Hon. C. G. Power (Quebec South):
Mr. Speaker, at the risk of arousing the derisive laughter of my friends in the corner I think I should take the traditionalist view of this, and repeat what has been said by the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell), that nowhere in our federal elections act is there any mention of any political party. In our experience in the past in trying to draft the elections act we have always carefully avoided mentioning political parties, and for the reason-you may laugh at it-that whatever we may do in practice, members of parliament are sent here to give our constituents the benefit of the best of our judgment and the best of our ability to determine what should be done in the interests of the country as a whole.
Except perhaps during the time when we were occupying the hustings, for many years we have done our best to say that we are non-partisan in our outlook on matters coming before us. It seems almost an insult to tell a man he is a politician. Now, under the guise of a great reform, we are asked to label ourselves as politicians. We will come here and, in the words of some statesman of long ago, we will be all for the party and none for the state.
It seems to me we have not reached the stage in this country where we are going to set up throughout the country political machines and political organizations to which members will become so attached that it will be very difficult for them to take an impartial and non-partisan view of matters coming before the house. If on the ballot paper itself an individual who proposes to become a member of parliament labelled himself, for the time during which he will be a member, as the supporter of such and such a party, it would be extremely difficult for him, both in conscience and in the view of his electors, to say that from now on he repudiates the
Canada Elections Act
pledge he made to his electors when he said he was a Liberal, a Conservative, a Social Crediter, or anything else you may mention.
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO PLACE POLITICAL AFFILIATION OF CANDIDATES ON BALLOT PAPERS