June 8, 1951 (21st Parliament, 4th Session)


George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I feel sure that
at this stage of the session there will be a tendency on the part of hon. members to support this motion, which has become customary at this time of the year. But I suggest that this is an appropriate occasion to review what has happened during the present session which calls for a motion of this kind, at this time, particularly in relation to the announcement made a few days ago that it is the intention to adjourn the present session until October and then, having met, prorogue for the purpose of having a second session this year.
When the announcement was made a few days ago I urged the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) to reconsider his statement- and it must be recalled that it was simply an announcement at that time. I did so in view of the fact that in the opinion of a number of members the legislation now before the house should be dealt with before this house rises. The explanation was given that it was desirable to defer consideration of the old age pension legislation until later this year. When that announcement was made, I said, and I repeat today, that I believe there are many strong reasons why that legislation should be dealt with before this house rises even for adjournment.
The passing of the old age pension legislation is not going to take very long. The members of this house have already indicated their desire to proceed with it as rapidly as possible. That was indicated in statements made earlier in the session. It was also indicated very clearly by the manner in which this house adopted, without debate and with every sign of unanimous approval, the request to Westminster for an amendment to the British North America Act.
[Mr. St. Laurent.)

Since the legislation dealing with universal pensions at seventy and over and the special legislation dealing with pensions from sixty-five to sixty-nine inclusive has met with agreement on the part of members of this house, I feel certain, and I am sure there is confidence in the minds of hon. members, that such legislation would be facilitated in every way. I can see no reason why that legislation should not be dealt with in one day, or in two days at the very outside. Therefore I see no reason why that legislation should not be dealt with before we rise for the summer.
I am not overlooking the explanation by the Prime Minister that the same plan might not be proposed were it not for the fact that other legislation requires consideration. He indicated that it was desirable to carry into effect by legislation those recommendations in the report of the transportation commission which the government is prepared to accept, and also indicated that it might be desirable this year to introduce legislation to implement some of the recommendations of the Massey commission.
So far as the recommendations of the transport commission are concerned, I concede that there will certainly not be complete unanimity in regard to the statutory interpretation of those recommendations. The same attitude will probably not be demonstrated as will be found when we are dealing with the recommendations in connection with the old age pension legislation. Nevertheless I am sure that if there is sufficient advance notice of what the legislation is intended to be, the members of this house will deal promptly and with very clear thought as to what they wish to have enacted into law when that legislation comes forward. That would not take very long, provided that hon. members have an opportunity in advance to consider the legislation. If the house is only adjourned for the summer, then it is possible, by agreement, to provide copies of the proposed legislation to hon. members and they would have a chance to consider it before we return here to examine it in the ordinary way in the house.
So far as the Massey commission report is concerned, I think that hon. members who have already read the report, or even have merely glanced through it, will realize that most of the recommendations are such that it will take some time to implement them. In any event, there are certain specific recommendations, one with regard to grants to universities and other specialized branches of education, and another with regard to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which

obviously call for consideration, either within the next few days or at any rate certainly by the beginning of next year.
So far as grants to universities are concerned, I submit that all that the Massey report has done is to confirm the opinion that has been expressed here over and over again, that grants should be made to assist the universities without delay, if our higher education is not to suffer. That being so-

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