Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Establishment of Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (23 October 1980)

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Date: 1980-10-23
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1980 at 3979 – 4053.
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The House resumed, from Tuesday, October 21, consideration of the motion of the Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Social Development (Mr. Chrétien):
That a Special Joint Committee of the Senate and of the House of Commons be appointed to consider and report upon the document entitled “Proposed Resolution for a Joint Address to Her Majesty the Queen respecting the Constitution of Canada” published by the government on October 2, 1980, and to recommend in their report whether or not such an address, with such amendments as the committee considers necessary, should be presented by both Houses of Parliament to Her Majesty the Queen;
That 15 members of the House of Commons to be designated no later than three sitting days after the adoption of this motion be members on the part of this House of the Special Joint Committee;
That the committee have power to appoint from among its members such subcommittees as may be deemed advisable and necessary and to delegate to such subcommittees all or any of their powers except the power to report directly to the House;
That the committee have power to sit during sittings and adjournments of the House of Commons;
That the committee have power to send for persons, papers and records, and to examine witnesses and to print such papers and evidence from day to day as may be ordered by the committee;
That the committee submit their report not later than December 9, 1980;
That the quorum of the committee be 12 members, whenever a vote, resolution or other decision is taken, so long as both Houses are represented and that the joint chairmen be authorized to hold meetings, to receive evidence and…
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authorize the printing thereof, when six members are present so long as both Houses are represented; and
That a message be sent to the Senate requesting, that House to unite with this House for the above purpose, and to select, if the Senate deems it to be advisable, members to act on the proposed Special Joint Committee.
Madam Speaker: On Tuesday last, October 21, 1980, when the House was considering government business No. 18 dealing with the Constitution of Canada, the hon. member for Yukon (Mr. Nielsen) offered an amendment which the Chair took under advisement. I might read it for the benefit of hon. members.
That the motion be amended by adding thereto after the sixth paragraph the following:
Notwithstanding any standing orders or practices of either House, the committee shall have the power to table a minority report, with its main report, and any such report shall be tabled by the committee if signed by three or more members of the committee.
The Chair has some serious concerns about the procedural acceptability of this motion.
First of all, the amendment seeks to change the powers of the committee to be established in a way which is not contemplated by the rules or practices of the House as they now stand. The submission of minority reports from committees to this House is not part of our parliamentary practice. This was clearly stated by Mr. Speaker Lamoureux in a ruling on March 16, 1972, in which he quoted paragraph 319 of the fourth edition of Beauchesne, which I do not need to repeat now. I might add that the same provision appears in citation641 of the fifth edition of Beauchesne.
If the hon. member’s amendment were accepted, it would indeed amend our standing orders in an indirect way. As hon. members know, amendments to standing orders can only be effected by unanimous consent or by a substantive motion preceded by a 48-hour notice. Therefore, I cannot accept the hon. member’s amendment.
Mr. Dick: A good Liberal ruling.
Mr. Fred McCain (Carleton-Charlotte): Mr. Speaker, my constituency lies in that area of Canada which might well be called the cradle of confederation. It is just a little extension from Charlottetown. It was in that cradle that the concept of confederation was conceived, and in that plan four then independent countries rendered unto the confederation of Canada their own independence to become part of a greater team.
In that rendering of their independence to the rest of Canada they conceived a plan in which the first ministers of this land, now 11 in all, were each to be one among equals. The practice and procedures of confederation from that moment until this Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) took office were that, being a group of equals, the chairmanship revolved around, through, and among the provinces, and included the Prime Minister of Canada. This Prime Minister has chosen to dominate the various meetings of first ministers of Canada. He has imposed himself upon this nation not as one among equals, but he has self-esteemed himself as the first among equals.
Under this situation the spirit of confederation cannot function, and unity cannot prevail.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: Canada has long had two competing parties. One of them was the Liberal party. It was a proud party and it has been successful in the political scenes of Canada because the Liberal party controlled its governments. This government has escaped from the judicious control of its party.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: If any member in this House does not believe me, let him read Canada’s political history from cover to cover, let him spend some months, as I have, in neglect of my constituency problems, in neglect of functions in my constituency, to devote full time to the problem of the Constitution of Canada.
I regret that the Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Collenette) should say that I was passed this speech by somebody to deliver it in the House. That may be his fashion of operation, Mr. Speaker, but it is not mine, nor has it been, for his information, the fashion of operation of any speaker in this party on this subject.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: There has been no coercion, there has been no suggestion as to “what you say or how you say it,” and this includes me, at this, the most crucial moment perhaps of all in the debate. I am proud that at this moment in time I can stand here in defence of Canada. I sang “O Canada” with a zest’ ‘with which I never sang it before.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear! An hon. Member: No Liberal stood up.
Mr. McCain: Never before did I feel that I was complying in totality with the words “I stand on guard for thee” as I do at this moment, and as I sang in this House.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: I sat here watching every Atlantic member who was in his seat rising in contempt of the Atlantic area which cradled confederation and which has cherished it. I think I heard the bones of the Fathers of Confederation rattling all over Atlantic Canada as these people, who have not studied the consequence of what we are considering today, rose and voted for closure on this item. Mr. Speaker, it is an insufferable neglect of duty and I hope that, particularly those from Newfoundland, when they go back, will receive the treatment which they deserve.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: They have confronted the opinion of every legislator, regardless of whether or not they support Mr.
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Peckford that Newfoundland should have control of its resources both onshore and offshore and free passage of its renewable resources to any markets to which they might deliver them. Every member of Newfoundland’s legislature supports that, and the vote has to be interpreted as being against that. I say that because, although we have been pledged ownership of resources by some who have spoken on the government side of the House, the controls which will be imposed by the constitutional proposals, and the scurrilous agreement between the NDP and the Liberal party, put ownership of a resource in no substantial position of importance any longer because the control of the resource passes over from those independent entities to the Government of Canada.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: I just want you, members from Atlantic Canada, to understand what you are voting for and what interpretation can be put on this very innocuous-appearing document which carries within it powers of interpretation which go far beyond the understanding of the parliamentary secretary and of the President of the Privy Council.
Canada is in jeopardy, it cannot be otherwise described. I have assumed this position, not because of my party but because my party and I agree wholeheartedly. It is a position against which I have been advised by constituents because there is no understanding among the masses in Canada of the real consequence of the ultimate interpretation of the resolution, section by section. There is no understanding that Canada will now be governed by the courts instead of by the legislation of this land, that Canada may have its rights jeopardized in the courts and they will not be correctable by legislation in this land but will instead demand an amendment to the constitution.
How could any democratic-minded person, in all honesty, if he proclaims democracy as his base, vote without understanding the possible interpretations? I think the weakness of the case can be well pointed out by the fact that not a single Liberal member in the House has offered an argument in support of the document which we are at present considering and debating. They have shafted us with their barbs. They have had their tantrums, as did the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) yesterday, a perfectly planned theatrical tantrum which got him the publicity he wanted. It was a disgrace to the operation of Parliament from a minister of the Crown, particularly one holding his portfolio.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: I have listened with great care to many speeches, and have read others, and I have not found one supporting statement or argument for a clause, word or phrase, but merely a contention that it must be there. The government now is afraid that the milk chocolate with which it has adorned this instrument will dissolve, and that the intelligent people of Canada will begin to spread the word that it is only used to encrust a bitter lemon. It has been a matter of camouflage and misleading information promoted both by speakers in this House and a $30 million propaganda program to advise the people, “We are working for you, God bless you, you are in safe hands.” Little do they know what is happening. Now they are afraid of time because there is an obvious change of opinion and because I and others members of this House, with some danger to our own political future, recognizing that principles are more important than an individual political future, have taken this unpopular stand, as every poll in this country has proclaimed. But we have taken the logical stand, and logic and right will prevail, Mr. Speaker.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: Why the rush? I want to know what is the importance of time in the discussion of this item. Why should discussion of an item of such consequence to the country be restricted in time when the consequence of the time spent and the decision reached will be timeless as it goes forward in the history of this country? What is the justification for the restriction of time and for closure? In the interests of a happy, prosperous and harmonious Canada co-operating together for prosperity in the future, I make a plea that sanity may prevail and emotion may subside so that reason can rule and we get what we need in a constitution. I support human rights, etc., and let no one have the unadulterated gall to deny that. So in order that we may have more time, I plead with the House that it may accept this motion which I make, seconded by the hon. member for Nepean-Carleton (Mr. Baker):That the motion be amended by deleting the sixth paragraph and substituting therefor the following: “That the committee submit its report not later than February 12, 1981; that the committee have power to adjourn from place to place within Canada; that the committee be empowered to retain the services of advisers to assist in its work; and that it also be empowered to retain such professional, clerical and stenographic help as may be required.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. McCain: I move that motion in recognition of the fact that there are people who have spent a lifetime studying the constitutional history, constitutional procedures, the constitutional possibilities, and the consequences of hasty adoption ofconstitutions in other domains, and that this constitutionshould not he arrived at under datelines and deadlines. Beforeit becomes law, or before it is submitted to the Parliament ofthe United Kingdom, it must have the pooling of the wisestmen in this domain to phrase it so that it will last. It shouldnot be the hasty phrases committed to paper as they were inthe PM’s office or in some other marble alley somewhere outof sight in this domain of ours, without proper understandingof the ultimate consequences.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Order, please. With respect to the motion moved by the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte (Mr. McCain), because this may occur again in the proceedings, I want to indicate that in view of the fact Standing Order 33 is in play at the moment, I think it is the…
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obligation of the Chair to take into consideration any amendments such as the present one and to give a ruling on them as quickly as possible. I would propose that the debate continue and that a ruling will be prepared within the next few moments.
Hon. William Rompkey (Minister of National Revenue): Mr. Speaker, I do not have time to deal with all of the remarks of the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte (Mr. McCain), but I should like to deal with one point because it affects my constituency so much. He somehow implied that voting for this motion, as we did today, those of us from Atlantic Canada and from Newfoundland somehow voted against the transmissionof hydro through Quebec to market. I want to tell him that thePrime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) is on public record at the firstministers’ conference–
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Rompkey: —as saying that the federal government is totally behind the province of Newfoundland in the transmission of hydro through Quebec, providing a market can befound for that power. It is quite clear it in no way affects thisvote at all.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Rompkey: I wanted to speak about that point, but also I want to address myself to the resolution before us. We are discussing here the foundation of our future. We have an opportunity to set down the ideals on which our way of life is based.
We may have thought that we were creating a country in
1867, but surely a modern and independent country must have a constitution of its own and the power to change that constitution, a constitution which sets down for all time the rights of individuals. That is what this motion is all about. It seeks to ensure that Canadians everywhere have the fundamental freedom that people in other free nations enjoy; that people have the democratic rights to which they are entitled; that there be no discrimination in this country on the basis of race, ethnic
origin, colour, religion, age or sex; that the citizens of the
English and French-speaking minority in any province have the right; to educate their children in that minority language wherever numbers warrant; that mobility rights ensure the right of every citizen to move freely from one province to another, to establish a residence and to seek a job anywhere in Canada.
Our people—and I am talking of the people in Newfound-land and Labrador–no matter where they are, where they were born or what their ethnic origin, have never been con-fined to a particular region of the country. Our people have been free to go where fortune beckoned them. Before confederation between Newfoundland and Canada, Newfoundlanders travelled the oceans of the world, crossing the sea to a variety of foreign lands in pursuit of trade and commerce. They came to know many countries, and many countries came to know them as seamen and businessmen.
Since confederation in 1949, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have travelled to all parts- of Canada—to Fort McMurray, to Toronto, to Calgary, and to Galt. They have settled, raised their families and pursued their careers. In doing so, they have made themselves not less Newfoundlanders but all the more Canadians. It is true some of them have gone of necessity and have regretted that necessity, but others have gone through choice. Of the latter some have obtained the highest offices in this land. Yet, certainly the effect of thepresent provincial regulations would be to confine our peopleto the province.
Surely if Newfoundland would keep other Canadians out, it stands to reason other provinces would be forced to keep out Newfoundlanders. The outcome of that policy would be to balkanize, to build walls, to restrict Canadians to a region.This is clearly wrong. This country belongs to all of us; not justa part of the country but all of Canada. Each of us should befree to move and to settle in any part.
Mr. Clark: Who wrote that speech?
Mr. Rompkey: This freedom must be written for all time in our constitution.
The present government proposal also establishes in the constitution the principle of equalization. If any province in confederation has benefited from this policy, surely it has been Newfoundland and Labrador. There is no Newfoundlander today, no Labradorian today, not a single one of us from Cape Chidley to Cape Race, whose life is not immensely better because we are today Canadians. At the present time 60 per cent of the provincial budget comes from Ottawa. Of course this does not include the individual transfer payments such as family allowance, unemployment insurance and pensions, which are an attempt to equalize the financial situation of individuals.
People in provinces want to be able to stand on their own two feet through income from the development of their own resources. But, until such time as this can be accomplished; they have a right to expect that the resources of the nation are used to ensure their services are up to a reasonable standard, for the fundamental principle of confederation is sharing, and the manifestation of that principle is the program of equalization.
The inconsistency of the provincial government of Newfoundland mystifies me. Are they saying that by rejecting this resolution they are rejecting the principle of equalization?-Quite clearly they are firmly rejecting the measure before the House of Commons at the present time. We know they have rejected the federal government offer of 100 per cent of the revenue which would normally accrue to a province from oil production. I am at a loss to know exactly what they Certainly they want to sustain their rhetoric; they want to rattle sabres; they want to hunt headlines; they want to bicker with the federal government.
I believe the people of Newfoundland understand the need for a strong national government. They are aware of the individual benefits such a government can provide, and I have
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listed some of them. They know from where the money has come to build the Trans-Canada highway and the major trunk roads in that province. They know who built the wharves, breakwaters and fishing boats. The people of Newfoundland know the need for a strong national government, a governmentwith the strength to help those who need it most. That is whythey will never condone the vision of Premier Peckford. That iswhy they will never agree with him that the federal government is merely a creature of the provinces, so that presumablythey can change it and, indeed, destroy it at will. That is whythey will never share with him the vision of Premier Lévesque.
For, while he may later have tried to wriggle out of it, he quite clearly placed himself in the Lévesque camp at the first ministers’ conference. He said:
It is too bad all of Canada couldn’t have viewed it yesterday when both yourself, Mr. Prime Minister, and Mr. Lévesque articulated clearer than I have ever seen it done before two different visions of Canada. Hydro power notwithstanding, I would have to side with the theory advocated by Mr. Lévesque.
That is where the dispute is, hydro power is the greatest resource we have and that is where our future lies.
Premier Peckford, like Premier Lévesque, wants a confederation of convenience. He wants the federal government when he needs it, but he wishes it was not there when it needs him. He needs the federal government to authorize pushing power from the Lower Churchill through Quebec; he wants the federal government to give orders to another province in that instance, but he wants a hands-off policy when it comes to theoffshore. In that situation he wants to cut the cord and forgetsabout a Newfoundland contribution to the welfare of Canada.He is saying to Canada, “Yes, you’ve invested hundreds ofmillions of dollars in the fishery to develop it. Yes, you havesupported fishermen and fish companies but now the companies are making a dollar and fishermen’s incomes are up, wewant to draw a line around Newfoundland and catch andprocess our own Newfoundland fish. We don’t know how we’ll tell Newfoundland fish from Nova Scotia fish but we’ll find away. Thanks for the ride, Canada; don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
Similarly, the federal government has made an important contribution to the development of offshore oil. Surely federal tax incentives have played an important part in bringing all offshore exploration to its present state. Surely the role of Petro-Canada, the state-owned oil company which members opposite wanted to do away with, has been a tremendous as set to Newfoundland. In fact it is fair to say that without direct and indirect federal involvement there would be no offshore oil and gas exploration, there would be no Hibernia. According to Premier Peckford it all belongs to Newfoundland, in spite of the national need for petroleum. He is saying, “We want you around when we need you, but kindly disappear when you need us.” He makes Scrooge look like the tooth fairy. No nation can exist on the basis of expediency; there must be a constant sharing and not just when it is convenient.Canada has a need, a need fora secure supply of petroleum.The country which has helped and supported Newfoundlandsince 1949 now needs our help and we, as a province, should respond. We should agree to share the revenues and thecontrol of development. That is the Canadian way, and it couldwork. If the provincial government were thinking “Canadian” and if they were willing to co-operate, it could work. Butinstead we find a constant bickering with and railing against the federal government.
Every day from the Confederation Building in St. John’s the federal government is bashed as if the provincial Tories thought this was the way to win friends and influence people. Every; possible opportunity is seized to blame the federal government for the ills of the province. Everything that goes wrong is the fault of the federal government. And yet the federal government is expected to step in and pick up the pieces when things fall apart. And things are falling apart because the whole focus has been on offshore. Everything else is pushed into the background. Unemployment is growing, thecost of living is rising, the construction industry is reeling whilethe provincial government treats its people to rhetoric on theoffshore. And this in spite of the fact that we need manyHibernias to reduce our dependence on equalization grants.But you cannot put rhetoric in the bank. You cannot putrhetoric on your kitchen table. Our people want jobs andprosperity for themselves and their province.
I wish to quote from a recent letter from Mr. John Mac-Donald of Paradise River on the coast of Labrador. Labrador is the site of the Churchill River vast hydro potential and the member for Carleton-Charlotte referred to that. Mr. Peckford says he wants to go ahead with this development. He wants a strong federal government to order Quebec to take Labrador power through their province. He is for mobility of power butagainst mobility of people. The only problem is that while hehas found a way to benefit the people of New York he has notfound a way to benefit the people of Labrador. They see thedanger of this resource, like others, moving out of theirterritory, with no real benefit to them. Meanwhile, conditionsin Labrador are crying out for attention and the provincialgovernment does nothing to address these conditions.
I want to quote from Mr. MacDonald’s letter to a St. John’s newspaper, which said in part:
People in other towns complain about the condition of their roads. We don’t have a road. We have a foot path running along the edge of the river—we have one telephone in town, usable for about four hours a day. It is regularly out of order–we don’t have a supermarket—we must scramble to find a wholesaler who will sell us our winter supply of food in September–medical facilities are alaugh—so Mr. Peckford when you’re sitting in St. John’s sometime–anticipating your next speech on oil rights, give a thought to Paradise River.
The people of Labrador are not fooled by the provincial rhetoric. They know the reality of the situation. They know that the wild talk and gestures are a smokescreen to camouflage deplorable conditions which the provincial government is doing nothing to correct. What our people want is not rhetoric but jobs. They know enough about Canada to know this can only be accomplished through co-operation with a strongfederal government. Their experience in confederation tellsthem that it is a matter of give and take. Sometimes you take
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other times you give. That is what confederation is all about-sharing. The federal government offered a good deal on the offshore. The provincial government turned it down, claiming the only important thing was ownership. Yet it has refused to present the matter to the Supreme Court, the only body which can decide ownership, in spite of the fact that Newfoundland claims to have an excellent case. Many people believe Newfoundland has a special case, a unique case. But only theSupreme Court of Canada can decide, and the province willnot submit the matter to it. It refuses to negotiate. It refuses togo to court. Meanwhile the rhetoric continues. Ottawa-bashing continues. An ugly, anti-Canadian feeling continues to befostered in our province. That is the saddest thing of all, Mr. Speaker.
All across this county groups and individuals are attempting to balkanize, to cut off apiece of the country, to build a wall in order to achieve separation. This is a challenge to the essential nature of Canada.
There are those in my own province who would encourage extreme Newfoundland nationalism that they know was present at the time of confederation. In 1949 the vote for Canada was put. There were those who wanted Newfoundland to be independent, and they feared Canada. This feeling was reflected in an anti-confederate song which ended with the line Come near at your peril, Canadian wolf.” Today there are those who are trying to preserve the myth of the Canadian wolf, except today there is a variation on the theme, whichgoes, “Come near when we want you, but only if we want you.” So the challenge and the conflict are still present in Newfoundland, the conflict between those for confederation and those against, those for one country and those for ten, those for the Trudeau vision and those for the Lévesque vision.But Newfoundland has changed since confederation and Newfoundlanders have changed. In 1949 just over 50 per centvoted for Canada. Today the vote would be overwhelmingly for Canada, because since that time we have come to knowand appreciate our Canadian neighbours. Since that time we have become Canadian.
While we may look back nostalgically at the past, this very act suggests a different future. Surely that future is within and not without Canada. Surely our Canadian identity enhances rather than diminishes our Newfoundland identity. Surely we do not have to be either Newfoundlanders or Canadians. We can be both. We must be both, just as French Canadians mustbe both and Alberta Canadians must be both. Canada drawsits strength from its differences but only when those differences exists in harmony and unity.
There are those who want to put Newfoundland culture on the shelf and make it a museum piece. Those people want to build up the myth of the modern Canadian wolf. But our society is strong because we are growing and developing. Our people are strong because they are not only Newfoundlanders but Canadians. That is why I am shocked and outraged at the recent hysterical outburst of the Premier of Newfoundland. We heard he would take the federal government to court over this constitutional initiative. He must know full well that he does not-have a chance. But he is persuaded to this cause because he is a member of the Lougheed, Lyon, Levesque group–and we all clearly know Mr. Lévesque’s intentions. Still, Premier Peckford seeks the authority of the court in a case he cannot win and, at the same time—
Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wonder if the minister would clarify whether he is suggesting, in the name of his government, that Premier Lyon of Manitoba and PremierPeckford of Newfoundland are separatists. Is that what he issaying?
Mr. Rompkey: You will have to rule on that point of order,Mr. Speaker, but I have said what I have said and I am surethe—
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Order, please. I think the hon. minister perhaps does deserve the usual comment which goes in such cases. The Right Hon. Leader of the Opposition(Mr. Clark) took the opportunity to do what has been done on some occasions, that is, to interrupt an hon. member who has the floor and to ask a question. I did not underline the right ofthe hon. minister either to answer a question, if he saw fit, orsimply to continue with his remarks. Having said that, Irecognize the minister again.
Mr. Rompkey: Mr. Speaker, there was a clear grouping of premiers and we know clearly what certain members of that group stand for. I think it is pretty clear.
Some hon. Members: Oh!
Mr. Rompkey: Premier Peckford refuses to submit offshore ownership to the court in spite of the fact that many believe Newfoundland has a good case. Why this ambivalence? Why is there this contradiction? If the courts are trustworthy and if only they can rule on ownership, and if ownership is the “be all”  and “end all” , then why are they not asked to judge? Mr.Peckford will ask them to rule on a matter which affects thefuture of Canada, but not on a matter which affects the future ifof Newfoundland and Labrador. One thing we can say aboutthe plan is that he is consistent in his inconsistency. However, iseveral days ago Mr. Peckford rose to an all-time high inrhetoric by charging that the proposed resolution on theCanadian constitution would take away the rights of theNewfoundlanders and Labradorians to denominational education and would leave the way open for changes to the Labradorboundary as it now exists.
Either Mr. Peckford cannot read or he is deliberately mis-leading the people of the province by those ridiculous statements. By deliberately singling out emotional issues such as the denominational education system and the Labrador boundary, he is attempting to stampede Newfoundlanders and Labradorians against the federal government’s constitutional proposal. The scare tactics which Mr. Peckford is using are similar to those used by Mr. Lévesque during the Quebec…
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referendum campaign. But these scare tactics did not work in Quebec and they will not work in Newfoundland.
The Newfoundland Liberal MPs on this side of the House are determined to fight, with all the strength we can muster, the demagoguery which we have witnessed in our own province. Once our people know the facts they will see the sham for what it is. The constitutional resolution which we are debating here explicitly guarantees the Labrador border and our denominational schools. Section 43 and section 47 of theresolution are our protection.
Section 43 provides a special rule whereby amendments that do not apply to all provinces, such as the terms of union, would be made only with the consent of Parliament and the province concerned. Mr. Peckford conveniently forgot to point this out in his province-wide broadcast. Furthermore, section 47 is even more explicit. It says that no amending formula as outlined in the resolution would apply where the constitution containsanother procedure for making an amendment.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Order, please. As I often do when in the chair, I try to signal hon. members or ministers who are speaking that they have a moment or two left to wrap up. There is some pressure on all hon. members because of the20-minute time limit. Because I allowed an interruption, I will give the hon. minister 30 seconds.
Mr. Rompkey: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to point out the facts on this important issue in our province, as they exist at the present time. We on this side of the House stand firm on the matter. I wanted to point out one particular matter which came up in the recent amendment that deals with the transfer of resources from one province to another and indirectand direct taxation. The Leader of the New Democratic Party(Mr. Broadbent) dealt with this subject very well yesterday.
Some hon. Members: Order.
Mr. Rompkey: I want to say to my friends across the waythat it will be an asset to our people, not a liability.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my point oforder to the acting government House leader. It would be myview, as well as the view of members of my party that,considering the events today, it would be inappropriate to havea private members’ hour. We would rather have the hour usedfor the debating of this resolution. I have spoken to the Houseleader of the New Democratic Party, and I believe that theyare in agreement. I would ask that the government accede tothis request as well.
Mr. Dick: Make it unanimous.
Mr. Collenette: Mr. Speaker, I would have hoped that the hon. member could have given me prior notice of this suggestion. We have six minutes left before we call it private members’ hour. I will give my decision at one minute to five.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Order, please. There is a small technical problem, and the Chair has difficulty hearing at times. I do not know whether the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Epp) put a motion or whether there was an implicit agreement to give further consideration to thesuggestion.
Mr. Epp: I asked for unanimous consent.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): The Chair can interpret the remarks of the hon. parliamentary secretary that there is not unanimous consent, but nonetheless I think it is in order to put the question.
Mr. Dick: No, he said that he would wait for five minutes.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Then there is agreement to delay discussion on this matter?
Mr. Dick: Yes.
Hon. John C. Crosbie (St. John’s West): Mr. Speaker, indue course I will deal with the remarks of the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Rompkey) where it is necessary. In my opening remarks I would like to say with regard to my leader that as I was reading my Roman history recently Icame across the philosopher Seneca, who said:
Whereas fire is the test of gold, adversity is the test of a strong man.
Our leader has been tested in adversity and I think that he is showing himself well in these times of adversity.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Crosbie: I am not talking about brown, I said gold. I have only 20 minutes allotted to me, so I cannot make the full presentation that I wanted to make. I did not expect that closure would be introduced in this debate. After only 24 hours of debate, after only 46 members out of 279 in this House have spoken, after 22 out of 145 Liberals have spoken–123 havenot spoken—after 19 out of 102 Progressive Conservativeshave spoken, 83 have not; and after only five out of 32 NDPmembers have spoken, leaving 25 who have not spoken–
Mr. Knowles: Twenty-seven. Can’t you count?
Mr. Crosbie: —231 members of this House, give or take a few, have not had a chance to speak in this debate. It took God six days to make the world. It takes the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) only 24 hours of debate to remake Canada.
The Prime Minister has tried to deceive the Canadian people. He said in his opening statement several weeks ago on television that the Canadian people have to find a way of breaking out of 53 years of constitutional paralysis. To say the best about that statement, it is an untruth. We have had many constitutional changes in the last 53 years. There has been no constitutional paralysis.
For example, in 1940, unemployment insurance was added to the federal jurisdiction, and in 1951 section 94(a) was added to the old age pension to clarify federal powers. There has been no impasse. Even if there has been debate on the constitution over the last 20 years or 30 years, it has not been…
[Page 3986]
because of the provinces that have been so abused by the government–Newfoundland, Alberta and the rest of them–it has been_ mainly because the French Canadian people of Quebec. did not feel that their province had sufficient powers and jurisdiction to protect them in their homeland of Quebec.That is the debate which I. have been following since the1940s.
That is the debate which I have heard introduced by premiers of Quebec ever since the late 1940s, that they did not feel under the present system they had sufficient powers and jurisdiction in the province of Quebec to protect the rights and responsibilities of their own French Canadian people. Suddenly this summer after the referendum, in which the Prime Minister at no time during the referendum ever said to the people of Quebec, “Vote no against the referendum and, if youdo. I am going to restrict your provincial powers” , he has achange of mind. He was going to double track the country, now he is double crossing the Quebeckers.
After getting the people of Quebec to say no in the referendum, he is now turning around and restricting the powers and responsibilities of the province of Quebec as well as of the other nine provinces. It is a shameful turn-around from what was promised to the people of Quebec in the referendum. The people who have introduced this issue in Canada over the past30 years are now having imposed on them something which is 100 per cent opposite to what they wanted.
We have a strong central government now. We should pay no attention to the pretence that poor granny Trudeau is up here with a weak federal government and he is going to beseverely abused and assaulted by these ten rapacious premiers.It is untrue. The Prime Minister has the power to disallowprovincial legislation or have it reserved by the lieutenantgovernor. He has the power to have a work declared to be for the general advantage of Canada. He can take over anyindustry in the country through a proclamation passed by thisHouse. These are all federal powers which the Prime Ministerhas today. Under section 92(10)(a) he has the power withrespect to works or undertakings between the provinces, but hewill not use this section to aid the province of Newfoundland.
The Prime Minister will not work to declare a hydro trans-mission line from Labrador to, say, New York, Ontario or New Brunswick, to be to the general advantage of Canada and to stop the tyranny under which we have suffered in Newfoundland since 1965 so that we can transmit our electricity across Quebec.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Collenette) on a point of order.
Mr. Collenette: Mr. Speaker, we would be agreeable to sitting through private members’ hour. The item which will beset aside IS in the name of the hon. member for Richmond-South Delta (Mr. Siddon). I must reiterate, however, that the House will take its normal adjournment at six o’clock. We will just go until six o’clock, but through private members’ hour.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Is there unanimous agreement that the House dispense with private members’ hour?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: It is so ordered. The hon. member forRichmond-South Delta (Mr. Siddon) on a point of order.
Mr. Siddon: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I approach this request with mixed feelings because my private members’ bill was to come before the House. I am faced with a choice between freshwater fish and the future of our country. I feel, Mr. Speaker–
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I can understand the hon. member’s problem, but all the Chair can do at this time is ask the House if there is unanimous consent to dispense with private members’ hour. Is there?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: There being unanimous consent, the Chair must recognize the hon. member for St. John’s West.
Mr. Crosbie: Mr. Speaker, the federal government has these powers now, but it often chooses -not to exercise them because it does not think that the people -of Canada would support theexercise. Mr. Speaker, we support bringing the BNA Act backfrom the United Kingdom’ to Canada–and an amendingformula as well. But we do not support the scurvy plot that theGovernment of Canada is instituting–that because it wouldnot have the powers after the constitution is brought back todo what it now proposes, it should have it done in the UnitedKingdom in Parliament there first, because they think thatwhat would be illegal here would be legal there.
The Prime Minister is the last of the old colonial boys. He not asking us just to improve and bring back the constitution; he wants it changed fundamentally before it ever comes here We cannot accept that and we are not going to accept concept of a referendum.
The Minister of National Revenue referred to Premier Peckford’s worries about denominational education and the Labrador boundary. Section 43 of this act is meaningless. It can be changed. If this can be done today, any Government of Canada in the future with a majority in Parliament can change it again. They could use the referendum to go over the heads of the provinces and have any section of the actchanged. So section 43 is meaningless. There is no protectionfor Newfoundland’s denominational education, there is noprotection for the Newfoundland boundary with Quebec, thereis no protection for any provincial right in the constitutionwhatsoever if what the government attempts to do now iscarried through and they are given the power to have areferendum and to decide what powers are necessary to amendthe act and decide who has to agree. None of us have anyprotection.The charter of human rights is meaningless, and if I had thetime I would go into that. It can be changed at any time by the…
[Page 3987]
tyranny of the majority opposite. They are going to tyrannize the rest of us. They plan to tyrannize the country because they have this majority and they are going to shape Canada, they think, in the view that they have of it. They are going to find it cannot be done, Mr. Speaker.
What is a confederation, Mr. Speaker? Webster’s dictionary gives the following definition:
A body of Confederates especially of states more or less permanently united for common purposes.
Canada is given as an example. But we are not going to bet hat kind of state any longer if this goes through. The Prime Minister does not even mention the states that were thereoriginally before they joined; just people.
What did Sir Wilfrid Laurier say in 1889? He said:
The only means of maintaining confederation is to recognize that, within its sphere assigned to it by the constitution, each province is as independent of control by the federal Parliament as the latter is from control by the provincial legislatures.
That is what the grand old man of Liberalism said. The only means of maintaining confederation is, as he put it, not this kind of imposition on the legislatures by the federal Parliament. That is why we fear the termination of our system if this attempt is successful.
In the course of his lectures on April 10 and 11, 1980, Mr. Michael Kirby, who is now secretary to the cabinet for federal-provincial relations, said:
But for anyone who believes—-as I do–that the process of decision-making in our kind of society is as important as the decision itself–that is, that means are in fact as important as ends to our society–then this was an important and imaginative experiment.
I repeat, Mr. Speaker: “that means are in fact as important as ends”. That is what hon. members opposite forget. They are going ahead as though their ends justify everything and as if the means do not count. In his advice, Mr. Kirby forgets wha the said in his own lectures.
An editorial in the Toronto Globe of July 3, 1869, stated asfollows:
The danger most to be feared is that men who really do not believe in confederation at all should so seek to extend and consolidate the federal legislative and executive power that the local governments and legislatures shall be in danger of becoming mere shadows and shams, and that the evil from such a danger may lead to the opposite extreme of ignoring national unity, and in zealfor mere local interests and specialities, the breaking up of confederationaltogether.
That is what they feared in those days, and that is what is happening today. It is what we fear.
The Prime Minister apparently wants to have his place in history. I should like to make one brief reference to the book“Newfoundland—Dawn Without Light”, in which the author, Dr. Herbert L. Pottle, deals with the question of leaders who want their place in history. The relevant abstract reads asfollows:
A political leader’s preoccupation with his place in history is not a good omen for his enduring contribution to history. For a leader so engrossed has his attention constantly diverted from the basic business of governing–which can have historical significance~—to the petty distractions of forever reckoning up his personal triumphs and setbacks–which is not history but diary.
That is what the Prime Minister is doing.
Let me deal with the Newfoundland situation now. There is nothing in this great resource concept of the Leader of the NDP (Mr. Broadbent) and the Prime Minister that deals withoffshore mineral resources at all. As a matter of fact, in hisletter of October 20, the Leader of the New Democratic Partydid not even mention the offshore resource question. He didnot make that a condition because he does not care abouteastern Canada. He does not care a bit.
What does the government leader in the Senate say about this? Mr. Speaker, I should like to quote from the proceedings of the other place of yesterday, at page 909. When asked about this arrangement between the Leader of the NDP and the Prime Minister, the government leader in the Senate had this to say:
There is no deviation from the BNA Act. This statement in the letter from the Prime Minister flows from the BNA Act itself. It is a reconfirmation. It is are statement of a right which is already enjoyed by the provinces.
So the Leader of the NDP. has negotiated mightily and all he got was a reaffirmation of the BNA Act, which is being disregarded in this House in any event.
There is nothing for offshore resources and there is nothing for interprovincial movement of electricity. And the hon. minister opposite even had the gall to mention that. There is no action by this government to free Newfoundland from the tyranny and usurpation of their electricity by Quebec which refuses to let it flow through that province to other customers. There is nothing about that. You could drive a truck through the equalization clause in the so-called charter of human rights. There is no obligation on the government whatsoever with respect to equalization. This is the government–
Mr. Tobin: Mr. Speaker—
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Humber-Port au Port-St. Barbe (Mr. Tobin) on a point of order.
Mr. Tobin: Mr. Speaker, would the hon. member for St. John’s West (Mr. Crosbie) entertain a very short question? It will not take much of his time. I realize he has a lot to say.
Mr. Crosbie: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Tobin: Would the hon. member tell me what he and his government were doing for seven months about solving all these problems that he is accusing this government of not having solved? What were you doing for seven months, John? Writing that budget?
Some hon. Members: Hear; hear!
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order please. Order, please.  The hon. member for St. John’s West (Mr. Crosbie).
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
[Page 3988]
Mr. Crosbie: Mr. Speaker, we were recognizing the offshoremineral rights of the province of Newfoundland.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Tobin: You were—
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member forSt. John’s West.
Mr. Crosbie: What about this labour mobility, this terrible thing that the Newfoundland government is trying to do? The Minister of National Revenue said that the Newfoundlandpeople have gone all over the world to work. Yes, Mr. Speaker,but that is not a freedom; it is because they have been forcedout of their own island, out of their own province to get jobsbecause they cannot get them there. That is not a freedom. ItIS tyranny that men have to leave their families for six months,nine months or twelve months to go to the Yukon or Ontarioor Quebec, or somewhere else in the world, to work becausethey cannot get work at home. That is why the Peckfordgovernment has got this regulation that applies only to theoffshore. That is not freedom- But it is freedom we want inNewfoundland–freedom to grow and develop. That has beenforgotten on the other side that has forgotten Newfoundland.
Here is the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) referring tothe premier of our province. He said this yesterday:
If he wants us to help, I think he should stop that kind of statement.
If that is not a threat, what is it? If the Premier of Newfoundland dare so much as to have his own opinions and to give his own views then this government here is going to punish him. This government here is not going to help Newfoundland because of statements made by Newfoundland’spremier. I tell you we are not coming hat-in-hand and cap-in-hand to you crowd up here any longer. We are going to standon our own feet. Our premier does not have to beg for helpfrom you people here in the government. He is not going tobeg for help. He is going to put forward his views on policy,the same as the Premier of Ontario, the Premier of Quebecand the premiers of the other provinces do.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Crosbie: The Minister of National Revenue is going to blame the regional disparity in Newfoundland on the Newfoundland government. I ask what has the minister’s government done to help Newfoundland since it assumed office? It has not signed one DREE agreement. It has cut off the moneyflow to Newfoundland. It has reneged on the Trans-Canadahighway agreement. It has stopped, for example, the littlesynchrolift in St. John’s West. This is nothing but the tyranny of the majority attempting to bully us into keeping our mouths shut in Newfoundland.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Crosbie: Then we come to the Prime Minister and the Queen. I do not have time to go into this, but I tell you to read the threat the Prime Minister made with reference to the Queen in his press conference two weeks ago. The Prime Minister was asked why he had chosen to retain the British monarch as a symbol of the Canadian state. The answer. given was this:
Well, because this evening we are not attempting to solve all the problems.
Ergo, the Queen is a problem. But she is not a problem to us in Newfoundland. But that will be the next step, to tamper with the monarchy, if the government is successful.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Crosbie: The amendment of the NDP is not even, supported by the Premier of Saskatchewan. All he has is the right for Saskatchewan to impose indirect taxation. There is nothing that is conceivably of any use to any other province but weakened resource ownership and control in all the otherprovinces. There is nothing for the offshore. He has donenothing but humiliate his own party and his own membersand contradict what they said in this House.
We do not have time in 20 minutes to consider all of the constitutional issues. But this whole process and this amendment should not be going to England. It should have had unanimous consent here. If this government had only done what we had suggested yesterday should be done and left the rest to be done properly in Canada, all of us could have supported it. But instead it is going there in discord anddisharmony. It is going with six provinces deadly opposed to it.The constitutional amendment is going there ignoring thecourts of Canada and not waiting until they give a judgmenton whether the process is legal or not. It is going without oursupport. We are going to fight it to the end. We are nevergoing to stop fighting it. Is that the way to change and bring anew constitution to Canada? I do not think so.
Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!
Mr. Crosbie: And hon. members over there have put us that position. Here is what the Prime Minister said in 1968:
If the underdevelopment of the Atlantic provinces is not corrected–not charity or subsidies–
It is the charities and subsidies which the minister loves. The statement continues:
—but by helping them become areas of economic growth–then the unity, of the country is almost assuredly destroyed as it would be by the French-English confrontation.
He has forgotten that now. We want to be an area of economic growth and we want to do that through the offshore The Prime Minister stops that because he wants us to be dependent, waiting for his charity for the rest of our lives. We are not going to do it. That is the position in Newfoundland.
I want to move a suggested amendment under the provision of Standing Order 5(a):
That the House continue its consideration of government motion No.18 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. this day.
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Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. member intend to move his motion under the provisions of Standing Order 6(5)(a)?
Mr. Crosbie: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
While you are considering that, Mr. Speaker, I will close on this note. Dr. Pottle in his book-
Mr. Collenette: Have you moved the motion? Did you say Standing Order 6(5)(a)?
Mr. Crosbie: I take my orders from the Chair, not from any Liberal parliamentary secretary.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I understand the hon. member is proposing to move his motion under the provisions of Standing Order 6(5)(a).
Mr. Crosbie: Precisely.
Mr. Speaker, in concluding my remarks, I refer to Dr. Pottle’s book which is very valuable. At page 199 he asked, of Canada:
What are those dreams, he queried quietly, of hope that leap to life in your fair land?
And further down the page we read this:
What do you hold supreme in unison? What is the good for which you stand on guard?
The good for which we stand on guard is not closure on the fundamental issue of the constitution. We do not stand on guard for the bullying of small provinces, underdeveloped provinces and poor provinces, because they dare to speak out. We do not stand on guard for that, and we do not agree withthat. We do not stand on guard to change the whole nature ofCanadian federalism without the consent of the provinceswhich help make up the 11 governments. We believe in 11 strong governments, not one super government and ten counties which the government can bully at will. We believe thatthat protects freedoms, and that is the only way freedoms willever be protected.
We do not stand on guard for the referendum technique of the fascist states. They always have their referendums and they can get the people to agree to everything. We do not, and I do not, stand on guard for the despotism of an arrogant and unbending idealogue who is going to force this country to suit his tastes before he goes, he thinks. Well, he will suffer a lot ofresistance on that.
I do not stand on guard for the use of polls and advertising which misinform the public and keep people’s minds closed when they should be open. This is done not to help them understand the issue but to help them not to understand the issue. I do not stand on guard for that, and I feel shame for those who do. I do not stand on guard to use any means at all to keep ourselves in power. That is already obvious. We believe that a government has to work for the good of the people, not just to use every sleazy trick it can to stay in power and neveraccomplish anything. We do not stand on guard for that. Westand on guard for La Canada that has some democraticfreedoms, and economic freedoms. We are not even free toenjoy property under the Prime Minister’s new charter.
We believe that standing on guard means standing on guard for conciliation and compromise, for consent and for a confederation, not a unitary state with everything imposed on the rest, where a minister of justice–
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.
Some hon. Members: Order!
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Motion (Mr. Crosbie) agreed to.
[ Translation]
Hon. Pierre Bussières (Minister of State, Finance): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have the opportunity to take part in this extremely important debate on the future of our country. I am somewhat surprised at the comments made by the previous speaker, especially the impassioned rhetoric heused to make a review of the constitutional problems whichour country is facing, problems which we have been considering for years.
I have been especially astonished by his intervention because, in my opinion, the process which will be launched with the passage of the resolution introduced by the government, that is adoption by both Houses, the House of Commons and the Senate, is indeed the ideal opportunity given to all governments in the country, federal and provincial, and to allCanadians to untangle the constitutional issue. And I knowthat this constitutional solution is a concern for most Canadians as well as for a great majority of members of this House, especially for those who were involved in the Quebec referendum.
At that time, Mr. Speaker, as we all remember, a commitment was made to get the constitutional revision under way as soon as possible, a process which has been going on for years and has always pitched headlong into a dead end, not necessarily because of ill will, but because of certain restrictions. We now have the possibility, by accepting this resolution, oflaunching that constitutional reform. As I said, those of uswho were closely involved in the Quebec referendum promisedto spare no effort in breaking out of the impasse and breakingnew ground in the constitutional revision process. I am happythat the government should have taken steps to respect thatpromise by bringing in this resolution to the House andreferring its study to a committee which, contrary to some ofthe remarks we heard here today, is not subject to closure, butwill have every opportunity to question and hear Canadianswho will doubtless have extremely interesting views on thisresolution.
[Page 3990]
Why is it specious to oppose, unless it is for reasons of principles, the adoption of that resolution and the start of our renewed constitution? Indeed, it would be a matter of concern if the resolution infringed upon the fundamentals of the sharing of powers between the central and provincial governments. It would be upsetting if, in fact, the resolution contained provisions adding to the powers of the central government and reducing those of the provinces or, inversely diminishing those of the federal government and adding to those of the provinces. However, Mr. Speaker, a close look at the resolution willreveal that it does not alter in any way those fundamentalpowers, the sharing of powers between central and provincialgovernments. What it does is this: it prepares–
Mr. Clark: I am listening!
Mr. Bussiéres: Yes, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr.Clark) had better listen, because he does not seem to have understood. The resolution paves the way for patriating the constitution and that is important. As far as I know, this does not reduce in any way the power of the provinces or addanything to those of the central government. So the objectiveof the resolution is to patriate the constitution, to see to it thatthe most important document for Canadian political institutions, that is the constitution, become a truly Canadian instrument, to Canadianize the constitutional instrument governingthe country. I think there is nothing outrageous in there, andthe vast majority–
Mr. Clark: Bring back the constitutional document from London, England!
Mr. Bussiéres: Mr. Speaker, it has been a long time since the sophisms uttered by the Leader of the Opposition fail to impress me. He should realize that not only do they not impress Canadians but they make him look ridiculous.
We shall therefore begin by patriating the constitution. This makes the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle) smile because he has never taken his role as a Canadian member of Parliament seriously. Does he really want Canadians to have a constitution? If so, let him support the resolution introducedby the government with the same energy he used to fight the Parti Québécois referendum. Moreover, Mr. Speaker, with thisresolution, we shall be able to include a charter of rights in the Canadian constitution. Will the entrenchment of this charter of rights give more powers to the central government and takesome away from the provinces?
The first aspect of the charter of rights concerns basic freedoms. We want to enshrine the freedom of conscience, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press and the freedom of information in the constitution. The hon. member is showing that he is not very knowledgeable in this matter since the Canadian constitution does not provide for these freedoms. If we want to entrench these basic freedoms within the constitution I do not see how this can add to the powers of the central government and what entrenchment of the freedom of religion,of thought, of the press and of information takes away fromthe provincial governments, since we also want to include inthis charter of rights basic democratic rights, the right to vote and the right of eligibility to the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker, what does the fact of entrenching these rights within the constitution add to the powers of the central government? Does the entrenchment of the right to vote, the right of eligibility, the right to hold elections within a certain time take anything away from the powers of the provinces? Ido not believe that by enshrining these rights of the individuals, these basic liberties, these democratic rights, we are takinganything away from the provinces or adding anything to thepowers of the central government.
Still within the context of this charter of rights, there is the freedom to move and to settle down anywhere in Canada for all Canadian citizens. Once again, this individual right of a Canadian citizen adds nothing to the powers of the centralgovernment and takes nothing away from the powers of theprovincial governments. The same is true of the legal guaran-tees of citizens, and non-discrimination. What is also extremely interesting is that the equal status of the French and English languages everywhere in Canada will be enshrined in the constitution.
Mr. La Salle: Where numbers warrant!
Mr. Bussiéres: And I hear, Mr. Speaker, like a heart-felt cry coming from the hon. member for Joliette, the bitter comment of the Quebec premier, “where numbers warrant.” There is nothing disgraceful, Mr. Speaker, in the fact that equality of rights is guaranteed, adding “where numbers warrant”–
Mr. La Salle: Repeat that.
Mr. Bussiéres: —for some school services and so on. It is not disgraceful. It comes to adding, Mr. Speaker, and to indicating for the first time in Canadian history, the equality of rights of French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians.And I am proud to see that our government provides all hon.members with the opportunity to give their views on this fundamental equality of French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians everywhere.
Mr. Speaker, in a third step, we shall establish the principle of sharing, of equalization. What makes our country interesting is its wealth, reflected as it is in its diversity first, namely the make-up of the population itself. Diversity in respect ofgeography, which shows that throughout history there hasbeen a displacement of wealth from one area to another, that some regions at some point in our history went through periodsof wealth, and it is the foundation of our federalism that whenthese regions went through a period of wealth they shared itwith other regions. And we realize, we get the obvious feelingthese years, especially since the energy crisis, that that wealth…
[Page 3391]
was displaced from a region or regions to other ones, and as our history unfolds, sharing is to the benefit of other provinces that at some earlier point also had to share with others.
By enshrining into our constitution that basic principle of wealth-sharing, and solemnly reaffirming in a constitutional document one of the principles behind our Canadian federal-ism, I fail to see how we could be detracting powers from theprovinces and adding to central powers. What we are doing infact is recognizing what has kept this country united, thegenerosity of Canadians, and reaffirming a solemn commitment in the constitution that such a bond will be maintained and strengthened by all governments.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, in a last step, we give ourselves an amendment mechanism, a deadlock-breaking mechanism. Over these last 50 years we have gone through many attempts at constitutional negotiations. We realize it was not always easy to come to unanimity rules, we also realize the danger inunanimity rules- The danger is not to err but to do nothing,procrastinate and never progress. In order to avoid any recurrence of such deadlocks, there is provision for a deadlock~breaking mechanism.
As I indicated earlier, Mr. Speaker, I am especially happy that the Canadian government allows this House and the Senate, by addressing this resolution, to break the deadlock of constitutional reform.
We have had tensions, we shall certainly have more in our country, but as we become able first to Canadianize our institutions, keep improving the way the various powers are used in our country, we shall have ever more chance of meeting more and more pressing requirements of the peoplewho want a new constitution. Moreover, I am convinced thatafter the committee study and after the debate that will followits report, we shall be able to proceed as quickly as possible tothe patriation, to the entrenchment of a charter of rights intoour constitution. We shall also be able to recognize equalization as the underlying principle of Canadian federalism andgive ourselves an amending formula. Thus we shall havehonoured the commitments we made to the majority of Quebeckers who voted yes to the Canadian federation and to therenewal of the federation.
Hon. Allan B. McKinnon (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, I feel grateful to be speaking in this debate. It is sad that a member should feel grateful that he is able to speak in a debate in the House, but I am pleased I was able to get in before the Liberals cut us all off at one o’clock tomorrow morning. I would like to express my appreciation to my colleagues, manyof whom are not permitted to speak on this resolution and whoare going to be deprived of their opportunities as members of Parliament to participate in the debate, thanks to the peculiarnotions the Liberals have about what is fair debate in theHouse of Commons on the Constitution of Canada.
Today we are under closure, which was brought in last night. I would like to comment a bit about that. Unusual as it is, this is the third time in our history that we have been gagged in this fashion. I am astonished at the New Democratic Party–with the word “democratic” in its name—-for havingraised no objection to closure yesterday. Today, under theprovisions of Standing Order 43, the New Democratic Partybrought in the most irrelevant possible motions which made nomention of our having to operate today under closure.
Again during the question period members of the New Democratic Party raised no objections to closure on an important item like this. I can hardly believe it.
Mr. Orlikow: Did we not vote against it?
Mr. McKinnon: They will probably vote against it.
Mr. Orlikow: We did vote against it.

Mr. McKinnon: They did vote against it, but they are there when the Liberals need them. The Liberals can always count on them. There was once a movie, and I believe it was Lauren Bacall who said to Humphrey Bogart, “If you need me, just whistle.” That is all the Liberals need to do, and members of the New Democratic Party will come. They do not have to be paid; they do not have to be given position; just whistle, and they will be there if they are needed, and members of the Liberal party know it.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and “simple Simon” came to an agreement as to what would be a suitable exchange for the loyalty of the members of the New Democratic Party at this time. As I understand the letter I read, there were three items. Mainly the Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Broadbent) was able to assure himself that not much would be taken away from the provinces, seeing that the provinces already own the resources, and that they would be given management and control while the ownership was taken away from them. To my mind, I would prefer ownership if I had a choice between owning something or managing and controlling it.

As I walked this morning and puzzled over how the Leader of the New Democratic Party could do it, I could think only of the poor provinces which are to gain nothing. Instead of Mr. Blakeney’s dealing in the highly intelligent and forceful manner he does in negotiations with the Prime Minister, simple Simon went instead.

We heard much today from the Prime Minister about the necessity for this drastic measure because the matter has been discussed for 53 years. While he shed his crocodile tears here about the discussions he has gone through and the trouble he has seen, I was thinking about an article which appeared in 1971 written by the journalist Peter Ward. This is what the Prime Minister had to say about the charter in those days, and Peter Ward quoted the Prime Minister at that time:

Constitutional reform is something Canada can live without. A fact demonstrated by all the premiers at the series of conferences, said Mr. Trudeau. He reminded Toronto newsmen that in 1967 at the Confederation of Tomorrow Conference, he had opposed tackling constitutional reform.

[Page 3992]

I said if we opened the constitution, it would be a can of worms and we were going to have more trouble than is obvious to those who are sailing into it with light hearts.

“I said we had more important things to do.”

” Constitutional reform is not an issue that is important to the people, but is a good whipping boy for a lot of the nationalists,” he said.

The Prime Minister now claims that we have worked hard for 53 years to get our constitution back, but that is what he was actually saying in those days. This is also reflected in Hansard for January 26, 1970, at page 2812. The Prime Minister said, and I quote:

I, personally, went on record as saying that of all the urgent problems facing Canada, in my view the constitution had lowest priority.

Today for the third time in history he invokes closure in this Parliament to make sure we do not have an opportunity to look at this, and he tries to wrap himself in the flag of patriotism by saying that he has been on this beat, or that there has been an ongoing debate for 53 years. If there has been, he has been on the wrong side of it.

. Let us leave the sorry spectacle of what has been happening in the last few days and go on to the real problems with the constitution. We are in a debate on the constitution, and while we are being asked to vote on the patriation resolution, this almost mundane term, in fact, connotes far more. The resolution with which Parliament has been presented is, in fact, a fundamental constitutional assertion. It proposes a new amending formula, seeks to entrench certain, linguistic and economic rights, and sets out certain rules within which Parliament will operate.

All of this should mean that we have gathered here for a profound. and thoughtful debate, and yet there is a pervasive rancour in the House and in the proceedings here. It is with unhappiness that I contrast the spirit in the land today with George Brown s assessment of the original confederation debates. As you will recall, George Brown was the Liberal opposite number of John A. Macdonald in those days. George Brown said:

Have we not then, Mr. Speaker, great cause of thankfulness that we have found a better way for the solution of our troubles than that which has entailed in other countries such deplorable results? And should not every one of us endeavour to rise to the magnitude of the occasion, and earnestly seek to deal with this question to the end, in the same candid and conciliatory spirit in which, so far, it has been discussed?

I wish that today’s national debate also displayed such a Candid and conciliatory spirit. Yesterday we had the example of this party putting its policy-eon the line in the form of a motion in an opposition day, that the constitution be patriated at once and that it be subject from then on only to Canadian amendments, made in Canada for Canadians.

Where does this national rancour that I mentioned come from? I believe that the answer to that question lies here in what the House is being asked to pass. Parliament is not being requested to participate in the formation of federal proposals, nor is it being asked to decide upon an agreement worked out between Ottawa and the provinces. It is being told, instead, to confirm an individual’s ultimatum. This has caused the unease here as well as the evident concern displayed by many of the provinces.

The document with which we have been presented is not the product of confederal deliberations. Rather, while dealing with the federal nature of Canada, its genesis is clearly the almost solitary deliberations of this Liberal Prime Minister.

This fact concerns me for several reasons. First, this unilateral action to impose, in addition to a new amendment procedure, a bundle of other major changes to the constitutional order of this country, is being undertaken without the assent of the provinces. On this matter I will quote my leader, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark), who succinctly summarized the situation in his initial response to these proposals when he said of the Prime Minister:

He imposes a double standard for changing the constitution. For those changes he wants, Ottawa will act alone. For the changes that others might seek later, he requires unanimous consent for at least two years and then an unknown formula.

This flies in the face of this country’s legal and constitution- al practice and, indeed, takes on aspects usually seen only in a unitary state, not in a federation. On this matter I should like to quote A. V. Dicey from his “An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution.” It reads as follows:

The law of the constitution must be either legally immutable, or else capable of 3 being changed only by some authority above and beyond the ordinary legislative bodies, whether federal or state legislatures, existing under the constitution~–

It is, at any rate, certain that whenever the founders of a federal government hold the maintenance of a federal system to be of primary importance, supreme legislative power cannot be safely vested in any legislature acting under the constitution. For so to vest legislative sovereignty would be inconsistent with the aim of federalism, namely, the permanent division between the spheres of the national government and of the several states.

I should like to quote again the Prime Minister from the Debates in 1976 when he was speaking to the House about the patriation of the constitution. He said:

It is for these reasons that I have raised the possibility that Parliament might: seek to have “patriation” accomplished without provincial consent if that consent seems impossible to achieve. Clearly it would be a last resort and clearly it should not be on a basis that could affect the distribution of powers or the position of the provinces.

That is exactly the opposite of what he is doing today. went on to say:

It must not provide any means by which Parliament could act unilaterally future in any area where it cannot do so today since that would erode the essence of our federal system.

That is from page 12687 of Hansard of April 9, 1976. Yet it not this the precise effect of the resolution before us: to affect profoundly the nature of Canadian government as the result of unilateral action of just such an ordinary legislative body?

My second major concern with the form in which the constitutional changes are proposed lies in the procedures of its proposed passage through this House. It seems that the House is to be denied the right to make any substantive amendments to the Prime Minister’s proposals. While not wishing to dwell overly on the specific defects of this legislation, does not section 41, for example, deserve being debated and voted upon considering that it entirely removes one province from the…

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constitutional process by rendering irrelevant its legislature’s vote on any future amendments?

The House is to be deprived of the right to amend substantively and, instead, a committee is to deal with the issues, with no guarantee of their ability to change matters of substance.

On the respect for Parliament and the people of Canada displayed by this procedure, I will quote from a less exalted source than those I have been using, namely, from the infamous memo to cabinet from the Prime Minister’s constitution- al advisers. It reads:

A highly contentious measure may be best contained in a committee where it is more readily managed by the House leaders and his officers, and where easier and more effective relations can be maintained with the press gallery, since relatively few reporters will follow the proceedings.

So members of Parliament are to be dealt with in the arena in which they can most easily be managed, in committee, while press relations are to be based on lack of knowledge. Such a procedure can only result in substantial bitterness as well as real cynicism about the commitment of the current government to the fundamental tenets of democracy.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. McKinnon: The faith of the citizens in the justice and merits of these changes in the constitutional order will depend, in large part, upon the way in which they are seen to be done. This brings me to an area of broad concern with these procedures: the general spirit in which things are being done and the way in which the changes will be perceived.

I spoke earlier about a feeling of rancour and distrust, and that is surely what will result from the actions taken yesterday and today in voting closure. While it is unfortunate that such unpleasantness is developing over any government action, it is a threat to the nature of politics when it develops over constitutional matters. While constitutional change does not require social unanimity, successful change surely requires the broadest possible consensus that the procedures were fair. On this topic I should like to quote from the classics, not from Machiavelli so in vogue in some quarters of the House, but from Aristotle, who said:

Legislators would therefore direct their attention to the causes which lead to the preservation and the destruction of constitutions and on that basis they should devote their efforts to the construction of stability. They must be on their guard against all the elements of destruction, they must leave their state with a body of laws, customary as well as enacted.

It is precisely this latter element of stability–the customary body of laws and procedures—-to which this resolution does violence and which puts at risk the social consent on which the constitution ultimately depends.

On this matter I will use another quotation, this time from Bagehot’s study, “The British Constitution.” It reads:

There are two great objects which every constitution must attain to be successful, which every old and celebrated one must have wonderfully achieved: Every constitution must first gain authority, and then use authority; it must first win the loyalty and confidence of mankind, and then employ that homage in the work of government. In seeking to use authority in the form which he alone desires, I fear the Prime Minister may forget the loyalty and confidence upon which it must be based. This House must look with foreboding on this possibility.

Thus far in this debate I have concentrated upon the grave defects in the way in which the Prime Minister wishes to have the constitution patriated and amended. While these procedural considerations are clearly the most important ones, for they affect the spirit of the constitution, there are in addition substantive problems with some of the changes being proposed. I will now turn to those specific defects.

To begin with, I should like to look at section 42 of the resolution. In this formula for future amendments, the government is proposing radical changes in the nature of constitutional government. While the use of a referendum is itself new, the really radical departure from current practice lies in the complete circumvention of the provinces. Before this, any change which affected provincial governments had to involve those governments in the decision. Section 42 would see the federal government appealing directly to the people over the heads of the provinces. Not only would the federal Parliament–and particularly in times of majority government, that means one political party–decide upon the issue and the wording of any plebiscite, but section 46(1) gives the federal government the power to set all the rules for the conduct of any debate or campaign on the question that was to be posed.

The Prime Minister says this will only be applied in case of deadlock, but “to him deadlock is when he has one viewpoint and the ten premiers have another. It never enters his mind that the ten premiers might be right and that he could be wrong.

While this power to make the rules under which any campaign would be conducted is an obvious example of the federal government’s self-created monopoly on initiating and control- ling constitutional change under section 42, a more fundamental source of control lies in its power to choose the substance and wording of any referendum. This gives the federal government all of the initiative.

To understand the consequences of this, consider a case in which the federal government, with or without the support of the bulk of the provinces, wanted a particular amendment but faced adamant opposition from enough provinces to block amendments under the provisions of section 41. In this case the federal government would be able to circumvent the provincial opposition and go directly to a referendum with a question phrased to its liking, at a time of its choosing, with the rules it selects, and as we now know, with an unlimited advertising budget paid by the taxpayer.

Now consider the converse case where there is extensive or even unanimous provincial agreement on a proposed change which faces opposition from Ottawa. In this case there is no recourse -for the provinces; the federal government would retain an absolute veto. This asymmetry in the position of federal and provincial governments when it comes to amending…

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the constitution would surely be a continuing source of contention within the Canadian confederation. As the hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) said of the referendum this section establishes, “it denies the basic partnership and the basic essence of federalism.”

In addition to the opposition this proposal is bound to meet, there is certain to be provincial dissatisfaction at the agglomeration of proposals made in this resolution. It must be remembered that this is not a seamless whole, a system of mutually necessary provisions for the realization of a specific objective. Instead, it is the embodiment of several disjointed policy thrusts of the current Liberal government.

There is, to be sure, a portion which patriates the constitution and as a necessarily concomitant provision provides an amending formula, although I might add paranthetically, with one amending formula never discussed with the provinces and another which, while masquerading as the Victoria charter formula, differs radically in that it entirely disenfranchises Prince Edward Island.

To this set of patriation proposals has been added a series of other packages including political, economic, and legal rights, the formal institutionalization of first ministers’ conferences, the entrenchment of a limited policy of official bilingualism, and some minority language education rights. This melange is no coherent corpus on which any patriation must rest, rather it represents the Prime Minister’s solitary vision of what is good for the nation, what he feels he must impose.

In his remarks accompanying the release of the resolution, the Prime Minister said in criticism of the provinces:

We were led by the dictates of unanimity to bargain freedom against fish, fundamental rights against oil, the independence of our country against long-distance telephone rates.

Yet, leaving aside the overblown rhetoric, is this not essentially what his ultimatum to this House represents? Is he not saying, “You can patriate the constitution but only on my terms?” To use his phrase, is this not bargaining the independence of our country against an idiosyncratic vision of what rights should be entrenched?

I suggest to the Prime Minister that accord is not impossible. The Leader of the Opposition has detailed in his motion yesterday a way in which it could be achieved. The constitution can be patriated with an amending formula. Then amendments supported by either a province or the federal government can be proposed, considered, and adopted if they meet the requirements for amendments. By setting Ottawa’s desired goals on equal footing with those of the provinces, the mutual respect and independence between levels of government necessary for the well-functioning continuation of any confederation can be realized.

Madam Speaker: I regret to interrupt the hon. member but his time has expired.

I am now ready to rule on the amendment offered by the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte (Mr. McCain), which reads as follows:

That the motion be amended by deleting the sixth paragraph and substituting therefor the following:

“That the committee submit its report not later than February 12, 1981;

That the committee have power to adjourn from place to place within Canada;

That the committee be empowered to retain the services of advisers to assist in its work; and that it also be empowered to retain such professional, clerical and stenographic help as may be required;

I find the first part of the amendment acceptable, namely, the change of the date by which the committee will report back to the House, from December 9, 1980, to February 12, 1981.

However, the other two elements of the amendment cause some difficulty because they seek to extend the order of reference of the committee which can be done by means of an instruction to the committee, but not by an amendment to the motion to establish the committee. I refer hon. members to Beauchesne’s fifth edition, citations 621(3), 756 and 759, among others.

I would suggest to the hon. member that if he were prepared to delete the second and third propositions from his amendment, I would be prepared to propose the question on the first part, namely:

That the motion be amended by deleting the sixth paragraph and substituting the following therefor:

“That the committee submit its report not later than February 12, 1981.”

Mr. McCain: I respect the ruling of Madam Speaker and accept your suggestion that the last paragraph should be deleted and that the amendment should refer only to the date of February 12, 1981.

Madam Speaker: Therefore, it is moved by the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte, seconded by the hon. member for Nepean-Carleton (Mr. Baker):

That the motion be amended by deleting the sixth paragraph and substituting the following therefor:

“That the committee submit its report not later than February 12, 1981” .

Right Hon. Joe Clark (Leader of the Opposition): Now that Madam Speaker has found the amendment to be in order, I should like to speak to it before there is a vote upon it. I think the amendment is highly essential to the successful rescuing of any remnants of propriety to this debate. I regret that then narrow language of the rules under which we operate did not allow the admissibility of the other sections, because what this party wants to do is ensure that even though a gag has been put on the mouth of the House of Commons it will not be possible to put so restrictive committee proceedings, which we are now forced to move.

There has been, by the imposition of closure by this govern- merit, a very deep abuse of the privileges of the House of Commons, and the privileges of all Canadians who are and represented here. My hon. friend from Victoria has indicated this is the third time in history–the third time in history–that this measure has been used. And was it used on some minor, niggling question, some matter of no moment to…

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the people of Canada? No. This extraordinary measure to limit the ability of Parliament to speak, this measure of closure, is being used on the debate of the constitution of Canada itself. That is an absolute abuse of the power of a majority in this House of Commons.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Clark: I say this deliberately, if there were more members with the kind of courage their electors thought they had when they sent them to the House of Commons, this motion would not have passed and we would not be operating under the rules of closure here today.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Clark: I must also say, Mr. Speaker, that unfortunately in this debate so far—in the 24 hours plus of debate that we have had on this question—the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) has demonstrated his respect for Parliament and his interest, his interest, in the constitutional question. He urged members of Parliament from all parties to debate, and then he took away their opportunity to debate by slapping a muzzle on the mouths of the elected representatives of the House of Com- mons and then he, himself, declined to come before the House. Why was that? I suspect it was because he is ashamed of the measure which he is bringing in here, as every other member of his party should be ashamed. What they are trying to do in the name of reforming the Constitution of Canada is to force upon the people of Canada, by going to Britain, proposals which they are not confident the people of Canada themselves would accept if they went to the people.

An hon. Member: That is not correct.

Mr. Clark: Some otherwise silent Liberal backbencher who has voted here for closure, voted to muzzle Parliament, says that is not true. If it is not true, why is the Government of Canada running to Britain with questions which should be decided here in the Canadian House of Commons? Why do you not trust the people of Canada? Why do you hide out in Westminster?

Let me refer also to the attitude of the NDP, as my colleague earlier did, toward the question of closure. The Leader of the NDP (Mr. Broadbent) yesterday, after closure was announced by the government House leader, had an opportunity to stand in his place and speak. He mentioned the word “closure” once. He mentioned it in passing. The word passed his lips. But there was no objection by the NDP to closure. There was no -objection taken on the floor of the House of Commons to the muzzling of Parliament on a matter of fundamental concern and fundamental interest to the people of this country–for the third time in the history of Canada. We do not know what the price was. We do not know what went on in those discussions between the Leader of the NDP, that Neville Chamberlain of Canadian politics, and the Prime Minister of Canada. Clearly, whatever it was, it bought the silence of the NDP and they did not even stand in their places yesterday to oppose the imposition of closure, to oppose the attempt by the Government of Canada to muzzle debate on the fundamental law of the land in this country.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, by their actions in the last 24 hours the government have demonstrated what some of us previously had only feared—-that there is no willingness at all on the part of the Prime Minister, his ministers or, apparently, his sup- porters on both sides of this House of Commons, to engage in meaningful parliamentary debate on the constitutional resolution. The Prime Minister, after stating last October 2 that Parliament would return early to begin debate on this matter, after demanding that all the members of the House participate, said “Every member of Parliament from every corner of this land is asked to participate in this historic act.” Now, after only 24 hours of debate involving less than one-fifth of the members of this chamber, we are faced with closure.

This is an extraordinary situation that the Liberal party has imposed upon the House of Commons today, a deep abuse of this institution. Such a move, such a gagging of the members of this institution, should not be undertaken lightly. Indeed, we know that the advice of even the most cynical. of the Prime Minister’s advisers indicated that, in the words of the famous leaked memorandum, that has guided their every action since Herb Gray broke his word about resigning if interest rates went up—that famous leaked memorandum said:

It would be almost unthinkable to use time allocation (closure) on a resolution calling for patriation of the constitution.

That is what the leaked memorandum said — “almost unthinkable” . Yet the unthinkable has happened. Further, by his stubborn adherence to a December 9 deadline for commit- tee consideration, the government of the Prime Minister is determined to use every parliamentary device, every cynical means of manipulation to thwart parliamentary public debate.

I hope that the government will accept the amendment that is put forward here so that there will be an opportunity for this Parliament to consider this matter without having a gun to its head, so that there will be an opportunity for the members of the House of Commons to take this question across the country.

The other day we asked the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) whether there would be an opportunity to travel. We asked the Prime Minister this question again today. In declining to answer, they both indicated that they wanted to keep the committee here. Well, why should the constitution of Canada be confined to a discussion in the city of Ottawa? 1 see the hon. member for Niagara Falls (Mr. MacBain) is here. Why should not the people of Niagara Falls have an opportunity to express their concerns about the constitution of their country in their city? Why, if they are worried about it, should they have to come here?

I see members of Parliament here from Toronto. Why should Liberal members of Parliament from Toronto put up with a provision which says that a committee considering the Constitution of Canada will hold its deliberations only here? Indeed, there is a chairman of a committee from Toronto here.

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His committee has the right to travel. It is considering the problems of the handicapped. Why, if the people of Canada are allowed to be heard on the problems of the handicapped, should they not be allowed to be heard on the question of the basic law of the land? Why is the attempt being made to limit that debate to this city?

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Clark: I say simply, in passing, that there are two regions in particular where this refusal to have the committee travel would be deeply dangerous. It would be deeply dangerous in Atlantic Canada because, as my hon. friend from Hillsborough has indicated, this proposal would wipe out to all intents and purposes the influence of the province of Prince Edward Island. Indeed, it proposes to confer upon other provinces in Atlantic Canada a second-class status. It proposes to smuggle through a reference to equalization that is a most inadequate reference. And the people of that region, people who do not have the money to travel to Ottawa to make their VICWS. known on the constitution, should not be forced to remain silent because they cannot afford to come to speak to their Parliament about their constitution. They should have the right to have their constitution debated in their region. And the same is true for the west. I will return to the west in a moment because I am deeply concerned about what is happening now in western Canada as a result of various initiatives of this government.

In the west, in particular, there have been dramatic and dangerous changes in attitude toward this Canadian confederation. In the last eight to nine months there has been a dangerous development of feeling against the country developing in that region. Liberal members of Parliament, I believe, who voted for closure would not support that measure if they had the opportunity to hear directly from the people of western Canada some of the concerns that are on the minds of the people in western Canada. I say to my colleagues in the House of Commons who come from other parts of the country that they owe it to their country, they owe it to the ability of their country to continue, not to sit here in splended isolation in Ottawa. But they should travel so that they can hear first-hand the advice of concerned Canadians who are now falling victim, falling prey to the siren song of separatism because of the actions that have been taken by this government.

Before you aggravate that situation, those of you who come from other parts of Canada, who are members of a majority government which has no seats in half of the geographic land mass of this country, you owe it to your country and to yourselves to go out and hear what the people of western Canada have to say about the constitutional proposal. What we need is parliamentary public debate here in the House of Commons and across the country.

We have been denied that debate in the House of Commons but we should not put unreasonable, destructive limits upon the committee of the House of Commons and the Senate which will consider this matter because if we gag that body, if we allow the manipulative work of the Minister of State for Multiculturalism (Mr. Fleming) to affect opinion across the country, and if we leave it to propaganda and leave the truth aside, then we are dealing very seriously with possible ruptures in our country. I say to members of this House of Commons, from whatever corner they may come, you should not be prepared to allow your blind loyalty to your leader to force you to take actions which might rend this country.

I had harsh words a moment ago for members of the New Democratic Party. I will certainly amend them in one case. I am delighted to learn that the hon. member for Burnaby (Mr. Robinson) announced this afternoon that he will be opposing the Liberal government’s motion to send the proposed constitutional package to committee. I see that the hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) is in the House of Commons. I heard him speak on section 42, and he believes that it would be destructive to the nation. I would hope that he will find in his heart that it is his duty to act as his colleague, the hon. member for Burnaby, did, and stand against this attempt to ramrod through the House of Commons and into a controlled committee the discussion of the nation’s future.

The amendment proposed by my colleague, the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte (Mr. McCain), is one further attempt by my party to open up the process so that the people of Canada can be heard and can study the issue. Yesterday we gave this House of Commons the opportunity to end some of the bitterness and to achieve some of the goals that surround this debate. The goal is to get our constitution home. Yester- day, we provided a means to allow Parliament to vote to bring it home. The Liberal party and the NDP voted against bringing our constitution home. We wanted our constitution home in a way that we could work with it in an atmosphere that would be constructive.

Instead, as my colleague from Victoria has said, we run the risk of an atmosphere that is deeply divisive. As he said, a constitution is not simply a piece of law, a constitution reflects the mentality and the essence of a country. This government by its actions and by acquiescing to closure is poisoning the atmosphere of this country, and we will not have a solid constitution emerge from a poisoned country.

We want the committee’s considerations to be open. We want it to travel, and we hope that there will be a willingness on the part of the Liberal members, as there is in the NDP and in our party, to have television and radio in that committee. We hope that the Prime Minister will not try to hide the discussions on the constitutional package from the people of Canada. Indeed, had it been in order—unfortunately it is not because of the narrow range of our rules—we would have allowed the House of Commons the right to vote upon having television and radio in committee so that the people of Canada could know what is being proposed.

The reason that closure is upon this House is very simple The Government of Canada does not want the people of Canada to know what it is proposing to do with the constitution. The reason that closure was rushed in so quickly, at…

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time when there have been more government members speak than members of the official opposition, is that the Liberal party with its pollsters—and it is a government not of principles but of pollsters–found out that public opinion is changing. It is changing because people are finding out what is at issue here.

They understand that the propaganda put out by the Minister of State for Multiculturalism is false. What is at issue here is not simple patriation. If patriation were the question, the Liberal party would have voted for patriation yesterday instead of against it. The people of Canada are becoming more aware with each day’s debate of some of the issues. My colleague from Rosedale dramatically indicated the other day some of the problems for individuals, native people, women, other individuals and groups in the country that might be affected by affirmative action, a wide range of Canadians whose interests are directly threatened by this piece of legislation.

It is no wonder that the government do not want the matter debated in public. They are ashamed and they do not want people to know what they are proposing, so they try to hide-it. That is why we have closure here. We believe that instead of having closure and limiting this debate, there should be an opportunity for the people of Canada to know what is going on. This is why there should not be artificial limitation put upon the time of that committee to sit, why there should be an opportunity for television and radio to be present, and why there should be an opportunity for the committee to travel across the country.

Let the committee go to Newfoundland and see how badly the people there are being served by the Liberal members from that province, who trust their citizens so little that they do not want them to know what the Government of Canada is proposing. Let them go to western Canada and across this country. Let them go into Quebec and ask the people there directly whether or not they believe this proposal serves the interests of federalism or the interests of separatism. We have one response to that question. The hon. member for Montmorency (Mr. Duclos) is quoted in the October 23 issue of the Toronto Star. In the news article he indicates why he opposes the proposal put forth by his government. He said:

I want English Canada to know this commitment . . . is not what we promised Quebeckers during the referendum.

According to the public opinion polls, a majority of Quebeckers want a substantive change—not just a cosmetic change to our federal system.

What we’re doing now is an indication that the federal government is not really interested in a profound reform of our federal system.

I think that what we are doing now . . . we’re in the process of giving the Parti Québecois another term of office.

Those are the words of the Liberal member of Parliament for Montmorency who had the courage to stand in his place and speak what he believes, rather than accepting the muzzle of his leader. Where, I wonder, are the other Liberal members of Parliament? What kind of sheep are they that they sit in fear of their leader, rather than speaking to the interests of their constituents and their provinces?

Yesterday in Quebec City the Prime Minister, while his minister was acting to stop debate in Parliament, again accused provincial premiers who oppose his resolution of siding with René Lévesque.

I see, Mr. Speaker, that you are pointing at your watch, and I believe that I have about two minutes left.

The Prime Minister’s argument is that if you are not with him then you are against Canada. That is a familiar argument of the Prime Minister, although it is a little bit more difficult to make now that he wants Britain to decide questions which most of us want Canada to decide. But his prophecy is true. Mr. Lévesque embraced separatism in Quebec partly in reaction to the rigid, stubborn attitude of this government, and now other individuals in other parts of Canada are being driven by the Liberal government toward separation.

The Liberal government which presided over the growth of separatism in Quebec is creating the conditions for separatism in western Canada. I would draw to the attention of hon. members a speech made last night in the other place by a former premier and a dedicated federalist, Senator Ernest Manning, who said:

I am deeply troubled by the large number of serious-minded responsible people in western Canada who a year ago would have rejected the idea of separation out of hand, but who are now joining or supporting organizations advocating that the west separate. Such organizations are attracting members and fringe supporters not by hundreds but by thousands. It would be a grave mistake for the federal government to ignore the potential danger to Canada inherent in such trends.

I implore members of this House of Commons not to ignore the attitudes that are growing in western Canada and else- where in the country, and not to ignore the seeds of disunity that this government has sown. I urge the government, if they must resort to this unforgivable mechanism of closure, if they must muzzle Parliament, at least to let the committee of Parliament do its work. Let it have time to study. Let it carry through, as the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte suggest- ed, until February l2. Let the television cameras and radio be present so that people will know what is being discussed. Let Claude Ryan and others come to that committee and let them speak freely and fully about the damage this measure will do to their part of Canada. Let the committee do its work. Do not muzzle the committee as the House of Commons has been muzzled.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr. Jean-Robert Gauthier (Ottawa-Vanier): Mr. Speaker, we are now considering an amendment to the main motion, an amendment aimed at delaying till February next the report of the joint committee of the House and the Senate dealing with the resolution on the Canadian constitution.

Before I deal with the matter, I know quite well that hon. members will guess that the subject which I will try to develop is very clear to me but before dealing with it, I would like to…

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ask the former prime minister, the Leader of the Official Opposition (Mr. Clark), to be careful when he misleadingly suggests that the constitutional amendments proposed by Parliament and the government will be altered or redrafted by the British government.

Mr. Speaker, I think that it is absolutely incorrect and he knows it as well as all other members do.

I think, therefore, that on this point the Leader of the Opposition should be corrected.

Moreover, he stated that yesterday we voted against the patriation of the constitution, which is not correct. Hon. members on the government side voted yesterday on the patriation of the constitution and the Vancouver formula, a formula which is unacceptable to people like me and to all hon. members on this side of the House.

When the former prime minister, therefore-

An hon. Member: Temporary.

Mr. Gauthier: —yes, temporary, for a six-month period– when the Leader of the Opposition makes such a statement—I know him as a man who is honest most of the time—-he knows that this is not correct, I can only assume that it is fully partisan and directed at the electorate.

Mr. Speaker, I have listened attentively to this debate and_ I feel that this resolution is extremely important for Franco- phone members born and living outside Quebec—they are few and far between in the House. The proposed resolution is extremely important, because we would no longer operate under the supremacy of our provincial governments, but rather under the rule of a constitution with our rights entrenched and protected by a court of justice, which we hope will demonstrate as much generosity and enlightenment as those we have enjoyed for several years.

Still, Mr. Speaker, we are faced with two different concepts, one of which is the concept expounded by several Progressive Conservative members and which upholds the supremacy of Parliament. Personally, I agree with those who firmly believe that today, after 113 years, it is time for us to effect this change and to entrench our rights in the constitution and then move to the other aspect which I stand for, that is judicial supremacy. And in the course of my remarks I will try to demonstrate why today minorities in Canada, linguistic minorities not only outside Quebec but within Quebec as well, support and back fully this resolution which aims at enshrining within the constitution the rights of minorities. If I were to put a title on my speech, Mr. Speaker, I would say that minorities need more rights and more power than majorities do. This would be the title of my remarks because to anyone wondering what promises of success any constitutional resolution may hold I would say that the most fundamental matter is the entrenchment of a charter of rights and liberties, including language rights. In my opinion, any country must be defined from this basis.

Therefore it seems to me, and it is not a surprise to hon. members, that I linger over this vision, over this popular concept, we want to establish the independence of our country and in a move of pride and fairness, we want not only to patriate the Constitution in Canada but also to include the fundamental and individual rights, including some linguistic rights.

As a matter of fact, minorities need more rights than majorities. The latter protect themselves naturally because of their number, their political influence, and the environment they create. Within the time allocated to me I shall try to demonstrate why we should act today and enshrine linguistic rights of minorities and of all Canadians. In the present system, those fundamental and individual rights are under the jurisdiction of Parliament, which means they depend to a large extent on legislative action, whether under the principle of the supremacy of law or through common law and some other texts which govern us. The constitutional bill of 1980 proposes to change this system and replace it by the enshrinement of rights, which of course favours the principle of judicial supremacy. There rights, I repeat, cannot be changed or circumvented by an amendment to the constitution, a procedure which is more difficult than the mere passing of an ordinary law.

Mr. Speaker, I am among those who believe that, after 113 years, parliamentary supremacy over rights and freedoms, including language rights, must be replaced by the entrenchment of those rights and freedoms in the constitution, including language rights, in order to guarantee and protect those rights. It is fairly easy to explain why minority groups have -ft tended to support the supremacy of the courts. The reasons underlying that support are historical and confirm the experience several of us have had. Indeed I will give several examples.

I support the entrenchment of fundamental rights because, in my opinion, it provides greater assurance and therefore greater protection against possible abuses by governments and majorities. Besides, most major democratic countries have already acted in that direction. A charter of individual rights and freedoms is the most common aspect of all federations in the world. The European Community, for example, to which England, France, and other countries belong, is bound by the European Convention on Human Rights and by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Finally, Mr. Speaker, who can deny the educational and moral value of entrenching human rights in a constitution.

I also endorse the proposal to include in the constitution the right to education in the minority language. This will, of course, surprise no one. This will guarantee Canadians the right to educate their children in their mother tongue, where numbers warrant. It is not exaggerated to say that Franco-…

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Ontarians have suffered greatly from this concept of where numbers warrant. I speak from experience because I have spent 11 years on schools boards, from 1961 to 1972, trying to make local and provincial authorities understand the grounds for a French-language high school system financed by the Ontario treasury.

We have won a few battles, but we are still far from having the homogeneous French school system we” want and hope to have one day. If minority rights had been entrenched in the constitution, we would have reached our goal more quickly. We are constantly in danger of being assimilated by the majority group. It has sometimes been only through our individual will and collective determination that we have been able to hope to survive as French-speaking Canadians. Once again, Mr. Speaker, if minority rights had been entrenched, we would have been able to remain more numerous. Individually, French Canadians have survived only because of their persistent fighting spirit. They have been attacked from all sides, and sometimes, they were able to survive because they were attacked. When you are ignored, you die, but when you are attacked, if you have courage, you defend yourself, and this is what we did. Mr. Speaker, a minority needs more rights than the majority. I am disappointed to note that he has left, but in any case, I was very disappointed last Tuesday to hear the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. LaSalle) lecture French minorities outside Quebec about language rights. I was surprised and saddened that this Francophone member of Parliament would give us the classical argument of majorities concerning entrenchment of rights in the constitution, and I quote:

–as these rights are very closely related to the provincial jurisdiction over education, I do not see why it should be urgent or necessary to enshrine them in the constitution at the risk of giving rise to quarrels like those the past generations have known.

That is certainly the hon. member for Joliette speaking! When a French minority in another province asks for the concrete and practical means to survive, it is told that it must absolutely not provoke conflicts and frictions within the com- munity. It is all right to help it, but only if this disturbs in no way the group which is comfortably installed in a majority position. If it follows the rule suggested by the hon. member for Joliette, the minority has only one alternative: to keep still, be quiet and let itself be assimilated.

The linguistic minorities of Canada have no intention of listening to the nonsense uttered by the hon. member for Joliette. He speaks very strangely. He speaks the language of some of the premiers who suggested only a few years ago that they should sign bilateral agreements: -concerning education and who favoured interprovincial bargaining with their minorities as pawns.

Mr. Speaker, we will stand up against the trade-off of our survival, we are not the pawns of the majority, we want our rights to be entrenched in our constitution. We dream of becoming first-class citizens. This collective will has given birth to several movements aimed at regrouping minorities. We have created many associations and several organizations. These associations are made up of average Canadians and are striving to correct linguistic injustice, both at school and in society. These provincial associations which often work in an hostile environment have been the main architects of an almost permanent fight. We need them, they need us and the federal government has supported them, God knows how much. Some might say that these provincial and national organizations are lobbying groups sometimes led by ambitious leaders. If the leaders are sometimes obliged to speak frankly and roughly to governments and to majorities it is because they sometimes have to shout louder to be heard. I think that most Canadians who are part of a minority will support entrenching linguistic rights at school in our constitution. To them it is an important guarantee which will help them in their collective search for equality and equity. For instance, Mr. Speaker, on September 28, 1980, ACFO, the French Canadian Association of Ontario, at their convention in Ottawa, passed the following resolution, this was before the resolution now before us was brought in and I quote:

That ACFO strongly urge patriation of the British North America Act, and that the prerequisite for that support be that the new Canadian Constitution enshrine basic rights and freedoms, including language rights for official language minorities.

It is that same provincial association that often spearheaded the fight in Ontario. We fought for the right to speak and even pray in one’s language. We fought for the right to work in one’s language, under a boss who often misunderstood our aspirations. We fought to have our children educated in French in Ontario and elsewhere. We fought for public ser- vices in French. We fought for the right to defend ourselves in courts of justice at all levels. We fought against language prejudice, that often feeds on misconceptions about the institutional bilinguism. We fought to preserve and develop our culture. Such has been the struggle of . generations of Franco- Ontarians and Franco-Manitobans, “Fransaskois” , Acadians and people outside Quebec, who wanted to and will succeed in surviving in this country.

It has been pointed out, Mr. Speaker, that although this debate is very important and very serious for the Progressive Conservatives, there are hardly some odd ten of them, here, and I find ridiculous at this stage that we have to sit through dinner hours when those people do not even think it worth their while to remain here to listen to the debates.

Here we are, Mr. Speaker, inl980, discussing a resolution that is most important in my view. I emphasize the phrase “discussing a resolution” , because such is the process that will start after this evening. Whatever the Leader of the Opposition or others on his side may say, the suggestion that we are muzzling this debate is preposterous. What we are doing after three weeks, after hearing nearly 50 members, what we are saying is that finally we must come to serious consideration of

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the resolution. We are going to refer it to a committee, where everyone will have an opportunity to comment, to put his arguments forward and probably to point out and correct what he considers is wrong.

Mr. Speaker, if the committee makes an in-depth study of the resolution and tables a report, I hear the Leader of the Opposition say: “We will be back on February 12 with a report” . I do not care whether we come back on February 10 or February 12 or December 9, as long as we work seriously. I have no objection whatsoever. We will manage to study the proposal within the framework of the schedule Parliament must follow. I heard the Leader of the Opposition say that we should be talking about the economy and energy matters. I think he understands very well the restrictions imposed by the present parliamentary schedule and that he must also have a lot of work to do and therefore it might be better not to keep the debate going for too long if that is to disorganize every- body’s work and delay our proceedings, as has been done for two or three weeks after question period. Members of the House would keep raising points of order and questions of privilege for two or three hours. I do not think that delaying the work of the House that way is what one could call serious parliamentarianism.

How will Canadians use the new constitution? I honestly do not know. Time will tell. There is no doubt, for instance, that the constitutional instrument carries more weight than an ordinary statute because a constitution is not easily changed. The Leader of the Opposition spoke against section 42 because it refers to a referendum and the people will have their say. In short, Mr. Speaker, that is democracy, it is a regime where people have the right to speak. Personally, I have read several editorials and I would refer the Leader of the Opposition to an article written September 23, 1980, by Pierre Tremblay of Le Droit. I do not intend to read it because it is quite long but it is very good. Indeed, Mr. Tremblay’s theme is that-the federal- provincial dispute is over, that we must now call on the people when politicians are up against a deadlock they cannot get out of.

Mr. Speaker, I have been told that in history–and that is very interesting, in my opinion~–political powers may often skirt around or repeal certain constitutional rights. I am thinking in particular of section 23 in Manitoba which was repealed by the will of a single legislative assembly. How many times in our short history did linguistic minorities have to fight to maintain, or even worse, secure such rights as the free choice of their religion and their language? How often did minorities see their rights disappear just when they seemed to be safe? It took eighty years to recognize that those statutes of the Manitoba legislature were discriminatory and anti-constitutional. It was recognized because a man, Mr. Georges Forest, on his own initiative, was willing to give of his time and money to fight for one of his fundamental rights, his linguistic right.

Here, in Ontario, we lived’ under regulation 17. It took several years before we could get that regressive and discriminatory measure repealed and get justice. Even now, it is still an important theme in Ontario where we often call for justice. That work is very important to us. Let us not think, Mr. Speaker, that the charter of rights is the achievement of all hopes, that it will answer all the aspirations of the official languages minority groups. It is an excellent beginning, which delights me, but though we have obtained the required mini- mum, it does not mean that we should miss any opportunity or initiative to improve it. If we really want the official linguistic minorities to live their culture and language fully, they must be dispensed health and social services in their tongue, in their own provinces. Finally, radio and television services must be extended to the whole population, and that, in the two official languages wherever those who request it are numerous enough. Canada is becoming increasingly a people of minorities. Statistics confirm it every day. I feel, therefore, that it is imperative that their fundamental rights be protected. There is nothing extraordinary, Mr. Speaker, about the fact that a country has one or several minorities. Most big countries in the world have linguistic minorities that they have to accommodate. Besides, there is a maxim which says that a minority that has the will to survive and is attacked will know how to fight back, whereas a minority that is unaware of itself and is also ignored by the majority is often doomed to extinction.


We are faced in Canada today with a challenge of great importance to us all, the challenge of keeping this country together.

To understand each other with all our regional and sectional loyalties, our varying customs and traditions; to understand what this country is all about, a country with two official languages and a multitude of cultures; to understand that there are forces at work to build a better Canada while at the same time other forces want to destroy it–therein lies the challenge.

I see, Mr. Speaker, you are going to rise and tell me that my time is up. I am very sorry. I would have liked to finish my speech, but I must abide by the rules and surrender my place to another member.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Perhaps the Chair might take this opportunity to familiarize hon. members, those who are present, with the habit I have of trying to warn hon. members that they are coming to the end of their time. Whether the hon. member speaking happens to catch that message or not—and I know there is a considerable amount of pressure on members, although the Chair has been a trifle lax–I think I ought to be exact from here on. I want to warn hon. members that whether they see the notification that they are coming to the end of their time or not, I will from here on cut short debate precisely at the time required.

Mr. Bill Yurko (Edmonton East): Mr. Speaker, in speaking to the amendment and to the main motion, I have a 40-minute speech which I cannot give in the 20 minutes allotted to me. Therefore, I will make the whole text of my speech public. In…

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the interests of giving other hon. members the opportunity to speak in order to express their views, I will just present a brief summary.

I have said in the past that I am favourably disposed toward the government’s package and have in the past supported and still support a number of principles. My reasons are given in the text which is available to anyone who wishes to read it. I will file my speech with each of the committee members when the committee is selected.

First, I support unilateral patriation by Parliament with the unanimity formula, as per the motion I moved on May 9 and which was passed unanimously by the House. I also supported the motion of last night for unilateral patriation, with the Vancouver consensus. The constitution must be patriated quickly so that changes can be made sequentially to reduce increasing tensions in our nation.

Second, I support the process of finding a less restricting formula than the unanimity formula, but I reject the government’s process as needing substantive revision, and indeed, revisions are mandatory.

Third, I support a people’s referendum as a process for constitutional change. The people should be able to initiate such a referendum rather than the federal government only and a majority in each province should be required for pas- sage, not only the majority in each of the four regions.

Fourth, I strongly support maintaining the equality of provincial status and the protection of existing provincial powers and rights with reduction in such powers being by consent only, particularly in regard to provincial lands, resources and boundary rights. In my main speech I have proposed an amendment to that effect.

Fifth, I support equalization and the entrenchment of a charter of rights and freedoms, but the resolution needs redrafting to provide clarity and interpretation of these matters. I would have preferred that such be done in Canada after patriation.

Sixth, I do not want to kill the government’s constitutional package and, therefore, kill patriation. I want to improve it and effect patriation. Therefore, I support sending it to committee, but not under the process of closure. This is an unneeded action on behalf of the government. I am saddened by it. It is an unfortunate action after only two and a half weeks of sitting in this House to debate one of the most important issues to come before this House since 1867.

This is an action to limit the privileges of members of this House to speak on this vital issue. I know there has been some obstruction. There always is on both sides. However, another month of debate would not have been an inconvenience to this House or, indeed, to Canada. I must utterly reject the closure action by the government.

Thirteen years ago almost to the month, when I joined the Conservative party of Canada, I asked, what does this party stand for? Is it just a collection of individuals with a common purpose and a common view, or is it more? Has it got a creed and an unshakeable philosophical foundation, or is it just a garment which we can take off and put on as the opportunity arises?

I searched and there were few answers to be found. I had resolved that this conservatism is an integrity of spirit and an orderly expansion of conscience that is genuinely important and not of the fleeting variety. It is on the basis of that individual integrity or spirit of conscience that I shall vote on this measure from here on, as it is a measure of profound gravity. I trust that each member in this House will do the same. I respect every member’s right to do so on this fundamental issue. This is an issue for statesmen and not for partisan politics and partisan politicians.

It has taken me five minutes, effectively, to file my speech, or say that I am going to file it with the committee members, and present my summary. At this rate I believe many members will have–and they should have—the opportunity to speak on this resolution before it is sent to committee later on tonight.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. David Smith (Don Valley East): Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to participate in this historic debate, and I am proud, as are all hon. members who have spoken, to play a small part in it.

At the outset of this debate I thought perhaps I might be hearing from a few constituents as to why Parliament would be spending its time on a constitution when there are postal interruptions, clerks’ strikes and obvious economic problems in this country, but I think that the constituents of my riding have shown great maturity. I think we have to recognize that something which may be important is not on any given day or week or month necessarily urgent, but the fact that it may not be urgent on one day does not mean it is not of vital importance to this country. I think that the voters and constituents certainly in Toronto and in the constituency which I have the honour to represent have appreciated the necessity for Parliament to come to grips with this issue at this time.

I think the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) have to be commended for the leadership they have shown in biting the bullet and being prepared to go ahead with this question and resolve something Canadians have not, unfortunately, been able to resolve for decades.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Smith: What is before the House is a resolution to appoint a joint committee of the Senate and House of Com- mons to consider and report upon the constitutional document which was issued by the government on October 2. There have been many speeches. Many of them have been excellent. But I think we have to recognize that we are beginning what will be a chapter which may last for several months and that the curtain is not being dropped on it tonight as if somehow the gong were going and this were the end of the show. I think that, has perhaps not been pointed out by opposition members when…

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they have addressed themselves to the motion with which we are going to have to deal later tonight. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) himself said on October 2, and I quote:

The significant debate will come when the resolution itself is brought directly Before the House some time after the committee has made its report.

Mr. Beatty: It will not and never will be.

Mr. Smith: Those are not my words; those are the words of the Leader of the Opposition— “significant debate” —and that debate will occur when the committee reports back; but hon. members opposite will not have a chance to do anything unless we set the committee up. That is why we have to set it up, and the time to do that has certainly come.

With regard to the package and, first, patriation, everyone who has spoken seems to agree that it is high time we do it. I certainly agree. It has dragged on for many, many years. For over 50 years efforts have not borne fruit, and I think everyone would concede that every reasonable effort has been made by this government in the last few months to come to a reasonable agreement with the provinces. If that is not recognized by certain members of the opposition, it certainly will be by historians. I suggest it is by the public right now.

Let us consider the amending formula. I support the proposal I think it is reasonable, fair and within the Canadian tradition. It does protect provincial powers. We are not talking about any realignment of the division of powers. There can be no finalization of any division of powers within the next two years without unanimous consent. I cannot understand what Premier Peckford could complain about in the next two years.

If after two years we cannot come to some agreement, then we go. to the Victoria formula, and in clause 42 there is also provision for a referendum. This is what seems to have the official opposition in particular quite riled up. Hon. members in the official opposition say that theoretically this could destroy federalism as we know it and that this could destroy the country. Well, I think we have to concede that if a power is there, notwithstanding the fact that I think it is quite clear it is only going to be used as a last resort, then it can be used.

Let us assume that disallowance can be used. If we are going to talk theory, let us talk theory. To suggest that somehow something new is coming on the scene which will suddenly destroy federalism is absolutely ludicrous when we look at the power of disallowance which has existed many years in the country. Did it destroy federalism? Of course it did not.

In his speech on October 6 the Leader of the Opposition said, and I quote from page 3291 of Hansard:

And because this authority would not be limited, this central government could, if it chose to, deprive the provinces of all their powers and for all times.

He went on to say:

Under this resolution, the central government could destroy what makes Canada a federation. And if it did, I am afraid it would signal the end of Canada as a country.

That is simply not correct. The power is not the government at all, it is the people, and there is a pretty fundamental difference. I think that the official opposition has totally ignored the fact that the ultimate sovereignty from which all governments derive their power is the people. I have much more faith in the Canadian people than the opposition has.

Hon. members opposite talk about the tyranny of the majority. In his speech the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Epp) repeatedly referred to the tyranny of the majority. Well, I hardly think that a requirement that there be 51 per cent in each of the four regions of this country is a formula designed t to allow whimsical fads to be swept into a constitution. I think that is absolute nonsense and is something I reject. I have much more faith in the people of this country than people who are making those arguments seem to have.

Let me make just brief reference to the charter. I support it. There are some obvious things in there with which I do not think anyone could disagree. We all believe in freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, freedom of the press, etc. I do not understand why anyone could possibly get worked up about that, but there are some other things which perhaps are not quite so historic and which may be a bit more unique to Canada.

I believe in equalization. I am a member from central Canada, from Ontario, from Toronto. I am one of those Toronto fellows, and in terms of tax paid in areas of the country, it is a statistical fact that Toronto has paid a disproportionate share of taxes in relation to its population. I do not quarrel with that for one second. I agree with it and welcome it. I support that because that is what this country is all about. This country is all about sharing. That is what this government is all about, that is what this party is all about and that is what this provision is all about. That is why we have to get on with it and enshrine it in a constitution so that it is beyond question and not something which can be swept out by another government which might come in and which does not believe in it.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Smith: Another provision in the charter has to do with mobility rights. This is something we had not talked about until recent years. It is rather a new idea and a new concept but I submit that mobility rights are needed because barriers have unfortunately been springing up which are stopping people from one part of the country from getting jobs in other parts of the country. That is certainly not what I understand a country to be about.

Today we heard the hon. member for St. John’s West (Mr. Crosbie) defend that piece of Newfoundland legislation which will deny jobs in Newfoundland to people from other part of the country. We. can see the kind of protection of mobility rights there would be under a government of which he was part. That is the reason we have to secure the right of Canadians to go to any part of this country and to have employment in any part of this country. We need to do that in such a way that it cannot be swept aside when some government may come along which does not like that provision…

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We have heard some scathing attacks from the official opposition on the package, but what is the alternative hon. members opposite are talking about? I have read their speeches several times. I have looked through the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition, the hon. member for Provencher, the hon. member for Rosedale (Mr. Crombie) and other official opposition spokesmen who have spoken in this debate. They are all over the map. They talk about the Vancouver consensus. They hold it up like the Holy Grail as if it were the solution to everything. Let us have a look at it. It provides that seven provinces which make up 50 per cent of the population can, in conjunction with the federal government, effect an amendment to the constitution. It says 50 per cent, and although the hon. member for Provencher said he did not feel too comfortable with that and he thought it should be two- thirds, he said he would go along with it. Two paragraphs later in his speech, however, he attacked our formula which requires over 50 per cent in each of the four regions and said that that is the tyranny of 51 per cent. Yet the opposition embraces a formula which requires a fair 50 per cent of the population of this country as represented by their provincial governments.

An hon. Member: That is not the whole story.

Mr. Smith: You are right, that is not the whole story because it gets worse. They then have an opting-out formula which is not, to my understanding, within the tradition of this country, with one province opting out of this and another opting out of that. The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), quite properly, labelled that provision a checker board sort of formula which would result in different parts of the country having different laws. What does a country mean when you have that sort of thing happening across the land?

The hon. member for Rosedale, who gave us a good speech and told us some truths, spoke about the five principles of Canadian confederation. Two of them were national union and consensus. I submit that the opting-out provision runs counter to the theme which he was developing. Why, then, does the Leader of the Opposition think the Vancouver consensus is so great? I will tell you why. He thinks it is great because, with the opting-out provision, he does not have to choose between premiers. He does not have to choose between Lougheed and Davis and between all these Tory premiers across the country who cannot get their act together. So it is an easy way out.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Smith: That is why they like the Vancouver consensus. Consensus—what a joke!

If the House has been following the conference attended by the premiers last week in Toronto, hon. members would realize that it is literally laughable to talk about consensus. But that is the route he wants to take. If that is leadership, they can have it. That is not the sort of leadership that this country needs and it is not the leadership that this government has been giving. I think we need to have a constitutional framework which will keep this country together.

Then, on top of that, they have this odd idea about a constituent assembly, but we did not hear too much about that. The only person who spoke about that was the hon. member for Provencher, but he did not say what they were going to do. “It would be a terrible thing if we had a provision in a constitution which allows a referendum, ”they say, but some- how it is okay to set up a constitutional assembly, according to them. Where do they get their mandate? I am not quite sure about that, it has not been too clearly spelled out.

So I submit that the opposition does not have its act together; it is all over the map on this and, in fact, there is no alternative. We have one clear option which has been present- ed, and it is a reasonable one, one on which we are going to move, one that will carry and one in which we will all be proud to play a part.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Smith: There is one final point I should like to make, and that is that I for one happen to think it is possible to make some improvements to the charter. I think that is the function of the committee. Some hon. members might be aware of the fact that I am chairman of the committee on the handicapped and disabled. I happen to believe that the charter would be improved if a specific reference to them were included in it. I have spoken on this before and I intend to carry on with this idea and hope to address the committee on that. It would not be a new thing which would open the floodgates to many minority groups because, in fact, a precedent has already been established in the Human Rights Act. The reference in it to the rights of the handicapped and disabled would improve even further what I believe to be a sound and good charter.

After having had the opportunity to travel across the country with the committee and to listen to people speak, I can assure you that Canadians from coast to coast, particularly disabled Canadians, feel very strongly about their rights. They do not really feel certain about them being guaranteed by the various provincial governments of this land. We heard over 600 briefs and many of them spoke to this issue. Without exception they support the concept of a charter enshrining rights. I hope it will ultimately be expanded and made clear that those rights refer specifically to disabled Canadians.

As I have said earlier, I am pleased to participate in what I believe is an historic debate. I am proud to be here tonight to take part in this debate because I think we are doing some- thing that is historic, something that will be good for Canada and which, I think, when completed, will allow us to get on to other things.

Hon. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre): Mr. Speaker, I may find that I am a voice crying in the wilderness, but there is a plea that I should like to make at this stage in our proceedings and I want to make it as earnestly as I can. We are just about at the end of this debate on the motion to set up a joint committee to deal with the constitution, and the…

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likelihood is that that motion will carry about six hours from now and that the matter will be sent to the special joint committee. My plea is that we have had enough contention, acrimony and backbiting both ways, and that the time has come for us to send this whole proposition to the committee in a spirit of good will, with the plea that it approach the job with the seriousness which it deserves.

Maybe I am dreaming something that cannot happen but I would like to see this motion passed tonight without a recorded vote as the means of saying to the committee, “We have done our fighting, we have done our arguing, we have had our contentions; now it is up to the committee to do the job on the proposed resolution which needs to be done.”

I want to say that my colleagues and I are prepared to support the amendment proposed this afternoon to give the committee additional time to do its job, and I hope that the government might consider accepting that amendment. It might even be that with a little investigation it could be found that the official opposition would be willing to let the motion go to committee without a recorded vote if the amendment were accepted.

I say all of this, Mr. Speaker, because I believe I reflect the thinking of the Canadian people about the September conference, namely, that it was a crying shame that 11 grown-up men sitting down together could not reach agreement on the proposal for a new constitution, but instead broke up in a way which has led to an increasing sense of division in the country. I think there was hope on the part of the people of Canada that the 282 of us—we are only 279 now since there are a few vacancies—might be grownup men and women and might be able to do the job where the premiers failed. But instead we have had three weeks of pretty contentious debate ending today under a vote with respect to closure. I regret very much that we are doing it this way.

In my experience, every time Standing Order 33 is invoked it produces a feeling of discontent, unhappiness and ill-will around this place that does no good for the parliamentary process.’ It is a rule that has been around for a long time. Its conception and birth were highly questionable. It was brought in in 1913 _by the Conservative government of the day because it was having trouble getting a naval aid bill through Parliament. Because it had so much trouble with those filibustering Liberals, it stopped the debate, brought in changes in the rule, then went back to the debate and applied the new rules. We often use the phrase about changing the rules in the middle of the game. It was not just a phrase in 1913, it was an actuality. As I say, the few times it has been used since it has produced ill-will and unhappiness.

In particular, I remember the experience in 1956 in the pipeline debate when it was applied four times. Four times we sat here until two, three or four o’clock in the morning in what was a dramatic part of the history of this Parliament but really a very sad one. I can assert that we have never got over some of the damage done to this place by the use of closure in 1956.

We have had it a few times since then. It was used with respect to the flag debate. On that occasion, like today, my party was prepared to vote for the motion with respect to the new flag, but we voted against the attempt to close that debate by closure. It was brought in again in 1969. Closure was used again that year to bring in those other debate-ending rules, 75A, 75B and 75C.

I believe members will agree with me that even the normal relationships and greetings we give to each other in the lobbies and around this building have been cooled today because of closure and the kind of experience we are having. I feel very strongly that if we had just negotiated a bit more, a few days more, even a week or what have you, we could have closed this debate without using the guillotine.

If I speak critically of the government for invoking closure, I must say there is blame on the other side as well. Progressive Conservatives members have tried to use arithmetic to show they have not had as many speeches in the debate as the Liberals, but they are the ones who refused to agree to any proposal to bring the debate to a close voluntarily. We have heard from them scathing denunciations of the package before the House as though it would bring Canada to an end, as though good will was completely absent from the minds of those who drafted the resolution. We have had a great deal of the kind of debate which does not enhance the reputation of this Parliament or expedite its proceedings. All right, we have had it. We cannot go back and undo it. Things have been said which I hope some members are sorry for. It has been done, but that is over now. It will end at one o’clock tonight or one o’clock tomorrow morning. Is it not time for us to realize that 1 we are dealing with a terribly important issue, namely, the basic constitution of this country, and that we should send this matter to a joint committee, calling upon it in good will and in good faith to try to come up with a document which will meet the needs and the wishes of the country?

My leader has made our position very clear on a number of occasions. He has pointed out that after all the years Canada has been here, the 113 years or even the 53 years since an attempt was made to Canadianize the constitution, surely there comes a time when the matter should be taken in hand and we should go through with it. We accept the proposition that we should now try to go through with that job, but I think it should be recognized not just as a job handed to us by the government. It is something in which all sides of the House should co-operate as helpfully and as constructively as we possibly can. Not only do we feel there is a case for doing the job now and getting it over with; perhaps the most common remark I get from people in my constituency and other parts the country is: “Why do you not get the job over with?”

In addition to that, we think there are some things in the package which are good. Most of us believe in the entrenchment of a charter of rights. Most of us believe that language justice should be entrenched in our charter. We all say we believe in the principle of equalization. These things really ought to be part of a constitution. So why should we be

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backbiting about these things or failing to get to the things that may yet need to be done?

I am particularly proud of what the hon. member for Oshawa (Mr. Broadbent) has done, in his negotiations with the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) on the question of making very clear the rights of provinces to control and administer their natural resources, with all that that means.

Mr. Wilson: What about ownership?

Mr. Knowles: The ownership is there already, but as my hon. friend knows, there have been court cases and decisions in recent times which have cast some doubt upon the meaning of that ownership. Then, of course, there is the whole question of indirect taxation on natural resource products, interprovincial trade and so on. My leader has done a good job in persuading the Prime Minister to agree to that proposal. I hope it is recognized that although this provides a balance which makes the package more acceptable, or certainly less unacceptable, to western Canada, nevertheless it applies to all the provinces of Canada from British Columbia to Newfoundland. I am proud of my leader for the job he has done in negotiating this matter with the Prime Minister, but I also think—I may be cut down for saying this–that a word of thanks might even be given to the Prime Minister-

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Knowles: —for having the flexibility to discuss these matters with the hon. member for Oshawa and to agree to make the necessary changes. I think we have done a fairly good job, a number of us, in pressing the point that section 42 of the proposed resolution needs to be looked at closely in terms of the purpose for which it is to be used. I say quite openly that I have discussed this matter with at least five members of cabinet and I find they all agree with me. Each of them has said that the government is willing in committee to make any amendments necessary to put in clear language what was intended. What worries some members about section 42 is that it seems to be a method of amending the constitution which is equal to section 41. The government says, “No, the intention is only to use section 42 if there is a deadlock under section 41″

Now, some members on the government side are still saying that the language is clear. I do not think it is, but the ministers to whom I have spoken have said that if it is obvious that section 42 needs to be amended to make sure it is used for the means of breaking a deadlock, they will put that in there. I welcome the fact that four or five ministers have said that to me. I believe that all of us should accept the fact that this does give a hope for some improvement in the package. As I said the other day, I think we would be insane to bring home a constitution which did not have a deadlock-breaking provision. We could go on for 40 or 50 years without ever getting it amended, without ever dealing with some of the other things that I also think should be considered. In particular, Mr. Speaker, even though we think we have done well—particularly, our leader has done well—in getting the concessions on the resource bit, and even though some of us think we have done well in getting several ministers to agree to make section 42 applicable only if there is a deadlock under 41, there are still other things that the committee ought to look at. My plea is that we try tonight at one o’clock to pass this motion unanimously and send it to the committee so that the committee will know that there is in Parliament good will, that it wants in good faith consideration of some of the other things. There are quite a few but I am going to emphasize three, one was mentioned just a moment ago. In my view, the whole question of the protection of the rights of women is something we should still look at further. I know that the government says that there is language in there about equal rights and so on, and one of my colleagues will be dealing with this later tonight. Court decisions have shown there really is not equality and I would like in particular to see the committee look at it. It is my feeling that if we keep on fighting each other with nothing but contention and acrimony the committee will stiffen up, will tighten up and do nothing. As I said when I first rose to my feet, my plea is that we send this to the committee with good will, asking its members in good faith to deal with other matters, such as a formula for including women’s rights in the constitution.

I say the same thing with regard to the rights of our native peoples. They feel very strongly about this, as every member of this House knows. They feel that the assertions in the proposed resolution about the continued existence of the treaties and rights that are there is not enough and that something more should be done.

As I say, we are proud of the improvement that we won but that does not stop us from saying that more should be won. It is my feeling that we will not get any more changes if we just tighten up and make this a battle from one side to the other. Let us admit that we have had our battle-three weeks of it. Let us give it to the committee in a spirit of good will and ask it in good faith, both sides, to ask the Liberals to look very squarely at the pleas which will come for women’s rights and native rights. I ask the House to say, through the way it votes tonight, that we want these issues left open so that they can be dealt with in the constitution if it is at all possible to do so.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Knowles: I was pleased a moment ago to hear the hon. member for Don Valley East (Mr. Smith) raise a point, which was one of the three that I intended to deal with in this portion of my remarks, namely, the rights of the handicapped people of this country. They feel very upset that nothing seems to be done for them in this constitution. Again, I would like to see that done.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Knowles: As I say, Mr. Speaker, if we carry on in the committee the way we have carried on here for three weeks, as just a contest, a party vote, nothing will happen. It is too

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important to do that. We have had our fights. We have had our contention. Let us let that drop. I plead that tonight we pass this motion unanimously and send it to committee in that spirit.

As I have already said, we are prepared to support the amendment to change the date by which the committee is to report. We will be doing so if it comes to a vote. Maybe there can even be some negotiations between now and one o’clock based on the plea which I have been making, that it is time to deal seriously, honestly and in good faith with this issue. As I say, I would like to see it go to the committee in that spirit so the things which have already been agreed upon will be amendments which the committee can put through and that other things can be done as well. There may be others. It has not been a good three-week period in Parliament but if we send it to the committee in a proper way we can yet come up with a good constitution and be proud of a job well done.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Paul J. Cosgrove (Minister of Public Works): Mr. Speaker, this is the third time I have had the opportunity of speaking formally to the House. The first occasion was in speaking to second reading of the Municipal Grants Act. At that time I made the comment that I thought the quick passage of that act was a good omen for the future of the country, a good omen for the future of renewed federalism. It demonstrated a willingness on the part of this level of government to recognize the responsibilities of the other two levels of government and it was a step toward co-operation between governments.

On that occasion, which happened to be the evening of the Quebec referendum, I had the opportunity to comment on the significance of the referendum vote. I offered one caution, I suggested that if we were to be successful in our thrust toward a renewed federalism, there was a heavy responsibility on the part of the provinces to match the demonstrated will that evening of this level of government. It had to be a will that addressed not only the problems of Quebec but also the question of bettering and encouraging other provinces into the process of building a better Canada.

Unhappily, the provinces have failed to rise to the occasion, as evidenced by the way in which certain of the provincial premiers fell into the spider’s web woven at last month’s first ministers’ conference by one of their members whose political raison d’être has been and continues to be the setting up of his province as a separate entity outside of Canada, albeit with the retention of all the benefits of this confederation. The spider’s web has continued to enmesh more of the premiers, culminating in the recent announcement by five in number, an announcement which seems particularly ironic in light of the fact that the premiers have expressed their intention to take their perceived grievances to the courts, the same recourse which they allegedly abhor in the context of the proposed charter of rights and freedoms. It is interesting to note, Mr. Speaker, that Canada’s elected first ministers have tried 13 times since 1927 to patriate, to bring reform to the British North America Act. Our proposed resolution takes the best from those attempts. It offers the Canadian people a doorway through a stone wall created by the requirement of unanimity—unanimous approval of all of the ministers for constitutional renewal and independence. Unfortunately, but predict- ably, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) overreacts to our proposal by calling for a made-in-Canada constitution. What, might I ask, are we doing in this place right now, the Parliament of Canada, the one great democratic institution representing all Canadians, addressing the subject? We are, Mr. Speaker, doing exactly what the Leader of the Opposition asks that we do.

There has been alarmist talk about our proposal, destroying the federal system in Canada and destroying the country. Any attempt at undermining the orderly and rational development of Canada as a truly independent nation does not come from this side of the House. What we are seeking is not to destroy the federation, but a “fetteration” , a hobbling of the Canadian people by the unanimity rule that I have referred to, that has kept us back these many years.

Under our proposal the federal system remains intact. There is no lessening of provincial powers to the benefit of the federal government. In fact, in the long run the opposite may well be the case. All we are intent on doing, once and for all, is to bid farewell to the nineteenth century and to prepare this country for the twenty-first century. The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) describes our plans in the words of Premier Davis of Ontario as, “The first sensible steps to renew our unity and to revive our nationhood.”

As I mentioned earlier, and as many speakers on the subject have noted, there have been numerous attempts over a period of 53 years to modernize the Canadian Constitution. To a degree that is understandable. No one expects to construct a fine institution in a hurry. We realize that anything worth while takes time. When we consider, for example, the ongoing renovations to this superb building in which we are now, gathered, the parliamentary Centre Block, which has been the meeting place of the elected representatives of our country, consequent upon the great fire of 1916, it is easy to understand that the building of any institution, whether it is physical ideological, social or political, does not happen overnight.

You will be aware, Mr. Speaker, that modifications to the Peace Tower are currently under way. It was built in memorial to the contribution made by Canadians in the First World War. The 53-bell carillon which has delighted residents and tourists alike for more than half a century, was inaugurated, interestingly, on July 1, 1927, for the diamond jubilee of confederation. Ironically, the first major overhaul of the Peace Tower is taking place 53 years after its completion, the same time frame in which Canadian people have been trying to initiate a major overhaul of their constitution. The renovations…

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are substantial and they are to be completed within 18 months. We are talking about the installation of a new elevator and accessories, as well as provisions for the handicapped people to be able to enjoy—

Mr. Beatty: Mr. Speaker, the member who is speaking is a minister of the Crown and he should be aware of the fact that what we are debating is the proposal to revise the Constitution of Canada. What possible relevance could elevators in the Peace Tower or the carillon in the Parliament Buildings have to the constitution remains to be proven. I suggest that the minister has the responsibility at least to be in order.

Mr. Irwin: A point of order, Mr. Speaker—–

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Does the hon. member stand on the same point of order?

Mr. Irwin: It is a point of order which arises out of the hon. member’s point of order.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): Order. I think we would perhaps be better served if we could deal with one point of order at a time. I listened to the point of order raised by the hon. member for Wellington-Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Beatty) and to the minister whose references to the carillon and the Peace Tower, I think, were tying in with his comments related to earlier matters which occurred in 1927 which involved the Canadian Constitution. Sofar as I am concerned, the minister’s comments are, from what I have heard, perfectly in order. Does the hon. member still seek the floor on a point of order?

Mr. Irwin: No.

Mr. Cosgrove: Mr. Speaker, I would like to call to the recollection of all hon. members, including the hon. member who rose on a point of order, the inscription over the western archway of the Peace Tower which reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” .

Our proposed resolution respecting the constitution is one of vision. We recognize that if Canada is at long last going to take its place amongst independent nations of the world, we cannot do it by looking back to our colonial ties. We must look forward to the day when all decisions affecting our destiny are enacted on Canadian soil and by a government elected by the Canadian people.

The proposed resolution contains the vision of a people who are guaranteed freedom of conscience, opinion, assembly, and the right to vote. It entrenches the principle of equality before the law for all Canadians, irrespective of sex, colour or religion. It confirms and supports the rights of Canadians to move, to work and to live in any part of Canada, and to have their children educated in either official language where numbers warrant. And it enshrines the principle of sharing or equalization as past generations of Canadians, native and pioneer, have shown in this vast country of ours that survival as a nation depends on this spirit of generosity.

By no means, the least of these are those Canadians who have paid the supreme sacrifice in times of war, as was so eloquently and movingly pointed out by the (sic) hon. member for Regina West (Mr. Benjamin) in his remarks in the House last Friday. But hon. members need not look any further than this chamber for examples of the length of time required to complete any worth-while project. The work in stone and the panels above the heads of hon. members here tonight are an example of the time and care required physically or, as I have indicated, through the process of law, to the attention of any worth-while project.

The dominion sculptor, Eleanor Milne, and her staff have been working for several years on these high relief panels, coincidentally called the BNA series.

Mr. Beatty: That is pathetic.

Mr. Cosgrove: In making reference to this art work, I am trying to illustrate that patience and the application of hard work over a long period of time are the usual prerequisites of any worth-while project. Similarly, I think that it is quite propitious that the physical aspects of Parliament are undergoing renovation, as witnessed by the work on the Peace Tower, at the same time that we address the legal implications of patriating the constitution.

Our proposed resolution contains mechanisms in recognition of the fact that time is required to sort out the details, such as in section 32 which provides for ongoing consultation between the Prime Minister and the first ministers of the provinces, until part 5, which deals with the amending procedure, comes into force.

In addition to the riding I represent being the largest in Canada in terms of population, it is composed of hundreds of small businesses, many of which I was instrumental in attracting to the area because of my conviction that we needed a proper mix of work opportunities together with living and recreation considerations.

Since the introduction of the resolution to Parliament in this resumed session, I have received many comments concerning it, a number of which have been small businessmen who are supportive of expeditious action to bring some resolution to our constitutional wrangling so that the government can deal with other current concerns such as amendments to the Bank Act, improvements to the postal service, the budget, energy issues and so on. I made a point of interesting myself in the expressed concerns of the small business community.

For example, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an organization representing some 600 community chambers of commerce and boards of trade, more than 3,000 companies and 70 trade and professional associations, reminded us that it adheres to a principle voiced at one of its earliest meetings more than half a century ago. The principle is, “To think and talk in terms of Canada, putting aside all provincialism. If Canada as a whole is prosperous, then individually and provincially we will all share in that prosperity.” It was interesting to note that in the first point of their submission on constitutional matters, the chamber recommends:

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That Canada’s legislators do their utmost to ensure a speedy and efficient discussion aimed at identifying issues clearly, before amending a constitution which, on the whole, has served the interests of the Canadian people very well.

Mr. Speaker, the decision by some of the provinces to refer our proposal to the courts hardly meets this call from an important segment of Canadian society for a “speedy and efficient discussion”.

As the Attorney General of Ontario has pointed out, the current constitutional issue is a political, not a legal issue.

The Chamber of Commerce’s submission indicates support for a federal power sufficient to ensure the free circulation of goods and services, labour, and capital across the country, to the end that all Canadians will be dealt with and treated equitably wherever they may be in Canada.

I was happy to see that Mr. Sam Hughes, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, applauded the charter of rights in our proposed resolution guaranteeing free movement of labour within the country. I share his sentiment that it would have been preferable to expand this concept of a Canadian common market to include the free movement of capital, goods and services, but I reiterate the Prime Minister’s statement that our proposals are only the first sensible step to renew our unity and revive our nationhood.

The chamber’s submission also calls for ongoing formal consultation between the federal government and the provinces to co-ordinate trade and other initiatives abroad better while speaking with one voice in international affairs.

As I have pointed out, Mr. Speaker, the resolution before us contemplates the. ongoing discussions between the two levels of government as witnessed by section 32.

It was particularly gratifying to see a proposal from the Chamber of Commerce relating to the maintenance of a system of transfer payments designed to ensure the availability of basic services in all regions of Canada. This has been touched upon by other hon. members this evening.

This is enshrined in our proposed resolution in section 31 through the principle of equalization, which commits the Government of Canada and the provincial governments to promote equal opportunities for the well-being of all Canadians, to further economic development, to reduce disparity in opportunities, and to provide essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.

I would be remiss, Mr. Speaker, if I did not mention that the submission by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce contains recommendations which do not necessarily coincide with the total philosophy of this government. But, as has been indicated by hon. members who have spoken previously, once the resolution is referred to committee and the opportunity is made available for in-depth consideration, then we feel there will be an opportunity for a genuine exchange of opinions. That is the appropriate place for it, Mr. Speaker.

Another voice heard on the constitutional issue was that of the Business Council on National Issues, an association of the chief executive officers of some 140 major corporations across Canada. In a letter to the Prime Minister dated September 2, 1980, the Council expressed the view that governments should be restrained by the constitution from adopting legislation or regulations that would have the effect of restricting, again, the mobility of persons in pursuit of a legitimate livelihood; or of unjustly depriving a person of the rights of ownership; or of limiting a person’s right to have, where numbers warrant, access to government services in either official language.

The letter also states, and I quote:

We do not underestimate the difficulty of achieving a new constitutional understanding in a country as vast and complex as Canada, but we believe that the time for accommodation is overdue.

We want to convey to you the sense of urgency and concern that we share, concern that a continued lack of resolution of constitutional issues will in the future, as it has in the past, cause us to lose opportunities for investment and jobs.

Decisions have not been taken, investments not made, jobs not created, because of the uncertainty and unpredictability of the economic climate in Canada.

That is the business community addressing every member of the House, Mr. Speaker.

In a recent address the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association president, Mr. J . E. Newall, said that the prime role of the business sector–to produce goods and services in the most efficient and productive way possible—-was being adversely affected by a growing fragmentation of the Canadian common market and by the delays and uncertainties caused by the seemingly endless debate on the division of economic powers between the central government and the provinces.

As Mr. Newall put it:

One critical objective of constitutional reform should be to strengthen Canada’s common market. The provincial preferences may, when considered individually and in isolation, give the appearance of provincial benefits. However, all produce national inefficiencies. They produce retaliation from other provinces.

Earlier in my comments about the inscription on the Peace Tower, Mr. Speaker, I referred to our resolution as a vision of what Canada can be once we have embraced the principle of self-determination in its entirety. In some ways, the conference of first ministers offered the premiers a chance to be visionaries, but they rejected it.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all members present in this House, the Canadian business community, and all Canadians, if they share that vision of our Canada, to show their support, and join in supporting the government in its resolution.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Pat Carney (Vancouver Centre): Mr. Speaker, this is the first opportunity that I have had to speak as the member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre. It is the custom of this House that, under these circumstances, new members describe for the record the constituency which they have the honour to represent. Today I am forced to forgo this tradition because I speak under the guillotine of closure. I speak under the constraints of limited debate imposed by the Government of Canada.

The people of Vancouver Centre will remember that. They are Canadians who come from a rich and diversified back-…

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ground. They represent English, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Italian and Ukrainian stock. Many of them are new Canadians who came here seeking freedom. Others are senior citizens and war veterans. They will always remember that the first time they heard their new member of Parliament speak on their behalf in the Parliament of Canada, it was under a motion to muzzle the debate on the future of their country.

Vancouver Centre is the very heart of Vancouver. Our riding is often termed “Lotus Land” in honour of our lifestyle. In China, where I was born, I remember the lotus as eternally serene, warmed by the sun and blessed by the rain–like our riding—rising out of the muddied waters. Mr. Speaker, at the moment we in lotus land are finding that the waters are very muddied indeed.

We have a Liberal government which is proposing to diminish the power of the provinces and increase the powers of the federal government in the national interest. But this government cannot represent the national interest, Mr. Speaker. It has no elected representatives west of the Red River Valley. It is, as The Globe and Mail describes it, a regional federal government which is using extraordinary powers to stop the elected representatives of Canada debating the future of Canada.

We have a Liberal government that spent $6 million of our money on television advertisements urging us to bring the constitution home to Canada. But that same government this week voted against the Conservative motion to bring the constitution home.

We have a Liberal government which is urging us, in the national interest, to have a “made-in-Canada” constitution. But that same government is going to Westminster to ask the British parliament to make changes in our constitution that nine of our ten provinces do not want.

We have a government which is imposing on us, unilaterally, changes in the way that we govern ourselves. They call it a people’s package, yet this very same package obscures the human rights of women, of natives and of minority groups.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, because I am speaking under gag rule, we have a government whose Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) invites us all to speak on a matter concerning the future of our country, and who then invokes closure. When this government brought in closure, only three members of Parliament from the province of British Columbia had been granted an opportunity to articulate the concerns of British Columbia. That is the federal regional government’s concept of free and open debate.

You can see why, Mr. Speaker, from the viewpoint of lotus land, Vancouver Centre, the waters are very turgid indeed, and they have been further silted by the actions of the NDP. The NDP is taking credit for proposed amendments to the constitution which would give us less than we already have. The NDP considers this progress.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Carney: The leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Broadbent) is claiming a victory in the area of natural resources. Let me remind hon. members what the government House leader in the other place, Senator Ray Perrault, describes as victory by the New Democratic Party. Referring to the letter from the leader of the liberal democratic party to his House leader on the opposition benches, Senator Perrault says:

It is a reconfirmation. It is a restatement of a right which is already enjoyed by the provinces.

Reconfirmation. Restatement. In fact, it is not even that. I would ask the hon. member for Oshawa, if he owned a gold mine, would he willingly exchange that ownership for the right to manage it? Or, if he owned the rights to an oil well, would he willingly exchange his certificate of ownership for a licence to control its use?

The NDP have managed to give away an ace card for a low card. In fact the NDP have dealt themselves out of the game and they might as well cash in their chips on this debate because they have lost their credibility with the country.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Carney: The liberal democrats have joined forces to force changes which will completely alter the nature of Canadian confederation. Among these changes will be the establishment of second class status for British Columbia.

Let me establish for the record how that secondary status will apply. In the amending formula proposed by the Liberals, any changes to the constitution must have the approval of 80 per cent of the population. And any change must be approved by a province that has, at the time the new constitution is proclaimed, a population of at least 25 per cent of Canada as a whole. Ontario has 35 per cent of the population. Quebec, whose population is declining, has 26.5 per cent. But British Columbia has only 10 per cent to 11 per cent. That means Quebec and Ontario can always veto a change in the rules. But B.C. will never have equal rights, nor will any western provinces, nor will the Atlantic provinces. The right to set the terms of our confederation will lie forever more with central Canada, and central Canada only.

Our problem here, Mr. Speaker, is that there are two prevailing views of the national interest. In the west we have historically viewed our country as a nation from sea to sea to northern sea. But hon. members across the floor of this House have consistently defined the country in terms of their own self-interest. They have defined Canada as being the equivalent of central Canada. We, in the west, have never accepted this limited role of Canada. Our concept encompasses the west and the north and the Atlantic provinces. And only when the interests of the regions can be satisfied can we honestly say in this House that we have met the test of the national interest.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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Miss Carney: This defining of Canada in terms of the self-interest of central Canada is evident in our tariff policies which protect eastern industries and limit the growth of west- ern ones. It is evident in our transportation policies which discriminate against western products. It is evident in the concept, proposed by the Liberals, of mobility of labour. Mobility of labour is attractive in a province such as Ontario where 10,000 people recently applied for 1,000 jobs. But in Vancouver mobility of labour means the migration of 4,000 people a month to British Columbia. Mobility of labour means that every $85,000 house is selling for a quarter of a million dollars. It means that British Columbians are being priced out of a chance to own their own homes in their own cities. Mobility of labour means that native Canadians who need the time to learn the skills to participate in job opportunities which are opening to them will be denied that right. The freedom to move should at least be matched by their freedom to stay.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Carney: This country was built on the mobility of labour. We used to call it simply “going west” . One hundred years ago, my own grandmother, Brigit Casey, left this very valley, not 16 miles from here, to go west to homestead and to ranch. She and her kinfolk, the Tierneys and the McKennas and the O’Keefes, did not go west to build a second-class province as the government proposes. And their kinswoman did not return to this valley as the MP for Vancouver Centre to enshrine in our Canadian Constitution a secondary role for B.C. or for any province of Canada.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Carney: This country was built on the mobility of labour. It was also built on fairness. You cannot enshrine one concept, the freedom to move, without enshrining equality.

I have said earlier that this government has defined the national interest in its self-interest because it has been of benefit for it to do so. But I do not understand why the government thinks that we, in the west, would accept the secondary role. B.C. joined confederation as a Crown colony, in its own right, in 1871. At that time we had choices. But British Columbians then, and now, felt that their interest was in the wider concept of a great confederation.

It is interesting to reflect on the tensions which existed 100 years ago between British Columbia and the Liberal government of the day. It is widely known that, as a condition of confederation, British Columbia was promised a railway. It is not so widely known that the Liberal government of the 1880s, which succeeded the Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald, tried to welsh on that promise. Instead of a railroad, the Liberal government offered B.C. a miserly $750,- 000. The dispute over the railway and the threats of secession resounded in both Victoria and here in Ottawa. The trouble shooter, Lord Dufferin, was sent to mediate this dispute in 1876. He wrote to the Liberal prime minister at the time saying:

At this moment British Columbia is possessed by a frenzied sense, however unreasonable, of injury and wrong.

We still possess that injured sense of wrong.

We had in the 1880s a premier of B.C., and a member of this House named Amor DeCosmos. The man who called himself the lover of the world, loved the concept of Canada. He led the movement to bring the Crown colony of British Columbia into confederation. Yet, as he sat in this House as an MP, he heard his province described as greedy in defending its interests. The Hansard debates of the time record that Mr. DeCosmos said that he had heard from time to time in this House the grossest insults that had ever been offered to any people cast on the people of British Columbia. He said that B.C. had been charged with endeavouring to gain something from this dominion without giving anything in return.

Therefore, 101 years ago, in the forty-second year of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, during the first session of the Fourth Parliament of the Dominion of Canada convened on February 13, 1879, the Debates of the House of Commons record at page 1079 the following:

  1. DECOSMOS: I move for leave to introduce a bill, entitled an act to provide for the peaceful separation of British Columbia, seconded by any gentleman opposite who thinks proper to second it.

The motion was not seconded.

I refer to this action of 100 years ago because the separatist movement in B.C. is still alive. In a recent poll of my own riding, 75 per cent of the respondents reported that western separatism, in their view, had increased. As one respondent said, “I feel less Canadian” .

I refer to this bill today to remind the hon. gentlemen opposite that should they wish to pursue a course which would result in inequitable treatment for British Columbians, a bill similar to that tabled by Amor DeCosmos will inevitably be introduced in this House. I cannot predict when that will 7, happen, but the constitution of a country is a living document. it It enshrines the terms under which we have agreed to live 5;. together. It determines our rights as human beings and our rights to property, as well as our basic freedoms as Canadians. The people of my province will begin to realize eventually that this constitution which the federal regional Liberal government seeks to impose on us will relegate British Columbians to second rate citizenship. They will never accept it.

Let there be no misunderstanding. British Columbia will not renounce Canada. Canada, as defined by the hon. members opposite, will renounce us in- the west. And when they do so, if 0 they do so, there will be no referendum in British Columbia. There will be no apprehended insurrection. If the Liberal government seeks to bring in this constitution and force us to accept a secondary role, we will just go our way.

In closing, let me remind you that history is on our side. The bill for the peaceful separation of B.C. was not passed. The railway was built. And in this spirit of fairness and of equity, we urge that the hon. members opposite reverse their present determination to proceed with the destruction of this country;

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[ Translation]

Mr. Herb Breau (Gloucester): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak this evening for a few minutes about this important question of the resolution before us, a resolution whose aim is to refer to a joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate an aspect of the constitutional question, namely, patriation of the constitution, an amending formula, the entrenchment of fundamental rights, certain rights concerning education and some minority language rights.

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I must say that it is regrettable that the Progressive Conservative Party decided from the very first evening when this debate was launched, to make it a “divisive” debate. They complain that it is a “divisive” debate, a debate which gives rise to strange emotions in the country, but we can wonder why they adopted such an attitude if they were so frightened of having a “divisive’ debate. And today we are faced with a situation where the government, after almost three weeks of debate I think–perhaps it is not exactly three weeks, but if it isn’t, it is only a matter of one or two days—- decided simply to refer this resolution to a committee.

I can understand that the Progressive Conservative Party does not like some parts of the resolution. I can understand that, on the basic question, there are some things with which they disagree. This is clearly their right, and if feelings exist in the country that are really opposed to certain basic elements of this resolution, it is their duty to say so, but I wonder why they should try to hide opposition to these questions, which are so important to the country, behind a criticism of the procedure that the government is following, without making any proposal concerning what other kind of procedure they would like to follow. I have heard everything and I have listened to the debates, l have not read all of them in detail but I have read many of them, and I have heard many. I. wonder therefore why the Progressive Conservative Party could not come to the committee and put forward another procedure, instead of simply telling us that a resolution like this will give rise to strong feeling in the country, which could be a divisive debate. Unless of course they want to make sure that we will never have what the resolution proposes. After all, it is important to patriate the constitution. The Progressive Conservatives tell us that they would be willing to patriate it, and after that to have an amending formula which some provinces agree would be the Vancouver amending formula.

But not everybody in Canada agrees on this amending formula. Who is to say that this fine amendment is the absolute truth? It simply appeals to certain premiers who would like to have the right of veto on certain questions in an amending formula. Why should the solution suddenly have to be the one these few premiers propose? And what would we do then about the question of the entrenchment of rights?

Mr. Speaker, it is said that this resolution can break up Canada. The previous speaker said it exactly, namely, that this motion of closure should be withdrawn because it could break up Canada. We are told about threats of western separatism. Mr. Speaker, in this situation we have to decide. As a Canadian, and as a member of Parliament, I cannot debate a question with Canadian members of Parliament—not provincial members but federal members-~who tell me: “Be careful what you propose, be careful how you vote, be careful what you do, because the people I represent will perhaps want to separate.” I cannot accept this blackmail, Mr. Speaker.

I have never accepted it. Where I come from, among Acadians, we have people who are a kind of separatist, they want an Acadian province. I have never come to the House to tell Anglophones, when dealing with linguistic or cultural issues, “Give us what we ask for because we are afraid of the separatists!” On the contrary, I have decided to opt for an attitude of political moderation, and I do not come here to tell people, “You had better give us what we want because we are going to separate.” Therefore, I say to my colleagues from the west, whatever their party, that there may well be feelings of separatism in the west. But the people of the west will then have to decide; either they want to belong to Canada or they don’t. But they had better not come and blackmail me like this–


Mr. Blenkarn: You will probably fight against the country too and you will throw them out.

Mr. Breau: I do not know what the hon. member is referring to. I am saying that I cannot debate any question, including the constitution, if a federal MP is going to tell me that I had better be careful what I propose and had better accept what he wants because, if not, his region may separate. Those MP3 may be expressing something that is correct, but they have to make up their minds whether they are going to fight for the country in their region or not.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Breau: When I fight a Canadian separatist in my province—-

Mr. Clark: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member knows there are certain courtesies in the House. One of those has to do with a member who has just made his or her maiden speech. At the best of times a member of Parliament should not misrepresent the positions put forward by another. That is particularly so in the case of a first speech, as was the case with the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Miss Carney), who said nothing of the kind that is being attributed to her by the hon. member now speaking.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Breau: Mr. Speaker, I am not referring at all to the hon. member who just spoke. I am referring to a sentiment which even the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) expressed in his speech a few hours ago. I am not referring to that hon. member at all. I did not know that it was her maiden…

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speech, and if anybody takes it that way, I am not referring to her at all.

In any event, even if it was not her maiden speech, I would not discuss this question attributing something to one member in particular. I could have referred to the Leader of the Opposition, and I did not. I am just suggesting that on these kinds of emotional issues hon. members might be expressing something which exists out there, but they on their own are going to have to decide in their regions if they are going to fight for Canada or not, because when I fight separatism in my province I do not come here and blackmail anybody and say, “You had better give me linguistic rights or my region might become separatist” . That is not what I say. I fight them –

[ Translation]

I oppose those people by saying that they are too narrow- minded. I say to them that we are Canadians and we are going to remain Canadians. That is what we say. Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for the feelings of the people who have spoken from all parts of the country on the constitutional question and not only on the resolution. Important things are going to happen in the coming months and in coming years. As the Parliament of Canada, we are going to have to decide if in future we are really going to have a federal government and whether it will have power or not. When westerners speak about the constitution, I think they are touching on a question which deals not only with the resolution before us but also with those constitutional questions, the questions of powers, which go much deeper.

But, Mr. Speaker, even there, in dealing with questions of energy, I have tried for a long time to understand what were the aspirations of the west. About the energy question for example, it will have to be decided that it is not only a matter of agreeing on price levels but also on which government will have the power. Some people, some political representatives from western Canada, especially at the provincial level, say, “Well, we cannot be sure that the federal government is going to be able to have a good energy development policy in the future.” Mr. Speaker, we cannot agree as a political basis for this country, as a constitutional basis, to discuss the distribution of powers among the governments, to discuss the country’s future on that basis. We cannot start saying because the federal government has more members from one region of the country than from another, that we will not be able to rely on the federal government to act in the interest of all Canadians. Here again, people are going to have to decide. I cannot debate these questions of powers in the context of energy, or in the area of the constitution, if people tell me, “Listen, you are doing things that will perhaps give rise to separatism in the west.” If this gives rise to separatist sentiment, the sole salvation for the country will be if westerners combat this sentiment, as my party has combated separatism in Quebec, and as I combat separatism in my province. I have not asked westerners, I have not asked people from Ontario or people from Quebec to come and combat the separatist element in my province. We are doing that ourselves.

Mr. Speaker, I wish the Progressive Conservative Party had decided to make this debate one which did not give rise to these divisions. It had the chance to do so. It could have made this a positive debate, without delaying three weeks on a simple resolution to refer something to committee. It could have made positive recommendations as, for example, on the question of a referendum, in the event of a lack of agreement between the provincial and federal levels, to consult the people directly in this area. What would they do when the situation was so inflexible that the federal government and the government of all the provinces could not agree on the amendment to the constitution? A means is being proposed. I must say that I myself do not necessarily like all these means, I do not say that all these procedures are those that I would necessarily prefer, but I am not alone in this House. The members of the Progressive Conservative Party are not alone either. If we want to solve the problems of this country by trying to have constitutional reform, it is going to be necessary to decide some time to patriate our constitution. Once we patriate it, we must agree on a process for changing it. But why is it that every time the Progressive Conservative Party–


Mr. Blenkarn: Why did you vote against it, then?

Mr. Breau: The hon. member should listen to me; then he would understand.


Whenever the Liberal party, or the Prime Minister, put forward a means of changing the constitution, the country is suddenly divided. However, I have heard many of their members speak about different views of Canada. But why? How is it that the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. Trudeau), the Prime Minister of this country, who has clearly explained this to Canadians and to Quebeckers on several occasions, because he represents those views. I can understand that the mentalities of all the people who know Canadian law or who discuss constitutional policy are not the same. We have different pasts, we have different kinds of education, we are not identical in Canada. It is they who preach diversity. But do those gentlemen in the Progressive Conservative Party realize that whenever they oppose the Prime Minister’s proposals for constitutional change, they immediately say, “Ah! you are going to break up Canada?” Do they not appreciate the fact that what is happening is that they are maybe opposing a mentality or a way of wanting to change things in Canada— When we see people for instance who criticize the fact that the Prime Minister wants to codify things too much in the constitution?

But, Mr. Speaker, those questions in Canada, in discussions of constitutional law, are not monolithic. It is true that some

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publicists or other people propose to change things in this area. Can they not realize that they are systematically opposing those mentalities or those ways of changing things, for example the entrenchment of language rights, which are things that many Canadians want? When we speak of entrenching in a constitution language rights or educational rights, there are things that some people of different backgrounds like to see in their legal documents, in their constitutional documents. People may hold different opinions about the means of doing this, but at some time these questions will have to be reconciled. And I hope that the Progressive Conservative Party will go before the joint committee to make positive proposals to improve the resolution, if they really want to improve it, But, Mr. Speaker, the country must move on these questions. In the resolution or in the constitutional proposal, for Acadians there are clearly things missing.

I said earlier that as far as the procedures and some of the things that are being proposed are concerned, if I were doing it, I would perhaps do it differently. But in a debate like this, Mr. Speaker, we must reconcile our ideas. We are sometimes going to have to find precisely what is the common ground on which we can move. Moreover, I would like to see many other things in this resolution. For example, it does not contain the institutionalization of bilingualism in New Brunswick. Why? It is because the federal government, contrary to what the members of the opposition say, has not wished to hamper the rights of the provinces.

We have said that this would be kept to a strict minimum for educational rights. Is there a member in the House who can honestly say that it is possible to respond to the aspirations of Francophones in this country without at least entrenching in the constitution their right to an education in their language? What can we say of those fine people who throughout the debate on Bill 101, asked the federal government to intercede in the Supreme Court of Canada? I myself heard the Leader of the opposition stand up in the House and ask the government to oppose Bill 101 before the Supreme Court of Canada. In this draft resolution we are doing something which runs directly counter to the spirit of Bill 101, precisely to give the Anglophone minority of Quebec and the Francophone minorities in the other provinces the right to an education in their language.


Mr. Blenkarn: I wonder if the hon. member would permit a question? It involves a matter which is material to what he is saying.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member accept a question?

Mr. Breau: I will, at the end of my speech, Mr. Speaker.

[ Translation]

So this resolution contains the minimum. As an Acadian, I would prefer to see the institutionalization of bilingualism in the provincial services of my province. The Premier of New Brunswick has repeated on several occasions that he would be willing to do this. I therefore wonder why, then, he does not convene the legislative assembly of New Brunswick and pass a resolution in accordance with which he could ask the federal Parliament to include the entrenchment of provincial language rights in this resolution, to ensure more or less what is contained in the present section 133 which is going to apply to Quebec and Manitoba? It could apply to New Brunswick. I would, therefore, like the Premier of New Brunswick to convene the legislative assembly and pass a resolution. I am convinced that the debate would not be very long, because he says his party would agree. The Liberal party would certainly agree in New Brunswick, and it would then be possible to incorporate the entrenchment of language rights for New Brunswick in this resolution, which would include, moreover, educational rights, and this is important for us as an insurance policy. This would not give us anything new right away, because educational rights have been obtained politically. There are still things to do. Clearly, there are some Anglo- phone cities in New Brunswick which have a large Franco- phone minority and which still do not offer an education in French. But if the Premier of New Brunswick wanted to, it would be possible to pass a resolution in the legislative assembly which would institutionalize services in French and in English in New Brunswick and to incorporate that in this resolution.

I will end on this note, Mr. Speaker. The reason why this is not done is precisely to avoid doing what the Progressive Conservatives accuse us of. In this resolution, the strict mini- mum for hampering provincial rights deals with educational rights. So, Mr. Speaker, I hope that in the hours that follow –


Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Wellington- Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. Beatty).

Mr. Blenkarn: Mr. Speaker, I have a question.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Mississauga South (Mr. Blenkarn) wishes to ask a question. I wish to point out that the time allotted to the hon. member for Gloucester (Mr. Breau) has expired, and the hon. member for Mississauga South can only ask a question with the unanimous consent of the House. Is there unanimous consent?

Some hon. Members: Agreed.

Some hon. Members: No.

Mr. Blenkarn: Mr. Speaker, I believe there was unanimous consent.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Chair heard some noes. The hon. member for Wellington-Dufferin-Simcoe.

[Page 4014]

Hon. Perrin Beatty (Wellington-Dufferin-Simcoe): Mr. Speaker, at the outset of my remarks I want to say how moving it was to be here in the House of Commons to hear the maiden speech made by my colleague, the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Miss Carney), this evening. It should have been a moment of great joy, a tremendous opportunity and a great pleasure to be able to make her first remarks in debate as a member of the House of Commons, just as for so many of us it should have been a period of happiness because, one week from this evening, a number of us, including my leader, myself and my colleague, the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Epp), our spokesman for federal-provincial relations, will be celebrating some eight years as members of the House of Com- mons. So one would have expected that this would have been a happy occasion for us. Instead, it represents for so many of us the saddest days of our parliamentary career.

What we see today is a decision that Parliament be gagged, that this institution, which we joined with so much pride eight years ago, and which my colleague from Vancouver Centre joined so recently, is to be rendered impotent by the government majority.

Already earlier today a vote was taken to say that on the most profound, essential and central matter facing the country today, the unity of Canada, our very survival as a country, Parliament is to be silenced. The Liberal members voted one after another, without dissent, to silence Parliament.

Yesterday when the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Pinard) gave notice of his intention to move that closure be put into place, he did so after 24 hours of debate in this House of Commons on this resolution; he did so after, out of 145 Liberals, 22 had spoken; he did so after only 19 of the Progressive Conservatives, out of 102, had spoken, leaving 83 who had not been heard; and he did so after 5 members of the NDP had spoken out of a total of 32, leaving 27 who had not.

This will be the fourth time in the last 25 years in which this rule has been invoked to gag Parliament. Let us take a look at those three other times. It was done once in 1969 when the government decided that they wanted to change the rules of Parliament, so they invoked closure to do that. They did so after the recommendations of the standing committee on parliamentary reform had been tabled in June of 1968, and they were debated until December, 1968, because the opposition objected to rule 75C which would allow the government to limit debate on each stage of a bill without agreement from any other party. The matter was referred back to the commit- tee in December of 1968, and it was retabled in the House on June 20, 1969, and debated until closure was invoked on July 24. That was the last time that this rule was used, but you can see at least the extent to which Parliament was given an opportunity to be heard before the Liberal government moved.

When was the previous time? It was in 1964 in the flag debate. Again the Liberal government voted to prevent Parliament from speaking any further. The flag debate was begun on June 15, 1964, and concluded on December 15, 1964, several months later. When the debate ended in December, every Conservative MP, except for two, had spoken at least once, three had spoken five times, seven had spoken four times, and nineteen had spoken three times. In all, 92 Conservatives made 195 speeches during the debate. At that time 34 Liberals spoke 41 times, 10 NDP members made l7 speeches, eight Social Credit MP3 delivered 12 speeches, and six Créditiste members spoke 13 times.

The Liberals on that occasion moved to prevent Parliament from debating the matter further, but you can get some idea, Mr. Speaker, of what they thought in the mid-1960s about limiting Parliament’s right to speak. At least members had had a chance to be heard. We objected to the imposition of closure, but at least on that occasion members had a chance to be heard.

When was the first time in the past 25 years that closure was invoked? It was in the pipeline debate which started on May 17, 1956, and ended on June 5, 1956, on Black Friday, as you will remember, Mr. Speaker. It lasted 15 House days from the day when the bill was introduced until closure. Yesterday, after 24 hours of debate on the constitution of this country, on the national future of this country, the President of the Privy Council announced that he was moving to gag Parliament. The country was outraged in 1956, on Black Friday, when the Liberal government of the day moved to gag Parliament after 15 sitting days, and indeed that government was defeated at the next election. And yet today the government moves after 24 hours of debate in the House on the most fundamental law of the land.

I listened earlier this evening as the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) complained about the acrimony in this debate. He said that there was too much anger and he said he hoped that later this evening members of this House would agree to allow this matter to go to committee without even a recorded vote. He said that he hoped we would ask the committee of the House, where this bill will be sent, to deal with the matter in a spirit of good will. If anger is not justified when members of the House of Commons find their most fundamental right and responsibility taken away from them, ruthlessly denied by the government majority, when would the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre feel it was justified?

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Beatty: As someone seen by Canadians from coast to coast as the prime defender of Parliament, when would he feel it was justified to be angry? If there is no justification in being angry tonight, when Canadians with very deep feelings about the country see its future being threatened by the action of the government, when would anger be justifield? When would the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre feel it was appropriate that we stand up and be counted, that there be a vote, that it not be sent to committee without a vote?

I have compared the decision to invoke closure in this debate with the experience of the past. I have indicated my abhorrence and the abhorrence of members on this side at the gagging of Parliament. Today in Question Period my leader,

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my House leader, and leach asked questions of the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), if at least he would not be prepared to allow the committee proceedings to be opened to the people of Canada, so that they could see it on nationwide television and hear it on radio. We asked for the support of the Prime Minister of Canada.

If Parliament was to be denied the opportunity to speak further on second reading, if it was to be sidetracked into a committee, could the committee proceedings at least be tele- vised and opened. to the people of Canada? The Prime Minister of Canada refused. He said that he would not take a in position in favour of opening up the committee proceedings to the people of Canada. Why not? I think Canadians are entitled to know why the Prime Minister, who has not bothered to be in the House this afternoon while this debate was taking place after he invoked closure, felt he was not prepared to put his support behind opening up the proceedings of the committee so that Canadian could see it.

Perhaps one indication comes from the infamous August 30 Privy Council office memo marked, “For Ministers’, Eyes Only”. I refer to page 49 which reads in part as follows:

A highly contentious measure may be best contained in a committee where it is more readily managed by the House leader and his officers, and where easier and more effective relations can be maintained with the press gallery, since relatively few reporters will follow the proceedings.

Why? It wants to manage the news and to manipulate public opinion.

Members on this side of the House would be interested in seeing which government members will be on the committee when it is finally struck. The next page of the memo of the Privy Council office deals with the makeup of the committee. It would be useful for Liberal members in the House tonight who voted to gag Parliament earlier today to know what their leadership is expecting of them on this committee. Page 50 reads as follows:

In committee the government’s position is likely to suffer. Attackers would be louder and more numerous than defenders. Careful choice of government members would be essential, and careful orchestration of hearings would be needed to ensure effective presentation of the government’s position.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre indicated earlier that he expected the committee to act in good faith, without a spirit of acrimony. He asked us to trust the government. On what basis does the government present itself as worthy of our trust? On what basis does the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and the silent members sitting behind him, agree to go along with this denigration of Parliament and with this measure which attacks the basic rights of members of Parliament and inflicts damage upon the country? What was it worth? What did they receive in the exchange to agree to vote with the government on the basis of the assurance that the provinces would have what they have today, or perhaps less in the case of resources? What was it worth to the government? Why was the government so anxious when it has a majority in the House of Commons and can get its way any day it wants? Why was it essential that members of the NDP support them? It is a fair question. It is because the government has no base of support in western Canada, the New Democratic Party has largely been reduced to its western base, and according to government spokesmen quoted in the press, it would be useful to have western spokesmen defending what the government is doing to western Canada in this package.

The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre said that he was proud of his leader for the deal he struck. Will he be proud next week? Will the constituents of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre be proud next Tuesday when the government unveils the second aspect of its proposals, its energy proposal? Energy is inextricably linked in the context of today’s Canada with the whole constitutional debate. What can we expect? Can we expect the good will, compromise, and good spirit requested by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, or can we expect to see more of the same–more attacks, more attempts by the government to pit region against region, Canadian against Canadian to divide us?

Again the document of the Privy Council office gives us some idea of what to expect next Tuesday night when the Minister of Finance (Mr. MacEachen) unveils his energy package? It explained why it was essential the government rush this package through the House and what impediments could be put in the way of speedy passage. Page 43 reads in part as follows:

The political climate in Canada is likely to be poisoned by a major energy conflict throughout the fall of this year and at least the early months of next year.

How will members of the NDP explain their support to their constituents after next Tuesday?

I listened as the hon. Leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Broadbent) said on radio that he was deeply disturbed by what the government had done in invoking closure. He thought it was wrong. It is not credible to effect a pose of injured innocence when one has been living in a condition of public promiscuity.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Beatty: No one will believe it. So, we stand alone. Later this evening members of the NDP will vote with their friends in the government to move this matter into committee, not- withstanding the deep-felt concerns of many of them and the concerns of their constituents. I am prepared to stand alone. Let it be recorded when the history of these events is written that the Progressive Conservative Party was prepared to stand for the conception of Canada we inherited, that we must be a federal system, that this country must be built on more than one man’s vision, that it belongs to 22 million Canadians. We have a tradition and a heritage we inherited from our forefathers and hold in trust for our children. Grievous damage is done to our country when one man, with his acquiescent majority, chooses to impose his will on the rest of Canada. We stand alone but we stand proudly alone and we are not ashamed of it.

The government argues it is essential that action be taken precipitately and immediately because, according to the Prime Minister, it is a national disgrace that our constitution resides…

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in Westminster today. He said that we are colonials. According to him, the fact that we have had the same constitution for 113 years is proof that we failed; it is proof of constitutional failure. The fact our constitution has lasted for ll3.years despite all assaults is proof of how magnificently this country has succeeded, how well the constitution was written by the Fathers of Confederation 113 years ago. Yes, it is in need of modernization. No one opposes that. Let us modernize it here in Canada. Yes, we favour bringing the constitution to Canada. Let us do that. My leader moved a motion yesterday which indicated that we should move immediately to bring the constitution home and make the changes here in Canada, not in Westminster.

If the Prime Minister were here tonight I would ask him to answer one question. If it is a national disgrace, if we have to hang our heads in shame because amendments are made by Westminster and it is urgent that we take precipitous action, why is it acceptable for him to ask Westminster to legislate his proposed major package instead of it being done here in the House of Commons? Where is the logic? How can it be a disgrace in one instance but not a disgrace if Westminster is doing his bidding?

In the proposals before the House tonight the Prime Minister is proposing two amending formulae. One is unanimous agreement and the second is the Victoria formula, neither of which would have enabled him to change the constitution in the form he is proposing tonight. He is saying that we will go back to Westminster one more time, we will go through this degrading routine about which he is complaining. We will ask Westminster to make the changes and then we will not allow anyone else to do the same thing ever again because it is degrading. How can members of this House with integrity not be angered by that? How can they not feel deeply that a grievous injustice is being done to our country?

We have heard members on the other side accuse us of giving encouragement to those who would destroy the country. We abhor the use of closure in this debate because of our deep commitment to this country, because we feel profoundly that this country must not be damaged through the actions of one man, that Canadians have a right to be heard on this motion and that the representatives of Canadians have a right to be heard, not gagged.

We rise tonight to speak because we think it is essential that changes be made in Canada to our constitution, but not by a foreign country. We rise tonight because we believe it is essential that this country go forward with constitutional change on the basis of good will and compromise. If the Prime Minister attempts to justify what he is doing to the country tonight on the grounds of its being essential to promote unity let me ask members of this House to give an honest answer to this question: is Canada more united tonight as a result of the actions of the Prime Minister and his colleagues, or is it more divided?

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Beatty: What the government has attempted to do in trying to impose one man’s opinion on this country, to reshape Canada along the visions of one man, it is to divide Canadians, to pit region against region. We will see more of that next Tuesday night when the energy package is unveiled.

But members of this party, which is the party of confederation, the party of Sir John A. Macdonald, stand now and we will stand at one o’clock tomorrow morning, to vote to say that we believe Canada is more than one man’s vision and that it is essential that action not be taken by this Prime Minister which will lead to grievous damage to this country, which we all feel so deeply about.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Russell MacLellan (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Regional Economic Expansion): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me this evening to be able to speak to the proposed resolution on the Canadian Constitution and the amendment of the constitution, which is before the House at this time. The government has moved in this direction to bring back the constitution, to put this proposed resolution before the House, to undo a road block which has prohibited constitutional reform for 53 years in this country. The federal proposal, if adopted by both Houses of Parliament, will bring the constitution home with a Canadian charter of rights and freedoms. It will, within two years’ time, allow this country to amend the constitution with the co-operation of the provinces and Parliament. If it cannot be agreed to in that period of time, then another amending formula must be reached, either with the approval of Parliament and the legislatures or the , approval of the Canadian citizens, a majority of the voters in each region in the four regions of Canada.

When this matter was put before the House we anticipated disagreement, but I did not think for a moment we anticipated the unpredictable response which has come forward from members opposite, and from the provinces in this country. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) has stated that we should take this matter to the Supreme Court as a test case. In fact seven of the premiers of this country are going to do just that, they are going to take this question before the Supreme Court.

Of those seven premiers, who are we dealing with here? First of all we are dealing with Premier René Lévesque of the province of Quebec, who is criticizing the federal government 5, for moving unilaterally when, only six months ago, he moved unilaterally to try to take one of the provinces out of confederation.

Who are we dealing with but Premier Sterling Lyon Manitoba? He also wants this put forward as a test case. This is the man who, less than a month ago, did not want to see a charter of rights and freedoms included in the constitution because he said it would give the judiciary primacy over the elected legislatures.

Who are we dealing with but Premier Brian Peckford of Newfoundland? It was he who, when it was suggested by the Prime Minister he take his claim for control over offshore…

[Page 4017]

“resources to the Supreme Court, stated that this was a political matter and not a legal matter. I suggest to Premier Peckford and to members opposite that there is not a more political matter than the question we are dealing with at the present time. They are prepared to take this matter to the Supreme Court, using as a precedent the Supreme Court’s decision in l979 against a proposed change in the selection process of the Senate about which the Supreme Court ruled on Bill C-60. This would have given the provinces some power of selection over senators. It prohibited such authority. It prohibited, over- ruled and struck out Parliament’s right. It overruled Parliament’s right to pass appropriate legislation, and said that Parliament was acting contrary to section 91(1) of our present constitution.

In this present situation we are not dealing with a Canadian bill nor are we dealing with proposed legislation. We are dealing with a proposed resolution and, as such, we are not talking about Canadian legislation. We are proposing a resolutions which will be taken to the British parliament asking them to amend one of their own acts. Certainly, no one can suggest that the Supreme Court of Canada would have control over an act of the British parliament. But other than the legal questions

An hon. Member: We knew that.

Mr. MacLellan: Thank you, I knew you would. Other than the legal question there is a political question, which is so very important to the premiers who are now advocating taking this test case to the Supreme Court. I suggest the provinces’ position in forcing this question on the Supreme Court of Canada will not only damage. the credibility and the influence of the Supreme Court but will be damaging as a direct result to all of Canada.

Mr. Kempling: What a weak argument!

Mr. MacLellan: To push this on the Supreme Court would, in fact, be the same situation as existed in the United States in 1856 when the Dred Scott case was presented to the U.S. Supreme Court for political purposes only. It was 40 years later–not until the case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896- before the Supreme Court regained any kind of authority and any kind of reputation in constitutional matters. This is a situation where the provinces are asking the Supreme Court to do their work for them, to make a political decision and to make that political decision in a situation that is very emotion- ally strung. If the Supreme Court does do this they could be looked upon by large segments of this country as the villains. I do not feel that the Supreme Court should be put in this position.

As to the question of whether this proposed resolution is necessary, I say that it is, particularly with regard to the charter of rights and freedoms. We need not look any further than the mobility rights provision. What can be more fundamental and necessary to this country than this fundamental right to move and to take up residence in any province and to seek a livelihood there without discrimination based on provincial boundaries? Yet this right is being threatened by these very same provinces. They are placing their desire for power above the welfare of the citizens of this country.

For example, Quebec has banned approximately 3,000 east- ern Ontario construction workers from working in that province. The province of Newfoundland has made out a registry of workers in the offshore oil industry so that they can give priority to Newfoundlanders. The province of Nova Scotia has passed a petroleum resources act whereby the government can step in and regulate who will be given jobs in the offshore oil and gas industry of that province. It is incredible that such a thing could happen in this country.

At a time when the provinces should be working closer together to solve the problems of this country, they are driving wedges between themselves. It seems that the only thing which the provinces seem to have in common is the fact that, in their disagreement amongst themselves, they see the strength of the federal government as a threat to their desires for more power and authority. It is all to the detriment of the country as a whole.

It is not this proposed resolution which is a danger to this country, but the attempt by the provinces to balkanize this country. We cannot allow the commerce of this country to be severely handicapped by the restrictive practices being put forward by the provinces. For example, the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission will not put the Ontario-based company, Petrosar, on their list of approved purchasers. Newfoundland cannot export its electricity to the United States through Quebec. The province of British Columbia is giving 10 per cent preference to purchasers and suppliers within the province, while giving other provinces only a marginal advantage over foreign suppliers. This will not make for a strong Canada, nor is it the Canada which people envisioned at the time of confederation.

I would like to comment on a couple of other provisions which are very important to me as a member of the Atlantic region. They deal with the provisions of equalization and regional disparity. We have heard the term equalization used numerous times in this debate. It is a term which has been very much maligned. It has been said that equalization should mean equalization payments. To do that would feed the paranoiac tendencies of the provinces. The term equalization is much more than equalization payments. Equalization payments refer to the services which are provided by the provinces.

There is such a large federal package which is owing and which should be forthcoming to the people of Canada in the form of equal shares. Transportation, pensions, and disability compensation are areas of assistance in which a country of this nature and this wealth should be able to give to its citizens as a right.

I would also like to refer to section l(c) which refers to the providing of essential public services of a reasonable quality to all Canadians. Anyone who would say that such a section is not necessary should, I suggest, look at the present practices of…

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CN and its subsidiaries, such as Canadian National Express, which provide services in this country that are inferior to the services which they provided 40 years ago. How will the regions of Canada outside the major metropolitan areas be protected in their expectation of better services from such a company unless it is put in the constitution as a right? Obviously, the right does not exist at the present time. With regard to regional disparity, almost every region of this country at one time or another has been or can expect to be economically inferior to another region. Prosperity is a very fleeting thing. It will not remain in any one area indefinitely.

I do not say that prosperous areas should not look to and work for the time when they will be less prosperous. I have no objection to the fact that some areas of this country are more prosperous than others. All I am saying is that this prosperity should not interfere with the attaining of regional economic sufficiency by other regions of this country. It is very important to me, as a member from Atlantic Canada, that this matter be foremost in the thinking of any constitution by any government. No region, least of all Atlantic Canada, is looking for a handout. All any area is looking for, I am sure, is an investment in its future. That is certainly the position of Atlantic Canada.

Areas which are not as fortunate economically as others can experience difficult times, not only the infrastructure of the community, but the individuals of these communities. In a community which has fallen upon economic hardship and which is declining, it is the people who suffer. These people have worked all their lives through the depression and the wars up to the present, and they are not able to work any more due to the fact that they are aged, they suffer from ill health, or the area in which they live is economically depressed.

Many of these people do not have the wherewithal to recoup the savings which they lost and to regain their self-sufficiency. They may have spent most of their lives paying the mortgages on their houses, building up a small savings account, and collecting a few other things. In times of economic stress their homes are worth considerably less. I think it is important that we be mindful of this situation. When we talk about the building up of monetary reserves, personal fortunes, and developing economic potential, we must not forget the people who have already worked and who have attained savings. They have not accumulated fortunes, but it is that money upon which they have come to rely.

When talking about the fortunes and money that will be accumulated in the future in this country, let us not forget the money and the fortunes which have already been accumulated and upon which many people in this country depend.

Mr. MacKay: Mr. Speaker, will the hon. member accept a question?

Mr. MacLellan: Yes.

Mr. MacKay: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member whether he is going on record at this time as a member from Atlantic Canada as saying that the proposal that we are debating tonight will really improve the economic prosperity, the freedom of the Atlantic region, its resource base, and its hope for the future? Is that what the hon. member is telling the House?

Mr. MacLellan: Yes I am.

Miss Pauline Jewett (New Westminster-Coquitlam): Mr. Speaker, the entrenchment of a charter of human rights and freedoms in the Canadian constitution is, in my view, and in the view of the New Democratic Party, essential. I. also applaud the initiative taken by my leader to have the provincial ownership and control of natural resources entrenched in the constitution.

Mr. Blenkarn: They are already there.

Miss Jewett: I am so glad the hon. member intervened, Mr. Speaker, because the Premier of British Columbia, Bill Bennett, has been saying for the last several years that the New Democratic Party, federally and provincially, intended to take away such protections as now exist of provincial ownership resources. He went all over the province saying that the NDP was going to take away such protection as existed of provincial control of resources. But now, when the New Democratic Party will not only not take away what has been there but has taken the initiative to ensure that provincial ownership control of these resources is entrenched, and therefore fundamentally safeguarded, the Premier of British Columbia does not know what to say. Indeed, on this score the Premier of British Columbia passes all understanding.

An hon. Member: Like the NDP.

Miss Jewett: Furthermore, the suggestion made earlier tonight by the hon. member for Vancouver Centre (Miss Carney) that somehow or other a particular amending formula, the Victoria formula, and not any other such as the Vancouver consensus, might damage British Columbia is, it seems to me, entirely erroneous.

In the first place, for the first two years after the constitution is patriated, there must be unanimity for any amendment to take place, and unanimity includes British Columbia.

In the second place, the Vancouver formula that the Conservative party seems so fond of, would not necessarily favour and, indeed, could abolish, some of British Columbia’s most important or cherished interests if pursued by other provinces in a direction that B.C. did not find desirable.

I gather that the premier is now slowing down a bit and realizes that what is before this House, so far as it concerns British Columbia, is of benefit.

As we all know, however, and as has been spoken of many times, there are deficiencies in this proposed resolution one of which affects a group comprising 52 per cent of the population right across this country. The most alarming deficiency in the resolution and the one I want to talk about tonight and make…

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specific recommendations on, is the absence of any guarantee or even mention of women’s human right to equality.

The absence of any mention of women’s human right to 1 equality in the proposed charter of rights and freedoms was brought to the attention of the government as long ago as midsummer in an excellent paper written by Professor Beverley Baines of the law school at Queen’s University, which is 67 pages long, and in another paper prepared by Mary Eberts, a distinguished constitutional lawyer in Toronto, and in a number of shorter papers prepared for the conference on women and the Canadian Constitution that the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women had scheduled but which, unfortunately, could not be held, for the first weekend in September.

The government has lots of opportunity to know why its proposed section 15, ridiculously named non-discrimination rights, was of no benefit to women. Yet the government did nothing.

An hon. Member: Shame.

Miss Jewett: The minister responsible for the status of women does not yet know that there is a problem and the government lawyers–who unfortunately are not the Beverley Baines and Mary Eberts of this world–

Mrs. Mitchell: Are all men.

Miss Jewett: That is true. Those who are preparing the work on the constitution are all men. They do not understand the problem either.

Fortunately, the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, every one of them a patronage-appointed Grit, had the guts a couple of weeks ago to stand up and say that, as far as women are concerned, this package will not do. For the first time in the many years that the Liberals have been appointing people to that council, they showed their independence.

Mr. Blenkarn: Are you going to vote for it?

Miss Jewett: I should like to put on record now an excerpt from an October 8 press release issued by the Canadian Advisory Council’ on the Status of Women, which reads as follows:

Canadian women should know that their rights are not protected by the federal government’s proposed charter of rights,’ said Doris Anderson, president of the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, at a press conference in Ottawa today. Unless wording of the charter is revised to guarantee fundamental rights for women, they will continue to risk the kind of discrimination so often experienced in the past.

Clause 15(1) of the charter under discussion reads:

Everyone has the right to equality before the law and to the equal protection of the law-

This wording is inadequate because in every single case in the 1970s when practically the same wording, which is contained in the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights, was being interpreted by the courts, the Supreme Court did not find that women were equal in the law. The Supreme Court either interpreted the “before the law” clause to mean “in the administration of the law” , or else it tried to find some other principle which, in effect, would deny women their equality.

The two most important cases, of course, are the 1973 decision in the Lavell and Bédard case where two Indian women had lost their status because they married non-Indians. As we all know, section l2(l)(b) of the Indian Act states that Indian women who marry non-Indians lose all their claims as Indians. This law does not apply to Indian men who marry non-Indians. In that case the Supreme Court decided that the words “before the law” , that now also appear in clause 15 of this charter, only referred to the administration of the law and not to the law, itself. In 1978 in the famous Bliss case, and basically without going into the details of it because of short- age of time, the court decided that no inequality was being suffered by Stella Bliss in the non-payment of unemployment insurance to her, because the law had resulted in a denial of benefits only to some unemployed pregnant women and not to all of them.

Unless the proposed charter is rewritten, these two decisions will stand as precedents. Nor is it good enough to say, as I understand some government advisers are saying, that once these words are entrenched everything will be all right, because the courts will then say, “it is entrenched now and we have to handle it differently.” That is probably the most ludicrous argument one could imagine. Once precedents are established, courts very rarely change their interpretation.

More important, with the exception of one Supreme Court Justice, at no time have the courts felt that the Canadian Bill of Rights could not overrule other statutes. In all these cases, all justices, with one exception, treated the Canadian Bill of Rights, the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights, as though it were entrenched. In this connection, the famous Drybones case has never been overturned. Thank goodness, we now have bright young women teaching constitutional law in the law schools of Canada, who bring these facts to our attention.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Jewett: The same is true of the protection of the law clause. The only change in section 15 from the Diefenbaker Bill of Rights is the addition of the word “equal”. So it is now equal protection of the law. That again will not be of very much help, if indeed any help at all. It is a copying of American terminology and a tendency to think highly of American jurisprudence as far as the interpretation of equal protection of the law is concerned. I think this is well taken if one is looking at their interpretation of cases regarding race inequality. But if we look at the interpretation of that clause as far as sex inequality is concerned, we see that it is of no help whatsoever to women.

I must say the Quebec charter of human rights is more enlightened. It does not use the words “before the law” at all. The phrase in French is “en pleine égalité”.

Perhaps that is a phrase we should take into consideration when we are revising the wording in committee.

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The courts have striven manfully to find some principle to give-

Mr. Knowles: That is the trouble.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Clark: We all make mistakes.

Miss Jewett: On the contrary, manfully, and I mean “man- fully”. The courts have striven manfully to find some principle to give substance the “before the law” clause. They have developed five different principles. I mentioned one particularly, the one saying that “before the law” meant in the administration of the law we were equal. The courts have developed four others. None of them is helpful to women. None promotes a woman’s human right to equality. What the courts need and desperately want is guidance. The message must be very clear from this Parliament, and in the Constitution of Canada, that to use the same words will do no good. A message must be clearly given to the courts by the use of new, different and stronger words, that from now on we do intend women to be treated equally.

If I may, I would like to put on the record now proposed wording. I am not a lawyer, and I have no doubt there are deficiencies in this wording. However, I have made an attempt at least to give expression to what I feel might be a clear message to the Supreme Court and other courts, that what we really want, in a positive and constructive way, is protection of women’s full rights to equality.

I would begin by calling this section not non-discrimination rights because that title refers only to the second subsection, but rather call it the right to equality. By the way, I am now referring to others who will be included in this section as hon. members will hear in a moment.

I would like to see in the first subsection the following:

All persons, men and women alike, shall be equal in the law and before the law without unreasonable distinction based on national or ethnic origin, age or religion.

I stress “equal in the law.” I hope hon. members get my point. “Before the law” has not given us equality. It must be changed. “In the law” is a logical, clearcut change.

In the second subsection, and I hope other members will agree, I would like to see the following:

Race, sex or other immutable characteristic shall never constitute a reasonable basis for distinction except as provided in subsection 3.

The vital ones are “immutable characteristic” .

The third section I propose I have taken from the Human Rights Act. I think the affirmative action in that act is the best. My proposed third subsection would read:

Nothing in this charter limits the authority of Parliament or a legislature to authorize any program or activity that is designed to prevent disadvantages that are likely to be suffered by, or to eliminate or reduce disadvantages that are suffered by any group of individuals when those disadvantages would be based on or related to race, sex or other immutable characteristic of those groups of individuals.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Jewett: Finally, in my proposed section 15 I would like to see words to the effect that:

Equality is” a positive goal to be sought, particularly for women and other disadvantaged peoples, and that evening-up is a necessary process to the achieving of equality.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Jewett: I hope that all members of the House of Commons, not just all of the women members, although I hope all 14 of us will be together on this as much as we were a few months ago in trying to move for the total equality of Indian women, will join together to make substantive and fundamentally important changes and totally restructure section 15 of the proposed charter.

Unless we do this now, and I am anxious that we get to committee to do it, we will be 100 years more before we get these changes made.

Women in the United States have been fighting since 1924 to get an equal rights amendment in the American constitution. If we bring back the constitution with section 15 as it is now, given the interpretation by the Supreme Court of Canada, we will not, as women, genuinely be able to claim , equality in our society. The likelihood of all of the legislatures getting together with the federal government and amending that section after it has been brought back is somewhat remote.

It is not good enough to say on this, and other vital issues, that we will do it later. The time to do it is now.

Mr. Friesen: Mr. Speaker, since the lion. Member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Miss Jewett) has some time left, would she permit a question?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the hon. member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Miss Jewett) accept a question from the hon. member for Surrey-White Rock-North Delta (Mr. Friesen) ?

Miss Jewett: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Friesen: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member indicated, and I agree with her, that the courts are not very good institutions”: for reform, which is precisely the argument the head of the Civil Liberties Association has made. Therefore, entrenchment is not an enhancement to people’s rights. Why does the hon: member plan to vote for entrenchment if this is a deterrent to reform? If there are so many flaws in this proposal, why is it such a civilized document?

Miss Jewett: On the last point, to be quite frank, my indictment includes all you guys, too. You have never read or studied the wording of the proposed charter nor have members on the government side. Most of you have never really studied or read any of the cases wherein that wording was interpreted detrimentally to women. Mr. Deputy Speaker: With all due respect to the hon. member, her remarks should be addressed to the Chair.

[Page 4021]


Mr. Robert Boekstael (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Transport): Mr. Speaker, since the draft resolution was tabled in the House we have been engaged in an historic debate that will bring out the fundamental principles on which our parliamentary and federal democratic institutions are based. All during the constitutional talks of the debates in the House, we have been accused by certain provincial premiers and members of the opposition of seeking to destroy our system of government. They have accused us of wanting to reduce the powers of the provinces and increase those of the federal government.

Now that we have tabled a motion for closure in order to refer the resolution to a joint committee for further study, we are being accused of abusing our parliamentary and democratic principles. I would ask how these same members of the “opposition can oppose a resolution encompassing the fundamental principles on which the democratic values of our parliamentary system and our federal institutions are based. Mr. Speaker, I wonder how, in all good faith toward their constituents, these elected representatives can oppose a resolution which would entrench in the Constitution the fundamental rights and freedom to which every Canadian citizen is entitled. And finally, Mr. Speaker, I wonder how these same representatives can deny those who elected them, their fellow Canadians, the rights and freedoms associated with mobility, of working wherever they wish in the country, the right to instruction in their mother tongue, or any other right of freedom belonging to them as citizens of a sovereign and democratic federation.

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Progressive Conservative members are toying with the fundamental and individual rights of Canadians. They are manipulating the resolution and motion for closure for their own political good, with no respect for the electorate or for the House. And then they accuse us of wishing to cut off debate without giving them sufficient opportunity to express their opinion on the motion tabled in the House on October 6.

Mr. Speaker, if in the two and a half weeks they have been unable to mount an opposition to the motion tabled by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) it is because they did not know how to, not because they had insufficient time. We on this side of the House realize the importance of this resolution. We have decided that it is time to refer this resolution to a committee for further study. And that is why we have tabled a motion for closure in the House. In deciding to invoke this historic closure procedure, our purpose was not to cut off debate but rather to study this resolution more carefully in committee and give the House an opportunity to turn its attention to other pressing issues.


Now, Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus on some of the comments which have been made over the course of the last few months and in the constitutional debates in the House.

Throughout these talks and debates, we have heard cries from certain provincial premiers, and from members opposite, that the federal government is alienating western Canadians. Just the other day, the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Epp) openly stated in the House that western Canadians were feeling deeply alienated. Well, I am a western Canadian. I represent a riding in Manitoba which borders on the Provencher riding represented by my hon. friend opposite, and I certainly do not sense that deep feeling of alienation.

Rather, I would suggest that some western Canadian premiers who are not really speaking for the majority of their citizens have been alienating themselves from their own regions and from their own ridings.

I personally applaud our government for the concessions it recently proposed in the way of resource control. I truthfully believe that these concessions will be welcomed by western Canadians and are much in line with what they have been seeking for many years, in terms of guarantees.

The last decade has been one of prosperity for the western Canadian provinces. Once almost entirely dependent on agriculture, the prairie provinces have experienced new forms of economic growth which have enabled them to diversify and industrialize their economies around new resources. These new developments have greatly changed the economic and political balance of confederation in a way never yet experienced in our history. This change should not lead us to western alienation, an image members opposite are forever conjuring, but to a new partnership between the regions and provinces in a unified country. I believe this attitude should be welcomed by all Canadians.

Because of the economic boom in western Canada, we as a nation are today much stronger, much more able to cope with international tensions such as those which prevail in the world oil market. Just as the national policy of 1879 strengthened our country and enabled us to counter external political and economic encroachments, our newly-found wealth in hydrocar- bon resources has, on the one hand, served to reaffirm this union, and on the other, has led to a much better redistribution of wealth throughout the country.

Interprovincial migration from eastern to western Canada has been remarkable. I think that all westerners should welcome those fellow Canadians who come to western Canada in search of employment and the opportunity to start a new life in a region where such opportunities are plentiful. There is a lot to be said about the entrenchment of mobility rights in the constitution, and especially on the part of provinces experiencing financial difficulties. If economic growth in the west brings about a movement of people to that region, then, no doubt, some of these new settlers will be from Quebec, in much the same way as the French Canadians came to the west, more than a century ago.

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I believe we should guarantee their rights to the full appreciation of their language and culture, and allow their children to have access to French language education as they would have, had they stayed in Quebec.

The converse is also true. When we in the west hear of a friend or neighbour being transferred by his company into Quebec, we expect that province to reciprocate and allow that family to obtain an English education in that province.

Speaking of new wealth in the west, some provincial politicians in western Canada appear to think this new wealth has been forthcoming for decades and has been withheld forcibly by defensive eastern provinces. To these politicians, it appears as though this new wealth will finally allow them to get even with their eastern counterparts. It almost appears at times as if we are experiencing an historical grudge match. It is especially distressing when one considers that it was a crisis in the world oil markets which so influenced the way certain western Canadian politicians were to reassess confederation.

In a country as large and as geographically diverse as Canada, it is not extraordinary that we should come face to face with this problem referred to so often as regional discontent. However, we all have to ask ourselves how profound this problem really is. Do Canadians really feel that way about their regional interests surpassing their national interests, or is the situation being exaggerated by provincial political leaders.

Canadians have managed to build a nation in spite of all these regional barriers. Canadians by birth along with immigrants have opened up the land in western Canada, not to challenge eastern Canada or the federal institutions, but rather to contribute to the building of a nation. Today, I firmly believe that the grandchildren and great grandchildren of these early settlers still believe as strongly in this country as did their ancestors.

[ Translation]

Mr. Speaker, I represent a riding in Manitoba which has traditionally been bicultural in character, a riding which has its place in history as the fortress of French language and culture in western Canada, a riding which has been in existence since the province of Manitoba joined the Dominion of Canada.

When Manitoba became a Canadian province, French Canadians represented a significant proportion of its population. The school system was divided into two sectors to accommodate both the Protestant and Catholic groups. French was the language of the instruction in the vast majority of Catholic schools, and the Manitoba legislature recognized both languages. The French-Canadian population constituted at that time a homogeneous community in which it was possible to live one’s life in French on a daily basis and participate fully in our culture.

At the centre of this community was the church and the family, and French Canadians in Manitoba could gather round these two institutions so as not to be assimilated by the growing Anglo-Saxon population. With the wave of immigrants and Canadian colonists from Ontario to Western Canada, drawn by the national policy of Macdonald in 1879, French Canadians were soon to be reduced to minority status and swept along on the tide of Anglicization. In 1890 the Manitoba legislature was to abolish French as an official language and set up a public and English-speaking system of non-denominational schools. French Canadians found them- selves, in 1890, deprived of the rights conferred on them by the Manitoba Act.

After a series of battles in the Supreme Court and the Privy Council in London, and a series of interventions by the federal government, French Canadians received a few privileges.

I am speaking today in defence of language rights and the right to education in the language of the minority because of my experience in Manitoba as a student, as a parent and as an elected member of a school board. I experienced the problems that French Canadians went through to receive their education in French.

In Manitoba, for example, the history of French Canadians has been one of fighting for their right to be educated in their own language. I can recall as a student having to hide our French grammar books whenever we had a visit from the Department of Education inspector. Mr. Speaker, this was an example of the rights of French Canadians in Manitoba.

And our premier in Manitoba continues to say that his government can ensure that the Franco-Manitoban minority will be well protected in his province. I wonder how Premier Lyon would be able to convince one of my constituents, Mr. Georges Forest, who had to go as far as the Supreme Court of Canada to fight a mere unilingual parking ticket, the product of a discriminatory provincial legislature.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to quote one of the greatest political leaders this country has known, Sir John A. Macdonald who said, in 1865, during debate on the possibility of creating a Canadian confederation, and I quote the original text in English:


The delegates from all provinces have agreed that the use of the French language will serve as one of the principles on which confederation will be based.


Therefore, Mr. Speaker, this whole question of real equality between the two founding peoples is not a new phenomenon. I think it is time to pay tribute to our forefathers by entrenching in our constitution the historic rights of all Canadians.


I was born in Manitoba and I have lived in Manitoba all my life, but first and foremost I am a Canadian. It might be thought that it was not necessary to say so in this House, but I am a Canadian of parentage whose maternal language was neither English nor French. I am from a lesser minority a

[Page 4023]

minority within minorities, and I have experienced what that means. I know that if the rights of Canadians are not protected by the two main official language groups, then the other minorities will suffer as a consequence.

I do not believe we can count on our provincial governments to protect us in that fashion, and if we are going to wait for the constitution to evolve from unanimous agreement, I do not think I will live long enough to see that day. We have our national anthem, we have our flag and we are mature enough to have our own constitution.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Bockstael: I mentioned the hon. member for Provencher. He knows that back in 1957 we were struggling to have our rights in school, I for the people of St. Boniface and he for the Mennonite population in Manitoba. We knew we could not get them, but I worked with people like Thiessen and Wiebe in an effort to make sure we would get those rights. The premier of the province was trying to help us, but the majority would not give them to us. Then we experienced the administration of Premier Edward Schreyer. He took us a long way by bringing in laws which would help the minority have its linguistic rights respected. We are still struggling for those rights and it is laughable to see the Premier of Manitoba saying, on television, “I am looking after the needs of the minorities; they are satisfied” . That is not the case.

Today I am speaking from the heart. Hon. members opposite say the debate has lasted only 24 hours, but since October 6, when we started early—and nine days before we were supposed to—all we have seen has been obstructionism and moves to slow down the resolution and its reference to commit- tee. Yesterday we saw the funniest about-face I have ever contemplated in this House. Hon. members opposite now have been presented with the solution.

They were against it; they did not want to do it. They were in favour of patriation and the principle thereof. They were in favour of human rights and the principle thereof. They were in favour of the formula of equalization and the principle thereof. But they did not like the way we were proceeding. They felt we should take a different approach—that this was the wrong time and the wrong place. Then yesterday the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) told us that he had the solution. “We will do it in one shot, it will not take long and we do not even need a committee” . He said, “We will do it right here this afternoon; let’s go” . That is because hon. members opposite have read the will of the Canadian people. The Canadian people want their Constitution.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Bockstael: As I said earlier, hon. members opposite are posturing for political reasons. They are holding the government back from doing its job, and we have to do it now. We should get the resolution into committee, deal with it seriously and get on with it.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder if the hon. member would permit a question.

Mr. Bockstael: Yes.

Mr. Clark: While I naturally disagreed with some of the hon. member’s concluding comments, I was interested in his proposal that French language and English language rights in education should exist for anyone anywhere in Canada. The hon. member was making a particular reference to people who might move from Quebec, for example, to my constituency in rural western Alberta or from my constituency to Quebec. As I understood him, he was saying that in all cases they should have the right to schooling in the language of the majority language region they left. I wonder if the hon. member intends to introduce an amendment to the resolution to make the resolution have the effect he says he seeks.

Mr. Bockstael: Mr. Speaker, I do not believe I used the words “in all cases” . Having been a school trustee and recognizing the existence of economic common sense, I know that it should be where numbers justify. That is the way I feel.

Mr. McDermid: Who decides the numbers?

Mr. Kilgour: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Would the parliamentary secretary permit a second question if there is a moment of his time left?

Mr. Bockstael: Yes.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Blaker): The hon. member for Edmonton-Strathcona (Mr. Kilgour) on a point of order.

Mr. Kilgour: Mr. Speaker, I will put my question in English. As somebody who was also born in Manitoba, I wonder if the parliamentary secretary, who spoke of the Manitoba school question, is aware of the fact that the Manitoba school act- which was an unjust act, I quite agree with him–was enacted after two demagogic speeches in Portage la Prairie in 1889? I am sure he is aware of those speeches. Does he not think that section 42 is precisely the sort of instrument that a demagogue, like Dalton McCarthy or Joseph Martin, who gave those speeches in Portage la Prairie, would love to have in our if constitution so they could do the same thing to a minority as the Manitoba Liberal government did in 1890 to the French- speaking minority?

