To her I owe much, and I shall continue to rely on her wisdom and experience.
This city of almost 300,000 in population is the steel centre of Canada, producing more than one half of Canada's steel. It is interesting to note that iron and steel industry sales all across Canada make up approximately 2.7 per cent of the gross national product, therefore being even greater than wheat which is 1.7 per cent.
[DOT] (3:10 p.m.)
Because of the importance of this industry to our economy, Canada's principal basic steel producers, among which the Hamilton steel industry plays an important role, are of course very interested in the new anti-dumping code agreed to by Canada in the recent General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade. Mr. Speaker, you will recall that something was said on this subject this morning. Industry regards dumping as a serious problem and is justifiably concerned about the potential loss of domestic markets to foreign competition at
The Address-Mr. Alexander dump prices arising from Canada's acceptance of article VI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Industry recognizes that competition on a fair trade basis is customary and of course challenging. However, competition at less than fair market value is disturbing and cannot be considered fair. In fact it may result in irreparable damage to the domestic industry and to the economy. It is suggested that the onus of preventing undue disruption from dumping into the domestic market rests completely on the importing country. Therefore I strongly urge that the government be very aware of the dangers of dumping, and in enacting any laws to bring the anti-dumping agreement into effect deep consideration and attention should be given to the scope of the legislation and the form of administration of the law because Hamilton, and indeed Canada, neither want nor can afford harmful effects on the economy.
Although steel plays a great role in the life of Hamilton, the manufacturing of machinery, electrical goods, rubber, chemicals and textiles also mean a livelihood for many Hamiltonians. Hamilton can further boast of the port of Hamilton which has a 10-mile waterfront providing three miles of berthing space. It is a port of call for 50 shipping lines and it has agencies with services to and from 100 world ports. Present trends suggest that the port will become an increasingly important seaport gateway through which an ever-growing volume of exports and imports will be shipped, thereby allowing it to continue to break records in terms of tonnage moved. In this connection may I remind the Minister of Labour (Mr. Mackasey) that notwithstanding the fact that in a democracy one can expect strikes, Hamilton would take issue with him in the event there was a prolonged strike in this area.
One cannot speak of Hamilton without reference to McMaster University, my alma mater, which has attracted and continues to attract students from all over the world who seek excellence in graduate and post-graduate studies. It is worth while mentioning that Hamilton's rock garden because of its floral display has received international acclaim. May I also point out, if anyone is in doubt, that Hamilton still has faith in the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team.
The city of Hamilton is progressing with an urban renewal program including a civic square, and Hamiltonians continue to expect, and in fact deserve, immediate, decisive and
The Address-Mr. Alexander continued government leadership in that regard.
Of some concern to Hamilton at the present time are its plans for a cultural centre-the Hamilton theatre auditorium. Toward this end may I say that the people of Hamilton have made and met their financial commitments; the province of Ontario has made and is prepared to honour its commitment, and we now look to this government to become involved pursuant to the many requests made upon it so that a firm and early commitment may be expected. It is hoped that the government is as enthusiastic about receiving briefs and submissions on this project as are the Hamiltonians in presenting them.
Hamilton is no different from any other large city. Of course it has its urban problems. Hamiltonians also are very concerned about housing, unemployment, inflation, air and water pollution, lack of mortgage moneys, high interest rates, and lack of serviced land. These are the areas to which priority should be directed.
Hamiltonians, and indeed all Canadians, believed that the Speech from the Throne would indicate solutions to these problems with greater clarity as related to the just society, a phrase without definition and an election slogan that has frustrated and confused many. Canadians want solutions to the many social and economic problems which burden this nation. They want them now, and they will not be satisfied with tokenism and expression of intentions for the future.
It is not unreasonable to conclude that because the Prime Minister spoke of the just society on the hustings and said, "follow me, give me a majority", Canadians had the right to expect and believe that this government would present to them a dynamic, inspiring and moving political manifesto in the speech from the throne. I can remember the arrival of the Prime Minister in Hamilton and I can remember reading about him and his smile when he said "follow me" and they walked. Then he became famous for that which many of us younger ones would want to be famous and for which we feel some jealousy. The women said, "where do we go?" He said, "follow me", and they walked.
Now it is implied that the government did not have to give this country leadership or direction in the speech from the throne. Apparently, in the mind of the government, this conclusion was unreasonable on the part of the people and reached without justification, much to the dismay and disappointment of
DEBATES September 20, 1968
many Canadians. I too am disappointed and in total disagreement with the utterances of many political experts who believe that it is inevitable that the speech from the throne should be dull, uninspiring and empty. Such speeches are not and never will be accepted. This is 1968, the jet propelled age and not the days of the horse and buggy.
