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Banner: First Among EqualsJohn Napier Turner banner

News conference to call an election, July 9, 1984

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JOHN TURNER  --  Judy (Morrison), ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

This afternoon I called upon Her Excellency the Governor General and advised her that Parliament should be dissolved and a general election called. Therefore, an election will be held on Tuesday, September 4, the day after Labour Day.

It is my view, and I so indicated to Her Excellency, and indeed to The Queen, that an election is necessary at this time. One million four hundred thousand Canadians are unemployed and need jobs. The pressure on our exchange rate and our interest rates gives Canadians cause for concern. The international financial situation is unsettling. Our public debt is growing too fast and we need a renewal of confidence and certainty in this country. We need and can have a rate of growth which offers satisfying opportunities for our workers and our investors. A government, any government to take the kind of steps required by current economic circumstances needs a clear and fresh mandate from the Canadian people. This Parliament has run its course and I sense that the people of Canada want and should have a choice and an opportunity to clear the air.

Because I was concerned about the potential conflict of an election with the visit of Her Majesty The Queen, I went personally to Windsor to see Her Majesty to explain my reasons for calling an election. She graciously consented to postpone her trip to Canada and has agreed to come to this country from September 24th to October 7th.

Today I notified the Premiers of Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba of my advice to the Governor General. I know that these provincial governments will do everything in their power to reschedule Her Majesty's visit to September and early October and thus express our appreciation for Her Majesty's gracious gesture in postponing her trip.

I also want to thank all those who have contributed to the preparation for the trip and seek their understanding and assure them that their efforts will be rewarded by Her Majesty's visit in a very good part of the Canadian autumn.

A press release concerning the rescheduling of Her Majesty's visit has been issued simultaneously,  --  2:30 p.m. our time in Ottawa  --  in London and Ottawa and is available to you at the conclusion of this conference.

Et maintenant en français. Cet après-midi, j'ai communiqué avec Son Excellence le Gouverneur général pour l'aviser que le parlerment devrait être dissous et une élection convoquée.

En conséquence, des élections générales auront lieu le mardi 4 septembre, lendemain de la fête du Travail.

J'estime qu'une élection est nécessaire à ce moment-ci. Un million quatre cent mille Canadiens ont besoin d'un emploi. Les pressions sur notre dollar et les taux d'intérêt préoccupent les Canadiens. La situation financière internationale est troublée. Notre dette publique croit trop rapidement. Nous avons besoin d'un renouveau de confiance et de certitude. Nous avons besoin, et pouvons atteindre un taux de croissance qui procure des possibilités satisfaisantes à nos travailleurs et à nos investisseurs.

Un gouvernement, tout gouvernement qui doit poser les gestes requis par la situation actuelle doit detenir un mandat clair et renouvelé du peuple canadien. Ce Parlement avait fait son temps. J'ai le sentiment que le peuple canadien veut, et doit pouvoir se prononcer; c'est l'occasion de rafraîchir l'air.

Parce que j'étais préoccupé par un conflit de programme potentiel occasionné par une élection et la visite de la Reine, j'ai rencontré personnellement Sa Majesté au chateau de Windsor pour lui expliquer mes raisons de convoquer des élections. Elle a gracieusement consenti à différer sa visite du 24 septembre au 7 octobre prochain.

Aujourd'hui, j'ai prévenu les premiers ministres de l'Ontario, du Nouveau-Brunswick et du Manitoba de mon avis au Gouverneur général. Je sais que ces gouvernements provinciaux feront tout, en leur pouvoir pour modifier leur programme d'événements en conséquence de la décision de Sa Majesté de reporter sa visite au mois de septembre.

Un communiqué de presse relatif au report de la visite de Sa Majesté, publié simultanément à Londres et à Ottawa, sera disponible à l'issue de cette conférence de presse.

JIM MUNSON (CTV)  --  Mr. Turner, we heard during the leadership campaign, a lot of vague generalities about which economic direction you are going to be taking the country. Now that you are the Prime Minister and you control the economic levers, can the Canadian electorate expect to see real concrete proposals on the economic side?

A. I think Canadians, during the next month or so, can expect to hear some concrete proposals and indeed some general directions as to current economic situation and our reasons for seeking a mandate to correct it.

