Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Ownership of Resources—Meeting of Prime Minister and Leader of the NDP”, 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 3967-3969.
Other formats: Click here to view the original document (PDF).

COMMONS DEBATES — October 23, 1980

[Page 3967]



Mr. Bill McKnight (Kindersley-Lloydminster): Madam Speaker, we know that the Leader of the NDP does not speak for the Premier of the province of Saskatchewan or his caucus, but I assume he spoke for the Liberal party in Canada. I I have a question for the Prime Minister. In light of the exchange of letters between the Prime Minister and his Oshawa lieutenant, could he confirm or deny that in the give-away of natural resources from the provinces to the federal government, the drafting of that amendment was done at the 90-minute meeting that was held between he and the hon. member for Oshawa on October 1?

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minis*er): Madam Speaker, if the hon. member were at all interested in constitutional matters he would see that the substance of my reply to

[Page 3968]

the Leader of the New Democratic Party indicated that we would be doing what we had agreed all through the summer through the Minister of Justice—

Mr. Clark: Boy, that Ed is a tough bargainer.

Mr. Trudeau:—and myself on the first day of the federal-provincial conference in September. We indicated then that we would be prepared to see the provinces have jurisdiction over indirect taxes in the area of resources and interprovincial trade in the area of resources.

I can tell the hon. member that the substance of that was discussed at the meeting and confirmed in my letter, but the kind of amendment we would accept is an amendment which might be phrased-in other words, we would wait to see what they move but it would have to be in substance what we have already offered, plus—

Mr. Clark: Have you got a deal, Ed.

Mr. Trudeau: Yes, Madam Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition seems frustrated at having been left out of a constructive proposal to improve the resolution now before the House.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Trudeau: I point out to him, Madam Speaker, that all summer the Minister of Justice has been looking for a deal. At that conference I had been looking for a deal.

Mr. Clark: That is not true.

Mr. Trudeau: Since the first federal-provincial conference which I chaired in 1968, I have been looking for a deal. There is nothing shameful in accepting a deal which meets the stated requests of several provincial premiers.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. McKnight: Madam Speaker, I wish to draw to the attention of the Prime Minister that the government leader in the Senate said yesterday there was not a deal. Be that as it may, I wish to quote from page 3566 of Hansard dated October 9:

—the amendment my party would propose would confirm provincial ownership of resources, would incorporate a clause with respect to indirect taxation and, finally, would incorporate a concurrent power with federal paramountcy with respect to trade and commerce as it affects the export of non-renewable natural resources, forestry products—

That was said by the NDP member for Kootenay West on October 9. On October 21 and 22 there is a convenient exchange of letters, 12 days after that exact wording appears in Hansard from the NDP member. Will the Prime Minister either confirm or deny that there was a deal made regarding the wording of the amendment at the October 1 meeting between himself and the Leader of the New Democratic Party?

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker, although I think there would be a matter of privilege in not answering that, I think the Leader of the New Democratic Party would not begrudge my telling what happened there. There was talk of the substance. There was no exchange of texts. The first exchange of texts came when I answered the letter a couple of days ago.


Hon. Perrin Beatty (Wellington-Dufferin-Simcoe): Madam Speaker, I also have a question for the Prime Minister who will be aware of the statement in the infamous August 30 Privy Council memorandum which reads as follows:

A highly contentious measure may best be contained in a committee where it 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.

Now that Parliament is to be gagged and the debate is to be taken out of the House of Commons, is the reason the Prime Minister refused the request made by the Leader of the Opposition for his support to open up the proceedings of the committee to television, so that Canadians from coast to coast can see those proceedings, that he prefers to have these meetings managed and he prefers the sort of manipulation of the press recommended in this Privy Council office document, rather than opening these matters up to the people of Canada, as is being requested by the Leader of the Opposition?

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister): Madam Speaker, I would point out to the hon. member that the debate has been proceeding in front of television for the past—

Mr. Clark: Twenty-four hours.

Mr. Trudeau:—three weeks, I would guess.

Mr. Clark: Twenty-four hours of debating time.

Mr. Trudeau: The Leader of the Opposition shouts “24 hours of debating time”. We offered to have longer hours, and it is his very party which refused to add to the hours.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Clark: You introduced the closure.

Mr. Trudeau: It could have been much more than 24 hours over a period of some three weeks if his party had accepted that we prolong the sitting hours.

Mr. Chrétien: Six to eight and until midnight.

Mr. Trudeau: Getting back to the question itself, I have to remind the hon. member that the resolution will, of course, come back to the House—

Mr. Clark: One day.

Mr. Trudeau:—where it will again be in front of television.

Mr. Clark: One day.

[Page 3969]

Mr. Trudeau: I understand the leader of the Tory party is suggesting one day.

Mr. Clark: That is the rule. What are you saying? Give us a commitment.

Madam Speaker: Order, please. I am sure the Right Hon. Prime Minister as well as any other member who is being questioned in the House cannot answer two or three persons at the same time. I ask that we restrict ourselves to allowing whoever has the floor to answer one question from one questioner.

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker, the leader of the Tory party is constantly interrupting me when I try to answer one of his own backbenchers. I wish he would show a little more respect for his own people.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Trudeau: However, since he insists on getting in on this debate, I do not understand why he keeps shouting “one day”. I have indicated that when the resolution comes out of committee, it will be in front of this House for an indeterminate period of time and there will be television and all the coverage that the Leader of the Opposition would like to get.

I would also indicate that the reason we took this route of putting it into committee is that we are certain if we had not, that if we had just gone the resolution route and said it is one resolution, one stage and nothing else, the Leader of the Opposition would have been screaming his head off.

Mr. Clark: That is not what the secret memo says.

Mr. Trudeau: He would have said, how can we possibly study this, make amendments and hear witnesses because we have been gagged by the government and it is just making it in one stage. Therefore, we made it in three stages.

Mr. Clark: Closure, closure and closure.

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker, I am afraid the hon. member will have to talk to his leader if he wants answers to his questions. He will have to ask his leader to shut up.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Beatty: Madam Speaker, I suspect that if I want an answer from the Prime Minister, I will have to talk to the Leader of the NDP.

Some hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Beatty: It is a straightforward question to the Prime Minister which he can answer with a yes or no. Is the Prime Minister prepared to give his support for the televising of the committee proceeding?

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker, the committee can make its own decisions in that regard.

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