Mr. Mackenzie King:
I declare the motion
The conference adjourned immediately after the statement by the very distinguished premier of Nova Scotia that he assumed this conference was going to meet again. We all had a right to assume that conference was going to meet again, but it did not. When there is any suggestion that the proposals were rejected, I say that simply is not so. There was no chance of rejecting or accepting because the next thing that happened was that this government, with the typical course of action that they have been following right through-a course of action referred to by Premier Campbell of Manitoba last week- acted on their own. Mr. Ilsley, without any further inquiry of the provinces, or consultation, placed before the house a statement as to what the government was going to give in the way of allowances to provinces that were prepared to accept an agreement. There was no basic agreement with the provinces. It was simply a case of "Big brother has decided, and those who are not trying to make things difficult will immediately comply". That is the way this government has been dealing with these problems right along. That conference was not reconvened, and the only reason those agreements were not reached at that time was that this government refused to meet again. Do not let the Minister of Justice continue the kind of statements he has been making outside because in here we can challenge their accuracy in a more formal manner.
As far as those agreements were concerned, not only was there tacit understanding on the part of many provinces as to that, but there was a strong urge that they be carried into effect without any further delay as soon as the facts were obtained; but this government did not have the facts then, and as the minister of finance himself said, they were going to take into consideration the proposals that had been made, and that is the way we were dealt with. No, Mr. Speaker, this government scuttled that conference. That is what happened, and it has remained in that sunken condition ever since.
The conference which met on an earlier occasion was not a continuation of that conference; it was a conference presumably
called to discuss the constitution. It is still in the air, too. As far as any of these matters are concerned, this government apparently believes that all it has to do is to call a conference, make a series of statements in regard to which they have not the basic facts, leave the whole thing in the air and then employ their expensive propaganda machine to assert that those on the other side disagreed with what they said. That has been the whole course of these proceedings.
Since this impression has been so assiduously disseminated, Mr. Speaker, and carried forward even today, that in my capacity as premier of Ontario I was an unwilling attendant at those conferences, I am going to place on record something that has not previously been placed there. I trust that the minister is unaware of this because his conduct would be surprising if he were aware of the fact that the initiation of that conference started by a request communicated on behalf of the government of Ontario, over my signature in January, 1944. I am going to place that on the record. Of course the Minister of Justice knows this because he received a copy of the letter afterwards.
Subtopic: THE BUDGET