Mr. Hugh Faulkner (Peterborough):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to join with the rest of my colleagues in the house in extending to the hon. members for Dollard (Mr. Goyer) and York-Scarborough (Mr. Stanbury) my warmest congratulations for the very distinguished jobs they have done in moving and seconding this motion. If I had a criticism to make it would only be that in doing such good jobs they have made it unnecessarily difficult for the rest of us who have to follow them.
With my sincere congratulations, Mr. Speaker, please accept by best wishes, for opening before you is a session in which you will have an important and delicate part to play.
The Speaker is known to be a fair and objective man, but inexperienced as I am in the practices of this house, I feel I should refer also to his need for patience and forbearance.
You were highly recommended for this post, Mr. Speaker, by every member of this house.
It is quite apparent that this admiration is due to the impression you made upon them during the last session. That is why I am fully confident that you will do an excellent job of presiding over our discussions.
I suppose, Mr. Speaker, that each of us in this house cherishes a particular affection for those people of the constituency he represents and in this regard I am no exception. It is difficult for me to convey to the members of the house how very proud and honoured I am to be here as the chosen representative of the people of the constituency of Peterborough. My only wish, as I am sure it is the only wish of every member of the house, is to serve these people faithfully and well in keeping with the great tradiiton of public service for which this house stands.
My two immediate predecessors, Mr. Walter Pitman and Mr. Fred Stenson, worked tirelessly and unselfishly for their riding. They understood the needs of their riding and were always diligent and conscientious in their efforts to make these needs known to
The Address-Mr. Faulkner this house. I intend to meet these responsibilities which I have now assumed in a like manner.
As a new member I have been listening with some care to what has been said by those with more experience in the ways of this house. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) during his introductory remarks to this performance, and it was a very fine performance, mentioned the question of efficiency and its relationship or, as he argued, lack of relationship to the business of parliament. Fifty years ago, Mr. Speaker, it may have been true that efficiency was not a consideration. Parliament met for a much shorter period of time, it had much less business to transact and, probably of utmost importance, it had far less influence on the affairs of the nation and in the lives of individuals. Since the 1930's, and particularly since the war, the scope and magnitude of parliament's business have grown beyond recognition. The burden of decision is far greater and the ramifications of these decisions extend far wider.
[DOT] (4:50 p.m.)
The challenge we face today is to ensure that parliament is still able to continue to deal effectively with these much heavier responsibilities. It is certainly true, as the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, that essentially the role of parliament is to preserve freedom, freedom of the opposition to probe, to criticize and, indeed, to oppose. As one of the great students of the parliamentary system pointed out to us, the function of parliament is not only to pass good laws but to stop bad laws. However, this freedom must be exercised with greater responsibility, greater discretion and greater intelligence than ever before. It must be exercised in light of the legislative burden with which this house is faced. There is hardly an item in the Speech from the Throne, and there are many items in it, which is not important and indeed urgent. The fact of the matter is that we face today a condition of congestion which may well become worse unless we are capable of acting with some dispatch.
We have many tasks in this parliament but I would suggest that one of our most important tasks is to demonstrate to the Canadian public, a very sceptical and disillusioned public, that parliament can still be an effective instrument of the public will, that we can still hold the initiative in face of the mounting number and complexity of the problems. This will never be easy but it certainly will be
January 24, 1966
The Address-Mr. Faulkner possible if we will only remember what Sir Winston Churchill told the British House in 1911, that the congestion of parliament is a disease but the futility of parliament is a mortal disease. If we are mindful of this, it may not be an overstatement to say that it is in the interests of both the government and the opposition, and indeed of parliament itself, to ensure that the twenty-seventh parliament gets things done and gets them done with some efficiency.
During the past few years, Mr. Speaker, much has been said and much has been done to define and promote a meaningful and historically valid concept of Canadian unity. Much is said in the Speech from the Throne in the same vein. The concept of equal partners in confederation, recognizing as it does the basic duality of this country's origins, is a concept which is much better understood and, I would suggest, supported in far wider circles than ever before. If I might be permitted to say this as a personal observation, in my view much of the credit for this development goes to our present Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson).
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY