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 56 (9 February 1981)
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 56 (9 February 1981).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 56
Friday, February 9, 1981
Senator Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Joint Committee of
the Senate and of
the House of Commons on the
Constitution of Canada
The document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a
Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen
respecting the Constitution of Canada” published
by the Government on October 2, 1980
The Honourable Jean Chrétien,
Minister of Justice and
Attorney General of Canada
(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
Senator Harry Hays, P.C.
Serge Joyal, M.P.
Representing the Senate:
Representing the House of Commons:
Campbell (Miss)(South West Nova)
Joint Clerks of the Committee
Pursuant to S.O. 65(4)(b) of the House of Commons:
On Monday, February 9, 1981:
Mrs. Côté replaced Mr. Mackasey;
Mr. Chénier replaced Mr. Dionne (Northumberland-Miramichi);
Mr. Lang replaced Mr. Irwin;
Mr. Tobin replaced Mr. McRae;
Mr. McGrath replaced Mr. Epp;
Mr. Henderson replaced Mr. Corbin;
Mr. Corbin replaced Mr. Tobin;
Mr. Mackasey replaced Mr. Corbin;
Mr. Keeper replaced Mr. Nystrom;
Mr. Corbin replaced Mr. Henderson;
Miss Campbell (South West Nova) replaced Mr. Lang;
Mr. Epp replaced Mr. King;
Mr. Sargeant replaced Mr. Keeper.
Pursuant to an order of the Senate adopted November 5, 1980:
On Monday, February 9, 1981:
Senator Lucier replaced Senator Steuart;
Senator Bielish replaced Senator Asselin;
Senator Roblin replaced Senator Macquarrie;
Senator Asselin replaced Senator Bielish.
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
Issue No. 48
Delete the motion of Mr. Robinson (Burnaby) which reads as follows:
Mr. Robinson (Burnaby) moved,—That Clause 10 be amended by
(a) striking out line 6 on page 5 and substituting the following:
(d) if without sufficient means to pay for counsel and if the interests of justice so require. to be provided with counsel;”; and
(b) by adding after paragraph (d) the following:
“(e) to protection against self-crimination from the moment of arrest, and the right to be informed of that right.”
and substitute the following:
Mr. Robinson (Burnaby) moved,—That the proposed amendment to clause 15 of the proposed Constitution Act, 1980 be amended by striking out in the proposed subclause (2) everything following the words “conditions of disadvantaged” and substituting the following:
“classes of individuals including those that are disadvantaged on grounds specified in that subsection.”
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 1981
The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 3:44 o’clock p.m., the Joint Chairman. Mr. Joyal, presiding.
Members of the Committee present:
Representing the Senate: The Honourable Senators Austin, Bielish, Connolly, Hays, Lapointe, Lucier, Petten, Roblin, Rousseau and Tremblay.
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Beatty, Bockstael, Chénier, Corbin, Mrs. Côté, Messrs. Hawkes, Henderson, Joyal, Keeper, King, Lang, Lapierre, Mackasey, McGrath, Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich), Nystrom and Robinson (Burnaby).
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mr. John McDonough, Researcher.
Appearing: The Honourable Jean Chrétien, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
Witnesses: From the Department of Justice: Mr. Roger Tassé, 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.)
By unanimous consent, after debate, on motion of Senator Austin the following technical amendment was agreed to:
In the proposed Sixth Schedule to the Constitution Act, 1867,
(a) in the title, add the word “NATURAL” after the word “NON-RENEWABLE” so that the title reads as follows:
“PRIMARY PRODUCTION FROM
NON-RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCES
AND FORESTRY RESOURCES”
(b) in paragraph 1(4), add the word “natural” so that the opening words of paragraph 1(a) read as follows;
“(a) production from a non-renewable natural resource is primary production therefrom if”
The Preamble (lines 4 to 17 on page 1) of the proposed Resolution carried, on division.
The words for a proposed Resolution (lines 18 to 22 on page 1) carried, on division.
The words for an Address to Her Majesty (lines 23 to 32 on page 1) carried, on division.
The Title ofthe proposed Resolution (lines 1 to 3 on page 1) carried, on division.
The question being put on the proposed Resolution, as amended, it was agreed to on the following division:
The Honourable Senators
The Honourable Senators
Senator Austin moved,—That this Committee recommend that the Government propose to the Senate and House of Commons for adoption a Resolution for an Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada, and that such Resolution be the “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada” published by the Government on October 2, 1980, as amended and approved by this Committee; and that, upon its adoption by the Senate and House of Commons, the Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen.
After debate, at 5:39 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
The Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada met this day at 8:47 o’clock p.m., the Joint Chairman. Mr. Joyal, presiding.
Members of the Committee present:
Representing the Senate: The Honourable Senators Asselin, Austin, Hays, Lapointe, Lucier, Petten, Roblin, Rousseau, Steuart and Tremblay.
Representing the House of Commons: Messrs. Beatty, Boekstael, Miss Campbell (South West Nova), Messrs. Chenier, Corbin, Mrs. Coté, Messrs. Epp, Hawkes, Joyal, Lapierre, Mackasey, McGrath, Munro (Esquimalt-Saanich), Sargeant and Robinson (Burnaby).
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mr. John McDonough, Researcher.
Appearing: The Honourable Jean Chrétien, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.
Witnesses: From the Department of Justice: Mr. Roger Tassé, 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 Senator Austin,—That this Committee recommend that the Government propose to the Senate and House of Commons for adoption a Resolution for an Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada, and that such Resolution be the “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada” published by the Government on October 2, 1980, as amended and approved by this Committee; and that, upon its adoption by the Senate and House of Commons, the Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen.
After further debate, the question being put on the motion, it was agreed to on the following division:
The Honourable Senators
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
The Honourable Senators
Mr. Epp moved,—That the Committee do now adjourn until 3:30 o’clock p.m., tomorrow.
The question being put on the motion, it was negatived on the following show of hands: YEAS: 8; NAYS: 15.
Mr. Robinson moved,—That the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons remain in open session for the writing of the report.
After debate, the question being put on the motion, it was negatived on the following division:
The Honourable Senators
The Honourable Senators
Campbell (Miss) (South West Nova)
At 10:07 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned until Tuesday, February 10, 1981 at 3:30 o’clock p.m. in camera.
Joint Clerks of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Monday, February 9, 1981
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please. May I invite honourable members to take their seats so we can resume consideration of the proposed resolution, and before the Chair calls the honourable members to discuss a certain number of technical questions, I have honourable Perrin Beatty on a point of order.
Mr. Beatty: Mr. Chairman, I will try to be very brief, but as you know there is only one item of business before the Committee in open session at the present time and I think before we go on to that, I wonder if it would be in order for me to ask for an indication from the Minister when the Committees report is made to the House of Commons and Senate later this week, could the Minister indicate whether the government has as yet made a decision as to the form that the resolution will take on Third Reading?
In other words, will it be a new resolution introduced entirely freshly, or will we have a Third Reading, regular Third Reading procedure, including a report stage, or what procedure has the government decided to follow on the presentation of the report?
Hon. Jenn Chrétien (Minister of Justice): We are waiting to see the report first and then we will decide. I think it a wise thing to do.
Mr. Beatty: So the government has made no decision whatsoever in terms of procedure in the House of Commons?
Mr. Chrétien: Well, we have a couple of alternatives but we have not made a final decision.
Mr. Beatty: Could the Minister indicate, because it is relevant to today’s proceedings, could the Minister indicate whether the government is prepared to give the assurance to the Committee that the resolution, when it is before the House, will be amendable?
Mr. Chrétien: I cannot give it to you because I have explained to you that we do not know if it will be in the form of a report of a new resolution, and if it is in the form of a report there are rules that govern the report, and if it is a new resolution there are rules that govern a resolution.
So the decision is not made.
Mr. Beatty: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Perrin Beatty.
Before I invite honourable members to open the discussion on page I of the proposed resolution, I will make sure that honourable members have received two pages of a technical amendment, one especially is merely technical, which is entitled, Additional Technical Amendment in English, and I will read it and I will give the necessary information to honourable members so that they might know what the proposed technical amendment concerns.
In the proposed Sixth Schedule to the Constitution Act, 1867(A), in the title add “natural” after the word “non-renewable” so that the title reads as follows:
Primary Production from Non-renewable Natural Resources and Forestry Resources
and so on. The suggested change to be made is to add the word “natural” because in the French version of the proposed amendment that was unanimously carried last week, the word “natural” does not appear in the English version, while it does appear in the French version, and the proposed technical amendment would be to add the word “natural” as it is presently read in the French version.
So, if there is unanimous consent to that additional technical amendment, I would invite Senator Austin to move it in the proper form, and the Chair will call the questions.
Senator Austin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I move that in the proposed Sixth Schedule to the Constitution Act, 1867(A), in the title add the word “natural” after the word “nonrenewable” so that the title reads as follows:
(a) Primary Production from Nonrenewable Natural Resources and Forestry Resources
and (b) in paragraph 1(a) add the word “natural” so that the opening words of paragraph 1(a) read as follows:
(a) Production from a nonrenewable natural resource is primary production therefrom if
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Senator Austin.
I see that there is no intervention on that amendment.
Senator Connolly: Mr. Chairman, I am a bit confused about it because you refer to the Sixth Schedule of the constitution act and I am just wondering on what page Schedule Six is?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): You will not find any such title in the earlier text of the proposed resolution because it has been a completely new chapter added through a new amendment, and you will find that Part VI of the proposed resolution is not in the text as such, neither in this version nor—if Senator Connolly, you look to the Chair you will find it easier to have the answer to your question.
You will not find it, Part VI, neither in this text, nor in the other text that the honourable Minister of Justice has tabled with this Committee because that sixth part is the result of an amendment that was suggested by the New Democratic Party and, as such, it is on the loose sheet of paper that you will find it.
However, the Clerks are in the process of retyping all the amendments that have been accepted by this Committee and you will find it in the new consolidated version, I should say, of all the amendments that have been accepted on all sides of the table at this point.
Senator Connolly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My only concern is that the word used is “Sixth Schedule” and I understand it was Part VI of the proposed document so it is hardly the schedule.
Now, I may be wrong and this is just a word that I am concerned with.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): That is a good question and for that answer the Chair will invite a legal officer or adviser of the Department of Justice to answer your question, because I think it is a proper question.
Mr. Roger Tassé, Q.C. (Deputy Minister, Department of Justice): Mr. Chairman, the amendment that has been approved by the Committee will add a new section in the resolution, but would also add a Sixth Schedule to the constitution act and the changes that are being proposed here relate to the Sixth Schedule.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes. If, again, honourable Senator Connolly, you want to have further information, I refer you to the amendment identified N-40, new clause following Clause 51, page 15, and you will find that the original text of that proposed amendment on the second page of it you will find the Sixth Schedule and the title of that Sixth Schedule reads:
“Primary Production From Nonrenewable Resources and Forestry Resources”
and that is where the proposed technical change is suggested, because the title of the Sixth Schedule, that is on page 2 of the proposed loose amendment shcets, does not include the word “natural”
Mr. Nystrom: I have a question, Mr. Chairman, to Senator Austin or perhaps one of the officials.
I get the impression from the way the amendment to the resources clause is presented, it is technical and inconsequential, but I want to ask a question to make sure of that.
The wording is changed to add the word “natural”. The original wording was “production from a nonrenewable resource is primary production therefrom if”, and if we throw the word “natural” in, why is that being done? Does it change the meaning? We are now going to say “nonrenewable natural resources” whereas before we said “nonrenewable resource”?
I am not a lawyer and I do not know the jurisprudence here, is it merely inconsequential or does it have some meaning?
Mr. Tassé might answer the question instead of Senator Austin.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Before I invite Mr. Tassé to answer your question, Mr. Nystrom, I would draw your attention to the French version of the amendment because the French version does include very clearly, and I will read the title [Translation] of the Sixth Schedule as well as paragraph A “Production primaire tirée des ressources naturelles son renouvelables et de ressources forestières” and paragraph A:
On entend par production primaire, tirée d’une ressource naturelle non-renouvelable.
The French version was very clear in terms of natural resources, but I will certainly allow your question to Mr. Tassé.
Mr. Tassé: Well, Mr. Chairman, to what you have just said, I would like to draw Mr. Nystrom’s attention to the text ofthe clause itself that has been added to the resolution, namely Clause 52, and the title there says “Nonrenewable Natural Resources, Forestry Resources and Electrical Energy”. I think in effect, it was just an oversight that the word “natural” did not appear in the Sixth Schedule.
As the Chairman has pointed out, that word was already included in the French version of that schedule.
The Honourable Senator Tremblay.
Senator Tremblay: I would just ask for clarification. It might be very clear to everyone but I want to make sure that it is the sixth schedule of the BNA Act of 1867, And it is not a schedule to the constitutional act of 1981 and, as a matter of fact, it comes right after the oath of allegiance.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I will ask Mr. Tassé to answer very clearly for our proceedings but it is quite clear in my mind, Honourable Senator Tremblay.
Mr. Tassé: Thant is right, Mr. Chairman.
The sixth schedule is a schedule to the British North America Act and as you stated, Senator Tremblay the fifth schedule deals with the oath of allegiance.
Senator Tremblay: Why have you put it there, I do not understand very well but, well . . .
Mr. Tassé: It is because it is the sixth one.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Honourable Senator Tremblay.
Amendment agreed to.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would invite honourable members to go to another amendment the Chair would like to propose to all honourable members. It follows upon a discussion we had last Friday before we adjourned at 11 a.m. At that time the Chair was confused because the Chair put two questions to honourable members which in fact were not proper in terms of their objectives.
The Chair was confused following a statement made by the honourable the Minister of Justice whereby, quoting the minutes, the honourable the Minister of Justice said:
You know, I have been a very flexible man. I am willing to accept on behalf of the government that we will have the words ‘in respect of the Constitution of Canada’
We have here on amendment. The Chair understood that the phrase “in respect of the constitution of Canada” was not an addition to the proposed amendment; but was a substitution to the proposed amendment; that is why the Chair further put
the question to withdraw with unanimous consent the proposed amendment.
It is in relation to that confusion which arose around the table that the Chair would like, with unanimous consent today, to reopen the discussion on the title of the Annexe A, Schedule A of the proposed resolution.
I will make sure that all honourable members have a copy of the proposed amendment, and of course, the addition that is now included in it.
Mr. Hawkes: Mr. Chairman, I believe I was the one who withheld unanimous consent on Friday. That is still my predisposition and I think we should move on.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): So, I understand I do not have unanimous consent—I do not have Mr. Hawkes’ consent to discuss that amendment.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether Mr. Hawkes would favour the Committee with his reasons for this unusual step?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Hawkes is invited to give additional reasons for that.
Mr. Hawkes: Mr. Chairman, I do not think there is any requirement; but Mr. Austin, the tone of my intervention was my sincere belief that in the modern age where we store titles in computers, that the most descriptive title possible is the best title; I think the original title is the most descriptive of the three choices which have been made available to us. If I have any power on the Committee to retain the original title, then that is my intention.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. McGrath.
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, perhaps I could raise a point of order at this time. It is a point which might help Senator Austin and members of the Committee.
It seems to me that what you are requesting of the Committee is something that the Committee does not have power to grant; because the thrust of what you are asking would be to change the order of reference.
That is the one thing we cannot do. Mr. Chairman, we cannot tamper with the order of reference in the House.
Now, if you read the order of reference, it states in part:
Proposed Resolution fora Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada.
It says nothing about “to give an effect to a request”. I would say to you that the purpose of the amendment goes outside the power of the Committee, in that it changes the order of reference. Only the House can do that and not the Committee.
That is my respectful submission, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, the honourable James McGrath. I will take your suggested reasons
into consideration in the discussion and certainly later on may report on it.
But at this point, in that there is no unanimous consent around the table, I will leave the question as it is now.
I would like to invite honourable members to come back on page 1 of the proposed resolution. On that page the Chair would like to suggest that the first question to be put is one dealing with the preamble, and the preamble as stated in the proposed resolution is included in lines 4 to 17 on page 1.
The Chair would like to put the question on the preamble of the proposed resolution—lines 4 to 17 on page I.
So, shall the preamble to the proposed resolution, that is lines 4 to 17 on page one carry?
Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, the first paragraph of the preamble says that in the past certain amendments to the Constitution of Canada have been made by the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the request and with the consent of Canada.
To some extent, this is a historical reference, and from the point of view of historical veracity, perhaps the case is stated a little too succinctly, especially as far as the reterence to the request and the consent of Canada is concerned.
As a federation, Canada is defined by both the Parliament and the provincial legislatures.
As in the amendment we discussed Friday to the title of the British act, we wanted to indicate here that this was a request made by Parliament. Perhaps instead of Canada, we should say that this has been done by Parliament with or without the consent of the provinces; depending on each case, this would be a more realistic description of the history of such actions taken with respect to the Parliament in London in the past.
It seems to me this is something that could be explored. Why do not we say what really happened; since the fact is that Parliament’s actions in the past have been undertaken on different occasions with or without the consent of the provinces?
I would like the minister to answer that question.
Mr. Chrétien: I am somewhat disappointed that after I accepted a proposal to improve the title, the unanimity rule was used to prevent me from accommodating you; I find that somewhat disagreeable, and contrary to the attitude which has prevailed before this committee. You made a proposal, I agreed to add a few words you had suggested to our proposed title and whichidescribed to some extent the action undertaken; your colleagues refused unanimous consent to make the title a more appropriate description of the action we have undertaken. So I do not see why we would accept other suggestions now which could end up falling into limbo and causing us problems.
This is the traditional formula used to address a request from the Parliament of Canada to the British Parliament, Such requests have always been formulated more or less in these terms. They are the terms which have been chosen.
In other circumstances, I wanted to accommodate you but you did not want to accommodate me in exchange; for that reason, I do not see why I should be accommodating now.
Senator Tremblay: Fine. I understand that it is a question of whether or not you wish to be accommodating.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable James McGrath.
Mr. McGrath: I wonder, Mr. Chairman, if, without commenting in any way on the right of any member of the Committee to withhold unanimous consent, but given the fact that the Minister has brought this forward as an argument, might it not be appropriate if you were to give consideration to the point of order I raised as to whether or not it goes beyond the scope of the terms of reference of the Committee to change the title of the bill. If it does, then, of course Mr. Hawkes’ exercise of his prerogative to withhold unanimous consent becomes a meaningless exercise, because he is in fact withholding unanimous consent to something that the Committee has no power to do anyway.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, the honourable James McGrath.
I have looked into the proposed terms of reference very carefully. I have to report to you that on that very question that you have raised, in fact the proposed amendment that has been set aside does not change the title of the proposed resolution as such, but is in relation to what you have referred to, in your own words—and quoting Senator Tremblay: it pertains to the British bill. It is the description of the British bill that we are addressing in that amendment and not the address to Her Majesty the Queen.
You will find, for instance, on page 1, Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada. That will not be changed. Our terms of reference are indicated on the front page of the proposed resolution and on that front page of the proposed resolution you will read Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada.
It is only when you turn to page 2 that you read:
An Act to amend the Constitution of Canada
To what the amendment is directed. So it will not change the address to Her Majesty the Queen which is a proposed resolution for a joint address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the constitution of Canada. That will not be changed. As was said very Correctly, that will not be changed. The proposed amendment is directed to the British bill. As I interpret the matter, it would not change our terms of refer ence at this point.
Mr. McGrath: If I may, Mr. Chairman, I follow your argument but it seems to me that the entire package has to come within the parameters of the Order of Reference, and to
change any part of the package so that it does not conform to the Order of Reference is ipso facto changing the Order of Reference. That, in my submission, is something over which we have no authority. We do no have the power to change the Order of Reference.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes, that is right. We do not have the power to change our Order of Reference, but I have always interpreted that our Order of Reference was so large in terms of understanding that in fact within that title we could put anything we wanted to, and that is why we have suggested to debate the divisibility of the proposed resolution, where we have suggested to add some parts to the proposed resolution. The title of our resolution remains the same. It is the title of one of our parts that changed but not the over-all title of the address to Her Majesty. That is where there is no change.
The title, or the address to Her Majesty remains the same. It is, as I said to you and as I read to you carefully, on page 1:
Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada.
That remains essentially the same, and that is where our terms of reference lies, and I read them again.
Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada.
But within that over-all terms of reference there are at least three points. As you know. there is the address to Her Majesty; there is the British act and there is Schedule B which is the Constitution Act of Canada; so that is where there is a change in the title. In fact, it is within one of the documents that we have to deal with that there is a change of title but not in the over-all address that we are sending to Her Majesty, or the large terms of reference that we have. That is why I interpreted that there is no change of terms of reference at this point. I think that the amendment could be acceptable at the very beginning because your point is right, if I thought properly that your suggested question was in order then I would not have received the amendment when it was tabled some weeks ago and the proposed suggestion that was made last Friday following an intervention by the honourable Senator Tremblay.
Mr. McGrath: I notice, Mr. Chairman, that the wording in our Order of Reference speaks to a proposed resoluution of a joint address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the constitution of Canada.
If we are to conform with what is being asked here it would seem to me that our proposed Order of Reference would read:
Proposed resolution for a joint address to Her Majesty the Queen to give effect to a request by the Senate and House of Commons of Canada in respect of the constitution of Canada.
But the Order of Reference does not say that. That is my point.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes, I agree with that, but as I mentioned too there is no change to the proposed resolution for a joint address. That remains essentially the
same. The address to Her Majesty remains the same and our terms of reference is to send or not an address to Her Majesty respecting the constitution of Canada.
In order to do so we are sending two things. We are sending a proposed act of parliament to be adopted by Westminster Parliament and we are sending too a proposed constitution act of Canada which is a charter of rights and different parts that we have had, so that is where I think we can change anything that we want in the British act of the proposed resolution and in of course the constitution act or the Canada act, that we want to add or change at this point.
That is why I think as I mentioned to you the Chair having interpreted in its broadest terms the possibility to put in that joint resolution to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the constitution of Canada any kind of suggested proposal at this point I would be induced to accept such an amendment; and I never withheld it in the past.
So we are then on the preamble.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, could I just understand what you are saying? In order to receive the amendment proposed by Senator Tremblay you would need the unanimous consent of the Committee.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): No, that is not exactly the situation. The situation is that we have already voted last Friday on the proposed title and to reopen a discussion on that proposed title to give effect to a suggestion that was put on behalf of the government party and then amended, as was agreed by the honourable Minister of Justice, the Chair will need unanimous consent, as we had unanimous consent at the opening of our session earlier this afternoon to have the word “natural” in the English version, to have it in accordance with the French version. That is where we are now. We have no amendment as put through by honourable Senator Tremblay at this point.
Senator Austin: I see. So we cannot act because of the objection of Mr. Hawkes on behalf of the Conservative side.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): There was before a question of I should say political discretion on the part of Mr. Hawkes. There was a procedural question that was raised by honourable James McGrath and I think it was a good question to be answered before we accept discussion on the political discretion. Political discretion is something at will and all honourable members have the same right either in the House or in committee to withhold unanimous consent when such a question is put by the Chair and only one member can, as you know, prevent unanimous consent at one point or the other when that question is put before the honourable members.
I understand that at this point if honourable members are not unanimous to come back on the proposed title that we are on the preamble of the proposed resolution for a joint address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the constitution of Canada. That is line 4 to line 17.
Any other question on the proposed preamble?
Preamble to the proposed resolution line 4 to line 17 on page I agreed to on division.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would like to invite honourable members then to move on the lines 18 to line 22 of the proposed resolution, that is the resolution per se that reads:
Now therefore the Senate and the House of Commons, in Parliament assembled, resolve that the respectful address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen in the following words:
Line 18 to line 22 on page I agreed to on division.
Words for a proposed address line 23 to line 32 on page I agreed to on division.
Title of the proposed resolution, lines 1 to 3 on page I agreed to.
Proposed resolution agreed to on division.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): All the questions that have been put by the Chair are on division.
Mr. Corbin: Could we have a recorded vote on that.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): There is a recorded vote on the proposed resolution as amended. I will invite the honourable members to answer to the call of the Clerk of the Senate and of the House of Commons.
Yes, honourable James McGrath.
Mr. McGrath: I do not want o get overly technical but I thought the vote had already been taken and you cannot call for a recorded vote after the vote has been taken.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I have already ruled in the past months that after a vote was carried only through a question by the Chair that honourable members who wanted to have a recorded vote would have an opportunity to have it, and I think we have a precedent in this Committee that it happened once, even though the vote was expressed through the assembly. I will have to consult the minutes of our proceedings, honourable James McGrath, but it has already been accepted once in this Committee.
I would like to invite honourable members to answer the call of the Clerk of the Senate and of the House of Commons.
Proposed resolution agreed to: yeas, 16; nays, 8.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would like to invite. then, the honourable Senator Austin to move a proposed motion.
Senator Austin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It is my privilege to move the enabling and formal recommendation of the Committee. Before I do, I would like to say briefly, but very sincerely, for our side, how much we admire the great parliamentary spirit with which all participants in this Committee have invested their work here.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to move:
That this Committee recommend that the government propose to the Senate and House of Commons for adoption a resolution for an address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the constitution of Canada, and that such resolution be the Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada published by the government on October 2, 1980, as amended and approved by this Committee; and that, upon its adoption by the Senate and House of Commons, the Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen.
I would like to move
That this Committee recommend that the government propose to the Senate and House of Commons for adoption a resolution for an address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the constitution of Canada, and that such resolution be the Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen Respecting the Constitution of Canada published by the government on October 2, 1980, as amended and approved by this Committee; and that, upon its adoption by the Senate and House of Commons, the Address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Austin.
Any questions or interventions on the proposed motion?
Honourable James McGrath?
Mr. McGrath: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, very briefly, without burdening the Committee with all the arguments that we have raised during the course of these hearings, the motion now before the Committee is whether or not we should recommend to the House that a resolution in the form of a joint address respecting the constitution of Canada should be forwarded to Her Majesty the Queen. That, of course, is not acceptable to us. We propose to vote against it.
We have indicated throughout the course of these hearings, Mr. Chairman, that we have a number of difficulties with the unilateral nature of the process, It is unacceptable to us, (a) because of the process, and (b) because we intend to ask the British Parliament to entrench within our constitution a Charter of Rights which we have moved should be redirected or rerouted and sent back to the provinces, because it changes the balance of our federation unilaterally, without the consent of the provinces.
lt speaks to the conventions of our constitution, conventions which not only are binding on the Parliament of Canada but in our opinion, binding upon the Parliament of Westminster given their responsibilities under the Statute of Westminster, and of course, these conventions are well known where they were outlined in the Favreau paper of 1965, whereby the government at that time made it very clear that it would not
be the intention of the Government of Canada to ask Westminster to change in any way the Constitution of Canada affecting, or that would affect the balance of power of our federation, or the balance of the federation itself, and that of course is what the proposed resolution does.
Mr. Chairman, as well, we have some difficulty with the procedure that will follow the work of this Committee, and that is something of course which the Chair should not be concerned with right now, other than the ruling that you made earlier with respect to whether or not the House can amend any part of the resolution or any part of the bill. Of course, that ruling is now a part of our record in our proceedings.
Mr. Chairman, I do not believe it is necessary to burden the Committee with the arguments that we have presented in the course of the various amendments we have moved, both with respect to rerouting the Charter, with regards to the impact of the referendum process on our federation, with regard to the opposition to it by the provinces, with regard to the opposition to it by a majority of the people of Canada. These arguments have been made and have been well made.
Suffice to say, Mr. Chairman, that we cannot and will not accept the resolution and it would be our intention to vote against it.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, honourable James McGrath.
Senator Tremblay: Mr. Chairman, before I go on to comment on the proposed resolution, might I ask a question of information.
Will there be a subsequent report of the committee or is this the equivalent to the report of the committee?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): No, Senator Tremblay. As far as I can say now, this is only one element of our report. We are thereby answering one of the questions that was submitted to us in our order of reference. But we could also, in an official way, add to our report other considerations that we would like to see this committee adopt. Beforehand, I would like to invite the hon. members of this committee to set about writing our report that will contain in part the sum of the different decisions we have taken on the proposed resolution and on its amendments as well as other considerations which we might like to draw to the attention of the House of Commons and the Senate.
This is not the end of our business. On the contrary, there are other aspects of our proceedings which I would like to acquaint the honourable MPs with, and I am not speaking of technical or precise amendments to the proposed resolution. but of general consideration which we might like to draw to the attention of our colleagues in the House and of the honourable Senators in order to help them in their discussions and in their decisions on the address to be sent to Her Majesty.
Senator Tremblay: May I ask just what the intention behind this motion is?
At first glance it does not seem necessary, since as a committee, we have need of the decisions we had to make on the document put before us.
Why is it necessary to have a motion of this type as a finishing touch to the work already done instead of as a mention of the committee’s report as such or as a part of its report?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Tremblay. I will direct your question to Senator Austin.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, we have compelted our report, but we need to take action on our report and this resolution is the response.
We have dealt with the work of the October 2 document, we have amended it, we have approved it, and then the next stage is that we report back to the Senate and House of Commons.
That is the purpose of this motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Austin.
Senator Tremblay: If I may, Mr. Chairman, I am still even more confused when I try to make a clear distinction between our report and this resolution of which Senator Austin just said, for your information, that it is the very purpose of the report or the central part of the report to which one can add other parts as you just said.
I would have thought that the equivalent part to this would have been in the report rather than as a loose part considered as a kind of district abstraction from the report.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): If I understand the arguments put forward by the honourable Senator Austin, the point is not to pass a resolution which, as to me, would be dissociated from the report. This resolution, when passed by the honourable members of this committee will be part of our report. It is one of the essential aspects of our report as it is a decision to the effect that we suggest to the government to proceed with this resolution and to send it to the British Parliament the usual way, and then, to undertake proper action following this decision.
So, it is not a distinct resolution. In other words, it is the closing action which one should normally take following our work and proceedings.
Senator Tremblay: Now that the context of this motion has been clearly established, I would like to point out that since this motion is in fact the central point of the report, we will
begin to take our position on the Committce’s report to the House of Commons in this context. From this point of view, I think it is entirely logical and understandable that we do as indicated by my colleague Mr. McGrath and vote against this resolution for reasons expressed throughout the proceedings of the Committee. The position we have taken throughout proceedings of the Committee have been clear; we have unequivocable stated that we were in favour of patriation of the constitution, that we were in favour of breaking once and for all our ties with Great Britain, and that we were opposed to including amendments to the Constitution of Canada in this action.
On several occasions we discussed the title. At first glance, it seems quite inoffensive; but since the title of the bill which we assume will be passed by the Parliament of Westminster states clearly just what is being requested of Westminster, substantive amendments to the Constitution of Canada, it is important that the title be worded as it now is.
We have said all along why we did not support the procedure proposed by the government. I do not think now is the time to repeat all of that, but I did want to point out that we agree that the constitution should be patriated. What we are against is the procedure being used, the fact that London is being asked to make substantive amendments to our constitution in the context of patriation; in our opinion, such changes should be made in Canada and, more importantly, he made with the agreemcnrof both levels of government, not only the consent of the Parliament of Canada but also of the provincial legislatures.
For this very basic reason, without getting into any more detail, I would like to state that we will vote against this proposed motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Tremblay.
Mr. Nystrom: Just a few short remarks as well, Mr. Chairman.
It has been a long process and been a very worthwhile and very interesting process. We started off in October with a resolution that I thought was considerably flawed. Through the work of this Committee and through representations made by many groups and many associations, the document was improved vastly; I am thinking of the Indian rights being added, the handicapped being added, strengthening of the legal rights, many of these things to make the Charter aspect of the document considerably better. And those are changes that many Canadians can sometime in the future be very, very proud of.
I also want to underline concerns I have that were outlined in the Committee by Senator Tremblay and James McGrath, that on one hand we have some pretty important advances, on
the other hand we are having some real problems with the process and whether or not that process is legitimate.
On balance, our party has decided, it is known publicly, that the party will be supporting the resolution and on behalf of the caucus, we will be of course supporting the resolution as suggested by Senator Austin.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Nystrom.
Mr. Hawkes: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just want to make a few comments as well.
I think the motion puts before all of us the crucial last opportunity to consider what it is that we are in reality doing. We are proposing action, and by the terms of Senator Austin’s motion we are proposing to the House of Commons and Senate that they accept without, really, change; it makes no mention of change, but that they simply accept the work of this Committee.
The first question I asked myself is: if the House of Commons and Senate accept the work of this Committee as it presently sits, will that produce for us a stronger, more unified nation, or will it produce a sense of divisiveness, a kind of cancer that will grow with the passage of time?
I think it behooves each of us to draw our own conclusions about that and mine is very firm, that a constitution that is so different than anything else we have known, that will affect our lives in so many different unknown ways, will be like a cancer through large parts of this nation and that in fact this Parliament and the dominance of it by members from the central region of the country will be blamed, I think in many cases unfairly, perhaps, but nevertheless they will be blamed.
If we think back over our process, one of the things that disturbs me about the absence of a recommendation from this Committee to the Parliament of Canada that they consider further long debate and they consider the further possibility of amending, one of the things that I remember is that the Committee, through its majority votes, has denied the Committee the oportunity of calling certain kinds of witnesses which I think might have been very helpful to us around the wording in the resolution.
Mr. Nystrom has indicated that it is improved, that he saw it in its original form as seriously flawed, and I sit here today still believing that there are serious flaws, unintended flaws in wording, that will come back with the passage of time to create more difficulties in this country and more bitterness and more divisiveness.
I would feel better if I could sit here as a member who has attended almost all of the sessions and could say to myself that I really understand, that I really understand the changes that will come about in this nation as a consequence of these words being put into pre-eminent law in this country. I think it is impossible to understand completely, but I think our understanding, beeause of the pattern, the lack of time, the lack of capacity to call witnesses, that our understanding is far less than it could have been and that is a certainty, and I believe it
is far less than it should have been, and I feel equally as certain about that statement.
This Constitution Act, 1980, if it goes through the proposed stages and becomes law in this country, will be seen by the minority regions of this country as pre-eminent law forced upon those minority regions by the majority in the centre with all that that might suggest, and it will be seen in its amending provisions as a piece of legislation designed to secure for the centre absolute power for the future.
The repercussions of that perception in the minority regions of the country, are, I think, going to make it difficult for this nation to survive and prosper as it should.
I would like to remind honourable members that the thrust of proposals which come from the premiers of the western provinces and have come over a time, for constitutional change, is related to the need to change institutions, to provide in this country a system that will be perceived by the people of that and other regions as an institutional system that provides a voice for the minorities in this country.
What we are handing the people, if we go forward with this recommendation, the people of the minority regions, is a blue print for domination in the future by the majority. That will not be well received. I suggest to honourable members that it will be resisted by every possible means throughout the decade of the eighties and perhaps longer.
The need for change in this country was seen clearly in the Province of Quebec and it should by today be seen clearly in the western part of the country, and perhaps farther east— Newfoundland in particular.
We are not addressing ourselves to those expressed needs from the minority regions; we are in fact addressing ourselves to a perceived need on behalf of the majority.
The difficulty, I would simply skay to members of the Committee involved in proceeding on this course, is something which I hope honourable members have very carefully considered before embarking on it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Hawkes.
The honourable Perrin Beatty, followed by Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Beatty: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I also have a few brief remarks.
If I understand the procedure correctly, this is probably the last substantive issue to be dealt with by the Committee prior to writing its report.
In view of that as well as the fact that it is clear to the Minister now what the substance of that report will be—and he has seen all the amendments that will be made to the resolution; he knows that the Liberal and NDP members on this Committee will sustain the resolution before the Committee right now to recommend that the joint address go forward—may I again put a question to the Minister which I asked him earlier?
What form will the resolution take when it goes back to the House? Is the Minister prepared to give the assurance to members of Parliament that the resolution put before the House will be amendable?
Mr. Chrétien: No, I am not prepared to do so.
This is the subject of discussion between House leaders at this time—the form that the debate will take when we resume debate in the House of Commons.
I know the House leaders are discussing the matter at this time. I gather there are some negotiations taking place, but no decision has been made.
Mr. Beatty: The second question is this. Can the Minister give the assurance, on behalf of the government, to members of this Committee and to all members of Parliament that the government will not introduce closure as a means of curtailing debate when the resolution returns to the House of Commons?
Mr. Chrétien: I cannot give you such a guarantee. Naturally, I would like the speeches to be short, precise and to the point. After all, a lot of people can then speak. I hope there will be no such need. But I cannot give you any guarantee, because in the House of Commons there is an old saying that the government proposes and the opposition disposes.
There is a time, too, when the time of the House is required for other business.
Of course, nobody can say that there was no debate on this issue. We started early in October and now we are in mid-February. I think a lot of work-—and I might say, very useful work—has been done, and I am considerably pleased to have been associated with it.
Mr. Beatty: Mr. Chairman, on the strength of the Ministers answer I would like to say that I feel very strongly that the government has a responsibility to ensure that, when the resolution is reported back to the House, it is done so in a form which allows members of Parliament to propose amendments before the House of Commons.
You will recall, Mr. Chairman, when this whole exercise began several months ago, that the Prime Minister went on nationwide television and indicated that he was calling Parliament back earlier from its summer recess because we were to deal with an issue of profound importance to all Canadians; and he invited every member of Parliament to come and play a role in the decision to be made, to take part in what he referred to as this historic debate.
What did we see when the resolution was before the House last? We saw that the government members chose to prevent members of Parliament from being heard. They chose to impose closure on the House of Commons on the most basic law of the country—the constitution of Canada.
Mr. Chairman, that, in itself, was serious enough. It was serious enough that members of Parliament on second reading would be denied the right to be heard, particularly after the invitation from the Prime Minister that members of Parliament from across the country should come to take part in this historic debate. But it was even more disturbing, Mr. Chair-
man, for members on this side of the Committee to discover that government members, with the support of the NDP, chose to impose closure with the people of Canada before this Committee.
As I have mentioned earlier, Mr. Chairman, this is the last issue, the last substantive issue to be dealt with in plenary session by this Committee in open session; yet, we know- every member of this Committee knows—that between 75 and 80 per cent of Canadians who asked to come before this Committee to be heard were denied that opportunity.
This motion, which is before the Committee right now, goes to the heart of our responsibility as members of this Committee, because the Committee was called upon to make a decision and to recommend to the House of Commons and to the Senate whether the resolution should go forward; should it go forward all to the British Parliament.
Mr. Chairman, I would say that on the strength of the governments behaviour to date, and on the strength of their gagging parliament, gagging the Canadian people and preventing full participation on what is their constitution-it belongs not to the Prime Minister, not to the politicians, not to the premiers, but to the people of Canada; yet, the people of Canada were prevented from having full participation before this Committee in terms of having full opportunity to make themselves heard on changes to the most basic law of the land.
On the strength of that, we have to answer this question which is before the Committee in the negative.
We have to say that what the government is doing is divisive and undemocratic. Perhaps equally serious is the fact that what the Prime Minister is asking us to do is to undertake an act of colonialism which is bound to be dangerous to the whole fabric of Canada.
It is clear that it is opposed by the vast majority of Canadians. The gallup poll shows that 64 per cent of Canadians believe that this resolution should not go forward as is proposed in Senator Austin’s motion. They believe that what the Prime Minister should be doing now is asking the British government to send our constitution to Canada with an amending formula and to have us in Canada make all substantive changes here. That is what the Canadian people have said. That is what was found in the government’s polling when they paid Mr. Goldfarb to do a poll at the public’s expense. That is what the gallup poll showed as well. It showed that Canadians clearly want to see the constitution brought home, but they want to see major amendments made here in Canada.
I think if you put this question which is before the Committee to Canadians today in the form of a gallup poll or a vote of any sort, we would find that they would say that this Commit tee has the responsibility to vote down this motion, to say that the government must not proceed in the way in which they are proceeding, that they must not continue to divide Canadians, to pit region against region, and to restore us to a state of colonialism which Canadians felt they had left years ago.
I think, Mr. Chairman, what is saddest about this exercise is the fact that the gaining of our independence, the severing of
our last colonial ties, the gaining of the right in Canada to amend our own constitution, should have been a happy event for all Canadians-should have been one which should have been the cause for rejoicing from coast to coast, because it was the expression of Canada’s maturity as a nation.
Yet, the decision that has been made by the Prime Minister and supported by the New Democratic Party has not led to joy in Canada, but has led in fact to bitterness and division and has led some Canadians to question what role they can properly play in Canada.
That is perhaps the most serious and most troubling indictment of the procedure which has been followed by the government and which the government, again, is recommending in this motion before the Committee.
Mr. Chairman, there are many other elements in the proposal before us which we propose be changed. Some of those recommendations we have made were accepted; some were not.
To give you an example of the sense of consternation that many Canadians feel, there is an ad from one of my local newspapers, the Kitchener Waterloo Record, where already groups within the country are beginning, with a sense of outrage, to demand that the government reverse the decision which was made in this Committee—the decision to deny Canadians protection of the right to enjoy property.
It goes back to the question which I asked of the Minister just now. We do not know when the Committee makes its report on the strength of this motion before the Committee, whether members of Parliament will have the right to move an amendment before the House of Commons and the Senate which would restore to Canadians a constitutional protection of the right to enjoy property and not to be deprived of it except by due process of law. This is why it is disconcerting for members of the Committee on this side and for Canadians to find that the government is unwilling to give us the assurance that they will allow amendments to be made in the House of Commons.
Mr. Chairman, I will not protract my remarks. I know members are anxious to get on with this vote.
But let met conclude by saying that what the Prime Minister has done is to deny the very essence of the argument that he made when he brought this resolution before Parliament.
He said that it was essential that Canadians act now to finally gain control of their independence, to gain control of their destiny.
He said it was essential that we have the right, in Canada, to amend our own constitution, because he himself referred to the fact that the power to amend our constitution remained at Westminster; he referred to it as the last vestiges of colonialism.
That is why, he said, it was essential that parliament should turn its attention from other matters; that we should not be dealing with the pressing issues facing Canadians with regard to the economy, foreign affairs, or defence or some other issue; that we had to spend the time on the issue of the constitution,
because he felt it was essential that we sever this last colonial tie.
Yet, Mr. Chairman, what the Prime Minister is doing—and what members of this Committee would be doing if they vote for this motion and decide to ask the British Parliament to make major amendments to our constitution instead of simply risking them to send it to Canada—is that they are making our not of declaration of independence as serious an act of colonialism in itself. The government is asking that the British Parliament, over the opposition of the vast majority of Canadiims, as expressed in public opinion polls, should make substantive changes to our constitution.
Mr. Chairman, members on this side of the Committee will be voting against this motion, and we will be taking our case to the Canadian people.
We are saying that there is still time—still time, Mr. Chairman—for members of the NDP and of the government to change their minds. There is still time to listen to the voice of the Canadian people. There is still time to bring the constitution home and to make amendments here in Canada and to build with some sense of confidence and of unity for the future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, the honourable Perrin Beatty.
Mr. Robinson, followed by Mr. King.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might just ask Mr. Beatty a question following upon his remarks?
I may have misunderstood, Mr. Beatty, but in referring to the amendment dealing with the matter of enjoyment of property, not just by Canadians, of course, but by foreigners, were you suggesting that your party would want to have the opportunity to move an amendment in the House of Commons that would grant Canadians the right to the enjoyment of property without being deprived thereof except by due process of law?
Mr. Beatty: I believe that the exact terminology we used was “natural justice”. We borrowed from the wording of the government resolution.
Mr. Robinson: Well, you referred to due process of law.
Mr. Beatty: As you know, Mr. Robinson, the government does not appear anxious to ensure the protection of the right of Canadians to own property even under due process of law.
Mr. Robinson: Are you saying you would want due process of law it” you had the opportunity?
Mr. Beatty: I would prefer to use the terminology as we proposed in our amendment—”fundamental justice”.
Mr. Robinson: Because you did refer to due process of law.
Mr. Beatty: Neither one of them is protected here. Indeed, Mr. Robinson, I supported, as did members on this side, the amendment that you moved—the clause which followed the amendment I moved. You proposed that Canadians be entitled
that their property be not searched or seized except under due process of law. Perhaps I am mistaken. Perhaps it is not your exact wording.
But what you recognized there was that search and seizure of property should be done only in accordance with properly prescribed procedures and you recognize in that amendment that there should be a recognition in the constitution of property rights.
It was a proposal which I think was excellent. I hope you will have the opportunity as well, Mr. Robinson, when the resolution goes back to the House of Commons to move that amendment again because it is one we felt on our side deserved the support of all members, and we were disappointed when the amendment which you moved was defeated.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I do not propose to comment any further other than to add that Mr. Beatty and his party know very well that we are particularly concerned about the Canadian family farm and religious corporations, and we are not as concerned, at least to the extent that Mr. Beatty’s party appears to be, with protecting the right of the multicultural corporate sector to gobble up land in Prince Edward Island and elsewhere.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I want to make a couple of remarks following up on the statement made by Mr. Nystrom. Unfortunately, Mr. Nystrom had to catch a plane and would not be able to take part in the remaining deliberations of the Committee today.
But I did want to indicate that it is quite accurate to state that, while we started with a document which was flawed in many ways in terms of substance, we believe that there have been significant improvements to the substance of the document. I do not intend to repeat all of those. They have been already referred to by my colleague, Mr. Nystrom: in the area of aboriginal rights, the handicapped, and an improved Charter of Rights and so on.
But I would like to emphasize, Mr. Chairman, the two caveats which the Leader of my party, Mr. Ed Broadbent, placed upon the support by this party for the constitutional package which is being recommended to Parliament.
The first is that there be no further adverse amendments. Some might say that it is not possible at this stage. But, Mr. Chairman, if there is one thing we have learned, it is that we have to be very, very careful in this process; because there have been too many instances in the past where proposals have been dumped on the table at the last minute or the process has led to a feeling of betrayal, to say the least, of the confidence which has been placed in the government.
We have seen, for example, the imposition of closure and the initial denial of the right to televise this Committee.
We saw the imposition of a totally unreasonable and arbitrary December 9 deadline on the Committee. We saw the remarks by the Prime Minister in Western Canada which certainly did not placate the concerns of Western Canadians— the Prime Minister referring to “hysteria” and so on.
We saw the way in which the government yielded to the blackmail of the Senators, with the Senate reservation amendment, dropping Clause 44.
Mr. Chairman, certainly there is no doubt that these and other actions, in terms of process by this government, are among the reasons why many Canadians have concerns about the process.
But I do believe it is important to emphasize that we are now dealing with a document which has gone through the Committee and which has been improved substantially; and that, while Canadians may very well have wanted a different kind of process—there may have been Canadians who talked at one point about the desirability of opening up this process and taking the constitution out of the hands of the politicians with some form of constituent assembly, for example; but the fact of the matter is that that opportunity has passed us.
At this stage, we are concerned that if we are to support this proposal, that the government should understand very clearly that there must be no further playing around on process, and certainly on substance. if there were any suggestion for one moment that the Charter of Rights were to be pulled in an attempt to win the support of the Conservative government in Britain, obviously we would be opposed to that proposal entirely.
Mr. Chairman. Mr. Beatty and the Conservative Party have made references to colonialism. Well, if ever there was evidence of the degree of colonialism which exists, at least within some sectors of the Conservative Party, it was the fact that, apparently, Margaret Thatcher has been promoted, at least in effigy. as honourary president of the Concervative Caucus. I am not going to expand on that, Mr. Chairman. We all saw the member for Northumberland-Durham . . .
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am sorry to interrupt you, Mr. Robinson, but the Chair cannot allow such references to the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher.
l think the decisions that the Right Honourable Margaret Thatcher takes in terms of political allegiance is a matter of her own freedom, and I would not allow such references to be made in this Committee.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I will just make one other reference to the conditions which, as I say. the Leader of the New Democratic Party has placed on our support for this proposal. and that is that there must be an opportunity for full and fair debate in the House of Commons. I would certainly think that that would mean that all members of Parliament representing all of the constituencies of Canada would be given an opportunity to take part in this debate. There may be discussions about the length of speeches, but certainly on as historic a document as this I would assume that the government in good faith would recognize the importance of involving all those Members of Parliament who wish to be involved.
So. Mr. Chairman, to conclude then as I say at this point we will be voting on behalf of the Caucus. for this proposal, for this amendment, for the motion before us, and I am very
pleased with the extent to which the substance of the package has been improved and will be watching with great interest to ensure that the process remains one which would not give us cause to retract that support. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson.
Mr. King, followed by Mr. Munro.
Mr. King: My friend of many years, the honourable Bryce Mackasey, on Friday described me in an aside as the schoolboy and I readily admit to being here mainly in a learning role.
Mr. Mackasey: Point of order, Mr. Chairman. He is a good friend of mine and I remember the incident very, very clearly. Yes, I did refer to a member, but it was not Mr. King. I was referring to a member who appeared that day and was heckling and interrupting, which has not been the normal procedure around here. I must apologize to Mr. King immediately for what I did not do. That is Irish enough.
Mr. King: I guess I was a little sensitive, because I believe I was heckling as well.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, I withdraw that apology of mine.
Mr. King: Mr. Chairman, I want to speak very briefly from the perspective of one without much experience and knowledge in the niceties of the parliamentary system, but with a considerable feeling for my home, my native land, my Canada.
The constitution of Canada should by its very nature be a unifying, inspiring document which should raise in all Canadians the passion of patriotic fervour; and I am appalled that this most significant action in the history of Canada’s Parliament should be the instrument by which discord and discontent is focused and intensified across Canada.
The particular part of Canada from which I come has been especially vocal in the denunciation of the process and of the content and my said concern centres on the fact that there has been little or no recognition of the justice of the complaints raised in the West. In fact, there has been an almost studied disdain of the deeply held convictions of people whose quality of Canadianism cannot be questioned.
With all due respect to what has gone on in this room for the past few weeks. I cannot support an action that almost completely ignores the expressed anxieties of the people I represent, an action that denies some provinces the opportunity for equality of status in the new Canada which is under development.
It is with acute sadness and a degree of despair, I might say, that I must tell you that what has been done, and more especially the way it has been done, is totally unacceptable. In deference to my emotion and feeling for Canada and in appreciation of the convictions of the people who sent me here, I must indicate my equal conviction in the only way possible to me, by the vote, when the vote is called. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. King.
Mr. Munro: Mr. Chairman, I had hoped that the Minister would be here because I do have a question to put to him. However, he may come back.
I feel saddened by the position we find ourselves in at the present time in imposing a matter in which me, on this side, tried to separate from the main patriation amending formula part of the package, from the other parts of the bill, and imposing on the provinces without their consent, without their agreement, a number of matters which invade, and I will go back to that word “invade”, the jurisdictions of the provinces.
I read over the weekend an interesting document which was concerned with the amendment of Canada’s constitution, written by Paul Gérin-Lajoie in 1950, and citations throughout that particular work, even reference to the then Mr. Pierre E. Trudeau as he then was, and the assistance that he afforded Mr. Gérin-Lajoie in reading parts of the text, indicate to me that the history of amendment to Canada’s constitution must always take into account the views of the provinces.
The Minister made a great thing on Friday in a highly rhetorical statement, about the 53 years, the problems, and he also went on to say. “if there is any problem in Britain, it is their problem”. I should like to have a few words to say about each of these matters.
With respect to it being their problem, he blithely overlooks the fact that we created that problem for the British Parliament by unanimous consent, the provinces and the federal government of Canada insisted that the British Parliament retain the power to amend Canada’s constitution, unanimous consent. That matter is blithely overlooked.
I think it is grossly unfair to leave inferences that the problem confronting the British Parliament today is a problem of their making. It is a problem of our making and we have to face that.
I have a feeling away down deep within me, that if we were to remove that power, ask the British to transfer it, ask them to surrender it, they would be glad to surrender it, surrender it to us with an amending formula. And we want it in Canada, to have an amendment to our constitution of any form, and the pressure was there in Canada, knowing that the decision has to be taken here and there is no one, but no one, on whom we can impose that responsibility. The decision would be made here.
l am satisfied, that is the principle reason, that l favour the splitting of this particular proposal into two parts, that we seek to have the British Parliament return to Canada, or surrender the power that they have to the Canadian Parliament for the amendment of the Canadian constitution.
The remaining part, the second part, the Charter of Rights, we have been told again in high rhetoric. that of course it is being made in Canada. it is being made by the people around this table. It was made by the government in proposal, and it was amended around this table. I should like to ask the Minister if he could address himself to a couple of questions relating to page 1, 2 and 3 of the document that we have been studying.
The first page, page 1, is a reason, I do not agree with all the reasons, they are not sufficiently broad for my liking, that is why I am voting against it; but a set of reasons for the Canadian Parliament to request Her Majesty to set before the British Parliament a measure. Page 2 is that measure. and appended to page 2 is page 3 and the rest of the measure.
I would like to ask the Minister this. Have I oversimplified things, or is everything from page 2 on, in that document. going to be a British statute?
Mr. Chrétien: It would have to be voted upon by the House of Commons and the House of Lords in England.
Mr. Munro: It will be a British statute, everything from page 2 onward.
Mr. Chrétien: it will be annexed to the British bill. In clause 1, it is:
1. the Constitution Act, 1980 set out in Schedule B to this Act is hereby enacted for and shall have the force of law in Canada and shall come into force as provided in that Act.
Mr. Munro: Yes, that is clause 1 on page 2, that is right. So page 3 and everything that follows is a British statute.
Mr. Chrétien: The Schedule to the British statute, yes.
Mr. Munro: So that being a British statute, this is what has been described as Canada’s Charter of Rights and other things.
Mr. Chrétien: The Canadian constitution at this time is the BNA Act. it is a British statute, and in order to have a Charter of Rights, we have to amend the British North America Act, In doing so, the British Parliament will approve what has been the work of this Committee, a Canadian Charter of Rights.
Mr. Munro: But Schedule B . . .
Mr. Chrétien: And it is, in effect, the constitutional act.
Mr. Munro: A British statute, is that correct?
Mr. Chrétien: It will come in force when proclaimed in Canada, by the Canadian government.
Mr. Munro: But it will still be a British act, proclaimed in Canada.
Mr. Chrétien: Eventually, it will be proclaimed in Canada as a Canadian act.
Mr. Munro: But it is proclaimed in Britain as well.
Mr. Chrétien: This section is not proclaimed in England. It is the bill that is proclaimed in England. But they empower us to proclaim it in Canada.
Mr. Munro: My next question, and I am not entirely satisfied that I got an answer out of that one, but my next question is that since it is a British statute, will the Canadian courts be in any position to contest it, or would they merely be enabled to interpret it.
Mr. Chrétien: The courts do not contest law, they interpret law. They will interpret that law, just like any other law.
Mr. Munro: I phrased my question improperly. Could it be contested in the Canadian court because it was a British statute?
Mr. Chrétien: The British North America Act is an act which is the constitutional law of Canada and the courts have constantly referred in any cases on constitutional matters to the British North America Act. So it is part of the Canadian body of law, even if it is a British act.
Mr. Munro: But for interpretation.
Mr. Chrétien: It is part of the law. It is the main law that governs the laws of Canada. It is the British act. It is still there.
Mr. Munro: As will the Charter…
Mr. Chrétien: No, because by the time that the Charter will be proclaimed in Canada, at that time the British North America Act will not exist any more in relationship to Canada. lt will have been replaced by the new Canadian constitution.
Mr. Munro: Which will have been passed by the British Parliament.
Mr. Chrétien: As we have no other choice. To patriate we have to ask the British Parliament to vote on patriation.
Mr. Munro: Not being entirely satisfied by the replies I got from there, I am still deeply disturbed that the government should decide on its own to impose certain measures on the provinces without provincial consent, and do so by asking a non-Canadian legislative jurisdiction to make law for Canada.
I think it would be much more appropriate at Canada’s present stage of development that Canadians, all Canadians, at all levels of government, agree upon the terms under which they want the Charter of Rights, and approve that Charter of Rights through the appropriate processes that are now in existence in Canada.
Because of my disappointment at the way the government has decided to proceed, I shall be voting against the resolution.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Munro.
The honourable Bryce Mackasey.
Mr. Mackasey: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have listened with a great degree of interest as we have to members summing up the feeling as we approach the end of this particular phase of our attempt to amend our constitution in a way that will meet the problems of the future of this country. And I have to agree with some of the things that have been expressed by Mr. Beatty, it would be wrong to leave the impression that there is no division in Canada. Or that there is not a concern; it would be unfair to create that impression, Mr. Chairman. I think there is much fear and much division and much concern and much misunderstanding.
And speaking as one who had a chance to talk to many Candians on the weekend in Lincoln, my riding, there is some misunderstanding, really, of what is being attempted; no misunderstanding, no lack of support for what we want to do but puzzlement as to how we are doing it and why we feel this is the only way.
Mr. Chairman, I think we have a particular responsibility from here on in not to incite or exploit that division. As parliamentarians we have a unique responsibility in this country, that responsibility is to debate issues as forcefully as we can within rules that make sure that debate is civilized. That is why I am a little appalled and a little upset at a mailing that Mr. King sent out. I wonder if this is the type of mailing that you would want put out, that does not unintentionally exploit that fear and that unrest and that division in the country.
I do not mind at all raising the issue only because Mr. King is a friend of mine and I am puzzled at this document. When he says, “I do not want the Prime Minister remaking Canada in his own image . . .”
Mr. King: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. King on a point of order.
Mr. King: Will I be allowed to respond to this?
Mr. Mackasey: If you think you have a point of privilege I would expect you to respond.
It is you that said: are these the government’s goals? Socialist republic.
What have we done, Mr. Chairman, here that indicates we want a republic?
An hon. Member: Removed the rights of the provinces.
Mr. Mackasey: I have heard some people outside say in a fit of anger the Prime Minister is trying to make a French republic. Mr. King does not go that far, he says we want a socialist republic.
You say ownership of property, I think that is a valid argument, we have heard both sides of it very eloquently debated by Mr. Beatty and Mr. Robinson, and I have no argument with that one. However, forced bilingualism? Forced bilingualism? What is there in this document that forces bilingualism on anybody? This bothers me as a Canadian because, you see, when it comes from a member of Parliament’s letter to his constituents it has a certain authenticity, certain credibility. It reinforces the unfortunate arguments that we have and that have divided this country for so long, that somehow we are trying to force bilingualism on Canada or on Canadians.
When I was listening to the CBC last Sunday and listening to people come out with that old chestnut about bilingualism today, French tomorrow, it sickened me a little bit that people have such a lack of appreciation and understanding of the contribution French speaking Canadians have made to this country. to the west. to the armed forces, those of us old enough to remember the exploits of Triquet and Vanier, people who were soldiers, the contribution they made as Governors
General. But there is nothing in our statement, nothing in our resolution, nothing that has been said around here, and in fairness to the members opposite have they ever implied in debate that what we are trying to do to Canadians is force bilingualism on Canadians.
As a matter of fact, I think most members opposite have made the other point. Mr. Crombie very eloquently expressed regret that we could not do certain things for the franco-Ontarians, franco-Manitobans because of the realism, the lack of numbers and the unwillingness of people to accept changes or conditions which English Quebeckers have always taken for granted.
I say this not in anger but in sadness, too, that somehow people in British Columbia may think because their member tells them that it is so, that we are forcing bilingualism through constitutional amendments on the people of Canada. It is totally inaccurate, Mr. Chairman, totally wrong and there is nothing in this document that forces bilingualism on anybody.b
What the document simply says to a French speaking Canadian from Montreal who may be working for Alcan or Steinberg’s, to pick out incidents that I know of, offered a promotion that necessitates moving to Ontario or to Winnipeg or to Vancouver, simply reassures that young French speaking Canadian executive that if he or she goes there, that their children can be educated in their language, continue to be educated in French, and then with the qualification “if numbers warrant”.
Nothing says that the English speaking Canadian in any province has to learn English. I get very upset about it.
It does say that if you are going into one of the crown corporations, the post office, and you want to be served in French because you feel your English is inadequate, a tourist, a visitor, and goodness knows we need more travel in the country as visitors, that you can ask for services in French. Again, we are not imposing anything on anybody.
As far as people control, that is the next thing in this, Ottawa will be able to direct people from Quebec and Newfoundland to British Columbia in the national interest. I just cannot rationalize that statement with anything we are doing. I can only presume it has something to do with the mobility clause, which says just the opposite, which says that a British Columbia industrial worker or electrician or construction worker can work on a project anywhere in this country because he is a Canadian. We are one country, we are not ten countries. we are not four regions.
I just do not grasp it. Thought control? Thought control through expensive advertising paid by your tax dollars. Thought control? It is one man democracy? Well, we will accept these things.
And then finally: is this your country, or Canada? No, it is not our Canada. This is the freest country in the world. Nobody forces anything on anyone of this nature. We are not a republic, we are not a socialistic republic, nobody is being forced by the government or the present Prime Minister to learn another language. People are not controlled and our thoughts are not controlled.
Mr. Chairman, I mention these things because when we get back into the House, when we are out on the hustings we have an obligation to debate as hard as possible but as accurately as possible, allowing for the political nature of what we are debating.
However, we do have a unique responsibility and our responsibility is not to unintentionally create these kinds of risks, to give some credence to these old prejudices, to distort the reality of this country and I say this, too, of members from Ontario, members from Quebec. We are being given a privilege with our householders to inform our people as to what is happening. We have a certain responsibility to that, Mr. Chairman, and I am quite relevant in what I am saying because as Mr. Beatty pointed out quite properly, there is division in Canada at the moment. There is concern. Mr. Beatty is quite proper in advancing his solutions, which is perhaps to postpone what we are doing or modify what we are doing or to eliminate the bill of rights, that is a logical, valid argument, proposal, which would be no doubt debated in the House of Commons, debated across Canada, and politically one party or another will have to stand on it, not unlike when we adopted the flag which some say was only symbolic but which division was great and we were able to mend, mend because all of us, once it was over with, were able to show a degree of responsibility to put the debate behind us.
So I have to say, Mr. Chairman, if Mr, King wants to respond, and I hope he has an explanation, I would be glad to hear it.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, honourable Bryce Mackasey.
Mr. King: I do not want to take the time ofthis Committee, I would be totally happy to have dinner with the honourable Bryce Mackasey some time and let us go over this point by point, and I am sure that you, being the fair man that you are, will admit that there is basis for some of my concerns at least.
Let me say in addition to that, that you have been talking in the context that this has gone out since this Committee met and that is not so; that mailing went out before this Committee became a reality.
Mr. Mackasey: Well, I will accept that dinner invitation in the hope that it may persuade Mr. King to send out another document refuting that one and we will all be real friends.
Mr. Chrétien: I think that we will have to have a joint mailing.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. King.
Honourable James McGrath.
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.
I wonder if, since we have arrived at probably the last formal substantive part of our resolution in terms of voting at this table, and we are heading into the final stretch in terms of our in-camera session to prepare our report to the House, I am sure the table has noticed the absence of our distinguished colleague, the Chairman of our Committee, Mr. Epp, who has been encoutering a slight delay. He had hoped to be here by five o’clock.
I would like to give him the opportunity to see the resolution which was just presented to us today before we take the final vote, since we are due to meet at 5:45 in a steering committee I wonder if there might be a disposition on the part of the Committee to adjourn now and we can have our final vote after we resume at eight o’clock.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable Minister of Justice.
Mr. Chrétien: Monsieur le président, mes chers collegues, I think that it might be—can I be discharged as a witness? I have been around for some time and I have a few other responsibilities, but before I get my congé from you I would like to thank you all. It has been a great experience for me, many, many weeks . . .
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I can interrupt the Minister, he has interrupted me in the past.
I spoke in anticipation of the question being put but I spoke precipitously because my distinguished colleague Senator Roblin has not intervened and he has indicated he so wishes, so in that respect I was perhaps premature.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Honourable Senator Roblin.
Senator Roblin: Mr. Chairman, I would not like to suggest that my friend the Minister has to sit here and listen to what I have to say because I am perfectly sure that he has heard the substance of it on more occasions than one and it would be quite in order from my point of view, and I would urge you to accept his invitation to take his leave of us now with our personal good wishes, even though we may not be able to agree very heartily with the policy that he speaks for and which he personifies here.
However, I say to him I would not take it as an affront of any kind if my honourable friend would take his departure and I would get on with my little commentary on the proceedings of this Committee.
Mr. Chrétien: You go ahead, I like to listen to you.
Senator Roblin: I have not received such a delicate compliment in a long time. At least that is what I think it is.
Mr. Chairman, having attended many of the meetings of this Committee I find it difficult to summarize my impressions of what has transpired here, partly because of the press of business and partly, I suppose, because of the magnitude of the problem with which we are seized.
However, as I try to step back from what I have been hearing around this table and look at my country, then I feel that the people of Canada understand the principles of federalism in our nation better than some of us do, because if there is anything that has been borne in upon me in the last few months as I watched the development of public feeling and expression on this matter it is the sense that I think Canadians have that while there are many things they like in what is going on around this Committee, something is not quite the way it should be. And while I suppose it would be too much to expect that the ordinary Canadian follows our affairs so closely that he could give chapter and verse for his feeling, yet the sense of uneasiness and unhappiness about what we are doing throughout the country is an undisputed fact.
I wish I could say that as the result of our many weeks of labour here that the attitude in the nation was more inclined toward unity and to good will and to mutual confidence now than it was when we began, because I think the sad part is that that is simply not the case. And if there are any of us who have been concerned, as I have been, about the political legitimacy of the process in which we are engaged, I think those fears have been underlined by what I see and hear about me.
It is well known that the government has no mandate for what they are doing. It is well known that the election of 1980 was not an election which was fought on the basis of the constitution reform proposition, let alone one which was going to be enacted unilaterally in our country. The mandate is missing.
It is not as if the provinces of this nation were united or even by a majority view asking us to proceed in the way in which we are going at the present time.
The provinces do not agree. You can make your own count of how many agree and how many disagree, but I think it is an undisputed fact that the majority of the provinces of this country do not agree.
We may question their motives, we may have reservations about their judgment, but we can have no doubt about their right as partners in the confederation to have their say in what is going on around this table today, and that right has been denied.
The question of process is at the heart of the matter because, as my colleague Senator Trcmblay said the other day, in matters of this kind process becomes substance; and that is indeed the situation which we are facing at this present time.
We have seen developed over these months of study on this bill the state of public opinion, people can quote polls of various kinds, the legitimacy of the question, the interpretation of the answer are all matters for debate; but I think it perfectly clear that even if you put these considerations all to one side that there is a widespread public concern and alarm about the process by which we are seeking to entrench in the constitution of our country through the intermediary of, I hesitate to use the word a foreign state, but certainly another independent jurisdiction, through the intermediation of another independent jurisdiction to do things which the Government of Canada obviously believes cannot be done in Canada by Canadians
now, or else they would not be following the policy that they have adopted at the present time.
The lack of consensus, the lack of political legitimacy, all lie at the root of our problem today; and it is my conviction that even by the force of numbers as this matter proceeds, this may be an unrealistic view of things, as it will indeed do, we cannot cure the problems of legitimacy and problems of consensus that way; and what ought to be a time of national renewal, what ought to be a time of patriotic celebration has been soured and poisoned by the atmosphere and by the manner in which the operation is being attempted at this present time.
It seems to me that we should take heed. I do not think the government should be run by opinion polls; I do not think the government should be run by the views of newspapers. It is perfectly true that if you want to look at the recent editorials in Le Droit, La Presse, Le Soleil, three leading papers in the one province that we are supposed to be serving by this constitutional initiative, the basic reason that was given for it, none of them want what we are doing here, all of them have another and the same solution; all of them have another and the same solution.
lfyou read what the columnists are saying, whether it is Mr. Richard Gwynn or Chris Young or Geoffrey Stevens, what paper you read, the Financial Post or the Globe and Mail, a good many of them, all are giving advice on this matter which is contrary to the course the government is following.
Now, I am not maintaining in my presentation this afternoon that the government need pay any attention to these people. They have not been elected to anything and the government has. All the more responsibility the government has, however, to consider the signs of the times and to consider the practical effect of what they propose when it obviously runs counter to the important areas of public opinion.
I would think that there is room for second thoughts in this matter. I think there is room for a reconsideration of the situation, not because of a situation of oneupmanship, not because we want to embarass the Prime Minister who has adopted a policy in which he fervently believes, because if that were the aim, merely a little political in fighting of that kind, it would not be worthy of our time; but to try and persuade him that there is a better way to do the things he wants to do for his country.
I am convinced that if we restricted our request to patriatian with an amending formula derived from provincial consent, that we would receive the overwhelming support of the people of our country. I think it would take about 15 minutes to pass the Senate of the House of Commons because that is what we all want to do. We want to patriate our constitution and we want an amending formula.
I will go further and say that it is my opinion, for what it is worth, that if we presented the ten premiers of Canada with the opportunity to agree with the federal government on an amending formula, that agreement could be sought and found.
There has been ample testimony, in my view, from the provinces that have appeared here and from others that have sent us written observations of the constitutional problem that gives some force and weight to that opinion. I think that if we took everything else off the conference table and left this question of the amending formula to be settled, that we would get a settlement.
I do not know which one; I know what my choice is. I do not know which one. I would be happy to take whatever came out of that conference and that consultation.
Now, I do not know whether an appeal of this nature will even carry this Committee, I suspect it will not. And it looks right, says somebody, and I suspect also that if a similar appeal is made in the House of Commons, that it may not carry there. It is my duty to do what I can to present such an appeal to the Senate, and we will have to see what the result of that deliberation will be; but one thing that I am sure ofis that if the government would say: we are going to patriate our constitution, it is going to have an amending formula and then we are going to handle the rest of it within our own arena and within our own borders, that the people of this country would rise up and call them blessed.
What we require is some unifying gesture, some indication that those in the seats of the mighty understand what they are about and understand the nature and genius of our people. If they could rise above their preconceived notions as to what should be done for this country and present us with a proposition of this kind, then not only would they be doing something that would endear them in the hearts of their countrymen but I think they would be doing the very best thing that can be done in nation-building in Canada in this year of grace.
I have said my say, Mr. Chairman; I am not going to vote for what we have before us now. I am profoundly saddened with the thought that it will probably carry.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Senator Roblin.
I see that the honourable Minister of Justice now would like to have the authorization from the honourable members of this Committee to leave, so I would invite him…
Mr. Chrétien: I will let you vote first.
Mr. McGrath: On division.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): On division. So I see that it has been suggested to the honourable members by honourable James McGrath that we adjourn at this point and I would like to hear the honourable Senator Austin on that very suggestion.
Senator Austin: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have no objection to Mr. McGrath’s request that we adjourn. I would like to conclude the debate, which I can do in a very few moments, but leave the question of the vote until 8 o’clock as Mr. McGrath has suggested.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Honourable James McGrath.
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, with respect, I wonder if Senator Austin may reconsider what he has just said in order for Mr. Epp to have an opportunity to say a few words before he doses off the debate.
Senator Austin: Oh, I misunderstood you, Mr. McGrath.
If you are suggesting Mr. Epp would like an opportunity to speak in the order of this motion, I would have no objection to our adjourning now and hearing Mr. Epp and then myself.
Mr. McGrath: Thank you very much.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): So seeing that there is unanimous consent around the table, we will then be adjourned until 8 o’clock tonight to allow the Subcommittee on the Agenda and procedure to meet in this room.
So I would like to invite all those who do not attend the usual meeting of the Subcommittee meeting on the agenda and procedure to leave this room.
The meeting is adjourned until tonight.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would invite honourable members to take their seats so that the Chair might see a quorum.
After informal discussions among party representatives during the dinner break tonight, agreement was reached that this meeting should be adjourned until 8.30 pm.
As a result, I would invite honourable members to come back at 8.30 pm. when the Chair will call the meeting again.
The meeting is adjourned until 8.30 tonight.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): We would like to resume consideration of the proposed motion. The Chair would like to invite the honourable Jake Epp to make his remarks and views on the proposed motion. After that, I would invite the honourable Senator Austin to conclude on the proposed motion.
The honourable Jake Epp.
Mr. Epp: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for recognizing me.
There are a number of points I would like to make before Senator Austin has an opportunity to conclude the debate on the motion bofore us.
Mr. Chairman, as you are aware, the members of our party entered the entire debate from the perspective that while we opposed the process that the government was launching in the Canadian Parliament, in terms of amending our constitution, we would nevertheless approach our work here in the spirit of not only representing a point of view of the country different from that of the Prime Minister, but that we would also put
forward the position that, while the process was illegal, we thought we had amendments to make which we believed very sincerely would improve the package before us.
That has been the manner in which we have proceeded to this date.
Mr. Chairman, let me just go through some of those events very briefly, You know, it was this party that insisted that this Committee be televised, and that radio broadcasting be made available to this Committee.
We believe that is a breakthrough for Committee of the House of Commons and the Senate for Joint Committee; but more important, Mr. Chairman, we thought it was essential that this be done because of the topic before this Committee, namely, the constitution.
As you know, we also objected to the date; and December 9 seems like an awfully long time ago, but many members will know that December 9 was to be the date when the work of this Committee was to have been completed,
We are now exactly two months further down the road, on February 9, and there has been another extension.
I believe that the government had to finally accept, not only the reality, but the very fact that if the constitution was to be discussed, it could not be discussed in a short period of time or under the gun ofa deadline.
So, both from the point of view of opening this Committee to the eyes of Canadians so that they could participate, as well as to extend those deadlines, we believe that this Committee has been instrumental in that process.
Mr. Chairman, we have also moved amendments on the Charter of Rigths. I want to say to you that in a number of amendments—amendments in relation to the handicapped, amendments relating to inulticulturalismnwe believe that this party has shown very foreceful means whereby the Charter could be improved.
I hear other leaders of certain parties taking credit for amendments that supposedly they were instrumental in moving and getting past in Committee.
Mr. Chairman, I do not think the record will bear that out. That is simply not the case.
Additionally, Mr. Chairman, as you know, we supported in a joint venture the matter of cntrenching the aboriginal rights. i am concerned, as I read from the newspapers-if their reports are accurate—about the three-day meeting, for instance, that the National Indian Brotherhood is opening this week in the city in terms of whether or not the agreement, is sufficient to meet their demands and needs. That is still very much an open question with representatives of the National Indian Brotherhood.
But, as you know, and as we feel there have been a number of amendments which we have moved—in fact, the record will show, Mr. Chairman, that we moved considerably fewer amendments than did the New Democratic Party; yet, if one takes it look at the numbers accepted, the number accepted of the amendments we have moved was quite substantially higher than that of the New Democratic Party.
I think it is important, Mr. Chairman, that the record shows that as well.
We are concerned, Mr. Chairman, that the Charter of Rights starts from the wrong approach. The approach that the Prime Minister and the government party has taken is that governments grant individual rights. I do not subscribe to that view. If you were to accept that view and you take a look at various charters of rights across the world, you will find that wherever governments grant rights, governments have also been quick to remove rights, or to reduce rights, or to change rights.
We do not believe that is the manner in which rights are granted to citizens; but, rather that citizens of a country have certain inalienable rights, and that those rights remain whether they live in a democracy, such as a parliamentary democracy, as in Canada, or in a Republican democratic system, such as in the United States, or whether they live in a Communist system, such as in Poland, or the USSR; that is because they are people, human beings, because they are created in the image of God, they have certain inalienable rights and no government, no matter what system, can take those rights from them.
So, Mr, Chairman, it is on that basis that the Charter we have before, I believe, is very faulty.
Additionally, Mr. Chairman, we are concerned that the work we have heard, namely, that the work of Mr. Diefenbaker—his Bill of Rights—that that work is to be completed and that this would complete that work; the events of the last three months will show that that is not what this Committee has done.
In fact, the very heart of the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights has not been accepted by government members in the Charter, because the very heart of the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights is the one which I have already mentioned, namely, that citizens have inalienable rights and that the sovereignty of a nation comes from God, and that one of the cornerstones of that nation is the family and that we want to protect free and democratic institutions.
Mr. Chairman, that part of the whole basis on which the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights was predicated has not been accepted by the government; and so anyone who makes a claim that in fact they are completing the work of Mr. Diefenbaker will find that such a claim cannot be historically and practically substantiated.
Mr, Chairman, we also moved amendments on property rights.
While many of us fully said property rights are largely the responsibility of the provinceswand I would like to point out that all property rights are not within the jurisdiction of the provinces; a few quick examples would be patents and copyrights; that property rights which were also part of the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights and which are very important, not only to those people who have a common law background, but also those who came to this country because of opportunity and that opportunity was best expressed in the ability to obtain
land, to obtain title to property; that matter has, again, I must say, Mr. Chairman, to our disappointment been rejected by government members and also the NDP members.
Mr. Chairman, quite clearly, because of the basis on which the Charter is approached as well as on the basis of some specifics in the Charter, we can not accept the government’s position.
But, Mr. Chairman, in terms of the process, while we said that we support patriatiou, and we would like patriation now, we said that we would support an amending formula which would make all the provinces equal, which would not grade the provinces on the basis of population or on historical fact; but, rather, because we are a partnership all provinces are equal.
Mr. Chairman, government members and the NDP incinbers did not support the Vancouver amendment. leased to note, as I have mentioned both in this Committee and the House on Friday—as have other members of my party—that the Premiers are looking very carefully at whether or not Vancouver could be modified whereby it could enjoy a higher acceptability, even than it now enjoys.
Mr. Chairman, I am still an optimist who believes that compromise can come about and if the government is a little more flexible on its approach, that compromise would not only be of benefit, l might say, to this Committee, but to the government, and even more so to the unity of our country.
So, Mr. Chairman, we remain opposed to an amending formula which grades the provinces and therefore. the citizens of Canada. not on the basis of equality, but rather on size of population from regions or provinces from which they come.
Mr. Chairman, we have also said that, because we are a federation, we insist that the balance of the federation should not be violated in any way. Therefore, we said that after an amending formula and patriation the remainder of the work should be approved by the Premiers.
We are not among those who believe that failure must dog our way, and that failure to agree in the past is a recipe for failure in the future.
In fact, I believe that if the Premiers and the federal government would look at their position, the compromise we spoke of earlier in fact could be achieved.
So, Mr. Chairman, I believe that this Committee has had a historic bearing on the development of Canada’s constitution. I do not believe that work is complete. I think not only should we have another First Minister’s conference, but also a constitutional assembly whereby more Canadians could participate in the constitution-making process of the country.
That aside, Mr. Chairman, what remains for us, as a Committee, is to recommend to the House and to the Senate whether we should proceed in the manner in which the government has proposed as early as October 2, last.
Mr. Chairman, on that question there is no doubt in our minds that we will reject the motion which is before us as presented by Senator Austin, because what the motion does is but reconfirm the position that the government took as early as October 2, a process we have objected to even since that date.
Mr. Chairman, also what remains very much in question—and while this Committee cannot deal with it, nevertheless I feel we should mention itwis that we do not know at this time whether or not members of the House of Commons will have the ability to amend any resolution.
You have mentioned, Mr. Chairman, in the Subcommittee that it might be possible to amend the resolution; but I think, with all respect, you will agree with me that that ruling is not binding on the House, but rather is one which we would have to wait either for agreement from the House Leaders or in fact, a ruling from Madame Speaker.
So, the point then, Mr. Chairman, is that this matter could come before the House of Commons and it would be only one opportunity for members of the House of Commons—I cannot speak for the other place, but the same thing would apply there—one opportunity to discuss the Constitution of Canada, and that the other debate was not a discussion of the constitution of Canada, but rather a resolution—a referral resolution to form this Committee and to discuss a proposed resolution.
Someone has described it—and I believe it was my friend, the honourable David Crombie—as the poverty of the process to think that this Committee and members of the House of Commons, on behalf of Canadians, would have only one opportunity to discuss a resolution and possibly not have any ability to move amendments.
Mr. Chairman, I want to say to members of the Committee today that if we have an opportunity to move amendments that we will avail ourselves of that opportunity after we have had further discussions with our caucus colleagues.
Mr. Chairman, we believe that the process is wrong and while there are elements of the proposals with which we agree, nevertheless, we do not believe that an illegitimate process can in fact be overridden because the elements of the package itself might find some approval.
Mr. Chairman, there is another problem; that is, the matter is before the courts. There are members on the government side who say the Manitoba courts have ruled and therefore they can go ahead with the process. That is true, Mr. Chairman, at this moment. But it is without doubt that this matter will be before the Supreme Court of Canada before the resolution will find final approval in Canada. And should final approval be found, either through closure or time allocation and that the Canadian Supreme Court could not rule on it, I believe it would be a shame where the Canadian Supreme Court would have to make a ruling and would be seized of that issue after it has already gone on to Westminster.
Mr. Chairman, we have always said that this was a Canadian matter; that a constitution should be made in Canada; that we should ask Westminster only to do that which they must do by virtue of Clause 7 of the Statute of Westminster; we believe that we should not ask them—and they believe it too—to make amendments to our constitution which Canadians should be making at home.
That has been our fundamental position; and the very fact that others might say this is happening in the Canadian Parliament where members from various parts of the country are assembled, that we are doing it in Canada—well, I have spoken about the poverty of the process earlier. Members of Parliament have not had an opportunity.
I say this to the House Leaders, through you Mr. Chairman, and through the eyes of television, that it is our position that every member of our party, when this matter comes back to the House, should have the opportunity to debate this issue.
They had that promise before this matter was referred to the Committee. Members of this Committee have said we have had a certain number of members of Parliament participate in this Committee. That is not sufficient participation.
What we will be demanding is that every member on our side who wishes to speak, will have the opportunity to do so.
That is the very least, Mr. Chairman, that every Member of Parliament should have as a right—a right to debate the constitution of Canada.
So, Mr. Chairman, I say to you in conclusion, that while this Committee started in the throes of much controversy, we believe the collegiality of this Committee has brought certain progress. We believe it is a better package. We know we have contributed to the improvement of that package; but our opposition to the process remains.
While we want patriation and an amending formula and rights enshrined, we want them done in a manner which will lend legitimacy to the process.
At the moment, Canadians do not believe that either the process or the package enjoy legitimacy. If they are to enjoy legitimacy, they must be done in a manner which is open and clear from the start, and that manipulation will not be used, but that Canadians and their representatives will have full opportunity to debate the issue.
That is before us, Mr. Chairman. That is a repetition of what we have been saying ever since this Committee started, and that will also be the gist of the manner in which we will approach it in the House.
I say, to you, Mr. Chairman, that I want on behalf of my colleagues, to thank you, both Joint Chairmen, for the manner in which you have conducted the proceedings of this Committee.
We know that your task has not been without difficulty. But you have fulfilled your responsibilities and conducted your-
selves in a manner which has been an example to all of us, and from our side, we thank you for that.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Jake Epp. Honourable Senator Austin, to conclude on the proposed motion.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, I would like to start just where Mr. Epp left off with the congratulations of our side of this Committee to you and to Senator Hays for the magnificent job which you have both done as Joint Chairmen of this Committee. It has not been easy; we know that. I might say personally I have not made it too easy for you; you know that. I think you know that at times you did not make it too easy for me either.
I also want to repeat what I said this afternoon when Mr. Epp was not here, that I greatly admire the parliamentary spirit in which Mr. Epp and his colleagues and Mr. Nystrom and his colleagues have carried on their duties. Their duties here were to propose and or oppose in varying degrees and they have done so vigorously on both sides. I do believe that as Mr. Nystrom said earlier and as Mr. Epp has said this afternoon that the result has been a substantial improvement to the original government proposal. I think that we have indeed fashioned a document of very great significance and advantage to Canadians. The question that is now before us is the process by which this document should be furthered and on that process I suppose I could make no better arguments then those that were made by the Minister of Justice when he was before us on Friday. He made an outstanding address to this Committee; he explained the government’s position with great clarity and I would ask those who wish for a substantive and thorough answer to the arguments to consider again what Mr. Chrétien had to say in this Committee.
I will simply say, in summary of many points which have been argued by the Conservative side, that this process is not an illegitimate process. They like to use the words—it is an invention to use the word illegitimate. The process is completely legitimate. The Manitoba Court of Appeal has expressed its opinion with respect to the legitimacy of this process, and I do not think that arguments of that kind are going to be very impressive.
The issue really comes down, Mr. Chairman, to one very, very clear question. Would anything different happen if we were at the conclusion of this report and at the conclusion of the debate in the House and the Senate to stop the process and go back and negotiate with the provinces? Has anything happened in terms of provincial attitudes, provincial positions, that would bring about any confidence whatever that there would be a mutuality of agreement. Certainly, Mr. Chairman, not with respect to the charter.
Mr. Blakeney is on record as opposing the charter in spite of the very long history of proposal for a charter of rights which was initiated by Premier Douglas in 1950. Mr. Lyon opposes a charter; Mr. Bennett opposes a charter; Mr. Lougheed opposes a charter; Mr. Lévesque opposes a charter; so I do not see
much negotiating room and flexibility there. Mr. Peckford also opposes a charter.
An hon. Member: Mr. Ryan.
Senator Austin: Mr. Ryan is an opposition leader, and I am not going to reflect on his opinions here.
As far as the amending formula is concerned all of the proposals and all of the lovely arguments that the Conservatives used about this being a Canadian matter are nothing more than verbal dodging, Mr. Chairman. This is a Canadian matter as our work here over many hours and weeks has demonstrated. Nothing the Briish are asked to do has anything to do with the substantive work that has been before us. The British have not listened to the aboriginal community; they have not listened to the disadvantaged; they have not even listened to the range of expertise that has come before us in this Committee, nor have they had the responsibility to conduct cross—examination of the kind which was conducted by all members of this Committee of the witnesses and of the Minister of Justice and of other people here as designated experts.
So I say to you, Mr. Chairman. and members of this Committee, that nothing that we have heard and no conclusion that any member of this Committee can come to will be different in fact than that which Premier Hatfield put to this Committee so succinctly when he appeared here as a witness before us. He told us that the only result of delay would be further delay, and we have no evidence from the premiers to contradict that particular statement of facts. Indeed, the Attorney General from my province, British Columbia, undertook to visit with various provinces to determine whether indeed they were prepared to come together and make any form of movement apparent on the substantive question of patriation or of the Charter and they were not so prepared and we have not heard during the whole term of the life of this Committee any movement by any premier away from the position that that premier took at the first ministers’ meeting in September.
So I put it to you as succinctly as I can, without dealing with every issue that has been pleaded here, that on the central issue Canadians face the fact of a constitutional deadlock, a deadlock that has been in place for many, many years on many of these subjects.
The question that Canadians are being asked to decide is shall this deadlock be broken and shall the constitution of this country be brought to Canada with an amending formula which was that formula agreed to by all the premiers of this country in Victoria in early 1971.
That is the question; I said earlier that on that question the government is proceeding as it is entitled to do and it is proceeding of course in a controversial and conflicting political environment in Canada, I do not know any constitution drafted anywhere that has not been the subject of substantial conflict amongst its citizens except in those countries where the democratic conflict has been eradicated by revolutionary and physical behaviour. That is not the situation here in Canada, thank God.
What we have here are deep seated feelings amongst Canadians, and they are in the main honest feelings. They are deeply caring feelings. But issues of the kind that are before us are of necessity to be solved. The question of linguistic rights has to be solved; the question of aboriginal rights has to be solved, The expectations of the multicultural community have to be solved. These are pressing and these are interfering with the process of Government in Canada, the process of our economic growth, the process of our social and political growth.
On the question of God, I really find it remarkable that the portion of our proceedings in which the Conservative amendment reflecting a part of the Diefenbaker Bill has been brought before us again and again with the implication that most of the members here object the concept of a reference to God. What I said at that time in the Committee, and I want to repeat it here. is that the main difficulty with the Conservative amendment was that it was tacked on to the resolution in the wrong place. It belongs in stage two as a preamble, and it belongs as a preamble to the entire constitutional process, and not to a portion of it. My own view is that the Conservatives are trying to downgrade God and we will put him in his right place at the right time.
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh.
Senator Austin: With respect to property, again we have an argumentwl happen to be a deeply religious person and I am offended by suggestions made that I lack that conviction, and my statement is on the record as to where I stand, Senator Asselin.
With respect to property I think all members know that the provision for property was stoutly resisted by the provinces throughout the discussions and it has simply been tabled for stage two.
So in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Com mittee I say that I am most affirmatively of the belief that the joint resolution which is referred to in my amendment is a solid advantage to the Canadian people, and I would ask the Committee to support that advantage and return the joint resolution as amended with the commendation of this Committee to the Senate and to the House of Commons. Thank you.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Senator Austin.
Some hon. Members: Recorded vote.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): All those in favour of the proposed motion please answer the call of the Clerk of the Senate and of the House of Commons.
Proposed motion agreed to: Yeas, 16; Nays, 8.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The Chair understands now that that last vote has put an end to another step in our work and I would like to invite honourable members now to enter the last phase of our work, which is the drafting of our report.
Before I invite honourable members to do so I understand that there is concern around the table about the way that phase will be tackled by honourable members and of course
the Chair is open to receive views from honourable members on that very question.
I see that honourable Senator Austin and honourable Bryce Mackasey want to speak and Mr. Robinson; and I will certainly invite honourable Jake Epp.
Honourable Senator Austin.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, as we are about to consider the report, which is our report stage, I wonder, do we have a document to consider? It seems to me logical that we should have a document before us, and we should have had some reasonable time to review it before we actually enter into its consideration. Could you advise us?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes, if I can answer that, there has been consultation among our Clerks, following past Subcommittee meetings, and we have given instructions to both our Clerks to prepare a draft report in the usual way, which is pertaining to the number of sittings, number of witnesses, identification of witnesses and related matters that will report on the very facts that are related to the sittings of this Committee. That has been requested from our Clerks and what I have understood from them is that those documents would be circulated as soon as we would enter this phase and as soon as they have been printed in a greater number of copies they would be circulated among members. I understand that probably members would like to have at least a couple of hours to read that before coming back at the table because that might of course be a first look. As was sometimes suggested by some honourable members, and I am thinking of the honourable Senator Tremblay who has sometimes drawn our attention to that, it would be preferable to have the document for a couple of hours before we call back the honourable members around the table to discuss the content of the report because, as honourable members know, they might like to read and study that in the closeness of their office before coming back on that. That is where it stands now.
I understand that later on tonight or early tomorrow morning copies of the proposed draft would be sent to all honourable members of the Committee. Honourable Jake Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate those words that you expressed in answer to Senator Austin’s question. We would like to obviously study the draft report and that will take some time. It would be my recommendation, Mr. Chairman, that we reconvene at 3:30 tomorow afternoon and, that being the case, with that proviso I would move that we now adjourn.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Do you make a formal proposal to adjourn?
Mr. Epp: Yes I do.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): According to our rules there is no debate on that at this point so the Chair cannot entertain any other views or motion on that.
Senator Tremblay: Just a point of information. When do you think that the Clerks would be in a position to circulate this?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): That is the problem I have with the motion as put through by honourable Jake Epp. A motion to adjourn, unless there is a condition, is not
debatable and has to be put through immediately by the Chair; but if honourable members want to have more information at this point of course as was said by honourable Senator Tremblay I will withhold the question to be put on the proposed motion as soon as honourable members would be ready to vote.
Honourable Jake Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I knew you would get into that dilemma and that was the dilemma I wanted you to be in, not for personal reasons obviously after what I have just finished saying earlier, but I believe it would be possible to circulate the draft report after adjournment. It is available I understand and that being the case I do not think we should conduct any further business tonight. That was the reason for the motion.
An hon. Member: Point of order, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): There is no point of order. When a vote is called on a motion to adjourn the Chair has no other choice than to put the motion to a vote.
An hon. Member: If I could just have a brief point of order, if I may . . .
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): There is no point of order. I have already said that unless I have unanimous consent around the table, the rules of the procedure are very clear on that. There is a motion to adjourn. There is no condition to adjourn and at this point—I am sorry, I see honourable Bryce Mackasey, too, who would like to speak on a point of order; but at this point the situation is clear, the draft report will be circulated among honourable members and the vote is to adjourn until 3:30 tomorrow afternoon.
Motion negatived: Yeas, 8; nays, 15.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable Bryce Mackasey.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, I must admit that my reason for voting against this is because there is no other way out of the dilemma, since you are absolutely right, when such a motion is presented to the Committee you have no choice but to ask for the vote without debate; and I can understand the need, Mr. Chairman, for a time frame; but at twenty after nine when there are so many outstanding things that could be debated and discussed such as the steering committee report we had anticipated speaking to tonight. If we are suspending normal business until tomorrow afternoon and intend to get on to the question of whether the steering committee shall be in camera or shall be public and any other matters of substance that should be debated openly here arising out of the steering committee, I would frankly like to have seen us proceed that way and then move on to the motion of Mr. Epp that we adjourn until tomorrow afternoon.
I have no apologies to make for voting against, but it seems to me that it is a waste of time. We have another hour and there are some very fundamental issues that could be resolved tonight and not tomorrow.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, honourable Bryce Mackasey. Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I just want to say that I agree with the remarks just made by Mr. Mackasey and that was also why I voted against the motion to adjourn at this time, although I certainly understood Mr. Epp’s intention in moving the motion. There are two matters which arose from the meeting of the steering committee which I believe should be discussed and should be discussed very soon, Mr. Chairman. Since I raised both matters in the steering committee I think perhaps I should at least seek some guidance from the Chair on these questions.
The first matter, Mr. Chairman, and at this point I seek guidance procedurally as to a motion which we will be proposing that rather than going in camera for the remaining proceedings of this Committee, that we should be continuing to proceed in open session, that there is no need, Mr. Chairman, when discussing a matter of this significance to close the doors on Canadians at this stage of our deliberations, and that we should be proceeding in full public scrutiny, Mr. Chairman, and I intend, at the appropriate time, to move an amendment to that effect.
The second matter, Mr. Chairman, which gives me some cause for concern, is a matter of substance, and again I seek guidance from the Chair, and that is with respect to the ability to move, not an amendment but a recommendation, whether or not members of this Committee will have the power, now that we have passed the motion recommending that the government propose to the Senate and House of Commons this particular resolution, the Chairman will be aware of the fact that I raised in the steering committee the desirability, at least the intent of this party to move a resolution with respect to the provisions of Section 133 being extended to the Province of Ontario, and I would ask for guidance at this point at the very least, Mr. Chairman, on those two points.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): If I may answer you, at least on the first point, and that I think will be of help to all of the honourable members around the table, I would like to quote Beauchesnes, No. 628 on page 199, paragraph 2 of Section 628 reads:
(2) The purpose of in camara sittings is to allow Members to feel free to negotiate, discuss, deliberate and sometimes compromise without the glare of publicity, which might add to the difficulties of agreeing to reports when it is desirable that these proceedings be treated in confidence. The final decision of whether to sit in camera, however, rests with the members themselves.
So I have looked at our Orders of Reference and there is nothing that binds honourable members at this point. Honourable members are free to decide if they want to follow the tradition of most of the Standing Committees of the House of Commons and the Senate to sit in camera when they draft the report. That has been the long practice.
However, it is not a binding rule. It is not the standing rules of the House. It is up to the Committee to decide to be in camera when they draft their report, so I understand that less this Committee decides otherwise that should be the procedure
which the Chair has to follow, which is according to precedents of most, if not the greatest number of Standing Committees of the House that sit in camera for drafting the report.
So unless I am instructed otherwise, when this Committee reconvenes to discuss a draft report it should be in camera according to the precedents, unless the Chair is instructed otherwise by the honourable members of this Committee.
That is my answer to your first question.
In relation to the second question, I would have to have a proposed motion. I understand that you have a written text and if you are agreeable to extend this text formally to the Chair, the Chair will certainly consult with the Clerk as usual and with learned counsel on the Hill, and we will certainly report in due time to the honourable members so that the rights of the honourable members, or any honourable members around the table, will be interpreted the same by the Chair, as the Chair has done previously, for the interpretation of admissibility of amendments to the proposed resolution, but the honourable member will understand that, to have a better answer, he should provide the Chair with a copy of his proposed recommendation and the Chair will consult and advise him, certainly without delay.
Mr. Robinson: Certainly I will provide the Chair with a copy of the proposed resolution in both official languages, it is presently being typed.
I would ask, then, Mr. Chairman, whether it would now be in order to move that the Special Joint Committee of the House of Commons and the Senate on the Constitution of Canada remain in open session for the writing of our report?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Yes, it is possible at this time to move such a motion.
Mr. Robinson: I would so move, Mr. Chairman. And if I might just speak brielly to that motion?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Would it be possible to have a copy, I think the Chair has a copy in both languages of the proposed motion; yes, go ahead, Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I understand and I respect the tradition of this House and I assume of the Senate as well, that in the majority of cases in which Committees deliberate in order to write a report and to draft a report, that those deliberations are conducted in camera. That has been a long standing tradition of the House, although, Mr. Chairman, as you are well aware, as a member of the Standing Joint Committee on Regulations and Other Statutory instruments, that is not always the ease. and indeed, the Standing Joint Committee on Regulations and Statutory Instruments does write its reports openly, although I must say we are not deluged with representatives of the press or public when we write those reports.
Mr. Chairman, in proposing that we continue our deliberations openly, without shutting the doors, I am suggesting that we have neared the end of our proceedings, and if one looks at
what remains, essentially the arguments for going behind closed doors are not applicable.
It has been suggested in the citation in Beauchesne’s that somehow the glare of publicity might cause difficulties in compromising on wording of the report. However, in this case, Mr. Chairman, our report, as I am sure you will agree, will deal overwhelmingly with material about which there has already been a great deal of discussion.
In other words, the overwhelming substance of our report will be on the proposed resolution itself.
In addition, there will be witnesses, the names of witnesses, and perhaps a summary of some of the major evidence that has been submitted. There will be no debate and no compromise on that, that is a matter of fact.
So what remains to be discussed behind closed doors? Well, depending on the ruling of the Chair, there is at least one matter of substance which hopefully will be discussed, and that is the motion which the New Democratic Party will be proposing with respect to the extension of Section 133 of the BNA Act to the Province of Ontario, issuing an invitation to the Province of Ontario to extend these rights to the francophone minority.
That debate, surely, Mr: Chairman, is not one which should be conducted behind closed doors. It is not a case of the wording on a particular aspect of the report, or how the wishes of the majority of the Committee might best be reflected having taken into consideration minority views. That is a matter of substance and, as I say, depending upon the ruling of the Chair as to the acceptability of that matter of substance, I believe that Canadians should have an opportunity to know where their elected representatives and, of course, Senators, stand on that question.
Mr. Chairman, I do not believe there are any other areas in the report which are subject to the kind of give and take and negotiation which it can be argued is best conducted behind closed doors.
This Committee has operated openly, in fact it has been televised, it is the only Committee which has been televised so far.
I believe that it would be unfortunate to, at this stage in the Committee’s deliberations, close the doors and shut down the cameras and deny Canadians an opportunity to see our deliberations through to the end. They may not last very much longer at all. lt may be a matter of a couple of hours, but I think we are talking about a principle here, a principle of openness of the Committees deliberations.
Freedom of Information legislation has recently been tabled in the House and certainly I believe it is that spirit of openness which is exemplified at least in the principles of that bill which should be guiding this important Committee in our deliberations, and it is on that basis, Mr. Chairman, that lam moving the motion that we remain in open session, that we allow Canadians to continue to view the deliberations of this important and this historic Committee.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson.
Honourable Senator Austin.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, we on this side oppose the idea that Mr. Robinson has put to us that the report stage be an open discussion. It is not a question of the principle of openness versus the right of privacy or some other high concept, it is a simple equity that this Committee be allowed to conclude its work by a closed session in the traditions which Parliament has always offered and which, on our part, we believed were an accepted part of the procedure which this Committee would employ.
This suggestion of Mr. Robinson comes at the last moment and, frankly, we see no merit in it.
As Mr. Robinson has said, the substantive questions have been dealt with except that he now says that he wants to reopen the question of linguistic rights, no longer in the form of a report by this Committee to the House and the Senate, but in the form of a recommendation of some kind which in fact would be a recommendation back to another legislature and for our part I want to make it extremely clear that if that strategem is allowed, we are going to have, no ‘doubt, a number of similar events take place on other questions that have been dealt with in the many weeks by this Committee; so as far as I am concerned, every member of this Committee has had the opportunity to argue in public before television cameras and the press and before Committee members, and I might say in parenthesis, I think most often only other Committee members were listening, every issue possible to be argued under the reference that is before us.
So, to summarize, we wish to have the discussion in camera on the report stage as has always been provided for by the rules that are within the precedents, and also within our understanding of how the rules would be employed, and we have no intention of accepting a side door strategem by Mr. Robinson to introduce subjects that have already been fully the subject of a debate before us.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Mr. Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I think that now that members of the Committee have seen the Robinson motion, they can see why it would have been prudent to accept the motion to adjourn and then discuss it in private as to the details whereby this Committee might have proceeded.
Now that the matter is before us . . .
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order.
Mr. Epp will recognize it is one thing to put Mr. Robinson in a nuthsell, it is another thing to keep him there.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, it is getting a little bit difficult and I do not know who is in the shell and who is in the egg.
An hon. Member: Or who is a nut.
Mr. Epp: However, Mr. Chairman, I believe it would have been prudent to discuss this in private, but now that it is before the Committee, there have been Committees that obviously
have written their reports In Camera but there are also precedents, Mr. Chairman, of Committees having written them on camera, I guess we could say, in this Comnmittce, and one of them is in fact a Joint Committee of the Senate and the House, namely, the Joint Committee on Regulations and Other Statutory Instruments, who are writing their report, not in private, but in public.
So I think, Mr. Chairman, that the precedent of Joint Committees writing their reports in public has been well established. In fact, the Joint Chairman of that Committee is the honourable Perrin Beatty, who is also a member of this Committee, Mr. Chairman, so I think we are following advice that is very well placed.
Another question is that of staff. If we go in camera, for instance, will there be any restrictions on staff?
Mr. Chairman, we have always been of the opinion that this Committee should be an open one. There is a measure that has received second reading in the House, namely freedom of information, which all parties have supported and I think that would also auger well for having this Committee write its report in public.
However, Mr. Chairman, I want to say to Mr. Robinson that it is our opinion that there is very little of substantive issue, if anything, to discuss at this stage. lfl understand your rulings, Mr. Chairman, and the motion that was supported by the New Democratic Party, that has now foreclosed discussion of additional substantive issues.
Mr. Chairman, we are the party that voted against that motion. The New Democratic Party voted for it. And I would think that they are now caught on their petard, around here we talk about their own Pinard.
However, I think that is in fact what has happened to them and I think they have now, first of all having supported a motion, now cannot move a motion whereby they could bring back substantive issues. At least, and I am not the Joint Chairman, Mr. Chairman, you will have to rule on that, but that is how I would read the motion which they supported, the Austin motion.
Mr. Chairman, I can just say as a point of information that we, on behalf of our party we intend to prepare a minority report which we will make public. Unfortunately, there is no instrument in the House of Commons or in the Senate whereby we can table a minority report. I think that is something that committees in the future should look at. I think committees should have the ability to table minority reports.
We do not have that ability, but there is no question, Mr. Chairman, of our intention to complete a minority report and to make it public. We do not have that ability here therefore, Mr. Chairman, when I take a look at the probability or the possibility of moving substantive issues, I believe that is behind us and that was behind us as soon as the New Democratic Party supported the Austin motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, honourable Jake Epp.
Honourable Bryce Mackasey.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, I . . .
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Order, please.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, if we had not had this debate this evening we would have had to have it tomorrow, it is an issue that had to be joined.
Mr. Epp, for his own reasons, preferred to do it tomorrow, but that is unimportant; the point is we would have had to be faced with the issue as to whether or not the Committee shall be prepared or the report shall be written in camera or on camera.
Now, I believed in television and radio and voted accordingly when the matter was first raised in this Committee. It is not the first time that Liberals have differed, nor will it be the last.
However, I have reached the stage where I believe that we should follow the traditional method of preparing our report in camera.
One cannot make the case after months of deliberation on camera and on radio and in public that this party can be stigmatized with the argument that somehow we are secretive and we have something to hide. That argument is hardly valid in light of the many months that we have spent under a process which I am glad we adopted. And I am glad that the government and the House of Commons so instructed us, but I think, Mr. Chairman, that we run the risk, if we continue in the next few days in public, a rediscussing, no matter how fair or how firm the Chair is, points of substance that have already been joined and, as Mr. Epp said earlier, there have been many amendments raised in this Committee by all parties; we have a substantially better document as a result of the amendments but we do not want to go through the debate of the substance all over again and that is exactly what you will see, and I have to say this, Mr. Robinson has made it very clear in bootlegging into this debate what he want to bring up, namely the discussion of Section 133.
Now, I have no objection to debating with Mr. Robinson that issue in public, none at all, but once you do that in the reading of your report, you can hardly deny Mr. Beatty and others their legitimate right to reintroduce their particular concern, the very contentious problem of property, and I must say I listened with great interest to the very valid arguments of Mr. Beatty at the time, as I did to those of Mr. Robinson, and I do not want to go through all that again but I could not see, Mr. Chairman, how we could prevent Mr. Beatty or anyone else, or someone on this side—myself, I have some things I did not bring up which I would like to bring up and I cannot see how the Chairman could prevent members in the few days remaining at our disposal if we then proceeded on camera. What we would do if we were on camera, Mr. Chairman, would revert, no matter how disciplined the Chair was, no matter how severe the Chair was, we would return to discussing matters of substance all over again.
Now, Mr. Robinson and the New Democratic Party had full opportunity on the committee stage to bring any amendment they wanted in and it is almost, I will not use the Word «hypocritical» it is not a good word in committees, as Senator Roblin reminds me in his wisdom, but for weeks, for weeks we were led to believe by the New Democratic Party and Mr. Nystrom that they intended to bring forward to this Committee a definite amendment to the resolution that would extend the use of French language to the courts . . .
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I am sorry to interrupt the honourable member but we are not dealing with such a recommendation at this point, we are dealing with the motion moved that the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons remain in open session for the writing of the report.
The Chair has reserved its ruling on the acceptability of the recommendation dealing with the extension of Section 133, so I would invite the honourable member to keep his remarks to the content of the proposed motion essentially.
Mr. Mackasey: Mr. Chairman, I accept your admonition but I did it because Mr. Robinson did it 15 minutes ago without any suggestion on your part that he was out of order.
He made very certain that he got on the record why he wanted the thing to be on camera and I was only pointing out the hypocrisy of the position because when the moment of truth came he did not come forward with his amendment, and I leave it on that point, and I am suggesting how are you going to restrain that type of hypocrisy for the next three days if we are on camera?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, honourable Bryce Mackasey.
Mr. Robinson to conclude on the proposed motion.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I am quite prepared to have the motion come to a vote now to see whether or not Committee members are prepared to have the deliberations in open or behind closed doors.
An hon. Member: A recorded vote, Mr. Chairman.
Amendment negatived: Yeas, 10; nays, 14.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I would like to draw the attention of the honourable members to two questions that will be very helpful for the Chair to receive guidance from the honourable members, and those questions are, first, the time allocation in the procedure on the draft report discussion, and the second question is merely a technical one but the Chair of course has seen a number of new members around the table and if we are to work on the draft report the Chair of course would like to know to whom it should make sure that the draft report is sent in proper time and to the proper place so that we have all those who want to participate in that last phase of our
debate have the copy in due time, and we have of course a list of original members . . .
Miss Campbell: Mr. Chairman, a point of order.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): As said in the House of Commons and on that, too, I would like to receive information from the honourable members.
Miss Campbell: Are we off television now?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): No, not at this point because we-are not discussing the draft report. The Chair has put two questions that are in relation to the procedure that will be followed by honourable members of this Committee.
Honourable Jake Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, it is possible that this suggestion might help, in terms of distribution I would suggest that you instruct the Clerks to distribute the reports to the original members on the Committee plus additionally those who are sitting today because we are concluding our work and going into the report stage, and additionally give each of the spokesmen for the parties an additional three copies for distribution.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much for your answer to the last question.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if you might instruct the Clerks to distribute to Mr. Nystrom’s office, to my office and that of Mr. Rose, who I believe will be taking part in tomorrow’s proceedings.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Mr. Robinson.
The last matter in respect to which I would like to receive guidance from all honourable members is in relation to time allocation’ I would like to have their views on that matter.
As honourable members who have participated in the past and have experience of drafting a report know, there is sometimes a debate over the choice of wording. I do not intend to emphasize the point by quoting examples, whether we should choose “humbly” or “politely”; but those are discussions which one might have around the draft report.
As all honourable members also know, sometimes it is necessary to have guidance by the rules so that the Chair might help honourable members to move on. On that I would like to seek the wisdom of experience.
The honourable James McGrath.
Mr. McGrath: Mr. Chairman, first of all I believe we have nothing substantive left to discuss. The gist of whatever we report to the House is contained in the resolution we have just voted on-the Austin resolution.
All we have to consider is the form of the report as well as giving credit to those who have appeared and those who did not appear who had requested permission to appear, and the number of hours we sat and that kind of thing.
If that is the case, and if we consider the fact that the whole idea of sitting in camera is to allow for a very informal, free flow of debate, then I see no reason, Mr. Chairman, for considering the question of time allocation.
I might be wrong; but it would seem to me that we do not have clauses of a bill in front of us or anything substantive in front of us. Consequently, I see no reason why we should consider time allocation.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): You favour self-discipline.
Mr. McGrath: No, I would favour the discipline of the Chair.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): I see.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I would certainly second Mr. McGrath’s remarks, and in respect of the discipline of the Chair, having been subjected to it myself on a number of occasions I know it is eminently reasonable.
I would like to add one caveat. Mr. McGrath said that there was nothing further of substance to be considered by the Committee.
I believe the Chair indicated that he would be examining with care the resolution which I propose to move on the subject of extending Section 133 of the British North America Act to the Province of Ontario—an invitation in that regard; and I would assume that until that matter has been determined, it would be premature to decided whether or not there was any question ofsubstance which remained before the Committee.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
The honourable Senator Austin.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, we would certainly accept Mr. McGrath’s suggestion with respect to time allocation.
I would suggest that we adjourn now until 3:30 tomorrow afternoon.
Mr. Epp: I do not think there was a motion.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): It was a suggestion.
The honourable Jake Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, could I have some direction from the Chair. If government members insist on going in camera, as it appears we will, who will be the support staff that will be in this room, and what restrictions will there be on our own staff?
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): That is entirely up to honourable members to decide for themselves who they would like to see in the room assisting them.
I would like to invite honourable members to make their views known in that respect.
The honourable Senator Austin.
Senator Austin: I would recommend that we keep the staff that supports us at our steering committee meetings, and that we should also ask three officials of the Department of Justice to remain—Mr. Tassé, Miss MacDonald, and Mr. Bertrand.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable Jake Epp on the suggestion as put forward by the honourable Senator Austin.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I have no difficulty in terms of who the government wants. I would just like to suggest to honourable members that we be given the opportunity to decide who our staff members will be and that they be part of our delegation.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Robinson: Perhaps, Mr. Chairman, we might not make a final determination on the officials who remain. I can see a couple that Mr. Austin did not refer to and who have been very helpful to us in our deliberations so far; Mr. Jordan and a number of others who may wish to assist us.
Senator Austin: Well, I would leave it to Mr. Tasse to decide if there are any other officials from the Department of Justice that he thinks would be helpful. I would like to mention Ted LeBlanc. He is the co-ordinator of the Committee. I would like to request that he be present.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): The honourable Jake Epp.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, if that point has now been determined, I think it is important, because this will be the last time, I take it, that we will be in public, that we thank publicly the people who have been here.
First of all, I would like to start with the television cameramen. Obviously, they have a lot more physical endurance than most of us. I would like to commend them on the manner in which they have performed their duties; additionally, members of the House, the translators, having to translate every word that has been said. Some of us are more vociferous and long-winded than others; as well, Mr. Chairman, those who have supported this Committee as messengers. Very often we forget people like these. Also, these who have been on the Public Address System, the telephone—and Ted Leblanc, who did not mess up too many things. I think, Mr. Chairman, that to all of them we owe a debt of thanks.
Additionally, Mr. Chairman, I think we should obviously thank the long suffering public who have been through Clause 42 and Clause 51. and I am sure that it has almost become as nightmarish for them as it has for us. On balance, Mr. Chairman, I very sincerely want to thank all these people, including the people from the Justice Department.
I have mentioned them earlier, Mr. Chairman; but it has really been the first experience I have had where amendments we have moved as an oppsoi’tion party were given additional and a great amount of help by people from the Justice Department, who gave us of their professional abilities. I want to thank them for that.
We also thank Hansard and members of the Committee Reporting Branch. Lastly, Mr. Chairman, for those of us who live and die by the Fourth Estate, I would like to thank thorn also.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Epp. Mr. Robinson.
Mr. Robinson: Mr. Chairman, I would like to echo the remarks of Mr. Epp and to join him in thanking all the people who have made this Committee function as effectively as it has functioned.
Mr. Epp earlier referred to the wisdom with which our Joint Chairman have guided our deliberations. I wanted certainly to make it very clear that I join in those remarks. Both Senator Hays and Mr. Joyal have been truly outstanding in their capacity as Joint Chairmen. I know it has not always been easy. I know that on a number of occasions there have been times when they have had strong feelings on some of the substance of the matters we have been discussing. We appreciate the restraint and wisdom wisdom with which the have guided these proceedings.
Rather than singling out all of the different people who have assisted us, I would simply like to say that I join with Mr. Epp in thanking the many different people who have made the Committee as effective as it has been.
However, I would like to single out Edith MacDonald, who has had to suffer from many amendments being foisted upon her at the last minute, certainly by my party. She has done an absolutely magnificent job in attempting to come to grips with that.
I would also like to thank my colleagues on the Committee for being tolerant when tolerance was required.
I would also like to say that this has been a great privilege for me, as a Member’of Parliament, to take part in these proceedings. I know Mr. Nystrom and the other members of my party who have taken part in these deliberations feel the same way: that we have embarked upon a historic course, one with which we have all been very fortunate to be associated, and particularly fortunate, Mr. Joyal and Senator Hays, to take part in—this venture under your exceptional leadership in the Chair.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you, Mr. Robinson.
Senator Austin: Mr. Chairman, I would like to clear up one point before we adjourn.
I was told that Mr. Epp—I am sure because of a misplaced word or two-suggested that the officials of the Department of Justice whom I suggested ought to be here tomorrow in case
we wanted them as resources, were government Committee member designees.
I would like to place it on record that they are resource people for the Committee and are not people I am suggesting should be here on our side in any partisan way.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I want to associate this side of the Committee with the remarks made by Mr. Epp and Mr. Robinson with respect to the magnificent support we have received from the staff—from all of them.
For all of us, being on this Committee, has been a marvelously rewarding experience which we would not have had without all of that assistance. That assistance is obvious.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): Thank you very much, Senator Austin.
If I may add a word or two on behalf of the honourable Senator Hays, I would like to mention the press and the media, because the Chair has seen on many occasions the same people at the press tables. Some of them really have a record of attendance that is really comparable to the best record of honourable members around this table.
I think that, too, has to be underlined. It is almost as important—in any event, it is very important to have a press that is open and attentive, watching what honourable members are doing, because they are an essential link between ourselves and members of the public; because not all Canadians have had the opportunity of having cable television or the converter system to watch on the screen, or to listen on the air; and they rely on the written press for that.
We have to thank especially those gentlemen and ladies who came here and attended in that very faithful way.
I would like, of course, to join all honourable members in what has been said in thanking the television crew and the transcription service. As to the transcription service, I would like to point out, so that you fully understand how heavy their responsibility was, that most of the transcription crew have had to remain here until 3 o’clock in the morning and be back at work at 9:30 a.m.; because it was accepted at the beginning and opening of our sittings that we should have the transcript as soon as possible. I think you can well imagine the situation where, if you had the opportunity to go back to your home or office at 11 o’clock in the evening, that for them, their work was just starting. That is something which is almost beyond imagination—the amount of work and hours that the people and crew of the transciption service have put in for us. That has really to be underlined, because I think it is almost inhuman that those services we requested from them did amount to a number of hours that is really out of any calculation.
I would like to thank, too, all the messengers and those people who have assisted us—our research staff in our own
respective parties; the research staff of the library and the Parliamentary Institute; and all the outside expertise that all honourable members at one point or another have consulted. They did not appear, but the Chair, of course, and members of the public who have listened to us have been in a position to appraise the importance of the opinions of honourable members, seeing and realizing that many interventions were as a result of thinking, of writing, and of input from other people, other then those who were around the table.
Finally, I would like to thank all the Canadian citizens who have watched and listened and written to us. I am quite sure that it has happened on different occasions, that some honourable members have in fact received mail and comments from Canadian citizens who have had an opportunity to watch our proceedings, That, I think, is also important, because what we do is done in public, but we like to have some kind of input from the public too. I think that is part of the experience we have had.
Of course, I would like to thank the security guards and the receptionists, because those are very essential services. They are there to assist us in a way that we take them for granted, but in fact those people have shared the same kind of responsibilities as we have.
We should never forget those people are also watching too, and sometimes a lot more closely than one can think and they make up their minds in the same process. That is something we have to underline. They are almost part of our respective teams. That is something we really have to care about at some point.
Finally, I would like to thank all honourable members around the table for their co-operation.
If you were pleased with the way in which the honourable Senator Hays and myself presided over your discussions, I think it is because you extended your confidence in the Chair. It is really something of an experience that has never happened to both of us in such a way.
In the course of our debate, often I would bend over to Senator Hays and ask him what he was thinking at the time, with his years of experience, about what we were doing. He has been saying: “It is the most interesting period of my life”. That, coming from a man of his experience and wisdom, is a tribute, in my opinion, to the work of all honourable members around this table.
l would like to thank you very much for that kind of confidence and co-operation.
l would also like to thank the witnesses who have accepted to appear before this committee so that we could benefit from the results of their research andtheir work because if, during our sittings, we had not had the possibility to rely on the public input and on the degree of competence that all those witnesses have shown, I am convinced that today we would not be in a situation where we can report to the House with so specific and improved recommendations, as well on the substance than on the form, and I think that is one aspect of our work that we
owe to the public that sometimes travelled long hours to come here and often had to wait hours in this room before giving testimony at sometimes very late hours and for that, I would like to thank them in your name.
I would like to invite the honourable Senator Hays to conclude this session.
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): Thank you very much, Mr. Joyal.
It has been a stimulationg experience for me. I think that Serge has covered the whole waterfront; but ill may just give you a few statistics that I think the Canadian people would be interested in, I would like to say that this is our 56th day since November 6. We have had 106 meetings . . .
Mr. McGrath: On a point of order I wonder if you can give us Mr. Mackasey’s new time?
The Joint Chairman (Senator Hays): He is losing badly now.
We have had 103 meetings and have sat for 270 hours. The Minister has been here for 36 sessions. We have had 93 groups and five individuals.
But one factor that has amazed me is that every chair has been filled at every meeting. 51 Senators out of the 102 have sat at this table, and 132 Members of Parliament have sat at this table—almost half of all the Senators and nearly half of all the Members of Parliament at some sessions or another.
I am sure I speak on behalfof Mr. Joyal that this has been a most stimulating experience for us, and I have learned as I have learned some time ago, that politicians are really a great bunch of people. I have been in business, in civic politics, and I think they work harder and are more honest than any group I know of.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
The Joint Chairman (Mr. Joyal): This meeting is adjourned until 3.30 tomorrow afternoon.
From the Department of Justice:
Mr. Roger Tassé, Q.C., Deputy Minister;
Dr. B.L. Strayer, Q.C., Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Law.
*On Order — Available Soon