Mr. Bockstael: Mr. Speaker, I agree with our leader that section 42 is a system to unblock a bottleneck. It will be invoked in that sense because we have evidence of 53 years of bottlenecks with the provinces.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. John Gamble (York North): Mr. Speaker, I am one of the fortunate and privileged members of the House. I have still 20 minutes in which to address the House and express my views with respect to a matter of supreme national concern.

[Page 4024]

All of my colleagues in the House, and I include those who do not happen to belong to the party to which I belong, do not have that right or privilege. Accordingly, I am very specially privileged indeed. Some of them have brought it upon them- selves. Looking at the scant numbers of government members in the House, I can see that perhaps it is not important to them to bother to attend here to address this matter in the way most members in my party wish to do. There are 21 Liberal members in the House today to deal with this issue.

One of the most essential factors with which I am confront- ed as I look at this resolution is that according to the government this is not the forum where issues of a primary nature concerning all Canadians should be dealt with. It is to be somewhere else, and I wonder where that other place is. Is it to be in London, to which city the government has dispatched two of its ministers to make proposals concerning what the constitution of Canada should be? I would have thought it should have been here, and I would have thought that mem- bers of the House who had anything to say on this essential issue would want such an opportunity. Unfortunately, how- ever, we are to be greatly disappointed.

Let us then go to the issue that confronts us with respect to the resolution before the House which gave rise to closure, and let us immediately dismiss some of the irrelevancies that have been raised. It is very clear that the party to which I belong has a firm and fixed view that the Constitution of Canada should be patriated. We also believe there should be a formula for amendments in the future. That formula has been described as “seven out of ten.” I will not go beyond that, other than to mention that indeed there is no doubt that members of this party believe fundamentally in a bill of rights. It was a former prime minister from this party who introduced Canada’s Bill of Rights which still stands. It may well be that there should be an amendment to that Bill of Rights changing section 2 so as to give the bill as it currently stands primacy over general laws in Canada. But we are dealing with some- thing that is substantially different and upon which closure has been brought, that is, the concept that the charter of rights and freedoms which will affect all Canadians should be placed beyond the control of the House of Commons.

Today we heard a statement from the hon. member for Nepean-Carleton (Mr. Baker) which might initially have stunned some of the members. It was to the effect that should this resolution be passed, the Supreme Court of Canada, the highest court in the land, will no longer be that. What fundamental difference does that make to me as a member of Parliament? Am I indeed robbed of some great right? True, that would happen, but it does not concern me. The fact that this will no longer be the high court of justice for Canada is not as significant as the effect it would have upon the democratic process in Canada, because what we are doing here will destroy democracy.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Gamble: The hon. member who has never looked at the resolution laughs. That does not surprise me. What we have here is a proposition which will place in the hands of the Supreme Court of Canada—not the one that is here today that we all know, but the one that will be there 100 years from now and whose members we do not recognize because they have not yet been appointed–the right to determine the laws of Canada and legislate those laws because the process of legal interpretation includes legislation.

For a perfect example of that process we need only look to our southern neighbour where the laws passed in a constitutional form have been changed over the years as a result of judicial interpretation. The natural result of that, they say, is that there has been progress. The court has made those changes necessarily. But the fact is, there is a danger in adopting the process they have adopted to our situation with- out the safeguards they enjoy. There is not a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States who is not appointed without the sanction and approval, after due scrutiny, of the Congress of the U.S. There is no provision for such scrutiny in this resolution. In the United States, lower court judges are elected by the people. The people, directly or indirectly, control the administration of justice. Our system, simply put, is that one man, the Attorney General of Canada, will make the appointments. Whom does he appoint? We do not know, but I will tell you what the people do not know–that once appoint- ed, no one can ever get rid of them. The people can get rid of ~ my friends across the way, they can get rid of me, they can get rid of all of us, but they-cannot get rid of the judges, and it is the judges who will legislate in Canada if this resolution is passed. The public should be made aware of it, but the government members opposite do not bother. They talk about the rights of the minorities. I heard the comment of the Solicitor General (Mr. Kaplan). He is in the House tonight. “The minorities must be protected,” he said. That is true, but so must the majority. Who is protecting the democratic process? Who is speaking for the system that has evolved and from which we derive our right to be here and from which the people derive their right to get rid of us? No one does, because it does not concern them. That is the fundamental problem which the Liberal government does not address because it is something they do not want the public to know, and the sooner they can get this matter before the committee where it can be whisked away in the dark, the better they will like it.

Having commented upon the one fundamental problem which exists with regard to the concept of the resolution, let us now take the lid off the general garbage can and look at the trash that is contained therein. We are told by speaker after speaker for the government that, as a consequence of the adoption of this resolution, Canadians will be able to move. from one part of Canada to the other, find residence and seek gainful employment. We have heard this evening from an hon. member on the government benches that he is aware of a piece of legislation of an obnoxious nature in the province of Quebec which precludes construction workers from the province of Ontario taking jobs in Quebec on construction projects, con- tracts which have been won by Ontario construction firms Section 6 is held up as an answer to the problem and as a…

[Page 4025]

panacea. One should read that section. Section 6.(2) allegedly grants relief, but one should read on to see what section 6.(3) indicates. It provides that none of the prohibitions set forth in subsection (2) shall be rendered unenforceable unless the purpose was primarily a discriminatory one designed to dis- criminate against the former province of the intended applicant for a position or job. The hon. member who raised this issue should have studied the law of the province of Quebec. He would have discovered that in fact this is the very justification the government uses to offend the principle this is sup- posed to correct. Section. 6 protecting mobility rights is a sham and a fraud. It will not protect Canadians, and they should be made aware of that.

The hon. member for St. Boniface (Mr. Bockstael) expressed pleasure that after the passage of this resolution and the enactment of these provisions into our constitution, Canadians moving from one province to another might insist upon their children being educated in the official language of their choice. The great difficulty under section 23 with respect to Canadians moving from one province to another is that if they do not have school age children at the time of their move, they have no rights at all. The children are required to be in school. If a child is four or five years old and not yet in school, his parents might as well forget about that possibility because that child does not qualify. There is no protection there.

Interestingly enough, the real abuse to which members opposite have not directed any attention is that section 23.(l) establishes entrenched second-class citizens in this country. The hon. member for St. Boniface said he did not belong to the English majority or the French minority group in Canada. He indicated that he came from some other background. I wel- come him to the underprivileged group because that is what he would be if he came to Canada from a country such as Italy where he did not speak either English or French; his privileges and rights would immediately have vanished. If this provision is passed in its offensive form, he would not be able to go into any province of this country and have his children educated in either English or French because he would have no rights. It is abhorrent that the government dared to present a proposal containing such unparalleled bias against new Canadian citizens. Once a person becomes a Canadian citizen, I believe he or she is entitled to all rights and privileges—not just some of them—which accrue to a Canadian citizen.

I cannot and will not support the entrenchment of prejudice and discrimination’ in the Constitution of Canada. I am appalled at the audacity of the Government of Canada in bringing forward a package containing such abuses. One wonders how the government ever contemplated the passage, without complaint, of section 41 of the resolution. Simply put, section 4l(1)(b)(i) creates a special class of province. It is a class of province without identification in terms of the name of that province or of those provinces which at any time before the issue of a proclamation according to any previous general census had a population of at least 25 per cent of the total population of Canada. It so happens that the only two provinces which qualify under that subsection are the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. All other provinces are specifically identified by name. With respect to rights in connection with constitutional amendments, the other provinces need a combined population in their respective areas of at least 50 per cent of the total population of their area. The guide determining when the population count is to be taken with respect to what are referred to as the Atlantic and western provinces is the latest general census. Ministers opposite have created the grandfather of all grandfather clauses. They have created a privileged set of provinces in Canada which will never lose their right to refuse to consent to an amendment to the constitution.

I come from the province of Ontario, one of those privileged provinces. If I were to follow the example of some hon. members on the government side of the House from Quebec, 1 would sit down and keep my mouth shut. Apparently that is appropriate. But there is not a thinking resident in the riding of York North who would support such an abuse, who would be prepared to accept forever special treatment denied his fellow countrymen.

There is a drum sounding in western Canada. It is sounding discontent. The echoes of that drum have been heard in the House this evening and earlier. The government has heard it but will pay no attention. The government will not hear until that muted sound becomes a roar of thunder and descends on its head with a vengeance. They will not listen because they believe people are bluffing. The people of Canada want fair- ness and equity. They want to be treated the same regardless of where they live. If they are not, the slight inconvenience the government recently experienced in the province of Quebec will seem tame by comparison to the anguish it brings upon itself and the entire country. I urge the government to think carefully about second class provinces and about the need for fair play and equity. I urge them to reject what has been, upon examination, nothing but a statute of frauds perpetrated upon Canadians. It is not a statute of fraud in the usual legal sense, where fraud is to be prohibited,” but a statute of fraud in the sense that it is to be encouraged and promoted and advanced at the expense of Canadians.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Gamble: Mr. Speaker, we are concerned with matters of grave national interest and I rise to speak hoping that in some small way some of my colleagues in this House and on the government side may pensively reflect upon what they are doing to Canada, recognizing that by taking the steps they are taking this evening they may cause irreparable harm to this institution and to this country. Accordingly, I ask them to reflect carefully upon what they do.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

[Page 4026]


Mr. Raymond Savard (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Public Works): Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to be participating today in the debate on the constitution. A number of members have already spoken in the House and have expressed their desire to -see their freedoms protected in our constitution. Today all of us can cherish the dream of giving the choice to the people of this beautiful and rapidly growing country and of opening the way to the realization of their hopes.

At the time of the Quebec referendum, the Prime Minister told all Canadians that when the referendum was over, we were going to patriate the constitution. Today, Mr. Speaker, our Prime Minister wants to carry out his promise, and we are being called traitors, sheep and all sorts of other names. I would like to say that I am proud to be a Canadian and to serve a Prime Minister who stands upright and who wants to build a future for the entire nation, to give it freedom of conscience and of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of the press and of information, freedom to live at liberty in a Canada where every citizen may move about without hindrance. We should not forget the billions of people who would give anything to have the freedom we enjoy in Canada.

I cannot understand the negative attitude of my friends on the other side, who are inventing all sorts of excuses and who seem to want to destroy this beautiful country. It is for this reason that I am making my contribution today. As a Canadian and as a spokesman for my fellow citizens, I wish to express to the House their feelings and their desire to see their individual rights and their language rights guaranteed every- where in Canada, along with their basic and democratic right to have their children educated in their mother tongue. It is the duty of all hon. members to place the rights of Canadians before those of the state. And it is for these reasons that I appeal to all Canadians to help us to entrench all these rights in the new Canadian-constitution.

Mr. La Salle: You will have to convince Mr. Ryan!

Mr. Savard: Mr. Speaker, I would like to mention an example which some of us experienced during the Quinquennale de la francophonie in Winnipeg. I had an experience during my visit to that area. I saw people who were very proud of speaking French but who, unfortunately, for fear of losing their jobs, were obliged to speak English. The-same thing happens in the universities. Students attend courses in French, but as soon as they leave the university, they go back to speaking English.

I was looking at a television program recently on the twentieth anniversary of French television in Winnipeg, in which we were shown how French teaching in the school would cease the minute the inspector came into the classroom. As far as I am concerned, I find this situation deplorable and unacceptable. Francophones ask neither favour nor privilege, but merely the right to be treated as full partners and not as second-class citizens. They have the right to live and to develop in all the provinces of Canada.

I should like also, Mr. Speaker, to mention the magnificent work of our Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) and his performance during his meeting with the ministers. In my view, he is quite right in saying that we must follow the work of Mr. Diefenbaker and Mr. Thomas, for it is worthy of mention. But when I hear the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark), I am afraid, and I am sure those two great men are turning in their graves.

Let us consider the right to economic mobility for our citizens across the country. What will happen to the right to life and liberty if we cannot move to or settle, work or invest in the province of our choice? Without this freedom, will our system become like those of totalitarian countries? As we know, the citizens of communist countries do not enjoy these rights; they don’t even exist. In Russia, travel from one state to another requires a permit from the central government. Personally, I say that Canadians, in our country, have no intention of adopting this way of life, and on their behalf, I insist that this freedom, the right to mobility, be retained, because Canada is a free country from sea to sea.

With regard to economic union, Mr. Speaker, such union is important to the well-being of all Canadians, in addition to providing our vast and varied country with one of the highest standards of living in the world. The different regions and economic sectors must complement one another in order to conserve their resources, for without their mutual co-operation, Canada will become a country dependent upon other industrialized countries. Although the constitution in its 113 years has not kept pace with developments in society, I find it quite normal that the provinces should claim certain powers; if each one took only its share of the pie, it would be ideal. It is also normal that our government should retain those powers that affect the national interest and that concern the country as a whole. The new constitution should encompass this concept, while adapting to the evolution of the society to come. This action on the part of the government is justified, because there is no alternative. We have made a commitment to the people of Quebec, and we must now carry it out. We must have an amending formula binding the central government and all the provinces of Canada.


The Anglophones in my province have always had the opportunities and right to live and work in their language. They should have those rights guaranteed in our constitution and their example should be made to all the other provinces. The rights and dignities of Francophones across this country should be held as dear as those of Anglophones in Quebec.

[Page 4027]


As we can see, the federal government has no intention of taking any power away from the provinces. During the recent discussions, the provinces wanted to negotiate these rights. I say that these rights are not negotiable. They belong to the men and women of Canada, and we must leave them what is theirs. It is now time to repatriate the constitution, with an amending formula, including every guarantee of the rights binding the federal and provincial governments, and to have a greater willingness to listen to those around us and to under- stand their needs. There is a need for greater generosity toward others. These factors are all equally important to the unity of the nation. Surely this is easy to understand. This is what we want for Canada. According to the opposition, it is an artificial Canada that the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) envisions and would have us accept. Canada is a reality, and the hopes of Canadians are equally real.

The dream I spoke of earlier is one shared by all Canadian men and women–that of having all the freedoms and all the basic rights that we are believed to possess already in Canada. The provincial premiers are also agreed that we possess these rights. I can repeat the Prime Minister’s question: if we have them now, why would they not want to entrench them in the constitution?

Last week, Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively as a member of the Opposition said that the Prime Minister was planting a time bomb in the very heart of the country and was preparing to demolish the Canadian federation. Well, I refuse to accept such a statement, which I consider an insult to the people of Canada, because the Prime Minister is one of the greatest men of Quebec and of Canada, regardless of what the opposition may think.

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is one of our own, and no one can deny that, through his efforts, the position of Franco- phones has greatly improved. What is there to say about the adoption of the Official Languages Act, about the integration of Francophones at all levels, of the public service across Canada? Through the force of his ideas and the firmness of his convictions, he has won the hearts of Quebeckers and has led them toward the kind of renewed federalism that is envisioned in this proposal.


The hour of decision has arrived. After 53 years, we are about to take the historic steps of bringing our constitution home, and giving all Canadians the rights, not privileges as some premiers would have it, that they deserve. That will be our legacy to future generations of Canadians, and that is why I will proudly vote in favour of the government’s resolution before us tonight.

[ Translation]

Politicians have now been trying to patriate the constitution for 53 years and all have failed. Now is the time to decide. We are going to take that decision and for the first time in our history the freedoms and fundamental rights of Canadians will be enshrined in a Canadian charter. We owe it to ourselves to patriate the Canadian constitution made in Canada by Canadians. We have the power and the duty to do so.


Hon. Don Mazankowski (Vegreville): Mr. Speaker, I participate in this debate with a degree of sadness and regret having regard to the fact that we have just had thrust upon this House one of the most repugnant and most destructive devices ever perpetrated on the democratic process. I am deeply saddened, because the debate that has taken place in this chamber for the last 24 hours interspersed over a couple of weeks or so is perhaps the most important historic debate I have ever witnessed in my 12 years as a member of the House. Itis with a great deal of regret that I see it cut off prematurely having regard to its importance and the fact that some members who wanted to speak will not have that opportunity.

The government’s action is the result of a move that is ruthless, arrogant and, I believe, cowardly. Parliament is now succumbing, as the hon. member for Provencher (Mr. Epp) has said, to the tyranny of the majority. The excellent debate we have had so far is coming to an end. There have been many excellent speeches made in this chamber. It is perhaps the best debate l have ever witnessed in my 12 years here. Many of the speeches have been delivered with deep conviction, deep feeling and in a sincere manner. But the government’s actions have turned the debate into one of bitterness and division; the atmosphere has become poisoned.

It seems to me there is a pattern in the way in which this government has approached constitutional reform. It is treating this House in the same way as it treated the premiers. It has ignored the warnings and the legitimate grievances which have been expressed by members on both sides of the House. The government has ignored the participation of the members who have spoken with such deep conviction and with such deep feeling. This government, it is very clear, thrives on confrontation. This is not in keeping with the Canadian tradition or the spirit of confederation.

I feel very badly and very deeply about this kind of atmosphere, and it should not be prevalent when we are dealing with such a basic fundamental and important issue. We must ask ourselves, “Why the haste all of a sudden?” We hear from members opposite that the process has been ongoing for 53 years and suddenly, hang, it comes to an end. Several members have quoted from the infamous secret document that was leaked, the document that was for ministers’ eyes only. There are a couple of points contained in that document which should be put on the record. The first deals with the concern the government felt _over the provinces taking the matter to court. Their considered opinion is summarized in a couple of points which I would like to put on the record:

[Page 4028]

A provincial reference to a Court of Appeal would probably take one and a half to two years from the time of initiation until it was finally disposed of on appeal to the supreme court. While there could be advantages in such a delay there would be some potential disadvantages; the province could frame the reference question without our agreement and . . . could focus solely on whether the procedure IS in accordance with the Canadian conventions rather than whether the patriation measure adopted is legal. Also, while the ultimate supreme court pronouncement would be postponed by this process, there would be the additional risk of an earlier, possibly critical, provincial court judgment.

They are almost assuming that it would spell trouble if the matter got into the courts. The document goes on:

There would be a strong strategic advantage in having the joint resolution passed and the U.K. legislation enacted before a Canadian court had occasion to pronounce on the validity of the measure and the procedure employed to achieve it. This would suggest the desirability of swift passage of the resolution and UK. legislation.

That is what they are afraid of and there are other motives as well with which I will deal. I want to say in all sincerity that there was deep division within the country when this debate started and that as a result of the actions of the government over the past 24 hours, there is more division today. I say this with great regret. There is frustration, tension and some very intense feeling which has now been transferred into outright anger.

The government is ignoring that feeling. I was surprised at the comments of the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport (Mr. Bockstael) who downplays the feelings of the west. Mr. Speaker and my friends in the House of Commons, that gentleman is fooling you because he is not really reflecting accurately the views of western Canadians as I see them, and I travel western Canada quite a bit. That view is not shared by a very distinguished Canadian, a former premier of the province of Alberta who serves in the other place.

Let me refer to some of his comments. He expresses the misgivings he feels about the way in which the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) is proceeding with respect to patriation. At page 920 of Senate Debates for October 22, Senator Manning is reported as follows:

I do not question the Prime Minister’s belief that he has chosen the right and responsible course, but he is wrong–terribly wrong–and he is risking unnecessarily the danger of tearing confederation apart. I

That gentleman knows a bit about this country, Mr. Speaker, and he knows about the west. This matter has also been referred to by the hon. member for Rosedale (Mr. Crombie), the hon. member for Cambridge (Mr.. Speyer) and several members from the Atlantic, as well as the hon. member for York North (Mr. Gamble). Over the past summer these members travelled the west and sensed the feelings there. They sensed that, in general, westerners feel that many of their grievances have been ignored and that there are further injustices ahead as a result of the government’s action.

Mr. Speaker, I find it very difficult to understand the position of the New Democratic Party. I believe they have sold their soul in an attempt to garner some short-term political gain. As well, I believe they have betrayed their constituents in western Canada, because in my view the resource issue is now fuzzier than ever. It is unclear. It is de facto ownership taken away. I believe the New Democratic Party has played into the Prime Minister’s hands.

The result will be interpreted in the west as once again relegating them to the colonial status of 50 years ago. That is a significant number, because rights were gained through the passage of the Natural Resources Transfer Act of 1930 after long struggle and intense deliberation. It was as a result of the passage of that legislation and other, subsequent, legislation that the ownership of resources was transferred to the provinces, as to the other provinces in confederation. It seems to me that the actions of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the NDP(Mr. Broadbent) constitute a backward step with respect to a very important, vital and fundamental element as far as western Canada is concerned.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Mazankowski: Premier Blakeney is not buying the package. In my view, the New Democratic Party is ignoring that area of Canada which really rejected the Liberal party. People there declined to vote for the Liberal party, fearing something like this could happen. Those constituents who voted NDP in the last election will now have to swallow a Liberal policy.

The government and the New Democratic Party should not ignore some other facts which I want to place on the record. They should not ignore the fact that the minister in the other place who speaks for the province of Alberta does not support the amending formula contained in this resolution. Instead, he supports the Alberta position–the Vancouver formula. That is the position this party has adopted.

They should not ignore the fact that seven or eight provinces do not support the proposal, as is evidenced by the proposed court actions. They should not overlook the fact that day day as this debate goes on and Canadians become more familiar with what is contained in the package, constitutional experts, editorialists and well-informed Canadians are openly expressing reservations about it. Notwithstanding this, the government has accelerated the pace at which it intends to proceed.

Why is there such concern in the country, Mr. Speaker? In my view there is concern because the proposal sets out to change the fundamental nature of Canadian confederation. Dr. Timothy Christian, a professor of constitutional law at Alberta University has referred to the package as a change which will move Canada closer to the American model. He states that the concept of binding referendums is a radical departure from parliamentary democracy.

What are some of the further concerns that bother me and other Canadians, Mr. Speaker? Substantive changes are pro- posed in the division of powers between the two levels of government. An amending formula is proposed which is not acceptable to the majority of provinces and, as has been pointed out on a number of occasions by speakers on this side, different classes of provinces are established for all time. The…

[Page 4029]

equality of status is gone. As the hon. member for Rosedale said, the provinces of the west can never become first-class provinces. This is regrettable because it disregards the reality of the current growth trends.

An hon. Member: You are reading the section wrong.

Mr. Mazankowski: The hon. member says I am reading the section wrong. Well, there must be a lot of other Canadians who are reading the section wrong, if that is the case. I do not see any great wisdom coming from the hon. member, who tried to get up on a phony point of order today.

In my view it establishes different classes of citizenship. Clause 42 has been alluded to on a number of occasions. It is a club, and not merely a device for dealing with a deadlock. Hon. members opposite would be advised to read it over and over again. It empowers the federal government to remould a nation through federal manipulation. This arouses suspicion, Mr. Speaker. It prompts one to ask what the motives of the government are. Is the Prime Minister serious when he says he believes that the presidential system of government, like that of France, might be the best for Canada? Is that his motive?

I have referred to provincial resource ownership. There is a great deal of uncertainty about that issue, Mr. Speaker. And A what about Canada’s first citizens–~-treaty rights, claims, Indian women? That area is certainly not clear and the Indians have not been consulted. The guarantees are less than clear. I should like to quote from an article in The Journal of St. Paul, Alberta, on October 15. It begins as follows:

If, indeed, the federal government patriates the British North America Act, as it proposes to do, without consent of the Indian people and without entrenching Indian treaty rights in a new constitution, it is guilty of a serious breach of trust, according to Eugene Steinhauer, President of the Indian Association of Alberta.

Later, the article continues:

The Indian nations of Alberta have taken the position publicly on numerous occasions that they are opposed to patriation of the BNA Act unless the Indian people are guaranteed that their treaty rights will be entrenched in the new constitution.

The treaties which were signed in good faith between the Crown and the Indian people more than a hundred years ago recognized the aboriginal peoples of this country as nations’, Mr. Steinhauer says, and these treaties were agreements by which these nations peacefully surrendered many thousands of square miles of land in exchange for small parcels called “reserves” . These parcels, and the right to self-government, belong to the Indian people “as long as the sun shines, the river flows and the grass grows.

Referring to the innocuous clause 24 of the proposed charter the article goes on to say:

This is a deliberate sidestepping of what should be a strong and positive statement reconfirming our treaties,’ Steinhauer says. Our rights must be clearly defined.

I certainly support that statement, and I am sure my hon. friends do as well, Mr. Speaker.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Mazankowski: What about the ownership of property, Mr. Speaker? When the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) introduced this resolution he said he was completing some of the work started by the late Right Hon. John George Diefenbaker to enshrine the Bill of Rights into the Constitution.

Well, Mr. Speaker, there is a very glaring omission in so far as the charter of rights versus the Bill of Rights is concerned. In the charter of rights I do not see any mention of the right of an individual to life, liberty, security and the enjoyment of property. That is not in the resolution before us. And why, Mr. Speaker? Does that mean we can look forward to the whole- sale expropriation of land in this country? Maybe. We know what some of the philosophical musings of the Prime Minister were in earlier days. Is the real thrust of the Prime Minister emerging in this package? These are very serious questions, Mr. Speaker.

An hon. Member: And there are no answers.

Mr. Mazankowski: I am sure that most Canadians do not realize that the right to enjoy ownership of property is omitted in this so-called entrenchment of human rights.

What about the right to life? That certainly should be basic and fundamental to a charter of human rights. Surely the right to life is the primary and basic human right on which all other rights depend. Without this right we can have no others, for a human being deprived of his life is deprived forever of all his other rights. The first duty of the state must therefore be the protection of human life, a duty which it owes to every human being before all else. Surely recognition of this, if Parliament is serious about preserving basic human rights, should involve immediately steps to end the legalized murder of unborn children in this country, about 60,000 of them annually.

I come now to the protection of minority language rights, English and French. What about new Canadians who do not have proficiency in English or French? Will they get any special rights under this proposition? The Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) said that Canada is a country of minorities. He told us that this package would protect and guarantee the rights of minorities. How will new Canadians, who know nothing of French or English, be protected in this particular area? When we look at the composition of this country and the reality of Canada, we find that the population of the six eastern provinces is composed of British and French to the extent of some 80 per cent. The population on the prairies is composed of about 51 per cent who are of British and French origin. In more detail, 44 per cent are British, 7 per cent are French; 15 per cent are German and 10 per cent are Ukrainian. As well, there is a host of other minority groups. That is the reality of western Canada, Mr. Speaker. In my view, this proposition creates two classes of citizens.

When we set out to divide basic human rights, one thing becomes obvious. In the process of attempting to codify or define freedoms, you start limiting those freedoms. Our common law has allowed our traditions and customs to crystallize. To suggest that basic human rights are not already recognized in this reality is an overstatement of the fact.

[Page 4030]

In conclusion, if we want to preserve basic human rights, we must preserve this institution of Parliament because Parliament is a guardian of human rights. If we preserve this institution, we will preserve our human rights, but what we are doing today is destroying the role of Parliament.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. John Evans (Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister. and Minister of Finance): Mr. Speaker, I rise today to participate in this debate in which we are asked to consider a resolution addressing the patriation of our constitution and including in its provisions a charter of rights and freedoms, entrenchment of the concept of equalization and an amending formula. As such, this resolution marks a turning point in Canadian history. I believe it provides a basis for progress in the future.

On Monday, October 6, 1980, the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) on behalf of the government introduced this historic initiative in constitutional reform, an initiative which will move Canada the final step on the road to self-rule and independence. It will finally break the constitutional log jam which has plagued Canada for far too long.

[ Translation]

The Minister of Justice and Social Development (Mr. Chretien) has provided an opportunity for every member to take up a great challenge. It is for us, the members of this House, to take up this challenge. We must combine the best ideas of yesterday with those of today, and use them to build a foundation for our future. I sincerely believe that the future of this great country actually depends on the success of our current efforts. These efforts and initiatives will point the way for renewal of the basis of our nation, and will bring new vitality to our institutions.


Not since those dedicated men took such momentous decisions 113 years ago has the clear need for action by the national government, in the interests of Canada and of all Canadians, been so obvious. While we would all prefer that that action be based on consensus among all levels of government—and I think I speak for all members of this House when I say this–such consensus is not at hand nor is it reasonable to expect that it can or will be in the foreseeable future.

An hon. Member: It is possible.

Mr. Evans: Therefore, the choice is for unilateral action or for no action at all. I contend that the latter alternative is clearly unacceptable to Canadians.

Let us look at the nature of the unilateral action which-has Been proposed. The resolution we are considering is composed of a joint address from the House of Commons and the Senate to patriate our constitution in some form. In the course of preparing such an address, a joint committee made up of members of both chambers of Parliament and from all sides of those chambers will be struck to consider the resolution. The committee will have the power to appoint subcommittees, to sit whenever necessary and to gather information from a variety of sources. At the conclusion of these committee hearings recommendations will be made to the House and the Senate for further debate.

The mandate and the timetable for this committee are clear Yet there are those who claim this procedure is not only a plot, but, indeed, a sinister attack on the federal system. In my view, the procedure we are following is neither of those things Rather, it is a clear reaffirmation of our parliamentary system of government. It assures that the constitutional choices which face our nation will be made in Parliament by the representatives of all Canadians. They will be made by parliamentarians exercising their responsibility to the people of Canada. Far from attacking the federal system, the actions proposed by the government indicate an understanding of the federalism of our founding fathers. They indicate a concern for the future of Canada, a realistic view of government and an understanding of Canadian institutions.

As will be gathered from my remarks, I take exception to the view that Canada is a “community of communities” or an association of ten provinces whose governments are not only co-equal but, in a very real sense, superior to the national government. According to this view, the national government must not do anything with which the provincial governments disagree, and indeed must do anything the provincial premiers agree among themselves ought to be done.

Carried to its logical conclusion, the national government in such a Canada would be no more than a central secretariat to implement the biddings of the provinces. We would no longer be a federation but, rather, a loose grouping of several more or less sovereign states.

I reject this view of Canada, Mr. Speaker, as did, I contend, the Fathers of Confederation. Nothing could be further from the conception of the Canada which emerged from Charlotte- town in 1864.


Mr. Speaker, our federal system was designed to enable the national government to take responsibility for the welfare of all Canadians. This objective is clearly defined in our constitution, which gives the central government power to act in order to maintain peace, order and good government. I might add that the central government even has the power to disallow provincial legislation. Confederation does not mean a weak, loose union, as some provinces and some opposition members believe; on the contrary, confederation means more than the mere sum of its parts.


The purpose of this confederation as conceived by the Fathers of Confederation was to establish an overriding national presence in northern North America with the ability to ameliorate disputes among the members of the union. It is this…

[Page 4031]

heritage which all of us in this House have solemnly sworn to protect and to foster. It is this heritage which the resolution we are considering acknowledges. However, while our political -system was based on principles of accommodation and amelioration, I believe these principles have tended to become blurred over time, to a large degree as a result of decisions taken by the Privy Council in London prior to the establishment of the Supreme Court in Canada, decisions which dramatically altered the confederation of our Canadian founders.

I sincerely believe we must move now to establish an alter- native to unanimity as the decision rule for resolving fundamental national conflicts; we must move now to re-establish the fundamental principles upon which our confederation was founded, we must move now to arrest the drift towards regionalism and alienation which threatens the national interest. I sincerely believe that if we fail to do these things, if instead we opt for inaction in the name of immediate harmony, we will certainly see the dissolution of Canada in the future.

Never before, since 1867, have Canadians faced such an obvious choice. We can either act now to establish effective means to modernize and maintain the currency of our system, or we can watch the system break down under the weight of its current inflexibility.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) has postulated that we run the risk of breaking up this country by affirming the resolution put forward by the Minister of Justice. Yes, unilateral action is potentially divisive. Yes, there is a risk of discord.

However, if this is the case; how could the Leader of the Opposition, as he supposedly does, and as I believe he does, put the motion yesterday to unilaterally patriate and, not only that, but to impose an amending formula without any discussion between the government at the federal level and the provinces?

What is the basis of the risk that is at the bottom of the fear of the Leader of the Opposition. Is it unilateral action? Is it the imposition of an amending formula? That cannot be the basis of the fears of the Leader of the Opposition. His motion put forward both unilateral action and an amending formula.

The resolution before the House calls for an amending formula of unanimity for two years, during which time discussions can take place between the federal government and the provincial governments. We can come to an agreement on an acceptable amending formula. At the end of that time, the Victoria formula is there. If it is- not agreed to among the provinces, the provinces can put forward an alternative. Those two alternatives can be placed before the people of Canada for their decision.

That is a much more reasonable and conciliatory approach than simply to say, because of what is assumed by hon. members opposite, that the Vancouver consensus is what all the provinces want, therefore we will impose it on them. That does not seem to be a reasonable thing to do. Therefore, I have to say that it cannot be the amending formula that is the cause of this great risk of dissension.

I looked at the speeches by the Leader of the Opposition, his opening speech and the speeches he made involving questions of privilege and so on. I ask myself: is equalization the basis of the risk? I noticed in the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition he said equalization was, in fact, a desirable thing. If it is so desirable, I wonder why it was not included-in his motion yesterday. I believe the Leader of the Opposition sincerely thinks equalization should be in the constitution.

I therefore have to assume from his statements that equalization is not the basis of the risk which is going to tear this country apart. If it is not unilateral action, not the amending formula and not equalization, there is only one thing left. That is the charter of rights. I would have liked to have heard more discussion on the charter of rights, if that is the basis of our difficulty. If it is, why, in the last two and a half weeks, have we heard so little discussion on the charter of rights per se and where the problems are.

The hon. member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankowski) made some interesting points this evening. He brought forward some rational observations. Hon. members opposite have seen me sitting in the chamber listening attentively to what they have to say. However, I have not heard a great deal of discussion on the charter of rights, which I have to conclude is the basis for the disagreement. Universal imposition of a charter of rights has to be the basis of the great risk which is going to tear the country apart.

I find some other difficulties. This evening the hon. member for Vegreville indicated his knowledge that the Indian people oppose unilateral patriation without guarantees of their fundamental rights. How could the hon. member for Vegreville last night support the motion put by the Leader of the Opposition to patriate the constitutional unilaterally without having those rights entrenched in the constitution?

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. McDermid: We will put them in when we get it back over here.

Mr. Evans: The hon. member says they will put those rights in when we get them back here. The hon. member for Vegreville made the point that the Indian leaders have said they do not want patriation at all unless those rights are in the constitution, guaranteed before it comes back. But knowing this, saying he supports that view, he supported the motion last night of the Leader of the Opposition.

We believe the resolution before this House is a course of action that holds far less risk than the alternatives proposed by the opposition of either no action or actions which would ultimately further regional separations. The government pro- poses unilateral action but this action is not divisive in itself since it does not affect the distribution of powers between the federal and provincial governments. It does provide, at last, a clear means for resolving our future disagreements and for clarifying our past disagreements which have been with us for…

[Page 4032]

many years. As such, the government proposal minimizes the long-term risk of conflict and political paralysis.

It is clear that nation-building is neither a smooth nor easy process. Nor is it furthered by giving -in on all fronts to regional demands in a search for harmony. Nation-building is fraught with trials and challenges, and, to succeed, these challenges must be accepted and trials faced. Neither inaction and indecision nor mindless Capitulation can long be tolerated. Time is certain to bury those who refuse to face these fundamental facts of life.

If the Fathers of Confederation had adopted a wait-and-see attitude or a negotiate-forever stance, I am convinced that we would not today have the privilege of holding Canadian citizenship. If the fathers of confederation had adopted “a province-building at the expense of nation-building” attitude, Canada never would have been formed in the first place.

I say to the Leader of the Opposition that we have no choice but to renew our constitution now, and that in view of the clear impasse which we face as a result of the current unanimity rule, the federal government has no choice but to act unilaterally and decisively.

In the words of the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau):

Now it is our time to repay our inheritance. Our duty is clear: it is to complete the foundations of our independence and of our freedoms.

After all, if it is not the role and responsibility of the national government, the government in which all Canadians are represented, to take action in the face of a clearly perceived need, then I ask hon. members opposite and hon. members on my own side, what is the role of the national government? I reiterate that decisive action in the national interest is indeed the role of the national government as perceived not only by ourselves but also by our founding fathers.

Much has changed since 1867, and the distribution of powers has shifted dramatically from this initial conception, but it is important in this debate to understand clearly that the initial conception of the distribution of powers between governments in Canada perceived the very real danger of political paralysis. To ignore the current fact of this paralysis would be to deny the wisdom of our founders.

The federal government has the responsibility and the duty to act in the national interest. The resolution before this House is consistent with this responsibility and duty. It is important for all of us to embrace the principles in this resolution. I sincerely believe that the risk of losing Canada is not presented by this resolution. Rather, it is presented by a continuation of the status quo.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Gordon Taylor (Bow River): Mr. Speaker, in all my life I have never seen so much hypocrisy as we have seen from the other side of this House. Hon. members opposite have been talking about being loyal to Canada, but not one of them, not even the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), would stand up today when “O Canada” was being sung. When two Liberal members did stand up, they were beckoned to sit down. In other words, the party over there has become a bunch of Trudeau clones. Whatever Trudeau says, that is what they do. The people of Canada are catching on to this hypocrisy.

Another case of hypocrisy which is sickening to the people of Canada is that hon. members opposite get up now and praise the late Right. Hon. John Diefenbaker. When he was alive they insulted him and did everything they could to hurt him. They persecuted him. They thwarted his efforts. Now that he has passed on they are praising him. Such hypocrisy is sickening.

Hon. members opposite talk about having high principles. The other day when my hon. friend, the hon. member for Calgary East (Mr. Kushner), introduced a resolution asking that we support Terry Fox and those who are suffering and dying of cancer, the Liberals said no. They turned it down. I say, shame. They made a mistake that day. The hon. member gave them another chance. He introduced it a second time in order to help Terry Fox help the people who are dying of cancer, but the Liberals again said no. What high principles? What kind of outfit is this government which does not even want to help the cancer people of this country?

Besides hypocrisy, I have never seen anything more like a dictatorship than what we see on the other side of the House. I joined the Royal Canadian -Air Force to fight against totalitarianism. I did everything I was told to do for three years. I never thought I would have to come back and fight totalitarianism in the House of Commons in Canada. How- ever, that is what we are doing. We hear many fabrications and half-truths. We see efforts to fool the people of this country. It is no wonder hon. members opposite want closure. The people are getting their eyes opened, and if they had another week there would almost be a revolution in this country. There may be even now, because people are hearing half-truths from the government from the Prime Minister down.

During the election campaign the Prime Minister and Stuart Smith, the Liberal leader in Ontario, went from town to. town telling the people of Ontario–endeavouring to brain- wash them—that the oil and gas of Alberta belong to all the people of Canada. They forgot to say that the gold of Ontario belongs just to the people of Ontario. They forgot to say that the hydro of Quebec belongs just to the people of Quebec and that the timber of B.C. belongs just to the people of B.C. They in defiled themselves by telling something which is completely contrary to the BNA Act. They said that these natural resources in Alberta, gas and oil, belong to all the people of Canada. They had to be elected by fabrication.

Here hon. members opposite talk about honesty and truth- fulness. It is no wonder the people cannot believe the Prime Minister. It is no wonder they have no faith in the Prime Minister.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

[Page 4033]

Mr. Taylor: With regard to half truths, the Prime Minister goes to the press and says this package he is presenting is the result of what the people of Quebec wanted when they voted against national sovereignty. That is a complete fabrication. Even Claude Ryan, the Liberal leader of Quebec, will not go along with that. He will take this government to court if the government of Quebec will not. Hon. members opposite stand up and ask the people to believe them. We cannot believe a thing the Prime Minister of Canada says.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: There are some hon. members opposite, including the hon. member from Manitoba, who tried to fool this House today that the people of western Canada are not thinking seriously about these things. I wonder why 600 people showed up at a separation meeting in Red Deer the other night. I wonder why the people of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and B.C. are organizing separation movements. One of them claims it has l3,000 members. They are completely fed up with what the Liberals are giving them in western Canada.

I want to give one example. Bob Giles was the editor and publisher of The Watchman, an Argenteuil paper, in the Argenteuil-Two Mountains constituency. He was the publisher and editor of the family business there that was started more than 75 years ago. Mr. Giles and his paper supported the Secretary of State and Minister of Communications (Mr. Fox) after his first nomination as a candidate to contest that riding right up until Mr. Giles left the province of Quebec. He was writing editorials against separation. He went out to Alberta in 1977 and became the publisher and editor of the Strathmore Standard in the Alberta Bow River constituency. Since that time he made a study of the alienation he saw all around him and the reasons people were becoming disgruntled with the federal government. He found out what it was all about. He became disenchanted with the present Prime Minister and the Liberal government. The other day he even purchased a cap to show that he was no longer going to support the Liberal government. He wants fairness in this country, and he is wearing a cap like the one I have in my hand now. On it it says: “Western Republic of Canada” . He is not breaking away from Canada. We would not let the Prime Minister drive us out of this country. But Bob Giles is wearing this cap. I am not wearing it yet, but if we have much more of this totalitarian- ism, I will be the next one to put it on.

People in western Canada do not want—nor do they ask for–any special deal or special consideration. Their long-festering anger has been aggravated by the refusal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (Mr. Lalonde) to give Alberta a reasonable price for its oil and gas and by the Prime Minister and Stuart Smith endeavouring to brainwash central Canadians by telling them that Alberta gas and oil belong to all Canadians, which is a complete fabrication and a denial of the BNA Act.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) promised the people of western Canada–and I was there and heard him at the western resources conference—that he would correct the unfairness about freight rates. Freight rates are at their apex in this country. We pay the highest rates going west and we pay the highest rates going east. The Prime Minister made a promise to the people of western Canada when he said that there was no reason why one quarter of the population should not have a fair deal. He promised them a fair deal in freight rates but he has done nothing about it. By dilly-dallying and leaving the grain transportation in the mess it was in 1979, he is ruining the farmers. He ruined our oil industry by establishing an export price for oil a few years ago. He has set back the industry four years. No wonder we are still paying millions of dollars for imported oil. Most of it is owing to the very actions of the present Prime Minister.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: Bob Giles, once a strong Liberal, now has taken a stand the other way. He wants fairness in this country. The only way he can get it, he thinks, is to establish a republic in western Canada. He asked me to give this cap to the Secretary of State and Minister of Communications (Mr. Fox) with his compliments in the hope that the minister will take it to the next cabinet meeting and show the Prime Minister what he is doing to Canada. He is breaking up Canada, he is dividing this country.

Mr. Speaker, I will not simply stand and say, “yes, yes” the way the Liberal members are doing, because I see the country being broken up.

An hon. Member: That is right!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: In 1968, the Prime Minister promised the people a just society, and he gave them the War Measures Act. In 1972, he promised them a new society, and he gave them record inflation and unemployment. In 1974, he promised no wage and price controls. He ridiculed the then leader of the opposition, the Hon. Robert Stanfield, and then he imposed wage and price controls, though not as it would have been done had Mr. Stanfield been elected. In 1980, he promised no increase in gas prices, and he gave them an increase. Every- body who goes to the pump knows that.

What about our natural resources? All we are asking for is a fair deal. We went through the depression years. I went hungry and I saw my mother go hungry in those years. I made up my mind, growing up with all that wheat in the fields and all that abundance, that there is no reason why men and women, boys and girls should be hungry in the midst of plenty. I made up my mind that I would do everything I could to make sure that no other Canadian would have to suffer that way. Then we found oil—not with the help of people in eastern Canada but with the help of Americans. Now things are looking a little better. Because we are doing well, we get…

[Page 4034]

ridicule from the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and from the Prime Minister. They are angry because we are’ building up the heritage fund to make sure we never have to go back to those times again. They want to destroy our industry.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: They say we do not share. We have shared with every other province equally. In addition to that we have shared’$l7 billion by selling our oil and gas at a lower price to Canadians than the world price. I wonder if anybody who has gold in Ontario did that, or those who have hydro or those who have timber. We have paid the full price for our machinery. We have paid through the nose every time. You want us to continue to give and give. No wonder hundreds of people are wearing this cap. I want to tell you that if you continue this kind of thing, you will break up Canada and you will not have Canada to govern. You had better think it over pretty carefully.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: This fabrication and this hypocrisy is all we get. Here we have the Prime Minister and the Leader of the NDP telling the people that they are giving them something. Let us look at the BNA Act. It says that all lands, mines, minerals and royalties belong to the provinces. They already own them. Then look at the letter which the Prime Minister sent to the Leader of the NDP which warms the heart of the Leader of the NDP who then cuddles up to the Prime Minister. This is what the letter says:

–confirm the jurisdiction of the provinces with respect to exploration, development, conservation, and management of non-renewable natural resources- There is nothing about ownership there. This is less than we have now under the BNA Act.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: Who are they trying to fool? They must think the people of Canada are illiterate. The people of Canada are not illiterate. There is another thing in that letter which warmed the heart of the New Democratic Party Leader. I am referring to the words “subject to full federal paramountcy” in the letter. They still want to have their hand in there to do what they like, even in that letter. No wonder Mr. Blakeney will not fall for that kind of thing.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Taylor: The people of Canada will not be doing it either. There is another thing I want to say. They do not even say. what they want to manage. Is it management of prices or is it management of drilling? Mr. Trudeau does not say anything about that.

Some hon. Members: Order!

Mr. Taylor: His answer to a question today showed us the totalitarian concept of our Prime Minister. The Leader of the NDP asked the Prime Minister if he would nationalize the oil industry, and Mr. Trudeau’s answer was “no, not at this time.”

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I should like to call the attention of the hon. member that it is not the practice of the House to refer to members of this House by their names. They should be referred to either by their constituencies or their ministries.

Mr. Taylor: Yes, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the New Democratic Party and the Leader of the Liberal party are two of a kind. What was the answer of the Prime Minister? It was “not at this time” . I tell the people of Canada: beware, because he will not say he will not nationalize. What he says is “not at this time.” In his own book written a little while ago called, “Federalism, Nationalism and Reason—by Pierre E. Trudeau” —I have to say his name because that is what it says on the book—

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Taylor: He wrote: Thus when a tightly knit minority within a state begins to define itself forcefully and consistently as a nation, it is triggering a mechanism which will tend to propel it towards full statehood.

Here he is planning for that day. He spoke to the Montreal students about a French republic. He said it would be better for us to have a French republic. If he wants a French republic, why will he not stand up and say so? I have nothing? (against) a French republic, but why is the beating around the bush and trying to sneak it into the constitution for the British parliament to pass?

Then we heard a few other things the other day about there being no other alternative. That is nonsense. The premiers of this province are ready and willing. We could have had agreement, as Senator Manning said in his speech in the Senate the other day. If the package had not been put there with all the pet theories of the Prime Minister, there could have been agreement. He did: it deliberately so they would not reach agreement. He is not fooling anyone. He did not want an agreement. He wanted to be a hero. But nobody thought he would try to sneak it over to England and have it passed by the British parliament’. Oh, he is so embarrassed when he goes over there to ask for an amendment. The other day the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) felt so bad that tears almost streamed down his face because they had to go to the British parliament for an amendment. But where is that embarrassment now when he is asking for a whole package of amendments? The Minister of Justice and the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) have each said there are no changes in the powers. I want to say that there is a change in the powers. They are projecting themselves into provincial jurisdictions. That is exactly what they are doing. The BNA Act puts education under provincial control, and the government is deliberately projecting itself into provincial jurisdiction. Edu- cation is a responsibility of the provinces. The regulations indicate that-parents have the right to send their children to schools of their choice, whether English or French.

[Page 4035]

I sent a questionnaire out to the householders in my constituency. One question I asked was: Are you in favour of guaranteeing in the constitution the right of a minority group speaking either French or English to have their children educated in the language of the minority? Sixty-four per cent of the replies indicated they were not in favour of putting this into the constitution. The second question was: Do you consider it sufficient to trust each province to provide such facilities where the need exists? Seventy per cent said, “Yes, we are prepared to trust each province” . Putting that in the constitution will be counterproductive. It will make people who believe today that the government is forcing French down their throats, say, “There, I told you; they are even asking for an amendment to the BNA Act” .

Let me tell the House what the province of Alberta is already doing. It is providing full services for children of French parentage from Grade I to university, wherever the numbers require it. The provincial department and the school boards are co-operative, the private and separate school boards are co-operative. They provide education for Ukrainians and Germans.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I regret to interrupt the hon. member but his time has expired.

Mr. Maurice Harquail (Restigouche): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate this evening in this most important debate. We have all expressed our respect for this institution. When we think about this institution, we recognize that it involves the adversary system. But when one witnesses what was presented in the House tonight and all other remarks made by members of the official opposition respecting this important matter, one wonders about the adversary system. With respect to the hon. member for Bow River (Mr. Taylor), the most charitable comment one could make is that he coloured the issue of the constitution very well, indeed. I say “coloured” and not “covered” because he did not address himself to the issue before the House tonight.

Some hon. Members: Shame!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Harquail: I immediately agreed with the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) when he invited members of the House to speak about the issue at hand. He invited hon. members to speak about the constitution, not what we have witnessed here—innuendo, name-calling and mis- representation of the worst kind. That is what we have seen in the -House of Commons. There is one word for that type of demagoguery. It is despicable. That is the word for it.

We could get into the same type of response. If we want to pretend that this institution is supposed to work that way– that we do not discuss bills or the issue before us, that we attempt to mislead Canadians, we can do so, especially with the advent of television. Hon. members opposite have not explained that this is not a bill, that it is only a motion, that we will refer it to committee and it will come back.

Some hon. Members: It is not a motion.

Mr. Harquail: It is a resolution. We are moving motions with respect to the resolution.

Mr. Epp: It is not a resolution.

Mr. Harquail: They do not tell Canadians—

An hon. Member: You do not know what it is. Mr. Harquail: They do not tell Canadians through the media that there will be a continuing debate and freedom of expression in this House, which is what this very institution stands for.

Mr. Clark: When? How much?

Mr. Harquail: I have the privilege of doing that tonight. I am able to express myself without their interruptions. This is what the House of Commons is all about.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Harquail: The right to be heard is the basic, fundamental principle of the House; members opposite should take some lessons–

Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order–

Some hon. Members: Sit down!

Mr. Clark: I wonder if the hon. member who is speaking would answer the following two questions for me.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Clark: How is the right to speak guarded by the imposition of closure?

Mr. Lalonde: That is not a point of order.

Mr. Clark: How many days of debate will be guaranteed in this House of Commons after a report from committee?

Mr. Harquail: Canadians gave the gentlemen who just spoke a great right when they gave him the title of “Right Honourable.” I should think that he would want to think before he speaks and give some respect to that right.

Mr. Clark: Answer the question!

Mr. Harquail: I will answer you in the way you should be answered. When I have finished my time in which to speak, I will be happy to–

Mr. Deputy Speaker: With all due respect, the hon. member should address his remarks to the Chair.

Mr. Clark: Please.

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Mr. Harquail: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. This institution is what debating is about. If I were to debate with the right hon. gentleman, I would suggest that he should speak with the hon. member for York North (Mr. Gamble) who has some suggestions about his performance in recent times, if I remember correctly.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Harquail: That is what concerns the right hon. gentle- man. That is what preoccupies the right hon. gentleman, especially with the type of advice he received tonight. That is why he is concerned, that is why he is grabbing for straws. He has been on every side. I could not imagine any other position he could take on this issue. He has been on every side of the waterfront. That is what he has been doing. He does not say that. we came back here early, that we reconvened the session earlier than planned. He does not mention that.

An hon. Member: A 24-hour debate.

Mr. Harquail: They are on this 24-hour kick. Do they think they can mislead and fool Canadians?

An hon. Member: Not as well as you can.

Mr. Harquail: Do they think they can fool Canadians as the House leader for the official opposition tried to do this after- noon? The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre tried to twist what Madam Speaker had said in this honourable chamber and tried to tear away the respect we all have for the Chair. is that what it is supposed to be all about–anything at all costs? Is that the position being taken by the opposition?

Mr. Clark: It is your policy.

Mr. Harquail: With respect to the constitution–

An hon. Member: You have no respect.

Mr. Harquail: We all believe in a good foundation. Usually one starts with a foundation. I would have thought premiers, Canadians and parliamentarians here would want to co-operate to bring the constitution back here. We have our Canadian flag and we have our national anthem, O Canada. For the last 53 years of federal-provincial conferences we have seen delaying tactics. First we got the flag, more recently we got O Canada, and now we are getting down to discussing the constitution. I think that explains the situation very adequately for Canadians. Because of the adversary system, they feel they must fight every issue–the flag, O Canada, Canada itself and the constitution—just for the sake of being able to say that they have been a good opposition. Especially when it is as plain as the noses on their faces, can they not see the light and understand what Canadians want?

Mr. Kilgour: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Members on this side of the House will agree to say nothing further during the hon. member’s speech if he will agree to say something to the House.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Harquail: Mr. Speaker, that intervention is typical. It is a waste of the time of the House and it is not fair. At one time the hon. member was, I believe, the parliamentary secretary to the House leader and I would have thought he would have picked up a little in the short time he was in that position. You do not raise frivolous points of order and take up the time of another speaker to do it. I respectfully request him not to do that.

What are we witnessing here? There is a section in the Criminal Code which talks about inciting. I submit that some of the comments which have been made in recent days, and especially today, by previous speakers on the opposite side of the House, fall dangerously close to inciting Canadians— spreading fear about the threat and danger of what is going to happen to Canada.

An hon. Member: You cannot incite with the truth.

Mr. Harquail: I would like to read from a recent letter to an editor signed by a Canadian from Jasper, Alberta. It says:

I have been visiting Ottawa for some weeks and have followed carefully the political speeches of the various party leaders.

Since my home is in western Canada and I am reasonably familiar with the views of our fellow citizens out there, may I say that the artless naiveté of Mr. Joe Clark with respect to the possibility of western Canada separating from the rest of the country on account of the constitutional question is pure hallucination.

That is the truth. The letter goes on to say:

Where would we go on our own? We are in no way prepared to defend ourselves in case of a war. Would we wish to be gobbled up by the United States? We know that the American states have much less independence and rights than have the provinces of Canada.

And these will be protected when we patriate the constitution, protected to an even greater extent. The writer of the letter goes on to say:

It is little wonder that Canadians quickly got the low-down on our Joe and dumped him promptly.

I read that magnificent letter of Prof. Arthur Lower of Queen’s University: and I agree with him completely. Truly, “If you, Mr. Prime Minister, succeed in holding us together and preventing the provinces destroying us, no name in Canadian history will go down in greater honour than yours.” And the letter is signed by J. R. Dietrich, of Jasper, Alberta.

An hon. Member: Which newspaper?

Mr. Harquail: I am prepared to say where I received the information. It was in The Citizen.

We have all travelled across this country and we all have a very deep sense of pride in being Canadian. Part of my work in the last six years has taken me to the west. I have relatives and, yes, I have friends there. They are true Canadians, they. are in a majority and they are not talking about separation. They are talking about the future of this country; that is what they talk about because they are sincerely dedicated to keeping the country together. That is what I support. That is what I…

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like about westerners; they are not afraid to say they are proud to be Canadian. Whether you are in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, that is what Canada is all about.

I would like to say something with respect to the all-important aspect of entrenching rights, which is one of the main questions in this debate. I live in northern New Brunswick, which borders la belle province de Québec, on the banks of the Restigouche River, and I went to the school board so that my sons could learn the second language. And, yes, some 15 years ago I was told: No, but we might allow you to put them in an immersion course; we only need 16 students and if we could just borrow your son he would round out the members for the class. I had no intention of accepting that. I wanted my sons to go into a pure French class and to really get the feel of the second language, the French language. I am happy to tell you that because of my perseverance I won my case with the school board and all my sons have gone through the elementary classes—right up to grade 7–in French, not in an immersion class but in a pure French class. And my three sons are beautifully bilingual today. That is what I believe in.


When I was young I did not have the opportunity to learn French, the second language of our country, because our schools were English.

Mr. Speaker, for a long time in my public life I have supported the position of the Right Hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) in so far as the Acadians of New Brunswick are concerned. Yes, I will defend the Acadians of New Brunswick! Yes, I will defend the basic rights of the French language in the constitution! That is my position, without reservation!


That is why I am very pleased to have the privilege of standing in my place tonight to say that this is what I have offered and told my people we would work for—not only for the rights of language, but for cultural, educational and all the other fundamental rights which we have been talking about and which are so very important to the future. That is the aspect which is important to the future survival of this country. We do not have to go around drumming or dreaming up some imaginary story in order to spook or scare Canadians about what is going to happen in this country.

I implore all members of this House to show some respect for this institution, to try to see the other members’ points of view. Many of us have had the opportunity to travel outside Canada.” I am sure that you, Mr. Speaker, are aware of the feeling you have when you return to Canada, where we have freedom, where we can walk the streets without fear for life and safety. That is the greatest aspect of this country and one we should preserve and protect. I do not need to delay the House by enumerating all the countries where you cannot do that. I just wanted to draw attention to it tonight because I have had occasion to travel in other countries and am so delighted to get back to Canada. When you see people getting down to kiss the very soil, you recognize that that is the feeling you have when you come back to this great country. We know the reasons why we are proud to be Canadian. It is because of the rights we have and because we are willing to take up our responsibilities and accept our duty. We intend to see to it that once the constitution is back we will have free debate.

Mr. Speaker, we see the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) saying, one minute, that he agrees we should bring back the constitution. The next minute he is saying he doesn’t like the way we are approaching the situation. He should make up his mind.

Let me conclude with a quotation from the Institute of Research on Public Policy. It says:

The problem has been that in recent years the traditional economic links between the Canadian provinces have been eroding. In my opinion that erosion could, if not reversed, threaten our very survival as a nation.

If we are to succeed in our quest for a strengthened nation and a renewed Canada then we must begin by making a commitment and a conscious decision not only to rework constitutional arrangements but to build solid economic relationships among the regions of Canada. We need a new set of economic and political relationships which can accommodate our existing strengths across the country—in the Maritimes, in Quebec, in Ontario and in the west-in such a way that we reinforce each other in a genuine partnership that creates a stronger and more united whole and a more united country.

In concluding, I hope we will not abuse the rules of this House and not abuse the television coverage that is going out to the people in such a way that the only word that can be applied is “misleading”. It is misleading in almost every aspect on all fronts with respect to the subject matter which we have been debating since we returned from the summer recess. What I would like to see is a sensible, realistic approach to the responsibilities and the work which we are called upon to do here.

While we are talking about rights–and it does not matter whether I take the time on a question of privilege or a point of order or on another occasion–what about the question of television within this House? As a result of television, this House is no longer what it once was. In many instances, it is now a television studio. One of the deals was that we would not have editing or abuses of the service of bringing the message to Canadians which they are perfectly entitled to receive. Now members opposite want to extend television beyond the House into other areas. But that subject might best be left for debate at some other time. I cannot recall that during the short time I have been here we have debated the pros and cons of televising the debates of this House or agreed that we would allow people and the media outside the chamber to play with the debates. That is not my understanding of the original plan. We will have a chance to come back to this matter another time. However, it is an example of people treading upon other people’s rights and of people misleading other people. It is divisive and a great threat to this country and it is something which I, in the coming months and years, will work to correct.

In the meantime I would like to express my appreciation to at least some of the members who have courteously allowed me to express myself in this free, democratic institution. I would hope that as we go on to the work in committee and as

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we come back to this chamber, each and every member will have had the opportunity to express himself, or herself, through that cherished, precious right of freedom of speech which relates to the very work we are doing in terms of the constitution and all the work we will carry out once the constitution is brought back in terms of the amending formula.

Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, returning to my point of order— and I know the hon. member would not want to mislead the House or the public—I would remind him of his undertaking to reply to my two questions at the end of his remarks. I would like him to explain to us how freedom of speech is guaranteed by the imposition of closure. Second, and this matter is of very real interest to all members of the House, he spoke about the opportunity for full debate once the matter is out of commit- tee. Will the hon. member tell us now how many days and weeks of full debate in the House of Commons the Government of Canada is prepared to guarantee once the proposal comes back from committee? The hon. member claims to be interested in the right of parliamentary debate, so these points should be of interest to him, and I know he wanted the opportunity to respond.

Mr. Harquail: Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation to the Leader of the Opposition for giving me the opportunity to speak once again. I would like to explain to the Canadian people that we have rules in this House. Standing Orders 75A, B and C have on many occasions been misquoted in a misleading fashion. Standing Order 75C has been referred to as closure. It was never closure. This is closure, but all those other times we were not on closure. With respect to the other question, I would have thought the right hon. member would have learned the lesson as Prime Minister to respect his House leader. Our House leader answers for our party and he will give indication to members opposite about the decisions by government, which has been elected to govern, as to how much time will be allotted for the debate and when we will debate, and I suspect the right hon. gentleman respects that.

Mr. Clark: That means we will have closure again.

Mr. Bill McKnight (Kindersley-Lloydminster): Mr. Speaker, it is with feelings of pleasure and regret that I stand in this House tonight to speak on the constitution and the future of Canada. The regret is that I have only 20 minutes to speak. I hear hon. members opposite saying that all they need is another westerner. We just heard the hon. member for Restigouche (Mr. Harquail) talk about the freedom of this House and now some members are saying that all they need is another westerner. I can tell hon. members opposite that we in western Canada feel that we are a part of Canada. We are proud of Canada and we intend to tell the people of Canada about our feelings and how we want to stay in Canada.

Members are allowed only 20 minutes to speak on the Constitution of Canada. The future of our country, the future of my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren will be decided by members who will speak for a brief 20 minutes. We have had only 24 hours of debate. Some of my hon. friends on this side will’ not have an opportunity to speak this evening. Many of them will be denied that right because of the gag rule, because of closure, because of the stifling of free speech which has been imposed upon this House.

Yesterday the House had the opportunity to debate and vote on a motion proposed by my party which would immediately patriate, immediately domicile in Canada, the Constitution of Canada. It could have been brought home with an amending formula agreed upon by the ten premiers of Canada and then debated in this House until we had a Canadian constitution for Canadians. We all know what happened. We have not changed our ideas about Canada. We have not changed our ideas on getting the constitution home, but the government voted against our proposal.

Not only did the government vote against it, but so did members of the New Democratic Party. The loudest objection which we heard yesterday from members of the government was that our proposal would allow some provinces the right to opt out if there was a federal intrusion on their jurisdiction. It would have allowed them to decide whether or not they would like to be included in a federal intrusion on their jurisdiction. They said that was not right.

The people of Canada not only elect members to the House of Commons, but they also elect members to the legislatures and they, too, are Canadians who represent their people and they, too, have a right in Canada. When I entered this House a year ago, I had many things in mind. I entered it with a great deal of respect for all members but particularly for those of long service. Some of those whom I respect have a legend which goes before them. One such member is the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) who is known as a great citizen and an upright supporter of the free speech.

Yesterday when this government imposed closure on us, that supposedly hon. member whom I respected did not stand when it came time. He sat in his place and allowed the House of Commons to be gagged without uttering a word. The people from Saskatchewan, Kindersley-Lloydminster constituency which I represent and the people from all the other constituencies, which are represented by members of my party and members of the New Democratic Party, have a belief in Canada and want to stay in Canada. I was pleased when the Prime Minister made the announcement that the constitution- al resolution would be represented in the House. The hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) and the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Hovdebo), though we are not of the same political party and have several differences of opinion, expressed the feelings, the desires and concerns of their constituents.

The hon. member for Prince Albert is quoted in the Prince Albert Daily Herald of Friday, October 3, as saying, “Prime Minister Trudeau’s move to patriate the British North Ameri- ca Act is a study in cynicism”. He said that the Prime Minister was trying to patriate without provincial consensus, that he ignored the issues and that a provincial consensus was needed if the federal government was going to continue to…

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pursue its options. I agree with the hon. member for Prince Albert, Mr. Speaker, but I regret that I have not heard him speak on this very important matter in the House. I would like to think that he will continue to represent the wishes of his constituents.

The hon. member for Yorkton-Melville (Mr. Nystrom) stood in his place in this House and in a fine and eloquent manner spoke of the pitfalls and inequities that he saw in the resolution. As to sections 42 and 46 concerning the amending formula he said it was not proper that under this resolution the right could be given through an amending formula and taken away through a manipulative referendum which denied the basic partnership and essence of federalism. That is what he said in this House. I hope members of his party continue to talk that way because I believe they truly represent their constituents. That is what we hear. what the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre was saying when he said we should set aside our differences. I agree with those two members of the NDP but I should like to ask whether there are other members who feel that way and who may not have spoken in the House. Only one member from that party spoke on the resolution today. As I understood the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, he was speaking on an amendment or a point of order.

Mr. Knowles: Mr. Speaker, a point of order. Does the hon. member not realize, with respect to our stand on closure, that we voted against it today solidly? Does he not realize that I did make a full 20-minute speech today, including our attack on closure? The hon. member for New Westminster-Coquitlam (Miss Jewett) made a full 20-minute speech and we have another one to come. Would the hon. member not like to get his facts straight?

Mr. McKnight: Mr. Speaker, I certainly retract my remarks about the matter on which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre was speaking, but sometimes we hear 20-minute speeches from the hon. gentleman on other matters. I do apologize to the hon. gentleman.

The hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Kristiansen) spoke as well, and I referred to his speech earlier today. In effect he was saying, “My leader said that we support in principle most, if not all, of the items in the resolution,” but then he went on to say, “with regard to resources taxation.” He then quoted the former premier of the province of British Columbia, Mr. Barrett, as saying:

British Columbia is prepared to share all the oil and natural gas rights granted to it by the constitution if the Government of Canada would put under public control all of the oil and gas in the country.

That is very nice, for the people of British Columbia. Then he added the comment that it appears the NDP are willing and want the province to maintain jurisdiction over natural resources. that is, unless the federal government would promise to nationalize all the natural resources–then they would give it all to them. I am sure the people of British Columbia would be very interested in that proposition.

This Liberal-democrat coalition will be bringing in a sup- posed amendment which is not acceptable to any but the Prime Minister and the leader of the New Democratic Party. It is not acceptable to the premier of Saskatchewan who was quoted today as saying that this move has made it more difficult for the provinces to bargain. There was a big hullabaloo about the right to indirect taxation. But most of the resources from Saskatchewan are not exported to other parts of Canada, Mr. Speaker, they are exported outside the borders of Canada. So indirect taxation does nothing in those circumstances.

Mr. Blakeney has already found a way to get around indirect taxation by imposing an income tax at the wellhead which has diminished, and will continue to diminish, the search for oil in our province. In that way, the potential of this country to become self-sufficient in oil will be jeopardized.

We speak of Canada as being more than just a federal government. Several members–and not just members of my party—have spoken about this resolution. One province accepts it; two are not sure and seven are considering action in the courts. Senator Manning has spoken out in the other place against the resolution and the political minister for Alberta in the other place, the Minister of State for Economic Development (Mr. Olson) is reported in the Vancouver Sun of October 11 as follows:

Economic development Minister Bud Olson, the lone Albertan in the federal cabinet, said Friday he does not favour Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s constitutional amending formula.

The senator told student Liberals at the University of Alberta that his “personal preference” is for the Alberta amending formula.

So it is not just members of this party who oppose the motion, Mr. Speaker. We want to know why we have to change the system under which we have been governed. We want to know by what right the only acceptable viewpoint is that of the Liberals. More than that one viewpoint must be represented.

Let us examine what that Liberal viewpoint represents in Canada, Mr. Speaker. There is a total of 282 seats in this House and at the present time there are a number of vacancies. The government has 143 members and a majority of 33 seats. The province of Quebec has sent 72 members to the government benches–

An hon. Member: Seventy-four.

Mr. McKnight: –and over 86 per cent of Liberal members are from the central provinces, Quebec and Ontario. Only 20 Liberal members come from the eight other provinces combined, two of them west of the Ontario-Manitoba border. So what about rural Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories?

An hon. Member: There are NDP members.

Mr. McKnight: I hear a member on the government side saying it is all right because the NDP supports them. I should like to tell hon. members opposite that from the information I have and the speeches I have read in this House, I gather that…

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not all NDP members support the government. I commend them for that and for speaking out for their constituents.

We have heard a great deal about the intense emotions involved in this question and we have been accused of using scare tactics and inciting, when all we are trying to do is gain the attention of this government.

I think everyone recognizes that the premier of my province IS. a very conservative individual, a quiet man who goes out of his way not to overstate a case. As a matter of fact, I think the premiers of western Canada have gone out of their way to understate the feelings and strong concerns of the people of western Canada. In an interview, Premier Blakeney was asked:

How do you sense the mood of the country now and how dangerous is this continuing acrimony, do you think, in terms of national unity? He replied:

Well, I think the mood of the country is building into a confrontational mood.

Later on in the interview Mr. Blakeney said:

we have a situation which is beginning to be more than disquieting. In fact, it begins to be dangerous.

The question was then put to him as follows:

Dangerous to the continuous existence of Canada as we know it now? The answer given by Mr. Blakeney was:

Yes, I mean dangerous to the continuous existence of Canada. I don’t want to overstate that–

Referring to the constitutional talks this summer, later in the interview, Mr. Blakeney said this:

With respect to the agreement of the package there was a rough and ready agreement by the premiers on all of the items in the constitutional package—-

I ask hon. members what does this tell us? It tells us that there was agreement among ten provinces. But who could not agree? The federal government could not agree, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Trudeau could not agree. The “incredible sulk” could not agree. He wanted to sulk and go away in his corner so that he could write his own constitution. The premiers did not break up that conference, The federal government did.

There is more to what has been said about the problems in western Canada. I noticed the hon. member for Restigouche was reading from a newspaper. Now I would like to read an article written by Mr. Stan Roberts, ex-Liberal MLA for the province of Manitoba, who is presently executive director of Canada West Foundation. He said:

Trudeau was acting tonight as though he was president of a unitary state.

Now you know why he is an ex-Liberal MLA for Manitoba, Mr. Speaker. The article continues:

Ottawa’s initiative can do nothing but increase separatist’s sympathies in the west, he warned. This will fan the flames. It’s like pouring a little of our well-known Alberta crude on the fire.

But the hon. member for Restigouche took great pride in reading a letter which appeared in a newspaper in Ottawa, supposedly written by someone in Alberta. I have a letter which appeared in the Edmonton Journal which was written by someone from Penticton, British Columbia. I think some of my NDP colleagues would be interested in it. The letter reads:

A great destiny awaits Western Canada if it severs the Gordian knot but unless we do rise to the occasion we will forever remain central Canada’s milk cow, forever under its political and economic control, eventually, perhaps, to be ruled by Emperor Trudeau in a totalitarian state.

If we search through the newspapers, Mr. Speaker, I am sure that we could all find letters to editors stating some of the views that we have put forth.

I say to members opposite, and to the Government of Canada, that we are trying to make you understand. We are trying to have you help us. We want your help. We want you people to help us, as I tried to make clear in my own way when I stood in this House and asked the people of Quebec to stay in this country because we wanted them. We wanted them then and we want them now. We want to stay with them as Canadians. But, Mr. Speaker, we need your help and the help of members opposite. I stood in this House and condemned a long-time friend because he is leading a unionist party of Canada that has, as its goal, the breakup of Canada. I did not enjoy condemning a friend. I know how the people of Quebec felt when they had to condemn friends. But I will stand in this House and condemn the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and his party if they break up Canada because I hope that some day my daughters and sons will be able to come to this House of Commons and have the opportunity to represent their part of Canada in a nation of Canada as we know it, and as we continue to want it.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. E. F. Whelan (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, as I enter this debate tonight on this motion, I think back to the part of Canada where I was born. I remember the old people saying that some day in Canada we would have a flag. They also said that some day our constitution would be patriated to Canada.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Whelan: Some day it will be brought to its rightful home. Needless to say I never thought that I would be part of the institution that would debate the flag issue. I can remember that debate. Mr. Speaker, we used closure then. I can remember some of the people on the other side of the House crying.

Mr. Dick: After five weeks.

Mr. Whelan: I remember the wild stories of what was going to. happen to this country of ours. I was part of that decision’ and I was proud. I am proud every day that I walk by the House of Commons and see Canada’s flag flying on top of the peace tower.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

I will be just as proud that I am part of the bringing the constitution to its rightful home in Ottawa. Some, of us have travelled around the world. We are the big helpers…

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to the developing countries. Every now and again we hear the little remark that we are still a colony.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Whelan: We hear people say that we do not have our constitution at home. Here we are, the great mature country called Canada, and we are scared of something—I do not know what it is–of fear itself is about the only way I could describe it. But I do not understand some of the things that are being said about bringing the constitution here and about the way it is being done.

One can look at the records and see how often prime ministers and leaders of this country, of every political faith, Conservative and Liberal, ever since 1921 have tried and tried to bring the constitution to its rightful home, where it has never been, and failed because they could never come to an agreement.

I hear this talk about closure. I think it is so funny when that group over there talks about the rights and privileges of Parliament. My God, Mr. Speaker, they loved Parliament so much they were not going to let us use it last year because they kept us out of this place so long.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: Never in our history since confederation from the time an election was called until the House of Commons reconvened, the lovers of freedom and the lovers of democracy on the other side of the House did not even want to let us use this great institution. They wanted to run a country without Parliament. It was the longest time since confederation–

An hon. Member: That is not true.

Mr. Whelan: Now these are the people, the great freedom- lovers of Parliament. One of the members earlier–I forget his name and his riding—he talked about Alberta. He talked about us being a group of dictators and he said all kinds of horrible things. I could not help but think about an article I read in the paper the other day. It concerned one member of Parliament in Alberta who was brave enough to disagree with that great democratic institution called the Conservative party of Alberta. What did they do? They threw him out.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: They threw him out because he disagreed. He could no-longer be part of that great democratic party, the Conservative party of Alberta under Peter Lougheed. He could no longer stay there because he disagreed. Was it because they had a minority position? They don’t have any opposition. They now have one more member in the opposition. I believe that brings them up to six in the opposition, so he is going to sit as in independent. I bet he is happy. At least he can say and do what he wants. He can be free and independent.

We use the British parliamentary system. We hear them talking about closure. Who has used closure most in Canada? The Conservative party. Who has been in power least? The Conservative party.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: Closure has been used in the House of Com- mons I8 times, ten times by the Conservatives and eight times by the Liberals. Just imagine if they had been in power as long as us. They probably would have used it 100 times, if you went by the percentages.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Whelan: What a phony group, what a phony group! The hypocrisy of it! There must be a better word to describe them than that. There probably is in the other official language. I have been criticized for travelling around Canada. I am prob- ably the most travelled Canadian, the most travelled parliamentarian. I have been in an elected position since I was 21 years of age. That will be 36 years I have been in an elected position, either on school boards, municipal councils or as a member of Parliament.

An hon. Member: That’s 25 years too long.

Mr. Whelan: Why do I stay in the House of Commons?

Some hon. Members: Why?

Mr. Whelan: Mainly because of the democratic function that takes place. They re-elect me all the time and keep sending me back.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: The other reason I run is because I have become so fearful of that group over there and what they would do to this country. Just imagine. When we go across the country and talk to Canadians or around the world and talk to other people, what do they say? You are from Canada, the people who are the best housed, the people that have the best way of life in the world, the highest standard of living, the highest standard of earning of any people in the world. There are more people living on the same plateau in Canada than any other country.

Canada is the envy of the world. I was recently in British Columbia, the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and other places. I visited farmers and other ordinary citizens of that area. The people there come from many different parts of the world, so we talked quite a bit about the constitution. They talked about Canada, because they are just ordinary people like their Minister of Agriculture. They told me that when they came to Canada, if anyone had told them they were going to a province named Alberta, Ontario or Quebec, they would not have known where they were going, though they knew they were going to Canada. They said they do not understand what is going on, they do not understand this debate. They told me…

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they want us to get it over with, finish it, and bring the constitution back to Canada.

That was in Chilliwack, Dauphin, Ste. Rose du Lac, Russell, Yorkton, Margo, Kamsack and Regina. When I was in Regina, they had a walk-up microphone poll. Even that showed they were in favour of what we are doing.

Mr. Hnatyshyn: They must have talked to the only three Liberals there.

Mr. Whelan: It was a fairly high percentage. I have a brother in Regina.

Mr. McKnight: What’s his profession?

Mr. Whelan: I will tell you his profession. He is in the insurance and real estate business.

An hon. Member: What party does he belong to?

Mr. Whelan: He is retired from the New Democratic Party, by force.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: I want to tell you this. He was a minister in the present government of Saskatchewan. He is no longer a minister there. He said to me “Gene, don’t you forget this. I am a Canadian first and I will fight to help you. I will volunteer. I won’t charge you one penny” .

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: He said, “I will do anything I can to make sure this Canada we know stays together” . We have heard people talk about poverty. I can remember in Canada when we did not have medicare, hospitalization and so on. The member who just spoke talked about what we are going to do to this country. There were nine of us raised on mothers’ allowance, if you can imagine what that was like during the dirty thirties. I remember that. In what other part of the world could one achieve one of the highest positions in the country with that kind of a background, besides Canada?

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: My ancestry is what? Irish, French, Welsh, and Indian. I have a Hungarian sister-in-law, a Roumanian (sic) brother-in-law, a German brother-in-law, a Finnish sister-in- law, a wife of German-Yugoslav ancestry and I live in an Italian neighbourhood.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: There is no other country with the make-up of people that we have who have built this country from sea to sea, 4,000 miles. We have people from all over the world building and sharing together to make us the envy of the world, this country of Canada. Now some of them would have a community of communities, I believe they call it. That is not what we want in Canada. We want the Canada that we know and love. We want the Canada which that guy Jean Chrétien fought so hard for in the referendum in Quebec.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: I can remember when that minister came to the House. He only spoke one language. He does much better than I, he now speaks two. When he came here, he used to practice his English. One day he said to me, “Eugene, I want to have lunch with you so that I can practise my English” .

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Whelan: I said to him, “Jean, you are welcome but it won’t be English, it will be Whelanese you hear” . He is the minister we all admire. He fought like no one else in the Quebec referendum. Now they are trying to say that the Minister of Justice, who is leading the battle here, has changed, the man who took that strong stand in Quebec for Canada. They say he has changed. They know that is not true. He is the same strong Canadian he always was.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: When talking about television in this chamber today, members opposite said they want television in commit- tee. The chairman of the agriculture committee then told me that his committee is also entitled to television coverage. I agree. There is nothing more important than food production and agriculture. We saw a display in the House today that I am sure would not have taken place if we did not have television in the House of , Commons. They stood up and sang “O Canada” , the former prime minister with his hands in his pockets.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Whelan: The former prime minister stood up with his hands in his pockets. Television will show that. What a show! He did not even sing the words to “O Canada” . Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Whelan: I can remember my first trip to western Canada when I was a teenager. We went to western Canada. For what? To help. That was the time they used to get young easterners to go on excursions. It was to help harvest the wheat. It was an experience I never forgot. I spent four and a half days riding on a train to go, of all places, to a beautiful part of Canada, Alberta. My address was High River, Alberta. My brother visited the former prime minister’s father in that town. Even then I did not find Alberta any different, from Come By Chance. Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, Nipawin. Kamsack, Wetaskiwin or wherever. Canadians are not very much different from each other. They want the basic things of life.

Mr. Andre: So why treat them as second-class citizens?

[Page 4043]

Mr. Whelan: They want shoes on the baby and bread on the table. They want a form of security. That means some kind of job so that they can earn their own way in Canada. They can do that by sharing, not by saying “greed” or “We want more than the rest of you.” They cannot do that by saying, “We do not want to share the way we build Canada” or “We do not want to be in a position where perhaps we are better off and share with someone who is not so well off.” For instance, what good is the heritage fund piled high?

Mr. Andre: You are piling it high right now.

Mr. Whelan: On the farm we have piles, and we know that if we do not spread it around, it does not do a bit of good.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Whelan: The same is true in our society with money. You cannot corral it in one part of the country and not distribute it properly in the rest of the country. That is not the way Canada was built. We shared these things to build a country which is—and I know I am repeating myself—the envy of the world. Our way of life is the envy of the world. We are the best housed and the best educated. We have the best of the whole world.-Some talk of another Utopia. If there is a better part of the world, I want to go and see it some day. I could describe Canada, as a new Canadian in my area described it the other day. He was watching television and listening to his children talk about the debates they read, young educated people who are more fortunate than their dads. He was an immigrant from Italy, and he said to me, “Gino, I would like to make a comparison. The world is one great big roast beef, and Canada is the best slice of that roast beef” . I have heard no one here describe it any better than Biase Di Pasquale, a neighbour of mine who is proud of his accomplishments in this country. He is so proud that he trusts the people who have been in power longer than the other party in Canada. He trusts his Gino because he knows his Gino.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Kilgour: Mr. Speaker, the minister has a moment or f two left. I wonder if he would permit a question. An hon. Member: Let him finish. You have been interfering all night.

Mr. Whelan: Mr. Speaker, I understand that I have about three or four minutes left. I go as Minister of Agriculture to World Food Council meetings, the FAO and the OECD in Paris. At any world food meeting respect is paid to Canada. I know it is not paid to me because of who I am. It is because of what I represent. I represent that country called Canada which is looked on not as a huge military power or a huge power which is trying to impose some political philosophy on anybody else but as a country which enjoys the most freedom of any country in the world.

Ours is the country which is much envied. People want to come here and be part of this country called Canada. Yes, I am proud to be a Canadian, and I will do everything I can to make the people of Canada understand what this debate is about. It is about bringing our constitution to its rightful resting place. I will do my best to explain in the humblest of language because I do not think anyone uses more humble language than I do. I do not know how to use any other language. About 95 per cent or 90 per cent of the people of Canada are something like your Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Speaker. They have had rough lives. They have had tough lives. They do not have that much education, but they do appreciate Canada, and they want it to stay as it is.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Jim Manly (Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands): Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to take part in the debate on the constitution, especially since many of my colleagues who would wish to speak have had that right denied them by the imposition of closure. I object to the government’s refusal to hear what my colleagues have to say and to the unjust limitation of debate on an issue of such basic importance as the constitution.

Along with other New Democrats I agree with the need to bring our constitution home. I would be happy to see a charter of rights- and the principle of equalization enshrined in our constitution. Coming from British Columbia, I am glad that New Democrats were able to get the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) to agree to provincial control of resources. Six years ago I saw how the federal government prevented that right and how it hampered the economy of British Columbia under Premier Barrett because it refused to grant that right. Provinces need these rights so that they can develop their own economies without being hobbled by Ottawa.

However, while I support many of the features in the constitutional package, I join with my colleagues in deploring the inadequacies in the charter of rights and its failure to recognize the rights of women and natives.

I wish to direct my remarks particularly to the charter’s failure to recognize and enshrine the rights of Canada’s Indian, Inuit and Metis people. If we look at the charter we see that it lists in great detail the rights the government considers important. We have inherited many of these rights from centuries-old traditions. They are so deeply interwoven in the fabric of our society that perhaps they do not need to be enshrined, but they are enshrined, and they are spelled out.

Other rights, such as those relating to language, are new and not yet universally accepted. Again, these rights are spelled out in detail.

However, when we come to native rights, what do we find? We have a fuzzy non-statement about non-rights. Section 24 of the charter of rights says, and I quote:

The guarantee in this charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights or freedoms that exist in Canada, including any rights or freedoms that pertain to the native peoples of Canada.

That is all there is, “any rights or freedoms that pertain to the native peoples of Canada” . George III did better than that. In the proclamation of 1763 he said, and I quote:

[Page 4044]

—it is just and reasonable, and essential to our interest, and the security of our colonies, that the several nations or tribes of Indians with whom we are connected, and who live under our protection, should not be molested or disturbed in the possession of such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to or purchased by us, are reserved to them… as their hunting grounds.

Mr. Malone: We want George III!

Mr. Manly: We know what George III said. The Indian people of Canada want that proclamation attached to the constitution as a schedule. Recognition of aboriginal rights was one of the causes of the American revolution because protection of Indian lands rankled those Americans who were already afire with the idea of manifest destiny. The American Declaration of Independence objected to the action of George III in raising the conditions applying to new appropriations of lands.

We all recognize that George III was not an original thinker. He was simply following what had been standard practice for European nations since their first encounters with North America. Claims of sovereignty by European powers were really claims to be able to treaty with local Indian nations for. the land. It was generally accepted that Indians had aboriginal rights to the land that could not be arbitrarily denied. Three possible methods were established for obtaining title to land. The first was by occupation of vacant lands. Recent studies of hunting, trapping and food gathering pat- terns across Canada have shown that in spite of the vastness of our country, almost every part of it was used by the native people. There was no empty or unused land in Canada.

The second way was by way of what was called the just war. I do not know of any just war by which Indians in Canada were vanquished and lost their rights or their land. The third method was by purchase with consent of the owners. In many parts of Canada the Crown did enter into treaties with the native people. The Indian peoples granted certain rights to the Crown and in return they were promised certain rights. As recently as July 5, 1973, Queen Elizabeth II told the Indian people:

You may be assured that my Government of Canada recognizes the importance of full compliance with the spirit and terms of your treaties.

The rights of Metis people were also recognized in these treaties and also in the Manitoba act of 1870. Thus, across Canada, native people have both aboriginal rights and treaty rights which, at different times, have been recognized and guaranteed by the Crown. But the proposed charter of rights glosses over this by. talking about “any rights or freedoms that pertain to the native peoples of Canada.” The charter lists other rights in specific detail. It denies native rights by vague generalities. Because of their minority position in our society, native people have a greater, not a lesser, need to have their rights enshrined. :

The government has argued that we need a charter of rights because we cannot entrust rights to the changing whims of legislatures. I ask you: What people have suffered more legislative infringements on their rights than the Indian people?

Amendments to the Indian Act passed by this House of Commons over the past 100 years have hampered the Indian people in every facet of their lives. Freedom of religion was interpreted to mean freedom to decide which church would send in missionaries, and I speak of the former missionaries in Indian villages. Traditional religious and cultural practices, such as the potlach, native dancing and dancing societies, were forbidden.

Earlier in our century, the act required Indians to get permission from the Indian agent to go to exhibitions, rodeos and dances. They needed permission from the superintendent- general to collect money for their organizations, a way of discouraging those organizations from pressing the government in connection with land claims. Indian people lost their status without their consent. In other situations, people were given Indian status and included in band membership with a share in the meagre resources of the reserve without permission of the band involved.

These are some of the things Canada’s Parliament has done to the rights of Indian people. They know full well, therefore, that they cannot depend upon legislatures to maintain their rights. These rights must be recognized and enshrined in the constitution.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Manly: The Indian people today still remember the 1969 white paper which would have stripped them of all their rights. This 1969 white paper was the catalyst which brought them together with a great many organizations and helped them to advance to the level of political involvement in which they find themselves today. But as they look at the proposed charter of rights, they see clauses in it which would have the same effect and which would leave them without rights, with- out protection and without even the basic, minimal recognition which they have at present. The Prime Minister has promised the native people that they could be participants in all constitutional amendments which concern them. What could possibly concern native people more than the entrenchment of their rights? Yet Indian people were not consulted about the charter of rights. In their absence a vague clause was inserted which does violence to their rights.

Last week, the Prime Minister said that as soon as the constitution is brought back to Canada, native rights will be one of the first items on the agenda. What hypocrisy! The Prime Minister knows full well that by placing Indian rights on a post-patriation agenda, he is denying these people their last chance to obtain justice.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Manly: Section 50 states very clearly that any amendment to the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms can only be made in accordance with sections 41 or 42. Obviously the Prime Minister is not willing to trust his cherished language rights to the vagaries of such a process because he knows it would be almost impossible for such rights to be adopted. In the same way, he must know that if Indian rights are not…

[Page 4045]

recognized and enshrined now, they never will be, not so long as we have people like Premier Hatfield who denies the very concept of aboriginal rights. If we believe in native rights, we must act now. In committee we will be moving and supporting amendments to achieve this. We take the Prime Minister at his word that he will be willing to accept amendments.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Manly: The other night, the Minister of Transport (Mr. Pepin) asked for a spirit of compromise. I ask the government if, in that spirit of compromise, whether it will change its position and recognize the basic rights of our native people so that they are not compromised right out of the picture. I ask the government to include as schedules to the constitution such documents as the treaties and the royal proclamation of 1763 which will assure the native people that their native rights are not being denied.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, let me point to a fact that is often ignored when we speak about Indian people. We often hear the statistics about poverty, unemployment and poor health. We watch television documentaries about substandard housing and the failure of the educational system. We know all about the negative side of Indian life, and every six months or so it becomes a two-day wonder for the media. What we do not hear or see is the positive side–that there is something good about being Indian. For hundreds of years Indian peoples in North America have refused to assimilate or lose their identity as Indians. In spite of poverty, discrimination, bad “housing conditions, the lack of opportunity on reserves and denial of their rights, they hang on to their Indian identity and culture. There is something good for them about their Indian culture. Obviously they have something very valuable.

What they ask from Canada is a recognition of their rights so that they can maintain their identity and the culture which is so important to them. They ask for their rights so that they can build a decent economy which will enable them to maintain their status, rights and culture with some dignity. Native people do not believe that being Indian, Metis or Inuit must go hand in hand with poverty. I believe Canada needs the contribution native people can make to our social fabric. We can learn from them. We have the wealth and resources in this country to afford a pluralistic society. We do not all need to fit into the same mold. The native people of our country can only make a contribution if we recognize their rightful place in our society and give them their due.

On behalf of the more than one million native people of this country, I appeal to the government to recognize and entrench the rights of native people so that they can take their full place in Canadian society, and, furthermore, so that Canada can achieve its destiny as a nation of justice and opportunity for all people.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Bill Kempling (Burlington): Mr. Speaker, I had hoped to follow the hon. member for Essex-Windsor (Mr. Whelan) because he gave one of his usual speeches which did not say very much. Had he given his speech on a manure spreader, it never would have had a bigger load. To stand in the House of Commons and ask people to believe when he travels around the world that people say, “Oh, you are from Canada, that country which has its constitution in London” is just pure nonsense. How can anyone be expected to believe that?

An hon. Member: Express it in farm terms.

Mr. Kempling: I must remember the decorum of the House. I cannot express it in farm terms.

It has been written that when the British Parliament had the BNA Act before it in 1867, the act passed in 30 minutes because a much more urgent matter was waiting to be introduced. That matter was an act dealing with the licensing of dogs. It was a much more urgent matter than the constitution of Canada. The reason it took only 30 minutes to pass was that the British House had full knowledge that several years of discussion had preceded the writing of the act. The Parliament of Westminster knew that such discussion had taken place. Some of it was very bitter, but in the final analysis a consensus was reached and they felt justified in passing it in 30 minutes. We have heard many members on the other side say that the country has been confounded, put in a strait-jacket or what have you, for 53 years. I had a resume done by the parliamentary library of the constitutional conferences from 1927 to 1980. Anyone reading it would realize that it is just not so, the country has not been tied. There have been many, many instances where there has been complete consensus. In fact there were two occasions when the premiers and the federal authorities agreed unanimously to suspend further discussion on the constitution because they had more urgent matters before them, most of them dealing with the economy. Anyone who tries-to persuade the people of Canada that somehow we have been strangled and tied for 53 years is perpetuating a fraud.

The first time the provincial premiers met, shortly after confederation, it was to deal with a revenue matter. They met to deal with revenue-sharing because the provinces had given up tariffs to the federal government and the federal government had expanded, in lieu of tariffs, a per capita grant. They met because the rising population in the provinces was such that the revenue was just not adequate. This is really what we are talking about today. When we get down to brass tacks, we realize we are talking about revenues again. The federal government is in a revenue bind. It just does not have enough revenue coming in. It does not want to go the honest route of taxation, as my party endeavoured to do. They are trying to put a claim on provincial revenues so that they will not have to raise federal revenues as much as they probably should. This debate has taken some rather strange twists and turns’ today. Members have told us we took up too much time on points of order and questions of privilege and that is one of the reasons why the President of the Privy Council (Mr. Pinard)…

[Page 4046]

brought on closure. If one looks at the record, one will find there was a total of 86 minutes, or one hour and 26 minutes, in the full 24 hours of this debate devoted to questions of privilege and points of order. That is really not very much time. If that is one of the reasons for bringing on closure, it is an absolute fraud.

It has been argued that there is a crisis in the country. The crisis is in the minds of the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) and those around him who perceive the difficulties in the country as a crisis. There is no crisis in the minds of the people outside. In my eight years as a member of Parliament—and I know many members have been here longer–I have never had a constituent ask when the Constitution of Canada would be changed or tell me that it should be changed.

An hon. Member: You ought to travel with Gene.

Mr. Kempling: He encounters it outside of the country. The hon. member for Davenport (Mr. Caccia) participated in the debate the other day. It was a good, measured speech, but he left the impression that the four million or so immigrants who have come to Canada since 1945 are demanding that the charter of rights be written into the constitution. I cannot believe that people who came here from Uganda, Chile, Poland, Hungary, India, Tibet, the Caribbean, Viet Nam, Great Britain, any country in the western world or the mid- east, are asking for a charter of rights to be put in the constitution. That is just not so. They came here because we offered a better form of government, a better livelihood and more security than they ever had in the countries they left.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Kempling: They came here from dictatorships. They recognized that there was freedom here. I do not think one of them came here with a burning desire in his gut to change the constitution of Canada. That is a fraud as well.

We have expressed our views on closure and our concerns about the committee stage. We have heard members opposite say: put this debate to the committee. Members on this side have expressed their views on that aspect to some extent. But why are we reluctant to see it go into committee without having our full say? The reason is that we have watched how the committee system in this House works over the years. We have watched the way in which those experts on the other side have manipulated the committees of the House of Commons. I would ask you, sir, to sit in a committee of the House of Commons and watch them play the game of the clock. You know how that is done. The minister appearing before the committee arrives a few minutes late, which takes up ten minutes. Then the chairman decides to read a report of the standing committee and that goes on for another ten or 15 minutes. Then the minister reads an opening statement which can take another ten or 15 minutes. Maybe the minister’s assistant is with him and he will be asked by the minister if he wants to make a statement. That goes on for yet another ten or 15 minutes. Then with the points of order and the general razzmatazz back and forth, the next thing you know an hour of a two-hour committee meeting is over. That is what we are afraid of. That is why we want to know the terms which will govern the committee. That is why we are asking that the committee proceedings be televised. That is why we want it broadcast–so they cannot play games, so they cannot play the game of the committee.

We have watched it, sir. We have seen committees. of the House of Commons sit knowing that a member from our side was to propose an amendment. Before he could do so, the government members left the committee so that there would no longer be a quorum. We have watched that game being played and that is why we are concerned that this committee should receive the proper attention it deserves.

Members opposite have suggested that this measure is like an ordinary bill, that we have first reading, second reading and then reference to committee, after which it comes back for report stage and third reading upon which debate continues. We do not believe this. The government House leader has not told us how long the debate will go on after the report comes back to the House. He will not say.

Mr. Pinard: There is no limit.

Mr. Kempling: Now he says there is no limit.

Mr. Clark: But there will be closure again.

Mr. Kempling: That is right. We know there will be closure again. We know the games they play. We know what to look for. We have tried to the best of our ability in this debate to expose the games they play so that the people of Canada will see the way they manipulate the business of the House.

The other point I wish to make is that very few people in Canada have read the British North America Act. There IS hardly a person in the country who has read the reference which is before the House. So you have a population which does not know the act, does not know the reference, but which is being persuaded by subliminal advertising, in many cases, to urge their members of Parliament to amend the constitution. That is a fraud.

What the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) and my colleagues on this side of the House have been asking is that the committee be allowed to travel across Canada to hear the views of Canadians, those Canadians who do not know what is in the BNA Act, who do “not know what is in the resolution which is before the House. That is what we want. We have put an amendment forward which would allow the committee to travel so that Canadians in all parts of Canada can be heard. That matter has yet to be ruled on but I do not have much confidence that our requests will be agreed to.

We have this matter before us now, a motion to refer a proposed resolution to committee. And we know the games they play in committee. The subject matter which is being discussed is not broadly understood across the country by the…

[Page 4047]

people of Canada. I am sure the committee will not be allowed to travel to hear the views of the native people and others in various parts of the country. That is what really upsets members on this side.

Listening to members opposite—and I think I can say this because I am from Ontario—-what disturbs me most is how little they understand about the feeling in western Canada. I I have spoken with my hon. friends here who are from western Canada and I think I am a fair judge of their character, sincerity and honesty, and I do not think I have ever seen so much emotion from members as I have seen from the members of our caucus who come from western Canada. They are really concerned and upset.

This summer I travelled twice to western Canada and I spoke with the people there. ,I sensed the feeling of frustration. I And when members stand up and talk about separatism in the west, I believe them. I believe the forces are gathering out there and if we fail to listen to them it will be a tragedy.

I see from an article in the newspaper tonight that the Prime Minister is threatening further closure on this debate so that he can meet his deadline.

A few months ago the province of Quebec was engaged in a referendum. Members opposite came to us and asked for our support. They asked us to go into Quebec with them. The Leader of the Opposition went into Quebec and appeared on a a platform with the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien). Other members of our party also went into Quebec to speak for the No forces. The chief government whip came to me, as whip for our party, time and time again and said to me: I have so-and-so who wants to go into Quebec to campaign for the No forces, could we have a “pair” for him? And I know he will tell you that we co-operated. I told him we would give him a “pair” any time any member opposite was going into Quebec to speak for the No forces. We kept our word every time.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Kempling: What we are asking here today, and what we have been asking for in this debate is that we be afforded the same courtesy.

There is a serious situation in western Canada. I really do not think members of the government party understand how serious it is. We are asking for time to continue this debate. We are asking for time to get out to the people in western Canada and speak to them. We are asking for time for the committee to travel across the country. We are asking, in all sincerity, that the committee be allowed to travel so we can test the depth of the concern in western Canada and let those people be heard before we make the final changes in the constitution. That is all we are really asking, sir.

Let me conclude by saying that in a democracy constitutions come up from the people, not down from the government. Today, that process, by the imposition of closure has been stopped. Therefore, I cannot support the motion that is before the House at this time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Chair recognizes the hon. member for Kitchener (Mr. Lang), but would like to bring it to the attention of the House that at this time, according to the provisions of Standing Order 33, no members will be recognized after one o’clock. Any member recognized prior to that time has the usual time limit.

Mr. Clark: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, during the remarks by the hon. member for Burlington (Mr. Kempling), who indicated his concern that there would be limits placed upon the debate after the matter came out of committee, the government House leader called across the floor and said, “There is no limit” . That is to say there would be no limit on debate in this House of Commons after the matter came out of committee. Obviously, that is of real importance. Would the government House leader rise and give us a categorical assurance that there would be no limit upon the opportunity of the House of Commons to debate this matter after the report of the committee.

Mr. Munro (Hamilton East): That isn’t a point of order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: If the government House leader wishes to rise on the point of order, the Chair will recognize him, but the Chair has recognized the hon. member for Kitchener (Mr. Lang).

Mr. Pinard: Mr. Speaker, the Right Hon. Leader of the Opposition has a very learned House leader, and I am sure that he can learn a lot from him about the rules of the House of Commons.

Mr. Peter Lang (Kitchener): Mr. Speaker, as a new member of Parliament I feel very privileged to participate in this debate and to have the opportunity to share with hon. members of this House some of the thoughts and views I feel are germane to this discussion on the constitution. In order to acquaint myself with many of the constitutional issues that are now before us, I have had to conduct myself for the past few months not unlike a student who is cramming for an important exam.

In the process though, I have run across some insights which I think would be useful to this debate. One in particular stands out in my mind. It reads and I quote:

I confess that I do not entirely approve of this constitution at present, but sir, I am not sure I shall never approve of it, for, having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that, the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment of others.

Nevertheless, I doubt whether any other convention we can obtain may be able to make a better constitution; for, when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those men all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected?

It therefore astonishes me, sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies, who are waiting with confidence to hear that our counsels are confounded like those of the builders of Babel, and that our states are on the point of separation, only to meet hereafter for the purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, sir, to…

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this constitution, because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best. The opinions I have had of its errors I sacrifice to the public good.

This quote is from a man who was an entrepreneur, a philosopher, an inventor and a world renowned statesman. The speaker was Benjamin Franklin, the place was the constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, almost 200 years ago.

The situation Franklin described is remarkably similar to the one we as members of Parliament are confronted with in considering this constitutional resolution. Like those who framed the American constitution, we have inherited a legacy of failure upon failure in our attempts over the past 53 years to achieve a national consensus on the constitution. We must not let the quest for some elusive constitutional perfection paralyse the need and responsibility we have to govern Canada effectively.

If we are to learn the lessons of history, it is clear we have to push forward for constitutional renewal despite the cries of those. who would consider this resolution for a little bit longer in this House of Commons or a little bit longer in committee or a little bit longer with the provinces.

What may seem like an arbitrary timetable for the constitutional resolution is actually the only realistic course of action for our government to take in the wake of the Quebec referendum. If the government chose to delay the process any longer we would clearly be abdicating our national responsibility. A promise was made to the people of Quebec and the people of Canada on the question of constitutional renewal and that promise must be kept. Indeed, the wishes of The Canadian people themselves are the paramount consideration in the government’s policy of constitutional renewal.

A Gallup poll conducted outside Quebec before the referendum indicated that a full 68 per cent of those surveyed preferred a renewed federalism, while only 32 per cent opted for our present constitutional arrangements.

As the motion put forward by the hon. member for Edmonton East (Mr. Yurko) demonstrated when it received the unanimous support of this House, there is unanimous consent to the principle of patriation with an amending formula within this Canadian Parliament. Virtually all Canadians agree that we as an independent and sovereign nation should not have to turn to the Parliament of another independent and sovereign nation to change our constitution. Many premiers, and this was underlined by the statement made over the weekend by the premier of New Brunswick, also endorse in principle the concept of patriation.

The second parallel which I would like to draw between confederation and the establishment of the BNA Act is that the situation in pre-confederation days compares to that of the present time. We had the Atlantic region, Canada east or Quebec or lower Canada, and Canada west which was Ontario. The leaders of these regions could not agree on an agreement to form one single federal government, and it was through the perseverance and persistence of George Brown that an all-party committee was formed in 1864. He, as the chairman of that committee, played a leading role in drafting the document which later became the British North America Act. This is not the first time a committee has been asked to discuss and make amendments and consider drafts for the constitution. This is how the original BNA Act was drafted. So I do not understand all the consternation and temper tantrums of the Tory party over sending this resolution to committee.

Mr. Speaker, I see that it is drawing near to one o’clock, but some of my colleagues have asked me to continue and I will.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Lang: Ensuring that the national interest is safeguarded is the core of our responsibility to the people of Canada. It is clear that patriation is in the national interest. To make patriation more than a symbolic gesture, the inclusion of an amending formula is imperative. For almost a month we have heard some of the premiers and some of the members of this House condemn the government’s initiatives on the constitution as dictatorial, unCanadian. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Clark) told us it threatens to “break the fundamental balance which has been at the heart of our federal system ever since the Canadian nation was created.”

Let us consider this statement for a moment and examine it carefully, particularly the words “ever since the Canadian nation was created” . The Right Hon. Leader of the Opposition seems to forget that when the Fathers of Confederation were in the process of founding this nation a civil war was raging in the United States. As the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Irwin) pointed out in his speech, Sir John A. Macdonald was very clear about the need for a strong central government in order to overcome the fatal flaw in the American system which was only resolved after millions of lives had been lost.

It should be evident, despite the attempt of the Leader of the Opposition to rewrite history, that the fundamental balance he speaks of is not so much a balance as a distribution of powers between two levels of government with the central government predominant. At least that is the way the Fathers of Confederation saw it. The evolution of Canadian federalism has been a slightly different story, though. Over the years, the provinces have acquired more power as the federal government} has attempted to take into account their needs and concerns- And it has been nearly 53 years since the federal government tried to reach agreement with the provinces on an amending formula. Meanwhile, our independent status was confirmed by the statute of Westminster in 1931. In the Second World War, Canadian forces fought for the first time under Canadian generals. In 1949, the Supreme Court became the final court of appeal in Canada, instead of the British court, and in the same year Parliament acquired the power to amend certain- areas of our constitution. In 1952, for the first time, a Canadian was appointed Governor General. In 1965, we adopted our national flag and earlier this year, we formally adopted a national anthem. It is a combination of patriation and any amending formula that is now the key to full independence– freeing ourselves from the last vestiges of colonial status.

[Page 4049]

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Lang: The process has been a gradual one. But the forces who advocate Quebec separatism did not spring up overnight either. And when the final vote was tallied on the night of May 20, it was clear that we had a job to perform. To dilly-dally any longer on the question of constitutional reform would have been a fatal error. There are times for compromise and negotiation, and there are times for action. This is a time for action pure and simple.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Lang: But that is not the only reason we must proceed quickly. As the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chrétien) pointed out in his very eloquent address, we must act now in order to provide the momentum for further reform. Canada has far too much economic potential as a nation to let it be continuously stalled and sidetracked by an unending process of constitution- al negotiations. The purpose of this constitutional resolution is to remove the doubt, the uncertainty and the deadlock that have plagued past constitutional talks. This demands leader- ship and leadership demands courage. The Liberal party lacks neither, Mr. Speaker, so to conclude, I would like to ask the members opposite to leave go their doubts, their fears and their divisiveness. No constitution is perfect. But however perfect or imperfect the constitutional resolution before us is, all members of this House must recognize that a constitution is an act of faith–faith in the Canadian people, faith in the generations of Canadians who will carry on in the spirit of tolerance and equity that has largely characterized our past, and will hopefully characterize our future.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order! order! order! In accordance with the provisions of Standing Order 33–

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: In accordance with the provisions of– Mr. Wenman: Mr. Speaker, I demand the right to be heard.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Wenman: Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I demand my right to be heard. I–

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: Mr. Speaker–

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Wenman: I demand the right to be heard here. I will not sit down until I have been heard.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order!

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Wenman: I demand protection from this House of Commons. I demand from the Governor General of Canada— I demand to speak now.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Order, please!

Mr. Wenman: I demand my right to speak and I am going to speak. The Bill of Rights of Canada is being—this is a mockery. It is a mockery, Mr. Speaker, because of the very bill that we discussed. I demand that we have the freedom to speak in this House. This is a hypocritical bill. My right is being denied to me—-not only my right but the right of everyone who has spoken in this House. Mr. Speaker, I demand my right. I will not be seated until I have been heard.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The House will recognize the hon. member for Pembina (Mr. Elzinga) on a matter of privilege. The hon. member for Pembina on a question of privilege.

Mr. Peter Elzinga (Pembina): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I demand on behalf of myself and my colleagues the opportunity to participate in this debate. We have a responsibility to those individuals who have elected us and I wish to exercise that responsibility.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Elzinga: The Prime Minister gave a commitment in his news conference that all us members of Parliament would have an opportunity to participate in the discussion on our constitution. He has reneged on that promise.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I invite hon. members to be seated. I I am hearing one member on a question of privilege and surely courtesy to their colleague requires that they allow the hon. member I have recognized to have the floor. Would the others please be seated? I am recognizing the hon. member on a question of privilege. Surely his colleagues will at least extend that courtesy.

Mr. Elzinga: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Prime Minister in his conference indicated that all members of Parliament would have an opportunity to participate in this debate. It is obvious that we who come from all those parts of Canada other than central Canada feel a basic need to speak in this…

[Page 4050]

debate because effectively this resolution makes second class citizens of all those individuals outside Quebec and Ontario.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Elzinga: This resolution further confirms the feelings of westerners in developing that feeling of alienation. It is a belief held by many that this Prime Minister is aggravating the situation. We hope to have an opportunity to participate to assure them that they do have a voice in the constitutional debate and this voice has been muffled and closed by the closure motion brought in by the Liberal government opposite.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Any hon. Member: Question!

Mr. Wenman: Mr. Speaker, I demand—

Mr. Cossitt: Question of privilege!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Chair finds there is no question of privilege, that the Standing Orders of the House of Commons have been observed. The Standing Orders of the House of Commons have been observed. It is my duty at this point–

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: —to interrupt the proceedings-

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: This man is a dictator!

Mr. Wenman: You may not. We must be heard. The hon. member for Fraser Valley West will speak in the debate.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order!

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: –raised by the hon. member—

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: Who runs this country?

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order! Order, please!

Mr. Cossitt: A question of privilege.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Order, please. Order, please. Order! Order, please.

Mr. Wenman: I will not be seated.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order! Order! Order, please. The hon. member for Pembina (Mr. Elzinga) has been recognized on a question of privilege and the Chair has listened and is going to rule on the matter the hon. member has raised.

The Chair finds, after listening carefully to the hon. member for Pembina that the provisions–

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: Mr. Speaker-

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. member for Leeds (Mr. Cossitt) please sit down? Will the member please take his seat?

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: No!

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wenman: No!

Mr. Cossitt: I demand to speak!

Mr. Wenman: I demand my right to speak on the Constitution of Canada for the people of my riding. We have not been heard. Hon. members on the other side have not been heard . either.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Chair has listened to the matter of privilege raised by the hon. member for Pembina and is ruling that there is no valid point of privilege established, that the Standing Orders of the House of Commons are being observed.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wenman: I demand the right to speak. It is my duty to protect my rights as an hon. member.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: It is now my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith all questions necessary—

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: —to dispose of the motion now before the House. Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wenman: We demand the right to speak now.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I will put the question. The question is on the amendment of the hon. member for Carleton-Charlotte (Mr. McCain).

Mr. Wenman: I demand the right to speak!

Mr. Cossitt: Mr. Speaker–

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wenman: Mr. Speaker, we want the right to speak–

[Page 4051]

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Cossitt: Mr. Speaker, we want the right to speak.

Some hon. Members: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wenman: I demand the right to be heard, Mr. Speaker.

An hon. Member: No!

[Editor’s Note: At this point some members left their seats and approached the Chain]

An hon. Member: I demand the right to be heard on the constitution.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I call to the attention of the hon. members that they can make speeches only from their places in this House.

I call to hon. members’ attention that according to the rules and practices of this House they can only be recognized from their places. Hon. members cannot be recognized from other places.

An hon. Member: I demand the right to be heard!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I call to the attention of hon. members Standing Order 12(2), which reads as follows:

When Mr. Speaker is putting a question, no member shall enter, walk out of, or across the House, or make any noise or disturbance.

An hon. Member: I demand the right to be heard!

An hon. Member: We want the right to speak!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I ask hon. members to take their places in the House and observe the rules of the House.

An hon. Member: I demand the right to be heard!

Mr. Siddon: This is our constitution at stake.

An hon. Member: This is a free country. I have the right to be heard.

An hon. Member: Stand up for democracy.

Some hon. Members: We have the right to be heard.

An hon. Member: What goes on here? How does this man, Trudeau, run the whole country singlehanded like this?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I must invite hon. members to show respect for this institution by returning to their places. I invite hon. members to return to their places in this House.

An hon. Member: I demand the right to be heard.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I invite hon. members to return to their places.

An hon. Member: The Prime Minister has misled this House.

An hon. Member: I demand the right to be heard.

Mr. Chrétien: Where is the leadership on the other side?

An hon. Member: I demand the right right now to speak on the constitution.

An hon. Member: This is freedom of speech?

An hon. Member: Where is the War Measures Act?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I ask hon. members to return to their places.

Mr. Dick: Privilege!

An hon. Member: Bring the constitution home.

An hon. Member: What about the Vancouver consensus?

An hon. Member: Privilege!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: All those in favour of the amendment, please say yea.

Some hon. Members: Yea!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: All those opposed, please say nay.

Some hon. Members: Nay!

Mr. Deputy Speaker: In my opinion, the nays have it. (And more than five members having risen):

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

The House divided on the amendment (Mr. McCain) which was negatived on the following division:

[Page 4052]

Madam Speaker: I declare the amendment lost.


The question is on the main motion. All those in favour will please say yea.

Some hon. Members: Yea.

Madam Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.

Some hon. Members: Nay.

Madam Speaker: In my opinion, the yeas have it. (And more than five members having risen):

Madam Speaker: Call in the members.

The House divided on the motion (Mr. Chrétien) which was agreed to on the following division: (Division No. 18)

[Page 4053]


Madam Speaker: I declare the motion carried.

It now being 2 a.m., this House stands adjourned until 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 2(1).

At 2 a.m. Friday, October 24, the House adjourned, without question put, pursuant to Standing Order.

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