Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates of Proceedings, 2nd Sess (31 May 1983)
By: Nova Scotia (House of Assembly)
Citation: Nova Scotia, House of Assembly, Debates of Proceedings, 2nd Sess, 1983 at 3219-3244.
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HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS .
Speaker: Honourable Arthur Donahoe, Q.C.
Published by Order of the Legislature
Second Class Mail Registration No. 2534
Available through Nova Scotia Government Book Store
1597 Hollis St., or P.O. Box 637, Halifax, B3J 2T3, at $40.00 Annual Subscription or 50c per issue
TUESDAY, MAY 31,1983
TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Anl. Rept. of Department of Agriculture and Marketing, Hon. R. Bacon . . . . . . .
House Order Nos. 149, 96,99, 139, Returns Tabled, Hon. R. Bacon …. . . . . .3197
House Order No. 169, Return Tabled, Hon. G. Henley . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .3197
House Order No. 165, Return Tabled, Hon. K. Streatch . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .3197
Anl. Rept. of Nova Scotia Civil Service Commission, Hon. R. Russell. . . . . . . . . . . .3198
Ombudsman Report, The Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 225, Lands & Forests – Min.: Gov’t. Aircraft Logs Awaited (H.O.’s) –
Comply or Resign, Mr. A.M. Cameron . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Res. 226, Buchanan Gov’t.: Finances — Disastrous, Mr. A.M. Cameron . . . . . . . .
Res. 227, Educ., Health, Soc. Serv.: No Cutbacks – Premier’s Assurance Sought,
Ms. A. McDonough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 545, Transport.: System — Rail & Highway (N.S.), Mr. A.M. Cameron . . . . .
No. 546, Transport.: CN Layoffs – Action, Mr. A.M. Cameron . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No. 547, Lands & Forests: Cobequid Lumber Co. – Reopening, Mr. G. Brown . . . .3202
No. 548, Transport. – Argyle: Pavement – Budget (1983-84),
Mr. H. Tinkham . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No. 549, Health – Senior Citizens: Pharmacare Overuse — Action,
Ms. A. McDonough . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .3204
No. 550, Lands & Forests – Digby Co.: Beach Roads – Plans, Mr. J. Casey . . . . .
No. 551, Lands & Forests — Chemical Spraying: Effect – Policy,
Mr. C. Melanson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
No. 552, Education – Sydney School Board: Funding – Flexibility,
Mr. Vincent MacLean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
perhaps tomorrow I might be able to give you some indication as to what it is going to be
but we arc very close to settling it. I should say not tomorrow, on Thursday because as I
say we are very close to settling it and we have been in deep consultation with the city.
In regard to suggesting that they utilize the surpluses from the school board, well, that
matter has come up indeed and I understand that many of the units that belong to that
particular board, if the surpluses were returned would be quite sizeable and yes, that has
come up and I would certainly like to see that they use those surpluses to defray the cost of
operating their particular units during the 1983 fiscal year.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has
expired. Before I call Government Business I wonder if I might ask for the consent of the
House to revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.
ls it agreed?
lt is agreed.
T ABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS
MR. SPEAKER: In that case it gives me great pleasure to lay on the Table the 12th
Report of the Ombudsman covering the period January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1982.
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.
HON. GERALD SHEEHY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business,
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.
HON. GERALD SHEEHY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 224.
Res. No. 224, re Constitution of Canada, Amendments — notice given May 27/83 —
[Resolution No. 224 in full reads as set out below.]
In accordance with the procedure provided by The Constitution Act, 1982, for amend-
ing the Constitution of Canada, I move that this House do authorize His Excellency the
Governor General to issue a proclamation respecting amendments to the Constitution of
Canada, a copy of which amendments, in both the English language and the French lan-
guage, is attached hereto.
And further be it resolved that upon approval and adoption by this House of this
Resolution the Speaker be directed to cause to be forwarded a true copy of this Resolution
to His Excellency the Governor General, certifying that the provisions of The Constitu-
tion Act, 1982, respecting the adoption of a Resolution by the Legislative Assembly of
Nova Scotia have been met.
3220 ASSEMBLY DEBATES TUE., MAY 31, 1983
PROCLAMATION AMENDING THE
CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
1. Paragraph 25(b) of the Constitution Act, 1982 is repealed and the following sub-
“(b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or
may be so acquired.”
2. Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 is amended by adding thereto the
Land claims agreements
“(3) For greater certainty, in subsection (1) “treaty rights” includes rights that
now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.
Aboriginal and treaty rights are guaranteed equally to both sexes
(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal and treaty
rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.”
3. The said Act is further amended by adding thereto, immediately after section 35
thereof, the following section:
Commitment to participation in constitutional conference
“35.1 The government of Canada and the provincial governments are com-
mitted to the principle that, before any amendment is made to Class 24 of section 91 of
the Constitution Act, 1867, to section 25 of this Act or to this Part,
(a) a constitutional conference that includes in its agenda an item re-
lating to the proposed amendment, composed of the Prime Minister of Canada and the first
ministers of the provinces, will be convened by the Prime Minister of Canada; and
(b) the Prime Minister of Canada will invite representatives of the
aboriginal peoples of Canada to participate in the discussions on that item.”
4. The said Act is further amended by adding thereto, immediately after section
37 thereof, the following Part:
37.1 (1) In addition to the conference convened in March 1983, at least two
constitutional conferences composed of the Prime Minister of Canada and the first ministers
of the provinces shall be convened by the Prime Minister of Canada, the first within three
years after April 17, 1982 and the second within five years after that date.
Participation of aboriginal peoples
(2) Each conference convened under subsection (1) shall have included in
its agenda constitutional matters that directly affect the aboriginal peoples of Canada,
and the Prime Minister of Canada shall invite representatives of those peoples to participate
in the discussions on those matters.
Participation of territories
(3) The Prime Minister of Canada shall invite elected representatives of the
governments of the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories to participate in the
discussions on any item on the agenda of a conference convened under subsection (1) that,
in the opinion of the Prime Minister, directly affects the Yukon Territory and the North-
Subsection 35(1) not affected
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to derogate from sub-
5. The said Act is further amended by adding thereto, immediately after section 54
thereof, the following section:
Repeal of Part IV.l and this section
“54.1 Part IV.l and this section are repealed on April 18, 1987.
6. The said Act is further amended by adding thereto the following section:
“61. A reference to the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982 shall be deemed to
include a reference to the Constitution Amendment Proclamation, 1983.”
7. This Proclamation may be cited as the Constitution Amendment Proclamation,
PROCLAMATION MODIFIANT LA CONSTITUTION DU CANADA
I. L’alinéa 25b) de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1982 est abrogé et remplacé par ce
“b) aux droits ou libertés existants issus d’accords sur des revendications terri-
toriales ou ceux susecptibles d’être ainsi acquis.”
2. L’article 35 de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1982 est modifiée par adjonction de ce
Accords sur des revendications territoriales
“(3) ll est entendu que sont compris parmi les droits issus de traités, dont il est
fart mention au paragraphe (1), les droits existants issus d’accords sur des revendications
territoriales ou ceux susceptibles d’être ainsi acquis.
Egalité de garantie des droits pour les deux sexes
(4) lndépendamment de toutc autre disposition de la présente loi, les droits –
ancestraux ou issus de traités -visés au paragraphe (1) sont garantis également aux per-
sonnes des deux sexes.”
3. La meme loi est modifiée par insertion, après l’article 35, de ce qui suit:
Engagement relatif à la participation it une conférence constitutionnelle
“35.1 Les gouvernements federal et provinciaux sont liés par l’engagement de
principe selon lequel le premier ministre du Canada, avant toute modification de la caté-
gorie 24 de l’article 91 de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, de l’articlc 25 de la présente
loi ou de la présente partie:
a) convoquera une conference constitutionnelle réunissant les premiers
ministres provinciaux et lui-meme et comportant à son ordre du jour la question du projet
b) invitera les représentants des peuples autochtones du Canada a parti-
ciper aux travaux relatifs it cette question.”
4. La meme loi est modifiée par insertion, après l’article 37, de ce qui suit:
37.1 (1) En sus de la conférence convoquée en mars 1983, le premier ministre
du Canada convoque au moins deux conférences constitutionnelles réunissant les premiers
ministres provinciaux et lui-meme, la premiere dans les trois ans et la seconde dans les cinq
ans suivant le 17 avril 1982.
Participation des peuples autochtones .
(2) Sont placées à l’ordre du jour de chacune des conférences visées au
paragraphe (1) les questions constitutionnelles qui intéressent directcment les peuples
autochtones du Canada. Le premier ministre du Canada invite leurs représentants à parti-
ciper aux travaux relatifs à ces questions.
