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 45 (26 January 1981)


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Date: 1981-01-26
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 45 (26 January 1981).
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SENATE
HOUSE OF COMMONS

Issue No. 45

Monday, January 26, 1981

Joint Chairmen:
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


RESPECTING:

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


APPEARING:

The Honourable Jean Chrétien,
Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada

WITNESSES:

(See back cover)

First Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament, 1980-81


SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE OF
THE SENATE AND OF THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS ON THE CONSTITUTION
OF CANADA

Joint Chairmen:
Senator Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, M.P.

Representing the Senate:

Senators:

Asselin
Austin
Connolly
Lapointe
Lucier
Petten
Roblin
Rousseau
Tremblay—10

Representing the House of Commons:

Messrs.

Beatty
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
Corbin
Dion
Epp
Fraser
Gingras
Irwin
Lapierre
Mackasey
McGrath
Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich)
Nystrom
Robinson (Burnaby)—15

(Quorum 12)

Richard Prégent
Paul Bélisle

Joint Clerks of the Committee

Pursuant to S.O. 65(4)(b) of the House of Commons:

On Monday, January 26, 1981:

Miss Campbell (South West Nova) replaced Mr. Bossy;
Mr. Gingras replaced Mr. Tousignant;
Mr. Fraser replaced Mr. Gustafson;
Mr. Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich) replaced Mr. Hawkes;
Mr. Dion replaced Mr. Bockstael.

[Page 3]

Pursuant to an order of the Senate adopted November 5, 1980:

On Monday, January 26, 1981:

Senator Connolly replaced Senator Cottreau;
Senator Asselin replaced Senator Muir;
Senator Roblin replaced Senator Yuzyk;
Senator Austin replaced Senator Wood.


[Page 4]

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

MONDAY, JANUARY 26, 1981
(80)

[Text]

The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 8:08 o’clock p.m., the Joint Chairman, Mr. Joyal, presiding.

Members of the Committee present:

Representing the Senate: The Honourable Senators Asselin, Austin, Connolly, Hays, Lapointe, Lucier, Petten, Roblin, Rousseau and Tremblay.

Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Beatty, Bockstael, Miss Campbell (South West Nova). Messrs. Corbin, Dion, Epp, Fraser, Gingras, Irwin, Joyal, Lapierre, Mackasey, McGrath, Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich), Nystrom and Robinson (Burnaby).

In attendance: From, the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Messrs. Paul Martin and John McDonough, Researchers.

Appearing: The Honourable Jean Chrétien, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Witnesses: From the Department of Justice: Mr. Roger Tasse, Deputy Minister and Dr. B. L. Strayer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Law.

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 Committee resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Beatty,—That Clause 7 of the proposed Constitution Act, 1980 be amended by striking out lines 24 to 27 on page 4 and substituting the following:

“7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with principles of natural justice.”

An alleged question of privilege being raised as to a breach of undertaking by the Government relating to Clause 2 of the proposed Constitution Act, 1980:

STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

As to questions of privilege raised in a committee I have serious reservations as to the authority of the Chairman or of the committee itself to deal with that.

Permit me to read the relevant citation from Beauchesne’s (Fifth Edition):

76. Breaches of privilege in committee may be dealt with only by the House itself on report from the Committee. Thus should a witness refuse to attend, or refuse to give evidence, the committee must report the fact to the House for remedial action.

[Page 5]

From this authority it seems clear to the Chair that our only recourse is a report to the House. If the honourable member wishes to pursue the matter, I would suggest that he submit a motion based on the alleged question of privilege. If he is not prepared to present one, the Committee can do nothing about the matter as there will be nothing before the Committee for it to take action on.

The motion calling for action of some kind is as essential to the question of privilege as are motions to bring all business before the House or any of its commitee.

So I think it is clear from the quotations of authorities that I have just read that the Chair as such is not entitled to make a ruling on the question of privilege but what the honourable member should do is to introduce a motion with the proper remedy in it which is to report to the House so that the House makes a decision which is of course the Speaker of the House.

Whereupon, Mr. McGrath moved,—That the breach of undertaking to the Committee by the Government on Clause 2 constitutes a breach of my privilege as a Member of this Committee and further that the matter be reported to the House of Commons.

After debate, the question being put on the motion, it was negatived on the following division:

YEAS:

The Honourable Senators

Asselin
Roblin
Tremblay

YEAS:

Messrs.

Beatty
Epp
Fraser
McGrath
Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich)—8

NAYS:

The Honourable Senators

Austin
Connolly
Lapointe
Lucier
Petten
Rousseau

NAYS:

Messrs.

Bockstael
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
Corbin
Gingras
Irwin
Mackasey
Nystrom
Robinson (Burnaby)—14

The Committee resumed consideration of the motion of Mr. Beatty.—That Clause 7 of the proposed Constitution Act, 1980 be amended by striking out lines 24 to 27 on page 4 and substituting the following:

[Page 6]

“7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with principles of natural justice.”

After debate, at 10:00 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.

Richard Prégent
Paul Bélisle

Joint Clerks of the Committee


[Page 7]

EVIDENCE

(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
January 26, 1981

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please.

May I request honourable members to take their seats so that we may resume our work on Clause 7 of the proposed motion.

On Clause 7—Life, liberty and security of person.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Last Friday when we adjourned our session at 11 o’clock on Clause 7, we had agreed previously that the Chair would invite representatives of the NDP party, especially Mr. Ittinuar, and representatives of the Official Opposition, through the honourable Jake Epp, to inform the Chair generally, when the Chair will be able to call back the amendment as moved by Mr. Ittinuar and then to move on to Clause 6.

If the honourable Senator Tremblay would like to add any information on that clause, I would invite him to do so. Senator Tremblay.

[Translation]

Senator Tremblay: I am not sure what section we are on. Are we on a point of order or on a point of privilege?

I simply want to state for the record . . .

[Text]

Mr. Fraser: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am sorry, honourable John Fraser, I am already listening to a point of order as put through by honourable Senator Tremblay and there are not two points of order, one over the top of the other. I have to deal with one first and then call the second one.

I will keep your name on the list and I will call you.

Mr. Fraser: Mr. Chairman, it was only because obviously Senator Tremblay’s microphone was not working. That was my only point.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am sorry, I will ask Senator Tremblay to press the button.

[Translation]

Senator Tremblay: I do not know whether we are on a point of order or on a point of privilege.

I simply wish to point out to the members of the committee that, on our side, we are very pleased to have the honourable Jean Chretien with us again; I can see from his broad smile the fine shape he is in and that we will be in a position to pursue during the forthcoming days an open and honest, if difficult, battle.

Mr. Chretien: Thank you.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Tremblay.

I am sure that you are echoing the feelings of all committee members.

However, I think that you would be well advised to beware of the Minister of Justice, because he does indeed seem to be in top shape.

[Page 8]

Senator Tremblay: Being used to playing poker for high stakes, I am not afraid to see him in top shape.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Fine.

I am sure the minister is pleased to be with us again this evening.

[Text]

As I said earlier—and I see the honourable Jake Epp is now with us—before we resume our discussions on Clause 7, last week we had agreed that the Chair, at the opening of our session tonight, would ask Mr. Ittinuar to move an amendment on Clause 6 and would ask representatives from the Official Opposition to inform the Chair generally when the two parties would be ready to go back to a consideration of Clause 6 before we continue further in the proposed discussion of the other section of the proposed motion.

Seeing Mr. Ittinuar tonight with us, I wonder if the Chair could not receive additional information from the two parties so that we could be informed generally when we could be dealing with those two clauses.

The honourable Jake Epp.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, in reply to your question, you will recall on Friday last when we adjourned for the weekend, we were dealing with Clause 7,specifically the amendment moved by my party.

It would be my thinking that, for the sake of continuity we should complete that work and that you then follow the advice as you feel best for the Committee and we could then go back to Mr. Ittinuar at that point.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Ittinuar, on the same question as asked generally for the benefit of the Chair, or Mr. Nystrom, I should say, because I see that for technical reasons Mr. Ittinuar is not the qualified member at this point.

Mr. Nystrom.

Mr. Nystrom: Mr. Chairman, we feel that it is in order to proceed with Clause 7 at this point.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Nystrom.

We are then on the amendment as moved by the honourable Perrin Beatty:

That Clause 7 of the proposed constitution act, 1980 be amended by (a) striking out line 25 on page 4 and substituting the following:

security of the person and enjoyment of property and the right not (b) striking outline 27 of page 4 and substituting the following:

with the principles of natural justice.

We are then on the second amendment dealing with Clause 7.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): At this point, I would like to invite the honourable James McGrath.

Mr. McGrath: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

At this point, I would like to join with my colleague, Senator Tremblay, and all members of this Committee in welcoming back our old friend, the Minister of Justice.

Things have not been the same without him. He will find that out as the night wears on, Mr. Chairman.

[Page 9]

We are glad to see him looking so relaxed and so fully recovered from his minor bout of constitutional malaise.

We hope that augurs well for the balance of our limited time when we have to report to the House in just a few days.

I would like to refer back to last week’s proceedings, because, like others, I have been very disturbed by news reports over”the weekend with respect to how the government intends to deal with our amendment and Clause 7.

You will recall on Friday, Mr. Chairman, it was our feeling that we should continue sitting beyond the 11 o’clock time in order to arrive at a resolution of our amendment on Clause 7. At that time you ruled that, without unanimous consent, the Committee could not sit. Of course, we accepted that.

But perhaps I can get the matter back on the rails by reminding the Minister that we moved our amendment, our property rights amendment, which was originally moved on Clause 2; the record will show an intervention last Thursday, in the unedited transcript at page 163 by Mr. Lapierre, when presumably speaking on behalf of his colleagues he “indicated that the government would be disposed to accept the property rights amendment not on Clause 2, but on Clause 7.

In order to obtain clarification, my colleague, Mr. Crombie, at page 164 of the transcript of last Thursday afternoons sitting, asked the following question of the Acting Minister of Justice—and I quote:

You accept the comment made by Mr. Lapierre that the government would accept the right to enjoy property in Clause 7 as opposed to Clause 2.

MR. KAPLAN: If it is put forward by your party, yes.

On Friday, Mr. Chairman, again referring to the unedited transcript for Friday afternoon, Mr. Lapierre at page 40, said: Since I am the same man I was yesterday I will say we will accept the amendment.

I hope he is the same man today that he was on Friday!

He went on to say at page 42:

The right of property is an inherent value of Canada and we are ready to accept it.

I hope he has not changed his sense of values since last Friday!

And, of course, Mr. Kaplan went on, again, at page.78, and again there is reference to it at page 77 and further on at page 78.

My colleague, Mr. Beatty, who moved the amendment last week, raised the question in the House today and was told by the Minister that the question should move properly be raised in Committee tonight.

So my question to you, Mr. Minister, is very simply this: will the government accept our amendment for property rights to Clause 7?

Hon. Jean Chretien (Minister of Justice): The answer is no.

[Page 10]

Mr. McGrath: In view of the undertaking given by Mr. Kaplan last Thursday.

Mr. Chretien: The answer is no and I will tell you why in a very few words.

This is a proposition we had in the Charter in July.

In discussions during the month of July and August with the provinces, we decided to withdraw this. All the provincial governments were very concerned about it.

When I prepared this proposition, I knew I was going to be faced with the same problem. The decision of the government had been that if we were to be in a position where there was to be unanimity in the Committee and that the opposition had receded during a period of reflection from July to today, that we would go along with it.

Of course there is no unanimity in this Committee. That was one of the conditions that has not been met. We have received representations over the weekend from different groups—and I will come to the NDP party later on.

In fact we were very fortunate tonight, before coming here for me to have an opportunity to chat with one of the most eloquent spokesmen against this entrenchment in the constitution during the summer and before the cameras—in September; or at Scarborough, the Attorney General of P.E.I., who was the one, you will remember, in September who made a very eloquent statement—and Mr. Trudeau agreed with him that we should not proceed; because they were afraid that if we were to adopt that proposition, the law they had passed in P.E.I. which protects the shoreland for residents of that province could be destroyed—”annulés” anyway.

In fact he was telling me, that his premier had sent a telegram to that effect today to the Chairman of this Committee.

So the condition last week, Mr. Kaplan was right to say that we were willing to go along but he did not give that qualification if the opposition are not receding. And I cannot blame him, he was just taking over for me and it was not—he had no instructions from me and I could not communicate to him about it, but on Friday . . . ,

Mr. McGrath: How many voices does this government have, Mr. Minister?

Mr. Chretien: One.

Mr. McGrath: That is what we thought.

Mr. Chretien: Yes, and we said that if the provinces and if all the members of this Committee had accepted that amendment, it would be all right. And on Friday, in light of the opposition we were meeting, we decided, the Prime Minister and I, that we were not to accept, and of course Mr. Broadbent made his statement on Sunday. I guess he made his statement after being quite sure that he was not running any risk and so that is the situation.

We cannot accept it because of what I said and we do think that there is a lot to be said for it, some form of it, and we had it in our Charter in the summer for that matter, because that

[Page 11]

involved the zoning rights and utilization of land and all sorts of things that are very preoccupying for the provincial administration, but as we are preoccupied in making sure that the rights of citizens to own land are protected, we intend to have it as an item in the next round of discussion on the constitution and it should please the Conservative Party because all their strategy is that, that we should discuss that with the provinces and I can guarantee that it will be discussed.

Mr. McGrath: Well, we certainly have come to expect and accept the fact that this government seems to move unilaterally on all matters, it is a kind of a knee jerk reaction, but I want to say to you, Mr. Minister, and through you to the other members of the Committee, that without getting into the substantive arguments that we would make in support of our amendment to Clause 7, and here I am going to ask my colleague, the Joint Chairman, to listen very carefully because we look to him as a custodian of our rights on this Committee, just as we look to Madam Speaker in the House as the .custodian of our rights in the House, we were given an undertaking in this Committee last week that if we withdrew our amendment to Clause 2, the government would accept it on Clause 7.

On the basis of that very clear, unequivocal undertaking we withdrew our amendment and we passed Clause 2. Now, sir, you come back to us a few days later and tell us the government has changed its mind.

I say to you, Mr. Minister, that that, in my opinion, in my experience here, that is the most shamefaced betrayal of a parliamentary committee that I have seen here ever, and I can also say this to you, Mr. Minister, that while I am prepared, and my colleagues are prepared to argue with you the substance of our amendment, we are dealing with something much greater than substance here tonight; we are dealing with this government and its inability to keep its word, either to the provinces or to the Parliament or to a Committee of Parliament.

We were given an undertaking, Mr. Minister, by the Acting Minister of Justice who was acting in your stead, by your colleagues on this Committee, that if we withdrew our amendment on Clause 2, you would accept that amendment on Clause 7. You are now saying to us tonight: no deal.

Sir, I say to you, that that is unacceptable.

Mr. Chretien: The Committee is master of its rules. You are asking me a question and I am replying to you. I do not want to debate the substance of it, I just say that the opposition we are faced with by the provincial governments on that score is the same.

I had personally made an undertaking to them and I cannot blame them. You see, if I had been here last week, the same thing, and I cannot blame—I take the full responsibility of the situation because it is my responsibility and Mr. Kaplan did an excellent job last week not even being aware that he was ever to be called.

The instructions coming from me were not clear on that and I take the full responsibility and I do not hide anything, I gave you all the reasons. That summer I withdrew that because it

[Page 12]

was a unanimous disagreement on that and it was the one that I had the most—not the most difficult because I was completely alone by all provincial governments on that and I withdrew that and it came back because it was proposed by your party and we thought the opposition had completely disappeared to the idea; and the same thing exists, it will come back, and if the Committee wants to go back to Clause 2, it is not for me, there is nothing I can do about it, but I am giving you the explanation; the reason, if the provinces had indicated to me there was no problem, you go ahead, that would have been great for me, I would have been happy because I am sympathetic to the amendments.

The problem is that it is an area that is so clearly going to create so many problems for the provinces that . . .

Mr. McGrath: But surely, Mr. Minister, if you are going to be consistent you would surely pay some attention to the objections being raised by the provinces in other areas.

There are six provinces that are taking this government to court on the process, that does not seem to cut any ice with you at all. On a simple amendment, putting in the right to property, to which your government gave agreement last week, you are now saying that because of objections by certain provinces you cannot fullfil that solemn commitment, that solemn undertaking given to this Committee last week in exchange for which we withdrew our amendment on Clause 2 and passed Clause 2, and now you are saying, Mr. Minister, that there is no deal, because there are certain objections from some provinces.

However, I can say the same to you about many provisions of this measure in which all the provinces are objecting, certainly the majority of them are objecting, but that does not seem to make any difference. Only on this particular one. Why on the property clause?

Mr. Chretien: I gave you the reason. I gave you the reason because the provinces told me during the summer that it would put in jeopardy all the laws on zoning, the utilization of the land and what not, and that was to create in that part of the economic and social activity of every province an uncertainty that they did not want to have at all and I just said I had it, I had proposed it and I withdrew it there and unfortunately, if I had been here last week, I was not in communication with Mr. Kaplan and of course, those things, I have the full responsibility of that file, it is not a simple one, I am humble enough to say that I have made some mistakes in the past and I take full responsibility for this one, for the reason that I was not here and I could not express those views to the member of my party and to the members of the Committee.

Mr. McGrath: Well, Mr. Chairman, all I can say is that the Minister of Justice was absent last week and he was ably represented by the Acting Minister of Justice, surrounded ‘by the same officials, the same advisers, nothing has changed; the only change, I submit to you, is that your coalition with Mr. Broadbent and his colleagues is suddenly alive and well, and I say to you that is shameful, and I say to you, Mr. Chairman, because I submit that I have a question of privilege, that we agreed to pass Clause 2 last week, and the record will show this, on the clear understanding that our amendment would be accepted if we withdrew it and moved it to Clause 7.

[Page 13]

Now we have been shamefully betrayed and we, the members of this Committee who support our amendment on Clause 7, look to you for some guidance and some protection, and I pose that to you as question of privilege and I can assure you that if we do not find satisfaction here, we would reserve the right to raise that as a question of privilege on the floor of the House of Commons.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable James McGrath.

If I may read the minutes of our meeting of last week, that might help you to express your views on the subject and help the Chair to make a ruling on your question of privilege, and I will read the minutes of the proceedings of last week, and the minutes are as follows:

By unanimous consent the amendment was amended by deleting the words “and enjoyment of property”. After debate, the question being put on the amendment as amended, it was negative on the following show of hands: Yeas, 10; Nays, 14.

So as the minutes show, it says that there was unanimous consent to delete the words “and enjoyment of property”, and following that there was a vote on the amendment, and the amendment was defeated.

That was the minutes of our record.

However, on the other hand, the Chairman is informed of the wording of the exchange of views between the honourable members and the other members of the Committee and the honourable Acting Minister of Justice, and it is on the views as expressed by the honourable members that the Chair will have to take a decision.

Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, I am speaking to the question of privilege because it is a question of privilege and I raise it as such.

I would submit to you, Mr. Chairman, that my privilege as a member of this Committee have been affected seriously and I would submit to you that, under the circumstances, you have no choice but to rule that Clause 2 has not been passed by this Committee, to rule otherwise would be to accept the position that Clause 2 was in fact moved and adopted under false pretences, and under the circumstances you have no choice, sir, but to make the ruling that Clause 2 has not been passed, because if the government is going to play these games with us, then I can assure you we are capable of playing games too, and that is tragic. I say that more in sorrow than in anger, because we are dealing with the constitution of Canada.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): On the very question of privilege as raised by the honourable member, the Chair will certainly make a ruling, and before making such a ruling the Chair is certainly open to receive the honourable members’ points of view around the table so that it can advise properly and make a decision according to the Standings Orders of the House.

I see that honourable Bryce Mackasey would like to express his views on this subject.

Mr. Mackasey: I just want on a point of information to ask Mr. McGrath was it Thursday, Tuesday, Wednesday or

[Page 14]

Friday that there was the request to stand your amendment on Clause 2 and Clause 7. What day did that happen?

Mr. McGrath: On Thursday.

Mr. Mackasey: You had said Tuesday earlier.

Mr. McGrath: I am sorry, if I said Tuesday, I meant Thursday, and it is at page 164 of the unedited transcript. There is a reference at page 163 by Mr. Lapierre and there is a preference at page 164 by Mr. Kaplan.

I assume, Mr. Chairman, you have accepted my intervention as a question of privilege and that you will rule on that subsequently.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am advised by the Clerk of the Committee that if a question of privilege is raised it has to be raised in the form of a motion, and I would certainly give you the necessary time so that the motion could be put in writing and I will receive the motion in proper form; and I say that in accordance with the rules of the Standing Orders and I am quite sure that the member will do so.

Mr. McGrath: We will need some time to prepare a motion. Is that satisfactory?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Certainly, honourable James McGrath. I will certainly give you all the time needed and I am certainly open to receive honourable members’ points of view on the subect before the Chair goes on with that. The honourable Senator Tremblay.

[Translation]

Senator Tremblay: If I understood well what you have just said, Mr. Chairman, the question of privilege is somewhat set aside and you invite us to express our points of view on the response as to the substance which the minister gave us a short while ago.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): If I may, honourable Senator Tremblay, that is exactly the attitude that the Chair will take at this stage, unless some other honourable members of the Committee would wish to express their views, opinions or ideas with regards to the question of privilege as expressed by the honourable James. McGrath. As I said earlier, at this stage, the Chair must receive a written motion, in the form of a resolution, so that we may consider it in accordance with the rules and standards which apply to the House of Commons.

Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, in this way, the comments we might make on the substance do not prejudge in any way the question of privilege which is now being prepared.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): At this time, I have received no formal proposal. Of course, I do not want to be finicky, but you will understand that in such a delicate matter, I must respect the rules regulating our proceedings.

Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, I simply wanted to establish that the comments I will make on the substance do not affect the question of privilege which will be discussed when a proposal will be duly presented to your consideration.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Certainly.

[Page 15]

I am sorry to interrupt you, but I must ask the honourable Senator Austin . . . [Text] if there are any opinions, ideas or views to be put forward in relation to the question of privilege, the Chair would be grateful to honourable members, to invite them at this point before going back to the substance of Clause 7, especially on the amendment as moved by honourable Perrin Beatty. So, honourable Senator Austin.

Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, addressing myself to the question of Mr. Beatty’s amendment, I would like to suggest . . .

Mr. Epp: Point of order.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Honourable Jake Epp on a point of order.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I believe that your ruling has been that we are now on the point of privilege rather than the substance of the amendment.

Senator Austin: I am dealing with the question of privilege, Mr. Epp. I am trying to be helpful and suggest that with respect to the point of privilege and the proposal which Mr. McGrath made perhaps the Committee could unanimously agree to go back to the status quo ante relating to Clause 2, and treat Clause 2 as not having been adopted and deal with Clause 2 de novo as if we had not dealt with the matter of your amendment at all. I believe if that is acceptable to you the Chairman would not need to deal with the question of privilege because whatever wrong is alleged would then be righted by returning to Clause 2.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Senator Austin.

Honourable Jake Epp.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, on Senator Austin’s suggestion, we can take that under advisement but before we would even consider it I would like to know from the Chair whether in fact the Committee can undo a vote that it has already taken.

Speaking to Mr. McGrath’s point of privilege, and] am not going to get into the substance, I think that is quite another question, but the Minister when he addressed the point of privilege raised the matter of the summer discussions. I have a number of points l want to raise regarding those summer discussions. I will hold those for those the substantive argument, but I want to say to you, Mr. Chairman, what is now in question for this Committee, and the Minister should be aware of this as well, is that the answers given to us by the Acting Minister of Justice, Mr. Kaplan, now are raised into doubt, not only on the question of property but on his entire testimony.

I see today that the Minister is flanked by the very same officials who gave, I take it, advice to the Acting Minister at that time regarding the debate that took place on Friday morning. At that time Mr. Kaplan clearly said, ”I am following the advice of the advisors to the Crown”, so the question must also be asked, that advice, the Minister who was then in the chair acting on behalf of the government, was he in fact quoting advice received from advisors to the Crown or was he not. And has that advice today been changed or is the present Minister, who is now, taking responsibility, not advised by the Crown and it is simply a political decision that he is taking.

[Page 16]

So there are a number of questions on the question of privilege that need addressing, Mr. Chairman, but the fundamental question, I just want to reiterate what Mr. McGrath said, and that is that this Committee has operated with a very frank and open discussion, after its initial stages where difficulties have taken place regarding the manner in which we would approach the whole question on the procedures of the Committee. In my experience here I have never known’ a Minister to use advice from the Crown on both sides of the argument, the same officials, in two consecutive days of a sitting of a Committee. That is a serious charge that we have charged the Minister with and I want to point out, Mr. Chairman, to you, that what Mr. McGrath has said we regard as very serious and raises for all of us the question as to what further participation our party should in fact have in this process and in this Committee.

If I could, Mr. Chairman, have your ruling on the suggestion made by Senator Austin.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Jake Epp. Before I invite other honourable members of the Committee who have requested the Chair to speak, the Chair might give some points of information that will help generally all the honourable members to deal with this delicate question.

I would like to quote to honourable members the Standing :

Orders and especially the procedure on a breach of privilege as written down by Mr. Beauchesne, our authority on the related matter, and especially Section 76 of Chapter 2 entitled Privilege, and the Chair quotes:

76. Breaches of privilege in committee may be dealt with only by the House itself on report from the committee.

I read on the explanatory notes that have been added under that very Section 76 and I quote:

As to questions of privilege raised in a committee I have serious reservations as to the authority of the Chairman or of the committee itself to deal with that.

Section 76 reads:

76. Breaches of privilege in committee may be dealt with only by the House itself on report from the committee. Thus should a witness refuse to attend or refuse to give evidence, the committee must report the fact to the House for remedial action.

Explanatory notes continue.

From all of these authorities it seems clear to the Chair that our only recourse is a report to the House. If the honourable member wishes to pursue the matter, I would suggest that he submit a motion based on the alleged question of privilege. If he is not prepared to present one the Committee can do nothing about the matter as there will be nothing before the Committee for it to take action on.

The motion calling for action of some kind is as essential to the question of privilege as are motions to bring all business before the House or any of its committees.

So I think it is clear from the quotations of authorities that I have just read that the Chair as such is not entitled to make a ruling on the question of privilege, but what the honourable member should do is to introduce a motion with the proper

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remedy in it which is to report to the House so that the House makes a decision, which is of course the Speaker of the House.

So up to this point that is the essence of the motion on which honourable members of this Committee should address themselves if they want this Committee to report to the House on the alleged question of privilege.

So unless honourable members have other views to express on that very aspect, I know that it is a technical point, I am ready to give additional information or explanation to honourable members if they want more, that is the sense of the ruling that the Chair has to make at this point, to respect the Standing Orders of the House.

Honourable Bryce Mackasey.

Mr. Mackasey: My intervention is more to seek information and I want to be precise as to the nature of the point of privilege. After all a point of privilege is a very serious procedural matter as opposed to, say, a point of order.

Mr. Chairman, is the point of privilege we are discussing a commitment by the Minister, the Solicitor General, to discuss the Conservative amendment at Clause 7 rather than Clause 2, or is the point of privilege advanced by Mr. McGrath based upon the belief that we have accepted the concept rather than just accepting to debate the amendment at Clause 7. Could I get some clarification on that, please?

Mr. Chairman, it is the point of privilege—and I ask this quite objectively—advanced by Mr. McGrath on behalf of his party, that the Acting Minister of Justice assured the Committee and the Conservative party, of course, that we would act on their amendment when we reached Clause 7 rather than Clause 2? In other words, pass Clause 2 and we would action Clause 7, or is it more on a point of privilege that the Minister unintentionally assured the Conservative party that their amendment would be accepted when we got to Clause 7 without debate? There is a fundamental difference.

I am merely asking that quite openly as a point of information.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I think to give the exact and proper answer, the honourable Bryce Mackasey, one has to resort to the minutes of the debate on that very day, Thursday, 22nd; because the Chair would not give you an interpretation when the words speak for themselves in the minutes of our debate of that day.

That is the best answer I can give to you at this point, and I think all honourable members can read the meaning of the agreement that was reached around the table at that point, on that very day and at that very moment coming out very clearly out of the minutes of the proceedings.

Anyone who wants to read the extracts of the minutes of that day would certainly have the answer you are seeking from the Chair.

Does that answer your question as you have posed it to me?

Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, you have asked me a question and the answer is “no”; but I know that Senator Austin would like to add something.

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But as a result of this, I would like to make a proposal in a minute.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): At this point I would like to say to all honourable members that the Chair allowed this discussion; but I am always waiting for a proper motion as put forward by the honourable James McGrath.

The honourable John Fraser.

Mr. Fraser: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

In direct response to Mr. Mackasey, if one looks at the transcript—and all members can read it; but I think it is important that the viewing audience be made aware—Mr. Lapierre indicated the position of the government.

Our colleague, Mr. Crombie, said:

Well, you speak for the government, Mr. Kaplan, and, with respect, Mr. Lapierre does not.

I submit, Mr. Chairman, that rules out what Mr. Lapierre said, except for the connotation in which he said it.

But Mr. Crombie then put the question to Mr. Kaplan: You accept the comment made by Mr. Lapierre that the government would accept the right to enjoy property in Clause 7 as opposed to Clause 2.

The Solicitor General, Mr. Kaplan, answered:

If it is put forward by your party, yes.

Now, one may argue that Mr. Kaplan was incorrect in what he viewed the position of the government was; that, of course, is always open for government members to argue.

But I would like to suggest that that exchange could lead members of the Conservative party to only one conclusion, namely that the government was in fact, accepting our amendment on the basis that we would move it.

The record speaks for itself, Mr. Chairman, but I am trying to address the exact point Mr. Mackasey made.

Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman . . .

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, the honourable John Fraser.

I have your name, honourable Bryce Mackasey,and I have many other speakers I will certainly call you in order.

Mr. Irwin, followed by Senator Austin.

Mr. Irwin: Mr. Chairman, I do not want to talk about the question of privilege, but I would like to address the matter of fairness and in that way address the problem.

Last week there were several freedoms which were put forward as amendments—unreasonable interference with privacy, family, home, correspondence, and the enjoyment of property.

There was a suggestion that the government would support enjoyment of property as a separate item in Clause 7. But there was no withdrawal of the others. They were voted on, and I believe the Opposition voted with part of the yeas and were outvoted.

We have not dealt with enjoyment of property which we could have dealt with today. Mr. McGrath says—perhaps he would have talked longer if he had not thought that we were

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going to go along with enjoyment of property; on that understanding, I would propose unanimous consent to go back on Clause 2 so that Mr. McGrath could have a full opportunity to continue with his debate on Clause 2.

I believe our side as suggested by Mr. Austin, is prepared to concede to that, and I am sure the NDP would do the same. So it would only leave the Opposition to consent, and they could have exactly what Mr. McGrath wants.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Epp.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, it is not that simple. One word has been given on Friday, and one word has now been retracted and now another Minister comes in and gives another word. Obviously that is not acceptable.

Another point is that Mr. Irwin was wrong in saying that we had voted, or that the Committee had voted against the amendment on Clause 7. Specifically, enjoyment of property has not been dealt with.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would like to say at this point as a matter of clarity, that to go back on a clause that has already been voted on by the Committee is always possible, provided there is unanimous consent.

I see there is no unanimous consent, Mr. Irwin, around the table, and I cannot go on with your motion, because it would not receive consent.

Mr. Irwin: Mr. Chairman, I did not say what Mr. Epp understood me to say. I said we voted as a group on all the suggestions except enjoyment of property which we are prepared to deal with today. We are prepared to go back and deal with everything if the Opposition is aggreable.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Irwin.

The honourable Senator Austin.

Senator Austin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. If the only issue is whether there is unanimous consent, perhaps you could ask whether there is unanimous consent.

Mr. Epp: It is not the only issue, Mr. Chairman.

Senator Austin: I understood you had answered Mr. Epp’s query, Mr. Chairman, as to whether the Committee could, indeed, return to open the clause which was previously voted on and you answered that in the affirmative.

So, is the question that members of Conservative Party and the Committee do not give unanimous consent to reach the remedy which they are requesting tonight? That is what I understood Mr. McGrath to ask for, the return to Clause 2. We are prepared to proceed. I have not heard the NDP speak, but I understand they are also prepared.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am certainly ready to recognize any honourable member from the Official Opposition party to answer specifically your question. Your question is the Chair’s question in the sense that such a motion could be received by the Chair if there is unanimous consent; I would certainly invite honourable members who have heard the motion as put. forward by Mr. Irwin, and expressed in longer terms by Senator Austin, to state their views on that very issue.

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The honourable Perrin Beatty.

Mr. Beatty: Mr. Chairman, there are three issues at stake here. The first is, of course, the merits of’ our amendment which I moved to Clause 7. I cannot deal with that at this point; because obviously, my doing so as mover of the amendment would preclude any further debate.

There are two other issues which are very much at stake. The first is that there was a very solemn commitment given to us by the Acting Minister of Justice on behalf of the Liberal party that if we were to agree to withdraw our amendment to Clause 2, we would be allowed to move with their agreement an amendment to Clause 7.

What Mr. Irwin is proposing is tt we should be able to go back to Clause 2 and reopen that again and leave Clause 7 open.

There is a third point which Mr. Irwin did not deal with.

Is the proposition that Mr. Irwin is putting forward to this Committee, Mr. Chairman, that the government is in anyway relieved of its solemn obligation which it made to support the amendment which they. knew we would be moving on property rights?

is it the position taken by the government that our agreement to reopen Clause 2 would relieve the government of its comitment which it made with the Acting Minister of Justice surrounded by exactly the same officials as are here tonight surrounding the Minister of Justice? Because if that is the case, Mr. Chairman, it does not go to the heart of our concern.

There is a question of honour here: a firm, solemn commitment was given to the members of this party and to the whole Committee and to the people of Canada by the Acting Minister of Justice on behalf of the Liberal party, on behalf of the Government of Canada; and it would be intolerable to us on our side of the Committee if what Mr. Irwin was proposing in his amendment was that the decision to reopen Clause 2 could in any way relieve the government of its commitment on Clause 7.

We are prepared to see Clause 2 reopened, but we are not prepared to see a condition attached to it that in any way the governments obligation to support our amendment on Clause 7 would be relieved.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Before I invite honourable members to speak on the question, I would like to read the motion so that all honourable members are properly informed on what they are speaking and on what they will have to make a decision.

It is moved by the honourable James McGrath that the breach of undertaking to the Committee by the government. on Clause 2 constitute a breach of my privilege as a member of this Committee and, further, that the matter be reported to the House of Commons.

That is the proper motion. The Chair has received it and would request honourable members to address themselves to such a motion.

Mr. Robinson.

Mr. Robinson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I was not quite clear exactly what it was we were speaking to. But now that we have a motion before us, I would first of

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all ask you, Mr. Chairman, to clarify whether, indeed, that particular motion as worded is in order.

I do not understand the procedure whereby a member can move a motion with respect to that members privilege.

Correct me, if I am wrong, Mr. Chairman; but it was my understanding that on a matter of that nature, concerning the privileges of a member of this Committee or indeed a member of the House, that that was a matter for a decision by the Chair.

Now, in the case of the Committee that could presumably go to the House; but is it the case that a member of this Committee can move a motion to that effect?

I would like to have clarification on that before moving on to the second point.

Mr. McGrath: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Before I move on to a point of order by Mr. McGrath, the Chair has already answered at length by quoting authorities and a section of the Standing Orders and the additional comments as stated by Beauchesne and the interpretation given to precedents.

The Chair is not entitled to make a ruling as in the House of Commons. The proper procedure is that the motion be put through to the Chair and that honourable members of the Committee are invited to express their views and then to vote on such a motion.

That is the proper procedure and you may go on to your second point, Mr. Robinson.

Mr. Robinson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

My only concern was with respect to the position in the House. My understanding was that there was first to be a prime facie case of privilege shown. Apparently the Chair is suggesting that that is not required in this instance.

I will await with interest the Chair’s comment on that particular point. But there is an additional burden to show a prima facie breach of privilege.

Turning to the suggestion made by Senator Austin, certainly it is our view that, with respect to the concern expressed by the Conservative Party, clearly there was an undertaking given, that if the amendment with respect to Clause 2 was withdrawn, that another amendment could be moved and at that point it was stated that the government would accept that amendment with respect to Clause 7.

Therefore, we would certainly be prepared to grant the required unanimous consent to revert to Clause 2 to deal with the. understanding that was given to the Conservative Party at that time. We are certainly prepared to consent to that.

Naturally, we will not deal with the question of merits at this point, but with respect to what has occurred here, it is clear that no one would suggest that what has happened here is not a case of reflection on the consequence of this particular amendment, of consultation with the bodies that might be affected and following that consultation and consideration of the very serious and unprecedented nature of this amendment, that the appropriate response was made.

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The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): To answer your second point, Mr. Robinson, contrary to the position of the honourable Speaker in the House of Commons or in the Senate, the Chairman or the Chairperson of a Standing Committee of the House does not have to make a ruling if there is a prima facie case of breach of privilege.

The only responsibility in such circumstances of the Chairperson is to receive the motion put through by honourable members who feel aggrieved, and such a motion requesting the Committee to report to the House the allegation of a breach of privilege and the House then would deal with the motion in the proper way.

But at this point the Chair does not have to make a ruling if there is a prima facie case of breach of privilege to receive a motion to report to the House to that effect.

I hope that is an answer to your question.

I would like now to invite the honourable Bryce Mackasey.

Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, a while ago I asked about the precise wording of Mr. McGrath. I accept your word at any time. It is no problem with me.

But I wanted to get from you what was the point of privilege. This is very much in line with the motion, because we are talking about a breach of undertaking.

I want to get it very clear in my mind what undertaking we are breaching. What was the breach of undertaking?

A question I had asked was whether the undertaking was to deal with the question of property in Clause 7 rather than in Clause 2. Was that the undertaking, or was it more comprehensive?

Was the undertaking in fact that, not only would we deal with it in Clause 7 rather than Clause 2, but that we would support it—a fundamental difference between the two.

That is why I wanted to hear from Mr. McGrath exactly what he had in mind; because, Mr. Chairman, l know you cannot rule on that.

The motion before us simply talks about a breach of ‘undertaking, and we have to know what the undertaking was.

When I look at pages 163 and 164—and hopefully not with a biased view—I do not understand that as an undertaking beyond dealing with it in Clause 7. I would like, in conscience, to read pages 155 onwards, the intent of Mr. Crombie who, obviously, was proposing an amendment of the clause, and the manner in which Mr. Lapierre replied to it.

I am not trying to cop out; but I would like to know, because it is very significant in determining what the nature of the breach was.

Mr. Epp last. Well, Mr. Epp has a queer sense of humour and rises at the funniest times.

Mr. Epp: Only when you speak!

Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, he has developed an awful habit of interrupting. It is Mr. McGrath I am dealing with and he has the common courtesy to come with years in Committee work; Mr. Epp has not had that privilege.

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But the point I would like to know is that I would like to know precisely what was the breach of undertaking—and I accept the word of an honourable gentleman. But I am certainly entitled to ask that question. If this is only a breach of undertaking or the undertaking was to debate it fully, when we arrived at Clause 7, then that is not a commitment to support it.

Finally, before Mr. McGrath speaks, I do not think the Minister can say more in his capacity that what the policy of the government is.

I do not believe the Minister can bind members to vote for the government’s position. That is very significant.

I am wondering if the Minister or the Opposition presumed—and I expressed that view on Friday when I raised the question and asked the Minister on Friday; because I was concerned about the effect on zoning in Quebec or Lincoln or elsewhere.

So, Mr. Chairman, it is very important to me that we know what pages 158, 159 and 160 said all the way up to 164 and 165.

In other words, Mr. Chairman, the question is: can the Minister do more than-enunciate government policy, or can he in page 165 presume to bind us as to how we should vote.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Mackasey.

The honourable James McGrath.

Mr. McGrath: Just by way of replying to Mr. Mackasey, I just want to lay it out for him very simply.

We moved an amendment to Clause 2. We were told by the Minister and by members of the Committee speaking on behalf of the government that if we withdrew that amendment from Clause 2, the government would accept it if it was moved on Clause 7. On the basis of that undertaking I gave unanimous consent to allowing the amendment to be withdrawn and you will find that on page 165. Mr. Crombie asked for unanimous consent to allow the amendment to be withdrawn from Clause 2 and it was given.

Now we are told by the Minister tonight that the undertaking on which that unanimous consent was given is no longer valid, he has completely contradicted what his colleague said last week, and to put it very bluntly, Mr.’ Mackasey, in words that even you and I can understand, we have been had.

Mr. Mackasey: Mr. McGrath, we should not jump to conclusions, and I do agree that page 165 says very clearly, and you are right about that, Mr. Crombie said:

Well, Mr. Chairman, with unanimous consent of the Committee we withdraw it in Clause 2 in favour of having it in Clause 7.

I can read that either way, as a commitment to deal with it in Clause 7 or a commitment to include it in Clause 7, and I rest on that and I will form my own personal conclusions, after I have had a chance to study from 158 to 165 to get the sense of Mr. Lapierre’s commitment because I know Mr. Crombie

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interpreted for the Minister what Mr. Lapierre is supposed to have said, not Mr. Lapierre directly to the Minister.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Mackasey.

Honourable John Fraser.

Mr. Fraser: Mr. Chairman, I am not surprised at Mr. Mackasey’s attempts to find some way for himself and others to wiggle out of an undertaking that was given.

Mr. Mackasey: Point of order, Mr. Chairman. The member is imputing motives and I do not appreciate it. I am not trying to wriggle out of anything. It might be difficult for Mr. Fraser to consider facts important. I want the facts for myself established that I understand them, not as Mr. Fraser interprets them.

Mr. Fraser: Well, my answer has to be a fairly short one, and that is that it is quite clear to me that if you take the plain wording of Mr. Crombie’s question, which was: you accept the comment made by Mr. Lapierre that the government would accept the right to enjoy property in Clause 7 as opposed to Clause 2.

And Mr. Kaplan was speaking for the government:

If it is put forward by your party, yes.

Now, one has to also remember that, clearly from what Mr. Lapierre said earlier, there had been discussion about this by government members on the Committee.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I do not want to put you in a difficult position, any more difficult than the position you have been put in as a consequence of this, but what I think has got to be clearly understood is that the issue here is whether the word of the government is worth anything, and that is the question of privilege. The question of privilege is whether or not an honourable member and honourable members were put in a position where they should have been able to accept the proposition put forward by the Minister acting on behalf of the government after a specific question, and whether we are now to just conveniently get around the fact that the proposition put forward by the government on Thursday has, as a consequence of subsequent discussions, the present Minister of Justice made that quite clear, has now been changed.

Now, that is the question of privilege, but I want to move to another point.

This question goes to the very heart of whether or not, in a partisan committee such as this and in a partisan House of Commons,we can depend on the word of our colleagues in other parties.

Now, to the degree that this shows clearly that there has been a breach of an undertaking then that essential element of trust which has to exist no matter how much we may be divided on the substance of the issue, that fundamental element of trust has to exist and we have got a lot of work yet to do.

Now, Mr. Chairman, you may be in the very difficult position of not being able to rule on this, and I appreciate that, because that is not something you can do anything about; but this motion is a motion by an aggrieved member on a very fundamental matter, a matter, by the way, which as some

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other honourable members around this table who belong to law societies in this country know, that a breach of an undertaking is grounds for dismissal from a law society, have the right to practice law stripped from you because you cannot practice law in an adversary society, in an adversary relationship, unless you can depend on and trust each other.

Now, my concern now is not in making anybody who is listening to this debate realize there has been a breach of undertaking, that is not my concern because I think it is so patently obvious; my concern is that if this Committee does not accept Mr. McGrath’s motion are you as Chairman empowered under the rules to nonetheless refer it to the House of Commons where the matter can be taken under further advisement, because that is a very important question, because whether honourable colleagues around this table who do not happen to be in my party agree with the substance of this, whether or not they think there is a way around it by turning back the clock and starting over again, the question still remains that there has been a fundamental breach of an undertaking and that matter should be aired in the House of Commons or somewhere, where it can be ruled upon.

I would hope, Mr. Chairman, that honourable members in this Committee would at least be able to say that the motion which alleges a breach of privilege on the basis that has been set out, ought to at least have the concurrence of this Committee so that you can then transfer it to the House where it can be dealt with in a way that you, as I have tried to fairly state, obviously cannot do here.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable John Fraser.

If I may give additional information to your search for information, I want to quote you Section 58 of a booklet entitled The Guide for Committee Chairman, and Section 58 reads:

Any question of privilege is a matter for the House to decide. Breaches of privilege occurring in Committee may be dealt with only by the House itself on a report from the Committee. However, the Committee must decide that the circumstances are serious enough to warrant a report to the House.

So it is clear that the Chair cannot report to the House unless it is either requested by the Committee or because there has been a vote in the Committee to report to the House, and I can quote a precedent on December 7, 1978, and the conclusion out of the precedent is very clear, and it reads: from all these authorities it seems clear to the Chair that our only recourse is a report to the House.

So failing this Committee taking an affirmative vote to report to the House, the Chairman has no other choice than to receive that decision of the Committee and to abide by it and there is no specific authority in ourselves to stand up in the House of Commons at the proper time and make a report or raise the issue in the House of Commons, and I find myself bound by those rules. Up to this point I have received a motion from the honourable James McGrath and unless that motion is withdrawn, at one point there will be a. vote on that motion.

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Mr. Fraser: Mr. Chairman, I think you very properly stated the position in which you find yourself and the rules under which you must abide and which of course this Committee must abide as well. I do not need to point it out to you, Mr. Chairman or your Joint Chairman, because I think you have both got the point, but I am pointing out to Committee members, and to anyone who is listening, that unlike the House where a motion of privilege can be made and then the Speaker, who is the custodian of our privileges, makes the ruling, not by a vote, not by a partisan vote in the House, that is the whole function of the Speaker, to exercise independence.

Now, you do have the chance to do that here, sir, not through any fault of your own. I would place this matter in your hands any time that it could be placed there, but it cannot be. What we will then be facing is a government majority that has a vested interest in this not going to the House, voting on a question of privilege when they are not sitting as independent judges and as custodian of our privileges as Madam Speaker would be in the House of Commons, and it must be clearly understood that if this is defeated here, it is not defeated on the same basis that it would be defeated in the House of Commons where an independent adjudicator, namely Madam Speaker, would rule on the question as custodian of our privileges, because it would be folly in the extreme to presume that this Committee, given its partisan lineup and given the government’s interest in getting this thing out of the way as fast as possible, is likely to vote to put this into the House of Commons where it can be independently adjudicated upon, and I do not say that with any criticism of you, Mr. Chairman, or the Joint Chairman, because you are bound by the rules, but I want it clearly understood that this will not be a decision based on whether there is a privilege; it will be a decision around here on a vote based on the partisan advantages of this sometimes unfortunately overly partisan cockpit.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable John Fraser.

Mr. Robinson.

Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, with respect to the motion before the Committee at this point, l must confess to some surprise that my friend Mr. McGrath is prepared to continue to pursue this point in light of the fact that it would seem that it is a rather academic point, and I say that with respect to Mr. McGrath at this point, because I understand how he felt before the undertaking was made, that there could be a step back to Clause 2, that in view of the fact that, Certainly I agree, and whether the government members agree or disagree, they are prepared to go back, that there was a commitment made and it was on the basis of that commitment that your amendment was withdrawn, we are prepared to go back.

So it would seem to me, with respect to Mr. McGrath, that this motion is an academic motion because what the motion would seek to achieve is to return to Clause 2. The complaint which it appears to address is the denial of the right to move an amendment with respect to Clause 2, that is the only complaint which is addressed; this motion does not in any way deal with the concern that somehow there was a commitment made on Clause 7, and that between Friday and Monday there was a reconsideration of that and the government has now decided not to accept that.

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This motion does not touch that at all, Mr. Chairman. It only deals with one complaint, one single complaint, and there is nothing else in the motion. It deals with the breach of undertaking by the government on Clause 2.

We say: let us go back to Clause 2. We accept your complaint on that point, we are prepared to go back to Clause 2, to start afresh, and on that basis, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest that we should move on to give you unanimous consent on Clause 2, let us deal with the substance of what the Conservative motion purports to want to deal with. It is like a case of contempt where the party in question is prepared to purge its contempt. If the party in question is prepared to purge its contempt, then the court will usually accept that.

Now, if there has been a contempt here, the party in question, the government, is prepared apparently to purge its contempt and I suggest we accept that purging and move on to the substance of the proposal that the Conservatives wish to move on Clause 2.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson.

Honourable Senator Roblin.

Senator Roblin: Mr. Chairman, I do not as a rule take part in these discussions on procedure or of the substance of the discussions we have been indulging ourselves in here tonight, but I must say that Mr. Robinson’s explanation of the point forces me to tell him that I cannot understand the logic of his argument.

We are not concerned about whether the proposition is dealt with in Clause 2 or Clause 7, that is a matter that can be handled either way. What we are concerned about is whether the item has government support, that is what the issue is, that is what the breach of privilege is, that is what the breach of the undertaking is, and simply to go back to Clause 2, the words “breach of undertaking” in here cover that ground completely, and simply to say that we can go back and open up Clause 2 again and perhaps have the government do what it says it is going to do, namely boot the thing out, it deals with the issue and constitutes purging of their offence, is an approach to the matter which is entirely beyond me. I cannot see the logic, I cannot see the validity of that point of view.

The point of view is that the government gave an undertaking, and what was its undertaking? Its undertaking was not to go back to Clause 2, its undertaking was to admit into Clause 7 this question of rights or property, that is what the undertaking was and a further undertaking was that when it go there it would support it.

Now, that is what the undertaking was and that is what they have to purge themselves of, if they have to purge themselves of anything at all. Their majority, I think, will probably be an adequate purge as far as they are concerned. It certainly will not sit very well with some of us here, but it seems to me that it is well that we not be confused by thinking that if we simply re-open the matter of Clause 2 and have copyrights booted out, that that really discharges the government of any obligation; no such thing. Their obligation is to deal with it in Clause 7 and to support it, and if they are not going to do that, then I feel as one member of this Committee that I have not really been fairly dealt with and fairly handled when this matter came up the first time.

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The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Senator Roblin.

Honourable Jake Epp.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, the very offer made by Senator Austin to open Clause 2 again and have redress through that means is just not acceptable. Senator Roblin has already mentioned that, and the reason should be quite clear, because Senator Austin is saying by the very fact that he is willing to open Clause 2, he already has shown there is a prima facie case that in fact we moved off of Clause 2 under false pretences, under false assurances, and that is what he is saying.

He then is willing to prescribe a remedy. Mr. Chairman, you yourself have said that it is not for this Committee to prescribe remedies, but rather that this Committee, all that it can do is report to’ the House the breach, that is what Mr. McGrath’s motion does and that being the case, Mr. Chairman, simply opening Clause 2 and in that way trying to exorcise their souls is not enough and it will now be the Speaker that will rule and it is on that basis as to how we will also vote, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Jake Epp.

The honourable Senator Austin.

Senator Austin: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I very much appreciate Mr. Epp’s remarks because it allows me to contrast what he said with what I said.

What I said was that reasonable men can differ as to what happened, and on this side, rather than have the Official Opposition believe that they have just cause for complaint, we would prefer to go back to the status quo ante, and open up Clause 2. It seems to me, however, that what Mr. Epp is saying and what Senator Roblin is saying is that they would rather have their complaint than a fair solution of that particular complaint.

Mr. Epp: It is not a fair solution.

Mr. Beatty: It is not a fair solution.

Senator Austin: Well, I do not think Mr. Beatty is going to be allowed to fight a duel of honour with Mr. Lapierre, I just do not think that we can do.

Mr. Beatty: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable Perrin Beatty on a point of order.

Mr. Beatty: Senator Austin just alleged that I was fighting a duel of honour with Mr. Lapierre; I am fighting no duel of honour with Mr. Lapierre, I have made no allegations about Mr. Lapierre’s honour, and I think that it would be very useful for the Committee, Mr. Chairman, to invite Mr. Lapierre to give us his guidance as to whether or not he felt that at the time he made the offer he was speaking on behalf of the government members because I suspect that the duel will be fought between Senator Austin and Mr. Lapierre, not between Mr. Lapierre and myself.

Senator Austin: With respect, the intervention is not a point of order, just argument, and I would like to be allowed to finish mine and then I will listen to anyone else’s argument, and I have listened to several this evening.

[Page 29]

If Mr. McGrath does not want to have the solution that is offered by the New Democratic Party and by this side this evening, then I must advise the Chair that the form of the resolution is unacceptable and the reason for it is that it concludes by its words the very issue that in argument Mr. McGrath and others on that side have said that they wanted to bring before the speaker.

The resolution says: I move that the breach of undertaking to the Committee by the government, that is, a concluded fact in their motion that there is a breach, not the question of the breach or whether there is a breach, but “the” breach of undertaking constitutes a breach of my privilege as a member of the Committee and that the matter be reported, not be referred, or to be considered, but reported.

Now, that is not the way the arguments have evolved and been offered by Mr. McGrath and by the Opposition.

What it should say, if it is to be fair, is that on motion of James McGrath, M.P., that an allegation of breach of privilege as a member of the Committee has occurred in respect of Clause 2, this Committee request that the speaker consider the matter; that would be an appropriate way to frame a question, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. McGrath: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much,

Senator Austin.

Honourable James McGrath.

Mr. McGrath: I hesitate to raise another point of order, but the form of the motion is in accordance with the instructions I received from the Chair, through the Clerk of the Committee, and I think that point has to be made.

Senator Austin: I would like that to be clear because in its present form it is conclusive of all the issues of facts before this Committee.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable members of the Committee, as I stated very clearly a moment ago, have the responsibility to decide upon themselves if, and I quote the Guide for the Chairman of the Committee,

The Committee must decide that the circumstances are serious enough to warrant a report to the House.

So it is clear that the Committee has to decide that the circumstances surrounding an allegation by an honourable member that his privilege has been broken, will report to the House, so it is up to the Committee to decide at this point that the circumstances surrounding a statement or an event justify the Committee in its majority, through a vote, to report to the House. That is essentially the content of the motion, or the decision, of course, that the Committee has to make on the issue.

It is clear that the proposed motion is an allegation, it is an allegation by the honourable James McGrath that his privilege has been curtailed by the fact that on Clause 2 there has been some statement on the very issue and content of amendments as introduced by the Conservative Party and that the honourable member feels aggrieved, and feeling aggrieved, he con-

[Page 30]

cludes that there is a breach of his privilege and he wants the Committee to state that under circumstances that surrounded his statement, and that entitled the Chairman of the Committee to report if the Committee instructs the Chairman to so report to the House.

That is the essence of the decision that the honourable members have to take.

Honourable Senator Asselin.

[Translation]

Senator Asselin: Mr. Chairman, for several weeks, the Committee’s hearings have been surrounded by harmony and mainly trust.

The point I would like to raise tonight is that by the very attitude of the members on the ministerial side and from that of the minister who attended our hearings last week, we inferred that by acting this way on clause 2, and basing ourselves on the statement that had been made by Mr. Lapierre and the Attorney General, the opposition could be trustful, withdraw its amendment and report it to clause 7.

The government members thus formally committed themselves to supporting our amendment when we would by studying clause 7.

The New Democratic Party voiced its objections, but what mostly surprised me at the end of the week, Mr. Chairman, was to hear the leader of the New Democratic Party formally challenge the government to the effect that if the government, in its majority, agreed on the amendment put by our party, he would be ready to withdraw its support to the government on the various constitutional questions that we have to discuss in this Committee.

I would never have imagined, coming back here tonight, that the government would have caved into the blackmail of the New Democratic Party leader. Mr. Chairman, if you put this question of privilege and its merits to the House Speaker and to the over-all review of the House members, it would mean that from now on, members of. the official opposition will have problems trusting government representatives when they will commit themselves to support us in our amendments.

We are destroying the atmosphere of trust which has been characterizing the works of this Committee since the beginning.

Mr. Chairman, it is clear that from what we know of the intentions of the government members in this Committee who have changed their minds since last Friday, at the request of the Justice Minister—the Minister told us tonight that he would not allow the members who support the government to support our amendment—it is clear that in the future we will ask the government members, before committing ourselves, some assurance that they will keep their word. I invite the government members who are going to vote on this question to take into account the future of this Committee in the discussions that we will have in a few days.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Robinson on a point of order.

[Page 31]

[Text]

Mr. Robinson: A point of order, Mr. Chairman.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): M. Robinson, sur un rappel au Reglement.

Mr. Robinson: I am sure that the honourable Senator Asselin would wish to reconsider his use of the word “blackmail” in connection with the discussions which are taking place this evening. I am sure you would advise him, Mr. Chairman, that pursuant to Citation 320 in Beauchesne’s that that word is unparliamentary and is also completely inaccurate to describe the events of the weekend.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson.

Senator Asselin.

[Translation]

Senator Asselin: Then, Mr. Chairman, if in fact the word “blackmail” is unparliamentary, I would say that the leader of the New Democratic Party has unequivocally challenged the leader of the Canadian Government, Mr. Trudeau, to advise his members who sit on this Committee that if our amendment was not agreed upon he would ‘withdraw his trust in the government on the questions which are put by the government here and that the New Democratic Party supports since the . beginning.

It is not the last time that we will witness changes made by Parliament members following pressures by the New Democratic Party.

Then, if “blackmail” is unparliamentary, let us say that it is following a series of challenges and public pressure by the leader of the New Democratic Party, that the members who support the government have changed their minds.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Asselin.

The hon. Senator Tremblay.

Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, if you allow me, I will try to express my opinion in all simplicity on the debate on the motion of my colleague, Mr. McGrath.

Mr. McGrath has raised a question of privilege on the grounds that the transfer of Clause 2 to Clause 7, on the amendment related to property, was based on an undertaking. He put that it was simply a matter of a technical transfer from one clause to another but that as to the substance it was agreed that when we would discuss the matter on Clause 7 rather than on Clause 2, the Minister representing the government would agree with the substance of the amendment.

This being said, Mr. Chairman, this question has considerable extent on our Committee hearings. I recall very well that last week, when the Attorney General came here as a government representative to our Committee, the question had been raised to the effect that on either point, it might be advisable to have a sectorial minister—if you allow me the expression— and then we were clearly advised that the Minister replacing Mr. Chretien was speaking on behalf of the government on all the questions and that it was not necessary to turn to the expertise of any sectorial minister or another.

[Page 32]

Thus, his role as an official spokesman for the government has been clearly established.

I think that if there is a gap among two equally official spokesmen, between the Minister who was with us last week and the one who is with us tonight, if they do not agree on the substance of the event, it appears to me that there is really grounds for a question of privilege like the one put by our colleague, Mr. McGrath, who relies on the commitment clearly made by the Minister, Mr. Kaplan, who said he would agree on the substance.

As stressed by Senator Roblin, the question is not to know whether it is either on Clause 2 or on Clause 7, it is a purely technical matter and we welcomed the suggestion that we would report the matter to clause 7, being understood that when the matters of our amendment to clause 7 would come, there was already an agreement as to the substance.

Mr. Chairman, if you allow me, I would like to stress that in light of the gap from one government spokesman to another, if we allow the very spokesman’ to change his mind right in the middle of things, it is a challenge to our Committee hearings. If we allow one spokesman to have a different position from the other, I do not really see why we would need any government spokesman in our hearings.

Why not then keep to ourselves since it is among ourselves that we will have to decide on the content of the proposals that we will make as a committee. Up to now we had thought that when an official spokesman for the government was giving us an indication, it was sort of privileged in a way.

Since there has been a change of position as to the subject of the amendment, in light of this phenomenon, I think we have to draw the only logical conclusion which is why not try to manage on our own without relying on any official government spokesmen? What is the use of being advised by one particular official government spokesman if from one to the other, things can change?

This is what really matters right now. I happily welcome government spokesmen provided we can trust their word. If not, why embarrass ourselves with discussing with them? Let us discuss the matter among ourselves, Mr. Chairman!

This is the meaning of the question we have here. Its scope is extremely wide and I think we must give it all our attention. It is not a minor question of procedure. It is a basic question.

I have taken the liberty to draw your attention, Mr. Chairman, to this question because I consider it crucial.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, hon. Senator Tremblay.

[Page 33]

[Text]

I see no more questioners on my list and I conclude that honourable members are ready to vote on the motion.

All those in favour of the motion.

Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, would you read the motion please, because it is very important. There are two factors in there and I want to be sure what we are voting on.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I will read the motion, moved by the honourable James McGrath,

That the breach of undertaking to the Committee by the government on Clause 2 constitutes a breach of my privilege as a member of this Committee and further that the matter be reported to the House of Commons.

All those in favour of the motion.

Honourable Jake Epp?

Mr. Epp: I request a recorded vote and I am sure all members around the table will vote their conscience as to what was discussed on Friday.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Jake Epp.

I would like to invite the Clerk of the Senate to call the vote, as is our usual procedure.

Motion negatived: 8 Yeas, 14 Nays.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would invite honourable members to come back on the amendment as was moved by honourable Perrin Beatty on Clause 7, the amendment numbered CP-4, Clause 7, page 4 of the amendment list that was circulated last week. [Translation] The honourable Senator Tremblay wants to speak on the main motion.

Mr. Tremblay.

Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, I already had given my name to speak on the merit of the amendment and especially on the answer which the Justice Minister has given to this proposed amendment.

His answer has been negative and he explained it by saying that during the summer, in the course of the discussion held with the provinces, an important number, which he did not specify, of provinces were objecting to this amendment.

I can understand the reason why the minister says no tonight because it is “logical” if he wants to act in a unilateral way. It is consistent with this way of imposing the old charter and its content on the provinces by recourse to the Parliament of London. So it is consistent with what I would call the minister’s strategy not to use the unilateral means to such an extent that it would go totally against some of the positions taken during the summer by the provinces, because the minister then learned that the provinces could have objections.

In this context of unilateral action, I do understand his “no” but our position is not to use unilateral action. For us, the

[Page 34]

proposed charter, as other elements of the proposed resolution, as Mr. Epp well underlined the evening we tabled our amendments, will not go to London but will be deferred to provinces. So we try now to put into the charter some elements which seem to us as valid propositions from the federal government which can be reconsidered by the provinces.

In this perspective, the “no” given by the minister is not so well explained by the reason which he has given us and which is a purely strategic reason. I repeat, is a strategical reason which fits into the unilateral global governmental project and which does not concern itself with the merits of this question.

But as to the content, the question is to determine whether the federal government should consider entrenching the right to property in a charter of rights; if there are some problems which arise for the provinces when the charter will be deferred to them to be reconsidered, they will be able to write into it what is suited to them. This is the question we are putting through the amendment which we have tabled.

I do not ask the minister whether certain provinces have objections to this amendment but our amendment is really asking him if he agrees with the validity of the content, of the substance of this amendment: should we put in a charter the right to the enjoyment of property?

Mr. Chrétien: I answered at the outset in saying that in July, when we tabled our original project, we had put in it this right to property. But, I must admit that it is maybe this point which was the most strongly debated by the provinces in the course of our summer discussions, even when we were trying to come to an agreement and even though we were hoping to get an agreement on the entrenchment of a charter of rights in the constitution. The opposition of the provinces in the case of the right to property was clear and the consequences in an administrative point of view, were expected to be numerous. The provinces had accepted that many other rights be put into the charter, the right to property was surely the one which was the most strongly criticized. This is the reason why, expecting that this question would arise, and taking into account the information I have, I would say that we are, at the federal level, bound by the charter of rights of Mr. Diefenbaker. We believe that, taking this into account, it would have been okay if we have had unanimity. But the misunderstanding came last week because that proposal came from your party who, knew very well that at that stage all the amendments which we are making will be integrated in a charter which will be accepted by the House of Commons. That is at least the work plan at the present time and so even taking into account this perspective, your party wants to put in the charter this amendment. Your party wants to put this amendment in a charter which will be presented to Parliament and effectively approved by Parliament and I suppose eventually approved by the Parliament in England.

So you cannot have it both ways. You cannot say you are for it, you are for virtue but that you are going to vote against it

[Page 35]

once it is presented in the House. I thought your thinking was that because you would be forced to have a charter it would be as well to include in it the right to property. But the opposition we have encountered comes from the same people and this is what causes the misunderstanding. If we had had unanimity, we would have agreed. When Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Lapierre were speaking, and I did not read the proceedings but that is what I was told, the Committee seemed to be, to a certain degree, agreeing unanimously.

Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, there is a rule which has been adopted and which allows us, when we start a point, to carry on in the same line. So, can I follow up to get some clarification?

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Sure, Senator Tremblay.

Senator Tremblay: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

May I ask again my question, Mr. Minister?

Mr. Chretien: Yes.

Senator Tremblay: As you had yourself brought the subject of right to property into the discussions held with the provinces, do you still believe that it would be a good thing to have in the Canadian charter of rights a right to property?

Mr. Chretien: Yes, in principle, but I must admit, Senator Tremblay, that the arguments presented by the provincial governments about the administrative difficulties which would result from this measure have brought to my mind many doubts about the opportunity of imposing directly and quickly this measure. That is why I said the government was ready to reconsider this question as soon as the constitutional negotiation would take place again, at the second stage, with the provinces. We would be ready to discuss again this subject at this second stage because on the one hand we are concerned by this question of right to property and because we are also on the other hand recognizing that there are, in general, difficulties in this context for the regional, provincial and municipal governments. That right of property could be invoked in cases of expropriation, zoning and so on and it could be that common law would supercede the private law.

Senator Tremblay: So, Mr. Minister, you are in a sort of a blind alley. You carry on believing more or less that it is them a right that should be integrated in the charter but because the charter you want to have and which you propose in the regulations will be brought to London and be imposed to the provinces, you are in a sort of blind alley . . . I must underline here that for us there is no deadlock because we intend to forward the charter—including the right to property—to the provinces.

I would not like to carry on for ever this discussion by we are finding . . . .

Mr. Chretien: We could also note what has been noticed by the observers at the end of the week that in putting in these amendments, you have’ put yourself into a very difficult position.

[Page 36]

So you too are in trouble: it is not always persible to be perfectly consistent.

Senator Tremblay: Thank you for recoginzing it.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Senator Tremblay. Mr. Nystrom.

Mr. Nystrom.

[Text]

Mr. Nystrom: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I would like to welcome the Minister of Justice back to the Committee again. I would like to say to him that we are happy to have him back and also that his health has returned. It appears that he has found a new amending formula, at least a new amending formula for himself.

I would also like to say to him that I am very pleased that he has agreed with us that the amendment suggested by the Conservative Party is not a good amendment nor is it a healthy amendment for the country.

On Friday last I made our objections known and made them very clear to members across the way and asked that members of this Committee could postpone the vote until Monday and could perhaps reflect—and perhaps it says amazing things for reflection, Mr. Chairman; but I am very pleased to see that the government has recognized some of the dangers in the motion suggested by the Conservative Party.

I had also suggested that we consult some of the provinces. I would like to say to you that the Minister has already confirmed that opposition continues from many of the provinces.

As a matter of fact, on my way to the Committee tonight I met with the Attorney General of Prince Edward Island, Mr. Carver, and I referred to eloquent plea and his eloquent speech at the September conference when I spoke in this Committee on Friday last.

I have here before me a telegram from Premier Angus MacLean, the Premier of Prince Edward Island, and he says here—and I quote:

You will recall our submission to your Committee on October 27, 1980. At that time we complimented the federal government for deleting any reference to the right of citizens to acquire and own land in any province in its resolution. I note with great concern the proposed amendment before your Committee which would add the phrase “enjoyment of property” to Section 2, fundamental rights and Section 7, legal rights to the proposed resolution on the constitution.

The Government of Prince Edward Island persists in its view that if such a right is to be added to the Bill of Rights, then it must be so drafted to make it abundantly clear that this would not render null and void our provincial legislation on non-resident ownership of land.

[Page 37]

Now, Mr. Chairman, that is one of the concerns that Mr. Robinson and I voiced on Friday last and is one of the reasons why we said this Committee should take time to reflect and go back and consult people,consult some of the provinces and deliberate on what we are hearing before making a final decision.

As I have said, we are concerned about what it may do to nonresident ownership of land; we are concerned with what it might do for the expropriation of land—hypothetically for a pipeline; what it means, perhaps, is the federal government wants to take under public ownership one or two of the big national oil companies; what it might have meant to Saskatchewan to the public ownerhip program of the potash mines; what it might mean in the Province of Quebec with the government’s plan now to take over in public ownership some of the asbestos corporations and that is before the courts now in the Province of Quebec.

These are some of the questions we were posing. It became very evident that many of the provinces and many people of this country were -posing many of the same questions, and that is why it was wise to reflect and have a sober second look before making a decision of this sort.

So, I welcome the decision made by the government to reject the amendment which was put forward by the Conservative Party.

I would like to say also in closing and in summarizing our position, that if we are going to get into the area of social and economic rights that there are many other social rights which are more important than the right suggested by the Conservative Party; I think of the right to medical care, to income, the right to housing—many of these things, in my opinion, are more important than the right as drafted in the amendment by the Conservative Party.

There was also this summer another draft on the enjoyment of property which was suggested to the First Ministers. My understanding was that that draft was not quite as radical, was not quite as all inclusive as the draft suggested to this Committee by the Conservative Party.

I want to say in closing that, because of the fact that property rights are in the main administered by the provinces, and because so many of the provinces are very concerned about the wording in the amendment, that we reject the amendment out of respect for the federal system that we live in and I call upon committee members to vote that way, to reject the amendment which has been put before us and to get on with other clause in the resolution that is before this Committee.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Nystrom.

An hon. Member: Ten o’clock.

The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I see rather I hear one honourable member has called 10 o’clock. So, it being 10 o’clock, the meeting is adjourned to 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

[Translation]

The meeting is adjourned.


WITNESSES

From the Department of Justice:

Mr. Roger Tassé, Q.C., Deputy Minister;
Dr. B.L. Strayer, Q.C., Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Law.


Other Issues:

Index 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14* 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26* 27 28 29
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49
50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57

*On Order — Available Soon


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