Q. Could you be a bit more specific with us at this time?

A. No, sir.

Q. Why not?

A. Because to be absolutely specific in the terms you want would demand a budgetary response and I am not able, or willing, at this time to give it to you. But I will, throughout the course of this campaign, through the media, let the Canadian people know how I envisage the problems, and what directions and general proposals are needed to get us back on the road to a solid recovery.

Q. TERRY GILLESPIE (CBC)  --  Prime Minister, your call for an election is accompanied by yet another round of Liberal patronage appointments. In the past, you have indicated that we should consider these appointment's to be Mr. Trudeau's. You have also promised us a new style of government. Would you be prepared to indicate that new style, here and now, by repudiating the principle of rewarding the party faithful with public money?

A. The appointments that were announced earlier today, except one, were in furtherance of my commitment to Mr. Trudeau, my predecessor or had been discussed and agreed to at Cabinet meetings of the previous administration. I made that commitment to the Prime Minister because, failing that, I would not have had a majority in the House of Commons with which to approach Her Excellency with the confidence of being able to form a government. The constitutional advice I received was such that I should only approach her if there were still enough Liberal members as members of the House of Commons supporting me at the time I asked her for her authority to form a government; otherwise, I could not have formed a government. For this reason, I made the commitment I did to Mr. Trudeau.

On the general subject of appointments, I would hope that my administration would seek the best men and women for public appointment. I would not disqualify members of the House of Commons from those appointments because, after all, the people of Canada have endorsed those Members of Parliament with their confidence and obviously think them competent. So, I would look for the best men and women I could find inside and outside the House.

Q. Inside and outside the Party?

A. Inside and outside the Party. And if you look to my record, and I wish you would, when I was Minister of Justice, you will find that out of the one hundred thirty-two, one hundred thirty-three appointments I made, several were beyond the partisan limits to which I belonged at the time; several were formerly aligned with the Conservative party; several aligned with the New Democratic party.

JEAN LARIN (Radio-Canada)  --  Monsieur Turner, est-ce qu'il y avait, au cours de la fin de semaine, une obligation constitutionnelle de votre part pour vous rendre à Londres et avertir Sa Majesté que vous aviez l'intention de déclencher des élections?

R. Il n'y avait pas de raison constitutionnelle pour voir personnellement Sa Majesté.ou pour me rendre personnellement chez elle. J'avais le pouvoir de voir le Gouverneur général et de lui demander son autorisation pour déclencher les élections. Mais vu sa visite, il m'est apparu plus courtois de me rendre à Windsor, surtout parce que je voulais la persuader de ne pas annuler sa visite mais de la remettre à une période commode pour elle et à une saison convenable pour les Canadiens. Sa Majesté a gracieusement consenti à nous rendre visite dans la saison la plus propice du point de vue du climat du Canada.

JEFFREY SIMPSON (Globe & Mail)  --  Prime Minister, two related questions which lingered from the leadership campaign. Would it be your intention, should your leadership campaign have provided more funds than you actually needed, to use any of those funds for transition purposes, and would you, as Prime Minister should you win the election, be prepared to accept any additional sources of financial support from friends and supporters over and above your Parliamentary and Prime Ministerial salary.

A. I think at this stage, from what I gather  --  and I really have not had time to look into it  --  we are still collecting funds to cover the expenses of the campaign. So the question at the moment is hypothetical. If it becomes better than that, then I will deal in an appropriate way, publicly, with how to handle it.

MICHEL GUÉNARD (TVA)  --  Monsieur Turner, au cours de votre campagne au leadership, vous avez parlé beaucoup de la place des femmes dans la société canadienne. Or, le dernier Parlement ne contenait en termes de députation que 7% de femmes qui représentaient le peuple canadien. Qu'est-ce que vous allez faire de concret pour augmenter ce niveau de représentation des femmes au Parlement canadien, particulierement au niveau de la mise en nomination des candidats dans les divers comtés canadiens au cours d'une campaqne électorale?

R. Pour commencer, il est évident que nous avons un système démocratique et il faut que les comtés et les circonscriptions et leur association choisissent leur candidat ou candidate. Mais j'ai déjà publiquement invité nos associations, partout au Canada, à encourager de bonnes candidates. J'ai dit aussi aux femmes libérales partout au pays de se mobiliser pour s'assurer qu'elles profitent des occasions et des ouvertures dans de bonnes circonscriptions. Un des députés qui ont démissionné aujourd'hui démissionne pour laisser à une femme la chance de se présenter dans son comté.