As a result of their disappointment, Canadians have changed. I say that sincerely. They are no longer uninformed, naive and gullible. At this time an expression comes to my mind which was continually referred to by the late Dr. Martin Luther King in speeches in which he quoted the ungrammatical truths of an old preacher among which was the following; "We ain't what we oughta be, we ain't what we could be, we ain't what we should be, but thank God we ain't what we was." I say to the government: take heed and wake up before it is too late.
Mr. Speaker, since coming to this house I have become more and more aware of the tremendous responsibilities of a member of parliament. He must grapple conscientiously and diligently with the many problems which face this nation. He must find with expediency the solutions to them. He must be concerned about the quality of life being experienced by all Canadians. He must create with enthusiasm and confidence a climate of proper direction to ensure the realization of our ultimate goal, that of a greater Canada in which we can all pray, live, work and play harmoniously while enjoying the fruits of full economic development. To these ends I dedicate my strength and my abilities and in this dedication my thoughts are directed toward many people in Canada about whom I and my constituents in Hamilton West are concerned.
We are concerned about the fact that four million people live in poverty. We are concerned about the fact that the dream of owning one's home has apparently become an impossible dream under this administration. We are concerned about the fact that unemployment is at the unwarranted high level of more than 400,000. We are concerned about the reliance on welfare by many. We are concerned about the fact that because of inflation the pensioners, the aged, the disabled and those on fixed incomes have very little purchasing power.
[DOT] (3:20 p.m.)
Does this government have the solutions to these basic problems that face this nation? If
September 20, 1968
they have let them kindly advise the country, because the country is waiting for the answers. I say to this government, this is the time to show greater evidence of its concern. This is unquestionably a time for reassessment, a time for awakening. This is a time for reflection on the past only to better enable us to determine the guide lines and direction that positive action for the immediate future must take, particularly in relation to economic development, research and technology. We would then be in a more favourable position to solve these problems.
It seems to me that in a just society it should be the continuing responsibility of this government to be constantly aware of and concerned about the degree of the quality of life that each and every Canadian is experiencing. If there is any disparity, no matter how little, then the government should immediately set itself to reducing it, thereby assuring that each and every individual can live a full productive life and become in fact an essential part of the mainstream of Canadian life for the betterment of all Canadians.
I should like to move now, Mr. Speaker, to another topic. I am the first black man elected to the House of Commons. This results from the fact that many Hamiltonians have accepted as a way of life a simple truism expressed by Adele Florence Corey long ago. She said that men should be judged not by the colour of their skin nor by the way they fight, love or sin, nor by the gods they serve or vintage they drink, but by the quality of thoughts they think. How simple that statement is, but how unacceptable to many. Yet, if this way of life is not accepted, speak not to me of the Bill of Rights; speak not to me of democracy; speak not to me of the brotherhood of man or the fatherhood of God, because this then becomes hypocrisy. The black man also desires a place in the mainstream of life and because of this we read of his struggle, and struggle he must.
Listen to what Frederick Douglas, that great abolitionist, said back in 1857 about struggle. He said;
The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess freedom yet deprecate struggle are men who want crops without ploughing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. Power concedes nothing without a demand.
The Address-Mr. Haidasz
I look at the government.
It never did and it never will. Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get.
The negro has to struggle. Some say I have it made. Let me, standing here, be no indication that all negroes in Canada have it made. Let me say this: the negro has awakened with a new soul. He knows he is somebody. He is Thurgoode Marshall, Supreme Court Justice; he is Dr. Ralph Bunche, diplomat extraordinaire. He is Carl Stokes, mayor of Cleveland. He is Dr. Martin Luther King, whose passive resistance movement has changed the nature of the thinking of the whole free world. He is Leonard Braithwaite who, even though a Liberal, sits at Queens Park in Toronto. He is the high commissioners and ambassadors we see here in Ottawa.
This is an impressive list, I know, but I wonder how many men of such calibre we have lost because of the deliberate rejection of people because of colour? I am not the spokesman for the negro; that honour has not been given to me. Do not let me ever give anyone that impression. However, I want the record to show that I accept the responsibility for speaking for him and all others in this great nation who feel that they are the subjects of discrimination because of race, creed or colour.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I would say that our role in the building of the "just society", if it is to become a reality, is that we as parliamentarians must be involved with the hopes, the fears, the disappointments, legitimate aspirations and despair of each and every Canadian, ever mindful that involvement demands commitment in terms of actions and deeds, rather than words only.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY