Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Resolution Respecting Constitution Act”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (13 March 1981)

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Date: 1981-03-13
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1981 at 8228-8250.
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3223 COMMONS DEBATES March 13, 1981
Order Paper Questions
(Questions answered orally are indicated by an asterisk.)
Mr. D. M. Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to Presi-
dent of the Privy Council): Madam Speaker, the following
questions will be answered today: Nos. 2,009 and 2,076.
Question No. 2,009—Mr. Cossitt:
l. Does the Prime Minister or a cabinet minister have to file a request ior the
use of a Department of National Defence airerait and (a) if so (i) to whom is
such a request made (ii) who makes the decision (iii) is the person requesting the
aircraft required to state all the reasons for such usage (b) if not, what is the
2. ls usage for important government business the only criterion and, ii not,
for what reason?
Mrs. Ursula Appolloni (Parliamentary Secretary to Minis-
ter of National Defence): l. See question l69 answered on
October 7, i980, page 34l9.
2, Yes.
Question No. 2,076—Mr. Cossitt: ‘
With reference to the answer to question No. 1,707 which statcs in part, that
total donations to the Crown during 1974-75 amounted to $29,454 (ti) tor what
reason do records for 1973 not exist (b) what tiappeiied to the records (c) were
they destroyed and, itso, on whose instructions?
Hon. J.-J. Blais (Minister of Supply and Services): (a) and
(b) As a result of the department’s move from Ottawa to Hull,
some detailed supporting documentation covering the period
prior to 1974-75 was lost and/or misplaced; a search of it was
carried out in the files presently stored in “Archives” but
without success.
(c) See (a) and (b) above.
(d) Not applicable.
Mr. D. M. Collenette (Parliamentary Secretary to Presi-
dent of the Privy Council): Madam Speaker, if question No.
175 could be made an order for return, this return would be
tabled immediately.
Madam Speaker: The questions enumerated by the hon.
parliamentary secretary have been answered. ls it the pleasure
of the House that question No. I75 be deemed to have been
made an order for return?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Question No. l7S—Mr. Fricsen:
l. Which ilepnrtnieiits have (a) audio MPO equipment (b) movie, xliilc, film
strips, overhead projectors (e) recording studios and, in each ctisc (i) iii Wlltll
quantity (ii) what is the estiiiintctl value ofsuch equipment?
2. What was the cost of servicing this equipment in (rt) 1977 (b) lt)7ti (i)
within (ii) outside the public service?
3. ls there zi central service and repair centre in the public service to repair
and maintain audio tape equipment, video tripe equipment, editing equipiiicnt
and other equipment related to audio~visuzil equipnieiit?
4. (a) How many tape recorders were purchased in (i) i976 (ii) l‘)77 (iii)
1978 (iv) I979, by depiirtmeiit, and how many could be accounted tor in
November I979 (b) ivhiit was the estimated value iii each year (c) wliiit iiuniher
were lost to (i) damage (ii) other and what was the vnliie ofloss?
5. (a) Docs cacti depiirtmeiit have ll system oi inventory control (ti) is ll system
of user signature against the serial number of the ilcm used and, if not, ivltnt
system is used?
6. How millly times at your is it pliysicttl cheek ofsucli eqiiipiiicnt tirade‘?
Return tabled.
Mr. Collenette: l tlSl(, Madam Speaker, that the rciiinining
questions be allowed to stand.
Madam Speaker: Slizill the rcmuiniiig questions stand‘?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
TH E CON S’l‘l’l‘UTlON
The l-louse resumed debate on the motion of Mr. Chrétien,
seconded by Mr. Roberts, for an address to Her Majesty the
Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada.
And on the umeiidmciit oi‘ Mr. Epp, seconded by Mr. linker
(Ncpean~Ctirletoii)–~-Thzit tlic motion be amended in Schedule
B of the proposed rcsoliitioit by deleting Clause 46, and hy
making all l’tCCCSSZtl’y cliaiiges to the Schedule conscquentiiil
Hon. Erik Nielsen (Yukon): Mr. Speaker, last night bel‘ore
the House rose l was trying to lay the groundwork for wlirit I
have to say on belinli oi‘ Yukon and the Northwest “l‘t:rritorics
in connection with the proposed constitutional amentlincnt.
We lizive, on the one hand, the policy of the govoriinient
opposite, as stated by the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudciiu)
publicly, llltll. Yukon will not see provineiiil status iii his
lifetime. We have on the other hand, the nationally [)lll)liCl7,(5(i
policy of this [llll‘ly lllill Yukon is a iiaturttl ctindidzitc for
provincinl status nnd will be granted that status when the
people of Yukon make that request.

March I3, 1981 COMMONS
DEBATES __M_ 8229
Under the Constitution as it now stands, there is provision in
the British North America Act for the taking into the federal
state of additional territories and converting them to provinces
in exactly the same way that Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alber~
ta and British Columbia entered confederation,
With the proposals now before the House, that process is no
longer possible. As for provincial status, they can forget about
it in Yukon, the Western Arctic and in Nunatsiaq. It will
never come. Why do l say never‘? It is not simply “not in my
lifetime”, as the Prime Minister said; it has now become never.
It is never because, by the formula proposed in the constitu-
tional proposals before us, there are two provinces with a veto,
namely Quebec and Ontario. If either one of those provinces
objects to the entry of any other territory into confederation,
as is now provided for in the British North America Act, the
territory will not get in. That is the result of the proposals
before us.
Another question which concerns us greatly is that of mobil-
ity rights. There was a great deal of time, effort and expense
involved in the production of the socioeconomic terms and
conditions with respect to the construction of the Alaska
highway natural gas pipeline, if indeed that project ever goes
ahead. Those socioeconomic terms set forth a hiring preference
and a mechanism by which migration could be controlled so
that the impact of thousands of workers who would be foisted
upon Yukon all at once in the construction stage of the
pipeline would be minimized, We tried to amend that provision
in the joint committee. It was rejected. We have a provision in
the constitutional proposals which will negate the effect of that
mechanism. When that matter was raised with the Minister of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development (Mr. Munro) in a
recent visit to Whitehorse, his response was, “Well, we will
find a loophole”. It sounded rather strange for a minister of
the Crown who supports the constitutional proposals now
before us to be telling the public in Yukon that a loophole
would be found whereby we can get around the mobility rights
of the Constitution The fact is that when the proposals before
us become law, if indeed they do, we can forget about the
socioeconomic terms and conditions which would provide that
protection to Yukon.
. (i210)
The other matter which concerns Yukon and the Northwest
Territories greatly is the proposals contained in section 35(3),
I believe it is, which deal with the attendance by elected
representatives of Yukon and the Northwest Territories at
federal-provincial conferences. At first blush that provision
would appear to go a long, way toward meeting i.he legitimate
aspirations and desires of Ynkoners and Canadians of the
Northwest Territories. However, a careful reading of it will
disclose immediately that all it docs is maintain the status quo,
because there will be no representation at the federal-provin~
cial conferences by either Yukon or Northwest Territories
unless the Prime Minister in his magnanimity deems to allow
that representation at the table.
The Constitution
When the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Develop»
men! was in Whitehorse recently, he said this, and l quote
from page 5 of the text of his speech given to the Whitehorse
Chamber of Commerce on February 14, l98l:
l-land in hand with the economic development to which we :\ll look forward
must go political progress and evolution.
One cannot disagree with that statement. ll was indeed our
policy, our aggressive policy.
For the past year, Yukoners have enjoyed full responsible government , at |c;\:{l in
prnclice ifnot in statute.
That statement is absolutely false. Yukoners do not now
enjoy, nor have they in the past year enjoyed, full responsible
government either in practice or in statute.
Mr. Baker (Nepean-Carleton): Why would he say such a
Mr. Nielsen: Why? Because of the dcviousncss of this
government. It is very evident in their advertising campaign.
They try to twist the minds of their listeners.
Mr. Collenette: Nonsense.
Mr. Nielsen: The parliamentary secretary says “Nonsense”.
All one has to do is refer back to the advertisements this
government put forward at taxpayers’ expense, trying to sell its
constitutional package before debate even commenced in Par»
liament. One can refer to the energy ads which went out
previously and which apparently we are going to be saddled
with again, at taxpayers’ expense. They do not tell the truth.
That statement ljust read is not the truth.
Yukoners do not have jurisdiction over laws. They do not
have jurisdiction over resources. Yukoners do not have the
right to introduce money measures in their own legislative
assembly when even the municipalities in Yukon have such a
right. The minister retains the residual power to say yea or nay
to anything done by the legislative assembly, the elected
representatives of the people in the Yukon. The same situation
pertains in the Northwest Territories. ‘I‘herel‘<>ru, it is utterly
false for the minister to say that full responsible government
has been enjoyed in practice if not in statute.
>The government recently got itself into hot water on the
disposition of federal lands by not publicizing their availability
and not giving all Yukoners full opportunity of bidding on
their disposition. The minister said in the same speech:
‘l”|\at means that the decisions of llu: territorial government have been l‘r\1\ll<2 by
your elected representatives.
That decision certainly was not made by the territorial
representatives. it was made by the minisler’s public servants
in Whitehorse and in Ottawa.
ll also ineans, obviously, lhat they must be held accountable fur their
“’l‘hcy” refers lo the territorial legislatures. That patently is
not so in the example which l have just exposed to the lluusc.
it was not the territorial government which disposed of the
lands in question, it was the federal government.

DEBATES Mflrcll 13,3 9st
The Constitution
Let me get back to the Constitution. After having disposed
of those matters which are of direct concern to Yukoners, l
want to deal with these proposals in a national way. We have
been dragged, all of us, into a great constitutional crisis
because of the intransigence of one man. It is doubly danger-
ous and doubly deplorable that that man should be the Prime
Minister of Canada.
Before going into the nature and causes of the crisis, let us
look at the nature of the country which is being subjected to
this divisive impact of the Prime Minister‘s obsession with
rewriting the Constitution in this fashion.
Canada is a confederation; it is not a unitary state. That is
to say, there is a central government having certain powers
allotted to it in the Constitution as it now stands, and there are
provincial governments which in turn have power over other
matters. That is clearly understood and has been clearly
understood since the Constitution was devised in 1867.
The Constitution did not spring full blown into being. It was
the result of protracted study by elected representatives over a
protracted period of time. Prior to being passed in the form of
an act in the British Parliament, it received the approval ofthe
legislatures of the provinces which became the first members
of this federal state, this partnership. Those which joined later
did it in the full awareness of the terms on which they entered.
l suggest it is ridiculous to treat the Constitution as a scrap
of paper representing a British act of parliament. Macdonald
himself in the constitutional debates of that day referred to the
BNA Act as a treaty. Certainly it was an agreement among
duly constituted governments, each having its own elected
legislature, as to the form and shape that the future nation of
Canada should taker
At no time w_as it contemplated that in the future nation the
central government would have the power solely and of itself
to amend or change the original articles of confederation. Had
that been the case, it is quite obvious that lower Canada,
which was to become the province of Quebec, would never
have become a partner to confederation.
The Constitution of 1867 was in no way imposed upon
Canada by Britain. It was a device, an instrument, created by
Canada. The work of Macdonald, Cartier, McGee, Brown,
Tupper, Tilley and other Fathers of Confederation was passed
into law by the parliament at Westminster because that was
the only method by which colonies could assume the mantle of
The tragedy of our time is that the Prime Minister and his
party are now in a position of attempting to divest Canada of
national status and return it to the status of a client state of
the parliament at Westminster. To hear the Prime Minister‘s
vague and bombastic threats of independence or of following
the example of Smith of Rhodesia is to show up the falsity of
his position in its true colours.
Canada has been an independent nation since 1931 when the
Statute of Westminster established that Britain could no
longer make laws affecting this nation. That statute and that
departure simply placed the capstone on what actually existed
at that time. It was merely statutory rccognitiun of what
already was the de facto situation.
At the request of the provinces, it wns decided that chnngcs
to the Constitution would continue to be ratified by Westmin-
ster and that parliament would retain its function us the
custodian, the trustee, and nothing more, of the BNA Act. I
want to emphasize that the provinces were consulted on the
constitutional implications of the Statute of VVcstn1instcr.
They made recommendations, and those recommendations
were adhered to even though they meant a radically different
approach to the constitutional content of that statute.
Q (1220)
it is quite clear on examining the precedents that the
provinces were regularly consulted when changes were contem-
plated in those matters falling within their provincial jurisdic-
tion. This was done by Mr. St. Laurent in bringing in old ngc
pensions, it was done by Mr. King in implementing the
unemployment insurance provisions, which were thc brain
child of the previous Bennett government, und it was done in
many more cases, I believe eight in all.
It is all very well to say, as Judge Frcctlinail did, thnt
consultation was not necessary. Whnt is important is that
those changes, the carrying out of these changes, was on the
basis of consultation, and those clnrrgod with the carrying out
of these changes did consult. They felt at the time thnt
consultation ought to be the process in which they engaged,
and they did do just that. Certainly the frequency and direct-
ness of such consultations very distinctly implied the growth
and recognition of constitutional convention in these matters.
It is not my intention to enter a legalistic treatise on the
growth of the constitutional convention. Anyone who is inter-
ested can read Jennings and others on the subject; Dicey is
another very comprehensive publication. Suffice it lo say that
on almost every occasion, indeed, on every important occasion
when the interests and jurisdictions oi‘ the provinces wcrc
involved, there was invariably consultation nt that point. ‘l‘hnl
point was made with some force by Senator Mauricc l.:imon-
tagne, with a good deal more precision than I, bcforc the
specialjoint committee.
These are political matters, they arc constitutional mnltcrs.
Canada is not some newly emerging nation whose Constitution
is determined by sections or clauses put down on paper in the
inner reaches of the ruling clnss, in thc bowels of the Lnngcvin
Building. Our Constitution came from the pcoplc cl‘ Cmunin.
it came from elected members of the provincial lcgislnturcs. lt
was thrashed out, debated, urgucd over, nnd what went to
England in the last analysis represented tl consensus oi‘ thc
most advanced political and constitutional thinking in this
nution. Canada was not given birth by ti piccc of pnpcr;
Canada already existed in the hearts and minds of its pcoplcl
The Constitution was simply a lJtl|)lis11‘|z\l certificate. ns it wcrc.
Macdonuld made it very plain that his chicf aim was to
conciliatc the various provincial and scolionnl intcrcsts and
devise what he thought was a compromise, n Constitution thul
would be acceptable. That was n major consideration.

