June 27, 1955 (22nd Parliament, 2nd Session)

PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hees:

That shows how quickly these things move along. Perhaps the figure will be 23 tomorrow and 24 the next day. That is all the more reason for taking this action. I believe the Prime Minister would agree that to appoint 22 more members of the Liberal party to the Senate, persons who are Liberal supporters-although that has been the practice followed by both parties in the past-would simply make the Senate even more ridiculous, as far as being an impartial body is concerned, than people already consider it to be.
I feel the Prime Minister has a wonderful opportunity to choose outstanding representatives in the fields I have mentioned, namely those of industrial management, agriculture, labour, education, science and culture. I believe those people could bring tremendous knowledge to bear on the discussions in the Senate, and could restore it to its proper place. As further vacancies occurred more men and more women of this calibre could be added, and in that way I think the legislative procedures of parliament would be immeasurably improved.
I know the Prime Minister does not have an easy choice in this matter. I really feel that he agrees with what I have said. These are not new ideas; they are old ones. I really feel that in what I have said he agrees with me. I also sympathize with him because of the problem he is up against. I know and he knows that as soon as he announced a policy of this kind the telephones would be ringing, the wires would be clogged and the mails would be jammed with violent protests from thousands of faithful

Liberal party members, all of whom think they are in line for one of these 22 vacancies.
I know the problems the Prime Minister would face, but I think he is a big enough man to face them. I hope he will do so, because it is the only chance we have of restoring the Senate to the position of respect to which it is entitled in the minds of the Canadian people. If something of that kind is not done I think the demand of the people will be that the Senate be abolished, because I believe they will feel that it is ridiculous to pay out large sums of money to operate the Senate if the Senate obviously is not able to pass impartial judgment on the legislation passed by this house, and for that reason has no real function in our parliament today.

Topic:   SENATE REFORM
Full View