Canada, House of Commons Debates, Question Period—The Constitution, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (16 November 1981)

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Date: 1981-11-16
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1981 at 12777, 12779, 12783-12784.
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Mr. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa): Madam Speaker, my
question is addressed to the minister responsible for the status
of women. The minister knows that following certain answers
given by the Prime Minister with respect to Clause 28 in the
old constitutional resolution, the precise meaning and significance
of that clause are unclear. She also knows that there
have been discussions taking place, as I understand it, between
the federal and provincial officials in recent days. I wonder if
she is now in a position to outline to the House the precise
meaning of that clause.
Hon. Judy Erola (Minister of State (Mines)): Madam
Speaker, I will be happy to answer the question. The precise
meaning of the clause as we sec it, is that Section 15, where
the nonobstante applies, refers to the specific definition of
sexual discrimination for a very specific act. In Clause 28 the
broad principle is stated, one in which the women of Canada
are very much interested and are very positive about. They
wish this to remain within the charter, of course. I should like
Oral Questions
to advise hon. members that we are optimistic at this stage and
hope that Clause 28 in the general section will remain intact.
We may know by the end of the day.
Mr. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa): Madam Speaker, as I
understand the minister’s answer, the position of the federal
government is to maintain the force of Clause 28 as it now is.
She has indicated, though, that there is not yet agreement on
that, I assume, by all those provinces that have participated in
the accord. Since it has been suggested that we may well have
a resolution before the House on Thursday of this week, may I
ask the minister if she is prepared to assure the House that we
will know ahead of that time what the precise meaning of
Clause 28 is in terms of an accord that has been reached
between the federal government and the provinces?
Hon. Judy Erola (Minister of State (Mines)): Yes, Madam
Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that hopefully by this
evening we will have the precise meaning and the terms of the
agreement with the premiers.
Miss Pauline Jewett (New Westminster-Coquitlam):
Madam Speaker, my question is also for the minister responsible
for the status of women. I am very pleased indeed, as I
am sure all members of the House are, by the answer the
minister has given that Clause 28, the equality clause, will
remain intact, just as it is now.
If I may, I should like to congratulate the minister on
opening her office to the representatives of millions of Canadian
women who are extremely concerned that Clause 28 be
kept intact.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Miss Jewett: We are very glad to join in the applause.
Article 2(a) of the United Nations Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
requires state parties to “undertake to embody the principle of
equality of men and women in their national constitutions”.
My first question was to have been whether the federal
government still supports this convention and I take it the
answer is yes. May I ask the minister whether it has been
brought to the attention of the provinces that a serious violation
of this convention would be brought about if Clause 28
were eliminated, overridden, or changed in any way?
Hon. Judy Erola (Minister of State (Mines)): Yes, Madam
Speaker, that has been a very forceful part of the argument
presented to the premiers.

Mr. Dave Nickerson (Western Arctic): Madam Speaker, in
the absence of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime
Minister, maybe I should address my question to the acting
prime minister, who might be familiar with the the Prime
Minister’s schedule. As he will be aware, the entire legislative
assembly of the Northwest Territories has come to Ottawa
with the specific purpose of meeting with the Prime Minister
concerning the Constitution. The Assembly has legitimate
fears that the present colonial status in the north will be
entrenched as a result of the proposal. I wonder if we could be
advised whether a meeting bas been put together yet, and at
what time and place this meeting might take place.
Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development): Madam Speaker, I reply to the hon.
member by telling him that, yes, they did meet with me about
1.30, just prior to the question period.
Mr. Nielsen: His high ambitions know no bounds.
Mr. Munro (Hamilton East): They will be meeting with me
again around six o’clock tonight, for about an hour. Hopefully,
I will have something further to report after that.
Mr. Nickerson: My, how things change! Before asking a
supplementary question of the Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development, I would like to extend to him my
heartfelt condolences over certain things which happened in
his constituency of Hamilton East over the weekend.
Mr. Jarvis: The Tiger Cats!
An hon. Member: So long, Tigers!
Mr. Nickerson: Perhaps he could try to answer the question
as to whether or not a meeting with the Prime Minister could
be arranged.
Mr. Dave Nickerson (Western Arctic): I would also like to
ask the minister the following question. When a new proposal
is again put before this Parliament, can the minister ensure
that the concept will be retained that creation of new provinces
out of existing territories, not affecting existing provincial
boundaries, lies solely within federal jurisdiction?
Hon. John C. Munro (Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development): Madam Speaker, as the hon. member
Oral Questions
well knows, the accord agreed to between the provinces quite
clearly indicates otherwise. That is the Vancouver formula
without the compensation aspect to it. It does involve the
provinces in consent of the nature the hon. member just
identified. That is a situation with which we are faced. I am
hearing the concerns of the northerners with respect to it, but I
am assuming at this stage that any change in that respect
would involve some amendment to the accord. I am not at all
sure that we or many hon. members of the House would be
prepared to contemplate that at this stage.

Mr. Jesse P. Flis (Parkdale-High Park): Madam Speaker,
in the absence of the Minister of Justice my question is for the
Acting Prime Minister. One of my constituents, Captain Ross
Stevenson, the Air Canada pilot who obtained an injunction
against Air Canada to allow him to work past the mandatory
retirement age of 60, is presently awaiting the December 17
appeal hearing by Air Canada and the Canadian Airline Pilots
Association. Would the Acting Prime Minister tell this House,
in view of the accord signed on November 5 to patriate the
Constitution with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, whether
Section 15 of the charter specifically concerning mandatory
retirement will come into effect immediately after the Constitution
is patriated, or will there be a waiting period, and could
he further tell this House whether or not Captain Stevenson
will be allowed to work for Air Canada past the age of 60?
Hon. Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Transport): Madam
Speaker, I remember looking at this case previously. I have not
looked at it recently, but, if my memory serves me well, there
was a difference in the retirement ages in the different airlines.
This matter is the subject of agreement between the employers
and the employees. The aspect of the question having to do
with the Constitution escapes me for the moment, but I will
look into it and speak with the hon. member on the point.

Mr. André Maltais (Manicouagan): Madam Speaker, in the
absence of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice, my
question is directed to the Minister of Energy, Mines and
Resources. Considering statements made by the Prime Minister
of Canada this weekend, when he said that be was prepared
to reopen negotiations witb Quebec on a number of pre-conditions
which he had defined, and considering the fact tbat the
Premier of the PQ government bas apparently decided to drop
the association formula, does the Government of Canada
intend to await Quebec’s official reply before starting negotiations
with that government with a view to reaching an agreement?
Second, is it still possible to recognize the PQ government
as a valid or representative goverfiment-
Madam Speaker: Order, please. I amn sorry, but constitutional
matters are not the responsibility of the Minister of
Energy, Mines and Resources.

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