Participation des territoires
(3) Le premier ministre du Canada invite des représentants élus des
gouvernemcnts du territoire du Yukon et des territoires du Nord-Ouest it participcr aux
travaux relatifs à toute question placée à l’ordre du jour dess conférences visées au para-
graphe (1) et qui, selon lui, intéresse directement le territoire du Yukon et les territoires du
Non-dérogation au paragraphe 35(1)
(4) Le present article n’a pas pour effet de déroger au paragraphe 35(1).”
5. La même loi est modifiée par insertion, après l’article 54, de ce qui suit:
Abrogation de la partie IV.I du présent article
“54.1 La partie IV.I et le présent article sont abrogés le 18 avril 1987.”
6. La même loi est modifiée par adjonction de ce qui suit:
“61. Toute mention des Lois constitutionnelles de 1867 à 1982 est réputée
constituer également une mention de la Proclamation de 1983 modifiant la Constitution.”
7. Titre de la présente proclamation: Proclamation de 1983 modifiant la Consti-
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.
THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, this resolution comes about as a result of the Con-
stitutional Conference which was held in Ottawa on March 16th, at which time the govern-
ments of all of the provinces, including the Province of Quebec, were present along with the
Government ofCanada as represented by the Prime Minister of Canada.
All of the governments, the provincial governments and the Government of Canada
signed the communique and the accord except, l think the Province of Quebec did not
sign, no, the Province of Quebec did not sign, so that it was signed by nine provinces and
the Government of Canada.
The resolution, therefore, was passed by the required majority for a Constitutional
Amendment, and what is required now is that that resolution be approved by the Legis-
latures of the various provinces together with the House of Commons. lt it my understand
ing that has been done by most of the Legislatures and is now either in process, it is in
process in the House of Commons, or has been finalized.
l will just cover very quickly, Mr. Speaker, what the resolution provides. First of all,
the provinces were all represented and Quebec was represented. Agreement was reached
between the Government of Canada and all the provinces except Quebec and the native
groups, the Assembly of the First Nations, the Native Council of Canada, the lnuit Com-
mittee on National lssues, the Metis National Council and this was all agreed to and signed
on March 16th, in Ottawa.
The resolution provides for clarification of the term “treaty rights,” guarantees treaty
rights equally to males and females, further constitutional conferences with aboriginals,
participation before further amendment to Section 25 has been guaranteed. Another Con-
stitutional Conference will be held before April, 1985, and a further conference before
April, 1987. Each of these conferences is to have native items on the agenda and have native
participation. The Yukon and the Northwest Territories are to be invited to participate at
both ofthose conferences in 1985, and 1987.
Mr. Speaker, l would ask that all members give unanimous support to this resolution,
to show the native peoples of Canada even though one province does not, that Nova Seotia
agrees with the other governments of Canada, including the federal government, on this
matter of equality for aboriginal rights in this country.
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton South.
MR. VINCENT MACLEAN: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I will be unable to support
the resolution that has been brought forward by the Premier and I would like to explain
why l take that particular position. l have examined the Proclamation Amending the Con-
stitution of Canada and when you examine what has been- added, I think you will find
that there is an improvement with reference to native rights, l have no argument with that.
The Section 1 that has been expanded in Paragraph 25(b) is good and Section 2 amend-
ing Section 35 is also an improvement. The difficulty that l have with the amendment that
is being brought forward is how the process is being done. l have a reserve in my con-
stituency and that reserve is one which l have had very close contacts with over the years. I
went to school with most of the people who are now running the Band Council Office and
have been elected councillors on that reserve, that of Membertou. One of the first reserves
to be integrated into the school system of the Province of Nova Scotia was that one and, as
such, l have maintained fairly close communications over the years.
When this resolution was brought forward by the Premier, l called the Chief of the
reserve, Chief Alex Christmas, and discussed the matter with him and he brought forward
some rather, what l consider to be pungent arguments, against support of this particular
resolution and it is in support of the Chief and the other members of his Band Council
that I take a stand against this resolution in the House today.
As the Premier may be aware, most of the bands in Nova Scotia declined an invitation
to attend this, l do not know what it was called, meeting in Ottawa with reference to the
MR. HOW: Conference.
MR. VINCENT MACLEAN: The Conference, and I understand only one band, accord-
ing to Chief Christmas, actually attended, so that the native societies in Nova Scotia have
been classed as dissenters to this particular conference.
The chief objection that has been held against going along with this particular process
is that the native people who speak to me in Nova Scotia tell me that they prefer to deal
directly with the federal government. They feel it is a federal government responsibility. lt
has been since Confederation, and prior to Confederation, upheld in treaty rights, and they
do not want to start negotiations with the respective provinces.
Now their position is quite clear. They say that they have numerous letters from
ministers in this government, and other governments, and particularly the Premier, stating
quite clearly, when they ask for support for their reserves, when they request special con-
sideration, or really, consideration that would be granted to maybe any other group of
citizens, the answer comes back, you are the responsibility of the federal government,
please approach them to satisfy your concerns.
We have had a situation, for example, with minor things, like the Indian Summer
Games, which were unable to obtain funding this year: lf the heart of the government
were really in the support of the native people, l would think that that is one small oper-
ation that could receive a little bit of funding. But when they come forward with even
minor proposals, such as some funding for one of their festivals, it is rejected. l think it
shows that the province, although it is paying lip service, when it comes to the carrying out
of programs, or the carrying out of concrete activities for the native people, seems to be
The same occurs with the funding of different organizations. For example, some time
ago the Minister ofSocial Services was approached on behalf of the Native Communications
Association of the province for cost-sharing. Since that time, the minister has been gracious
enough to inform me that he is trying to make new arrangements to deal with this specific
topic, and he is attempting to set up a new committee that will have representations from
both government and the native groups involved so that, perhaps, a better dialogue can
occur. l congratulate the minister for moving in that direction, and l hope as a result of the
activities of the minister that that will indeed occur in the future.
Unfortunately, when you are talking to the native people of Nova Scotia, they have
been judging the Nova Scotia Government on what has happened in the past. As far as l
have been able to ascertain, they are not terribly impressed with the track record of this
government, or previous governments, in communication with them, or in helping to solve
their respective problems. As such, they feel that they are much more comfortable remain-
ing dealing directly with the federal government.
l would also indicate that they feel that, for example, in the City of Sydney, the
government that runs the reserve, and the city government, have had excellent communica-
tions. They say, well, if we have had tremendous communications with the City of Sydney
in resolving a number of our problems, with the assistance of the federal government, why
bring in another layer of bureaucracy that will only tend to make the process more cumber-
Basically they are saying that the provincial government has not been overly generous
in the past, so why should they exert an influence in the future? They would like to be left
to make some of their own decisions, to decide exactly how they would like to proceed,
rather than accepting directives, rather than accepting ultimatums and regulations and
policy directives from an additional layer of government. They have had this for quite some
time from the federal level, and they found it difficult enough to deal with. They do not
feel that it is an improvement of their position to move into the provincial realm where they
now must deal with 10 provincial Premiers and the heads of the two territorial governments
across this country.
They also feel that some of the Premiers, particularly in Alberta and in British
Columbia, are moving from a position where they could have a conflict ofinterest, and not
always hold the native rights and the native traditions in as high regard as the federal govern-
ment has in the past, and hopefully, with improvement, will in the future.
So, basically, in taking a position against this particular resolution as a result of a group
within my constituency, who feel opposed to the direction, not necessarily the content, per
se, of the resolution, but the fact that now we have 10 Premiers and the heads of the two
territorial governments involved, and they feel that that is not the manner in which they
would like to see things proceed.
As such, l will be voting against the resolution and urge all members to do the same
until you at least have a chance to invite the heads of the respective native organizations
to come here in the Law Amendments Committee, although it is not covered by Law
Amendments, but to come here and hear what they have to say. Because we are here today.
going to pass a resolution for, supposedly, for the improvement of aboriginal rights in this
country, but we have not been sitting down and talking to the native people.
Maybe the Minister of Social Services in his capacity as head of the tri-partite com-
mittee can assure that some negotiations have taken place. But l think it would be appropri-
ate if we took a day and invited the heads of the respective reserves in the province to
appear and select a number of people and let us know what their actual concerns are, why
they boycotted that conference that was held in Ottawa, why this was so late in coming in. l
do not feel it is a matter that should be rubber-stamped simply because it does not affect
any member in this House.
lf we pass this resolution, not one member in this House is going to be affected. But
it will have an impact on the respective native communities across the country, and in
specific, in our own province. As such, we should allow them to voice either their support
or their objections. Maybe they have had some reconsiderations and are willing to voice
their support for this particular resolution, but l feel that we are existing in an abstract
world if we are going to pass this resolution for the betterment of their rights without
asking their opinion on this resolution.
l feel that it would be extremely reasonable and that meetings could be set up very
quickly. l am sure that by tomorrow afternoon a number of native leaders could be invited
in, and we could hear from them before we decide to vote on this particular resolution and
thus probably have a much clearer view of what they actually want. Because l think as the
representatives of all of the people of Nova Scotia we have a responsibility to reflect their
views and their wishes, not merely what we think that they want.
