Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Statements Made by Prime Minister”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (1 April 1981)

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Date: 1981-04-01
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1981 at 8847-8848.
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COMMONS DEBATES — April 1, 1981

[Page 8847]



Hon. James A. McGrath (St. John’s East): Madam Speaker, frustration is something we on this side of the House are learning to live with. It took the Prime Minister almost five minutes—four minutes 57 seconds—to reply to the Leader of the Opposition. I was given less than a minute.

[Page 8848]

How can the Prime Minister argue his case on the fact that the resolution now before the House is hypothetical when in fact the government refused in committee to accept any amendments on the process or any amendments on the amending formula? The government has placed a closure motion before this House to get the resolution through as it is—

An hon. Member: With the support of Ed Broadbent.

Mr. McGrath: —with the passive support of the Leader of the NDP, who has gone into some kind of metamorphosis and turned into a powder-puff.

Some hon. Members: Order.

Madam Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for St. John’s East should ask his question right now. I plead with him to conform with what I am asking him to do.

Mr. McGrath: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I find it very difficult to restrain myself. The unanimous judgment of the Appeal Court of Newfoundland, as opposed to the statement of one judge in Manitoba, had this to say—

Some hon. Members: Order.

Mr. McGrath: The Prime Minister was allowed to quote. The division of powers precribed by the Constitution excludes federal jurisdiction over provincial autonomy within their legislative competence, and thus a proper request to Her Majesty’s Parliament in Great Britain to change such fundamental aspects of the Constitution can only be made after the provinces have agreed to such change.

Some hon. Members: Order.

Madam Speaker: Order, please. Does the hon. member really think I can allow him to continue with such a preamble? I just have to cut him off and not allow him now to ask his question. I have to recognize members of the NDP because they must have the time allotted to them.

Mr. Trudeau: Madam Speaker—

Madam Speaker: The hon. member for Kamloops-Shuswap.

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