Q. Monsieur Turner, est-ce que vous avez en tête au moins un pourcentage qui ferait que l'équilibre actuel qui est déplorable, la représentation des femmes à la Chambre des communes, serait modifié. On a 7 %. Est-ce que dans votre tête un pourcentaqe de 20 % serait quelque chose d'au moins acceptable pour la société canadienne, compte tenu du dynamisme social au Canada?

R. Je n'ai pas en tête un quota, ni même un pourcentage cible. Mais je peux vous assurer que vous allez assister à la présentation de bonnes candidates du côté libéral lors des prochaines élections. Et ça sera la preuve de notre sincérité.

MICHAEL VAUGHAN (CBC Radio-News)  --  Prime Minister, you talk about the need for a mandate but of course the Government, your Government, has a mandate which continues at least into the spring. Would it not be almost more straight forward if you continued on with this mandate so the people who are going to vote would have the opportunity to see if you could do something about interest rates, if you could do something abeut the currency, if you could do something about the 1.4 million unemployed; in other words to have some performance on which to base your electoral chances rather than go before there is any opportunity to judge your effectiveness.

A. I think that this Parliament has now run virtually four and a half years of its mandate. There has been uncertainty in the air for well over a year because of Mr. Trudeau's intentions as to whether he was or was not going to resign; and then of course uncertainty since he announced his resignation and then throughout the leadership. And then we were to have a royal visit and a papal visit. I think that the economic situation and the level of our unemployment figures and the number of Canadians who do not have work need action from a fresh government supported by the Canadian people. I do not personally have a mandate except from the Liberal Party. My new government, such as I have chosen it, has not faced Parliament, nor does it have a mandate. We are living in a democracy and we will lay out the directions we intend to take the country and we will take our chances with the Canadian people. I think that is the way a parliamentary democracy runs.

Q. Did you consider the idea of a by-election?

A. Yes I did.

GILBERT BRINGUÉ (Radio-Canada)  --  Monsieur Turner, compte tenu des priorités que vous avez énoncées pour justifier cette élection, je voulais vous demander d'abord ce que vous pensez des dernières prévisions du Conference Board. Est-ce qu'une récession l'année prochaine, une récession économique est inévitable et est-ce que vraiment on ne peut rien faire pour les chômeurs d'ici un an?

R. Quand j'étais ministre des Finances, je n'étais pas dans le jeu de la prévision. Moi je ne m'engage pas. Je ne suis pas prophète mais j'ai devant moi des faits actuels: les chiffres du chômage, les taux d'intérêt, le taux de notre change. Pour moi, ce sont des faits concrets. Donc, le monde est si imprévisible ces jours-ci que les spécialités de la prévision n'ont pas beaucoup de succès.

MICHAEL DOYLE (Winnipeg Free Press)  --  Mr. Turner, one of the arguments that the Liberals have used against Mr. Mulroney and the Conservatives roughly is that they lack policies. As regards the West, it seems that certain policies are coming out. I am wondering if you wondering if you prepared to match those policy recomendations, the energy plan, the Crow Rate, and so forth?

A. If you say am I ready to match or outbid Mr. Mulroney in Western Canada, the answer is no. We will come up with good policies but when we cost his policies and find out what is available in realistic terms to meet them, then we will present reasonable alternatives to the Canadian people within the ability of the Government of Canada in the foreseeable future to digest and pay for it

Q. Let me rephrase that then. Are we going to see specific pointed policy recommendations from the Liberals aimed at the West and if so, what areas would they focus on?

A. Mr. Mulroney apparently participated in a Prince Albert charter. Two or three months ago, I was in Winnipeg with a ten-point program for Western Canada and I think it might save us time at this stage if you would read it.

GILBERT LAVOIE (La Presse)  --  Monsieur Turner, pour parler un peu d'économie, vous allez en parler beaucoup d'économie pendant cette campagne électorale et vous avez rnentionné...