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.
MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, l find myself in distinct sympathy with the
honourable member for Cape Breton South in the position that he has just enunciated.
Looking at the resolution before the House and l do not know if l should raise this as a
point of order or not, Mr. Speaker, but Your Honour has specifically ruled as being out of
order, this type of resolution endorsing an attachment.
I have introduced resolution after resolution referring to an attached news item or
the attached short summary of a specific problem. l have never introduced a resolution
saying resolved that this House endorses the attached cartoon but l am sure that if l had
done so, Mr. Speaker, you would have ruled it out of order because you yourself specif-
ically stated that our resolutions must contain in their body that which it proposes the
House endorse and not refer to an attachment.
Here we have a resolution constructed in that very way that you yourself had ruled
out of order, Mr. Speaker, a Proclamation Amending the Constitution of Canada. The
resolution itself, which is Page 1 of a three page submission, states that the “. . . House
do authorize His Excellency the Governor” General to issue a proclamation respecting
amendments to the Constitution of Canada, a copy of which amendments, in both the
English language and the French language, is attached hereto”.
Now what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Mr. Speaker, and if it is out of
order for the Leader of the Cape Breton Labor Party to do that it is equally outgoforder for
the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. l do not know if l should raise that as a
point of order or not, Your Honour, but l would pause at this point if you would care to
respond, because it would seem to me that you have specifically ruled that that form ot
construction for notices of motion for resolution is out of order in this House. ls the
resolution in order, Mr. Speaker?
MR. SPEAKER: Well, l have had an opportunity to review the resolution and it
refers in its main portion, to a document that is annexed to it. lt would have been a simple
matter, in my judgment, to include the part annexed in the body and in the text of the
resolution. However, the annexation is clear. I believe, I do not have it in front of me at
the moment, it is an extract from a document which is in statutory form and I think there-
by provides, perhaps, a basis on which I can find that this is an exception to the rule. I find
that the notice of motion and the motion is in proper form. It is in order and is properly
before the House.
MR. MACEWAN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I have a further point of order before I get into
the main meat of my address and that is that this resolution is further out of order, accord-
ing to the standards that you yourself have laid down for other members of the House to
observe, in that it contains a second paragraph stating, “And further be it resolved . . .”.
Now you yourself have read from Parliamentary authorities to state that a resolution that
begins, “And further be it resolved . . is out of order.
Now I raise that as a point oforder, Mr. Speaker. Surely that will make this resolution
out of order to the point that it should be thrown out and not discussed any further.
MR. SPEAKER: Well, again the resolution does not call upon the House to express
two different opinions. The “And further be it resolved . . .” portion of this resolution is
merely a direction to the Speaker to carry out certain actions consequent upon the adoption
of the resolution by the House if, in fact, that is the wish of the House. It does not ask the
House to express an opinion on a matter separate and distinct from the opinion asked for in
the first part of the operative part of the resolution.
So again, I am able to find that this is an exception to the general rule in that it does
not ask for an expression of a second opinion on the same matter. It is merely direction.
The words, “And further be it resolved . . .” are, in my view, not essential to the wording of
the operative clause of this resolution. They need not be included.
Therefore, I find that despite possible reservations I might have about the drafting of
the resolution, I find, nevertheless, that it is in order and again, properly before the House,
and that we could proceed with the debate.
MR. MACEWAN: Well, Mr. Speaker, I see then that while you have not seen fit to
grant my points of order, you tend to agree with me that this resolution leaves a great deal
to be desired in forms ofstructural construction.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I want to say that any comments I made related
strictly to the form and not to the substance of the resolution.
MR. MACEWAN: Oh, I fully understand that. Yes, Mr. Speaker, but the form is
simply one aspect of the whole, which is indicative of the general tendency, you see, Mr.
Speaker. While I am not seeking to involve you in the debate at all, Mr. Speaker, I think the
point has already been substantially made from an authoritative source, that insofar as
form and construction are concerned, this resolution leaves a great deal to be desired.
Now, perhaps, it leaves a great deal to be desired in other respects also, that is what I
propose to address as part two of my remarks on the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member for Cape Breton South touched on a very
sensitive and important point when he used the term rubber stamp in connection with
the procedure that appears to be now underway. We have before us, sir, a resolution of an
extremely grave and substantial character. This is not something that should be passed in
any summary or hasty fashion. This resolution deals with, perhaps, the most important
matter that we could possibly deal with, namely, the Constitution of our country. It seeks
authority from this House, which certainly is not something that should be given in a hasty
manner. It seeks authority in accordance with the procedure provided by the Constitution
Act for amending the Constitution, moving . . that the House do authorize His Excellency
the Governor General to issue a proclamation respecting amendments to the Constitution of
Canada, a copy of which . . . is attached hereto.”
Then, we get into the copy which apparently forms a part of the body of the resolu-
tion, although it is constructed in such an irregular fashion that I find it very hard to follow,
but in any event the statement is made that in “Paragraph 25(b) of the Constitution Act,
1982 is repealed and the following substituted therefor “.
Now, have we been advised as to the full provisions of that particular amendment, and
what 25(b) of the Constitution Act is that is to be repealed and we are to endorse, by way
of passing a resolution endorsing that procedure? Do we know what this is about? ” . . . any
rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.”
That is to be substituted for whatever they have there now. Now, certainly if the
mover of this resolution were seeking rapid and speedy passage for this, he would have
attached in addition to these attachments some explanatory notes, as we have with bills
before this House that explain to us just what the heck is going on, because I do not know
what is going on here.
I have not had an opportunity to consult with the native Indian members of my Party
to see how this would affect them. I have not had an opportunity to caucus this bill with
my supporters who might be affected, and I certainly know from experience, Mr. Speaker,
that those people are not inclined to grant carte blanche or blank cheques to those who seek
to tamper with the Constitution of this country, and especially on so sensitive and so
delicate a matter as to how the native peoples of this country are to be treated.
It would appear to me, looking at the two attached pages, that they deal entirely
with the aboriginal peoples of this country. Now, I am not going to get into a lengthy
historical treatise on the way in which the native peoples of this country have been treated,
by a long succession of governments of every political stripe that ever formed an adminis-
tration of the federal or provincial level in this country, but be it sufficient to say that there
is, I think, a very substantial case that can be made to demonstrate historical injustice to
those who were the original inhabitants of this country. It is an historical injustice, I think,
that is in some respects, in many respects, on a par with the historical injustice perpetrated
against Black people, or against the Jews in Europe during the 1930s and 1940’s. These
people in many parts of Canada did not receivejustice in previous times, and certainly have
not in our own times.
Now I do not purport to be an expert on the subject of native affairs, Mr. Speaker.
I have usually taken the point of view on that matter that we ought to attempt to deal
with this matter to the best extent that is possible on terms of justice, on terms of equality,
and making due allowances for the wishes of those whose rights in the past have been
I am not convinced that the passage of this resolution is the way to do that. I am
certainly not convinced at all, after hearing the very able presentation of the previous
speaker, whom I would like to compliment for having noted what was going on here, and
raised this matter. I would think that if this were a bill, Mr. Speaker, that were going to be
referred to the Law Amendments Committee where we could get some input, or we could
get some submissions where, we could at least in a cursory fashion, take a look at what it
was all about before recommending it back to the House for approval, that you might under
those circumstances be justified in saying sure let us send it down to the committee so
they can take a look at it and see what this is all about.
But, the procedure that is being adopted here does not permit any committee dis-
cussion, does not permit any examination, does not permit the native peoples, once again
they are being shut out you see, it does not pennit them to be able to appear before this
House, or a committee of this House, to make their representations and explain to us
their perspective on this. Instead, no, we are just being expected to, as the member for
Cape Breton South has said, apply the rubber stamp. I do not think that procedure is good
enough at all.
I have told honourable members of this House before, Mr. Speaker, about the pro-
cedure in our House, as compared to the procedure in the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R.,
where legislation is passed in three weeks that covers the country for the whole year, and
it is one of the largest countries on this planet. The reason that that is done is because
of the adoption of the rubber stamp procedure, you see. The minister responsible for a
certain area would simply introduce a piece of legislation to amend an existing Statute and
after it has been read out and explained, so that Pravda and Izvestiya and Tass and so forth
could get the necessary explanations to put into the press to enlighten the masses, the
chairman would call a vote and all hands would be raised unanimously, 1,100 voices cast
for the bill and zero against.
