Mr. Maurice Rinfrel (St. James):
Mr. Speaker, I join all the previous speakers in extending my congratulations to the mover and the seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the hon. member for Longueuil (Mr. Cote) and the hon. member for Vancouver-Burrard (Mr. Basford).
Mr. Speaker, for more than two thirds of the sixty three years of this twentieth century, the Liberal party was entrusted by the people with administration of Canada. Liberalism is that broadminded and lenient attitude which, in politics, is found in the promotion of freedom and is limited by the freedom of other citizens and the common good.
In our times, when a one-party dictatorship and tyranny prevails in certain countries, it is important to restate our love of freedom has remained the basic purpose of asset of man living in society. This love of freedom has remained the basic purpose of the Liberal party since its foundation. The Liberal party has always been mindful of progress in the field of social as well as economic measures.
Last evening, the various parties represented in this house gave a hearty ovation to the Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson). Mr. Speaker, the living symbol, the champion of Canadian unity is the leader of this government, the right hon. Prime Minister of Canada.
Mr. Speaker, the riding of St. James where I had the privilege and honour to be elected to the federal parliament, is a county which has existed since confederation and in which lives an industrious and almost exclusively French-speaking population. The remaining population consists of a number of Canadians of various origins with whom we fraternize and pursue the achievement of a Canadian nation.
The county of St. James runs along the bank of the St. Lawrence river and contains part of the old Montreal, to which so much Canadian history is attached by so many bonds. Arrangements have been made to preserve the original character of that city
district. Municipal authorities, the Jacques Viger commission, and the historical sites commission took concerted action to establish the south central sector of the city as an historical district. Further steps will be taken to create an entity of which Montrealers will be proud and which tourists will admire.
The federal government which, through the national harbours board and various other services, occupies an important part of that territory, could play a significant part in preserving this special character of Montreal. I hope that the marine terminal, a project to which Montreal has been looking forward for a long time, will respect the style and authentic architecture of the first days of this country.
The immediate neighbourhood of the harbour is inhabited by waterfront workers, longshoremen, stevedores, seamen and all those who, in one way or another, are making a living in or around the harbour district. I rejoice with the longshoremen about the improvement of their working conditions, and I congratulate them, as well as the shipping companies for having come to an agreement last fall.
Last Sunday, February 9, local 375 of the longshoremen's union offered the Minister of Labour (Mr. MacEachen) a token plate recalling his faith in labour unions. The Minister of Labour, despite some pressures in the opposite direction, has recognized the principle of collective bargaining and the right of the labour unions to make, within the four corners of the law, those demands they believe fair. The Minister of Labour and the staff of his department also deserve praise for their intelligent and wise intervention in putting under a temporary trusteeship the reorganization of the seafarers' union. Some people would have preferred the strong hand to solve the problems, but negotiations brought about a satisfactory settlement for everybody.
Mr. Speaker, Canada, the province of Quebec and the city of Montreal witness the new impulse which has been given to the 1967 world fair. Instead of listening to the lament of some people, the federal government proceeds with celerity and, in co-operation with provincial and municipal authorities, it votes the funds necessary to ensure the success of this international event. To the initial amount of $20 million, the government will add $21 million for the construction of a Canadian pavilion, built in the image of Canada, and which will remain as a reminder of the exhibition.
Despite the whining of some narrowminded people, thanks to financial aid from the federal government, the bridge linking
The Address-Mr. Rinfret Montreal and Boucherville will be erected at a cost of $50 million, with a contribution of $30 million from the federal government.
The east-west trans-Canada highway and the north-south belt highway will run through Montreal and the federal government's contribution will amount to $45 million.
The C.B.C. building will be erected in the eastern part of Montreal.
The maritime shipping station is another interesting project.
In order to protect the world fair site on Notre Dame island and Ronde island, the federal government will build a $17 million breakwater and the wall thus erected will protect the fair site against ice jams and flooding and at the same time ease the flow of water in the vicinity of the Montreal harbour.
Those, Mr. Speaker, are accomplishments which reflect the dynamic policies which will ensure the success of the 1967 fair. Those are constructive measures to decrease unemployment.
In all areas of the country, under the guidance of the Canada economic council and the new Department of Industry, with the loans to municipalities program and with the program under which 32,000 prospective owners of homes built during the wintertime have benefited from a $500 allowance, unemployment is declining and the number of unemployed people has decreased by
68,000 from December 1962 to December 1963.
