Canada, Senate Debates, “Amendment in Canada”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (14 May 1980)

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Date: 1980-05-14
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Senate Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1980 at 279.
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SENATE DEBATES — May 14, 1980

[Page 279]



Hon. Jack Austin: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government. In the other place on May 9, Mr. Bill Yurko, the member for Edmonton East, rose under the provisions of Standing Order 43 and proposed a motion which received unanimous acceptance. That motion was to the following effect:

That the Parliament of Canada submit an address to Her Majesty the Queen, that Her Majesty may graciously be pleased to cause a bill to be laid before the Parliament of the United Kingdom to provide for the amendment in Canada of the Constitution of Canada.

I would ask the Leader of the Government whether the Leader of the Opposition has raised with him the possibility that the opposition party in this chamber will be presenting the same resolution here for discussion.

Hon. Raymond J. Perrault (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, as yet, there appears to be no initiative in that direction.

Hon. Jacques Flynn (Leader of the Opposition): I would have preferred to hear the Leader of the Government reply in some other way to that kind of question, because it supposes that every time I discuss something with him, any member on his side may question him about our private conversations. That is exactly what this question amounts to. I think it is totally unacceptable to have that kind of question put to the Leader of the Government, and I think he should give the honourable senator a reply which is appropriate under the circumstances.

Senator Perrault: May I clarify that by saying that there have been no initiatives from any member of the opposition in that direction. I should add that I do not reveal the contents of any conversations I have with the distinguished Leader of the Opposition.

Senator Austin: I should like to add that I have had no discussion with Senator Perrault at any time about any business discussed between the Leader of the Opposition and Senator Perrault as Leader of the Government.

Senator Flynn: You should have before putting the question today.

Senator Austin: But you have just said, Senator Flynn, that that would be in derogation of the sense of confidence in which you two speak. How else can I get such information except to address the question to the Leader of the Government, as you are not in a position in this chamber to answer such questions?

Senator Perrault: It should be noted, however, that both leaders of the principal political parties in Canada have stated that there should be widespread consultation with the provinccs before that initiative is carried beyond its present point. I would think that there is general agreement on that approach.

Hon. Orville H. Phillips: I have a supplementary question to that asked by Senator Austin. Could the Leader of the Government tell this chamber why Senator Austin feels that initiative must come from this side? Does Senator Austin feel that the government members are incapable of producing their own initiative?

Senator Perrault: There is no implication of that kind. We have the utmost respect for the traditions of this chamber, and we look forward to the honourable senator continuing initiatives in his usual vigorous fashion.

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