R. La campagne électorale vient de commencer.

Q. C'est ça. Alors parlons-en immédiatement, si vous vouler. bien. Vous avez mentionné, en parlant du déficit au début de votre campagne au leadership, vous avez mentionné la possibilité de hausser les taxes pour réduire le déficit, parmi plusieurs autres possibilités. Est-ce que les Canadiens vont être prévenus, vont connaître votre décision là-dessus avant la journée d'élection ou s'ils vont devoir attendre après, pour un budget pour savoir si vous allez hausser les taxes Première partie de ma question et également sur l'économie, les Libéraux ont été élus en 1980 en promettant un prix du pétrole fait au Canada. Est-ce que vous allez promettre aux Canadiens cette année des taux d'intérêt faits au Canada? Ça a été discuté beaucoup ces derniers temps.

R. Pour répondre à la dernière question, les taux d'intérêt sont affectés par la situation financière mondiale. Comme Canadiens, nous ne pouvons pas nous isoler des faits économiques internationaux. Nous ne sommes pas capables. Nous pouvons influencer ici et 1à l'état de notre éconornie mais pour le faire, il faut que nous contrô1ions mieux nos budgets.

Quant au déficit et aux dettes publiques, j'ai dit pendant la campagne pour la chefferie qu'il n'était pas question de réduire immédiatement de façon draconienne le déficit de cette annie à cause de notre chômage, ni de faire monter les impôts pour la même raison, parce que notre économie est en train de récupérer ses forces. Mais j'ai dit, et je répète, qu'éventuellement, dans le contexte actuel de notre état financier comme pays, il vaut mieux équilibrer nos revenus et nos dépenses. Et c'est pour cela que j'ai fait quelques propositions pendant la campagne pour la chefferie.

TIM NAUMETZ (Canadian Prees)  --  Mr. Turner, you do need a mandate, and the country does have to make a fresh choice but all signs are that you are going into the campaign with basically the same leading Liberals behind you and you are the Leader of a party that has held power for the last two decades. Essentially, are you not asking them for a mandate to do the same thing all over or how are you going to convince the Canadians than you offer a choice unless you bring out specific policies?

A. I am going to tell Canadians what they already know namely, that I have not been part of the administration for the past nine years and that I do bring a new face and a new policy to the government; that when I reorganized the Cabinet last week and accepting the responsibility from the Governor General to form a party, I had to deal with the material that I had within the Caucus and within the government, and that this was phase I and that I would hope that in the time allowed to me that I would be able to pursuade men and women of calibre to run for parliament. That is not going to be easy in the time frame now before me and in the personal decisions they are going to have to make. And you will recall that I said here on June 30th, that everyone in the present government would be fighting for his or her job depending on performance and depending on whom we were able to recruit. I can assure you that I will presenting as a strong possibility for change as either of my two opponents or the other parties.

MARC PÉPIN (Nouvelles Télé-radio)  --  Monsieur Turner, puisque l'économie est le principal enjeu de cette campagne électorale, pouvez-vous aujourd'hui même annoncer un premier engagement précis, une première promesse en matière économique, qui ait trait à la création d'emplois, au déficit ou...

R. Non, Monsieur. Ces choses sont vraiment trop compliquées. Il faut vraiment pondérer d'une façon sincère une telle politique. Aussi, nous sommes en train, maintenant, avec notre Commission des politiques du parti libéral d'élaborer une politique. Nous allons donc continuer le processus de consultation avec les militants et militantes du parti, avec les membres de notre caucus et avec mes collègues du le gouvernement. À ce point-ci, je ne suis pas en mesure de vous donner une promesse, et je ne crois pas que les promesses seront à indiquer dans le contexte actuel de notre éconornie. Il faut des engagements réalistes. Il faut une direction précise. Il faut une attitude bien connue par la population canadienne.

RICHARD GIZBURT (CFTO)  --  Mr. Turner, you say that The Queen graciously consented to move the trip back for you and you are asking for the understanding of organizers, the people who have put a lot of work into this trip. What about voters? Do you think that they are going to understand? Do you think they will be happy with the cancellation of The Queen's trip and do you think that any of them will look at this, your move, of calling an election now as political opportunism at the expense of the celebration which many Canadians are counting on?

A. The Queen has not cancelled her trip. She has graciously postponed it. She has given us the same number of days that she would have given us had she come as scheduled. She hopes to visit the same communities and she hopes to be able to fill all the commitments she had committed to. I have said to the provincial premiers that I hope that the provincial governments will cooperate and the municipalities, the towns and the villages concerned, to ensure that this happens. I really can't answer your question. I had to do my duty as I saw it and if that costs me some support, well then I am prepared to take it. But I think Canadians will understand that in the current position which the country faces, that it is in the best interests of Canada for a government to have a fresh mandate and I am prepared to take that risk and earn that mandate from the Canadian people.

