Pamphlet: “Black Friday: It’s Time for a Diefenbaker Government”

The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

“That Friday needs to be remembered. . . If it is allowed to fade out of memory it may become something worse: a turning point in the course of the country’s history: the point at which the decay of Canadian democracy began.” (Vancouver Sun, August 16, 1956)

Three political cartoons on the lefthand side:

  1. Illustration of the Ottawa skyline, with caption reading “Reidford – Ottawa – Wed. morning May 16, 1956. Cold drizzle.” –Reidford, Toronto Globe & Mail
  2. A gentleman with a cigar and a hat wearing a sign that says “U.S. Control” waves good-bye through a doorway to a lady whose dress reads “Trans-Canada Pipe Lines Ltd.” In her hand she carries a bag of money reading “Payment of Loan”; a politician kisses her hand and says “I ask not – I care not if guilt’s in thy heart. I know that I love thee whatever thou art!” Text below reads: “Famous Quote – The fact that the pipeline is being built will ‘impress the public more than will quibbling and dickering about ways and means’ –C.D. Howe” The title of the cartoon reads “The Company She Keeps.”  -Grassick – Toronto Telegram
  3. A frowning C.D. Howe burps a baby over his shoulder, saying “Shh! Why did you have to go and wake up the whole house?” The baby wears a hat reading “Tennessee- Oops – Trans-Canada Pipeline Co.” A bottle on the floor is labeled “New loan formula.” Title of the cartoon reads: “A Million Dollar Baby . . .And Howe” – John Collins – Montreal Gazette.

It has been a sorry session for Parliament with a government which has willingly laid a pattern for dictatorship. (Calgary Herald, Aug. 16, 1956)

Our gravest danger is that, now that voices have died down and decisions have been reached, we may come to forget the whole matter as if only government policy had been at issue. The details of the pipeline legislation are insignificant compared with the people’s right to a voice and their right to government by full parliament after free discussion. (St. Catherines Standard, July 12, 1956)

The government and its supine majority cannot erase from the record the most vicious and sustained attack on the rights of Parliament in the history of Canada. (Winnipeg Tribune, May 30, 1956).

The government evidently feels chastened by the uproar which its high-handed methods provoked. That is all to the good, but it does not mean that the muzzling tactics, and the rulings which sustained them, should be forgiven and forgotten. They are still on the record, for the use of some unregenerate and unrepentant government of the future. (Toronto Daily Star, June 12, 1956)

Only a new Commons can repair the damage to Parliament. (Maclean’s Magazine, July 7, 1956)

ON THE DAY DEMOCRACY was ultimately defiled in your Parliament-"Black Friday", the first of June, 1956-the occasion was celebrated in riotous song by the Government of Louis St. Laurent and its followers. While opposition members tried desperately to be heard, their voices were drowned in raucous sound from Liberal benches.

Unbelievable as it may seem, Government supporters chose to sing "Onward Christian Soldiers" and "Hail! Hail! The Gang's all here-" What the--do we care!" Well, "the Gang" was all there, and the cause of their celebration was described by Mr. C. D. Howe as "my last great ' project -a charitable loan to Texas oil men and the wrecking of Parliament.

What was the "Pipeline" fiasco? Simply this: An American oil company (85% U.S. owned) wanted to build a pipeline on Canadian soil, carrying Canadian gas to markets in the United States and Canada.          

But the American company wanted something more than that. They wanted the Canadian taxpayer to loan them the money to do it- $80 000 000.

For this they needed the approval of Parliament. The Government and their 165-odd supporters knew just how to oblige them.

Closure !

In other words, the government would introduce the necessary legislation and by the use of closure, prevent questions, stifle debate and remove the need for explanation. The bill, the loan, the principle all would be forced down the throats of any who would protest . . . Parliament, the Canadian people, the Canadian taxpayer.

That is how it happened. The bill was purposely delayed until the end of the session so that the government could plead that haste was essential. Mr. Howe introduced the bill and introduced closure in the same breath. There was, of course, no debate on the first reading.

There was no debate allowed on second reading.

It was carried by closure.

In committee, 6 of the 7 clauses in the bill were carried by closure. No one was allowed to speak. Except Mr. Howe.

The third and final reading of the bill was also carried on closure. The Prime Minister, himself, gave notice, and that was that.

Or almost that.

In the process, the government violated the House of Commons. debased the office of its Speaker, rewrote the rule book. To the tune of "Onward Christian Soldiers," might became right, the bill became law, the oil men got their multimillion-dollar deal.

And the Calgary Herald commented, "It has been a sorry session for Parliament with a government which has willingly laid the pattern for dictatorship."

Yet there are some Liberals and their apologists who would defend this wretched travesty.

"There was nothing wrong with the loan, and it has all been paid back," they explain.

Indeed! The promoters of the U.S. pipeline company did repay the loan. The event was celebrated by a "Press Reception" arranged by the Liberal Party's (and the Pipeline's) advertising agency. The promoters pocketed a neat $1,700,000.00 in stock market profits-with your money-and without risk!

In this general election, the events that culminated in "Black Friday" are an issue. Those who will vote Liberal must support "the most vicious attack on Parliament in Canada's history." Indeed each Liberal vote adds another voice to that Liberal chorus singing, "Hail! Hail! The Gang's all here-What the--do we care now!" Those who vote Progressive Conservative in this election will help set right the course of the people's Parliament in Canada. For this issue does not involve the fortunes of a political party but rather the future of parliamentary democracy.

It is your privilege to vote against "Black Friday". By so doing, you serve notice on future governments that those who violate the people's rights will reap the people's wrath.

Remember "Black Friday" when you vote on Monday, June 10.

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