Mr. Heath Macquarrie (Hillsborough):
Mr. Speaker, long before I came to this House I was an academic and a firm believer in having before me the fullest documentation possible before arriving at a judgment on any subject. I am, therefore, in agreement with the motion. I am also much committed to the idea of freedom of information to the fullest possible extent with respect to government and government transactions.
I listened carefully to what the hon. member had to say. He intimated he was not opposed to the move to Prince Edward Island, but-it was a substantial "but" for a three-letter word. I cannot understand why he should be surprised that this proposal should be made. It is long ago since this chamber first discussed the decentralization of the administration to various parts of the country. A number of departments are already functioning from one end of the country to the other. It is past my understanding that this move to Charlottetown, the cradle of confederation, should cause so much consternation or that it should be held up as an example of inflicting pain and anguish upon public servants. I can understand that great difficulties might arise over family matters, children's education, and so on but there are not many operations in the private sector or, indeed, in the government itself where guaranteed geographical security is part of the job commitment. I never had a big business empire such as the hon. member referred to but I am wondering whether in that empire extending all across the country there are not many people who were called upon to move very suddenly from one part of Canada to another.
The move to Prince Edward Island will not take place suddenly. I hope all those concerned will be able to make suitable arrangements to provide for their families, their children and so on. But I do not accept with good grace the suggestion that Prince Edward Island is incapable of offering language training for those who will be working in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Instead of quibbling about things like this I believe this House and the country should applaud the honourable and gallant Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. MacDonald) who has arranged for the transfer of the department to the city of Charlottetown, a city where the per capita representation of veterans in the Boer War, the first world war, the second world war and the Korean war was very high.
It is very fitting that a minister of such great military distinction should be the man responsible for the initiation of such a move, it is conceivable that the move will be finished under another government, but those are the fortunes of political warfare. Before I leave this place I want to salute the Minister of Veterans Affairs for the action he took and say to the mover of this motion that any public servant now living in the national capital who finds that his work will take him to the city of Charlottetown is very much blessed.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: PRIVATE MEMBERS' MOTIONS FOR PAPERS