ivinrcit l3, 1981 COMMONS
We now have a new ball game and a new ball. We have a
Prime Minister who is determined to be captain of the team
nnd the umpire as well; he wants to pitch and call the strikes.
lie tried to impose his will on the provinces, then on the
country, and now on the British. The Prime Minister and his
purty have confronted Westminster with a rewritten, an
ttlnended, Constitution to which a majority of the provinces
object. The box score on that, Sir, is that eight of the ten
provinces are opposed to the action now being taken, Ontario
mid New Brunswick being the only two exceptions. Six of the
ton provinces are fighting the action in the courts. Quebec
Liberal leader Claude Ryan is totally opposed. The New
Democratic provincial parties of Saskatchewan, Alberta,
Manitoba and Quebec have publicly spoken against the action.
Pour NDP Members of Parliament have broken with their
pnrty leader and their party and will vote against the Trudeau
package in the Commons. An hon. member who spoke just
i/eiiterday, the hon. member for Montmorency (Mr. Duclos),
nmlulso broken with his party and will vote against it.
The Prime Minister and his puppets are riding roughshod
over the provincial governments. He has overturned the
unwritten convention, or is attempting to, of 100 years. If the
federal government with a majority in Parliament can unilat-
orllliy alter the Constitution against the objections of the
provinces then, Sir, this is no longer a federal state. The rights
of the provinces mean very little if they can be altered or
nubtracted from at any time by a simple decision of the federal
government with a parliamentary majority.
Above all, Sir, the Prime Minister’s position underlines his
nttitude toward confederation and to the separation of powers.
Why should he consult with the provinces? They might not
ltjgree. He says the consultative process is too slow. It may be
niow but it is l00 per cent democratic. If the federal govern-
ment and Parliament can unilaterally amend and rewrite the
Constitution in matters confided to the provinces by the BNA
Act, then the BNA Act is a dead letter. Whether the Constitu-
tion is a pact or a treaty, as Macdonald called it, or a simple
nlntutc of the imperial Parliament, it is a matter for experts to
determine. In any case it does not affect the issue, as I sec it.
Whatever it may be, the Constitution is an understanding
between the federal government and the governments of the
provinces, those who signed in 1867 and whose legislatures
ratified that action, and those who came in later by free
choice. In no single instance was a single section or clause of
the I867 Constitution imposed on any province. They were
free to accept or reject. For more than 100 years that spirit of
compromise and conciliation, as Macdonald called it, was
followed in all matters affecting constitutional change. That is
whnt has been altered.
A constitutional convention having a century of practice as
it» mandate has now gone. The understanding that the Consti-
tntion was not the business of the central government alone,
but that the provinces had very clear spheres of jurisdiction
nnti that they would be respected, is also gone as a result of
this proposal. It is this understanding, this compromise, this
The Constitution
spirit of conciliation, which has been torn asunder by the
unrestrained ego of one man.
The Prime Minister says he is not waiting for the provinces.
They are too slow in agreeing with him. He says it must be
done in his way. We have heard those words before, Sir, from
the lips of dictators and tyrants.
The publisher of The Globe and Mail was taken to task for
using the word “Tyrant”. I am surprised there is no objection
across the way to my using it. According to the dictionary, a
tyrant is a person who exercises power despotically. A despot is
someone who acts in an arbitrary manner. A despot does not
take advice; a despot must have his own way. A despot insists
on pushing his ideas to the end, riding roughshod over the
rights of others. A tyrant is in the same category. A tyrant secs
only one side of a coin, and usually it is the side bearing his
picture. The publisher of The Globe and Mail may have erred
a little on the side of emphasis, but in principle he was right
on. It is strange, sir, how sensitive the Grits are on these
things. He was attacked not for what he said but for saying it.
Q (I230)
There was a suggestion in the remarks of the Minister of
Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Lalonde), the “minister of
oil”, as he is now called, that there was something wrong, not
quite cricket, in the publisher of The Globe and Mail criticiz-
ing the Prime Minister’s position. Saying what _ he said in
England was even worse. It is hard to follow this kind of
reasoning. We do not find the Prime Minister or his henchmen
mincing their words in their references to the Premier of
Alberta or even their friend, the Premier of Saskatchewan; but
when the boot is on the other foot then the shoc pinches.
An hon. Member: One-party state.
Mr. Nielsen: If there is a one-party state in this country, it is
over there. They are the believers in the one-party state, the
advocates of rule by divine right. Nothing could be more
evident in proving that situation than whnt the-—
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Nielsen: I cannot hear hon. members; I would like to
enjoy an exchange with them if they would rise–—
An hon. Member: You are getting to them, Erik.
Mr. Nielsen: -—and put it question. it is not what is snid that
pinches but the mere fact that in this bright new Grit world of
friendly thought control anyone would dare raise his or her
voice in protest.
It is, above all, the press whom they fenr and distrust. It was
not by merc coincidence that, after the Toronto Sun had
attacked the Prime Minister and his government some years
ago in biting terms, the office of that newspaper was raided.
This was something not seen before in this country and
something not often scen in England or the United States, or
indeed any country where democracy is practised.

DEBATES March I3, l98|
The Constitution
_ Perhaps the shabbiest episode in this catalogue of manipula-
tron, evasion and half-truths which in those around the Prime
Minister passes for government policy, was the put-up job—
for it can be nothing else—<)n the British High Commissioner.
So sorry and shabby and weak was this performance that even
the Prime Minister has adopted a Pilate-like stance, washing
his hands before the assembled media the other day in saying
he had no complaints against the British High Commissioner.
I-Iow does he justify the sickness of the episode in which that
valuable and dedicated officials name was dragged through
the mud to serve the political purpose of this government?
The government wanted to open a rift with England, they
wanted to put pressure on Westminster. Think of it, Sir, this
little group of time~serving wasters of our nation’s patrimony
putting pressure on the Mother of parliaments! That was their
motive, their objective, and they have now had to back off. A
member of the NDP, which is now recognized as the official
annex of the Grit party, the little red rump as it has been
referred to, or some sort of halfway house in this House,
became involved. When the conversation with the British High
Commissioner was reported, then the Grits went into action.
What was this conversation? In a reception on his own
premises the British High Commissioner gave his opinion on
the reaction of the British government and parliament to the
constitutional package. He was doing his job, which was to put
forward Britain’s views. When the NDP ran back and tattled
to their masters, the Grits did not for a moment hesitate to
embarrass the British government and their representative
here for their own purely political ends. That is what is sad,
even tragic, about the whole sorry, shabby episode. A govern-
ment in Canada was using an ambassador of another country
as a whipping boy, and that is precisely what happened. It was
a kind of diplomatic mugging engaged in by the Grits with
their socialist accessories, the little red rump.
I say with regret, sir, that the position of the socialist
members in this whole constitutional iinbroglio has been one of
slavishly following Trucleau’s whistle.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Order, please. I know
that particularly with respect to the hon. member for Yukon
(Mr. Nielsen) it is hardly necessary to draw his attention to
that standing rule that we refer to each other by title and
riding and not by name.
Mr. Nielsen: Wcll, of course, Mr. Speaker, when I used the
term “Trudeau” I meant the Prime Minister.
When the Prime Minister needs them, he just blows his
whistle, and like Pavlov‘s dog they come wagging their tail,
automatically salivating as they travel. Even the attorney-gen~
eral of Saskatchewan, Mr. Romanow, read them a lesson a few
weeks ago on the folly of the position taken by the federal
socialist party under its present leadership.
An hon. Member: A little red Tory.
Mr. Nielsen: Mr. Romanow is a little red Tory. Does the
parliamentary secretary say that? I am sure he would be
interested in learning of that opinion.
The hon. member for Oshawa (Mr. Broadbent) and his
advisers have sadly misjudged the mood of Canadians if they
think the Canadian people are going to sit still for an arbitrary
invasion of the powers of the provinces, which is precisely what
this is. The actions of the Grit government on the Constitution
are more serious than that. They represent a massive power
grab, a raid by the feds, a step back toward centrali‘/.:ttion in
the destruction of the power of the provinces as operational
entities in this country.
If the Grit majority in this House, along with the socialists,
the puppet master and the puppets, can legislate in matters
belonging constitutionally to the provinces using~-and we
know the term for it—~the British parliament to impose con~
straints on the provinces which they are not prepared to
accept, then, Sir, the provinces have been destroyed. ‘rnt-y will
cease to exist as viable structures. Anyone who examines the
situation even briefly is compelled to come to that conclusion.
But that is not all. If the Prime Minister is balked in this
mania of his, if Britain snys “We do not have the ntnntlnle to
do these things”, then the Prime Minister issues threatening
noises about what will happen, If the British say that they
recognize the convention of consulting the provinces, and the
indications are that they will, the consensus principle that
prevailed in the Statute of Westminster of l93l, in unemploy-
ment insurance, old age pensions. the retirement ofjudges and
other instances where amendments were made affecting the
rights and prerogatives of the provinces, and if they sny that
they cannot seek to impose on the provinces of Canada in
matters of their own jurisdiction principles originating at the
federal level, then they are told by this government that they
have no choice. I say, sir, that is simply not so.
I see that, despite the fact I have another 20 pages lefl in my
carefully prepared speech, I have run out of time so perhaps l
can deliver the other half at another time.
Mr. W. Kenneth Robinson (Etobicokc-Lakeslmrc): Mr.
Speaker, I must shy I am very pleased indeed to have tho
opportunity of making n few remarks with regard to this
historic debate on the Constitution of our time. I congratulate
all those members who have taken part in this debate ahead of
me, because many ol‘ them have made signal steps in the
direction in which we want to go in this nation.
It will be an historical moment when we bring the British
North America Act to Canada with tl charter of rights and an
amending formula. We are in effcct cutting the Gordian knot
with the past but at the same time retaining our traditions nnd
institutions that have served us so well over the years. /\l’ter
114 years the time has come to patrintc our Constitution. It is
what we all want, it is what the United Kingdom wants us
well, and it is the last vestige of colonialism.

March I3, l98l COMMONS
Q (I140)
Times have changed over the 114-year period. Particularly
in the past 54 years we have tried to patriate our constitution
on numerous occasions. This has been attempted by a number
of prime ministers, including Mr. King, Mr. Bennett, St.
Laurent, Diefenbaker and Pearson, each and every one of
them without any success whatsoever.
lt is important that we consider a number of aspects of this
constitutional package. I do not intend to dwell at length on
the preamble, because I recall a preamble that was presented
at the first ministers’ conference in the Convention Centre by
the Conservative government of Ontario. At that time the
Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) was prepared to accept it, but
the other provinces would not agree.
I will not dwell on the charter of rights because many others
are taking a great deal of time to discuss each and every aspect
oi” that matter from many points of view and with many
So far as the amending formula is concerned, whether it be
the Victoria formula of 1971 or the Vancouver formula, it
would appear that in any event there will not be any agree-
ment, certainly in the foreseeable future, between all provinces
on any kind of amending formula.
Returning to the charter of rights, I want to deal with only
one fundamental, basic matter, language rights.
Mr. Speaker, for the first time in Canada‘s history the rights
to education in the language of the minority will be guaranteed
throughout the country. The charter of rights and freedoms
will give all Canadians the right to have their children educat-
ed in their official language where the number is sufficient to
warrant it. English~speaking Canadians who will settle in
Quebec will have the right to have their children educated in
English, and French-speaking Canadians will at last have the
right to have their children educated in French no matter
where they live in Canada. By guaranteering minority lan-
guage educational rights we will entrench in the constitution
the agreement reached by the provincial premiers in St.
Andrews in 1977 and in Montreal in 1978, to wit, and I quote:
Every child belonging to the French or English minority has the right to
receive in his or her mother tongue his or her primary and secondary schools
tnSlr\lC\l01\ lfl any province where the number ofchildren is sufficient to warrant
The Constitution now includes other linguistic rights con-
cerning the use of French or English in the legislative assem-
blies, before the courts, in the statutes and the parliamentary
documents of Quebec and Manitoba. Those rights will contin-
ue to be guaranteed by the existing constitutional provisions.
in addition, at the request of the New Brunswick government,
the linguistic rights will apply to that province.
The Constitution acknowledges the right to use French and
English in Parliament and before federal courts. Those rights
will be defined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Constitution
lt also includes other rights which are now part of Lhc Ol’l’icinl
Languages Act and which will be entrenched in the Constitu-
tion. French and English will be defined in the Constitution as
being the official languages of Canada. In it will also bc
spelled out the right of the public to communicate with the
headquarters or the main office of the institutions of Parlia-
ment or of the Government of Canada, or to be given services
in French or in English and, in regions where the numbcr
warrants it, the public will have the same right with |‘c.:;pcCl to
any other office of those institutions.
When we look at the proposed Constitution Act of 1981,
which is the resolution tabled by the Minister of Justice (Mr.
Chrétien) on February l3 of this year, in considering lzingungc
rights we refer specifically to a number of sections, from
Section l6 to Section 22. Section I6 makes English and l’~‘rcncl1
the official language of Canada and of New Brunswick, with
equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of
government at the federal level across Canada and at thc
provincial level in New Brunswick. The section also assures
that nothing prevents Parliament or the legislatures from
providing for greater equality and use of the two languages.
Section l7 of the same resolution provides that any person
has the right to use either English or French in the dcbntes nnd
other proceedings of Parliament and the legislature of New
Brunswick, This right already exists, as we know, in the
provinces of Quebec and Manitoba.
Section l8 requires that the statutes, records and journals of
Parliament and the legislature of New Brunswick be printed
and published in both English and French and makes both
language versions equally authoritative.
In Section l9 there is provision for the use of English and
French in all courts established-by Parliament and in the
courts of New Brunswick. It entitles any person to use either
language before these courts orally or in writing and to hnvc
processes issued by the courts in either language.
Further, Section 20 will givc members of the public ihc right
to use English or French in communicating with or receiving
available services from any head or central office at the fcdcrnl
level and from any other office whenever there is it significant
demand for communication or service in such language duo to
the nature of the office.
Section 21 preserves the existing constitutional lniigiingc
guarantees, whether English or French, under Section I33 of
the British North America Act, which applies particularly to
Quebec, and under Section 23, which refers to the Mnnilohn
Finally, Section 22 is designed to ensure that nny rights nr
privileges existing with respect to lnnguagcs other than linglish
or French are not impaired by provisions of the cliartcr.
it is important to note that an amendment has nlrcndy been
made to Section 20 so that the courts, rnthcr than Pn|’li:imcnl,
would ultimately determine whether other federal offices
should provide bilingual services. Also, the test for the provi-
sion of services in English or French would be bnscd on n

DEBAT|3$ Mureh_13, 1981
The Constitution
significant demand for services in the language required rather
than on the number of persons in the area concerned using the
language. The amendment would also require the provision of
services where there is a reasonable requirement for services,
such as at airports and train stations.
While the federal government would like to see institutional
language rights at the provincial level guaranteed in the
Constitution, it will not impose such rights over opposition by
the provinces. The charter provides minimum guarantees in
attempting to achieve the widest consensus possible from
provincial governments. Thus, when the provisions for institu-
tional language rights at the provincial level included in the
draft charter tabled at the first ministers’ conference in Sep-
tember received virtually no provincial support apart from
New Brunswick, the provisions respecting the provinces were
withdrawn. However, the status quo is preserved, and both
Quebec and Manitoba remain bound by existing constitutional
As New Brunswick officially requested that these rights
apply to it, this has been provided. The amending formula has
been modified to facilitate the opting-in of any province, with
the concurrence of Parliament, to any or all of the provincial
language provisions listed in Sections l6 to 20 of the charter
which I enunciated.
As most provinces-other than Quebec, Ontario and New
Brunswick—do not have sufficient judges, lawyers and other
court personnel trained in French, it would not be realistic to
entrench the right of an accirséd to be tried in his own
language in criminal cases. The Criminal Code now provides
this right, which is enforced in New Brunswick, Ontario and
the Territories. As other provinces develop the capability, the
right is provided that if a province delays too long the Attor-
ney General of Canada may unilaterally proclaim the provi—
sion in force after two years’ notice. This amendment was
already made to the Criminal Code, and it was enacted in
. (I150)
Provinces are encouraged to provide the same rights in civil
cases as in criminal cases. However, until there is sufficient
court ability in the second language, cntrenching such a right
would be illusory. The right now exists constitutionally in
Quebec and Manitoba and by law in New Brunswick. Ontario
now provides for some civil cases to be heard in French.
I should like to rcfcr to an article which appeared in the
March 6, I981 edition of The Toronto Star. It refers to
Premier Davis’ speech to the Empire Club and is subtitled:
“Conservative premier reaffirms his support for Pierre Tru-
deau’s Constitution package”. The article indicates that one of
the key elements championed over a decade by the Conserva-
tive party in the province of Ontario has been this:
The right of parents to cducnti: their children in whichever of their own t\vo
founding languages they choose is protected wherc numbers wurrant.
The article continues:
Tolthosc. both here and in Ontario and clscwhcrc, \vho would attack me for
not making Ontario officially bilingual l uffcr n simplc and direct response.
Unnecessary excess that corrects no injustice serves no purpose. lliirlcistiiiiiliiig
and commitment to fairness, on the other hand, brccds tolerance nntl co-opcrrr
tion. We will not, in Ontario, be stnmpeded lo repent lhemisinkcs iilkuliers. We
will chart our own path, in fairness and understanding, in the hruud interest ui
all Ontarians.
in summary, we have a package of constitutional chnngcs lhui are consistiml
with Ontario‘: traditional views as well as our perception of current uccds. l
regret that many of my fellow premiers do not shnrc that over-all view, bul lo
wait for unanimity would be to wait forever.
I suppose I have received more correspondence on the
matter of the supremacy of God in the Constitution than on
any other aspect of the constitutional package. Personally l
believe in God. I note that God is referred to in our Canadian
Bill of Rights at the beginning, whcrc it reads in purl:
The Parlinmcnl of Canada, affirming thni the Canadian _nut_iun is founded upon
principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth oi_llu\
human person and the position of lhc fnmily in u society of free men uiid lrcc
Without doubt, this is still the situation iii _Cnnada. The
Canadian Bill of Rights will be adhered to, ltl spite of thci fact
that there is no mention oi‘ this in the constitutional package.
Also l point out that God is referred to in our national anthem,
“O Canada“, in line 7 which reads as follows:
Geri kcop our land glorious and free!
Mr. Beatty: Sing it.
Mr. Robinson (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): Perhaps we should
all sing it. Every day before question period in the llouse we
have prayers; we mention God. The Lord’s Prayer is rcciicd
every dny, and l have no indication that this will chnngc. The
people of the country do not realize that we recite the l.ord’s
Prayer every day before commencing our deliberations in
Parliament. lt is important for these people to know that we
recite the Lord’s Prayer and give God precedence in the
The hon. member for Edmonton East (Mr. Yurko) summa-
rized it well when he said, as reported on page 8l07 oi‘
Han.i-ard of March I0, l98l:
My bclicl‘ in God is secure; it does not nccd to be cnsln’iiiu<| in secular
documents. li is now enshrined in the grcuicst of rill consliuuiuns- ~llt\! (lurul
God is there today and He always will bc. Our Constitution
must include a preamble which mentions God and other
spiritual and national values. I am sure that such a preamble
will be adopted in thc course of the continuing constitutional
I should like to refer to another aspect of the constltiilioual
package which is of great concern to me, particularly as u
practising lawyer. An article appeared in The (ilolm and Mull
on March ll, 1981, written by Mr, Roderick M. McLeod, who
is a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Crown Coun-
sel and assistaitt deputy attorney general of Ontario. Mr.
McLeod contended that the provision in the cliarler of rights
–Clause 24(2) »-empowering the courts to exclude illegally
obtained evidence in certain circumstances will result in the
adoption by Canadian courts of the American rule of autumn!»
ic exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. This is simply not
the case.

March I3, 1981 COMMONS
According to Mr. McLeod, in the United States, the doc-
trine of excluding evidence obtained in contravention of the
U.S. bill of rights—pr0tection against unreasonable searches
and seizures and the right to remain silent in the absence of
counsel—-has been developed by courts as an absolute rule
designed to prevent law enforcement officers from violating a
constitutionally protected right of individuals. The rule oper-
ates automatically in every case regardless of how minor the
breach of the right and regardless of whether the admission of
the evidence would cast doubt on the integrity of the adminis-
tration ofjustice. This is why, in the Willizzms case referred to
by Mr. McLeod, the accused was set free even though, on the
facts of that case there did not appear to be a serious breach of
his constitutional rights.
Mr. McLeod says that the situation in Canada, under the
proposed provisions of Clause 24(2) of the charter, would be
rather different. Clause 24(2) provides that a court shall
exclude evidence obtained in contravention of a charter
right-e.g., by an illegal search or seizure or by evidence
obtained from an accused who has been denied counsel-only
where it is established, having regard to all the circumstances,
that admission of the evidence would bring the administration
of justice into disrepute. Consequently there would be no rule
of automatic exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. The
accused would have to establish to the satisfaction of the court
that the illegality of the manner in which the evidence was
obtained was of such a serious nature that using it would bring
the administration of justice into disrepute. The circumstances
which the court would consider in reaching a decision would
include (a), the extent to which human dignity and social
values were breached in obtaining the evidence; (b), the seri-
ousness of the case; (c), the importance of the evidence; (d),
whether the harm to the accused was inflicted wilfully or not;
and (e), whether there were circumstances justifying the ille-
gal action, such as a situation of urgency where the evidence
would have been destroyed or lost.
In other words, says Mr. McLeod, the underlying principles
of the proposed charter “exclusionary rule” are twofold. First,
to ensure a proper balance between effective law enforcement
activities and the fair administration ofjustice; and second, to
avoid the courts becoming parties to activities which are serious
violations of charter rights.
By providing the test of “bringing the administration of
justice into disrepute”, we are clearly signalling to the courts
that we do not want the adoption of the automatic and
absolute exclusionary rule of the United States, but one which
operates to curtail the use of evidence where it has been
obtained in flagrant violation of charter rights.
May I call it one o‘clock, Mr. Speaker’!
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): I take it the hon.
member for Etobicoke-Lakeshore (Mr. Robinson) has not
completed his remarks.
Mr. Robinson (Etobicoke-Lakeshore): No, I have not, Mr.
The Constitution
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Then the Chair will
recognize the hon. member at two o’clock in order for him to
complete his intervention.
It being one o’clock, I do now lenve the chair unlil two
o’clock this afternoon.
At l p.m. the House took recess.
The House resumed at 2 p.m.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. McRae): Order, plcuse. When the
House rose at one o’clock, the hon. member for l‘§tobic<>kc~
Lakeshore had the floor.
Mr. Robinson (Etobicoke-LakesIiore): Before lunch, Mr.
Speaker, I was in the midst of my remarks in rcply to an
article in The Globe and Mail of Wednesday, Murch ll, I98 l,
by Mr. Roderick M. McLeod, spokesman for the (lzuizulinii
Association of Crown Counsel and assistant deputy uttorucy
general of Ontario. I would like to continue those remarks ui
this time.
Mr. McLeod quotes the dissenting opinion of Chief Justice
Berger in the Williams ease, which condemns the absolute
exclusion rule. This is, of course, the position of the Chief
Justice because of the fact that the rule is ziutomnlic and
absolute, being applied without regard to the seriousness ol‘ the
breach. As the Chief Justice noted in the l97l Bivenr v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Nurcolir.-.r
case, cited at 403 US. Reports at page 388, a United Suites
Supreme Court case, he is opposed to the U.S. rule because it
represents a “mechanically inflexible response to widely vnry~
ing degrees of police error“. The proposed Camidiun rule
would allow for flexibility in determining when the brcncli of
rights was serious enough to justify excluding illegally
obtained evidence.
Mr. McLeod also asserts that the best means to ensure lhnl
the police observe the rights of persons is by “before–tlie-fucl
direction” or subsequent prosecution or disciplinary notion for
illegal conduct. The simple fact is that even if such ex ])0.Y/
faczo action occurs, it is of little solace to the person whose
rights have been infringed. As Luskin, I3. remarked in his
dissenting judgment in Hogan v. ’I‘l|r’. Qnee/i, i975, 2 Supreme
Court Reports at page 574:
lllcgnlilics or improprieties attending the eliciting or discovery of relcviuu
evidence arc, on the orthodox common law view, rus i/tier alien” (mm. They nic
said to have their sanction in separule criininul or civil proceedings, oi‘ which
there is little evidence, either us to rccourxe or effectiveness; or, perhnp\’, in
inlcrnnl disciplinary proceedings against offending cunstuhlcs, n innlter on which
there is no reliable dnln in this eonnlry.
Laskin then went on to observe with respect to constitution?
ally protected rights:
ll may be said thni the exclusion of rclovnnl i:vi<len<:c is nu \vuy tn control
illcgnl police pr-nctices and that such exclusion merely allows it \vrnnp,vt:nnnl.
on civil and political rights which docs not dcttl with udmissi-
bility of evidence.
Seventh, the report of the McDonald commission on the
RCMP is not relevant to rules relating to admissibility oi‘
Eighth, the suggestion that rapists will be turned loose in the
streets despite their guilt bccuusc of n technical error by the
police is nonsense, since thc lost for exclusion in the chnrter
would not apply to minor brooches of the charter rights.
Ninth, the govcrnmcntls flexibility in the development oi‘ tho
exclusionary rulc is simply an illustration oi” its desire l0
develop the best charter possible, taking into account tho views
of the groups which nppcurcd before the committee nntl the
members of the committcc tlicmselvcs.
In sum, Clause 24(2) of the chnrtcr seeks to strike ll |7t’t1])ct‘
balance between the interests oi‘ the effective administration of
justice and the interests of the fair administration oljusticu.
Attempts by the police and Crown counsel to crcntc in the
minds of the Cztnntlinn public fours that the cxcliisionnry rulc
will turn our cities into ltnvcns for criminals who would
otherwise be behind burs is to do n serious tlissorvico. The
proposed rule is not the same us the exclusionary rule in the
United States and should not be held forth as such.

