- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 20 Apr 1978, p. 407-426
- Holt, Simma, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The speaker's address concerns her critical thoughts and comments on an "ever-pervasive bureaucracy, the power that controls our nation." Much of the address is an informative warning about the dangers of such a bureaucracy as told through her own experiences, or those of people she knows well. Reasons for the shortcomings of this bureaucracy. Some suggestions for change.
- Date of Original
- 20 Apr 1978
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- APRIL 20, 1978
The Power Manipulators
AN ADDRESS BY Simma Holt, M.P.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR VANCOUVER-KINGSWAY
CHAIRMAN The President, Peter Hermant
Ladies and gentlemen: As Canadians, we are indebted to the Province of British Columbia for a great number of things. It is the Mecca of radio open line shows, the home of Jack Webster, possessor of some of the most magnificent scenery of this earth, and the one place in Canada where snow skiing and swimming are literally only three quarters of an hour apart at some seasons of the year.
Whether it's the climate, which is mostly, or at least sometimes, damp, or its physical separation from the balance of the country by the Rocky Mountains, British Columbia has always been unique.
Where else, for instance, did the largest city in the province employ an official jester? Usually there are enough active in municipal organizations without the necessity of having to pay for one. Where else do the two largest amateur sporting events involve navigating a bathtub across the Straits of Georgia or diving into English Bay on January 1, regardless of the temperature?
Politics in B.C.--which is not to be confused with Before Christ, as pointed out by Rupert Brooke--have also always been original. Not only is it the home of the only regular Social Credit government remaining in the nation, but it has always had an independent view of political life.
One of the first premiers of British Columbia, Amor de Cosmos, said in 1870, "I would not object to a little revolution in British Columbia, after Confederation, if we are treated unfairly. For I am one of those who believe that political hatreds attest to the vitality of the state."
British Columbians are very much in love with their province. And I have to admit to a conflict of interest here in that I attended the University of British Columbia myself and met my wife, Katie, there--one of B.C.'s truly wonderful exports.
Another pretty good provincial representative is our guest of honour today, Mrs. Simma Holt, M.P.
Like many people living in Canada's evergreen playground, Mrs. Holt is actually from Alberta. She was born and raised in Vegreville and following high school, attended the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. Here she became managing editor of the university newspaper, The Manitoban, and that began an illustrious career in journalism which resulted in her having been the winner or runner-up, on ten separate occasions, of the Memorial Award given by the Canadian Women's Press Club for excellence in both feature and news writing.
Upon leaving university, she was employed briefly by the Canadian Press in Calgary as a teletype operator/ reporter before crossing the mountains and joining The Vancouver Sun as a reporter and feature writer, a position she held from that time up until her election to parliament in 1974.
Her career with The Vancouver Sun was an all-encompassing one, but she has also written features for almost all the major Canadian publications; she has filled in as one of those infamous "open-line" radio hosts; she has performed on talk shows in both the United States and Canada. She has lectured at various universities in journalism, negotiated labour agreements in the newspaper industry in Vancouver and, in between times, has found the energy to create three books, the best known of which was probably her thorough and penetrating study of the Sons of Freedom Doukhobors of the Kootenay Valley in British Columbia.
Having observed the political scene for so long, it was not surprising that Simma Holt would eventually run for elected office. She's a person who likes to be totally involved and her activity in the House of Commons is testimony to that philosophy.
She has served on parliamentary standing committees on Justice and Legal Affairs; Health, Welfare, and Social Affairs; Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs and Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts. Also, she was parliamentarian on the Canadian Delegation to the Belgrade meeting on security and co-operation in Europe and attended the parliamentary committee meetings on the North Atlantic and the European Economic Community.
Simma Holt has never been a "yes" person. She has been described as "a Mary Worth on speed" and by Marion Bruce in Weekend magazine as "one who was never a detached, stony-hearted observer of the human scene." She has always followed her instincts and the wishes of her constituency and, as a result, has fought against government bills such as the Time-Reader's Digest bill and the capital punishment bill, and has championed the decriminalization of marijuana use, having gone so far as to create a brochure on the subject which was used as evidence by the senate committee studying the problem.
Perhaps the character of Simma Holt is best described by her reaction to having been referred to as a "lady" by Prime Minister Trudeau in the House. She rose on a point of privilege to say in part, "I am here, gentlemen, as a Member of Parliament and not as a lady of any description."
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a pleasure for me to introduce to you the Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway, Simma Holt, who will address us under the title, "The Power Manipulators".
Thank you, Mr. President and friends of the Empire Club. I call you friends now because I don't know what is going to happen by the end of this speech. I'm never sure when I start out what is going to happen.
I'm very interested to see Mr. Potts here. I'm not sure if I'm glad to see him because I recall that with only six hundred votes he turned our three thousand delegate Liberal convention into a pot party. I got into my usual amount of trouble by suggesting that the Liberals might become known as the pot party if they proceeded the way Mr. Potts wanted. Some people who think that Toronto is the only place in the world with the only people in the world thought I meant Joe Potts' Party. But I gather he is a man of great talent and is well-respected in the community. I was very mad at him if you really want to know the truth!
I have at the head table with me Ken Robinson, the man who fights the wars with me in Ottawa. He has told me how we can fight the bureaucracy. I don't think we can win, but anyhow he told me that the best way to go is through the system, which I have been trying to do. I joined the Liberal Party for that very reason, about a year before I got elected. I got into it to change it. I was going to go to the convention and tell them how to run things. I didn't know about Joe Potts then.
I was going to change everything. I was going to correct the whole giveaway, including the LIP grants. I was going to see that the UIC was properly handled, the way I think it should be. But I never got to convention. I got elected. I guess if I had gone and watched how it worked, watched the power manipulators at work (present company excluded), I would not have ever joined the party!
Unfortunately, I think this manipulation happens in all political parties, and I discovered that Toronto is masterful at it. On the capital punishment issue, for example, that policy decision was worked with about three hundred people by having a caucus first, before the capital punishment debate, and filling the room ahead so that the few of us who were opposed to abolition could be kept out.
In any case, that's a whole other subject. If the Empire Club invites me back after this speech, which is highly unlikely, I will tell you that story. As for your president, he knows British Columbia and I detect a note of understanding of that province. He does not believe that Canada ends at Bloor and Bay.
It may interest you to know that I was a "polar bear" once. I went in for the newspaper and we had it all set up with the photographer that I would just go in to the edge of the water and we would fake the picture. But the whole staff thought it was very funny and they came out and watched. It was a rainy day and I had to go in, really in, with an umbrella. It happened to be a day when Churchill was very ill, so you know how long ago it was. I made Page One. Churchill was crowded out.
I'd like to tell you that my foray into politics makes me think it's about time I left. I have been reading about Nelson Rockefeller's feelings when he left. He said he "joined politics anonymous. It helps you break the habit. Any time you feel you want to run for public office you call a certain number and Fanny Fox comes on and pushes you into the Tidal Basin." But that leaves me with the choice of leaving politics and going back to be an author. I think I'll adapt Rockefeller's idea and every time I get the urge to write a book I'll phone a number and get Jack McClelland who will rush over with the hundredth new edition of Pierre Berton's Klondike.
I intended to make this speech in great style, like a professor, and give you a formal lecture. I hoped to give you causes, maybe cases, and effects. But I've just come from that country that Mr. Hermant talked about, where we're all very quick at the lip, we're all on open lines, and I can't write a speech. It's easier to write a book.
When I started investigating my subject, which was "The Power Manipulators and Who Runs Canada", I found that I had too much material and no researcher to read it and condense it for me. I just couldn't get it all down, but I hope that I can tell you some of the things that are on my mind. Another problem I had is that I've spent a good deal of time, as Mr. Hermant said, on the open-line circuit in Vancouver. That's the big mouth, big noise area. I had to deal with the biggest open mouth in Canada--that's Jack Webster. In fact, one newspaper had the two of us head and head at the finish line, as the fastest lip in the West. Now how can you write a speech when you have that problem?
