Mr. David Ouellei (Drummond-Arihabaska):
Mr. Speaker, I must congratulate the
hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Brown) who introduced this motion to amend the act respecting election expenditures.
In the province where I come from, we know something about that. I do not know how an election is run in the other provinces across Canada, I have never seen one. Nor do I wish to unduly disparage my own province, but in Quebec, people are beginning to think that an election is the occasion of a huge treat. That should have been corrected long before 1963.
I was told that the present Quebec government was preparing an amendment to the act in order to grant to each party an amount proportionate to the number of votes obtained. Frankly, when you look at the report on election expenditures, after seeing some members at work during an election-and I would not wish to charge anyone with committing perjury-you would think they have very rickety adding machines.
When one sees the tremendous electoral machine at work in some ridings, one wonders if that is not tantamount to a lack of civilization. The electoral machine has an extraordinary influence on public opinion. In fact, it is even used to attack public men in their private lives. Another thing, candidates promise things they know they will never give. That is the harm that representatives do to Canadian politics.
I went through an election for the first time. The member for Brantford said that he is not ready to pass the hat. Well unfortunately I am one of those who had to pass the hat. But there is one good side to that: I showed in my return the correct amount of money I spent for election purposes, as I did not have to lie to arrive at a reasonable figure.
As the hon. member for Brantford stated, parties should report the sources of their income because foreigners are trying to influence our country's politics by contributing to the campaign funds of our political parties. People wonder why foreigners have so much power. It is because certain political parties have their hands tied by power-happy individuals. This is something that should have been discussed long before 1963 but since we are now dealing with this matter, we must take every means at our disposal to correct this situation which has done so much harm to this country.
If, as the hon. member for Brantford who sponsored the motion claims, this state of things is, as I presume, a danger to Canada, I gladly support the motion because this situation has to be corrected. In my opinion,
the whole house is duty bound to do so, because it is the first step toward the great political clean-up which must be made in order to have basically honest politics. I do not tax politics with complete dishonesty; but, to say the contrary, I should be obliged to stretch the truth a little. If political parties could balance their electoral budgets, I think they would be less reluctant to declare their sources of income.
In any case, I am talking on behalf of my own party. We were considered as beggars, but we do not owe anything to anyone. We only promised to give the best of ourselves. We have entered politics in full freedom and have acted accordingly. This is true of every single member of our party. It has been said that the situation was worse in provincial elections than in federal elections. But there is one thing we are beginning to realize in the province of Quebec, and it is that federal elections also are expensive. Federal political parties are taking the lead from provincial ones. Bad example does strange things.
Yet, it is the Canadian government who should set the example. That is why, it should be its duty to have some piece of legislation adopted, including provision to the effect, for instance, that elections should be held honestly, so that those who take part in them may remain honest. In other words, the example must come from Ottawa.
There would be much more to say on the matter, but other members probably wish to take the floor.
I have no doubt that the motion introduced by the hon. member will be carried. Therefore, may I close my remarks by saying that before rejecting this motion, we should consider it dispassionately in the interests of all Canadian citizens.
Topic: CANADA ELECTIONS ACT
Subtopic: SUGGESTED AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE LIMITATION AND ACCOUNTING OF EXPENDITURES