I want to thank the other members of the New Democratic party who have again asked me to be their spokesman on this particular occasion. There is some honour, loyalty and appreciation of each other in our group, and I wish to say that I am proud of each of the seven other members in our group.
It used to be said that there was honour even among thieves, but I am dismayed to note that the Liberal party cannot even be classed in that category. I have noted with dismay the absence of the hon. member for Kenora-Rainy River in recent days. He has been re-elected to this house on many occasions as a Liberal-Labour member and has
always been regarded as the financial spokesman or financial critic of his party. His responsibility has been to watch daily the financial affairs of our country, and especially the financial activities of our government. Yet in the interests of political expediency he was most unceremoniously and mercilessly dumped by his political party. By contrast, I am very happy that neither my national leader nor my house leader are so anxious for publicity that they would thus violate the ordinary rules of honour and decency, and I am also very proud at this moment that I do not belong to the Liberal party.
In this resolution we are being asked to vote money to the government of the day, but history has a way of taking many turns. The very origins of parliament were to provide a voice for the taxpayers in determining how the money necessary for the maintenance of law and order should be collected, but look how this has worked out. Under our rules we have now established an allocation of six days in which to debate the budget. We agree we ought to spend no more than six days debating how the money is to be collected; yet all of us know, and many of us regret, that we spend six, seven and eight months of the year discussing mere details of governmental expenditures. Readjustment of that situation is badly needed. We all know that a government requires at least minimum funds in order to sustain our society; yet under the existing situation we allocate only six days to a debate on how the money is to be collected and, as I have just said, we spend six to eight months of the year niggling about details of particular expenditures.
Looking at the financial policy of the government, I am afraid I must come to the conclusion that the government has no policy. Its financial policy is neither fish nor fowl. It is neither hot nor cold; it is lukewarm. It is something to be spewn out of the mouth as distasteful, and I expect the electorate of Canada will agree with me in that regard on June 18.
I was very disappointed with the attitude taken by the official Leader of the Opposition during his television appearance on budget night. The leader of the Liberal party in his television appearance on budget night really found nothing to complain about in the budget as it had been presented, except that it had arrived many years too late. I believe that the Canadian people will by now have noted that the leader of the official opposition has yet to present a real alternative to the financial policies of this government. Perhaps I am saying too much when I call them financial policies, because in my opinion the
Ways and Means
actions of the government in the field of finance are very contradictory and I believe they can best be described in the quotation "John versus Don".
Last fall we read some rather interesting newspaper speculation to the effect that John was about ready to fire Don and move him into some other field of responsibility. However, I understand that St. James street and Bay street made adequate representations and Don managed to retain his present office. I was pleased-
Topic: WAYS AND MEANS