Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 25 (12 December 1980)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 25 (12 December 1980).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 25
Friday, December 12, 1980
Senator Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Joint Committee of
the Senate and of
the House of Commons on the
Constitution of Canada
The document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a
Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen
respecting the Constitution of Canada” published
by the Government on October 2, 1980
(See back cover)
First Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament, 1980
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE OF
THE SENATE AND OF THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS ON THE CONSTITUTION
Senate Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Representing the Senate:
Representing the House of Commons:
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
Joint Clerks of the Committee
Pursuant to S.O. 65(4)(b) of the House of Commons:
On Friday, December 12, 1980:
Mr. Corbin replaced Mr. Henderson;
Mr. Althouse replaced Mr. Robinson (Burnaby);
Mr. Allmand replaced Mrs. Côté;
Mr. Ogle replaced Mr. Althouse.
Pursuant to an order of the Senate adopted November 5, 1980:
On Friday, December 12, 1980:
Senator Connolly replaced Senator Cottreau;
Senator Cottreau replaced Senator Wood;
Senator Muir replaced Senator Tremblay.
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 1980
The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 9:35 o’clock am., the Joint Chairman, Senator Hays, presiding.
Members of the Committee present:
Representing the Senate: The Honourable Senators Austin, Connolly, Cottreau, Donahoe, Hays, Lamontagne, Lapointe, Lucier, Muir and Murray.
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Allmand, Althouse, Bockstael, Corbin, Dantzer, Epp, Fraser. Hargrave, Hawkes, Irwin, Joyal, Lapierre, Nystrom and Ogle.
Other Member present: Mr. Robinson (Burnaby).
In attendance: From the Parliamentary Centre: Mr. Peter Dobell, Director. From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mr. Louis Massicotte, Researcher.
Witnesses: From the Canadian National Institute for the Blind: Mr. Robert Mercer, National Managing Director; Dr. Dayton Foreman, National Vice-President; Mr. David Lepofsky, Member of the Ontario Board of Directors. From the World Federalists of Canada—Operation Dismantle: Dr. Francis Leddy, National President of World Federalists of Canada; Mr. T. James Stark, Director, Operation Dismantle.
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Reference from the Senate dated November 3, 1980 and its Order of Reference from the House of Commons dated October 23, 1980, both relating to the document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada” published by the Government on October 2, 1980. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Thursday, November 6, 1980, Issue No. 1.)
The witnesses of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind made statements and answered questions.
The witnesses of the World Federalists of Canada, Operation Dismantle, made statements and answered questions.
At 11:03 o’clock a.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Joint Clerks of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Friday, December 12, 1980
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): May I call the meeting to order.
We are honoured this morning to have with us the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, represented by Mr. Robert Mercer, Doctor Dayton Foreman, and Mr. David Lepofsky.
As you know, the procedure is that you would make an opening statement, then members should like to question you.
You may proceed.
Dr. Dayton Foreman (Vice-President, National Council. Canadian National Institute for the Blind): Mr. Chairman and members of the Senate, House of Commons Committee, as Vice-President of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind’s National Council, its volunteer Board of Directors, I am privileged to be, once again, a part of a group coming to assist in deliberations of this government and Parliament and also to field your questions.
Our group today consists of the fifth Managing Director of the Institute, Mr, Robert Mercer, who was appointed by National Council on September 1, 1980. He is the chief executive officer of this National Institute and will outline some concerns that he has.
Our third speaker is a fellow-volunteer, Mr. Lepofsky, who will speak on some points in our brief which have been submitted.
In advance, I would like to thank you for your time and hope we can answer some of the questions you will be asking.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Mercer.
Mr. Robert Mercer (Fifth Managing Director, Canadian National Institute for the Blind): Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind was incorporated federally in 1918 with the dual purpose of providing services in this country to people who were blind as well as to prevent blindness in Canada.
We are a service agency, and as such we would like to make the point this morning that we do not profess to represent the views in Canada of all people who are blind, particularly on a major issue which will be addressed by Mr. Lepofsky a little later.
However, we would like to indicate that, as a service agency, working with blind people in this country, we are the largest and have a long history of involvement with blind people and generally with the community.
We have taken a great deal of time on this matter of human rights to listen carefully to what blind people have been saying and to what other handicapped people have said as well, and in putting forward our position this morning, we say, with some assurance. that what we have to say represents in fact the view of many people who are handicapped in this country, and we trust that this Committee will take most seriously the concerns that handicapped people have in this Canada in your later deliberations.
I would like to call on David Lepofsky, who is a member of the Ontario Division Board of Management of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to present the position of CNIB on the subject of human rights.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Lepofsky.
Mr. David Lepofsky (Member, Ontario Division Board of Management, Canadian National Institute for the Blind): -Mr. Chairman, i would like to begin with my thanking you both as a volunteer member of CNIB Ontario Board and as a blind individual for this opportunity to speak to you on what is a crucial issue in our view.
I would indicate at the outset two things, the first of which is I believe all the members of the committee have a letter from the Committee addressed to me from the Ontario Federation of the Physically Handicapped, a federation of some 37 organizations which deal with various kinds of disabilities, a letter endorsing the position articulated in our written brief. I would ask in pursuance of what Mr. Mercer has just said, that this is indicative of the kind of support for all of you which exists amongst all kinds of disabled persons and not merely persons with a visual handicap.
I would ask at this time, Mr. Chairman, that in the spirit of the equality which we are promoting here, the clerk to pass around to the various members—if they prefer not to read our brief in print, they have the choice of reading it on a cassette or in braile; I would ask the clerk to pass them around, and I apologize that there will not be enough for absolutely everyone, but we would be pleased to provide you with extras if they are needed in the future.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much; they are being passed around.
Mr. Lepofsky: As I say, it is demonstrative of our efforts towards equality and our concern about the equality of blind and other handicapped persons.
Mr. Chairman, to begin, I would like to mention a point which may come as a surprise to some. The biggest problem very often with being handicapped—and so far as CNIB are concerned—is not blindness or the handicap. Blindness, visual handicap or other kinds of disability, are frequently conditions which one can learn to adjust to through training, with which one can learn to cope and ultimately achieve some substantial, if not total, degree of independence, self sufficiency and self worth.
The biggest problem very often resulting from’ blindness or other handicap is the well intentioned cruelty which many members of the public unintentionally or unknowingly impose upon us. The pity the patronization, discriminatory attitudes and condescension which handicapped people know to be, unfortunately, almost nonstop components of their life, is in fact the biggest problem they face.
A handicapped person, in the case we are discussing today, namely that of a blind person, can learn through specific training to overcome the limitations imposed by their blindness, so that blindness no longer functions in most cases as “a handicap”; in fact it can become at times merely a marginal aspect of one’s life, compelling one to read in Braille rather than from prim or to use a guide dog or cane to get from point A to B, rather than using one’s eyes, but nonetheless accomplishing substantially the same things as a sighted person would.
Once one has achieved this degree of independence, however, the problem that is confronted by the majority of handicapped persons is the fact that the public is not often ready to accept us as equals, not by reason of malevolence, but because of uniformed or misinformed attitudes, underestimating our capabilities by fear of the handicapped person—you might call it the “freak syndrome”, not perceiving a handicapped person as just a normal human being. This is manifested in several ways, many of which are frightening and harmful.
Job discrimination against the disabled is something which the public are only now becoming conscious of; the fact that once you have learned to do a job, the fact that you are ready to go out into the market and be competitive, you will find the only barrier you have is not your blindness or other handicap, but the employer who cannot believe you can function.
Housing and other facilities a landlord may not be permitted to rent because a blind person might be considered a health hazard and people do not want to look at someone who has cerebral palsy because it might be somehow unpalatable to look at in the opinion of some.
Educational systems are accessible primarily to nondisabled persons, but only to a limited degree to disabled persons, and, of course, as we all know, most buildings are not accessible.
These are functions of an attitude that the world simply does not contain handicapped people or that those handicapped people are not going to be out there trying to get job, trying to get into housing or buildings.
Our concern is generally with this attitude, and CNIB as well as other organizations have taken many steps, both with public education and also lobbying, to change this. Where this kind of problem with attitudes becomes perhaps most frightening and most requiring of action, is something which is addressed in the Charter of Rights which is before you.
Handicapped people in the struggle for equality and equality of opportunity find that not only do people discriminate in the access to jobs, buildings, facilities, services and housing, but that, in fact, legislators, persons passing laws have also experienced the same negative attitudes towards the handicapped and have passed laws which are in fact discriminatory.
Accordingly, the major thrust of our presentation is that it is necessary that they should be included in Section 15 of the Charter of Rights, the so called equality or nondiscrimination clause, and be referred to as a protected class, mentally or physically handicapped persons.
We are not looking at this as a means of getting jobs or housing, because that is something which is done at the federal or provincial Human Rights Code level, and we are actually lobbying for that.
Here, we are concerned with not just human conduct which is discriminatory, but legislation which discriminates,
Why should we be included in Section 15? Why handicapped people entitled to equality before the law and to the equal protection of the law?
To begin with, I am sure you have all come to the conclusion yourselves and you have heard from other groups, as the clause is presently drafted it is unarguable, unquestionable that handicapped persons are not entitled to equality before the law.
By this exclusion, it perpetuates in our constitution and attitude which, as I have mentioned, is prevelant in society, some notion of handicapped people as second class citizens, people who need to be taken care of, not given independence, protected, not given the opportunity of equality.
Inclusion in Section 15 for the handicapped would be consistent with what is the stated intention of the government with respect to the Charter of Rights. I refer to a statement made by the Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Mark MacCvuigan, in speaking at a public forum on the constitution some weeks ago in Toronto, when I asked him about the handicapped issue. I-Ie had said that the Charter of Rights was central to the government’s package of reforms and that equality for all minorities is central to the Charter of Rights.
If that is the intention, then that intention is thwarted by the present proposed Section 15 because equality for all minorities is not provided. Equality for some is the rubric or the essence of Section 15 as it stands, and it is a respectful submission of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind that, if the intention of the government is to, in fact, give equality to all minorities and is, given the fact that there are some hundreds of thousands or millions of handicapped persons in Canada all told, there is a minority that requires protection. That is not disputed. So the government’s intention must only be manifested, it is our view, if we are included.
Moreover, if the purpose of the equality clause is truly to grant equality, one must look at its wording. It provides equality for certain minorities: in other words, it involves equality for some; and equality for some, I submit really means equality for none. It means that there are two levels in society, one level of people who are entitled to equality and one level who are not. And when you have two distinct classes such as that the term “equality” has been stripped of its meaning and rendered more of an illusion.
Accordingly, if equality is the goal, then it must be equality for all and “all” must include, we submit, handicapped. Now, as I said previously, Mr. MacGuigan in his statement, in answer to certain questions I put to him about the handicapped issue, acknowledged that the handicapped are not
included and raised the question whether handicapped people need protection in a bill of rights, whether they need egalitarian liberties. His statement was that what the handicapped need are jobs and access to buildings, and these are economic not political or egalitarian liberties, and are not the kinds of things that are required in a constitution.
Now, in a world that was not our own, where economic liberties were generally being entrenched, I would be prepared to address issues such as jobs and architectural access in the constitution; but we are not going to address that today because we recognize the constraints under which Canada and the Parliament are operating. However, I would like to address the statement that Mr. MacGuigan made, speaking at that time on behalf of the government on the constitution. He said that what handicapped people need is not constitutional protection for equality, and it is our submission that Mr. MacGuigan’s view is inaccurate. In fact, when I pointed out certain things that I am about to point out to you, he explained that he had never heard of them before and would probably need to rethink the whole issue.
Legislation, as I said, in many instances discriminates against the disabled. You have heard this before but I believe that we will be the first handicapped group that will in fact itemize examples. Many statutes across Canada, both federally and provincially, which provide that everyone is entitled to a minimum wage when they are in the employment situation provide exemptions for handicapped persons. That is discrimination under or in law with respect to a legal right to a certain minimum wage.
Certain statutes explain when that right is to be administered and when not; certain do not. They merely say that the government has or a Minister has the power to give a licence to allow an employer to pay less than minimum wage, without giving reasons. This is not equality, this is discrimination, in our view.
Many statutes across Canada dealing with eligibility to sit on juries exclude bling persons from the right to serve on juries. Now, there are times when vision may be needed to serve as a juror. It is not our view that every trial should always be open for a blind person to sit on a jury; however, there are, and as a law student and soon to be a lawyer, I can speak with some limited knowledge of this, there are many cases where vision is not necessary and probably the lack of vision may be of benefit to a juror. So, legislation which just blanketly excludes blind persons without reference to their ability or inability to function as a juror, is discriminatory. The marriage legislation in Ontario provides in Section 7 that a marriage licence cannot be granted to someone who is mentally defective. It does not refer to whether their mental limitation is so serious that it would impede their ability to understand or consent to a marriage agreement. It merely excludes someone who is mentally defective from the right to be married. Such, in our submission, is discriminatory.
The Family Benefits Act in Ontario, a piece of welfare legislation, provides in one section that certain handicapped persons who are in institutions and entitled to certain welfare payments may, by executive order, have those payments paid to a civil servant, a director of the institution or whatever—I do not have the details here, unfortunately—rather than to the handicapped persons themselves. It does not ever require that a handicapped person’s right to receive welfare can be impeded only if that person is incapable of managing their own affairs. It merely says any handicapped person, so that if it is a person who is perfectly capable of handling that money capably, nonetheless their right can be taken away by executive action, perfectly legally under a statute of the province of Ontario. Such is legislation which discriminates.
The Education Act in Ontario, Mr. Chairman, provides that a handicapped person, whether physically or mentally handicapped, can be excluded from the right to go to their local elementary school if they are “incapable of profiting by instruction.” And then a separate school system is established to deal with those situations. Now education is a big and serious issue and I do not intend to address it in its totality here but I think it is fair to say that a provision that says that only where handicapped people cannot profit from instruction, only those people are excluded from the right to go to their local schools. If it is a nonhandicapped person who for some other reason is incapable of profiting from instruction, the statue does not exclude them from the right to go to their local shools. Such is unequalltreatment; such is discriminatory, at least prima facie, in our submission.
Other legislation, and I will only deal with other legislation briefly, British Columbia schools legislation, Section 107 (5) provides, Mr. Chairman, in certain circumstances that an employee of a board of education who is totally and permanently disabled—and I could not find a definition in the act of that term—cannot be hired by the board until they lose their disability. Now, certain disabled persons cannot function in a teaching environment but others can. So such a blanket exemption, if applied against any person with any disability, would be, in fact, discriminatory; and I bring to your attention that blind persons are functioning both in Canada and the United States in the teaching profession.
I am not sure if that act would include blind people within their definition of total and permanent disability, but there is the risk, and that is discriminatory legislation with which we are concerned.
The Immigration Act passed by the government some couple of years ago in Section 19(1) provides a higher burden on a handicapped person who proposes to immigrate to Canada. If that handicapped person can meet all the requirements required of a non-handicapped person, able to support themselves, finding a job, et cetera, et cetera, they still must prove to a medical officer that they will not be an excessive demand on health and social services. There is not requirement that other persons wanting to immigrate have to prove that they will not provide such a demand on health and social services. Such separate treatment not applied to all immigrants is discriminatory in our view.
I would submit that there are other laws that do discriminate but I think that these are sufficiently ilustrative to respond to the suggestion that we need no constitutional protection, the legislatures can take care of it themselves. This is evidence of how the legislatures have taken care of handicapped rights to equality and moreover, Mr. Chairman, I think that it rebutts the suggestion made by Mr. MacGuigan a couple of weeks ago in response to my question, that handicapped people simply need rights to jobs; they can be provided by statues, they do not need constitutional rights.
Moving on, Mr. Chairman, I would say that there are other reasons why we need to be included in the clause providing for equality. We are a substantial minority. We are not talking about a very small number of people. We have 30,000 clients registered at CNIB and Dr. Foremen can provide you with information of how many other visually handicapped people, as well as other handicapped people, may well be out in the community. Some have suggested that there are one in ten persons in Canada handicapped in some way and therefore would benefit from the kind of constitutional protection we are talking about.
There are a couple of arguments that have been raised primarily by spokesmen for the government—in one instance, I think it is the Minister of Justice, Mr. Chrétien—against handicapped inclusion. One argument that he made is that we should not include it now because it is hard to define the term handicapped. We should wait until we can come up with a definition and put it in through an amending formula. Well, with respect to the Minister of Justice, I do not believe that position is tenable.
Firstly, if this Committee requires information on how to define handicapped, having looked over most Canadian statutes that contain the word and have various definitions over the past few days, I have found that some statutes do not even bother defining it but those that do have been able to effectively, and having done some research on this particular issue myself, I am more than happy to supply you with information to show that definition of handicapped would be no problem.
Secondly, leaving it to an amending formula is not a realistic proposition, because the process of amendment which requires a lot of lobbying, a lot of time, a lot of money, would not be in our view, probably manageable by handicapped persons being for the most part served by not altogether wealthy, non-profit organizations who live off of charity donations in many cases, and handicapped people themselves often living at or below the poverty line.
So the amendment process will simply not be open to us as a practical matter, I submit. But more importantly, definitional arguments I do not think are persuasive in saying that handicapped persons not be included. Many terms are included, both in this Charter of Rights as proposed and in the British North America Act, 1867, which are much more vague than is the word handicapped, or mental or physical handicap. We note that in Section 15 they refer to discrimination on the grounds of religion. Mr. Chairman, I would invite anyone to define what religion means in a comprehensive manner. I think that that term, while we know that certain religions, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism are religions, there will be many borderline cases where we do not know if those groups are religions or not. But that has not precluded the drafters of this Charter form including religion.
You will note in the British North America Act that under Section 91, criminal law is given to the federal government. We have had 100 years of litigation over what criminal law means in the constitution but that never stopped the framers of the BNA Act from including the words “criminal law” within that constitutional document.
And finally, in Section I, of the proposed Charter, the words “reasonable limits” are used, which I would submit are incredibly harder to define, if ot impossible to define, than are the words “mental or physical handicap”. Accordingly, I do not think one can simply avoid the issue or duck the issue because of definitional problems.
The final reason that I would like to articulate for including handicapped in Section 15 concerns an argument that some have raised against it: namely, that the costs occasioned by including the handicapped would be excessive. I have several responses to that argument.
Number one, I would ask what those costs would be. I am not altogether clear and I would submit that there probably are not that many. Intuitively nothing really comes to mind as being excessively costly.
Secondly, I would submit that unless this Committee is going to go through the process of looking at every liberty enumerated in the Charter of Rights and say how much will this one cost, should we include it, is it too expensive?
Unless we are to do that with every single liberty then there is a certain inequality to simply looking at one group, namely the handicapped, and say that they will be excluded on the basis of a cost argument. And so, if that argument is presented before this Committee, I would ask that your bear that in mind. And finally, if that argument is presented before this Committee, that is that including handicapped would be too costly, I would ask you to bear the following argument in mind, or the following point in mind.
To say that the cost is too excessive is to assume that handicap inclusion is the absolute lowest priority of every government in Canada, that we have spent every last dollar of revenue we have taxed and collected and that there is no money left. If you were to look at the priorities of the various governments, provincial and federal, of spending, you might find that there are others that are lower priority than handicapped equality and you might find that it might be worth including the handicapped in the constitution and perhaps let some more inconsequential programs go by the board.
I do not think it is fair to simply say it costs too much, therefore we cannot do it.
Moving very quickly through the other points of ours, because the other points we have made are ones which other groups have made as well, we recommend not only that handicapped be included in the Charter, Section 15, but we would prefer it if the Charter read something like equality before the law without unreasonable discrimination or without unreasonable distinction. Unreasonable discrimination meaning without restricting the generality of the foregoing, and then you can put a list of protected classes and include mental or physical handicap.
The reason we suggest this is because if an equality clause is truly to give us equality, it must give us equality with all others. And that is the way to do it.
It has been suggested before this Committee that perhaps it would be best to simply say equality before the law without discrimination, period, no reference to a list of protected classes. Now, that would be preferable to what is proposed in the present bill, but in our view, it is not desirable for the following reasons.
Firstly, it would mean the some thousands and thousands of dollars would be required going to court, appealing up to the Supreme Court of Canada, in order to get a precedent that decides whether handicapped is a class protected by the clause. To avoid that kind of cost, delay and uncertainty, it could be easily included now without any such costs.
And secondly, Mr. Chairman, the fact of the matter is, if we have to go to court and argue it, there is no guarantee that we will be included by the courts. The courts take a very restrictive view of civil liberties in general, and handicapped civil liberties is a new area in Canadian law and therefore the risk is that we may never get in, even after an appeal process. So the only way of guaranteeing our rights is by including us.
Briefly, Mr. Chairman, we recommend, as is mentioned in our brief, that the words “euality before the law” and “equal protection of the law” are far too weak a means of protecting egalitarian liberties. You have heard this from other groups and we endorse the views that have been presented namely that the courts under the present bill have interpreted those words to not provide egalitarian liberties, and they have done it in an unequivocal way. And these words, even though there is one word that is different, these words are far too close, far too close to the existing Bill of Rights to ensure anyone that the courts will use this as a strong lever to nullify discriminatory laws. It is our concern that, once again the same amendment argument goes, if we get bad precedent, we have to go through the amending process, and we have seen in the State with the ERA battle how many years and at what cost that fight is and that there is no certainty of success.
More importantly, it is our view that the courts have a tradition of taking a very restrictive view of civil liberties. Now, that is not by way of criticism or by way of anything less than respect for the members of the judiciary, but it is something which is, nonetheless, true, I think that it will be necessary and it is our submission that it will be necessary for strong direction to be given to the courts through very specific wording directing them to invalidate discriminatory legislation.
Moving to the end of my presentation, Mr. Chairman, it is our submission, as you will see in our brief, that Section I should not govern either Section 14 or Section 15. It is our view that there should be no circumstances where the right to an interpreter, which a deaf, blind or just a deaf person may require in court, should ever be taken away. Why is it either in war or emergency that a deaf-blind person on trial should be denied an interpreter to know what the case is against them. It is too basic and a denial of natural justice.
Moreover when should unwarranted discrimination be permitted? At wartime? At peacetime? In the case of an emergency? It is hard to imagine a situation where it is justifiable, and therefore we have recommended, as have other groups, that Section 14 and Section 15 be absolute rights, rights not subject to Section 1.
Alternatively, if that point of view is not acceptable to the Committee, it is our submission that the wording in Section I is far, far too broad. You have heard all the arguments before, we can only reiterate them, that Section 1—labelled by some as the Mack truck provision—will in fact make the rest of the Charter of Rights a virtually worthless and impotent means of protecting civil liberties,
In particular, the generally accepted view of the public with respect to handicapped persons is that they are often not capable of taking care of themselves, not capable of maintaining a job, not capable of self-sufficiency, and therefore the kinds of laws that I have discussed previously that are discriminatory would be under Section I generally accepted in a free and democratic society, passed by these kinds of Parliaments. And accordingly, if Section 1 remains, and if Section 15 is still subject to it, it is our view that Section 1 must be very narrowly constrained to protect minority rights and in particular, handicapped rights.
Finally it is our submission that Section 29, (2) which provides that the equality clause will go into effect later than all other parts of the bill should be repealled, simply because there is no good reason in our view why egalitarian liberties should be delayed. If anything, they should be accelerated.
In conclusion, I would like to make the following points. Our concern is that there is a danger of misleading people if the Charter does not include the handicapped. There is the danger that people will believe that in Canada under such a provision, egalitarian liberties are truly safeguarded, there is equality for all, Without handicapped inclusion such is not the case. And it is not only unfair to handicapped persons to deny them equality, but it is a risky venture for the public to be misled into believing that all minorities are protected when they are in fact not.
Our concern, as I said at the outset, is dealing with public attitudes. Public attitudes are something which we must battle at various levels. At the constitutional level we are battling public attitudes as they are manifested through legislation and this is a battle which is both serious and crucial.
Finally I would close by saying that there is an oft stated adage thatjustice is blind; in fact it is a cliché.
Our concern—and the underlying concern of this presentation—is that while justice may have had the opportunity to experience blindness, we are asking for blind persons, as well as for other handicapped persons, to be given at last an opportunity to experience justice.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays) Thank you very much, Mr. Lepofsky.
Inasmuch as Mr. Lepofsky and his group have given us a thorough understanding of their brief, we have a few minutes left.
We have another group scheduled to be here at l0.l5 this morning and the House sits at 11 o’clock, I am wondering if I could have some agreement that we have three questions on it and that we could probably terminate at 10:20 or 10:25 and have our time as five minutes rather than the 10-minute round?
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I was going to make the recommendation and Mr. Lepofsky has been excellent in the presentation and on this topic; and there are just two points: one, he kindly offered us to make information available re definition of the handicapped. I hope I have stated that correctly, But I would ask the Committee to request of Mr. Lepofsky that he make that information available to us, though it does not necessarily have to be appended to the minutes of this hearing, but that the information be circulated.
Secondly, I would recommend, Mr. Chairman, instead of the 10 minute-round for the witnesses this morning, that you reduce it to five minutes, and if there are any questions after that first round we will leave that with the Chair.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much. Is that agreed?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): I see that is agreed.
Senator Donahoe: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, I am very happy that good fortune presented me this morning with the opportunity of sitting in on this Committee as a substiute for one of the regular members, because I am very pleased to have had the opportunity of hearing the very excellent presentation made by Mr. Lepofsky.
I was interested to hear the illustration that was given of discrimination possibly against an unsighted juror, because in my experience as an Attorney General for many years, I was once faced with the application for appointment as a Crown Prosecutor by a blind person.
He was an excellent lawyer, a good student and so on; but he was asking to be made a Crown prosecutor to conduct criminal prosecutions.
I would ask you to believe that it was a matter of real difficulty for me to determine whether or not that handicap, in fact, was of a nature which detracted from his ability to do the fullest and most complete job in that particular capacity.
I want to say that I did, in fact, appoint the gentlemen and that he conducted himself with great credit for a number of years.
But I wonder if the person who suffers the handicap can appreciate the difficulty that a person in the position in which I was at that time might have had in determining whether they are in fact discriminating against that person because of the handicap or whether they are in fact merely endeavouring to see that their obligations and responsibilities are discharged in the best possible manner.
However, I do not wish to say or to ask too much, because I think your presentation was, indeed, excellent and from the point of view of the organziation for which you are speaking and the people whom it represents, it has been exceedingly well put here this morning.
I would like to ask this simple question. Do you believe that the position of the handicapped will be substantially improved or enhanced if this procedure is followed? The procedure that is suggested is to entrench certain rights.
You have indicated that you find the suggestions inadequate, insufficient and in need of substantial amendment, and that those amendments should be specifically directed towards the class of person for whom you are speaking here this morning.
Do you feel that the position of the handicapped is going to be very much improved and very much enhanced if this procedure is followed with or without your suggested amendments?
Mr. Lepofsky: Mr. Chairman, to answer both your points, understanding the fact that an employer or service must go through a very difficult analysis and thought process to decide what one is capable of, is something which is only too well understood by any handicapped person, because before someone like myself decided to go into law school I had to make that same analysis.
So it is something which not only I have thought about, but i would think about it before any of my potential employers have thought about it.
it is a very difficult process. The equality clause, if it included the disabled, would give us a right, in the instance where a legislature had gone through that thought process and in fact had made a wrong decision in the passage of laws which end up discriminating, would give us a right to appeal that to the court and to argue that it is an unreasonable distinction which is being drawn against handicapped persons.
My first point would be, Mr. Chairman, that this would provide a means or mechanism for handicapped persons and other interested groups, to challenge legislation which is discriminatory. If these provisions are not put in, then it would signal to the disabled that it is the prevailing view in Canada that handicapped people are not entitled to equality before the law and that the kinds of discrimination that are experienced by any handicapped person in their every day life are in fact representing a pervasive view which in fact has been articulated through the actions of the framers of the new constitution.
On the other hand, if this provision is included as we have proposed, several benefits would accrue, l would submit. The first is that next year being the International Year of the Disabled Person, it would show Canada as doing what could be the best possible move to ensure disabled persons equality, which is to pass a constitution enshrining their rights; secondly, it would be a signal to the Canadian people that as regards handicapped persons, who in the past have either been a forgotten minority or a lesser class of citizen—and I say this was not intentional or out of malevolence; but it has happened nonetheless—that a new era has dawned and that as deeply felt a concern is being presented to Canada as can be expressed through a Charter of fundamental rights as acknowledging this liberty.
As I say, some of the more odious legislation, some of which I have already enumerated, would be amenable to attack. I know that certain lobbying has succeeded in Ontario, and lobbying by certain groups have inspired the Ontario legislature, after I00 years of having similar legislation to finally change it, and it is now about to get the Royal Assent, but the process of getting the reform has taken a long time. Had we an equality clause we could have had it adjudicated upon and probably won the matter possibly much more quickly. It was only, frankly, out of luck, that in our view this amendment ever came through.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much.
We have Mr. Althouse followed by Senator Connolly.
Mr. Althouse: Thank you, Mr. Joint Chairman.
Other evidence seems to suggest that the disabled and handicapped people suffer an unemployment rate of between 70 per cent and 80 per cent. I note in your remarks this morning that you mentioned employers who do not believe you can function as one of the big handicaps you are facing.
Is that the greatest difficulty faced by blind people, for instance, access to opportunity to function? Will the proposed amendment encourage this access to opportunity in your opinion?
Mr. Lepofsky: I would agree that the access to jobs and other facilities is perhaps the greatest problem. As I said, it is the attitude to the public that is the greatest problem and perhaps is the worst manifestation of it, aside from the other manifestation I have mentioned, namely the legislative discrimination.
Our proposals would not require employers to hire a handicapped person who can do the job. That is something which is dealt with by the Human Rights Code. I would say that we are involved in lobbying along with many other organizations for amendments to such laws. I am personally involved in that and could give you a lot of information on the subject if necessary.
It would, however, have two beneficial effects on the employment situation. The first is that, by entrenching this in a charter of rights, as I have said before, it would be a signal to the Canadian public that handicapped people are entitled to equality. That is an educational effect which would be of profound importance and help.
Secondly, there is the possibility and I did not mention this in my list of discriminatory legislation, because a good law student is told that you should use your weakest argument at the end or drop them altogether; but the federal Human Rights Code provides protection for the handicapped in the area of employment, but does not refer to them in the area of access to services or goods. I would say that is a form of discrimination. As you know, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has recommended amendments to cover that.
I would be interested to know if we could build a case that we are getting unequal treatment under the Human Rights Code, since in certain provinces we are not included at all in the code, and in other provinces we are only given partial protection.
But that is a case as to which, while I would like to argue it personally, I am not overwhelmed by the fact that it would be successful. But the most important point is the educational effect on the public and that laws which are a barrier to education, a barrier to equal opportunity, and signals second- class citizenship for the handicapped to the public, would be attackable by us.
Mr. Althouse: In this regard, the slow movement towards access to jobs and equal access to buildings and services, I note one of the supporting groups, the Federation of the Physically Handicapped for Ontario, has mentioned in supporting documents which were passed out along with your brief, that Section 29, they make the point—in the proposal before us places a restriction on the implementation of such rights; under Section 29 it is stated that there will be a three-year waiting period, and they would not come into effect any sooner than the amending formula.
What is the reaction of your group to this waiting period? Your group of handicapped individuals seem to be the only group that have been singled out for this by subsection (2).
Mr. Lepofsky: I would say it is a concern of ours. The delay, if anything, is undesirable; and we would prefer to have seen an equality provision protecting us in effect ten years ago. However, I am bound to confess it is not our major concern. Our principle concern is getting into the bill in one form or another at all.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much.
Senator Connolly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, we are all very happy indeed to have the CNIB here, because over the years this organization has done a tremendous amount, and I think perhaps the witnesses might agree that the important feature of that work is the fact that they have helped so much to promote the integration particularly of blind people into the community, into society and all phases of Canadian life. This is a great achievement on the part of the CNIB and of the people who work with them.
But may I also, on a personal basis, congratulate Mr. Lepofsky for the very lucid, very comprehensive statement that he has made. I predict that he is going to be a very good lawyer. I would hope that he might become a member of Parliament, but I would tell him immediately that he will not be the first person who is without sight who has been in the House of Commons. I do not say that as a joke. There are lots there who perhaps physically see, but perhaps mentally do not. That does not, of course, apply to the Senate. We have had people without sight in Parliament: Trevor Morgan was here in the early 1970’s on the Conservative side.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Senator Connolly, I think Doctor Foreman would like to ask you a question.
Mr. Foreman: I was just going to thank the Senator for his kind remarks about the Institute and about Mr. Lepofsky. I would also like to thank the Committee from the point of view of letting my guide dog in.
Senator Connolly: Good, good. I think I can remember a man—I believe his name was Estey or something of that nature, but whatever his name was, I think he may have be the first in Parliament, this man whose name escapes me; and for this I apologize. There is a great story of an exchange between Mackenzie King, R. B. Bennett and this man at one time over the Doukhobors—one of the great stories on the record of Parliament.
But I would like to ask Mr. Lepofsky this. You have been talking, and the other groups which have represented the handicapped have also been talking, about the importance of integrating the handicapped community into the normal stream of public life.
I think great strides have been made as education has advanced, and as public education in this respect has improved. I do not ask you this as a trick question, but I wonder whether, by segregating the handicapped you are not, to use your own words, signalling to the disabled that they are forever a segregated group?
Would your position not be stronger before the law, even before these provincial laws which you have criticized here, if a nondiscriminatory clause applied equally to you, whether you are handicapped, equally to me, whether I do not happen to be physically handicapped, maybe mentally and so on; but would it not be better in the long run not to have a special category set out in a constitution which, presumably, is to last for a very long time?
Mr. Lepofsky: I can answer that question, Mr. Chairman, briefly. First, I thank you for your compliments with respect to my potential future in Parliament; but my immediate concern, perhaps a little myopic, is that I have another four bar examinations to write and I will continue to be a law student for a lot longer.
On the question of integration generally, I must say, particularly under the leadership of the new management of the CNIB with Mr. Mercer, among other things, CNIB as well as other organizations are becoming much more active in adopting integration of handicapped people into society as a goal, phasing down and phasing out segregationist programming and lobbying for equal rights legislation; this is demonstrative of our kind of work.
While there has been segregation, in fact somewhat imposed by handicapped organizations over the years, this is something which is changing, and I would say that the three gentlemen in front of you representing the CNIB are hoping and striving to see that change continue and accelerate.
As to whether it is somewhat discriminatory or special treatment to mention us expressly in the equality clause, I have two answers or brief points to make to that. First, is that, as 1 have mentioned in my general remarks, if you do not put us in expressly, and merely say equality before the law without discrimination period; then, you are leaving it to us to have to litigate and go to court and spend thousands of dollars and try our luck.
First of all, I do not think we could afford it too readily, and secondly, we are at risk that we would lose. Frankly, having read a good deal of civil liberties case law, which is a particular area of law which interests me, in Canada our courts have a restrictive or very narrow approach to the treatment of civil liberties and only enforce them, as evidenced by the treatment of the 1960 Bill of Rights, when there is no way out: and even then they do not.
So that my concern is that we may well not win such a case, no matter what the intention is of the Senate, no matter what the intention is of the House of Commons in passing this bill. The only way we could be sure to be in, speaking from a legal point of view, is to put us in. Saves us money and improves our chances.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much, Mr. Lepofsky.
At this time I would like to thank you on behalf of the Committee. Mr. Mercer, Dr. Foreman, I want you to know that your dog is most welcome in here. I was going to say something and I thought bketter of it after. I have great respect for dogs.
In your brief you have raised some problems that I am sure none of the Committee had heard before, at least I had not, and we appreciate your being here.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Lepofsky: Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Mercer, did you have something you wished to say?
Mr. Mercer: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
I know that our president, Mr. Dick Smith from Winnipeg, would like me to express thanks and appreciation from CNIB for all of you today for taking the time to listen to our point of view, so thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would like to call now to the witnesses table the representatives of the World Federalists of Canada.
It is my pleasure on behalf of all the honourable Members of this Committee to welcome representatives of the World Federalists of Canada. They are Dr. Francis Leddy and Mr. James Stark. I understand that you know our usual procedure is to invite our guest witnesses to make an opening statement and after that members of the Committee would like to have some questions in exchange with our witnesses.
Dr. Leddy (National President of World Federalists of Canada): Thank you very much, Mr, Chairman.
I appreciate the opportunity of addressing this group, and in view of the pressures you are under we shall do our best to be brief and to the point.
I know that around this table there are many of you who already know much about world federalism in Canada, but for the benefit of those who are perhaps not altogether acquainted I should mention that our organization is about 30 years old, that we have some 1500 members all across Canada with strong branches in a number of cities.
Recently, for example, in Victoria they had a conference which was attended by 300 interested citizens. We are not a monolithic group but we do have two main objectives: world peace through world law and the containment, the diminution and ultimately the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Our movement owes much to similar organizations through» out the democratic world, and indeed, for the first 20 years after the tragedy at Hiroshima and Nagasaki you will recall that there were peach marches, demonstrations and much emphasis on the ideals to which I have just referred, but somehow or other, about 1965, people suddenly began to get rather tired of the issue, were perhaps discouraged; they were learning, if you like, to live with the bomb, and the issue faded before the public.
It has come back in the last year or two in a very aggressive way. People once more are deeply concerned, they realize that we have been walking along the edge of a cliff and that the situation is very, very dangerous.
At the international scene we meet every three years in general assembly, representatives from all countries. We have as well in close relationship to us parliamentarians for world order, and here in Canada we have the most active and the largest such group. There are 140 members of the House of Commons and of the Senate, as many of you know.
Similar groups exist in 11 other Parliaments throughout the world and it is pleasant to recall that the Canadian initiative, particularly the result of the efforts of Mark MacGuigan when he was a private member, led to the organization of the world group. Indeed, when we had our last international gathering in Japan we were represented by a group of parliamentarians under the chairmanship of Walter McLean.
World peace through world law, disarmament and arms control, this means in effect with regard to the first that we are keenly interested and so are the Americans in promoting a strengthening of the United Nations.
Now, Canada’s record here is very good. We do not manufacture nuclear weapons, we are strongly opposed to their proliferation, we do not stock them on Canadian soil and, with one slight exception, the result of a treaty which is yet to expire, which does allow the existence of some such weapons, now very much out of date, at Comox in British Columbia.
Now, I think we have come to the stage where Canada’s record should move forward one more step. In External Affairs, about a year and a half ago, they established a division on disarmament and arms control affairs under the direction of Geoffrey Pearson until his recent assignment as Ambassador to Russia.
I think the time has come for us to introduce into our constitution a statement which sums up the Canadian attitude and the Canadian ideals, and to which we did refer in the brief which was circulated to you. That brief, I may say, was prepared about two years ago when there was a parliamentary joint committee on the constitution, as it happened under the chairmanship of Mark MacGuigan. Unfortunately, that committee did not have its mandate renewed after the first year and therefore, to the best of my knowledge, there is still no overall report, In fact, I suppose it has been preempted by the current joint committee.
Now, the overriding issue of the day is the one I have been talking about. It does not matter what you do here or in Parliament, or at home; it does not matter what ambitions you have for your children or for your country if something goes wrong and we have a breakdown and a nuclear war. That is the big issue today. Everything else must be regarded as secondary.
Well, what are we going to do about it? We have to promote in every possible way our point of view. I encountered a friend of mine here in Ottawa, a distinguished public servant of long experience, perhaps a little jaded and somewhat cynical, and he expressed surprise to me that I was willing to spend two years as president of the World Federalists. He said: is this not all theory? Is it not too impractical and up in the air? Well, I told him that I did not think I was naive, and that if I ever had been, 15 years or so as a university president would have knocked it out of me; but I told him that what had directed my impulse and my motivation in this matter was an experience I had in Japan.
I have been twice to Nagasaki and once to Hiroshima, and it is a shattering visitation to go to the museums at both those places, and there was one particular exhibit that particularly troubled me, and this is what we call the shadow on the rock, It so happened that in Hiroshima a man was standing on the steps of a commercial building, I think a bank. He was at epicentre just as the bomb went off.
That bomb, of course, scarred all the stone around him, For about one second his body briefly interposed and cast a shadow on the rock steps. He was instantly vaporized; and I thought: what a commentary on the value of an individual, the dignity of the individual, the rights of an individual, something you are very much taken up with here. What a commentary.
I do not know who he was, nobody knows, but the shadow on the rock ought to jar the conscience of all of us.
I have sometimes asked people, perhaps he would have done something of consequence in the world and I often say to young people: should you not be his proxy? You are here, he is gone, should you not be his proxy to do what you can to promote world peace and disarmament?
The universities today are, I think, unusually international in Canada. When I was first a student we had no foreign students, indeed I think the most exotic specimen we had at the university in Saskatchewan was a French Canadian student from Montreal; but now, across this country, the general average is 10 per cent foreign students. My own University of Windsor, I am pleased to say, has the highest such percentage, around 20 per cent, in Canada. They are really international institutions now and there is a depth of idealism which gives me much confidence for the future.
Young people understand easily what people of my generation understand only intellectually. We say it is one world. Of course it is. They know that instinctively. We have to remind ourselves of it.
One of the most interesting things to have occurred under the jurisdiction and with the help of the world federalists has been Operation Dismantle and in a moment I shall ask my colleague, Jim Stark, to speak on the subject. It appeals especially to young people, it was started by young people, people half our age in many cases, and it is in my view a very important and significant piece of evidence for the present generation.
One aspect of our efforts to promote the strengthening of the United Nations is the unwillingness of many strongly nationalist countries, even democratic ones, to cede any of their basic perogatives, even to a slight degree, to the United Nations or some similar international body. And yet, you know, when you look back in history I am reminded of the comment made by General Marshall, who was not only a great soldier but a great statesman in the Roosevelt period. He made the remark that if you wanted to know what was going on in the world after 1945, what you should do is read the story of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides. Now, if I said that as a professor of ancient history, which I once was, nobody would be very much impressed, but for General Marshall to say it was significant.
Here you had the ridiculous situation of city states fighting one another a few miles apart, Athens and Sparta; similarly in medieval Italy you had Pisa and Sienna, Florence and Milan, each of them independent, each of them fighting one another. We have come a long way but we are still short of world law and of world organization.
It is not going to be easy. We are engaged in a running battle, we have been for several hundred years. Two hundred years ago a great historian made the remark that the mischievous arks of war steadily outpaced all the victories of science, of enlightment and of culture, Well, if he lived today he would be even more astounded.
There was a time when everyone agreed that a nuclear war would have no victors, you could not win the nuclear was, and this idea still restrains the great powers, However, within the past six or eight months, to my incredulity, you now have certain military thinkers in the United States saying: well, a nuclear is winable if you are prepared to take 20 million casualities. I do not know where they get these figures but the idea is deeply shocking.
Our brief may be seen, and perhaps some of you will recall a private bill to which Mark MacGuigan spoke in November, 1979, based upon that brief, and you will observe in our brief our desire to find enshrined in the constitution a statement of these broad ideals on behalf of Canada. Never underestimate the power of an idea. It can permeate any situation, it can go through an iron curtain, as we know.
I had the pleasure of speaking to the parliamentary group about a year ago and I ended then with a reminder which I am ending with now, which I think highly pertinent. I should mention that l was born about a mile from here but did not know, since I was taken west at a tender age, I did not know Ottawa and the parliamentary scene until about 20 years ago when I began to have opportunities of coming here, and I always like to come to the Hill and I have always been impressed and still am by the dominant architectural feature, the Peace Tower. I do not know of any other Parliament anywhere in the world that has a peace tower or peace building in it.
I know you take this sort of thing for granted earily. You walk in and out every day perhaps not thinking of that peace tower. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I appeal to you, we know we are entering into a period of great discussion on the constitution that will carry on after patriation. I appeal to you, having regard for your reputation with future historians, do not overlook the overriding issue which is of concern to all Canadians, to all free men: do put into that constitution a statement of Canada’s commitment to world peace and world justice.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Dr. Leddy. Mr. Stark.
Mr. Stark: Thank you. I realize that there is a vote at ll o’clock, or Question Period, and I will try and keep my remarks short.
We have put before you a paper that tries to reconcile or balance the two sometimes conflicting needs that we have to express and realize national sovereignty, and yet face the interdependence of nations and the need for what is generally referred to as collective security, and we have outlined to you five examples from other countries: the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, India and Japan; there are other examples, countries who have constitutionally dealt with this issue and put forth recommendations for the Canadian constitution at the end of our paper, which I shall not review at this time.
Like most Canadians we are rather proud that our country, although capable of producing nuclear weapons, chose not to, but it is policy that, as we have seen within the last year, sometimes needs to be restated and reinforced, and we have warned that there are forces at work, some in the military, others in the public, who would have this policy reversed. Policies are easily reversed, constitutions are not.
What we are looking for is some kind of guarantee that this sane and great vision that has saved us so far from the folly of participating in a mad arms race be made a permanent feature and characteristic of the Canadian reality.
We have a letter here, which I will give copies to those who are interested, from an American congressman, which says that the American arsenal alone is capable of destroying the entire world 10 times over. This is regarded by many people as a conservative estimate, and yet. for some reason that has probably embarrassed our creator, the American people have just elected a president on a commitment to increase the nuclear arms race, to build more nuclear weapons. Surely we have to ask why, and surely we have to do what small things that we as a nation can do, as a middle power, to foster reason in a world that some say has gone mad.
The League of Nations was incapable of preventing World War II. I think it would be generally agreed here that the United Nations as presently structured and empowered is probably equally unable to prevent the world war [II that many people are predicting.
When I was chairman of the Toronto branch of World Federalists we put out a small pamphlet and we quoted Albert Einstein, Lester Pearson, U Thant, Winston Churchill, Pandit Nehru, John F. Kennedy, Harold Wilson, Mahatma Ghandi, Dwight Eisenhower, Bertrand Russell, Harry Truman, Harold McMillan, and the list can go on practically forever, of distinguished responsible people who have supported the concept of world government, of world law, law being the only historically demonstrated alternative to violence when it comes to resolving conflict.
I will read in particular the reference to John F. Kennedy who said:
We prefer world law in an age of self determination, to world war in an age of mass extermination. We must eliminate the weapons of war before they eliminate us.
And as a middle power we have some ability to influence events in this regard.
Here are three Canadian polls done within the last several years indicating that people feel, and I think for good reason that the probability of nuclear war is on the increase. Disarmament in Canada is beginning to take on the characteristics of a movement. As you may know, the Secretary General of the United Nations declared October 24 to October 30 to be disarmament week worldwide, and where there were very few events in 1979, this year some 10,000 Canadians took part in events, in about 125 different events across the country, about 30 major cities, and it involved all the churches and some 50 community groups.
I would point out as well that President Carter took a position on the whole idea of restructuring and reforming the United Nations, this is a copy of his position paper which can be obtained from Mark MacGuigan’s office.
In summary, there was a document called Defence 1978 produced by our Department of National Defence which said, and I quote:
The Department of National Defence’s evaluation of military threats unmistakably shows that the major military threat to Canada lies in the possibility of a nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States.
It is really difficult to try to understand how we are to achieve national security in an age of nuclear over kill. General E. L. M. Burns used to be an official Canadian advisor on disarmament and he was so keen on the United Nations concept. the agreed concept of general and complete disarmament that his friends used to refer to him as “General and complete Burns”. He still points out that since this concept of general and complete disarmament negotiated by the super powers, agreed to by all nations away back in 1961, since that concept allows every nation to maintain a modest military force which of course is what Canada has, a modest military conventional force, the implementation of this concept worldwide would not mean the dismantling of so much as a single bullet for our country, for Canada.
I think perhaps ironically if we are to really look at the meaning of national security in this nuclear age we might well be pushing for world disarmament, for this concept of general and complete disarmament, rather than for other things such as conscription or more military weapons.
Mr. Trudeau in his Speech from the Throne said:
The cost of disarmament is no less than the survival of humanity on this planet
He went on to say, on the night of the Quebec referendum:
All of us have an opportunity to show the whole world that we are not the last colonials on earth but rather the first people to free themselves from the old world of nations states. Federalism is the way of the future in our troubled world.
I think these are words of wisdom, words that are very difficult to realize in the international scene, but in the same sense that we can point to the example of other nations in the formulation of our constitution I would hope that Canada would in turn do its part to entrench a commitment to peace through law in our constitution so that in future other countries can point to our courage and our wisdom in order to further the movement towards a just and lasting peace in this troubled world.
Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Stark. Mr. Hawkes.
Mr. Hawkes: Thank you Mr. Chairman, and welcome to our session today, brief as it may be. As you have talked today I have been sitting here and I have been getting angry, angrier and angrier, and I am not angry at you. I am angry at the process that I am forced to be engaged in, the closure, the deadlines, the revision of a constitution in this manner bothers me, and your brief brings that into, if we may avoid a pun, but into stark relief.
You have presented us with a set of ideas for entrenchment in the Canadian constitution that should require examination for a considerable length of time. I have I think five minutes on behalf of this party to explore your ideas with you. That is for my questions and your responses. What you have laid on the table before us today is a request to entrench in the constitution of Canada some phrases, some sets of ideas that will determine, that will fix our relationship to the world community at least within certain limits. I do not feel competent to render judgment on those ideas in terms of all their implications. l am very conscious of the fact that I sit with some 25 people; 60 per cent of them, 15 of them elected; 40 per cent, 10 of them appointed; to examine an issue of this profound consequence with five minutes for exchange is an abomination of what I would consider to be any set of democratic principles.
I will throw two or three quick questions at you and l hope maybe you will do your best within those time constraints to deal with them. You ask us to have unqualified acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the international court of justice under Article 36 of its statute and the first question that occurs to me is how are those judges selected, how are they appointed, what is the body of law that they rule on; and lam sure you cannot deal with all of that in any portion of the five minutes.
You ask us to declare support for the formation of a democratic world government, and that makes me conscious of the-fact that there is something in the order of 26 nations that are truly democracies and there is something in the order of 150 nations in the world, and I wonder in my mind how we could come to a democratic world of government. You ask us to make decisions around weapons, and l say to myself how does that interface with our present obligations to partners within treaties, and I know that that is a complex issue that Parliament wrestles with day after day in its standing committees.
I am just frustrated; I think you have brought some very important ideas to this Committee, but we are engaged in a process that does not allow us to deal with those ideas, and for whatever comment you can make 1 turn the floor over to you.
Mr. Stark: We share your frustration, for starters. On the issue of weapons, if I may start with your last question, when world federalists say disarmament we do not speak of unilateral disarmament; we do not support that as a responsible reasonable way to conduct ourselves. We speak of balanced, phased disarmament by international agreement, a comprehensive program they call it at the United Nations, and of course this requires the consent, participation and verification of all states and of course our particular concern would be obviously for the Soviet Union and the Soviet block nations that they would be honestly participating in such agreements. Of course the SALT Treaties are a step in the same direction with the same problems implicit in them.
We do not, for instance, as an organization oppose the purchase of the fighter planes. Neither do the World Federalists or Operation Dismantle oppose this action by the government of Canada because our military relative to our territory is exceedingly modest, perhaps even too modest.
With regard to democratic world government, when Mark MacGuigan took this report which is before you and essentially made it into a private members bill last November, comments were made to the effect that the United Nations is already becoming a democratic world government to a small degree, particularly in reference to the agencies, the 18 social and economic agencies of the UN who, I think everyone concedes do a very fine job in attacking the causes of war, poverty, injustice, human rights, this sort of thing.
I cannot give you a short or a thorough answer to the first question about how the judges are accepted. In fact this point may be redundant as I believe Canada already has a qualified acceptance of the jurisdiction of the World Court.
Mr. Leddy: If I may make a brief and final comment . . .
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes, Mr. Leddy, and then Mr. Ogle.
Mr. Leddy: I understand from my friends who are theologians that if you will not behave because you love God at least you ought to behave if you fear Him enough. Now, coming to your main point, I think what is going to drive the world into disarmament is fear. The Russians are just as much afraid as we are. As I say, I come from Windsor, I live on the border and obviously Detroit is going to be a prime target if we ever get into a nuclear situation, and Windsor will go up with it.
I think.that would be sad fate for Mark MacGuigan, our friend Paul, and myself. We would be nothing but crisp memories. Fear of the consequences may not be the highest of motives but it is the one that I think will gradually drive people towards an assuagement of the present situation.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. JoyaI): Mr. Ogle.
Mr. Ogle: I will just make a momentary statement because of the time, and the bells are ringing. I would just like to go on record as supporting very much the ideas that have been presented to us this morning. It just happens historically that a person who has in a sense spoken very clearly to the whole peace movement of the world, John Lennon, was murdered this week and his little saying of “give peace a chance” I think somehow or other has to be expressed in our constitution in a very clear way, that we believe that.
I have talked to many young people this week who have been profoundly influenced by John Lennon’s life and by his work and some of them sort of think that that idea just started with John Lennon. It is really true that John Lennon finally said this is true and yet our traditions and particularly like ourselves sitting around this table, the traditions of the Prophet lsaih and Jesus Christ whose birthday is coming up and the celebration of Christmas is basically around the idea that we want peace for all men and peace for all human beings,
So I can only say that I am completely in accord with what has been said this morning and I would like to terminate by saying that this summer, meeting with the Japanese Parliamentarians at the 35th Anniversary of Nagasaki an Hiroshmia, they have in their constitution clearly identified that it is against the law to go to war. I would like to see that our constitution would contain something like that “It is against the law to go to war”.
Another thing I think we have to realize is that the two countries that were able to put that in their constitution in 1945 and 1946 and later, West Germany and Japan, because it was against the law to go to war they suddenly outstripped the world as the economic powers.
So it is such a mix-up and it is such a tied together thing, and one last thought, I think in the whole world of underdevelopment where the mass transfer of arms is now going on into the third world that that basic arms race that is going on there is one of the main problems against true human development in the Third World. With all those bells ringing, I think we will just have to pack it up. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Ogle. I may invite our witnesses to conclude before I have to adjourn this meeting.
Mr. Leddy: Mr. Chairman, I do not think that we have anything to add except another word of appreciation for your courtesy and your interest. I too am sorry, as has been mentioned, that we do not have more time now and later to explore these fundamental issues. I know some of you are eager to get away to the question period. May I express the hope that it will be a peaceful occasion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Leddy and Mr. Stark, on behalf of my co-chairman, the honourable Senator Hays, and all the honourable members of this Committee.
Before I adjourn the meeting I would like to inform the honourable members of this Committee that the result of the three Gallup polls that dealt with the constitutional issue are not available to the honourable members of this Committee, as was announced by the Parliamentary Secretary of the Minister of Justice earlier this week.
The meeting is then adjourned to 8:00 on Monday night, December 15, when we will have the opportunity to hear the Niska Tribal Council.
The meeting is adjourned.
From the Canadian National Institute for the Blind:
Mr. Robert Mercer, National Managing Director;
Dr. Dayton Foreman, National Vice-President;
Mr. David Lepofsky, Member of the Ontario Board of Directors.
From the World Federalists of Canada—Operation Dismantle:
Dr. Francis Leddy, National President of World Federalists of Canada;
Mr. T. James Stark, Director, Operation Dismantle.