I want to tell you about the Empire Club reputation. I didn't know about it! But I'll tell you about my first encounter with what I am given to understand is a mighty organization. Last November, I received a long distance person-to-person call at my constituency office in Vancouver from a man in Toronto. He asked me if I would speak to the Empire Club. I said, "What's the Empire Club?" There was a dead silence, just as there is right now. Finally, the voice at the other end explained the realities of this organization: that its membership is composed of the leaders of industry, trade, commerce, business and the professions--all that is prestigious and rich in Canada.
And then I asked a perfectly logical question. How many women do you have in your organization? The even longer silence put me into shock. After all, this silence was costing the Empire Club $1.05 per minute. I understand now, from Mr. Hermant, that you do have some women in your organization. You apparently had a little trouble getting them in, because even though your constitution didn't bar them, there was an effort to keep them out because they might hear some bad language. Ladies, if you want lessons in bad language so that you can cope with
the Empire Club's male establishment, I'll give you some later. I've been around newspapers, the waterfront, the police and prisons long enough so that I am not shattered by any word. I have even been on the Pornography Committee, and what came in from Toronto really finished my education. So I can help you, ladies, to survive the Empire Club's bad language and cigars. I understand the cigars were also thought to be a problem.
But to return to the phone call. The silence was finally broken. I haven't got a very good computer mind but I knew how much several minutes at $1.05 was. The caller said, "Why do you ask that?" I told him that when witnesses appear before the House of Commons Committee on Finance, Trade and Industry from these same prestigious circles, never once, not once, has there been a woman present in that group except to carry coffee and take messages.
And that brings us to the subject of secretaries. I have the best in Canada sitting here, my colleague and associate and helpmate, Shirley Stream. I learned in Ottawa, from having secretaries, just what is really going on. I also learned why women have been kept out of board rooms for so long. They are half the world and they keep it going. The secretary does it all. My friend Ken Robinson got very angry at me in the House of Commons when I said that we really know how the lawyers survive--because some of them aren't all that great, especially some of the amateurs in the back rooms of the House of Commons. (Of course, I'm not talking about present company because he's a very talented lawyer.) But they have secretaries who do all their writs, all their reports, all their statements of claims. And they get $12,000 a year while the lawyer gets $12,000 for one case.
So I know now why women are never allowed in the board rooms. But I think that it is very important that we get some women into those board rooms fast because, after all, it is the natural balance of society. But seriously, women do manage homes and they say a woman is "the power behind the throne", or "behind every good man is a good woman." Why should not this intelligence also be in the board rooms?
But back to my first meeting with the Empire Club. It is reminiscent of one of my several forays on Front Page Challenge. I was told by the producer that a Toronto singer was appearing as a challenger on the same show. He nearly collapsed when I asked "Who is she?" As a friend, he gave me what he considered precious advice: never admit that you don't know someone as famous as this celebrity. I still haven't heard her name, or of her great talent--outside of Toronto. Furthermore, the people there that night, talking in their tight little Toronto clique, didn't know me. And I think that would have been just as offensive to the people in Vancouver as my not knowing that "celebrity" would be to the people of Toronto.
The mountains are very high, ladies and gentleman. We are very far away, and the protectionism and nationalism of central Canada is the antithesis of the West, Many of the things that happen in Toronto are totally irrelevant to the West. The media standards for culture, that are controlled here by a small group and imposed on the West, have nothing to do with our life style. We want to compete with the whole world. As a writer, I want to compete with the whole world. But in this day and age, Bach or Gershwin wouldn't be allowed to work in Canada, because they are not Canadians.
But the subject I want to speak to you about is the very pervasive bureaucracy, the power that controls our nation. It is terrifying to me. Perhaps ignorance was bliss, when I did not know what was happening when people talked about government. Government is not the elected representative. Government and the control of the nation are in the hands of a few power brokers.
I am not saying that the public service is to blame. The public service is composed of the most dedicated, involved and concerned Canadians. Like the rank and file of trade unions, the rank and file workers in Canada, the rank and file public servants are tired of being manipulated. They are taxpayers too.
