see, they were anticipating a certain section of the Gordon report. Many of the older people like to spend part of the winter season with their families in the south. Therefore it will not now be necessary for them to return in the midst of winter. I have already had a great many letters of appreciation on this point.
This is an historic time for a new member to enter the Canadian parliament. The opening by Her Majesty the Queen of course was an unforgettable occasion; the change of government after 22 years of power dominance by one party was in itself something unique. We have also seen something else which I think is new-certainly in degree- in Canadian history, and that is the rapid implementation of election promises by a newly elected government!
We have also seen during this historic time in the record of Canada the end of certain things, and I have a feeling that a great many myths have recently died. We, especially those of us who are young-and I boastfully put myself in that class-had become almost inured to certain myths which had gotten about. I would not say any party did it deliberately,-but they got about. One of those myths was that one party had some sort of monopoly on social welfare legislation. Of course, as any projection back through history or any look through the contemporary record of various provinces under different governments or different political parties would indicate, clearly that is not the case. One could turn to the debate on old age pensions in the year 1907 and there get a cross section of party opinion. There was also the myth of indispensability; that it would be impossible, or at least dangerous, to replace a political party. There also was another myth of invincibility and that well known query "Who is going to stop us?", which had almost passed into the category of a rhetorical question.
There is another very assiduous myth- that national unity adheres to one particular party. I remember we used to be told by so
many leaders of the virtue of voting a certain way for national unity. We had in this house at least a partial demonstration of the falsity of that myth from one of the members on the other side, the hon. member for Laurier (Mr. Chevrier) who gave, I think, a convincing demonstration. He did me the honour of quoting part of an article I wrote. I appreciate his compliment; and while I do not mind for myself being dealt with in this way, I cannot allow to pass any imputation with respect to that great statesman Sir Robert Borden to the effect that he should be adduced as an argument for that which was put forward by the hon. member for Laurier. It would be very immodest of me to practice the art of self quotation, but may I be permitted to put my finger on one very short sentence in the same article, which I think perhaps displays Sir Robert's attitude a little more fully:
(Sir Robert Borden) was not given to pious preachments about his dedication to the furtherance of national unity, but he was nevertheless fully aware of the need for the harmonious interaction of the two great ethnic groups.
Sir Robert Borden did not foster racist divisions, and no man in this country need be ashamed of his Canadianism, whether in this parliament or in the councils of the world, where he strongly and clearly enunciated our national aspirations and became the chief architect of mature Canadian nationhood.
In this party, of which I am proud to be a member, there is no place for any narrowness of outlook on ethnic, religious or cultural lines. We are the great national party of today. We are the only party with representatives from every province in Canada. We have here, and I am proud of it, descendants of many of the peoples whose contribution has made the rich Canadian cultural mosaic. I was always very interested in this great myth of national unity and its association with one party, and am glad to see it has been finally and completely shattered.
One has been impressed also with the impact of the outside world upon our deliberations. The importance laid upon foreign affairs in the speech from the throne has I am sure struck us all; and if one looks back through the debates in the Canadian parliament over the years one sees a gradual development of interest, awareness, information and concern with the outside world.
Indeed, one may say there have been great events even since the speech from the throne was read by the Queen, events so great as to overshadow many of our regular considerations and routine thoughts. Indeed these
The Address-Mr. Macquarrie are stirring and challenging times, and in them petty politics and narrow partisanship seem much out of place. Our earth is now encircled by two man-made satellites, built and launched by the Soviet union. As members of the human species we are thrilled at man's conquest of the lofty heavens, and the imagination warms at the prospect of future triumphs in the vast and illimitable reaches of space. There may be things in store for us which go beyond the fondest dreams of this present moment.
Yet we feel a chill dread about the objects which are swiftly passing through the space around this earth. We wonder if this may be a prelude not to a glorious triumph of man's ingenuity, but a horrible forerunner of man's inability to live peaceably upon this green earth. Whatever else has happened we must admit that we of the western world are late in this field of space conquest. May we not be too late! The forthcoming meeting of NATO at which the leaders of the western states, including our own Prime Minister, will gather may well be a turning point. One is interested in the reaction of people in the western world to this new development. It seems to me we must strike an attitude somewhere between that of panic and that of complacency.
Indeed, linked with this scientific development there is a tremendous political campaign which is exceedingly dangerous. Mr. Khrushchev has said that the western bases in Europe are obsolete. That would be a most dangerous thing to believe. Far from being obsolete they symbolize something which is indispensable to our survival, namely the unity of nations; and I think we will see a great deal more interdependence rather than less.
I am interested in the questions that arise on this very topic from time to time. We must redouble our efforts, and we must turn into practical canons this common ideal which we share. It is not only for parliaments; it is for peoples to meet this present situation. Just the other day in that wonderful newspaper the Christian Science Monitor I read a very simple sentence which strikes me, as does so much of the writing in this paper, as clear, meaningful, and succinct. Speaking of the American people it said:
We prefer a tax cut, we think-to a satellite or a missile-until the Russians have one. And then the heart searching begins.
This is a time, I would say, for some soul searching and heart searching not only among the people of the United States but among the allies of the United States. I think we
The Address-Mr. Sinclair must look very carefully into our educational system so we may meet the present challenge with strength and unity.
From that sense of urgency and common purpose about which I heard the Prime Minister speak at the United Nations some weeks ago may something come which will take us from our present position of second best. These are great and stirring days. May we all be able to measure up to our responsibilities in facing them.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY