Constitutional Conference, External Relations and External Aid (10-12 February 1969)

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Date: 1969-02-10
By: Secretariat of the Conference
Citation: Constitutional Conference, External Relations and External Aid (Ottawa: 10-12 February 1969).
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The Constitutional Conference – February 1969
External Relations and External Aid


1. Federal Position

Tha Federal Government’s position on External
Relations, as it relates to the constitutional review,
was set out in summary form in the pamphlet Federalism
for the Future, submitted to the Constitutional Con-
ference last February, and in greater detail in
Federalism and International Relations (also submitted
to the February 1968 conference, and Federalism and
international Conferences on Education. The conclusions
of the latter two papers, which describe the Federal
position briefly in point form, are attached as
Annex “A” and Annex “B” to this briefing.

In summary tne Eoderal position may be des-
cribed as follows:

(a) Foreign policy and foreign relations
are by their nature indivisible, since
no state can divide its external sove—

(b) In official dealings with other countries,
that is to say in the conduct of foreign
relations in thn strict scnse of that
term, only the Federal Government is
empowered to act on behalf of Canada.
This statement applies to the nego-
tiation and conclusion of treaties
and other international agreements,
to membership in international orga-
nizations, and to the right to accre-
dit and receive diplomatic represen—

(c) Within the framework of Canadian
foreign policy, the Federal Govern-
ment seeks to protect and actively
promote the interests of the provinces
and of all Canadians of both major
linguistic groups.

II. Application of the Federal Position

In the period since the publication of the
papers mentioned above, the Federal position has been
developed further in practice on the occasion of a
number of international conferences. For example,
delegations including provincial as well as federal
members were sent to the IBE Conference on Public
Education, held in Geneva in the summer of 1968, and
to the UNESCO General Conference held in October


of last year, composed exclusively or
almost exclusively of provincial officials, but
clearly identified as Canadian, were sent to a
UNESCO Conference on Educational Planning held in
Paris last August (the only Federal representative
was the Third Secretary from our UNESCO Delegation),
and a Conference on the Teaching of Mathematics held
in Trinidad in September. Quebec played no part in
the formation of these delegations, even though it
had done so at similar conferences in the past, evi-
dently because it wished to avoid undermining the
doctrine according to which the Province should be
entitled to attend such conferences in its own right.

The most important new development in the
practice of forming delegations inoluding federal and
provincial components took place at the Conference of
francophone Education Ministers held in Kinshasa in
January, 1969. Canada was represented by a delegation
including representatives from Quebec, Ontario, and
New Brunswick, as well as “advisers” from tne Federal
Government, under the co-Chairmanship of Premier Robichaud
of New Brunswick and Jean-Marie Morin, Ministre d’Etat
à l’Education du Québec. Altnougn this Conference
cannot be said to represent a firm precedent for
future, beacuse Quebec consistently refused to talk
in terms of a “Canadian delegation”, insisting
instead that the group was a “Canadian Representation”
compromising provincial delegations, this experience
nonetheless represents a new departure in Canadian
procedures at conferences of this sort, and a further
demonstration of the Federal Government’s flexivility
and willingness to innovate. For the first time
it was agreed on an ad hoc basis, after lengthy
discussions with Quebec, that provincial representatives
could be identified as such, provided they were also
clearly identified as Canadians, and that provincial
representatives could speak for their provinces on
technical matters falling within the domestic juris-
diction of the provinces. On the whole this system
worked well at Kinshasa, although basic differences of
principle were left in abeyance; and similar procedures
may be adopted in future, particularly at the forth-
coming Niamey Conference, until such time as it is
possible to work out more permanent arrangements.

III. Developments in the Continuing Committee of Officials

There has been virtually no reference to the
question of external relations in the five meetings of
officials which have taken place since the Constitutional
Conference of February, 1968. With the exception of
Quebec officials, who reiterated their Government’s views
briefly and in a pro-forma manner, and Federal officials
who replied even more briefly, very little interest has
been shown in this aspect of the constitutional debate.
Several provinces have submitted propositions on this
question, but none has chosen to discuss them at any
length during the Officials’ meetings. For the most
part, the provincial propositions, other than those
submitted by Quebec, are fully in support of the
Federal position that the Government of Canada should
have primacy in all official relations with foreign


It is reasonably clear that the other provinces
tend to regard the external relations question as a
Quebec-Ottawa quarrel in which they do not wish to
become involved. If it came to a confrontation
between Ottawa and Quebec, they would doubtless
support us, but they would have little stomach for
such a confrontation and obviously regard the matter
as one which is not deserving of high priority in
Federal—Provincial discussions and not of major
importance to the future of Canadian Constitutional
development. Some of tne provinces appeared in the
past to regard the Federal position as somewhat rigid
or overly legalistic, but on the whole developments
over the past year (e.g. Gabon, the election campaign,
and provincial participation in Canadian delegations)
appear to have been valuable in convincing them that
the situation is a complex one and that the Federal
Governmont’s emphasis on flexibility and functionalism,
witnin a framework which preserves Canadian unity, is
a reasonable one.

The briefing paper on “Objectives of the Cons-
titutional Conference”, in referring to possible
sequences of future discussions in the Continuing
Committee or Offioials, places external relations in
third place after “provincial constitutions”, and
“distribution or powers”. Federal officials would
certainly be in a position to engage in a full
discussion at that stage on the basis of the detailed
position described in the white Papers as well as the
practical experience gained at various international
conferences since their publication. Accordingly, if
it seemed desirable in light of the discussion at the
Constitutional Conference, there snould be no difficulty
in the way of suggesting Federal willingness to discuss
this topic at an early date.

IV Federal Position at the Constitutional Conference

It is assumed that the Federal Government
would not wish to engage in a lengthy debate on external
relations at the forthcoming Conference, although, as
suggested above, it would bc reasonable to suggest that
we would bo prepared to discuss the matter at an early
date in tbe Continuing Committee of Officials. In
addition, it might be desirable to refer briefly to
this subject in the Prime Minister‘s opening statement
as a further indication of the Federal Government’s
willingness to adopt a flexible position and to seek
viable innovations in this field. Such a reference
would be particularly worth while should Mr. Turner’s
conversation with Mr. Bertrand suggest that Quebec may
speak on this topic in their opening presentation.

(That Mr. Bertrand may wish to refer to external
relations is suggested in his telegram of January 9,
concerning the Kinshasa Conference in which he said,
“les négociations qui se sont poursuivies a ce sujet
entre nos fonctionnaires au cours des dernières
semaines devront être continuées lors de la conférence
constitutionnelle….”). Paragraphs for possible
insertion in the Prime Minister’s statement, are
attached at Annec “C”.


if it should develop that either Mr. Bertrand
or one of the other provincial premiers should take
up this matter in greater detail, it might be desirable
for the Prime Minister to make a more substantive inter-
vention as well. A second draft statement summarizing
the Federal position in somewhat greater detail, whicn
may be useful for this purpose, is contained in
another paper entitled:”External Relations — Notes
for the Prime Minister.”


Although it seems unlikely tnat Premier Bertrand
will speak on the question of external aid during the
formal sessions of tne Conference, it may be that he
will refer to it in private conversations with the
Prime Minister, or that other members of the Quebec
Delegation will raise it with members of our Delegation.
The possibility of this happening is increased as a
result of the two letters which the Prime Minister
sent to Mr. Cardinal on this subject on January 2,
(copies attached), especially as we have nad some
indication since that time from Quebec officiels that
they may be interested in a more substantive discussion
of the external aid question than they have been pre-
pared to contemplate in the past.

The general principle and proposals on which
tne Government has based its position in the external
aid field were set out in the white Paper on Federalism
and International Conferences on Education. A summary
of the main points is attached to this memorandum. In
addition, the Prime Minister’s recent letters to Mr.
Cardinal reminded nim of the specific proposals in
Mr. Pearson’s letter to Mr. Jonnson nearly two years
ago designed to promote better coordination of federal
and provincial efforts in tne field of aid. These
would still form a useful basis for any eventual dis-
cussions with Quebec.

On the strength of information that Quebec had
undertaken directly to provide and finance teachers
and scholarships in Tchad, tne Prime Minister also
pointed out to Mr. Cardinal that although the Federal
Government was happy to see the provinces contribute
to Canadien programmes abroad, the Quebec offer to
Tchad did not fall within the framework of the Pearson
proposals. The Prime Minister therefore suggested
that in order to avert serious difficulties discussions
should take place between Ottawa and Quebec to ensure
that such provincial initiatives take into account
Canadian constitutional exigencies. In a separate
letter to Mr. Cardinal concerning the DERRO Project in
particular, tne Prime Minister suggested that an effort
be made to work out an interim arrangement between
CIDA and the Quebec Department of Agriculture to allow
the project to go forward pending a more general
agreement on cooperation in the field of external aid.


The federal position is based on the facts
that aid providcd by the Government is an integral
part of foreign policy and that constitutional
responsibility for the conduct of external relations
rests with the Federal Government. within these
jurisdictional limits there is no reason wny a
considerable amount of flexibility cannot be shown
to Quebec to take into account its real needs and
aspirations. This might take two forms. In the
first place in cases where quebec is prepared to
cooperate with Ottawa in the carrying out of
federally-financed progects a number cf arrangements
can be envisaged to give appropriate credit to the
province for its participation and to permit it a
voice in many of the policy issues involved. Secondly,
in cases where Quebec may wisn to finance projects
in developing countries, federal approval can be given
provided important constitutional principles are
maintained in the selection, negotiation and implemen—
tation of the projects. A greater degree of cooperation
is clearly required and a more clearly defined and
accepted definition of the roles of the federal and
provincial governments would be of great help to this
end. Pending such a general agreement it would be
useful to seek ad hoc arrangements with Quebec on
individual projects.





The main considerations set forth in this
paper can be briefly restated as follows:

First, in official dealings with other oountries,
that is to say in the conduct of foreign relations
in the strict sense of that term, only the Federal
Government is empowered to act on behalf of Canada.
This statement applies to the negotiation and con-
clusion of treaties and other international agreenents,
to membership in international organizations, and to
the right to accredit and receive diplomatie repre-

Second, despite the limitations of constitutional
practice and international law, the provinces are
legitimately concerned with the conduct of Canada’s
foreign relations, whetner by reason or their
legislative responsibilities or, less directly,
because of their interest in matters which have
taken on an international character in the modern

Third, French—speaking Canadians have a clear
interest in ensuring tbat their preoccupations, like
those of tne English—speaking population, are given
full recognition and expression in the development
of Canadian foreign policy.

Fourth, extreme solutions to tne problem of
reconciling diverse interests within Canada, bowever
plausible they may appear in isolation from our
history and the needs of our people, would be to the
disadvantage of Canadians as individuals, as well as
to provincial, linguistic and cultural interests.
Not only would they lead to the disintegration of the
Canadian federation but little of lasting value
would be gained in return, and much would be lost
inasmuch as considerably less weight would be given
by the international community to the views and
policies of the smaller and weaker entities which
would result. Further, they would lead to confusion
and uncertainty as to the responsibilities and
obligations which such entities could effectively
discharge, and in all likelihood would be unacceptable
to other sovereign states as they would entail the
granting of excessive privileges to a divided “Canada”.

These considerations reflect both the funda-
mental requirements of a viable federal system as they
relate to foreign affairs and the Government’s wish to
ensure that the Canadian system will be developed so as
to meet the needs of all Canadians. A bifurcated or
fragmented foreign policy is conceivable, but it would
not be compatible with the continued existence of our
federal union. Nor could it give full expression to the
desires and aspirations of Canadians. In consequence,
neither centralization to the exclusion of other
priorities nor decentralization to the point of dissolution
is desirable or necessary. What is of particular
importance is to improve and extend the present framework,

on the basis of the very broad range of options which
is available, in a manner that will leave no doubt at home
or abroad that the Canadien federation can deal effectively
with problems in the field of foreign relations.

Within these limits, it is not the intention
of the Government to fix upon or crystallize any one formula
for improvement or adjustment in existing arrangements.
Those which are referred to above are open to consideration
and it is the Government’s hope that they will receive
close attention and examination in all interested quarters.
For its part, the Government will be prepared to consider
the further development of any such procedures which are
found to be of general interest, as well as alternatives
which may be proposed, with a view to achieving a fully
effective design for future co—operation.





The main considerations of this study may be restated as follows:

First — Foreign policy and foreign relations are by their
nature indivisible, since no state can divide its external

Second — Within the framowork of Canadian foreign policy, the
Federal Government seeks to protect and actively promote
the interests of the provinces and of all Canadians of
both major linguistic groups. The Canadian Government
will vigorously pursue this policy.

Third — The policy of the Federal Government in arranging for
Canadien representation in international organizations and
at international meetings on education is to work closely
with provincial governments to achievc balanced delegations
which take full account of both federal jurisdiction in
external affairs and provincial jurisdictlon in relation
to education. The composition of Canadian delegations
to international conferences held under the auspices cf
the Commonwealth, UNESCO and the IBE reflects provincial
interests and responsibilities. The Council of Ministers
of Education should play an important part in arrange—
ments for Canadien delegations to such meetings and its
role should be strengthened.

Fourth — The Federal Government will work actively for the
expansion of our relations with French—speaking states and
for arrangements which will facilitate the participation
of Canada in organizations of French—speaking states.

To this end, and recognizing the special interests of

the Province of Quebec, as well as the interests of
provinces with large French—speaking minorities, the
Government has put forward certain general and specific
proposals concerning provincial participation in inter-
governmental meetings of a Francophonie which take account
of these interests and at the same time respect the
requirements of Canadian unity.

Fifth — The Federal Government favours an early discussion
of the foreign affairs question, along with other
important matters, et the Continuing Constitutional Con-
ference. The federal proposals concerning provincial
participation in international conferences on education
and in programmes of external aid, which are described
in Chapter VI, are advanced as a basis for discussion in
this context.

Sixth — The Canadian Government will welcome any additional
suggestions and proposais on this subject, provided only
that their implementation would not have a prejudicial
effect on the unity of Canada.

In the field of external co—operation and aid, the
Canadian Government made known in Federalism and International
Relations the proposals which it has made to the provinces
for establishing improved methods of co—operation in respect

of external aid. These proposals can be summarized as follows:

(1) The Federal Government will consult with the
provincial authorities on the development of
programmes which could have a substantial impact
on the personnel requirements of the provinces.

(2) Recruitment of teaching personnel in particular
will be carried out in consultation and collabora-
tion with interested provinces.

Appropriate arrangements will be made with respect
to the payment of provincial personnel and the
retention of their seniority, pension and related

(4) where possible, a decision as to termination of
employment will be made in consultation with the

(5) The provincial authorities will be kept informed
as to federal administrative arrangements, and
provision will be made for inspection visits which
should include provincial officiels in the
Canadian team.

(6) Arrangements will be made for effective communica-
tions through Canadian diplomatic missions.

(7) In order to ensure coherent policies and programmes,
procedures should be established to provide for
federal—provincial consultation with regard to
aid projects financed or supported by the provinces

(8) In connection witn aid projects financed or supported
by the provinces, it should be understood that formal
liaison with foreign states and any formal agreements
which might be required with them should be undertaken
by, or with the agreement of, the federal authorities.

Clear recognition should be given to the provincial



The Federal Government’s desire to adopt a
position which takes full account of provincial
interests and priorities has also been evident in
the field of foreign affaire. It is true that we
have taken a firm stand on the legal principles involved,
both in terms of international law and the requirements
of our Constitution. we have dons this because we
believe that there is no reasonable alternative, and
that no federal state can survive if its îoreign relations
are fragmented. The Government stated in its pamphlet
Federalism for the Future that “separatism abroad would
lead to separatism at home”, and we see no reason to
alter that judgement.

However, within the basic rsquirement that
Canada’s foreign relations should reinforce, not destroy,
solidarity among Canadians, we have actively pursued a
policy whioh provides for full expression of provincial
interests. Ne have described in considerable detail
in two Government White Papers a number of practical
propositions which we believe meet this objective. More
than that, we have made a considerable effort in praotical
terms to provide outlets for provincial desires for
relations with the world beyond our borders. A recent
example of the sort of practical arrangements which are
possible was to be seen at the Kinshasa Gonference of
francophone Education Ministers. At that Conference
Canadiens have once again shown their ability to innovate
in the field or international relations, and in a way
which does not undermine tbe presence of Canada abroad.
[We have reason to hope that a satisfactory arrangement
along somewhat similar lines may be possible for the
Niamey Conference which will be starting at the beginning

of next week.] These arrangements are, of course, not
wholly satisfactory. They leave a number of problems
unsolved and they are of a temporary charaoter only.
Nevertheless, they point the way toward the kind of
practical procedures which, in a less transitory form,
conld become the basis of a Federal—Provincial under-
standing which would maintain and reinforce Canada’s
international personality while allowing full scope to
the aspirations of provincial governments as well as

our two founding linguistic communities.



Le 2 janvier 1969.

Monsieur la Premier ministre par intérim,

Comme vous le savez, le programme d’aide extérieure
du gouvernement fédéral s’est considerablement accru en ces derniers
temps. Cette augmentation de nos activités va nous permettre d’ap-
pliquer de façon plus courante notre politique d’associer les provinces
à notre effort de cooperation internationale. Celui—ci s’est porté de
façon particuliers vers l’Afrique de langue française et nous croyons
que plusieurs projets qui sont actuellement à l’étude pourraient
intéresser divers ministères de votre gouvernement ou des sociétés de
la Couronne qui dépendent de lui. L‘un de ces projets, le DERRO, qui
fait partie du plan marocain de développement economique, a déjà fait
l’objet de relevés préliminaires exécutés l’hiver dernier par une
équipe dont trois des quatre membres étaient des fonctionnaires de
votre gouvornoment, détachés aupres ce nous par votre Ministère de

Le gouvernement fédéral a déjà fait part aux provinces
de son désir de les voir prendre une part active à l’éxecution de ses
programmes d’aide extérieure. L’honorable Lester B. Pearson, dans sa
lettre du 12 avril 1967, faisait à feu l’honorable Daniel Johnson
certaines propositions visant à associer la province de Québec à
l’oeuvre de coopération internationale poursuivre par le gouvernement
fédéral. Il était question d’établir des mécanismes en vue, d’une
part, d’assurer la collaboration de la province aux projets canadiens
et, d’autre part, de faciliter à la province l’entreprise de projets
qu’elle songerait à financier elle-même.

L‘Honorable Jean—Guy Cardinal,
Premier ministre intérimaire,
Hôtel du gouverneent,
Québec, Qué.

votre gouvernement n’a pas encore répondu à la lettre
de M. Pearson. En attendant qu‘il fasse connaître sa position, je
souhaiterais que nous puissions nous entendre, du moins à titre
provisoire, sur la façon dont nous pourrions mettre le projet DERRO
en marche le plus tôt possible. Vous agréarait-il, par exemple, que
votre Ministère de l’Agriculture agisse en collaboration avec notre
Agence de Développement International? Le ministère serait appelé
à nous fournir le personnel requis outre-mer pour la mise en oeuvre
du projet et, de ce fait, il serait appelé à agir aussi, sous l’égide
de notre agence, dans la préparation de la programmation et dans la
surveillance de la mise en oeuvre des travaux. Le ministère pourrait
aussi maintenir à Québec un groupe de soutien qui nous aiderait
grandement à assurer la continuité dans nos politiques scientifiques
d’étude et d’exécution, pendant que notre équipe de travail mettrait
en pratique ces politiques en territoire étranger.

J’ai l’impression qu’une telle solution, à titre tempo-
raire, est conforme à l’esprit des propositions de M. Pearson et
répond à notre désir de voir les provinces prendre part à nos activités
de coopération. Son adoption, à ce stade, ne nuirait en rien à la
recherche d’un modus vivendi de caractère plus pérmanent. Je vous
serais reconnaissant de me faire savour aussitôt que possible si votre
gouvernement accepterait de discuter avec nous des modalités qui pour-
raient être fixées en vue de donner suit à cette proposition.

Je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur le Premier ministre,
l’assurance de mes sentiments Les plus distingués.

Ottawa, le 3 janvier 1969.

L’honorable Jean-Guy Cardinal,
Premier Ministre intérimaire,
Hôtel du Gouvernement,

Québec, P.Q.

Monsieur le Premier ministre intérimaire,

Je vous transmets par la présente une lettre du
ministre tchadien de l’Education nationale destinée au
ministre québécois de l’Education, vous-même en l’occu-
rence, concernant l’envoi de professeurs au Tchad.

Cette lettre en date du 8 octobre l968 fut
transmise à notre ambassade à Yaoundé par le ministère
tchadien des Affaires étrangères sous couvert de la
note ci—jointe no 2683 du 7 novembre 1968. Notre
embassade,.ne l’ayant reçue qu’à la fin du mois, nous
la fit parvenir par la première valise. Nous n’en
avions possession finalement que le 9 décembre dernier.
Une lettre du même genre a déjà été transmise par le
ministère des Affaires extérieures au ministère des
Affaires intergouvernementales.

Il m’apparaît que cette correspondance soulève
un certain nombre de questions importantes sur lesquelles
j’ai cru devoir attirer votre attention. La lettre du
ministre tchadien de l‘Education nationale fait en effet
référence à la visite d’une mission québécoise au Tchad
durant laquelle le gouvernement de l’endroit et le
gouvernement québécois furent convenus de certains
arrangements par lesquels le gouvernement québécois
recevrait dans les CEGEPS du Québec vingt—trois étudiants-
boursiers et enverrait au Tchad un contingent de pro-
fesseurs du Québec.


Vous trouverez sous ce pli une lettre à votre
intention venant du Ministre de l’Education du Sénégal.
Une copie de cette lettre en date du 3 décembre, que nous
avons reçue à Ottawa le 19 décembre, a été adressée à
notre ambassadeur à Dakar afin que l’original vous soit
transmis. Il y est question d’une visite au Québec d’un
groupe d’experts africainset malgaches; comme l’invitation
a été acceptée, des visas devront être émis pour les
experts qui désirent entrer au Canada. C’est pourquoi
je vous saurais gré de me fournir de plus amples ren-
seignements au sujet de cette visite afin que les ambas—
sades canadiennes puissent accélérer l’émission des visas.

Comme vous le savez, le gouvernement fédéral
se montre favorable à l’idée que les provinces contribuent
aux efforts et aux programmes canadiens dans le domaine de
la coopération avec l’étranger. En vérité, je ne saurais
trop souligner que le succès du programme d’assistance
technique dépend de l’entière collaboration et partici-
pation des provinces. En ce qui concerne les programmes
touchant les pays francophones, l’apport que le Québec a
fait et peut faire est de toute première importance.
C’est dans cette optique que mon prédécesseur, dans une
lettre du 12 avril 1967, faisait part à feu le Premier
ministre Johnson de certaines propositions qui lui appa-
raissaient devoir contribuer à favoriser la coopération
fédérale-provinciale dans le domaine de l’aide extérieure.

Quoique je n’aie pas été mis au courant du point
de vue du Gouvernement du Québec à cet égard, il serait
possible, je crois, lors d’échanges ultérieurs sur la
base de ces propositions, de nous mettre d’accord sur des
mécanismes de coopération qui nous permettraient de renforcer
et de rendre plus efficace notre programme d’aide aux
pays francophones d’Afrique. La situation présente, en
ce qui a trait au Tchad, ne s’inscrivant pas dans le cadre
des propositions faites par M. Pearson, peut découler de
l’absence d’échanges de vues entre nos deux gouvernements
dans ce domaine de l’Aide extérieure. Vous conviendrez,
je pense, que toutes ces initiatives de coopération doivent
tenir compte des exigences constitutionnelles canadiennes
afin d’éviter que ne surviennent des difficultés sérieuses.

Pour cette raison, il me semble important que
les services intéressés de nos deux gouvernements se
mettent en rapport dans un avenir rapproché pour examiner


les possibilités de coopération dans ce domaine. Pour
ma part, je crois que les propositions soumises par
monsieur Pearson à monsieur Johnson pourraient avanta-
geusement faire l’objet de discussions entre les
autorités québécoises et fédérales concernées.

Je vous serais donc reconnaissant de me faire
parvenir vos commentaires sur les propositions faites par
monsieur Pearson dans sa lettre du 12 avril 1967, ainsi
que toute autre suggestion qui pourrait vous sembler ap—

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Premier ministre
intérimaire, l’assurance de mes sentiments les meilleurs.

(Signé par le
Premier ministre)

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