Furthermore, to put hon. members' minds at ease may I say I intend to heed the counsel of the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Brewin) who suggested this afternoon that perhaps we should be brief.
I have examined in some detail most of the speeches that have been made in this so-called flag debate. Last Wednesday the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Winkler) led off and the purport of his remarks was to the effect that we should deport ourselves like gentlemen and members of parliament. Other hon. members have suggested that we should have a free vote. In my humble opin-
ion the fact is that at the present time this is an impossibility because the political machine has whipped the boys into line and I do not honestly think that a free vote could be held.
A further suggestion that appears in reading some of the speeches is that the government might appoint a joint committee of both houses to study the situation. It has also been evident in practically every speech that has been made that there is a heartfelt desire on the part of every member that we should do our utmost to build unity in this country. Another good suggestion was made by the hon. member for Greenwood this afternoon, and I believe he quoted Winston Churchill as his authority. He suggested that members should be allowed to go home and discuss the situation with the people.
Every speech that has been made has contained certain common denominators, first a plea to achieve unity, and second a plea to remove the flag from party politics. Another common thought that has been expressed is that we should let the people themselves decide, as they should in a democracy. This thought is contained in every speech I have read, with the notable exception of one. I was disappointed, indeed I was dismayed, that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Sharp) was the only one who did not have in his remarks-at least, it was not apparent to me-any idea that the people themselves should decide. His was an unswerving, dictatorial attitude with no give and take. His was the only speech I could discover in which the speaker actually referred to appeasement of Quebec.
I discovered something else in going through these speeches and it is something I do not particularly like, something that pains me a little. I refer to the fact that in so many places references have been made to the Prime Minister and he has been described as being autocratic, petulant, domineering and arrogant because, they say, of his insistence on a vote on the flag before a recess. I do not share these sentiments. I do not believe a man could become prime minister of this country and leader of a large political party unless he was a man of some stature. However I do believe that the Prime Minister is listening to bad advice from some cocky, opinionated advisers and if he persists in continuing to listen to them I feel he must be held responsible. Believe me, Mr. Speaker, this government has no reason to be arrogant or cocky. They have no mandate to force their will on the public. They should listen
to the voice of the people. The government is in just about the same position as I am personally.
Topic: IS, 1964