“Why should we vote for YOU?”
A young Canadian couple about to vote in a federal election for the first time asked the leaders of Canada’s four major political parties:
What should young people do when, voting for the first time, they realize they know very little about the parties they are asked to support? This problem was presented to Maclean's by David Watts, a third-year student in Commerce at the University of Toronto, and his wife Joan, a schoolteacher. They both reached the age of 21 last year, married and moved into a bungalow in suburban North York. Now. they are about to assume the further responsibility of voting. "We have no political affiliations, says David, who intends to become a salesman. "We re confused about what each party stands for.” At the suggestion of Maclean s the Watts wrote to the leaders of Canada's four major political parties and asked what they do stand for. The Watts’ letter is on next page.
HERE IS THE LETTER THE WATTS SENT TO CANADA’S LEADERS
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HERE ARE THE REPLIES THE PARTY LEADERS SENT TO THE WATTS
Dear Mr. Watts:
Thank you tor your letter and for the care that you and your wife are taking to study the various political parties \n Canada before you cast your first votes.
I agree with yoti that Canadian democracy is in a healthy state and that it has been well served by our political parties — both in opposition and in government. I cannot agree, however, that the Canadian people have somehow failed our democracy by keeping Liberal Governments in power "too long." I suggest that a party has not been too long in office until, in the opinion of the electors, it is no longer capable of giving better government than one of the opposition parties.
L'he important question, surely, is not whether one party has tired of being in opposition and feels badly in need of CONTINUED ON PAGE 67
John G. Diefenbaker
Dear Mr. Watts:
Yours is a welcome letter and one to which 1 am happy indeed to reply. It is a welcome letter for many reasons, but chief among these is the thoughtful approach you are taking to the privilege and responsibility of casting your first ballot.
In my journeyings across this great country of ours, 1 have found everywhere among younger people just such an honest questing as yours for guidance and knowledge.
Canadian young people are demonstrating a new and genuine enthusiasm for direct participation in politics. I have seen evidence that convinces me that an increasing majority is giving active support to the Progressive Conservative Party and its candidates.
I welcome this vital contribution to our party, because only in this way can we function as a party of the people — CONTINUED ON PAGE 68
Although we have never met, 1 am addressing you just as I would my own son although it has been a few years since he was your
age. I would hope, too, that this letter can be like a friendly chat, as
if you and your wife and I were sitting before the fireplace.
You mention in your letter that the coming federal election gives you your first opportunity to vote. I can quite understand the problem that you and your wife have in mind for I remember so clearly
my own dilemma years ago when I, too, had my first opportunity to
vote. That was in the general election of 1911. There were then only two national parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives, and 1 could not support either of them. Indeed, it seemed to me then, as it does now, that there was no essential difference between them.
What was to be done? I decided then, as did CONTINUED ON PAGE 70
Dear Joan and David:
I am delighted to do what I can to help you cast your first votes intelligently. For the serious attitude you have taken toward the responsibilities of your Canadian Citizenship, I congratulate you.
No one can learn the truth about a political party by listening only to what is said by their opponents. Moreover, your intelligence will tell you that there is all too often very wide difference between what political parties promise and the way they perform when they are in office. Therefore, in setting down the reasons why I think the Social Credit party deserves your support, I shall not describe in detail an election platform, but will lay emphasis on what we consider to be the basis of good government; and upon what the two Social Credit administrations are doing in Alberta and British Columbia by way of improving the security, the welfare, and the CONTINUED ON PAGE 71
From Louis S. St. Laurent
Continued from page 15
a change but whether the Canadian people want to put that party in office.
