Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Broadcasting of Proceedings of Joint Committee—Government Position”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (28 October 1980)

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Date: 1980-10-28
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1980 at 4159-4160.
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COMMONS DEBATES — October 28, 1980



[Page 4159]

Right hon. Joe Clark (Leader of the Opposition): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. It relates to his answer as reported on page 3965 of Hansard which I will quote in total:

The answer to the second question about television is that the committee, I believe, is master of its own procedure in this area—

The Prime Minister was stating his belief and he will now know that his colleagtte, the Secretary of State for External Affairs, in another capacity as co-chairman of the committee on the constitution in 1978, ruled that it is not within the powers of the committee to decide itself on that question. The Prime Minister will know he was wrong in his answer of October 23.

That being the case, and hoping that the Prime Minister wants the people of Canada to know what is going on in discussion of this constitutional resolution. will he now agree to present an order to the House of Commons which would allow live and lull television and radio broadcasting of the committee sessions on the constitutional resolution?

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Right Hon. P.E. Trudeau (Prime Minister): Madam Speaker. since giving my answer I have had the opportunity to check with our House leader, who has asked (or opinions on this. It turns out that, exceptionally. I was not wrong and that. indeed, the committee is master of its procedure. We hope that the committee will address itself to this question. I do not know how they will decide but I hope they will address themselves to the question.

[Page 4160]

Mr. Baker (Nepean-Carleton): Are you in favour of it?

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker, it seems that members opposite, including their leader, thought that the committee could not address itself to this question. I suggest it can.

Mr. Nielsen: Are you in favour of it?

Mr. Trudeau: I am also asked by some of the backbcnchers if I am in favour of it. I have no preference one way or the other, Madam Speaker. If the committee members make a good case to televise the proceedings. I think it would be a good thing. It will cost a little bit of money, but I am sure everyone will be prepared to chip in.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Clark: Madam Speaker, we could undoubtedly cover the cost front the advertising program which the Government of Canada is mounting. I am sure the Prime Minister would admit that this question of having the public of Canada know what is being donc about its constitution is sufficiently important that there should be a party position on it. While I do not wish to intrude upon his ground and speak for the NDP, I know that the NDP leader has already indicated his view as a party leader, as I have indicated my view as a party leader, that it would be well to have the proceedings televised and covered by radio. We would recommend that our members on the committee vote for that.

Will the Prime Minister tell us, in his capacity as the leader of the government party, if he will urge his colleagues on that committee to have the proceedings fully covered by radio and television so that Canadians will know what is going on about their constitution?

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker. that is a repeat of the same question. I just answered that I have no preference. I am not all that keen on television but l have no objection to it. If the members of this party in the committee decide that it is a good thing, and they have the support of our friends in the NDP—

Some hon. Members: Oh!

Mr. Trudeau:—and our great friends from the Tory party. then it can be done.

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