November 1, 1949 (21st Parliament, 1st Session)


John Decore


Mr. John Decore (Vegreville):

Mr. Speaker, the introduction of the budget in the house is always of great interest and importance to the people of Canada because from it they derive a knowledge of the status of our present financial requirements as well as the country's future prospects. In recent days and weeks we in Canada have been greatly concerned with the serious deterioration in the dollar position of the sterling areas. We realize that this is not just a problem of the British people but, in view of our trade relations with the United Kingdom, it is also a problem for Canadians as well as the other peoples of the world. I am sure that the people of Canada were glad to hear the statement made by the Minister of Finance after the recent conferences in London and Washington, to the effect that those who took part in the discussions agreed on certain policies which it is hoped will assist the sterling areas in selling goods to Canada and the United States. If this were achieved, the result would be a balancing of accounts without further loans or Marshall aid. Although we are concerned, we are confident that the world-wide devaluation of currencies will finally be adjusted to a level which will permit Canada to continue its trade relations with other countries in a normal manner.
Although I am a new member of this house, I understand that hon. members have the privilege, during the budget debate, of discussing various topics. Might I mention first the fact that this parliament will probably go down in history as a landmark because of its attempt to change our constitution. Most Canadians feel that, although the British North America Act was a masterly piece of

work in its origin in 1867, conditions in Canada have changed and this act does not meet the expanding needs of this country. We must recognize, however, that the British North America Act was originally a very delicate compromise between the English and French-speaking Canadians. It is my submission that any contemplated changes in the act must necessarily take cognizance of these compromises if unity in Canada is to prevail. We do not know exactly what the premier of Quebec meant when he said that this was a matter of life and death. This statement, however, illustrates the difficulty we will encounter. Unfortunately, the premier of my own province of Alberta has chosen to follow in the footsteps of Premier Duplessis.

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