Angus MACINNIS

MACINNIS, Angus

Personal Data

Party
Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)
Constituency
Vancouver Kingsway (British Columbia)
Birth Date
September 2, 1884
Deceased Date
March 3, 1964
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_MacInnis
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=b8094e9f-95f3-46b2-ab3e-9e132f32ed9e&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
motorman, unionist

Parliamentary Career

July 28, 1930 - August 14, 1935
IND
  Vancouver South (British Columbia)
October 14, 1935 - January 25, 1940
CCF
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
March 26, 1940 - April 16, 1945
CCF
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
CCF
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
CCF
  Vancouver East (British Columbia)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
CCF
  Vancouver Kingsway (British Columbia)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 4 of 1083)


June 27, 1955

Mr. Maclnnis:

What Sir John A. Macdonald said was that its function was to protect minorities, and as the rich were always in the minority its function was to protect the rich. It has done that pretty well.

I appreciate that the Prime Minister has a problem. His predecessor had a problem, but I think for his predecessor the problem was easier than it is for the present Prime

5346 HOUSE OF

Proposed Senate Reform Minister. I do not like to speak disrespectfully of one who has departed, but I think the former prime minister was more of a cynic than the present one. He felt he had reformed the Senate sufficiently when he had a majority of Liberals there. He never made any further attempt to reform it after that. As a matter of fact, I believe he gave up asking questions of those who were being appointed when he was getting to the position where, in the natural order of things, he could have a majority in the Senate without making any promises or accepting any.

I do not care for many of the proposals that have been made here regarding the Senate. If we are going to have a Senate in a democratic country I believe that Senate should be elected. As I said before I am not afraid to discuss any problem, and I think I can discuss any subject objectively. There is a feeling that we discuss problems and take action on problems because we are elected members, which we would not do if we did not have to seek election. Surely if there is anyone in that position in this house he should not be here. A person who cannot face the electorate and tell them, "I favour this because I think it is for the benefit of Canada", or "I do not favour that because I do not think it is for the benefit of Canada", has no right to be here. I am not going to advocate something because some few people think we ought to have it and I cannot find it in my heart to say no.

The hon. member for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre had a proposal for reforming the Senate by appointing a labour man to it. Well, the Senate will not be reformed by appointing one labour man to it: that is not what I would call labour representation in the Senate. In order to give labour the representation it ought to have in the Senate it should have members in the Senate approximately equal to labour's voting strength in the country. Labour will not be represented by the appointment of one old man who has retired from other fields of endeavour in the labour movement. We want young men in the Senate if the Senate is going to be useful.

I see the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Mr. Pickersgill) shakes his head. Perhaps he does not want young men in the Senate. Perhaps the government does not want young men in the Senate. But the people of this country want young men in the Senate if they want a Senate that is going to be of any use.

We fill the other place with old gentlemen who have retired or are about to retire from whatever useful work they were doing. As a matter of fact they were retired from the world. Then we expect these old gentlemen to

[Mr. Maclnnis.j

give a 1955 or 1956 expression of opinion on the problems that affect Canada. What utter nonsense! They cannot think in terms of 1955 or 1956; they think in terms of the years of their activity. That is not the kind of Senate I want.

Then again, I do not think it would be desirable to have the provinces appoint certain members to the other place. I believe it would make for all kinds of trouble. We come here to this parliament to represent Canada, not Quebec, British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and so on. I said we would get into all kinds of trouble. We will vote for this amendment. Because the Senate is a problem child so far as Canada is concerned I suppose something has to be done with it. At the moment it is fairly harmless, and it is a good divorce court.

I think it would be desirable to discuss what we should do with the Senate, or what place it ought to hold in the government of Canada. For that reason we believe, as has already been stated by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, this amendment is in order and it would bring about that result. It is a question worthy of discussion, but let us think of it objectively. Sometime we may have to abolish it, but I think one of the great difficulties in the way of abolishing the Canadian Senate is that it cannot be abolished without its own consent.

I am not a constitutional expert or anything like that, but I find now that we have to go to the imperial parliament for certain amendments to the British North America Act. There are certain amendments with which we have power to deal ourselves, but I doubt very much if this chamber, on its own resolution, could get the imperial parliament to abolish the Senate. I think we would very likely have to have the consent of both houses of parliament.

After what has been said, I thought I had better say these few words in regard to the other place, whether or not you agree with them.

Topic:   SENATE REFORM
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June 27, 1955

Mr. Maclnnis:

There goes one man who cannot stand to hear the truth. In my opinion a non-elected Senate that has the power of veto over an elected chamber is the negation of democracy. Not only is that so, but in all countries today where they have the parliamentary system the tendency is toward a one-chamber parliament. In New Zealand the Senate was abolished a few years ago. Who abolished it? The Conservatives, when they came into office. The second chamber in the United Kingdom, the mother of parliaments, has been brought to a position where it is practically absolutely useless as a legislative body.

Have we, the elected members of the House of Commons, so little faith in our own capacity to deal with matters affecting Canada that come before us that we must have them reviewed by a non-elected body of men who can say to us, "Go and play marbles; we know what the people want and you do not".

It is said that the function of the Senate when Canada became a nation was to protect the interests of minorities. I never saw it in print, but I am told that Sir John A. Macdonald said that was the function of the Senate, to protect the interests of the rich who were always in the minority.

Topic:   SENATE REFORM
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June 27, 1955

Mr. Maclnnis:

They were protecting the rights of the minorities.

Topic:   SENATE REFORM
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June 27, 1955

Mr. Maclnnis:

What would the Senate do that is not already being done by this chamber, a chamber elected by the people of Canada to do the things the people of Canada want done? It has been said that the Senate should be made more useful and given more

Proposed Senate Reform power, but remember that the Senate in its present form has the same powers as this chamber except in one small particular. It has the power to veto what has been done here by those who were democratically elected to govern the country.

Topic:   SENATE REFORM
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June 27, 1955

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, the policy of my party with respect to the Senate is that it should be abolished and of course I am in favour of that policy, though I must admit I never could get very enthusiastic about it because I could never see clearly how we would set about to abolish the Senate. I felt that if we formed the government the first thing we would have to do would be to get somebody in the Senate to represent us there, even at the opening of parliament, and once having embarked on that course we probably might consider changing our policy of abolition.

It is rather strange that at this time we should hear so much talk about restoring the Senate to its former place in the government of the country. If the Senate has fallen from its former place of usefulness in the governmental set-up of the nation, surely there must be some reason for that. I do not think the reason can be that the present Prime Minister is not filling the vacancies fast enough. I imagine if the Prime Minister felt he needed to have more representatives in the Senate he would fill the vacancies very quickly.

As for myself, I do not think it would make a particle of difference to the other place, to this house or to the country at large if 22 new members were appointed to the Senate. You cannot get anything more from the Senate than you are getting from it now. It has become the fifth wheel on the governmental machine, and in my opinion it is really no use to try to restore that wheel to usefulness by attaching some sort of power to it, putting a new tire on it or any of the other things that one does with a wheel.

Topic:   SENATE REFORM
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