But you see, this is not that kind of Chamber. When I was at the Commonwealth
Parliamentary Conference in Newfoundland, Mr. Speaker, we learned something about
which countries in the Commonwealth could belong to the Commonwealth Parliamentary
Association. We were told that only those countries that practised the parliamentary form
of government were eligible for membership in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Associ-
ation. In other words, a nation could be a member of the Commonwealth, such as Bang-
ladesh or Ghana, but those nations have military dictatorships and they do not practise
the parliamentary form of government. They do not have elections, they do not have a
multiparty system. They do not have democracy. Because they do not have democracy,
while they may belong to the Commonwealth, the members of their governments or Legis-
latures or consultative councils or whatever they have, are not eligible for membership in the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
But this body, here, docs practise parliamentary government. It does practise the fact
that you have a government and you also have an Opposition. The duty of the Opposition,
as I have explained before, many times, Mr. Speaker, is to act as the watch-dog of the public
interest and to see what the government is doing or what the government is not doing and
to expose those times when the government is found to be exceeding its proper powers. I
think, myself, that the way in which this resolution has been presented has been, perhaps,
insufficiently well thought through. The resolution has been already found, Mr. Speaker,
by Mr. Speaker, to be very poorly drawn up in form. Further to that, the procedure by
which the resolution has been presented does not allow a sufficient period of time for
honourable members of the House to research this subject, to consult with constituents,
to consult with the leaders of the native people or to form any rational opinion at all.
I object very much, Mr. Speaker, to being used as a rubber stamp. I will not be used as
a rubber stamp by anyone. That fact has, perhaps, gotten me into certain vicissitudes over
the course of my political career, but on balance, I feel proud that I have always stood up
for my principles and not pennitted myself to be steam-rollered by anyone, even by the
very, very rich, Mr. Speaker.
So, sir, I say that it does not do well for this House, it does not well suit this House or
serve this House, rather, for us to simply pass this resolution in a perfunctory manner
without debate or without examination. l could move the adjournment of the debate so as
to permit further time that this matter be more further studied. It would seem to me, in
fact, that might be a good move at this time, Mr. Speaker, in closing my remarks, to move
the adjournment of the debate so that it could be resumed at some future time when
honourable members would have had more opportunity to fully reflect on the ramifications
of this particular resolution, to consult with interested groups.
Bearing in mind, Mr. Speaker, in all fairness, that the procedure of using a resolution
rather than a bill will not permit committee examination in the House, if we simply vote
yes and pass it, well, that is the end of it, until some poor native people in this province,
may, perhaps, l do not know, l am simply raising a question might, perhaps, find themselves
adversely affected by its contents. I do not want to be in a position where walking down the
street some fellow comes up to me or some woman and says, you there, you were a party to
this whatever it was, this selling of our rights down the liver or this transgression against our
right to enjoy certain privileges or benefits or whatever it was that were cancelled or were
amended or were altered by this particular procedure. You were a party to that process.
You see, I do not want to be in a position where anybody can point the blaming. finger at
me. Others can speak for themselves, but for myself, I want to say you show me where itis
good for the people. Then I will support it, yes, by all means. I am not an obstructionist. l
am not a negativist.
If something can be shown to me to be beneficial or to be desirable, l will be the first
to line up, Mr. Speaker, and support it enthusiastically, but not under these conditions. Not
under these conditions at all, Mr. Speaker.
I do not think that, bearing in mind the gravity of the subject matter affected by this
bill, that the treatment of the subject by the government, introducing it as a last minute sort
of thing hoping to get it through so that we can get into Supply, so that we can get on to the
estimates of the Attorney General, the second last day or the last day of the session. l do
not think that meets the needs ofjustice at all.
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. If l may interrupt the honourable member. There are
a number of private conversations taking place. l would invite members if they wish to
continue them, to carry them on outside the Chamber. There is quite a buzz developing in
here. The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova has the floor.
MR. MACEWAN: I submit, Mr. Speaker, that ifthis matter is of the immense import-
ance that it warrants a resolution introduced personally by the Premier, a man who has
attended this House perhaps less than any other member of the House during this session.
That he would come up here from down below to introduce this piece ofpaper today and
say, here, here it is, never mind all the problems. Never mind the rising electricity rates and
all the unemployment and all that. I have finally found the answer. Here it is and he lays
it on the table and then scampers back down below again. l do not think that procedure is
something that, we at least on this side of the House, would want to particularly endorse.
And so, sir, for all these reasons and without any desire to further hold up the House,
and with immense sympathy and forbearance towards my friend the Attorney General,
whom I know, wants to get on to his estimates, and does not want to see the House tied up
all day on a sustained and prolonged examination of this particular resolution. l would at
this time, for the benefit of all members of the House and to permit some adequate time
to research and study this subject, sir, l would move the adjournment of this debate.
MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for adjournment ofdebate on Resolution No. 224. All
those in favour say, Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
ln my opinion the Nays have it.
MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Oh the Ayes have it. Standing vote.
MR. SPEAKER: A standing vote has been called for.
MR. MACEWAN: Okay.
MR. SPEAKER: Oh, never mind.
The motion for adjournment is carried in the negative.
MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.
MS. ALEXA MCDONOUGH: Well, Mr. Speaker, in one of those possibly rare in-
stances of Opposition unanimity, l find that l am in complete agreement with both of the
previous speakers and l must say, Mr. Speaker, as l read the wording of the attachment
which we are in effect, being asked to endorse despite the double standard, once again
applied to rules with respect to what is procedurally acceptable and what is not, we find the
supreme irony that the main substance of these constitutional amendments pertains to the
whole matter of representation of native people in determining their own future and their
own freedoms and rights, and also considerable emphasis on their participation and consult-
ation in discussions pertaining to this whole matter. Yet what we find ourselves faced
with, here in this Assembly today, is a last minute resolution being introduced, clearly an
afterthought, which is an insult to the native people of Nova Scotia. If not an afterthought,
in any case introduced at such a late hour that there cannot possibly be the kind of exten-
sive debate and preparation needed, to really decipher all the implications of these proposed amendments.
lt seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that we are being asked here to endorse the concept of
participation and consultation by native people in determining their futures and yet, any
opportunity for that kind of consultation and participation to take place in reference to
this resolution has clearly been eliminated.
The member for Cape Breton South, Mr. Speaker, has spoken about the shameful
treatment of the native people in this country and I do not think that we are today, in a
position to have a full blown debate about that matter, but it does seem to me, Mr. Speaker,
that when one looks at the shabby treatment by this government, of native people in this
province, and the shameful treatment over the years and particularly in recent months
by the federal government vis-a-vis native people in this whole process of amending the
Constitution, it is little wonder that we have divisions and controversies between and among
native groups when it comes to reaching any kind ofconsensus in these matters.
l only need to remind you, Mr. Speaker, of two recent memos leaked from the federal
government, in which it was clear that the federal government was not acting altogether-in
good faith when it came to handling the whole matter of rights and freedoms of native
people, and aboriginal treaty rights, as this whole debate about constitutional rights pro-
ln one instance there was the leak of a memo from the Prime Ministers office, where
it was clearly proposed that the provinces should be embroiled in the constitutional dis-
cussions in order, really, to cause confusion and chaos and, secondly, it was specifically
proposed that the federal government ought to exploit the existing differences and divisions
which are there for various historical and real reasons, between the status Indians in this
country and the non-status Indians to really try to maintain an upper hand in the con-
More recently there was the leak of a memo, I believe it wasan internal Liberal Party
memo, in which it was proposed that there should be an advisory body set up with some
representation of native peoples, but it specifically proposed that the duly elected leaders of
various native groups should be excluded from representation on that advisory body, and
that instead the native persons represented ought to be carefully hand-picked by the Liberal
Party and ought to be, themselves, known to be committed Liberals.
l think when you look at that, Mr. Speaker, you can understand that there is con-
siderable skepticism, cynicism, caution and, generally, a lack of confidence in the whole
process that the native people are being asked to participate in. Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, I
think that the position as outlined by the member for Cape Breton South is, in fact, the
expressed view of the leadership in Nova Scotia of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, that
their preference is to not allow for the kind ofcm broiling ofprovinces in the federal provin-
cial matters affecting native people but, rather, their preference is to deal principally and
primarily with the federal government.
Well, one might ask the question of why it would be that, given the shabby treatment
and the shameful memos leaked from the federal government in recent times, the native
people of Nova Scotia would have a preference for dealing with the federal government?
Well, I do not know the answer to that question entirely, Mr. Speaker, but one can only
surmise that as shabby treatment as the native people have received from the federal govern-
ment, it is their perception that the provincial government, at least, this particular provincial
government, has an even less credible record in terms of dealing with them.
For that reason, I think, Mr. Speaker, one has to take into acccount the fact that the
Union of Nova Scotia Indians has expressed considerable reseivation publicly about the
process that has ensued to date. I think, as proposed by both of the previous speakers, at
the very least, before there is any consideration of this resolution here in this House, it is
incumbent upon all of us to seek from those native leaders precisely what their views are
on the matter and how they would want to have us represent those views herein the House.
I would like to add, Mr. Speaker and I do not know whether other members have
received similar submissions that I, for one, have received a number of pieces of corres-
pondence and communication from several native groups, both here in Nova Scotia and in
other provinces, expressing concerns about the precise wording of certain sections of the
proposed constitutional amendments. I do not feel, Mr. Speaker, at this point, that l have
had an adequate opportunity to fully research and get to the bottom of those concerns, and
it may very well be that those concerns expressed at an earlier time have subsequently been
addressed and the groups that had indicated concern may subsequently have had their fears
But I would like to take the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to indicate that I have received,
l believe, five different communications from different groups. including the Nova Scotia
Native Womcns Association, expressing concern about the wording in the Proclamation that
we have in hand, specifically with reference to the first and second clauses, where the
wording is, in Section 1 “(b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims
agreements or may be so acquired.”
The next section, again referring to rights that now exist, those various groups have
expressed some concern about the possibility that, given the fact there has been consider-
able inequality in terms of some of the rights of native women under existing legislation,
tying these changes to the concept of rights and freedoms now existing may, in fact, result
in an entrenchment ofsome of the existing inequalities. Well, Mr. Speaker, l have said that l
do not have any way of knowing whether the concerns have been adequately addressed. lt
does spell out in Clause 2(4), “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aborigi-
nal and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female
persons.” Nevertheless, l think this whole matter of constitutional change and precise
wording, especially when you get into “notwithstandings” and so on, is a very, very com-
plicated matter indeed.
l think we only have to look back to the very detailed wrangling that took place before
the precise wording was arrived at in the major amendments and the adoption of the Con-
stitution last year to recognize that it is not just something that is incidental, to raise con-
cerns about the precise wording, even if you are only talking about one or two words. So l
too, Mr. Speaker, would want to have the opportunity to hear from the Native Council of
Nova Scotia, the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and, with reference to this particular concern
addressed to me and l am sure to some other members as well, from the Nova Scotia Native
Women’s Association, before l would feel that it was appropriate to express a position one
way or the other on the resolution that has been placed before us.
l think it is indeed regrettable, Mr. Speaker, that the kind of consultation process
that the bringing in of a bill would have allowed at Law Amendments Committee has
clearly been circumvented or short-circuited by the manner in which this resolution has
been brought in. l think in view of the amount of skepticism that many native groups
hold in Nova Scotia for the kind of treatment that this government has subjected them to,
that it is simply an endorsement of that kind of after-the-fact, incidental, disrespectful
treatment for us to now vote in support of this resolution without consultation with such
I only have to recall, Mr. Speaker, the considerable amount of time that l spent on
the liskasoni Reserve during the recent Cape Breton The Lakes by-election to recall the
very deep feeling that is shared among so many native people in Nova Scotia, that this is a
government that really considers that these people do not exist as Nova Scotians with the
full rights and privileges that pertain to being a Nova Scotian citizen. lt seems to me that if
one looks back, for example, on the strong statement that was introduced early in this
session, endorsing the concept that the native people are principally and primarily the
responsibility of the federal government, and then observe the way in which this resolution
has been brought in, then one can understand why there is such a feeling ofdespair on the
part of native people in Nova Scotia, that this is a government that does not take seriously
their needs, their views and their concerns.
For that reason, Mr. Speaker, l too would be unprepared at this time to vote in support
of this resolution because l think the kind of consultation that needs to take place has not
taken place. lt certainly has not been possible for members of the Opposition to adequately
consult with representatives of native groups, to know exactly how they stand on this
Unless the honourable Premier who has introduced this resolution, and l note he is not
here, again, to discuss it, can assure this House or unless the Attorney General or some other
official spokesman for the government can assure this House, not only that such consulta-
tion has taken place, but perhaps bring forward some correspondence to indicate precisely
where the different native groups do stand in this matter, then l will be forced to vote
against it, and hope that at a future date the appropriate consultation can take place. Thank
you, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: lf l recognize the Minister of Social Services, it will be for the pur-
pose of closing the debate.
The honourable Leader of the Opposition.
MR. A.M. CAMERON: Mr. Speaker, that somewhat bothers me. We went through
legislation, last minute legislation l might add, and a last minute resolution. One was in
relation to the Gas and Oil Agreement introduced here, hastily, at the eleventh hour by the
Premier and then he goes off and leaves his Minister of Development to respond to it, at
which time he had not had the opportunity to respond. Here we have a resolution, again
introduced at the last minute, and the Premier, off he goes, again, and leaves it up to his
Minister of Social Services to respond to the resolution that is before this House at the
it gives me some concern as to truly, how serious this government and the Premier is in
relation to subjects of his responsibility or what he would like to take credit for, that is, he
introduced the bill on the offshore Oil and Gas Agreement and then threw over the respon-
sibility to his Minister of Mines and linergy to take the flak if there was any, but if there was
not any, he would be there to accept it.
Here we have an example in this resolution. He introduces it because it is the high
profile thing for him to do, then out he goes and leaves it to the Minister of Social Services
to respond to the concerns and the questions that are brought up by the Opposition.
l might say by starting off in my discussion on this resolution, how authentic and
how well is this done? ls it done best by resolution or is done best by an Act of the Legis-
lature, passing something to concur with and to go along with what the First Ministers of
this country have agreed to some time ago? ls a resolution adequate, to send off and say
that this solves the problem? l think of the fact that the Premier who introduced the reso-
lution, is not here to respond to it. l think the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova
brought up some very interesting points this morning, points of procedure and points of
introduction of this resolution, whether or not it was a proper resolution, in the form which
has been presented to this House in the past?
So, l would like to know just what is the story, what the reason, what is the rationale
behind this last minute flurry by the government and, particularly, by the Premier who
comes in here, and l understand although l was not here all last evening, he came in at the
eleventh hour and wanted everything to go bang, bang, bang so it would be to his satisfac-
l have to ask the minister, if he is going to respond to this, and l ask it in all sincerity,
why is this resolution so late in being introduced in this Legislature? Why is it coming in at
the eleventh hour? It is certainly not because it had not been dealt with or discussed before,
because l think it came up, I think it was something that was agreed to and approved by the
First Ministers at their last First Ministers’ Conference, which certainly was prior to last
l think it is a legitimate question, and l would like to have an answer to it. Because l
think. as the honourable member for Cape Breton South has indicated, there may well be
some need and some reason to get some of the opinions of the native people of this province
and to see what they think about it. Quite frankly, l think what is important is that they
have an input into what is happening. It is my understanding that, perhaps, the legisla-
tion that is being introduced at the federal government level and the resolution that we are
trying to rubber stamp, as has been pointed out by other debaters here today, a resolution
that goes along with what was apparently agreed to, does not necessarily have the total
support of the native people here in this province.
I know from correspondence that I have received from at least some groups of native
people in the province that they had concerns, because they have had some problems
negotiating, working with, and getting along with the present administration. Perhaps
there are problems with the federal government as well, in terms of what is taking place.
They certainly expressed to me some of their grave concerns about the communications and
their relations between the provincial government as well, and they are concerned about
adding another layer of bureaucracy or another layer of government. Let us not put bureau-
cracy or another layer of government for them to deal with or go through. They have
had a strong feeling that they want to and have dealt directly with the federal government.
and are now somewhat concerned another layer of government is to be added, which they
are going to have to deal with before they get to where they are going to ultimately get a
Well, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister if he could perhaps indicate what kind of
support has been received by the native people of Nova Scotia because, after all, we are
talking in this Legislature about representing the needs and the desires and the demands and
the concerns of the people, the native people in this case, of Nova Scotia, and we would like
to know what kind ofinput the native people have had.
It is my understanding from correspondence I have had with the groups, that one or
perhaps two groups are supportive generally. Others are not quite so supportive and, quite
frankly, feel that there has not been areal opportunity forinput of their position and their
concerns relating to their communities, and I think that it is only right for us to know
whether or not that is happening.
I would have to say, from what I understand from the legislation, that basically the
change in the resolution we are asked to support is generally an improvement for the native
people of this country, and I would think that on those grounds alone that that should be
adequate reason to support this resolution to go on and to be passed on to His Excellency
the Governor General, but I think in saying that it is my understanding from what l have
been able to get from people who have looked at it on our behalf, and on my behalf, that it
is generally an improvement to the situation. But, it seems to me that we are coming here
with an eleventh hour decision again, asking us to make a decision without giving adequate
opportunities for the native people to have input. and l say that as it is my understanding
that there have been some problems having input and communications with the government
of the province over the past while. I understand that not all of the groups were very an-
xious to participate in what took place, at least not the native people of our province here in
I think that because of that there is perhaps some valid need and valid reason for us to
ask or seek the views of native leaders on what this means to them and what it will prove, or
cause problems for them. I think it is important that we in this Assembly take the oppor-
tunity to provide that, if it has not been provided adequately in the past, which l under-
stand is in fact the case, at least from the correspondence and the opportunities I have
had to meet with several groups of native people in this province.
Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks I will look forward to hearing the response of the
ministers and I would reserve my judgment on supporting the resolution, but I have some
concerns about those areas. I have particular concerns about just what method and what is
taking place in this kind of method of operating our Legislature, where the Premier does one
thing and passes it over to another minister without responding to the questions.
I know that that will not be the case with this minister. I know that he will respond to
these questions that have been put forward by members on this side ofthe House. I believe
they are legitimate questions and ones that are and have been the concerns of native people
in this province. I look forward to some response from the minister and I might say he
is going to have to convince me to support this resolution.
MR. SPIEAKER: If I recognize the Minister of Social Services, it will be to close the
The honourable Minister of Social Services.
HON. EDMUND MORRIS: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in the debate in my
capacity as Minister responsible for native affairs in the province. I may parenthetically
say that I do not have the view that the Premier introduced the resolution and then left
it to someone else to continue. In my opinion, and I express it quietly, my opinion is that
the Premier left it, if you wish that phrase, gave it to the minister responsible a courtesy
to the House, knowing that the minister responsible would have some detailed responses to
make in respect of the matters that were under debate.
It does seem to me, Mr. Speaker, healing the contributions that have been made to the
debate, there is some confusion between the content of native affairs referred to in con-
stitutional law-making, however infelicitous white persons may think the phrase, as aboi-igi-
nal questions. It does seem to me that there is some confusion between the content of
native affairs and what it is we are purporting to do with this particular resolution. The
resolution, Mr. Speaker, is intended to give effect to the undertaking given by Nova Scotia
on the 15th of March at the Constitutional Meeting of First Ministers, signed on behalfof
the province, eight other provinces, Canada, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, and
agreed to there by representatives of the aboriginal peoples of Canada, the First Nations
Assembly, the Inuit and the Metis.
What was agreed to on March 15th, Mr. Speaker, was that those Legislative Assemblies
would, before the 31st of December, 1983, address resolutions to their Assemblies and
Parliaments to give effect to the accord reached by those jurisdictions on the 15th of March.
So, I immediately, and will at the end of these remarks, urge honourable members in all
corners of the House, the honourable member for Cape Breton South, the honourable
member for Halifax Chebucto and others, to consider carefully the effect upon those very
causes of which they have spoken here today, the effect of their non-support of this resolu-
The text of the resolution, the pages attached as the Proclamation amending the
Constitution of Canada are not uniquely the work of Nova Scotia. These are the words
agreed to by the parties at the First Ministers’ Conference and the resolution, Mr. Speaker,
is in form to conform to like resolutions in eight other provinces and two territories.
For example, speaking only at this point in my remarks to process, which is the essence
of what is involved in our debate today, has been suggested that this is a rubber stamp. That
is a pejorative phrase. That is not a rubber stamp. It is our given word over the signature of
the designated Cabinet officer of this province, that we and eight other provinces and two
territories and Canada, the federal Crown, would pass identical resolutions, to give effect to
what it was, was agreed for the furtherance of aboriginal interests on the 15th of March.
Thus the phrase, “In accordance with the procedure provided by The Constitution Act,
1982, for amending the Constitution of Canada, l move that this house do authorize His
Excellency the Governor General to issue a proclamation . . et cetera. That is the way and
the wording required in the Constitution Act to amend it.
Indeed, as an aside, l, though untutored in the law, inquired as an institutional Conser-
vative, whether anyone should authorize the Monarch’s representative, should it not be
request, a sense that the Crown should be requested, and l was advised that legally the
word had to be “authorize” by law officers of the Crown, that that is what the Constitution
Act requires in order to amend the Constitution. And so what this resolution would do is
authorize, as is the text in law, His Excellency to issue a proclamation. The proclamation
would then be conveyed to His Excellency by His Honour the Speaker, as evidencing
the undertaking by Nova Scotia to pass such a resolution evidencing in the persona of
its Speaker that the House of Assembly has, indeed, so done.
Now when we come to the content, l may be permitted very brielly to go through the
content and explain how it appends to the present Constitution Act. But with respect, again
l stress these requested amendments or, put more properly, the requested proclamation to
amend the Constitution of Canada, we cannot unilaterally change these. We may, in other
forums here, debate what we think should be in a Constitution of Canada and then we can
go forward and make those representations. But this is the text agreed to and the form of
the resolution conforms to the style being adopted in every other Legislature which signed
the accord. That is one reason why the matter comes forward in May and not at the end of
March, for there has been much dialogue to get the form not rubber-stamped but to make
it realistically workable, to achieve what it is we said we would achieve. The resolutions
must be in parallel form.
The first of the amendments, Paragraph 25(b) of the, perhaps before l mention the
detail I may say, very briefly, what was the sequence of events that led up to this matter.
ln the Constitution Act, proclaimed by Her Majesty The Queen on Parliament Hill on the
16th of April, 1982, it is provided that, in Section 37. (1), “A constitutional conference
composed of the Prime Minister of Canada and the first ministers of the provinces shall be
convened by the Prime Minister of Canada within one year after this Part comes into force.
(2) The conference convened under subsection (1) shall have included in its agenda an item
respecting constitutional matters that directly affect the aboriginal peoples of Canada, …”,
et cetera, et cetera, and “The Prime Minister of Canada shall invite elected representatives of
the governments of the Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories to participate in the
discussions on any item on the agenda of the conference convened under subsection (1)
that, in the opinion of the Prime Minister, directly affects the Yukon Territory and the
That conference was convened in Ottawa after a series of preliminary meetings ot
appropriate Ministers of the Crown, and officials, of all 12 jurisdictions, together constantly
throughout the whole series of preliminary meetings, with native or aboriginal representa-
tives at every conference.
That conference called for in the Constitution was convened by the Prime Minister of
Canada in Ottawa on the 14th and 15th of March, lt is a fact that it was Nova Scotias
recommendation that the First Ministers’ Conference on the 14th and 15th of March should
have, as its agenda, the agenda proposed by the native peoples, not by the White govern-
ments. That is the fact.
The constitutional conference was convened, together with aboriginal representatives
invited by the Prime Minister of Canada. Now, Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the
Opposition has referred in content, rather than, as l see it, in process, to some difficulties
that have existed in conversations between Nova Scotia and native peoples. What happened
in fact was the Prime Minister of Canada, under the Constitution Act, invited native repre-
sentatives, and that group to which the Union of Nova Scotia Indians adheres, that is to say
Status lndians, they decided they would not attend the Constitutional Conference, where-
upon l invited the Union of Nova Scotia lndians, the native women of Nova Scotia, and the
Native Council of Nova Scotia, the last named being Non-Status lndians, to take observer
positions with the Nova Scotia delegation. lt is a fact that while the Union of Nova Scotia
lndian representatives, under the distinguished presidency of Noel Doucette, did not attend
the conference of their own volition, they were not there at the invitation of Nova Scotia,
the Constitutional Conference arrangements ofinvitation under the Constitution, they were
invited by the Prime Minister of Canada. But others did attend. David Ahenekaw one of
Canada’s most distinguished native lndian leaders led the Assembly of First Nations. lnuit
and Metis groups were similarly led. The Native Council of Nova Scotia chose to participate
at the conference, not on a provincial basis, but as a member of the Native Council of
Canada. Yet, we provided an observer seat with our delegation, which was frequently
occupied. But it was their determination to attend in those fashions, after being invited by
the Prime Minister of Canada.
Now as for the detailed amendments, which nine of the provinces of Canada, Canada
itself, the federal Canada, and two territorial governments, each agreed to authorize His
Excellency the Governor General by Proclamation in identical language. What is the
Section 25(b) of the Constitution, which it is proposed by the accord of 11 of the 12
elected jurisdictions should be amended, Section 25 provides “The guarantee in this Charter
of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any
aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of
Canada including . . . and Section “(b) any rights or freedoms that may be acquired by the
aboriginal peoples of Canada by way of land claims settlement.”
At the constitutional conference the aboriginal representatives represented success-
fully, effectively, persuasively that those words may be acquired, in their view held the
possiblity of interpretation of meaning future and not present, and they asked that we
amend it in the form in which we are proposing. They asked that the words be, any rights or
freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or that may be so acquired. The
purpose is to give, ifneed be, greater clarity that the rights and freedoms referred to are not
only those that may be acquired in the future but those that exist.
Section 35 of the Constitution Act is a further clarification for greater certainty.
lt repeals nothing, but adds a further section so as to say . . . For greater certainty, in
subsection (1) “treaty rights” includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agree-
ments or may be so acquired.” That is to give reciprocal strength in Section 35 to the
undertaking in Section 25.
Subsection (4) of 35, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal
and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female
persons” was inserted during the First Ministers’ Conference on March 14th and 15th after
numerous representations by aboriginal groups that provisions of equality in section 28 of
the Constitution Act, that is the Act proclaimed by Her Majesty The Queen which provides
quote, “Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in
it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons”, it was represented by numerous
aboriginal women‘s representatives and by others that that left in their minds some uncer-
tainty as to whether that applied to aboriginal women.
l said in the opening statement for Nova Scotia at the First Ministers’ Conference what
l had said in conversations with native women of Nova Scotia, that we intended it and
interpreted it to mean aboriginal women as well as non-aboriginal women but that, if they
wished for greater clarity and as a gesture of good will, we would accede to the entrenching
of it in Part 2 in Section 35 to say that “Notwithstanding any other provision in this Act,
the aboriginal and treaty rights are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.”
Yes, Mr. Speaker, there was some debate in the public press after the accord was
reached, that these words had been changed. They had not been changed. lt was said that
there were no records kept of the conversations. Quietly, l say that is not correct. Minutes
were kept. I have them, the government has them. The fact is, that at a meeting, which was
intended to clarify matters, one province suggested a different wording, a wording which
had originally been proposed by the Inuit representative. No other provinces accepted it,
and this is the text precisely as was agreed to by the nine provinces, the two territories, and
But even if these words do not adequately or completely respond to the aspirations of
the aboriginal peoples, the further conferences continuing the agenda which Nova Scotia
proposed be the agenda for the First Ministers’ Conference, continues to contain the phrase
“equality” and it is for that process that we want to get the Constitution amended.
After Section 35 a section is to be inserted, and l may be permitted to explain this
matter in this way. Earlier l cited Section 37 of the original, the existing Constitution Act,
1982. It will be recalled that that conference there presumed, was required to be called
within one year of this part coming into force, which is to say not later than mid-April,
1982 it was, in fact, called in March 14th and 15th – but another section of the Act
repeals the section one year after the coming into force of the Act. So we had no way,
legally, under the Constitution Act, of going on with further conferences. That was the
lacuna that was discovered in the Constitution Act. There was no way to continue the
process of dialoguing with the aboriginal peoples of Canada to give effect to their aspir-
The Constitution Act, I am persuaded personally, with no intent at all, had so con-
trived that with the meeting on March 14th and 15th that unless the matter of aboriginal
rights was absolutely settled to evcryone’s satisfaction by April 10, 1982, there was no legal
way to go on, for it had been repealed by the Constitution Act. And so, and I again tell my
truth quietly about this matter, it was Nova Scotia that proposed the accord the method of
assuring an onward process together with accession to an identical Proclamation, so that we
have a way to go on and dialogue.
Honourable members who are concerned with these matters will please note that the
section that is to be added after Section 35 gives effect to words which were spoken here
this morning about the necessity, the desirability of dialogue. l say this quietly and not at all
in any threatening way, if we do not pass this accord, if the nine provinces, and two territor-
ies, and Canada do not pass this, there is no way to dialogue about the Constitution, and
note the Section 35 requires, “the Prime Minister of Canada will invite representatives of the
aboriginal peoples of Canada to participate in the discussions. . .”. That is what the process
If we did not accede and if other provinces or Canada did not accede, then we would
have no constitutional form in which to proceed with constitutional reform. That is what
the purpose is for. The next section, “Constitutional Conferences,” provides to the aborigi-
nal peoples of Canada a unique guarantee of that dialogue.
Mr. Speaker, you will know, sir, both personally and in your highest office in this
House, that it is often a dangerous matter for persons untutored in the law to go forward
into law making. The Constitutional Conference of 1981 and the Constitutional Confer-
ence of March 1983 were not writing slogans. They are writing law and a non-lawyer goes
with trepidation among the experts and those skilled in the preparation of law. And it is a
fact that a question was raised, a question was asked, what kind of Constitution is it of a
great nation from sea to sea that would provide an amendment to provide for two meetings?
What kind of a Constitution, is it Constitution writing to amend a Constitution simply to
provide as it was put, to provide an amendment that would call for two meetings.
The answer was an affirmative yes. Yes, Constitutions should serve men and women,
not men and women Constitutions alone, and that was what the aboriginal people wanted.
One of the sad moments was when one of them said we have had enough of the federal
government’s promises, we want the law, and so we agreed that there would be an amend-
ment that would eall forth for two more conferences. That is what this does.
Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to deal with the subject matter of native affairs. But
it is not what we are here dealing with today. l am incited to do so by some remarks that
have been made, but l will not do so because it will confuse the process. The process, Mr.
Speaker, is this, nine provinces, suffering only the absence of the Province of Quebec,
Canada, federal Canada, two territories and the representatives of the aboriginal peoples
of Canada signed by their hands, an accord to do this. They said, those in government said,
that they would do so by the 31st of December, 1983.
This is the process that allows that very dialogue of which the member for Cape
Breton South was so anxious, shortly, to preserve. Nova Scotia is dialoguing with the
native peoples. May l be permitted to recall thatin the Speech from the Throne, opening
the current session of this Assembly, Paragraph lo read as follows, “Significant strides have
been made by my Government towards a greater understanding of the unique problems of
May I now confide in the House, the source of that? Those words are taken from a
letter from the President of the Union of Nova Scotia lndians to the Premier of this prov-
ince. They are quoted, without quotation marks, verbatim, from a letter from the President
of the Union of Nova Scotia lndians. “My Government fully supports the view of native
people that they and their lands are a total federal responsibility. My Government will
vigorously support their demand for improved federal performance of its responsibilities to
the native people at next month’s Constitutional Conference.”
Mr. Speaker, there are instrumentalities for dialogue. There is a tripartite which con-
sists of the Government of Nova Scotia through its designated minister of native affairs
chairperson, a representative of the federal Crown and the Union ofNova Scotia lndians.
But, because the Union of Nova Scotia lndians’ status and the non-status Native Council
have not reached an accord or an agreement to attend jointly, I established recently another
group, in addition to tripartite, consisting of representatives of the Union of Nova Scotia
lndians and the Native Council, together with this province.
Last Friday morning, l addressed the Native Council of Nova Scotia and told them that
we would proceed with giving effect to our pledged word at Ottawa that we would bring in
this resolution, and, Mr. Speaker, l assure you that they are more than enthusiastic to have
the confirmation, by this government, of its intent as given to them and conveyed to them.
So there are methods of dialogue, and there are methods of acceding to native aspir-
ations and aboriginal hopes and dreams. But what we are dealing with today is to give
effect for Nova Scotia to its solemn undertaking, given in the presence of the Right llonour-
able Prime Minister of Canada and his ministers, the First Ministers, les premiers ministres of
the provinces of Canada.
Le premier ministre Levesque attending but not appending his name because he has
another dispute with the federal government, not this. Nine of the provinces, two territories
and the native respresentatives chosen by themselves all signed this accord and all under-
stood and agreed that by December 31, 1983, each of the governments present at the table
would introduce, in their Assemblies, a resolution to authorize His Excellency the Governor
General, in identical words, to amend the Constitution of Canada as they had agreed with
the native peoples they would do, and to amend it in such fashion as to provide precisely
the kind of dialogue that other honourable members have indicated, here this morning, they
What is the alternative? Shall we say to the native peoples of Nova Scotia, status and
non-status l may be permitted to say so as the member for Cape Breton South indicated
in his opening remarks, without attending to the debate, he has indicated that he will not
vote for it shall we say to the native peoples of Nova Scotia that this House of Assembly
shall not keep its word to its people? Shall we say to the rest of Canada, if the majority pre-
vailed in this House today, if it prevailed against this resolution, shall we say to the rest of
Canada that our wordis not good at the Constitutional table? Shall we, in effect, say that
we wish to advance the cause of the native and the aboriginal peoples of our Royal province
by denying them the process to have that done?
This resolution is in identical language with resolutions being introduced by honour-
able men and women in every Legislative Assembly in this country, federal, territorial and
provincial. lt is what we said we would do. We should do no less.
MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, it has been extremely helpful to have the kind of
detailed information that the honourable minister has brought forward in wrapping up the
debate, it is regrettable that it was not brought forward in introducing the debate.
The question l would ask the honourable minister is whether he is able to give the same
reassurance to members of the Opposition that have expressed reservations about proceed-
ing in this way, that the identical consultation has taken place with the full accord of the
Union of Nova Scotia lndians and the Nova Scotia Native Womens’ Association, as has
taken place as recently as last Friday with the Native Council of Nova Scotia, as the minister
indicated in his remarks?
l think that gets to the heart of our concern about having the opportunity for some
kind of input from those two important groups, particularly in view of the public con-
troversy that has been brought forward by members of those two groups.
MR. MORRIS: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Union of Nova Scotia lndians, the
Status Indians, the Union of Nova Scotia lndians decided itself that it would not participate
in responding to the Prime Minister’s invitation that it should be part of a national repre-
sentation at Ottawa. lts position, suffering the exaggeration of brevity, is that it believes
that all matters affecting Statuslndians should be negotiated only with the federal Crown.
Our position, again suffering the exaggeration of brevity. is that the Constitution of
Canada, whether the Status lndians perceive it to be such or not, the Constitution of Canada
is law and it refers to the provinces’ and provincial governments’ participation in amend-
ment is necessary. We are, the 10 provinces and two territories, part of constitution making
in Canada and the provinces therefore must participate. The Union of Nova Scotia lndians
has direct conversation with the Government of Nova Scotia, present and past, through the
instrumentality of tripartite.
There is a meeting on June 18th, l believe, next month. The agenda of that meeting or
any tripartite meeting could, at any point, include any constitutional item. But, more
importantly, the agenda for the June meeting, of tripartite includes the very essence issues
which honourable members were speaking of here this morning, fishing rights, employment.
lf I may, as a minister responsible for native affairs, while l have participated ardently in
constitution writing, I do not think it should be to the exclusion of other things. l am trying
to find some jobs, just jobs, because l believe that the Nova Scotianness of persons who
happen to be also Indian is part of their being Nova Scotian, but their lndianness, if l may,
is a federal matter, but their humanity within our province is a Nova Scotia matter.
So, the Union of Nova Scotia lndians can dialogue and the answer to the Native
Council and the Native Women of Nova Scotia is an emphatic, affirmative, yes, we are in
steady dialogue with them about their aspirations at the conference. This process of the
resolution provides for an onward process of ministerial and officials’ meetings, which was
not provided in the original Constitution. l do not wish unduly to take undue time of the
House, but the Constitution Act called for a First Ministers’ Conference. lndeed, some of
the ministers and officials attending in the preliminary meetings did not know whether they
were entitled to dialogue deeply with native peoples or whether they were primarily advisors to the First Ministers.
The new process, which calls for additional Constitutional Conferences, not later
than April, 1985, and again April, 1987, provides also for ministerial and officials’ meetings
and it is Nova Scotia’s stated position that they should be held sooner rather than later,
while the impetus is upon us.
Mr. Speaker, in concluding on this matter, l urge honourable members, with the
assurance that there is facility for dialogue and that we are dialoguing and that the l-louse
may, at any ofits appropriate occasions, debate the essence of those matters, l urge honour-
able members of the House not to turn aside an affirmative resolution authorizing His
Excellency the Governor General of Canada to say that Nova Scotia has kept its word to
its native people. To do other than that would be to defy the aspirations of the native
people. lt is exactly contrary to what was stated earlier in debate. It would deny them
their rights, it would deny them the hopes of their aspirations. lt would bring ignominy
to our province.
l urge members in the House to see that the resolution goes . . .
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before the minister concludes, would he entertain
one more question?
MS. MCDONOUGH: Mr. Speaker, I have a specific concern about the letter addressed
to the Premier, a copy of which also went to the honourable minister who is wrapping up
the debate, from the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association concerning the precise
wording that l have already raised in my earlier comments. l am wondering if the honour-
able minister could indicate whether he has had further communication with the Nova
Scotia Native Women’s Association that has satisfied them about the wording, or whether he
is aware of any further correspondence that the Premier may have had with the Nova Scotia
Native Women’s Association, that may have satisfied the concerns that they raised at an
earlier time. I would note also that there was communication to the honourable minister
pertaining to the same matter from the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and, I am
wondering whether those concerns raised have been adequately addressed in his view, and
whether he can assure the House of that being the case.
MR. MORRIS: Mr. Speaker, on the specific question prior to the March 14th, 15th,
First Ministers’ Conference, I met with the Native Council ofNova Scotia on more than one
occasion to hear and receive their views on what they sought to achieve, what they would
hope would be achieved, by the First Ministers’ Conference in March and now continue to
hope to achieve in the further onward conferences provided by this resolution.
At one of those meetings, the last before the final officials and ministers’ meeting
leading up to March 14th, which is to say the meeting of February 28, 1983, the President
I believe of the Native Women of Nova Scotia asked me if Nova Scotia would agree to
language which would have the effect of ensuring that the equality rights for males and
females, that we would, at the First Ministers’ Conference advance the case, the argument
that those rights, equality rights, needed reinforcement elsewhere in the Constitution Act
to make it clear that they specifically included aboriginal women. And, I said again, immedi-
ately, honourable members of the House will know that on certain reservations, in the
aspiration for self government, some Indian reservation administration does not always
see women’s rights in the same way in which the dominant white society sees equality, and I
said, in response to the question, yes, our view, Nova Scotia’s view as one of the 11 govern-
ments, prime governments, at the table together with the two territories, our view is that
Section 28 of the Constitution Act as presently enacted, notwithstanding anything in this
Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female
I said that our interpretation in Nova Scotia was, and would be that that included
aboriginal women, but because of their uncertainty and as a gesture of brotherhood and
sisterhood we would support that position at the Constitutional Conference, and that in
my opening statement I so said we would do so. I may be permitted to say against some
opposition from status groups.
Now, the words that have come through in the proclamation are not the words that
some aboriginal people appeared to prefer. Early in the conference, amid the very blizzard
of paper that goes on at First Ministers’ Conferences, the lnuit representative sent a
different text about, but it lacked support. Only Ontario’s representative spoke in favour of
it, and no one else spoke in favour of it. Indeed I will be frank with you, we have reservation
in Nova Scotia about the text, the alternative text which the native women and the National
Council on the Status of Women appear to be supporting, we have reservations about the
text because it refers to rights or guaranteed, I do not have the text in front of me, it is not
the one accepted by the First Ministers and by the native people signing the accord, but it
refers in its own way, it is possible that it could be interpreted as granting to the Metis
people the same rights as those of status Indians, and we have not yet defined the word
Metis, in the Constitution Act.
So, we have said that the alternative wording was not the one that we had agreed to
support, it was not the one that we understood we had been asked to support, the one we
had then we did, and effectively, and it has been accepted by all of the other governments.
But, again I say, if we pass this resolution and eight other provinces in Canada pass it, then
it will become a constitutional amendment, and in the agenda for the forthcoming First
Ministers’ meeting, the agenda continues to be the agenda urged by Nova Scotia and
accepted by the others, and it includes the word “equality”. So there is room for further
dialogue. l will not presume the outcome oi‘ it, but there is adequate and complete room
for dialogue, but only it the governments which said they would, do bring to their Assem-
blies such a resolution, and the Assemblies, in their enlightenment, pass them. Failure
to do which would lead to no provision for constitutional dialogue.
Mr. Speaker, l would, with great earnestness, urge the House, in all parts even those
who, in earlier remarks, had expressed an early disposition not to do so. l urge them not to
abstain and not to vote against the recognition of our solemn word in the face of our native
peoples and in the face of all of Canada. (Applause)
MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for the adoption of Resolution No. 224.
Would those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Standing vote.
MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for a standing vote. Ring the hells. Call in
[The Division bells were rung.]
MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied?
The motion is for the adoption of Resolution No. 224.
Would those in favour of the motion please rise. Would the Clerk please take the count.
The Clerk has the count. Please be seated.
Will all those against the motion please rise. Will the Clerk please take the count. The
Clerk has the count. Please be seated.
THE CLERK: For, 36. Against, 4.
MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried. (Applause)
The honourable Minister of Development.
HON. ROLAND THORNHILL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair
and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her
MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.
[1:23 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker
John Leefe in the Chair.]
[5:52 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Arthur
Donahoe, resumed the Chair.]
MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply