I paused only because I was going to say that I think the Prime Minister could explain it much better than a number of those who appear to be trying to explain to me what the Prime Minister said.
Old Age Pensions
I was referring to the fact that the Prime Minister had pointed out the necessity for an extensive discussion of the arrangements which it will be necessary to make for the appropriate handling of payments of this kind. For that reason I think there is a strong argument in favour of dealing with this matter now.
The Prime Minister said that if this were the only legislation to be considered, perhaps there would be no thought given to the procedure he has outlined. It is indicated that there is other legislation which it will be necessary to bring before the house. I would point out that it will be very much easier for the provinces to deal with this matter satisfactorily if the House of Commons passes the legislation, and they know it is to become law, so that they then may be able to give adequate notice of the special sessions they must call for the later months of this year, and, in turn, make the necessary arrangements for implementation in those months.
For those reasons, no matter what view may be held in regard to the other legislation contemplated, I think we should proceed to deal with this legislation while we are still here in Ottawa. The Prime Minister has stated, very properly, that all hon. members will hope and wish that the arrangements made for financing this measure should be given that careful consideration which will assure that the legislation itself and the administrative arrangements are the most satisfactory possible, not only for the older people of the country who are directly affected, but for the Canadian taxpayers generally, who are both interested in the legislation and anxious that it shall be worked out in the most satisfactory way. I do not think there will be any disagreement on that score.
On the other hand I find it difficult to think that this proposal cannot be put before the house some time within the next month, with sufficient knowledge of the general course of the financial position of the government, projected with sufficient accuracy to make it possible to deal with this matter properly at the present time. Later today, in fact, the Minister of Finance will be discussing the bills placed before the house to implement the budgetary provisions, and in doing so will be expressing, I am sure with confidence in the accuracy of his statements, what he expects to be the financial position throughout the remainder of the year. Within the next few weeks he will have still more information. I think there would be adequate information at that time to deal with
provisions in connection with a contributory plan for financing this measure, along with the legislation itself.
As to the time that would be taken to deal with the legislation, I am sure this bill would take very little time when it comes before the house.
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO B.N.A. ACT PASSING OF MEASURE AT WESTMINSTER CONSEQUENTIAL CANADIAN LEGISLATION