MAURICE JANNARD (La presse)  --  Monsieur Turner, je vais reprendre une question qui a été posée en anglais. Vous dites dans vos remarques préliminaires que le Canada a besoin de se faire rafraîchir l'air et une de vos premières décisions est de nominer à différents postes des amis libéraux, enfin des gens du Parti libéral qui ont été dans le gouvernment depuis de nombreuses années. Comment pensez-vous convaincre les Canadiens que vous êtes sincère? Et ma deuxième question est jusqu'a quel point étiez-vous obligé de faire cet engagement à M. Trudeau?

R. J'espère que les Canadiens vont me trouver sincère et franc. J'ai dit à un de vos collègues en anglais que pour maintenir ma majorité de députés à la Chambre des communes, pour voir Son Excellence le Gouverneur général avec une telle majorité et pour mériter son approbation pour former un gouvernement, il me fallait prendre envers M. Trudeau, l'engagement de nommer ses candidats avant la dissolution du parlement.

JIM FARABEE (Southam News)  --  Two questions. One, Sir, where are going to run? The second one is, are you going to ask your predecessor Mr. Trudeau to campaign for you in the campaign coming up?

A. I would think that next week I will hopefully find myself in British Columbia meeting the constituency associations of some of the ridings of British Columbia and I would hope that if I am made such an offer that I can accept one at an early date and present myself before the citizens of that riding. I think that Mr. Trudeau has offered to campaign and if he is still of the same mind, I think he could be very useful.

DOUG FISHER (TORONTO SUN)  --  Mr. Turner you have come back to politics as taciturn as ever on topical matters so I will try you on some history. You were the minister of Justice from the October crisis on, and you shared with the Prime Minister a commitment to get rid of the War Measures Act and bring back another, something that was softer. Ten days ago Mitchell Sharp, a colleague in the Cabinet then, revealed publicly that the reason the government had not gone ahead was because you were against it. He gave it as a splendid example of your type of caution, and I wondered if you could sort of replay that cautionary thoughts that you had at that time, and then go on to indicate what you might do about the War Measures Act since you are so familiar with it and you are going to have the ultimate position of power after you go to the people of course.

A. I did not think at the time that we had achieved a successful drafting of a so-called peaceful version of a war time measures act, and I was unwilling to so introduce one as I recall; feeling that in peace time, short of those conditions that might justify the imposition of a war time measures act that the provisions of the Criminal Code were satisfactory. As what I would do with the War Measures Act, I have not borne down on that question. I will have to look carefully at the intervention of that statute with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While I do not usually delve into history except in response to a legitimate historian like yourself I am certainly not going to speculate about what I would do in the future.

Q. Final thing, who is this one of the nineteen that you yourself appointed? Scanning that list of enormous talent, I would like to know the one that you selected.

A. The person that was selected on the recommendation of my colleagues, who had not been discussed and tentatively agreed upon at previous meetings or committed with Mr. Trudeau is Arthur Portelance who is retiring in favour, hopefully, of a woman candidate.

PAULE DES RIVIÔRES (Le Devoir)  --  Monsieur Turner, j'aimerais revenir un instant sur la question des taux d'intérêt. Si les budgets du Canada étaient mieux contrô1és, est-ce-que vous pensez que ce serait possible d'envisager, à ce moment-là, des taux d'intérêt déterminés au Canada?

R. Les taux d'intérêt actuellement sont plutôt déterminés par l'interaction avec les États-Unis, par le déficit budgétaire des États-Unis et la croissance vigoureuse de leur économie dans la recherche des fonds requi pour cette économie. Nous sommes actuellement prisonniers de cette situation et notre liberté de manoeuvre est assez limitée.

BOB HURST (CTV NEWS)  --  Mr. Prime Minister, your weekend trip to see The Queen with your wife and your officials cost Canadian taxpayers perhaps $50,000. How do you justify that sort of expense when the arrangements to postpone the Queen's visit could have been made by the High Commission?

A. Because I thought that it was a personal courtesy that I owed her Majesty on behalf of Canadians to tell her, face to face, why I, as her Prime Minister, needed a mandate from the Canadian people and to ask her personally to be gracious enough to postpone her trip. And I am ready to justify that at any time before the Canadian people.

MIKE DUFFY (CBC NEWS)  --  Prime Minister, you said a few moments ago that you in this election will offer Canadians as much an opportunity for a change in government as either of the other two political parties. You have also said over and over again, this afternoon, that you are concerned not only about the size of the deficit but also rather significantly I thought the size of the public debt. Does this mean that you are going to cast yourself in a frugal, careful campaign that will not offer a lot of promises, a lot of expensive programs, and presumably then criticize the other two political leaders for what you would perhaps brand as "big spending" at a time when the country can not afford it. How would you characterize your campaign versus theirs? What will you be offering the Canadian people?

A. What I am saying Mr. Duffy is that I would cast our campaign in a realistic way and prioritize our programs within the capacity of the country to afford them in the current context of the state of the budget and the state of the National Accounts. Our priorities would certainly include youth unemployment; our priorities would certainly include, hopefully, a national apprenticeship scheme for our younger people. We have to envisage programs to prepare us for the comming winter in terms of that unemployment. What I am saying to Canadians is that we are going to have to make choices in what we can do and that the Liberal campaign will be reflecting the necessity of making those choices and priorizing what choices we beleive should be made.

JEFF SALLOT (GLOBE AND MAIL)  --  If I understand you correctly you are saying that you will indicate general directions for the economy during the campaign, but that anything specific would have to wait for a budget. Now, when you have had experience campaigning on a budget, in '74 your budget was defeated and you went out and you campaigned, you won that election. Why is it so important for the Canadian people to go to the voters on September 4th, when you might be able to present a budget early in the year and then call the campaign so that the voters know what they are buying rather than buying a pig in the poke.

A. I think it is within the Canadian democratic tradition to campaign on the basis of general directions of a general package of issues and programs, but the type of precision demanded by a budget is left for a budget and that is the way that I intend to campaign.

AUBREY BELL (INFOCOM)  --  I appreciate your reluctance to get too specific here but nevertheless, last week the Conservatives did announce several changes to the national energy program if they have the opportunity to implement. I wonder if you have seen those, and if you have, I know you have mentioned that you might like to take another look at the NDP as well, so how would your refinements differ from theirs, if at all.

A. I think you will have to await my proposals for the National Energy Program. I said a good deal during the leadership campaign, as a matter of fact. I found it interesting that Mr. Mulroney did not cost his proposals.

TERRY WILLS (THE MONTREAL GAZETTE)  --  You have pointed out some of the ailments of the economy the high unemployment the high interest rates and you have washed your hands of any responsibility for those by saying that you were not part of the government that was there when those ailments came about. But then you appointed to your cabinet in the same portfolio, Mr. Lalonde in Finance, Mr. Ouellet in Labour, Mr. Lumley in Industry, men who were responsible for policies that in the last few years have brought about those ailments. So are you saying that by making these appointments it is no endorsment of the policies that those Cabinet Ministers followed, that somehow you were appointing them, yet repudiating their policies?

A. If the situation that this country finds itself in was built up over a number of years. I appointed Mr. Lalonde because in the transitional situation in which this government finds itself he, in my view was the most competent and experienced minister to shepherd the country's finances in the face of volatile interest rates and a volatile exchange rate, and that the confidence with which he is held by the financial community and the markets was in the interest of the country.

Q. You are saying then that you are endorsing the policies that were followed by the Finance Minister over the last two or three years?

A. I am saying that yes, Mr. Lalonde's budgets were in the right direction.

LUBOR ZINK (TORONTO SUN)  --  Nobody mentioned foreign policy and defence policy so far. Can I ask if you intend to continue the defence policy which virtually destroyed Canada's Armed Forces in the past 16 years and foreign policy which alienated Canada from the traditional allies and often gave assistance to her potential adversaries or whether you intend to outline at least some change during the election campaign?

A. Well now Lubor, you would not expect me to operate withing the total purview of that preamble of yours, I met with Mrs. Thatcher and Lord Carrington at Chequers on Saturday. Lord Carrington as you know, will be the new Secretary General of NATO, and I assured him that this country would be living up to its defence obligations under that treaty and that we would be looking forward to a broader interpretation of the role of NATO beyond the mere military aspects of it but more similar to the role envisaged by Mr. St-Laurent and Mr. Pearson when they supported it on the behalf of Canada and the initial phases of NATO, and that I hoped that NATO would be an instrument for not only fulfilling a defence need for all the allies but also could be used as a vehicle for easing East-West tensions and moving towards disarmament and nuclear disarmament. With respect to the relationship with our other countries, I have already outlined to a member of the media after the leadership convention that I intended to place the highest priority on enhancing our good relationship with the United States. I think I took some steps towards renewing our relationship with Great Britain over the weekend and I intend to do that with our European and Japanese partners and our Commonwealth partners. One of the campaign items upon which we shall campaign will be what Canada can do by way of international leadership both in the relieving of the East-West tensions and economically.

PATRICIA POIRIER (LE DROIT)  --  Monsieur Turner, pendant votre campagne au leadership vous avez souvent parlé que par votre propre personnalité, puisque vous étiez tellement confiant, vous pourriez recruter des personnalités très fortes, des hommes, des femmes, dans l'Ouest canadien, pour représenter le parti libéral. Aujourd'hui pourriez-vous nous nommer des noms de personnes de l'Ouest canadien qui vont représenter le Parti libéral en vue des élections du 4 septembre, et en même temps, pourriez-vous nous dire si vous avez recruté des libéraux pour combler tous les postes que vous avez maintenant donnés à des amis du régime?

A. Vous allez voir, Madame, ou Mademoiselle, maintenant que les élections sont déclenchées il y aura des nouveaux candidats et de nouvelles candidates qui vont se présenter, et nous les annoncerons les uns après les autres.

Q. Vous avez promis des choses, pourquoi vous ne nous en nominez pas aujourd'hui? Il me semble que ce serait tout indiqué parce qu'il nous faut quand même des nouvelles aujourd'hui.

A. J'ai été en communication avec plusieurs personnes, Mademoiselle, mais je dois vous souligner non ordre de jour depuis trois mois, j'ai été "sur la trotte", comme on dit, pendant la campagne pour la chefferie, pendant trois mois. Une fois élu, j'ai dû reconstituer un Cabinet et il m'a fallu des heures pour le faire. Seulement rnaintenant j'aurai le temps de retéléphoner à des personnes partout au Canada pour essayer de les persuader de se présenter.

Q. Vous ne pourriez pas au moins aujourd'hui nous donner des idées de qui vous avez en tête? Parce que quand même vous demandez aux Canadiens de voter pour vous, et votre équipe, on ne la connaît même pas.

A. Vous savez, Madame, vous autres, vous allez les connaitre avant le 4 septembre, et les Canadiens aussi. Soyez patiente.

(inaudible)  --  Can I just ask you. While you were winging your way to London to meet the Queen at Windsor Castle, the figures came out here showing that B.C. now ranks with Newfoundland as having the worst unemployment rate in the country. I'd like to know what you think that will do to the enthusiasm that people out in B.C. have to vote Liberal.

A. I am willing to take my chances with the people of B.C.

RICHARD GWYN (TORONTO STAR)  --  Mr. Turner on the deficit in the leadership campaign you said you were going to cut it in half in up to seven but not at the expense of the young, the old, the sick, the lame, the blind, and so on. Are you going to move on to some specifics in this campaign so that Canadians will not find themselves in the position of British Columbians after their last election when they realized what they had been involved in? And second, will you pledge to cost out all your promises in this campaign?

A. I think that might be a good idea but I will want to consider that. Yes.

Q. That was a dual part question.

A. Yes, but the first point I thought was so eloquent that you were not really asking for an answer.

Q. I was indeed. I was asking, are you going to spell out how you will achieve your goal of cutting the deficit by half, by up to half in the....

A. Short of getting into budgetary precision we will be moving towards more details, yes.

BOB EVANS (CTV News)  --  Prime Minister, while he was out west, Brian Mulroney mentioned on several occasions that he was driving a truck in Baie Comeau, while you were dancing with Princess Margaret. I was wondering whether you consider that a trivialization of politics and if not which would you consider the image that has more vote-getting character, being a truck driver or ballroom dancer.

A. I like the question but I am really going to be sticking to the issues.

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Source: Turner, John. Transcription d'une conference de presse accordée par le Premier Ministre dans l'amphitheatre de L'édifice National de la presse, 9 Jullet, 1984. Ottawa : Library of Parliament, 1984.

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