Mr. Speaker, at the present time, the Canadian people show that they are nationally minded and seek means to strengthen unity in the country.
One bicultural Canada is looked upon by some as a source of trouble, difficulties and problems. On the contrary, it must be considered as a source of wealth and success.
In Canada, in spite of certain manifestations which are no doubt regrettable, we live in an atmosphere which should promote the development of both cultures.
It might be of some avail to recall all those things that unite us, before considering what separates us.
We are united in our attachment to the Christian civilization which so deeply influenced our institutions.
At this time, I would point out the beneficial effects of the Vatican II council. It provided for a rapprochement between the various churches. Without prejudice to the rights of those who do not share our Christian faith, it should be recalled that the great majority of the Canadian nation, according to the last 1961 census, share that ideal and that faith. And even nowadays
The Address-Mr. Rinfret our country is adding to its wealth through the contribution of individuals who, in several cases, have known the horrors of war. They came here looking for a country with tremendous opportunities. On that score, the testimony given by new Canadians is quite eloquent. They chose Canada; they made a place for themselves in this country and they are making their contribution to its greatness.
There are of course some factors which differentiate us, and some people are taking advantage of that fact to divide us. We must look at those differences as a source of enrichment. There is no superior race, there are only individuals to whom God gave talents and who are called upon to develop them in the country where they live.
Do we realize that Canada has the two most prevalent cultures in the world? As a citizen of French origin, I note with satisfaction that the French language has remained the language of diplomacy and of a civilization with a large audience, not only in Europe, but also in Latin America and in Africa.
As a Canadian citizen, Mr. Speaker, who learned as a child to speak and to respect the English language, I am most happy to express myself in a language which is the language of my fellow citizens and the vast majority of the North American population as well as several countries throughout the world.
The attitude of those who, in some parts of this country, would like to eliminate all reference to French or of those who, in some other sections, wish to have English disappear is to be regretted.
Let us pay tribute to our present Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson), who has really succeeded in understanding the aspirations of the French Canadian community to which I am proud to belong. He has found it possible to give the Canadian nation cause for optimism and to the French speaking community a confidence which some calamity howlers wanted to destroy.
I know that, within the present cabinet, the French speaking ministers are considered to be on an equal footing with their English speaking colleagues.
Mr. Speaker, I am also aware of the efforts being made at present to attract a greater number of French speaking university graduates to the federal civil service.
I am aware too of the fine work done by our English speaking colleagues to become familiar with the French language and to understand the legitimate demands of citizens
who make up 30 per cent of the Canadian people and who are the heirs of the first settlers of this country.
Canada is an adult nation, called upon to play a prominent part in the world.
Canada must carry on its role as a proud and free nation. The time has come for Canadians of every origin to agree on the identification symbols of Canada. We must have a distinctive national flag which all Canadians will fly all across the country. We must have a national anthem whose words will tell the aspirations of our people.
Even if it is too early yet to know the results of the Laurendeau-Dunton commission, it can be said, however, that a lot is expected1 from that team of competent men who will know when to ignore the claims of extremists in order to present suggestions based on realism and wisdom.
What about the work done by many private groups in order to develop friendly relations in a climate of mutual understanding.
I am thinking of the interprovincial visits made by young French Canadians and English Canadians which enable them to know our country in all its glory.
Let us take positive action to develop the Canadian unity essential to the progress of every group and every part of the country.
Religious and civic leaders, as well as businessmen, intellectuals, labour leaders, in short all leaders, must do more to promote unity in our country. They must speak with what the right hon. Prime Minister called the "voice of reason".
The information media, the press, radio and television, must also contribute to publicize what is positive rather than negative.
As members of the House of Commons, we all exert influence in our constituencies and our provinces; let us use it so that invitations will be extended by our universities, schools, associations and national conferences, to genuine representatives of the other community who will be selected not because they attracted attention by their abusive language, but because they gained respect by their frankness, their honesty and their sincere desire to create a favourable climate.
Let us get rid of our prejudices towards men and events. Violence must be rejected, because it is violence which brings some groups to commit most regrettable actions.
The relations between Canadians will improve through the constructive work of every one of us. The Canadian nation will prosper provided each and every Canadian realizes all the advantages of our association guided by an enlightened and generous patriotism.
Topic: SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY