UK, HC, “Canada Bill”, vol 18 (1982), cols 148-149

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Date: 1982-02-16
By: UK (House of Commons)
Citation: UK, HC, “Canada Bill“, vol 18 (1982), cols 148-149.
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Mr. David Ennals (Norwich, North) On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise for speaking again, hut I wish to raise an issue of which I gave you notice.
On Thursday 11 February, as reported in column 1126 of Hansard, my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) raised with you the propriety of debating the Canada Bill tommorrow as its Second Reading might pre-empt the issues that are the subject of a petition to the House of Lords following a ruling by Lord Denning and two other Law Lords. You promised, Mr. Speaker, to make a statement at the appropriate time.

In his submissions to you, Mr. Speaker, my hon. Friend raised only the petition to the House of Lords for leave to appeal in the case brought by the Indians of Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but in addition the Indians of Saskatchewan have issued a writ in the High Court seeking certain declaratory orders. The case concerns five instruments that affect the British Crown and it was begun in the Chancery Division of the High Court on 14 January. This is not an attempt to delay proceedings in Parliament as the date for Second Reading of the Canada Bill came a month after the lodging of the summons in the High Court.

The Saskatchewan case raises issues that are not touched on in the Alberta case. I shall not go into the details of the differences, Mr. Speaker, but I can assure you that they are issues that are different from those which are the subject of a petition in the House of Lords.

As these legal submissions are being considered now, I submit that it would be improper for the Second Reading of the Canada Bill to be taken tomorrow. I am asking you now, Mr. Speaker, to take into consideration the documentation that I have supplied to you before you give your ruling, which I understand you will deliver tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker I am much obliged to the right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals). He has submitted a long document on the issue that he has raised and that is being considered. I shall give my ruling tomorrow before the Second Reading of the Canada Bill is debated, which I think is the appropriate time.

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