March 13, I981 COMMONS
Time docs not permit me to deal with some of the other
nspects of this matter that I should like to deal with, so I shall
sum up by saying that this constitutional package is enormous
but necessary at this time. As Canada enters the eighties with
ii new madc~in-Canada Constitution for the century ahead, it
is clear that creating a Constitution is a painful, agonizing
experience, as the Fathers of Confederation found out. In some
ways, what we are going through now is not unlike the process
we went through in getting our Canadian flag and our national
nnthem. But who would want to take them away today‘?
We need to patriate the British North America Act, our
present Constitution. We need a charter of rights and free-
iioins and an amending formula, and we need them now.
Mr. Albert Cooper (Peace River): Mr. Speaker, I rise today
with somewhat mixed feelings. There is always pleasure in
participating in a historic debate, yet for me there is a certain
ninount of sadness in this participation. The pleasure comes
l’rom taking part in a golden opportunity that has been pre~
iiented where we can finally do something about our Constitu-
tion and where the first concrete steps toward constitutional
reform can he taken.
There is still a certain amount of sadness, however, in that
this golden opportunity has been seized by the government and
niied to achieve its political ambitions, its nearsighted visions of
constitutional reform. This seizure is dangerous because the
blatant attempts of the government in this direction have
tended to destroy the principle upon which this country is
biiscd, that being the spirit of co-operation and consensus
which is essentially known by all of us to be the federalist
nnture of Canada. It cannot be denied that the fundamental
niiture of Canada rests on the philosophy of federalism. As a
government of a federation I think we should understand that
the steps to good constitutional reform are, first of all, the
iiteps of co~operation, steps of agreement, and steps of consen-
iiiis. All of those are steps of unity.
Then we must ask how those steps can be taken, Mr.
.5’pciiker. I think this is fairly simple. We begin with simple
plitriution, followed by entrenchment of an equalization for-
niulii and an agreed upon amending formula. So we have a
itolulion which is ludicrously simple; in fact, it is so simple that
it has escaped the discerning eyes of hon. members opposite
nnii of many, but not all, members to my left.
I believe that it is in fact possible to get agreement, not
necessarily unanimity but certainly consensus, on a number of
iiililicrs, such as patriation, on which we already have agree-
ment; on equalization, which we know we have agreement for;
illlti on an amending formula, on which we have already had
inilistantial agreement. This would be acceptable. It would be
the logical federalist approach and it would certainly be in
ltnnping with the federalist spirit of Canada.
The government does not appear to Want to maintain that
lhdorzil spirit, however. It said as much on October 22, i980,
when the government and the NDI’ newlyweds voted against a
t.’nnscrvz\tive motion which called for immediate patriation
with nn amending formula. That motion met with a degree of
The Constitution
consensus and had it been given approval illfi C0″ Slllllllllll
would have been brought home. It would have l3°¢” almlldcd
in Canada by Canadians and would have b¢<=ll lllc I=’,l”°l\l°-‘ll
exercise in unity in history.
That is what the majority of Canadians $\1PP°Yl- rlllll l-‘P
what the provinces support and that is cfllfllllly Wllill lll<>
Conservative Party supports. Unfortunately, ll ls “Oi Wlllll lll<>
Liberals and the NDP support. They want Wllfll lllc llll1.l°l”ll>’
of Canadians do not want. In fact, recent polls ll14‘l1¢lll’¢ lllill 50
to 65 per cent of the Canadian populatiflll d0 Yllll Wlllll
unilateral action and that 80 per cent of the Pl'<>V1ll°¢$ <-l0 l\<li
want it either.
I-Ion. members opposite probably wonder Wll)’ fl|lll<>$l lll¢
entire nation is opposed to unilateral aelloll» l” °l'<l°l” l°
attempt to answer this question I should like l0 118k 0l\l= more
question, one that is essential and with which all of us I\11|S[
come to grips. That question simply is: Whal l5 callllllifl ll ls
a simple question but at the suinc time a v<>l’)’ ‘illmwll °ll‘>~ ll
is difficult in that we would probably receive as many different
answers as we have different people.
I (1420)
For me, to describe what Canada is I ll£lV9 (0 llllllk lll l¢l‘lll$
of people and friends. For example, a friend who is it farmer in
the Peace country; another friend, a banklil Wll° ll\’¢$ ill lllc
other end of the country in Prince Edward l$lflll of a friend who is a pipefitter living in Y<>ll°Wl<“ll@_lll lllc
Northwest Territories, and finally of a fl’l¢ll¢l_Wl1° ll\l¢-‘l_lll
Vancouver and is a carpenter. Those people Comlllg llillll Wl1l¢
regions, miles and miles apart, are Canadlfllls and fir“ °$$‘=ll”
tially what Canada is. Ifl were to ask each Of lllfilll Wlllll ill?!
thought of Canada, their answers would be dlff¢l’l11ll- lllcll
answers would be very different because they come from
different provinces and different regions. They have different
lifestyles. They come from different economic strata having
different desires and different goals. They llfll/<1 <lllT<>l‘¢lll till”-
ceptions of Canada.
Yet if we were to put them all together ill Ollc l”00ll\. ll very
solid concise common denominator would °Xl$l- /\ l\ll%¢lll¢l'”
ness, a camaraderie, would exist betwcflll llltlllli ll ¢><l-‘ll-‘I
because they are all citizens of probabllf ‘f”° ‘ll llw ‘“°-‘ll
unique nations on earth. A togetherness ¢X1Sl$ l=Vl=l\ _lll0lli;ll
people live thousands of miles apart. They l<ll country traditionally willing to pull together, lo °°'<lIll_¢”\l\> llllll
to help those in need, whether they live a thousand miles awn)’
or next door. They live in ii country where coliscllslls has been
and is a way of life. It has made it possible l°Y lll°$° ll”¢l\<l$ (ll
mine, the banker, the farmer, the pipefittcr llllll the czirpunter,
to pull together, even though they may W¢ll 5° lllllllllg l<ll’
somewhat different goals and dreams.
It is this consensus and co-operation which allows tliosc
differences to be ii unifying force, not. ll <llVl$lV° l‘<ll‘Cl>- ‘l‘ll¢
miracle of our federation is that differcnillls W1″ ill lllfil ll¢ ll
unifying force. But what makes us a federation? li is very
simply the fact that we have sovereign, d01ll<>¢F1ll1@‘l\llY clclllflll
governments on two levels, provincial and federal.

8238 _ COMMONS DBBATES Marg l3, I981
The Constitution
We have such diverse goals and dreams, yet we expect both
levels in pursue our dreams. Of course, the provincial level
looks much more at regional dreams, the closer to home
aspii-3(ignS and things which have a close relationship interest.
The Second level, the national government, deals in a sense
with en; broader goals and our broader dreams. But that is not
to say that the federal government alone acts for our national
intei-e5t5_ The provinces, too, can act in our national interest,
alihough this government would have us believe that only it
can act in the national interest.
Those two levels, each sovereign, each pursuing regional and
naiional goals, make us a federal state and not a unitary state.
we are a partnership, a cohabitation, a nation of different
people from different regions comi_ng together. We cannot
egeape ihat fact. Yet these people living together in harmony is
ihg esseniial spirit of consensus and co-operation. It is that
sai-ne essential federalist spirit. The Prime Minister (Mr. Tru-
dean) himself is well aware of what the spirit of federation is.
in 1964, in a speech at the Charlottetown conference when
the Prime Minister was still a professor of law at McGill, he
defined our federation as follows:
pcdeiaiion is by its very essence a compromise and a pact. ll is a compromise in
the sense that when national consensus on all things is not desirable or cannot
readily be obtained, the area of consensus is reduced in order that a consensus on
some things can be reached. it is a pact or qIJasi»trcaty in the sense that the
mm; nf [hm Compromise cannot be changed unilaterally. That is not to say that
the lei-in; are fixed forever: but only that in changing them, every effort must be
rnadc not to destroy the consensus on which the federated nation rests,
He seemed to know what he was talking about. Has he now
either forgotten what he once said or has he decided we should
nei remain a federation? Has he decided we should not remain
a nation of ¢()nS6nSUS or a nation of co-operation? Instead, he
wants Us w be a nation of one government rule, a government
rhal needs not to consult nor seek consensus. Instead of a
government that would take those differences and turn them
inio 3 unifying force, this government is turning those differ~
enees into a divisive force. It is turning us away from the path
Of federalism, for if there is no consensus, there is no federa-
tion, as professor Trudeau himself stated in 1964. What there
was inen’ and what We have now, is unilateral action. We have
a uniiai-y government with no goal either of consensus, or
attempts, as the Prime Minister then put it, to “limit the field
of consensus’?
The question must be asked: What will the end result of
unilateral action be? As the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chréticn)
slated in a speech to this House on February l7, 1981, will it
be ihai Canada will be “compensated” once the “strike and
ihe disco,-,1 and abuse” of this g0vernm0nl’s unilateral action is
behind use Will unilateral action forever sweeten future rela-
lions, as the Minister of Justice would have us believe‘? Will it
C,-eaie a mood that will lend itself to future consensus? Or will
nnilaieial action forever taint future federal-provincial rela-
tions‘! Will it forever entrench a prevailing mood of tension’?
will we become a Wholly unitary state‘? These are all interest-
ing questions and time will tell. But now is the time for us to
laok ai the results of that.
First, I would like to read a passage from the infamous
Kirby memo which outlined the possibilities for the federal
government on federal-provincial negotiations on the Constitu-
tion. On unilateral actlon by the government, we rend in the
Ministers should understand that the light in Parliament will become very, very
So much for spirit of consensus and cooperation. So much
for the rewards of federalism. This “very, very rough fight”
will no doubt leave a bitter taste in our mouths, 21 tnste which
will not easily be forgotten. How does this government defend
unilateral action? This government says that unilateral action
first is okay because it is the voice of the people, that the
government has been given a mandate and therefore it is
carrying out the will of the people. The government says also
that it has the support of western Canada because of the NDP
Neither of those points holds water. On the first point l
would remind hon. members opposite that a votcr’s mnndnlo is
given and applies only to a program on which the successful
party campaigned, plus the administration of public affairs. As
I remember, the February “l8-cent election” was not l\ July l
deadline election. On the second argument, that of NDP
support, we all know how slipshod that support is. We know
that most members of the NDP are not speaking for their
constituents, they are speaking only for their leader, the hon.
member for Oshawa (Mr. Broadbent) who, in turn, is just
another mouthpiece for the Prime Minister.
What does the real NDP voice for the west say, the voice
from Saskatchewan of Premier Allan Blakeney‘? Hc has said:
Should we not try to ensure (lull pnlrintiou, if il goes riliend, is ZlCC()||\])iiXllC4l in at
way that rninlntizcs dissension? Will it serve Canudn’s interests, at this point in
our history, to compound division with division?
That is the voice from Snskatcliewan. The same thing is
being repeated by the premiers in Manitoba, in Albcrtn and in
British Columbia, Division upon division, that is the result of
unilateral action. If we multiply that division upon division by
decades, we can see the result of this unilateral action down
the road. We can sec what it would be like to turn this nation
into a unitary state.
Even the ghosts of constitutional reform past against unilat-
eral action are beginning to rear their heads. For instance, we
awn look back at the Fulton~l’*’avreau white paper. This was n
Liberal task force. ln thul white paper we rend:
The Cnnudinn Pnrlinlnenl will not directly request an nrnendmcnl directly
affecting federzil-provinoinl relnlinns without prior consultation and ngioeincnl
with the provinces.
That is what was snid by Liberals not so very long ago, yel
these Liberals do the exact opposite. They do not seek ngrei-.~
ment with the provinces. There is no agreement, but they do
not care. There is no consensus, but ngnin we hear them sny
“who cares?” l cure, Mr. Speaker. Canadians cure. Whni we
do not care for is unilnternl action. i
However, the Prime Minister creates thc illusion lilni he
does care. For example, on November 5, W80 the Prime

M rch ll 1981 COMMONS
DEBATES _ __ 5239
n. .,
lvliniitter told the partisan gathering of the Ontario Liberal
/\:niocintioii the following: ‘
l‘lni west ilcinnnds zi new deal from confederation and the federal government
llllllll linlp bring it about—~I believe that for Ontarians to say no to the
rriplrntlons of the west today would be to say no to your own tomorrow.
Q (Mill)
In it okay for the Prime Minister to ignore the west but not
okay for‘Ontario? again he can be seen as going directly
itgliiiist his own advice, for he is not paying attention to the
iliiplrntions of the west by moving unilaterally.
_‘l’licn there are his compatriots in Quebec, the Liberal party
oi Quebec, headed by Claude Ryan. Does Mr. Ryan agree
with the Prime Minister’s unilateral action? Does the party
nittce with the Prime Minister? Obviously the answer is no.
‘1 he message of Mr. Ryan‘s beige paper states that the essence
oi Canada is federalism.
‘l’hcn we come to the leader of the New Democratic Party,
the hon. member for Oshawa. Even he realizes the dangers of
unilitteral action. I-Ie stated on the opening day of debate on
this resolution that the way the Constitution is changed is
nlniost as important as the substance. I~Ie said: “We could have
n situation of grave danger.”
‘What caused him to change his mind’? Perhaps he agrees
with the Prime Minister that Canada should not be a federa-
tion, that all decisions should be made in Ottawa and that the
provinces should serve no real purpose. Perhaps he agrees with
the Prime Minister that Canada should instead be a republic
and not a federation, as was indicated by the Prime Minister‘s
rcniarks on November 23, l979 when he stated that a republic
might be better for Canada.
ls this the ultimate goal of the Prime Minister, the transfor-
nuition of Canada into a republic’? Is unilateral action merely
the tool that will wipe the provincial governments off the face
of the map’? Many members opposite would say it is not so.
they would tell us to read the words of Liberals in this House
ilie day after the referendum.
l recall all too well the emotional rhetoric, the calls for
reform._change, co-operation and consensus. What has hap-
pened since? The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr.
MncGuigan) said as far back as October 21, 1977 that “fuller
consultation by the federal government” is needed. He said the
nrens of the country must be made to feel that they are being
consulted. Where is the greater consultation? Does he call it
week in September greater consultation’?
I return to the day after the Quebec rct”erendum when the
Prime Minister said: ‘
What wc must do is chnrt ii new coiirsc and ngrce upon ii common itinerary
inward that common destination.
\ ls the July I deadline ii common itinerary‘? ls this amending
lormula, this charter, this referendum, the common destina-
tion? He continued:
We shall constantly need ilic support of the Caiinrlinn people.
Wlierc is the support‘? lie does not have the support. He
went on to say:
The Constitution
We are also counting on the support of all provincial governments, inclntting ilnii
of Quebec. We shall all have to agree on the basic principles iiiiderlying our
efforts. We have to be receptive to the needs and aspirations ofnll Cniriiilitiirx to
stick together.
Those are his words, “to stick together”. I-ins he lost the
glue‘? If so, I would like to help him out. I have my own special
brand of patriation glue. It will adhere to simple patriation, ii
will hold fast to equalization, it will bond permanently to an
agreed upon amending formula. But it has a word of caution
on it. It says “Danger; not to be used with uiiilziteml action”.
Glue will fail to keep nations stuck together it used
Maybe my glue is not so good after all. I doubt that there is
a glue that will work on this model we are debating here today.
I cannot help but ask, where are all these words of the Prime
Minister now‘? What happened to “aspirations of all Canadi-
ans” and “stick together” and “we all have to agree”? Perhaps
those were just words to the wind and nothing more.
Then we have the words of the Minister of Justice on thnt
same clear day in May when things looked so bright. Whnt did
he say? “But Canada is a federation.” Tliose were his words.
He also said: “We must consult the provinces.” l~lc consiiltcd
but he would not limit the area of consensus. llc hail lhc
charter of rights in his hand, but in the wortls of the Prime
Minister the charter was non-negotiable. ‘I‘liercl’ore, it‘ ilic
provinces did not agree with Ottawa, that was too bad for the
provinces. That is the Liberal brand of consensus, the Liberal
brand of federalism.
Let us take a closer look at that non-negotiable item. When
we look at this charter, we must remember who it is tor. Ii is
for my friends in Vancouver, Princc Edward Island, Yellow~
knife and Peace River. Does this charter spcnk for them‘? Docs
it graciously grant them rights they do not already have‘? Docs
it make them the masters of government and not the servant‘?
This governnient wants them to belicvc that it docs these
things, but I and the people of Peace River know thni they
have this right. They know they are not the govcrnmeiit’s for
the giving. This government chooses to pretend that we nrc lhc
slaves who must submit to their whim.
l and the people of Pence River have no objection to tin
entrenched charter of rights. What we object to is the means
by which this charter is to become 0lli1‘Cl”|Cl\C(l. We do not wont
this or any charter entrenched if ii means‘ sacrifice oi‘ the
fundamental principle of federalism. On October l7, 1977, (ih’
recorded zit page 36 of fir:/1.x-(ml, the Prime Minister Stilll ihni
the people of western Canadn~—
—–feel llnii they arc not given enough opportunity to parlicipnlc in .sr:lllil|! up it
initinntil policy. They fuel they are too remote l’ron\ tho ccnlrnl govcrnnicnl in
Oiinwn, and left out of the centre of decisions.
The unilzitcral entrenchinent of this clizirter is ii typical
example of whzit the Prime Minister referred to in lhni stoic-
ment. ‘l”liereforc, l and the people oi‘ Pence Rivcr country
object to this charter. We object to the state being nnister,
graciously granting the rights to the people who arc tliurctore
the servant. ll‘ the people say to the state that they do not wnni
the stiite‘.s charter or iinilutcrnl action, then the state niiisi not
and ciiimoi follow through against the will oi“ the people.