You mentioned Parliament in your letter and the suggestion made in some (usually opposition!) quarters that Liberals have lost respect for the wonderful, workable system of government that has come to us as part of our British heritage. Let me assure you that such an allegation, political in origin, is untrue. For all the years of your life Liberal Governments have been in office in Ottawa. And in these years the world has watched with admiration and respect the way this country has rolled ahead. Look at what the London Daily Telegraph said a few weeks ago of our country:
“One of the few encouraging developments in the contemporary world is the rise of Canada to the stature of a major power . . . Only Canada, among the new industrial nations who are likely to reach their zenith in the second half of the twentieth century, can be said to stand steadfastly for the religious, social, political and economic beliefs on which Western civilization is based.”
I am sure that, in a general way, you know what your Liberal Govèrnment stands for. For this 1 don’t have to refer you to any platform or manifesto or theory about money. No, all around you is proof of what Liberals believe in. We are, first of all, frankly fearful of too much government. We want nothing done federally that can be done better at the provincial or local level—or that, best of all, can be left to the individual to work out for himself. We want Canadians to make their own way in their own way.
The principles that guide your Government are those of Liberalism—a political philosophy, I might say, that has always had special appeal for the young and for those who want to stay young.
Liberalism centres on the citizen: to keep him free from oppression by the state or other citizens; to make his wellbeing a vital concern of government action; and to encourage him to work with his fellow citizens, without prejudice or special privilege, in the wonderful adventure of building Canada.
We believe that our federal policies should enable all parts of Canada to share in the good fortune of our national family.
Today, more Canadians are at work than ever before—producing more, earning more, saving more than ever before. Our future has never been brighter. 1 don’t suggest, of course, that Liberal
policies create prosperity—but they do encourage the sort of conditions that give prosperity its best chance.
We also bring our family approach to shaping social-welfare policy. We believe that there must be some redistribution, through government, of our national income in order to help those who are too young, too sick or too old to help themselves, and to help those who are temporarily out of work.
Unemployment insurance, family allowances. old-age pensions—such measures show you how Liberal policy leads
to Liberal action. And a hospital-insurance program is likely to be implemented soon.
While federal measures for the health and well-being of our citizens cost $4 million or more each day, is not our way of life more kindly and our economy more stable because we share in this way?
In the election campaign I will make one promise: that my colleagues and 1 will do our best to be worthy of your ballot. Liberal policy is spelled out in action: for example, in the veterans’
charter and other social measures, the university grants, the Canada Council, the Seaway, the Trans-Canada Highway, the Trans-Canada Pipe Line.
More convincing than words are the one million or more postwar houses built, and the one and one half million new Canadians who, by coming here, have shown how much they like the way things are going in Canada.
Besides our efforts to defend individual freedom and to provide for individual security, we in Government try to develop policies to encourage trade at home
and abroad, without forgetting the danger of inflation.
Because world peace is essential to our progress, we have asked Canadians to carry a considerable defense burden and to undertake important tasks, in cooperation with our friends in the Commonwealth countries and in other free nations, to make world war less likely.
I do hope, Mr. and Mrs. Watts, that by your votes you will invite us to work with you in opening even greater opportunity in the years ahead for all Canadians, young and old—and for new Canadians, too. For as I think of Canada’s
future, I think of my children and of their children. And I think of all young Canadians like you and your wife, with your treasury of unspent years, as, under a kindly Providence, you move confidently toward the fulfillment of today’s plans and dreams.
With my kindest regards to you both, Yours sincerely,
Louis S. St. Laurent
From John G.
Continued from page 15
constant in fundamental principles, but alive and sensitive to the needs, welfare and aspirations of all Canadians.
Again I commend the approach that you and Mrs. Watts are taking, for there is no greater peril to Canada—or to any democracy — than public disinterest or apathy toward the conduct of the people’s collective affairs.
If all Canadians would make such an honest attempt to appraise political issues, trends and developments, and vote as judgment dictated, then Canadian democracy, our historic form of parliamentary democracy, would rest in good hands, regardless of the particular party chosen to form the government of the day. Such, unfortunately, is not always the case.
This brings me to the specific questions in your letter.
We of the PC party regard the Supremacy of Parliament as one of our basic tenets. We consider our system of government in jeopardy. I can hear your immediate demand: prove it.
It is not enough for us as Conservatives to reply that the present government has been in office too long.
The indictment and the proof lie in incontrovertible facts—the concentration of too much power in the small group of men who are the federal government, the insistence upon the retention of extraordinary war-born powers, the multiplicity of crown corporations established and placed beyond the scrutiny and the control of parliament.
You will recall the struggle waged by the Conservative opposition a couple of years ago against a defiant minister who wanted his dictatorial powers renewed without limit. Witness, too, the 1956 “closure” issue when the government gagged the Commons and contemptuously ordered a docile Senate to do its bidding.
I doubt if you and Mrs. Watts, and Canadians generally, realize how devastating was the brute force of the dictatorship which a so-called Liberal government made so apparent during those black and disastrous days for parliament and for Canada.
These are but symptomatic of the trends and the developments to which I have referred.
These are the trends and the sort of developments which a Conservative government would arrest and reverse, because the Conservative Party believes in the supremacy of parliament, not in unchallengeable ministerial rule.
The Conservative Party is the party of the moderate right in Canada, as op-
posed to the far left of the Socialists qf the CCF, the opportunism of the Liberals, and the far right of the Social Crediters, who seek a controlled society and a controlled economy to impose their monetary theories.
The Conservative Party, as a consequence, is opposed to unnecessary state excursions into the nation’s business and industrial life. Such excursions only superimpose bureaucracy upon bureaucracy. Just consider the trend, Mr. Watts —the government in the mining industry, in radio, TV, the movies, commercial aviation, in synthetic-rubber production, and a host of other fields in which it functions either exclusively or in competition with individual initiative. This is the inevitable road to statism.
All this results in a concentration of authority in ministerial hands in Ottawa to the detriment of parliament. It fosters centralization, breeds bureaucracies. The deadening hand of government is everywhere in evidence.
As the appetite for power is fed, so the appetite grows.
These, within the compass of this brief letter to you and to your wife, are some of the reasons why I believe that as young Canadians, looking to the promise of the future, you and Mrs. Watts should support the Conservative Party.
There are many others. The bulk of Canada’s trade is with the United States and this country exports its irreplaceable raw materials in vast quantities. We have an enormous deficit in our trade with the U. S. Admittedly the inflow of American investment capital is an offset. But we Conservatives believe this dependency upon the U. S. has gone too far, that Canadian well-being, the Canadian economy, are far too vulnerable to American whims and American reversals.
We hold that lower taxes would make our goods more competitive in Commonwealth and other markets. We believe that Canadians should process more of their own resources in Canada. We believe that American investment in this country is needed and desirable, provided that Canadians retain effective control of our destiny, political, cultural and economic.
Last, but not least, all provinces, all municipalities, all Canadians should share in the nation’s general economic advance. There should be no permanent “haves” and “have nots” in Canada. The Conservative Party perhaps is not alone in holding this view. The difference lies in our party’s conviction that the British North America Act is more than a mere scrap of paper; that the provinces are a great deal more than the mere nuisance-wards of a grasping federal administration.
Hence our conviction that the fiscal arrangements with the provinces should provide adequately for provincial needs. After all, the strength of Canada, the source of Canada’s wealth, and of
federal budgetary surpluses, rest with the provinces.
Perhaps this will have served to indicate to you some of the real issues of the forthcoming election as I see them. Permit me to conclude in this fashion.
The Conservative Party, and I as its Leader, are dedicated to the ideal of One Canada, governed by national and not divisive policies; a Canada that is a truly free and vigorous democracy, a grand partnership of ten provinces.
For you and for Mrs. Watts, and for all young couples in Canada, there should indeed be a challenging vista of oppor-
M. i. Coldwell
Continued from page 15
many other Canadians, that it was necessary to organize a party that would be a real alternative, a party with a distinctive program and policy, a party of social reform, and a party that the people themselves would control rather than any vested interests.
Thus, somewhat later, the CCF was formed to give the people of Canada a means of promoting and carrying through a broad program of social reform. It was formed to give the producers, whether they worked with their hands or their minds, an effective voice in Parliament, a voice that could not be heard in the other parties because of the way in which they were controlled. Under the banner of the CCF, labor, farmer, small businessmen and other progressive groups can work together to win those measures that will make Canada a better land for all its peoples.
We in the CCF realize, as I think Canadians in general do, that the gains from the present economic expansion are not being fairly shared. We know, for instance, that farm income has declined sharply in the last five years. We know that the income of wage-earners has lagged behind the increase in national production. We know that many old-age pensioners today are eking out only a miserable existence in the last years of their lives. We know of the fear and insecurity hanging over the heads of Canadians because of the lack of a comprehensive national health plan and adequate social-security measures generally. We know of the tragic waste of human resources that has resulted from periodic large-scale unemployment.
I hope you have not personally encountered any of these problems but they exist nonetheless. I always feel that the existence of want and insecurity in a land lacking in resources is tragic enough. But it is insupportable in a land as richly endowed with natural resources as Canada where the only bar to the realization of a better life for all is man himself and his economic system.
That is why the CCF believes we should plan as effectively to win the peace as we did fifteen years ago to win the war. The war proved what miracles of production could be achieved by utilizing our resources to the full in an intelligent, planned way. Never again will governments be able to escape with the excuse that the problems of depression and unemployment cannot be solved.
Today an economic crisis of a different kind is confronting Canada. Since the end of the war we have witnessed a smoldering and creeping inflation which
tunity ahead. I would like you to help me enhance the heritage that is yours, safeguard and enhance the heritage of succeeding generations.
Thank you for writing to me. I am sure you will exercise your franchise thoughtfully and well. As Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in Canada, I could wish no more than that.
John G. Diefenbaker
has ever and again burst forth into open flame. This inflation has robbed people like pensioners on fixed incomes of half the purchasing power of their dollar. It has reduced the real value of the federal government’s social-security system. As always happens in times of inflation it has enabled a few to profit at the expense of the many.
To counter inflation we require a wide measure of democratic, social planning. Investment of available funds must be channeled into socially desirable projects, such as housing, through a National Investment Board; financial and credit resources must be used to help maintain full employment and to control inflation and deflation. In such an economy there will be an important role for public, private and co-operative enterprise working together in the people’s interest.
Above all, the CCF works for the interests of the people. We are fighting to assure agriculture of a fair share of the national income through a parity price program and orderly marketing. The CCF is fighting too for the interests of labor, for a national labor code, for union security, for full employment. The CCF is fighting as well to protect the consumers against the profiteering of monopolies and cartels. We are fighting against one set of rules for the well-to-do and another for lower-income groups.
The CCF believes that our society must have a moral purpose that transcends the drive for private gain and special privilege. We believe that a new relationship of mutual respect and understanding and human brotherhood must be built among people in a world of peace. We believe that poverty and misery and hardship in the midst of plenty must be abolished. We believe that there must be equality of opportunity so that the talents of all may be developed to the full.
That was the underlying conviction of the Regina Manifesto and that was the declaration at our national convention in Winnipeg last fall. We believe that the achievement of these goals is a challenge to young people like you and your wife. I do hope you will join us in a modern crusade to achieve these ends.
I should add that I am enclosing a copy of the CCF Winnipeg Declaration and also a copy of our federal-election program which you may like to read for details I cannot enter into in the scope of this letter.
Regardless of how you choose, let me say how much I have enjoyed these moments discussing some of today’s issues with you and your wife.
M. J. Coldwell
Solon E, Low
Continued from page 15
happiness of the individual human beings.
We Social Crediters are convinced that all the ills of which men complain have their origin, sometime, somewhere, in broken law and deserted principle. There has been too much disposition in high places toward expediency when greater wisdom would point to the necessity of standing firmly by principles. If we are to find happiness and peace of mind as individuals, and enjoy the blessings of good government, we must, as a people, get back to obedience to law and fundamental principles without compromise. That is what the Social Credit party proposes to do. We believe that a program of policies based upon the following thirteen principles will offer the Canadian people an honest hope of different and better results from what \ye are now getting from the government; in other words, they will form an effective and practical alternative.
1. Government should keep out of business—let private enterprise, not social enterprise, prevail.
2. Every person shall be free to manage his life; free to speak, to assemble, to work, to worship, to choose, to live, provided only that he or she allow all others that same privilege.
3. The people’s elected representatives in Parliament shall be supreme within the sphere of their jurisdiction as a means of ensuring that the people can get the results they want from the management of their affairs.
4. Every Canadian shall be afforded the opportunity to obtain a fair and just share of Canada’s national production.
5. Government by the people themselves at the “grass roots” level shall be made 'more and more possible, and actual, by decentralizing administration and by spreading the truth about things as they really are.
6. Canadians will be encouraged by every means to produce in Canada more and more of their vital needs of shelter, clothing and food, as well as the tools to make them; and in so doing, shall, by the use of Canada’s credit, be sheltered from unfair foreign-trade practices such as dumping and the like.
7. Canada’s natural resources shall be developed in Canada for Canadians of today; and shall be husbanded and preserved for Canadians of tomorrow.
8. Full and free access to the courts will be guaranteed to all including the “little people” as well, regardless of financial cost, by providing not only crown “prosecuting” attorneys but also crown “protecting” attorneys.
9. What is physically possible and desirable shall be made financially possible.
10. It shall be recognized positively that every people on earth shall have the right of self-determination and every nation shall have the right of unimpaired sovereignty provided, only, that in exercising its own self-determination or sovereignty such people or nation shall not interfere with the same rights of other peoples or nations.
11. Man’s right to think and act independently does not transcend his obligation to law.
12. The means to even a desirable end are never justified where fundamental principles are compromised, or where truth is ignored, or where human liberties are set aside.
13. Only by recognizing our dependence upon the help of God and by humbly seeking to know His will can we possibly find our way through the perplexities that beset us, and into a state of peace and happiness at home and throughout the world.
That set of principles is the foundation upon which the Social Credit pro-
gram is built. We Social Crediters pledge ourselves to stand firmly on them and not to compromise them. It has been because of strict conformity with those principles that the Social Credit provincial administrations in Alberta and British Columbia have achieved remarkable results for their people, a few only of which follow:
(a) They both put a stop to growing government debt and pyramiding interest. This was like lifting a millstone from people's necks,
(b) Both have reduced the burden of
taxation, while at the same time increasing services. In nearly twentytwo years of continuous administration, Social Credit in Alberta has abolished three taxes, has not imposed a single new tax. and has not increased the rate of any old taxes.
(c) Both Social Credit governments have recently provided, out of funds recovered from the development of their resources, dividends to help their citizens to pay the municipal taxes on their homes. With dividends out West and increasing taxes down East, it is
easy to see why so many people are turning to Social Credit. Young people would do well to bear these things in mind as they set out to find a political home.
(d) Both provinces provide hospital coverage for all their people at low rates. Both provide free treatment for cancer patients, free medical care for pensioners, free care for polio patients. Alberta for many years has provided free maternity hospitalization for all expectant mothers of the province.
(e) Both Social Credit administrations have adopted resources-development policies which are the envy of all
other provinces of Canada. These policies have brought the people large revenues for increased services, debt retirement, and tax reduction.
Social Credit promotes unity through understanding and prosperity. You will find a satisfying outlet for your political activities amongst the finest young people in the world in Social Credit.
S. E. Low