Trade union workers did not want a national strike. They did not want to see the nation stopped dead on October 14 to please Joe Morris' personal fight for power. In 1975, I carried on a campaign, with a button with "I'm Going to Work for Canada on October 14" printed on it. The irresponsible plan, in a period of great crisis, was to stop the nation's production for a day. More trade unionists came in for that button than any other group of citizens. They did not want to march in a parade. They had not even had a vote on whether or not they would give up a day's pay. But some were intimidated.
The same is true of the public servants. They do not want to see the people of Canada harassed and bullied by the power and secrecy of a few people in the public service, some of whom are virtually sadists. I would like to have time to tell you of some of the cases I have come across in my own constituency. I'm sure that if every businessman in this country could get on a public platform they could give case, time and detail of how their efforts have been distorted and diverted, how they spend their life working for the government of Canada, the government of their province, the government of their city, and every little power group that calls itself government in this country.
Each day in my job, I hear from citizens and get closer and closer to them as my job progresses. When you first come into politics you know nothing about this. I had no idea of how big, how complex, how demanding the job of Member of Parliament is, and how we have to do it without benefit of research. We have to go into committees and investigate law that comes at us like a tidal wave. And every time a law is passed a new department is created, regulations are created, and with the regulations we give power away to people who are accountable to no one. You cannot even find or challenge them.
I have tried to challenge them. In my encounters they say, "How dare you ask that?" I don't very often pull rank, but I have answered "How dare you talk to me like that?" But that doesn't win. You may win one-on-one, but when twenty-three million people are affected, you may solve one, or ten or even fifty cases. Some of us deal with fifty cases a day, and resolve as many as are soluble. That still doesn't do it.
Ken Robinson has looked into regulations and statutory instruments to see if we can clean them up. Perhaps that's the place to start. But I think the effort has to be bigger. We virtually have a KGB prowling through Canada, using power given to them under endless statutes. I hate to say this in front of legal people, because my whole life has been spent with law and in the courts, and in prisons, where the legal factor is so vital. Law is important. But good law, not the fractured law, patched law, improvised law which we are seeing. We have in Ottawa many young lawyers in the back rooms, in the departments, who have never practised law and are doing all their practising on Canadian citizens.
We see them in our committees. If you ask a question of them that they can't answer, they get angry. The Cabinet Minister who may have had only a year or two in that department is obliged to answer, but he cannot. It is not humanly possible to know as much as these power people who say to you "You're only here for four years. We are here forever. So do as we say." How many of you have blamed Trudeau, blamed the Cabinet, blamed me and blamed the Members of Parliament for what is happening in Canada? How many of you have gone out to find out why it is happening? You can only guess, through your own suffering, at political interference and manipulation.
We are a rich and successful country. We were extremely rich in the 1960s and 70s and that was all right. We were happy. But now that our riches are reversed, we are angry.
I will tell you about one case. Two young men, aged twenty-one and twenty-nine, built a half-million dollar business. It is a children's furniture business called Kiddies' World. In August, 1976, a man from the Department of Consumer Affairs, under the new laws relating to safety hazards, came in and seized $26,000 worth of playpens as dangerous. He seized some playpens (painted red) and didn't seize others of the same sort (painted green). The owners of the business said, "Tell us why these are unsafe. If the red ones are, so are the green, but you have given us no real evidence that any of them are unsafe. If you can just seize anything you please, you'll bankrupt us."
The reply came back, and one of the owners wrote it down. It was, "Too bad. We've done it before and we'll do it again." There is no accountability there. Even in Revenue and Customs today, it is not the minister who has the power; the power is written in for the deputy minister. I'm sure that Mr. Findlay from Time magazine will tell you that under C-58, it is not the elected representatives who decide Canadian content. It is the deputy minister who measures it with a ruler. I could go on at length about C-58, the Time-Reader's Digest bill, and I now hear from Mr. Findlay that the government, two years later, is going to look at the results of what happened to Time and Reader's Digest. I would like independent research, because the government people who pushed this through have to justify what they have done.
It is because you are a prestigious group that I wanted to talk about this subject. It is because you are leaders of your community in central Canada, where the power really lies, that I ask you to become allies of the Members of Parliaments, to help people like myself and like Ken, who is working on about five committees as well as doing a parliamentary secretary's duties. You would not believe the job we do. Nobody knows, because nobody teaches the subject of what the job of a Member of Parliament is. I didn't know. Nobody taught me in any school room. And no teacher I've ever talked to knows anything about it.
They have courses in social sciences and the most biased, prejudiced, ignorant group of people come into the back rooms of government with those degrees, but not the depth of knowledge that is required. They have to learn it, and while they learn it the Canadian people are being short-changed.
These people have the power of secrecy. They tell us they don't have to answer our questions. They don't have to tell us what the taxpayers pay for jobs. In the CBC, the president has come before us. He has a man who writes useless non-answers for us in response to our constituent's questions. He will not tell us what this man gets paid for answering for the president. That is the right of a Crown Corporation--to use the Canadian people's money and tell them nothing. I believe that must end.
The Honourable Robert Andras, president of the Treasury Board, is trying to do something, and before him, Jean Chretien in that role and today as Finance Minister is trying to do something. It is happening, whether you hear about it or not.
We hear about it inside caucus. The media are not telling you what is going on in Ottawa. I am a member of that profession, the most important profession in holding a nation together, but they are not doing their job in Ottawa. There may be a few who are, but most of them are so busy being pundits, running the Parliament of Canada, getting their name above the crease on page one or at the top of the news on the electronic media, that they are forgetting their duty as journalists, the highest duty in the land. It is time that their publishers came to Ottawa and discovered what is not being told to the people of Canada.
But you invited a Liberal here, so I am entitled to say what is being done. I'm going to tell you that some good things are happening. I sit on the inside. I might say that I was anxious before I joined the Liberal Party to clean things up. When I went to Ottawa all I knew about Pierre
Elliott Trudeau and the government of Canada was that I hated it. Out west, we get all the negatives Andras is a very strong and cool and determined man. He is a very tough man--I know because I've tried to switch him on a few things. He set out to at least slow up the public service. And it will take special action by elected people, those 264 of us who represent twenty-three million.
It may take a revolution to halt it, because the union that protects that system is very strong, a stronger union than your elected representatives or the uninformed electorate have. Those comparative few have seized power, I would say possibly irrevocably. I think there may have been a coup d'etat of the bureaucracy, by a small group. And it's not just at the top. It's right through to the village level. Just as the Communists have their village level bureaucrat who can stop a person from moving. It is the same kind of power in every segment of society. There may be one here, one there, scattered throughout the whole public service.
I don't know whether the coup has happened. I don't know whether it is just happening. I don't know whether we can reverse it. But I hope it is not too late for people outside government and the concerned majority to work together with the dedicated people within the public service to turn it around and end the loss of our freedom to these power brokers.
I must stress that those of us in Parliament could never do our job for our constituents if it were not for the majority of public servants. There are tremendous demands on Members of Parliament from the public. We must serve them, in policy making and as ombudspeople. Those people inside the public service help us to solve our pension problems, immigration problems, injustices--everything that an ombudsman should be doing in the fight against government bureaucracy.
I am now in the middle of a big fight over shoe quotas, to try to help the shoe retailers of British Columbia who are going gradually bankrupt in order to protect a few manufacturers in eastern Canada. I am deeply embroiled in this problem, while trying also to do my constituency work. In that department, there are three people who arbitrarily decide who will get quotas and what those quotas will be. I have asked their names and I was told that they do not have to tell me. They do not have to tell me whether these people are qualified in business or in other areas of endeavour to make them competent to say to a person who is expanding his business and needs a larger quota, "You say you need 50,000. We'll give you 3,000." Retailers are closing down. I have tried to fight this on a one-to-one basis with the aid of Jack Homer.
Mr. Andras is only one man. We are only 264 Members of Parliament. And within that 264 it seems that, instead of doing as we did on our penitentiary committee, working together to solve a difficult problem, the name of the game is fight. Tear each other apart. Tear down. Be negative. Destroy. Get your name in headlines. The media feed that by going to the Opposition and suggesting questions. It happened during the RCMP issue. The Opposition got themselves deeper and deeper into an unpopular stance. Finally, one member of the NDP turned on them and said, "Do your own work!" because he knew he had got into trouble.
What happens is something like this. One day, Jack Webster had a great story and he broke it. Then he phoned his favourite mouth in the Opposition and said, "Ask this question." So the question was asked and the story told in the House of Commons, and then Jack Webster can go on the air and say "My story was raised in the House of Commons today." It's sort of an ego-go-round.
We are just a few. Inside the caucus we see it as it really is, not with the sham or distortion that you read in newspapers. We do not have the power to handle the assaults that are put upon us by the public and by the media. We just have not got the time. We have to answer to our constituents. We cannot spend our time explaining to the public that the story was wrong, that the right story was not told.
In his statement on estimates, for 1978, Mr. Andras gave the figure of $48.8 billion. He tells us he is holding the level of spending below those of the recent past. And that's the past I talked of earlier, of great riches and a thriving Canada. In his spending estimates, the increase is 9.8% above 1977-78. In government, apparently, that's within the current projected dollar growth. Personally, I would like to see a cut-back of 9.8% and I would like to see it go on for at least ten years. I'm convinced that there is still enough wisdom and economic judgement in Canada to be able to cut back and still thrive.
Mr. Andras is also attempting to slow spending in the public service, by allowing only 0.6 per cent growth (that's six-tenths) for the second year in a row. Again, I wish it could be reduction or freeze. However, he is trying to accomplish a difficult proposition by having zero-based budgeting, and he is cutting back in eighteen departments where many feel that manpower reduction is possible. He is sticking to the zero-based budgeting and being very tough about it.
As I said earlier, bureaucracy was merely a word when I came to Ottawa. I'd like to summarize the causes of why 'we are losing our freedom in one of the freest countries in the world. There are only twenty-four truly free democracies left in the whole world today. There may be enemies outside. I have no doubt there are infiltration and subversion. But I do know that we are also being very sorely damaged from within.
I can list only some of the causes, although there are many that I could analyse for you. But first, is an uninformed public. People do not know what's happening. They do not learn in their schools what is happening. The school teachers, the system, the media, are not telling us. Parliament is being destroyed by those who put partisan politics and their own publicity above the good of the country. I do not like partisan politics unless it is based on honest principle, not on negativism.
The media are too lazy, or maybe they are into the Watergate syndrome. Reporters want to be Woodward and Berstein without working too hard. Within our system, four basic companies own the newspaper industry and they can really control the industry, the planting of questions in the House of Commons, the process of divide and conquer (although this may not be intentional). In other words, the power brokers can divide Parliament to the point where we are decimated. So the Opposition must be the best, the most critical, with the best researchers that they can find. An Opposition that probes is an Opposition that can keep our country safe. We must also have good researchers on our side. There is also opposition within the parties. If any of you has ever been in politics and sat in caucus, you know that it can be a blood bath too. That's where the opposition really surfaces. And in committees we must also have good research.
The proliferation of regulations, removing power from the elected representatives and handing it over to the bureaucracy, must be stopped. The excessive legislation, excessive rules, being created by lawyers make citizens the helpless victims of too much law. Income tax law runs six pages without a comma or a period. They need a journalist there to edit the law. The average wage earner has to live in this society with a lawyer and an accountant at his side. Some need specialist lawyers. Some of us, if we dare to earn over $25,000, say by freelance writing, have to have two or three lawyers. It is an endless control of our lives. I don't want to offend the legal profession, because it is very important to our society, but excessive law is the end of freedom.
But the problem that must be corrected is that Members of Parliament are without resources to investigate and challenge new law coming in.
Changing ministers, who cannot possibly grasp their portfolios in depth, is another problem. Perhaps there should be a transition period so that they can learn the system. I'm not saying that a former public servant should go into the ministry, because that would be a continuation of more of the same type of control.
The divide and rule principle is happening because of those unidentifiable brown envelopes, without return addresses, that are being dropped on the opposition side of the House. I have said in the House of Commons that it does not matter who is on that side of the House, we are all going to get those envelopes from a civil servant who wants to split us, who is discontented and is giving us selective leaks. The person who leaks information is a coward, a sleazy person. If these people think that the secrecy within their institution, within the public service, is wrong, then they should come out in the open as a group.
They should use their union as a group to say "We want it to end."
The anonymity given to the public service has allowed this to happen. They can hide behind it. They can come at us with the knives and swords of regulations and hide behind the shields of secrecy and anonymity.
There are cures, and the cures are contingent on the causes. I am sure you could add to the list of causes. Every Member of Parliament has a list. Once you know the causes, you should be able to find the cures, and I maintain there must be some way to correct this situation. Certainly in a body of this stature, with so much leadership in so many areas, industry, trade, commerce, business and the professions, there must be a group of you willing to stand behind all of us. Do more than just cast your vote. Get involved. Come into the system.
There was a very good article by Ronald Anderson, an outstanding business columnist of The Globe and Mail (and I do not often praise The Globe and Mail--I am not one of those who consider it the newspaper of record and read it every morning) but I do read Mr. Anderson, and on Friday April 7, 1977, he wrote an article on business politics, and he talked of the Institute for Political Involvement, founded by twenty-eight major companies in Canada.
Apparently, business thinks it should not get involved. I think business people with their expertise, with their concerns, must get involved. They must get right inside. They must run for Parliament. It is a sacrifice. I am sure that any of you making a $100,000 a year, or even $30,000 a year, don't want to go to Ottawa and have two homes to keep and all the other things you are expected to do on an expense account of $10,000. You just can't do it. But if you care about Canada, if you want Canada to stay rich, you have to get involved in the system. You must know how the system works. You must demand of the media that they tell you the truth.
Teachers must learn about the absolute fundamentals of how Parliament works and how big government works, in order to teach it to the children without any party prejudices, because the partisan part is the least important part of politics and of government. Teachers, like journalists, must teach objectively.
There must be toughness, perhaps even a revolution or war, a determination that says this cannot go on, and this toughness must be both within the government and outside of the government. It will take a minister in each department, with the toughness to say to the people of the public service, "We have had enough."
The democratic system is a great system, but the way of appointing a Cabinet within this system is sometimes self-destroying. The Cabinet must be chosen from different regions, it must have all the tokenism of different races, different ethnic backgrounds, different business areas. As a consequence, the best people cannot always be brought in. I don't say that the Cabinet is bad, but I do say it could be better.
I was talking to a Senator, who said if we could cut the Cabinet in half, we would have half the regulations, for every cabinet minister wants to add to his curriculum vita the fact that he piloted through this or that legislation. The human rights legislation may be great, but already we are adding 150 people in a new bureaucracy.
Within government, there are police forces. Everyone wants an ombudsman. That will create another group. There are at least ten different departments that have administrative boards and tribunals to take complaints. So we would be duplicating services again. It must be stopped.
I will tell you one last story, about the Canadian, the Frenchman and the Russian who were comparing the happiness in their countries.
The good, stolid hard-working Canadian said very simply, "Happiness is coming home, tired after work, to find the family and friends there, and joining them in quiet, peaceful talk about the weather and the children."
The Frenchman said, quite accurately, that the Canadian lacked romance. He said, "True happiness is a business trip with a beautiful woman to entertain me and finally, parting without regrets at the end of the trip."
The Russian said they were both wrong. "True happiness is when you are home in bed at four in the morning, there is a hammering at the door, and the Secret Police are there asking for Ivan Ivanovich, and you are able to reply, 'Ivan Ivanovich lives next door.' "
But perhaps we are not so far removed from this kind of doubtful pride, with secret police of various departments of government in Canada. Certainly a Canadian today can only say that happiness is coming home to find that he does not have to worry about what bureaucratic oppression may be facing him tomorrow.
The appreciation of the audience was expressed by Mr. R. A. Robertson, a Director of The Empire Club of Canada.