DEBATES March I3, I981
The Con.rlz’lution
The Liberal Party accuses the Progressive Conservative
Party of being hypocritical when the PC Party says the charter
is desired, that patriation is desired, that equalization and an
amending formula are desired, but we will not support Liberal
formulas. lt is the Liberals who are being hypocritical. They
will not include numerous rights in the charter, such as the
fundamental right of access to information and property
rights, because they say there is provincial opposition. Yet the
Liberal formula is opposed outright by 80 per cent of the
provinces. If the government is concerned about provincial
support, it would withdraw the package completely or agree to
the Conservative amendment of the hon. member for Pro-
vencher (Mr. Epp). lt will not do so due to its ability to speak
out of both sides of its mouth.
The Conservatives support the idea of a charter, as do the
people of Peace River and, I believe, of western Canada. In
fact, l believe the majority of the people of Canada support it.
However, there is no support for this unilateral charter. The
people want a charter of rights of and for the people, of and
for natives, anglophones, francophones, ethnic minorities,
women, men, children, the handicapped, property owners, even
provincial governments.
This charter is inadequate. The people do not want this
charter because there is no consensus and no agreement. If this
government supports this package, federalism will be dead and
unitarianism will live. We will have a unitary state with
unitary attitudes, a unitary Constitution and a unitary amend-
ing formula. Although this formula has the facade of conscri-
sus, the referendum clause turns the amending formula into a
unitary amending formula.
Canadians are asking themselves about the importance ofan
amending formula. It is the fundamental cornerstone of future
development in our political structure, the foundation of the
future path of national relations and will dictate our ability to
accommodate change. in fact, it will dictate how we will be
able to evolve, expand and exist together in harmony as a
nation. It will dictate whether or not we will continue to thrive
on consensus and co-operation, or if confrontation and division
will become the order of the day.
Q (I440)
The amending formula chosen, if the path of consensus is
the desired one, must adhere to the following very simple
principles. First, it must prove practical under close scrutiny.
Second, there must be a consensus on the formula itself,
because without consensus on the formula, consensus after will
be difficult if not impossible. Third, it has to be fair to all
Let us look at the formula we are discussing here today.
That formula does not adhere to either condition. Under close
scrutiny basic flaws can be seen. First, a permanent veto for
Ontario and Quebec is illogical if the population of the west
increases as the population of the east decreases. The premise
for the reason that Ontario has this veto is the number of
people in that province. If that is in fact the premise, then it
must also be the premise that if the population is not retained
the veto must be lost, for the reason for granting this veto
would no longer exist.
Since the 25 per cent veto formula is applicable to any
province that has or had that percentage of the population, itis
stacked against the western provinces and is in fact in fnvour
of the central provinces.
The 1976 census showed that Quebec had 27.l2 per cent of
the population, and according to StatsCan Quebec will he
down to between 24.6 and 23.2 per cent by the year ZOOI. At
the same time, the population of western Canada is predicted
to rise from 27.2 per cent in 1976 to 3l.9 per cent by the year
2001. Thus we can see that the western provinces would be
reduced to second~class citizens.
Third-class status would then be conferred upon provinces
such as Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That very simply is
because the western provinces can veto only if at least two of
the provinces having at least 50 per cent of the population
choose to do so. Manitoba and Saskatchewan together do not
have 50 per cent of the population of western Canada, yet they
represent 50 per cent of the western provinces. They are not
equal, then, in status to Alberta and B.C., and the west as a
whole is not equal in status to each of the central provinces.
The second condition l referred to was the degree of consen-
sus the formula must meet, and again l suggest there is none.
The government is implementing an amending formula that
does not even meet the very conditions it dictates as the
procedure for future amendments. It does not have the support
of every province that has or had at least 25 per cont of lhc
population. lt does not have the support of at least two of the
Atlantic provinces and it does not have the support of any of
the western provinces. The Liberals and NDP are thereby
giving this House and this nation a first-rate lesson in hypocri-
sy, because their own formula cannot even pass itself.
An alternative has been submitted by my party which meets
these two fundamental conditions. This alternative, which was
dismissed by the Liberals and thc NDP, treats all Canadians
as equals and treats the provinces as equals. it recognizes the
larger provinces with the rule that at least 50 per cent of the
population of Canada must support any proposed amendment.
it also recognizes the eastern and western provinces as strong
voices. lt is also just in that there has been an amount of
consensus with the provinces as to its use. Final arrangements
would have to be worked out, but that is not impossible. A clcnl
could be arranged which would be in keeping with the spirit of
consensus and co-operation that is so important, and in keep-
ing with the federalist nature of our country. No province
would be relegated to second or third~clnss status. Negotia-
tions between the fetlcral and provincial governments, even
though they are not automatically possible, arc not impossible,
and l believe strongly that with the proper altitude on both
sides, attitudes that lend themselves to those two key words
“co-operation” and “consensus”, our efforts would bear some
fruit. <
Czuindians have traditionally been able to operate within the
framework of co-operation and consensus; why not now? ln
the past the provinces have sat down with the federal govern-

lt’l_ltl‘t)~il_l .l, 1981 COMMONS
ntont nt the negotiating table and have come to agreements
ovor punts and have arrived at money agreements, such as
vnrlous fisenl arrangements affecting the tax structure and
tuvenue sharing, the Canada and Quebec pension plans, medi-
euro and hospital insurance plans, welfare assistance programs,
money for post-secondary education, manpower training pro-
grninn ~-the list goes on and on~—immigration policy and the
Initny other things on which there has been agreement in the
ptntl. Why can we not expect agreement now and in the
This government chooses to ignore or forget the past. It
chooses to go the route that would forever destroy the spiritpof
etroperation and consensus. Is this, as the government con—
tends, because of the fact that the very nature of our country is
changing? Is it, as the Prime Minister says, because agreement
ill no longer possible? My answer is, the reason agreement
ttltnnot be achieved is that this government does not want
ttgreetncnt, it does not want consensus and it does not want
oo~0peration, except in the case of agreement with the prov-
lneen on the basis of its specific plans.
I should like to quote again to this House what the Premier
of Saskatchewan said, and this should interest the members
ltlltlng to my left. He said in a speech to the Dalhousie law
The process permits a referendum where provincial legislatures fail to agree to a
prnpn-tnl for constitutional amendment. lt is a way to temper provincial intransi-
ltonen, but not federal intransigence.
The federal New Democratic Party should follow the
Premier of Saskatchewan because Premier Blakeney was right
ln his remarks. The federal NDP should reject this package. It
should reject this amending formula and its provision for the
referendum. It is a referendum that would allow the federal
government to bypass the provinces now as well as in the
future, a referendum that would do away with co~operation
and the motivation the federal government needs to reach
consensus, one that would in fact do away with federalism.
For the reasons I have listed, I and the people of Peace
River, the Progressive Conservative Party, eight out of ten
provinces and, indeed, the majority of the people of Canada,
have chosen not to support the government referendum and
amendment clauses.
Let me look at the history of the referendum. We can see it
has a rather marked past. It has been used in many cases to
abuse the established system of government, whether that be a
system of democratic government or the system of co-opera-
tion and consensus.
France in 1958, against a background of political instability,
under the de Gaulle government, initiated a referendum that
gave him the powers of a near dictatorship. Germany in I934,
while the Nazi party served as the force of propaganda and
momentum, initiated a referendum that granted Hitler
unchecked executive powers and enabled him to establish
himself as a dictator. Canada in 1944, under Prime Minister
Mackenzie King, initiated a referendum on conscription that
split the country into two permanent factions. I-[ad that refe-
rendum been avoided and had the government of that day
The Consliluliorz
acted with responsibility, we possibly would not have been left
with the legacy of anti~Anglophonc and anti-Fra ncophone
influences with which we have had so much difficulty dealing
in the past.
Now the government wishes to entrcnch an amending for-
mula complete with a referendum that will enable the govcrn~
ment to initiate referenda on its own recognizance. The result
would be to divide and conquer the people of Canada. The
government would be the conqueror and the people would be
the conquered.
Q (use)
It is time to stop and ask ourselves if this Parliament would
be doing the right thing in passing this resolution. We are not
doing the right thing if we send this document as it stands
before us to the British parliament.
In conclusion, quite simply I am trying to say to this
government. Let us stop and think about the spirit of our
nation, about the backbone of Canada, which is federalism and
the spirit of co-operation and consensus. Think about the
effect unilateral action will have on that spirit. I submit it will
be broken; the backbone will in fact be shattered.
l ask hon. members opposite to ask themselves what will
become of Canada without the backbone of federalism, with~
out that spirit of consensus and co-operation. Canada may still
exist without it, but would there still exist the will of the
people in the west, in the Atlantic provinces and in Quebec, to
continue to fight for a better Canada? Or would the fight turn
into one of region pitted against region, province against
province and people against people‘? Will the loss of this spirit
of co-operation, of the backbone of federalism, not result in
division and conflict?
I believe that this government has a clear choice, one of
consensus, of federalism, or the choice of unilateral action, of a
unitary state, the choice of division. I do not think that choice
is difficult. I think a five-year-old can soc it, and I would ask
this government to stop and listen to that five-year~oltl. I ask
that they listen to the concerns of all Canadians.
Mr. Claude~André Lachance (Parliamentary Secretary to
Minister of State (Trade)): Mr. Speaker, Francois Maurine
wrote on one of his Blocs-notes, and I quote:
I remttin on the side of those who mistrust the pretcxtx anti excuses invented
by the strong to ensure their domination and have nr believe that might is right.
Recent history, as far as constitutional moods are con~
cerned, compels us to be guarded, if not outright suspicions
when dealing with these issues.
Seine people have claimed that the hon. member for Rosc-
mont has serious misgivings concerning the resolution under
revicw. They are right and l mean to look into them now. They
have also wondered how he would vote. ‘l’hnt I leave for some
other time. But what are these misgivings, Mr. Speaker‘!
Tlirougli their elccted representatives, tho Right Hon. Prime
Minister (Mr. Trudeau) invites all Cmmdiniis to join with him

DEBATES f\/lilftlll l3, i931
The Constitution
in his constitutional proposal and justifies his move by the need
to positively affirm the supremacy of the people in the enjoy-
ment of their fundamental rights and assert our national
autonomy in our statutes. This move which is in keeping with
its underlying symbols and which all Canadian men and
women should greet with pride and enthusiasm, having regard
to our maturity as a nation, causes only resentment, anathema
and what is worse, indifference among those towards whom it
is directed.
How could this happen? As a great many other Canadians,
I keep asking myself this question with nagging insistence and
I formulate it at the start of my intervention in this debate
which could have provided not only a futile consolation for our
upside-down history, but an opportunity for mutual compre-
hension to those who still believe in tolerance and our collec-
tive destiny. Alas! because of the dichotomy created by a
concealed antagonism and two opposite visions of our country,
as well as the hardening of positions along party lines, the
present debate has bogged down in abstruse rhetoric, which is
both unfortunate and revealing at the same time.
First proposition. We must realize that past attempts at
amending the Constitution by time-honoured methods have
failed. Again, how could that have happened, Mr. Speaker?
On the one hand, I think that we must definitely imputc part
of the blame on the protagonists themselves who, for all sorts
of reasons, have been unable or unwilling to bridge the enor-
mous gap created by partisanship, regionalism, sectarianism,
distrust, mental fatigue, immobilism, egotism and egocentrism.
But in so doing, I feel we would be unfair toward those men.
There is not a single woman in the lot of them, who have tried
nevertheless to answer the difficult question which we our-
selves, as legislators, have to discuss in the course of this
debate. l feel part of the blame should also be put on those
very institutions that have been used, of which the privileged
and typically Canadian vehicle of the federal-provincial con-
ferences, in an effort to reach a consensus. That mere word
consensus, Mr. Speaker, sums up the dilemma we face, For, as
far as I am concerned, the rule of consensus is precisely one of
the main reasons why we are discussing this resolution today, a
resolution that sanctions the unilateral vision of the constitu-
tional reform, which the Canadian government decided to
bring before us.
Some have suggested methods to better achieve what must
be done. There has been talk of constituent assemblies, and l
must say the concept really appeals to me in that I find it
attractive and sparkling, that of a constituent assembly where
persons elected for that specific purpose would, by virtue of
their mandate, make a new Constitution, leaving it to the
elected representatives to look after the nation’s business.
However, the problems of setting up a constituent assembly
remain the same, in the final analysis, as those we have to
solve today. And as things stand at present, l unfortunately no
longer feel that the concept of a constituent assembly is that
miracle cure, the panacea to all our ills, the ideal system
through which we could solve all our problems.
Others have suggested other techniques, that of a standing,
so to speak, provincial conference on the Constitution. The
introduction in the constitutional resolution for the next two
years of the concept of an annual federal-provincial conference
could have been that constitutional entrenchment of the princi-
ple; for my part, Mr. Speaker, l would rather a time limit had
not been set for that concept, that ls, the principle of an annual
federal-provincial conference on the Constitution, but that
instead it be incorporated into our institutions, our textbooks,
even though l may be accused of being slightly mnsocliistic in
my approach, since discussing the Constitution annually might
be to entrcnch forever the melancholy constitutional mood of
Second proposition. The unilateralism of that process and
the temporary sanction of a certain vision of fedcrnlisin. The
federalism of seniority which the Minister of Transport (Mr.
Pepin) referred to in u brilliant and pithy account coming from
a man who in this debate cannot be accused of not having been
through the ranks, deserves to be rend and reread, :mnlysct‘l,
digested and finally, lo my mind, accepted inasmuch us thut
federalism of seniority under which this constitutional resolu-
tion is being prescnted is the only justification for the steps
being taken or suggested by the government today.
Now, if it wcre only a matter of federalism of seniority, l
would sit down immediately, and the answer would be obvious
to me: I would have to vote no. But the problem is more
complex. indeed, as long as we have not determined, us
Canadians, the respective balance offered by those two con-
cepts, those two visions of Canada, that on the one hand, of the
pan-Canadian federalism, the federalism of seniority which is
that of the Right Hon. Prime Minister and others, and on the
other hand, the federalism based on n community of communi-
ties of which the provinces are the main protagonists, and
which the Progressive Conservative Party espoused in this
House and also champions, then l feel it will be next to
impossible to solve our constitutional problems once and for
I (1500)
On the other hand, if we realize as l do, all things con~
sidered, the failure of that pathetic contest lust September, of
that battle of lenders trying before us or before the television
cameras to answers those some questions, as long as that
problem is not solved, it will remain for me a constitutional
status quo.
We are therefore facing an alternative which is not really
one. The failure of September establishes the status quo for ull
practical purposes‘ -and I will come back to tlnil—»nn|ncly,
that we are ratifying a constitutional bid for power in the
name of principles which may be tangent in many respects but
which give us some hope of :1 brcuktln-ough. However, l would

lvlnrch 13, 1981 COMMONS
like to state again my own views on this matter which indeed
iunounts to Pascal’s wager.
Third proposition. I do not agree with the argument to the
affect that we forgo our responsibilities when we ask the
pnrliament of Westminster to make a decision for us.
Once the concept of a federalism of seniority is accepted, if
not in essence at least in its application here, it is actually the
(‘3nnndian people who are dealing with this matter. Along with
our colleagues opposite, we represent the Canadian people.
And after we have discussed all those issues ad nauseam and
mndc our decision, I feel it would be pointless to ask a foreign
l‘urliament to pass judgment on our decision; it should accept
it. This does not necessarily mean that this process is political—
ly fair or not, but as far as its legitimacy is concerned, I think
thnt there is no other alternative once our decision has been
uuule, and the Parliament in Westminster has to agree. Fourth
proposition. Some people have suggested that the resolution
hcforc us is a valid answer to the referendum commitments
tnudc to Quebec. On this assertion, I must say that I readily
ugroo with my colleague the hon. member for Montmorency
(Mr. Duclos) in answering no! This is not an answer to our
referendum commitments, this is an instrument which the
government is acquiring for its own use, for the use of all
(fnnndians, rightly or wrongly, hoping that this new procedure
will provide a way out of the deadlock and bring about the
ulumges that Canadians and Quebecers want. However, when
one contends that this is a final or even a partial response to
our referendum commitments, personally, I do not agree.
l’il“th proposition. It has been asserted that hon. members
foil, or were actually pressed by considerations of a partisan
nnture. To be honest, Mr. Speaker, as far as I am concerned,
this is not the case. I will do my utmost to explain the decision
l will take when the time comes to vote. I resent somewhat the
nltitude taken by the Progressive Conservative Party when
tlioy decided not to vote on the first amendment they intro-
tluccd. This would have given other members a chance to
Introduce other amendments which, in turn, could have been
ilchn ted and voted on in this House.
To sit on this amendment for five weeks will result in just
one thing: it will encourage the government into eventually
limiting the debate. This is what I regret deeply. On the other
hniul, if the Conservative Party had agreed to give this I-louse
the opportunity to have :1 vote every three or four days, and
rleoidc on the many amendments that would have been intro~
tluoed by members on both sides of the House, we would not
find ourselves in this cornelinn situation as we are now. Mr.
.‘»‘pn:ikci’, I for one would have liked to introduce amendments
to this resolution, but I will not bc able to do so, in the light of
recent developments and considering the strategy followed by
(In: t‘onscrvotive Party.
Mr. Speaker, I would now like to conic back-» e
An hon. Member: Question‘!
The Constitution
Mr. Lachance: Mr. Speaker, I believe I have had the
courtesy, since the start of this debate, to listen to my Con-
servative and other colleagues without interrupting them, and
I would ask the hon. member who just interrupted me to do
the same with me.
And now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to analyse thc resolu-
tion itself and its three main components. First, the charter of
rights. We have heard a lot about the constitutional entrench-
ment of a charter of rights. The least that can be snid is that
the principle itself does not command unanimity. Some people,
including a number of provincial premiers, spokesmen foi-
academic circles and certain members of the House claim thot
our rights do exist and it is not necessary to entrcnch them in
the Constitution, and there I agree with them. Those rights do
exist in Canada and, despite certain unfortunate events in our
history, there is no doubt that when it comes to protecting the
rights of the citizens the society in which we live is the envy of
many others. Other people, including other provincinl
premiers, this government, members of the Ilouse and repre-
sentatives of the academic world claim on the contrary that
the constitutional entrenchment of rights cnn only give thcm n
certain solemnity which in future will ennble Canadians to hnil
the Constitution in support of their rights.
Both arguments are valid. The fact is that we are studying n
resolution which calls for entrenching our rights and, to the
extent that it gives more to Canadians than it takes away from
them, I endorse it. That being so, it must still be pointed out
that Canadian courts have not been unduly favourable to the
existing Canadian Bill of Rights. After the spectacular Dry~
bones decision our highest court went through ii legal desert.
This conservatism of our courts, particularly the Supreme
Court of Canada, brings two things to my mind. On one hood,
those who claim that Canadian courts will become overly
active should rest easy, that is not in the traditions of our
courts. On the other hand, those who claim that the courts
should not be involved in politics can be reassured by the
tradition of lcgnl interpretation of those some courts. ln this
respect, the Przttte report in Quebec highlighted the difficulties
in interpreting Clause l of the resolution, particularly its
allegedly vcry vogue terminology, more cspceiolly clause l of
tho charter which reads as follows, and I quote:
l. The C:inndinn chnrter of rights and freedoms guurnntecs the rights and
freedoms set out in il subject only to such rcnsonnblc limits pcrscribcd by low its
cnn he domonstrnbly justified in n free nntl dcniocrnlic society.
Well, Mr. Speaker, this supposedly vague language can he
found in n number of Canndian statutes, for instance in the
Criniinnl Code as it relates to search and seizure. So our
Canodinn courts will not be breaking new grounds when llicy
interpret such u provision. Tluit some provision will undoubt–
cdly enable the courts to carry out the full intent of the
legislative will of Conadinn legislators within ])l’OVll1Cltll legis»
lnturcs or within the federal legislature of the Cnnutlion Por-
linment. But u number of objections hnvc been raised nhout

DEBATES _ lglgrclg 1}. W51
The Constitution
the charter of rights and I would like to consider now two of
the main objections from a Quebecer‘s standpoint.
First, the restrictions that the charter would impose through
the mobility rights which it confers upon the regulations and
the statutes of Quebec which govern, particularly in the con-
struction field, the entry of a worker from another province,
and second, the transfers between regions within the same
province. I would like to say that this provision would apply, of
course, only in cases of interprovincial mobility problems, and
here I make a digression. I would not want anyone in this
debate to accuse me of showing my centralizing or decentraliz-
ing inclinations, because as I see it the debate does not fit into
that context. I think the debate can be set in the following
context by answering three questions. First, what is the desir~
able balance between, on the one hand, the wish of the
provincial units, of the provincial entities, of the provincial
partners to develop their own territory and, on the other hand,
the need for the central entity to ensure a certain co~ordination
of the policies? Second, what is the linguistic balance? And
third, which government is best qualified to provide service to
the people?
Q (lSl0)
If there is one area where we have to consider these ques~
tions carefully, it is certainly the economy, and it is somewhat
strange that a provincial government, the Quebec government,
made much during the referendum campaign of its wish to join
a Canadian economic market without the present political
integration, of course, even though economic integration in the
European Common Market is much more significant than
ours. This led the federal government to table a paper in the
last round of constitutional negotiations which was entitled
“The Constitutional Foundations of the Canadian Economic
Union”. I would like to quote from this paper, Mr. Speaker:
In spite of the weaknesses of tho BNA Act, the ability of lhc fcdcrnl authority
to go against the operating rules of the economic union is limitcd by the fact that
Parliament is issued from the Canadian electorate as n \vhole and any fcilcral
government must retain lhc support of this elcclorale to slay in power. ‘Thus, nny
form of discrimination based on the province or area of residence, of loealiun, of
origin and of destination in fcdcral practices. laws and regulations nnnn bc
approved by a majority of the representatives of the people in the House of
Commons and may tllcreforc be dccmcd to be in the national interest. Political
and public debates as well ns the regular representations made by lhc provinces
concerning the relative equity or inequity of federal policies and prngi-runs givo
nearly daily evidence of tho cfl’ectivcncs.»’ of this constraint.
The legislatures are not subject to the some constraints when they puss
discriminatory legislation hccnusc catch of them is accountable only lo thc
elcclornlc of one province. (:O|ISCl[||C|llly, the effectiveness of the Cilflillllilll
economic union relics perhaps loo much on lhc specific distribution of powers
bclwccn the two levels of govcrnmcnl, which on the olhcr hand results to n largo
cxlcnl from a legal inlcrprolzilion. ‘l‘]n|s, whcn n dccrcc seems to restrict lhc
authority of Pnrlinmenl as regards inlcrprovincinl lrndc, the provinces can
nutonialicnlly, in view of thc lack of special provisions regulating the opcrnlion
of lhc economic union, usc their legislative powers to divide the (.‘anndi.’m
market. When the particular interests of cnch province determine such n use of
provincial powers, the only constraint which can prcvcni the provinces from
acting in this way is the fear that lhc olhcr provinces may take retaliatory nclion.
Obviously, this constraint is more effective in the cnsc of less pupil lzltoil provinces
or those with n poorer economy.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, that the economy must be n priority
for both levels of government in any attempt at constitutional
reform. Having said this, I do not believe that there is rcnlly a
question of taking away from the provinces to give to the
federal government. I am not putting this question in that
spirit. On the contrary, the economic issue is perhaps lhc one
where the lack of agencies or entities likely to promote a boiler
coordination between the two levels of government is tho most
dramatic. We have on the one hand tho executive ofa province
and the federal executive, and on the other liuud, the provin»
cial legislative bodies and the federal legislative body.
However, as concerns the economy, there does not really
cxisi any institution, Mr. Speaker, which can promote the
co-ordination of regional objectives and integrate them within
a pan~Cana mcnt. I think that this question should be placed on the agenda
of n federal-provincial confcrcrlce in the very near future, and
having said this, if there is one right in the charter which I
believe to he basic and on which l have no sympathy with the
objections of the Quebec government, it is certainly the right
to mobility. This must be considered a basic right ll‘ \vc want to
maintain an economic union in Canada, removc restrict ions on
the flow of capital and expertise and reduce as much as
possible any action that the provinces and the federal govern-
ment may lake in certain cases to promote purely local ob_iec~
lives in relation to u national market. Discussions, on thcsc
matters, will have to take place as soon as possible in order to
achicvc truc economic integration in Canada, at least to lhc
same extent as our Iiuropcan partners within their cconomic
The other objection relates to language rights, and my
colleague for Montmorcncy-Orléans dcall with that umttcr at
length. First of all, I should like to say, Mr. Spct\l<cr, that this resolution by providing the cntrcnchmcnl of language rights suggests a grout vision of Canada. Unfortunately, l do not share that vision bccuusc basically l agree with what the Pepin~Rol>nrts rcporl said, namely, that as fur as lnngnngc
rights are concerned, the legislative action, thc main impact,
should come from the provinces. Wc ugrcc in principle; in
practice, l should likc Lo point out a number of differences. l
fccl that this resolution at last gives liircncli-Speaking minori-
lics outside Quebec an opportunity to asscrt their rights in zi
restrictive way in sonic cases, l admit. My colleague from
Montmorcncy~()|’lénns referred in pnrlicular to educational
institutions and the fact that although we cnlrcncli thc rights
lo those educational facilities the right to control them is not.
mcnlioncd. That is n very serious problem. llowcvcr, I think
that thosc language rights, when wc enlrcnchcll them in
Section 23 of the resolution we wcrc muinly concerned with the
rights of francoplitmcs outside Qucltcc because, lcl us be
realistic, the lliiglisli-speaking minority in Qucbcc enjoys all

March I3, I981 COMMONS
those rights to a large extent and Quebec meets the conditions
set out in Section 23.
On the other hand, my colleague from Montmorency-
Orléans put forward the argument that in the very long term,
in 15, 20 or 25 years, Quebec could become another Alberta
and that as a result of the significant number of Canadians
from other regions, even English-speaking Canadians, who
would come and settle in Quebec, that linguistic balance could
be upset. I should like to say, Mr. Speaker, that I think the
survival of the French language in Quebec is an established
fnct. Since the quiet revolution, since French-speaking Que-
becers took over their own economic, social and political
levers, I think we now have in Quebec a flourishing and
growing French-speaking society. On the other hand, there is
outside Quebec a francophone community which is having
much difficulty, to say the least. If we can give those franco-
phones, through this resolution, the opportunity to gain suffi-
cient strength so that in due time, within their own province,
they can assert their rights without a constitutional or federal
prop, it‘s all the better. Meanwhile, if that influx does come
ten or 15 years from now, it would always be possible to
consider amending the Constitution.
I am much more concerned about the present than the
distant future, and though the immediate impact will be
negligible on Quebec, according to all statistics available, it
could be, hopefully, largely beneficial to the francophones
outside Quebec in promoting their aspirations in reaching that
degree of survival Quebec has now more than achieved in
respect of the promotion of French.
Mr. Speaker, it has often been said that it will be difficult to
amend the Constitution, especially in its charter components.
Let‘s be fair and honest between ourselves. I for one believe
that if some day the provinces were to decide they prefer to
lake back all the control and promotion in the language area, I
do not see how the central government could object to it, and
that amendment which could come up ten or 15 years from
now, on the instigation of one province or another, could very
likely pass, But, be that as it may, unlike my colleague from
Muntmorency-Orleans, I do not see in that provision the same
implication, the same dangerous aspect as he docs, and that is
why I do not share his concerns on this issue. I would also have
liked to make a detailed study of that Pratte report which
stated that the charter will have a negative impact on a
multiplicity of laws. Some mentioned that as many as 100
Quebec laws could be affected by the various provisions of thc
charter of rights and freedoms. Seine refer to section 23 of Bill
ltll. I made my position clear on that issue. Reference is made
to libel laws. There again, the Quebec charter of rights ensures
the same rights to the freedom of expression as the Canadian
The Constitution
Q (I520)
So how could the Quebec government eventually complain
that this new right, which supposedly will be entrenched in the
new Constitution, will run counter to a provincial provision,
when their own charter, which is one of the most comprehen-
sive in the whole Canadian political system, guarantees this
same right’! Hence, it will be possible for our courts to
interpret it in relation to the rights that are guaranteed and to
the infringements of certains laws with regard to this charter.
There has been some talk about anonymous pamphlets, and
the same applies. Reference has been made to freedom of
association and Quebec unions. On these issues, it is always
the test of reasonableness that will be applied, and I have tried
to show earlier that the Canadian courts would probably
implement, given their history and their jurisprudence, clearly
stated wishes expressed in political circles. There is a whole list
of them, but finally, Mr. Speaker, if you consider all those
rights that could be affected, that is in a first group, you can
already see that the Quebec charter of rights enshrines such n
right and that the Canadian charter of rights only gives them It
new dimension. Already it is at the provincial level, and then
actually, where there is absolutely no problem in allowing
Quebec citizens to bring the issue before the courts, the law
concerned could eventually be challenged before the courts,
but it will be the test of reasonableness that will be applied,
given the well-known conservatism of the courts.
The second provision of the charter on which I wish to dwell
for a moment is that which deals with federal-provincial
conferences and those two scheduled in the two coming yenrs.
Earlier, I dealt with this matter at the beginning of my speech.
I would simply like to say ho\v important and even essential it
is for Canada to review these institutions, and this, on a
priority basis. I was shocked and disappointed by the govern-
ment’s about-face on the old Clause 44 of the Scnutc resolu-
tion, Hon. members will remember that under such Clause 44
the Senate would have been given six month snspensive veto on
constitutional matters. That provision has now been dclctcd
ifroin Clause 44, and the Senate is now the only Canadian body
-to hold an absolute veto, at least in theory, on any constitution-
al amendment. Any other deadlock can be broken one way or
another, either by a referendum, through agreements on by o
group of provinces. But if by any chance the Senate decided
that some provision, some constitutional amendment agreed
upon by all partners were not acceptable to them, they are the
only body under the Constitution to wield that absolute veto.
Knowing the doubtful legitimacy, to say the least, of that
institution in terms of representation, I feel strongly enough
about this to state it is odious. And I must suggest. that on that
provision I would welcome an a mcndment to reintroduce
Clause 44 ifl could not do it myself, and also I would hope that
in the near future we either withdraw that veto or rcforin the
Senate into a house of the federation, a council of the fedora»
tion or a house of the provinces, or any other form proposed by

DEBATES M11 rch l3, l 98 l
The Constitution
either the province or various groups, to ensure better
representation in the upper chamber, at the regional level and
at the legitimacy level.
Concerning the amendment procedure, my colleague from
Montmorency-Orleans studied the question. In my view the
basic question is that the Victoria charter enshrines a perpetu-
al Quebec veto, and I must indicate on this matter that I have
a rather regional approach, Despite submission by the Quebec
government that there exists in any case a convention under
which no constitutional amendment can be approved without
Quebec‘s agreement, there is no such obligation either in fact,
in practice, in law or in our books. Under the Victoria charter
it would finally exist. I need not remind my colleagues, Mr.
Speaker, that for Quebec this is vital, considering that famous
difference referred to on language, cultural and other levels, to
have at least on these questions——and eventually some veto
might be considered for those matters only, but this is another
story—to have a final veto as I said on any amendment
depriving it in effect of the tools needed to promote its own
difference at the cultural and language levels.
Further, I understand very well the frustration of some of
my colleagues from other provinces that do not have that veto.
In that respect, the Victoria formula is not perfect. But the
alternative is a consensus, some other type of formula. In any
event, the provinces—~and this in my view ultimately justifies
the proposed amending formula—will have two years to agree
among themselves on an acceptable formula. I listened with
interest the proposal made by the hon, member for Edmonton
East (Mr. Yurko) in his contribution. He was then advocating
a regrcuping based on population rather than a regrouping on
a regional basis. A group of provinces which would account for
25 per cent of the population anywhere in Canada would then
have a veto right. I must admit that I very much agree with
this formula, which is in my opinion a better arrangement than
the one suggested here which has a purely regional basis. Let
me give you one simple example, Mr. Speaker. Let us assume
that Newfoundland has jurisdictional problems concerning its
offshore resources, would it not be logical for this province to
join in a common front with Alberta and Saskatchewan, for
instance? On the other hand, British Columbia, faced with
gishing problems, could join in with New Brunswick and Nova
In summary, regional considerations are sometimes artifi-
cial. I like the formula put forward by the hon. member for
Edmonton East. With respect to the referendum, I believe, or
the deadlock-breaking mechanism, again I shall be voting
against amendment put forward by the Progressive Conserva-
tive Party. Why? Because I believe there must be some kind of
constitutional deadlock-breaking process. Besides, I would cer~
tainly agree to give all the provinces an equal right to resort to
the referendum process should there develop a deadlock. In
fact, as you know it, Mr. Speaker, insincerity knows no such
preferences that it should always be on the same side.
I am about to conclude, Mr. Speaker. At the very beginning
of my speech, I referred to the Pascalinn wager; that is,
whether unilateral action on the one hand and the temporary
consecration of this seniority federalism on the other hand
were justified in the present situation. As far as I nrn con»
cerned, the Pascalian wager goes along the following, lines:
Should I vote againts it, or in other words, should this resolu-
tion be defeated in the House, we shall be going back lo the
September conference, to the failure of constitutional talks,
and being a realistic man, I do not agree with those who say
that the exercise can be started afresh. The bona fide commit-
ment which followed the Quebec referendum did not succeed
in overcoming these problems, in bringing about a consensus. l
do not see how we could succeed now. On the other hnnd, this
constitutional bid for power, Mr. Speaker, can lend to either
one of two things: either it fails and the bitterness created by
this proposal would therefore put us right back to squn re one.
And then, we will have as well :1 failure on our hands. So, and
that is my contention, Mr. Speaker, this “coup de force”, will
bring about a change. How will that be effected‘? Within two
years, we will have an amending formula which will be either
good or bad, but that is not the point. The point is that we will
have an amending formula which can be used to improve
things. By then, we will have the will to use that new lonl lo
make changes be it only to react against the negative attitude
of some people about the content of the formula, This is my
view, Mr. Speaker, I have no other choice.
My colleague from Montmorency~Orleans said that hu would
rather have the status quo than the resolution. I say that this
resolution is better than the status quo and that is why, in spite
of very serious reservations, I will vote for it. In closing, l
would like to add a few comments about Clause I33. l know
that some hon. members from Ontario on this side of the
I-louse have serious reservations about the lack of n provision
in the resolution, making I33 applicable to and enforceable in
their province.
It is to be hoped, Mr. Speaker, that the election soon to be
held in that province will give those on the provincial political
scene a more generous view of the voters they wish to win over,
and that they will not resort to hiding bchind a hypolhcticnl
backlash for the purpose of discarding their responsibilities. In
this regard, I congratulate Mr. I-latfield for his action, which l
believe to be such that it will contribute to the progress of the
constitutional debate. Mr. Speaker, I shall close with n quota-
tion. As you know, the Quebec members of this llousc hnvc
been accused by their fellow Qnebecers of being traitors. As
much as I accept such criticisms-~–somowhnt like an artist will
accept any criticism, whether good or bad ~-~l still find lltcm
hurtful and painful. I therefore wnnl to close by quoling from
remarks made by the hon. Minister of Transport (Mr. Pepin)
on October 21, I980, as reported on page 3892 of Ilansarrlz
Compromise, said the lnlc lion. Guy l”nvrc:\u, is “lhc meeting pninl ln:l\vcc|\
thc lhouglils of two intelligent beings“. As John Kennedy wrote in “l’rolilcs in

_f\t1H|l‘I:tiilNi>2_, I981 COMMONS
(‘|nnprou\i.\’o docs not mcan cowardice. Indeed, it is frequently the compromis-
urit mul eonclliutors who are faced with the severest tests of political courage as
nuty nppnxo the extremist views.
The content of the resolution bcforc us is a compromise between those who
wniltcti more nnd those who wanted less and those who wanted both more and
lime. it inuy not fully satisfy every one of us—or any one of us for that matter-
init It nluntld be accepted, in my view, by the greatest number of people as a first
I hnvu lenrned throughout the years that to compromise with others, one must
(Hill uomproinisc with himself. I cannot ask others to give ii I remain ungiving in
my mvu first choices of means toward an end which I share with others.
Ho, I nun compromising, as I should.
I lt‘ngli.rli]
Mr. Terry Sargeant (Selkirk~Interlakc): Mr. Speaker, like
hint. members who have spoken before me, I am pleased,
proud and even a bit humble about participating in this
tiobulc. I suppose my main worry is that at this point almost
ovorytlting has been said and most of the substantive points
lmvc been addressed by those who have gone before me.
Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, I feel I can offer some new points
of vicw and perhaps reinforce some that have been expressed
by my colleagues
I share the concern expressed by many about why we are
doing this now, why are we spending so much of the very
important and very limited time of the House and its members
in debating the Constitution when thcrc are so many other
ltntucs critical to the well-being of the country. I think of our
hclcngucred economy, our disgracefully high unemployment
nttti our energy situation, among others.
Frotn the replies to questionnaires that I scnt out in my
umistitucncy, it is clear that the issue of most concern is none
of the foregoing, and it is certainly not the Constitution. As a
mutter of information, it is the threat posed by the Garrison
tilversion project in North Dakota.
In the first caucus meeting of our party after the constitua
Iionul proposal was presented last October, I argued the point
tlutt the government was using this issue as a whitewash in
nrtlcr to divert attention from the fact that it had no answers
for the more important and more immediate concerns of
(Ihtundians. Since neither I nor my party call the shots in this
llousc, we had to play the constitutional game. I do not think I
need point out just how outstanding many of my caucus
cullcngucs were at playing this game. The package before us
lotluy is vastly superior to that which was presented last
thstobcr. In no small part that is due to the fine work done by
my tzollcztgucs.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Snrgeant: Before I address the substance of this pack~
tutu I should like to put some of my background thoughts on
|’iuun”ti. As a springboard into this dissertation, I should like to
quote thc final sentence of the speech given in this debate by
my friend, the hon. member for Nunatsiaq (Mr. lttinuar). lie
iuilil; “Only together can we build a great nation.”
The Constitution
What are we doing when we construct a constitution, Mr.
Speaker? The Oxford Dictionary defines a constitution I18 at
body of fundamental principles according to which u stutc is
governed. That is a little bland. A constitution is, or should be,
a body of principles upon which we build a nation. The BNA
Act of I867 was such a document. So was the American
constitution of some 200 years ago. Will this document of
l98l be the same’? I think the answer is both ycs a nd no, the
difference lying in what kind of nation wc want to build.
Permit mc to digress a little, Mr. Speaker. At the turn of the
century, the prime minister of the day, Sir Wilfrid Lnuricr,
whom I considered to have been not a bad sort even though he
was a Liberal, said that the twentieth century would belong to
Canada. And well it should have and could have, Mr. Spcnkcr,
had it not been squandered by successive Liberal and ‘l‘ory
governments. These Liberal and Tory governments allowed
our natural resources and our industrialcomplcx, our vcry
economic well-being, to be pillagcd by n0n~Canadiain interests
to the point where today we are the most foreign controlled of
the so-called western economics.
My vision of what Cttnnda should and could be is very
different from what Libcrttl and Tory governments have made
of this country.
Let me take you back to I967, the year of our centennial us
a nation. I graduated from university that year, the first clnss
of the post war boom babies to do so. We were in the
ascendancy. At about that time, those of us under 25 made up
about half of the population of North America. We mnrchcd
to the drum of the new left, seeing this as the natural evolution
of the world our forcbcnrcrs had built and our parents had
fought to prcscrvc. We recognized the incredible potcntinl of
Canada and planned to be part of the development of that
potential. If the first 6’7 years of this century had not rcully
belonged to Canada, nobody could have convinced me or my
peers in 1967, that the next 67 years would not belong to us.
As well, I967 was a ycur of nationalistic fervour. We put
our country on display to the world and the worlcl guvc its
approval. I recall nil too well ninking the trek from Winnipeg
to Montreal on two different occasions, once by thumb, once
by car, to sec Expo. l remember my pride at singing O Czmntln
in the middle of the evening in a then popular bur on St.
Cntherincs Strcct. livcryonc in thc plzicc put down his beer,
stood up, Zllld joinctl in the singing. It was great to be n
Canadian that summer. Wc hnd common bonds. Wc visiicti
our brothers and sisters across the land, getting to know nnd
appreciate the differences in our lnnds. And wc had the future
by tho tail. Cnnudn would finally claim the twentieth century
as its own.
All this whilc, I was not cvcn a Cnnnrlian citi’/,en. liven
though I had livctl hcrc nil but the first your of my lifc and
knew no other place, l hud been born in Austrnlin, and
although tl Cunztdiztn in fuel, l wns not by lIlW. That chnngcti
in the spring of 1968 when l swore ztllcginncc to this country.
It was in these years of the lutc 1960s that I started to
dcvclop my vision of Cmuttln. At that time, the then prime
minister, Mikc l’cnrson, just before hc lcft office, started n new

DEBATES I\/larch I3, I981
The Constitution
round of constitutional reassessment, another move to repatri-
ate the BNA Act. This round started by Pearson is just now
reaching its culmination.
I mentioned earlier that my vision of Canada is vastly
different from that which has been created by our inept
governments of the last century. In the same manner, my
vision of the ideal constitution is equally different.
I also said earlier that a constitution should be a document
upon which to build a nation. I do not see any evidence in this
document for building the kind of Canada I would like to see. I
should qualify that and say that I do not sec enough evidence
in this document for building the kind of Canada I would like
to see.
There are some historically important measures in it. I refer
specifically to the provisions for equalization, to the bill of
rights and its guarantee of rights to women, to the hand-
icapped, to multicultural groups among others, to the recogni-
tion of the duality of this country, and to the recognition of
aboriginal rights. I consider these to be major points. And for
these important reasons _I will support this package. But at the
same time, it is still a capital “L” Liberal document. I for one
do not want to build a capital “L” Liberal Canada. Were I
drafting a constitution for Canada, I would reflect more the
philosophy of Thomas More than that of Machiavelli.
I would include all of the specific points I just mentioned.
But rather than institutionalizing a nation built on laissez-faire
capitalism, I would want to be able to build a nation based on
egalitarianism. Canada has that potential.
Q (I540)
Consider the size of our country. Consider the incredible
wealth we have here in minerals, oil and gas, forestry and
human resources. There is no reason why in a land such as
Canada one particular man should be able to cover his drive-
way in crushed meteorite because it is not dusty while another
man, such as one man in my riding, lives in an underground
hovel covered with logs and earth. You can bet that is dusty.
There is no reason why Indians in northwestern Ontario should
be forced to live on mercury-polluted fish, or why a man is
forced to sleep on the streets in Vancouver. In Canada, there is
simply no excuse for this.
In constructing the Constitution now, we are laying the
foundation for building the Canada of the future. I still believe
in the potential of Canada that I had in mind in the 1960s. I
believe that we can and must build that kind of nation. The
question remains whether this Constitution gives us a good
enough foundation to do that. I think it goes only part way.
I have serious reservations about the process we have all
been following in this particular act of constitutional construc-
tion. I do not refer necessarily to unilateral action. While on
the one hand I might have preferred an approach that was not
unilateral, I can accept, intellectually, the need and the
legitimacy for such unilateral action. I will return to this point
in a few moments.
In the opening of his comments, my friend, the hon. member
for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Deans) said:
I have listened to many points of view, and l have found it sometimes difficull lo
determine exactly how much of what is being said is real, how much is partisan,
how much is misinformation. I assume it is all snid honestly–»
I agree with his sentiments up to the last point. I cannot
assume it is all said honestly.
If all of us in this process had been dealing honestly, we
would not have the conflicts and divisions that we see today. If
what we all said had been real, non-partisan and informed, we
would be much closer to agreement than we are today. I speak
not only of the members of this House but also of members of
the Senate, members of the provincial legislatures and of the
many academics, journalists and others who have offered their
thoughts on the subject.
In this House, I have seen members of the party to my right
act in what I consider to be only partisan interests. Out of the
I-louse, I need only refer to the ads placed in newspapers
throughout the country by the Conservative Party pandcringto
the prejudices of many.
I have seen the government members opposite not in what I
consider to be nothing more than self~serving cynicism. To me
the need for including guarantees of rights for women, the
handicapped and natives should have been self-evident, not
just so hon. members could secure a few more votes.
I have seen some members of the Senate—~a body which, as
constituted at present, I consider to be unjust and pervcrsc—-
balk becuusc their already unjustified power was to be slightly
reduced. I have seen provincial premiers act purely in sclf~
interest, not in the interest of the country as a whole. One is
reminded of Mark Antony‘s address to the Romans. In part it
They thnl have (lone this deed are honourable:
What prlvnlc griefs they huvc, alus, I know not,
‘That inadc them do it: they are wise and honourable.
And will, no doubt, with reasons answer you.
We know full well that Brutus, Cassius and Casca were not
honourable men. I fear that a more fitting epithet for many of
us involved in this process might be in the last lines of the
same speech when Mark Antony says:
Now lei it work. Miscliief, thou art afoot.
Take lhuu wlial course thou will!
In recent years, and more so in recent months, we have
heard much of western alienation. Let us not kid ourselves, it
does exist. While I cannot subscribe to the methods used by
many western Tories and by many western oil interests in their
approach to the matter, as 21 westcrncr, I know full well that
this alienation must be addressed very soon, The address
cannot be made only in economic terms. It must be made in
terms of the distribution of power and, more important, in
terms of attitude.
For example, in I867 and 1870, just after lands which are
now the prairie provinces were bought from the Iludsnn’s Bay
Company, Louis Riel, the Metis, and the Scottish settlers at
Red River were forced to take action in self-prcsorvzttinn when

,iY’!!’i9!!.l,lQ98l COMMONS
nu influx of Upper Canadians felt that since they had bought
lliu lorrhory, they could take over the properties of those who
lhttl lived there for half a century and more. That was example
htlnihur one. This plundering has continued for more than a
utnitury. ll must stop now if we are to build the nation of the
mun century which many of us envisage. This Constitution
vnuhi have addressed this situation much better. What this
urriiiititiilional process of 1980 and I981 needs is some
I find it ironic that in his introduction of President Reagan
in this l-louse on Wednesday, the Prime Minister (Mr. Tru~
ilunu) spoke of the Polish people using both revolution and
tivoiullon in working out their own destiny, the irony being
lhni his own document for Canada’s destiny contains nothing
ruvoluiionary and not enough that is evolutionary at a time
when Canada cries out for a creative, peaceful revolution. It is
lritiilcriliy a dull document.
In 1981, Canada needs the vision of men like John A.
Mncdonald, George Etienne Cartier or George Brown, or for
lhnl mutter Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. With all
tine respect to the excellent and hard work that many members
til’ this House put into our Constitution of I981, I have seen
lilll one person whom I consider to have vision in the process of
nnllon building. I am referring to my friend, the hon. member
for Nunatsiaq who has the decided advantage of representing
nu entire race, the Canadian Inuit who will now be able to
participate fully in building their own place in the Canadian
llud the government been adventurous and adopted a daring
vliiluiiary approach in drafting this Constitution, Canada
would have been much better served.
In these few opening comments I have tried to outline
hrlofly my vision of Canada and my reservations about the
Ilbllity of this Constitution to allow us to attain that vision. I
hnve suid that I would have liked to have seen a much different
typo of package. But I recognize that my desire is iiinited by
tho Incl that this is a Liberal document. I also recognize that it
ht n document which has been improved greatly by the work of
runny opposition members and of many Canadian individuals
uiul groups who participated in the process.
Let me say at this point that I have long believed in the need
for our country to have its own Constitution. Since my child-
liuutl I have been interested in politics. As a youngster in
uhiuumtary school I knew that Canada did not have a Consti-
lullon. I certainly did not understand the full ramifications of
whnl n Constitution meant, but I knew that we would be better
oil‘ with our own Constitution. I well remember in my third
your political science course reading about such things as
.l(.‘l’t3 and learning that until I949 the ultimate court in
Hnundu was not even in our country, that it was 21 judicial
tlnlillllil of the Privy Council of England. I wondered why this
wns the case.
I urn quite receptive to the idea and I favour patriatiou us
u|)i)|\ us possible. It is for this reason that, although I recognize
tho mtiny limitations of this package, I also recognize its many
iltiongtlis. I will, therefore, support it.
The Constitution
I should like now to address a few comments to those
strengths. First, I want to comment on the mutter of unilateral
action. I mentioned earlier that intellectually l can support
both the need and legitimacy for such action. I also mentioned
that I would have liked to have seen a broader base of support.
I do not think there is any argument on that point. All of us
would like to have seen the premiers and the Tories support
the package. But I cannot support a need for unzmiuiity. So
long as the premiers insisted on unanimity, the prospects of
ever patriating the Constitution were hopeless. To suggest at
this time that we go back to the provinces to make one more
try for such unanimity is to dream in teehuicolour. I certainly
cannot agree with the premier of my province, a person of
whom I have not been especially proud throughout this process
who, during his speech in London, was asked by ri British
Labour MP if the requirement for unanimous consent by l 1
governments is not somewhat exaggerated. This Labour MP
asked where in the world there is a federal system that
requires unanimous agreement. According to press reports,
Premier Lyon replied, “The answer to that question is, in
Canada”. I find it rather amusing that the party of John A.
Macdonald, the Progressive Conservative Purty at both the
provincial and federal level, should be screaming nnd weeping,
for unanimity.
Q (I550)
The party to my right is using its weapons, rather dubious
poll results, which might indicate the majority of Canadians
are against patriation. If old Sir John A. had used that
approach, if he had waited for unanimity among the colonies
and had asked for a popular mandate, where would we be
today? l will tell you one thing: we very likely would not be
living in a country called Canada as we know it. I refer hon.
members to an article in the Winnipeg Free Press of February
I3 of this year written by a former history teacher of mine,
named Lovell Clark of the University of Manitoba. I quote
some passages from it:
If Premier Lyon’s requirement of uuouiruily hurl prevailed in the past the
Dominion of Canada would certainly not have been crcnlcd in 1867, nurl if not
then, pcrhnps never»-
Anyonc who knows anything about the crucial events from I864 to |ll(|7
which cuhninulurl in lhc creation of Canurhi reulize.-r lhril the ruovuiuenl For
union of the colonies was not n mass or popular movement. ll was rullicr lhc
work of ii creative minority whom \vc rcfcr to as the linlliers of Cou|’urluruiio|i.
At Quebec City in October, 1864, the I-‘nlliers drew up lhc seventy-two resolu-
iions which, with little clinugo, baciuue the British North Ariruricii /lei of lilo‘/.
ll wus very much n Crmnrlinn document.
The Quebec Resolutions were not lhc result of il compncl nuiuug proviuuiul
governments, as is ofleu erroneously alleged. To begin with, the provinces of
Quebec and Ontario dirl not exist; they were created by the smut: ucl lhnl
crenlurl lhc Dominion of (lnuudn. Iustend, there wux the single colony of
Czuuulu, u union of Upper nntl Lower Cuunrln forunzrl iu I841. The iuarilirue
colonies were rcprcsenlurl by muuibers from both lhc goverurucnl and up|iosl|iou
benolies ofiheir legislatures.
It wns no purl of the intentions of the l”7illl0l‘$ to submit lhc Quebec
resolutions lo the people for upprovnl. If lhcy hurl (lone so there is lillle rloubl
that lhc proposnls for union would have been soundly defciued. The rcsolniinus
were dcbnlcri nurl npprovcrl by the legi.\‘|uturc of Cziiiiuln, but they were ucvcr
even lnirl before lhc lcgislulurcs of New Brunswick illlll Novn Scotiu.
In New Brunswick lhc government of Prcuiicr Leonurrl Tillcy was fur-our] inn;
nu election on the l$SllC1llI(i wus bnrlly benlen. /\u niili-(lorifcrlcrnlc gnvcriuucul

DEBATES March l3, l‘)l§l
The Constitution
replaced it. Thus the people of Ncw Brunswick were the only ones ever consulted
about the confederation proposals and they left no doubt of their opposition.
Premier Charles Tupper of Nova Scotia did not dare to lay the resolutions before
the legislature, so unpopular were they-—
What finally brought about the creation of the Dominion of Canada was the
perseverance of the Fathers of Confederation and external pressures from the
United States and Britain.
War was imminent with the United States because of the
northern states feeling their oats, having defeated the south,
and because of the Irish-American Fenians. The article
The role of the British government was of decisive importance in the achieve-
ment of confederation. Union would better enable the colonies to defend
themselves… Publicly, the British government made widely known to maritim-
ers its “strong and deliberate opinion“ that union of the colonies was “an object
much to bedesircd.”
Privately. the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick was told in no uncertain
terms that he was to work zealously to promote confederation. This he proceeded
to do. taking advantage of the Fenian menace in the spring of I866 to turn the
anti-Confederate government out of office by means that were of dubious
constitutionality. ln the ensuing elections the proconfedcration forces were
rcturncd to office, but not on the issue of confcdcration.
The lieutenant-governor of Nova Scotia, who had opposed confederation, was
replaced by a Nova Scotian hero of the Crimean War with instructions to
vigorously promote it. By those and other means, the reluctant maritimers were
dragged into the union.
It was only after the passage of the British North American Act through the
British Parliament in March I867 and the creation of t.he Dominion of Camtdu
on July I, that the Fathers submitted their handiwork to the judgment of the
people. In the elections for the first Parliament of Canada the confederation
coalition. now headed by Sir John A. Macdonald, won a majority in Onturio,
Quebec and New Brunswick, but was disastreusly defeated in Nova Scotia . . .
The premier of Nova Scotia, William Annand, and Joseph Howe led rt
delegation of provincial and federal representatives to London to demand thut
the British government “release thern from the toils of confederation into which
they had been dragged against their will”. which of course was clearly the
case . .. the British government absolutely declined to allow Nova Scotin out of
I would like to ask any of the members to my right whether
they think that confederation was such a bad deal, the confed-
eration that was brought about without the kind of unanimity
for which they ask for. I would like to say to my friends on the
right “I‘m sorry, you may be right to want a broader base of
support, but you are not right in insisting that we must huvc
While I much prefer old John A. to the person who fills that
seat today, John A. was just as bad at ramming things down
folks’ throats.
I should like now to turn my comments to some of thc other
points in this package. I would like to commcnt on the
amending formula, the so-called Victoria formula. On balance,
I suppose it is as good as any of the formulas for amending the
Constitution that have been put forward. I can agree with the
notion that we divide the country into four regions nnd have u
veto and a particular vote on future amendments, but thcrc is
one point that I find troubling. As a westcrner, it puzzles me II
bit. I must point out that this is probably the main complaint I
am getting from constituents in my riding. It refers to the fact
that in the western region we still have the requirement thut
two provinces representing 50 per cent of the population huvc
to agree to future amendments, whereas in the mar itimc sector
this is not the case.
This was changed to accommodate Prince Edward Islund.
The people in my province and the people of Suskutchewun
wonder why this same accommodation cannot be made for
Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It is zt small point. I have bccn
told that the reason the maritime provinces got this concession
was that their prcmicrs requested it and the reason lhc wcstcrn
region did not get it was that the premiers of the western
provinces did not request it.
This is not constitution-making; this is political guincsmnn-
ship. It is a small point that reinforces my earlier point about
western alienation. If this government rcully wants to nddrcss
western alienation, they should look at these vcry small points.
It would not take vcry much to give the snme conctzssion to the
western region with regard to the 50 per cent population rule.
I must point out that I find very distasteful Lhc (Ionscrvutivc
approach to this question. They recognize it is u bit of n
problem, but to print ads in ncwspupcrs across western Cuiiutin
which, as I mentioned earlier, really pander to the prc_itttiicc.~;
that try to create zt hatred among WCSlCl’lIl3l’$ for central
Cunudiztns is simply not u wny in which I would like to build
the future of this country.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Baker (Nepean-Carleton): That accusation is not so,
and you know it.
Mr. Sargeaut: Read this. I should like now to mnke some
comments on the equalization and the provincial resources
parts of this Constitution. I will only say 21 few words bccnnse
cthcrs in this caucus have addressed this issue and we nrc nil in
agreement on it. I consider both of these to be vcry important
issues. They are very important steps that can be used to build
this nution which l envision.
The resource umcndmcnt will ullow thc provinces to Ct)lI.\lt)ll-
dutc their base, to use their non-renewable resources as u base
upon which to build at sccurc rind divcr.~;il”icti econrnnic struc~
lure. The equalization formulu is one that is very important to
this purty as u democratic socialist pztrly, wherc rich parts oi‘
the country assist lhc poorer parts.
Tltcrc arc no urgumcnts that some provinces urc wcnlthicr
tlntn others. For this reason we believe in the constit.nLionuliz~
lug of the concept of equalization. We consider it to he n innjor
stop at this time. in the type of C-umttlu of which I spoke
eurlicr, the nccti for such cntrcnchtncnt would be irrelevant.
Once Canada becomes the truly cgtiliturinn stutc lhttt I visuul-
izc, cquitublc distribution of wcnlth will be ti mutter ofconrsc.
May l cull it four o’clock, Mr. Speaker‘?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. It being fottr 0’clucl< p.m., the
liuusc will now procccd to lhc consideration of privzttc mcm~
hcrs’ btisincss, as listed on t0rluy’s Ortlcr Pttpcr, numcly public
bills, notices of motions, privutc bills.

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