Canada, Senate Debates, “Special Joint Committee—Appointment Senate Members/Negatived”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (5 November 1980)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Senate Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1980 at 1162-1172.
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SENATE DEBATES — November 5, 1980
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE—SENATE MEMBERS— COMMUNICATION FROM RIGHT HON. HAZEN ARGUE, P.C.
Hon. Raymond J. Perrault (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I have received the following communication from the Honourable Senator Hazen Argue:
I very much regret my absence from the chamber today, but I have been advised as to the debate in the Senate yesterday.
Because my independence to act as a member of the proposed special joint committee to examine the constitutional proposals has been called into question, and there seems to be doubt in the minds of a number of senators as to the advisability of a cabinet minister acting as a member of the committee, I would ask you to please withdraw my name from those indicated to serve on the committee.
That message is signed by the Honourable Hazen Argue, P.C.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Hon. Royce Frith (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, in view of the communication that has just been read, and in view of certain other considerations in connection with the debate that took place last evening, as well as observations made by honourable senators from both sides of the house, I would ask honourable senators to agree to proceed directly to Order No. 2 on the Orders of the Day. My explanation is that I have a motion to present which I believe amends the main motion, the subject of Order No. 2, and which I hope will resolve the concerns expressed by some honourable senators last night with reference to a cabinet member being a member of the joint committee. That subject has just been dealt with, partly, at least, by the Leader of the Government in the Senate. The proposed motion also resolves the other concern, or at least responds to it, which is the need for a senator on the committee from the Atlantic provinces.
I informed my friends on the opposite side of my intention to present this amendment and l asked for their leave to do so, and they graciously consented. It seems to me that we now face the amendment proposed by Senator Flynn, which he may wish to have voted on, and which could be voted on in the light of what has been said. When that has been disposed of we could proceed with my amendment to the main motion, and, hopefully, after debate, it could be voted on. As I have said, I hope that my amendment will meet the concerns expressed by some honourable senators last night.
Hon. Jacques Flynn (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I understand that in simple terms what the deputy leader is asking is to bring on Order No. 2 immediately in order to accommodate some people who want to leave early today. We agree with that. When the question is put, we can deal with whatever proposal the deputy leader has to offer.
The Hon. the Speaker: Do I understand that leave is granted to Senator Frith so that Order No. 2 can be proceeded with immediately?
Senator Flynn: With regard to Order No. 2, yes.
SPECIAL JOINT COMMITTEE—APPOINTMENT OF SENATE MEMBERS
On the Order:
Resuming the debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Frith, seconded by the Honourable Senator Perrault, P.C.:
That rule 66(1) be suspended in relation to the nomination of senators to serve on the Special Joint Committee to consider a proposed Address to Her Majesty the Queen concerning the Constitution of Canada;
That the following senators be appointed to act on behalf of the Senate on the said Special Joint Committee, namely, the Honourable Senators Argue, Asselin, Austin, Connolly, Frith, Goldenberg, Hays, Lamontagne, Roblin and Tremblay; and
That a Message be sent to the House of Commons to inform that House accordingly, and
On the motion in amendment thereto of the Honourable Senator Flynn, P.C., seconded by the Honourable Senator Roblin, P.C., that the motion be amended by striking out the name of the Honourable Senator Argue.—(Honourable Senator Frith).
MOTION ON AMENDMENT NEGATIVED
Hon. Royce Frith (Deputy Leader of the Government): I ask honourable senators, although this is Senator Flynn’s amendment, that they agree to having the question puton the amendment now, and that we then proceed to deal with the main motion. I hope there was enough debate on it last night, but that is up to others.
Hon. Jacques Flynn (Leader of the Opposition): I am ready for the question to be put now, but it seems to me that, in view of the position taken by Senator Argue, the amendment should
be accepted at this time. The deputy leader could then move his amendment.
Senator Frith: I prefer to leave it for honourable senators to vote on the amendment, taking into account the feeling of the Leader of the Opposition that it should be carried or not carried depending on each senator’s reaction to what the Leader of the Government said on behalf of Senator Argue.
Senator Perrault: Honourable senators, in connection with the amendment—
Senator Flynn: Let the Speaker put the question on the motion in amendment.
The Hon. the Speaker: It is moved by the Honourable Senator Frith, seconded by the Honourable Senator Perrault, that rule 66(1) be suspended in relation—
Some Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: In amendment it was moved by the Honourable Senator Flynn, seconded by the Honourable Senator Roblin, that the motion be amended by striking out the name of the Honourable Senator Argue.
Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
Senator Steuart: What are we being asked to vote on—the amendment or the motion?
The Hon. the Speaker: On the amendment.
Will those honourable senators in favour of the motion in amendment please say “yea”.
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators who are against the motion in amendment please say “nay”.
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion the “nays” have it.
Senator Flynn: We have to call a vote; after all, we will be put in a very difficult position if you do not agree with the amendment.
Senator Frith: Honourable senators, I suggest that some senators voted against the amendment because they felt that the effect of the amendment had been achieved by reason of the statement made on behalfof Senator Argue.
Senator Roblin: Let’s have the vote.
Senator Frith: I do not see that we are put in any difficult position at all. Some honourable senators thought they should support the amendment in the light of that statement. Some thought that they would not vote for the amendment since Senator Argue had already withdrawn. That is a difference of opinion. I do not see that it puts us in any difficult position at all.
Senator Perrault: Honourable senators, in view of the statement—
Senator Grosart: On a point of order, it seems to me that the Speaker has called for the “yeas” and the “nays”. Surely there can be no debate after the Speaker has called for the “yeas” and the “nays”.
Senator Frith: I agree, and I did not intend to debate it. I simply wanted to say that I do not think its result puts us in a difficult position.
The Hon. the Speaker: I said that in my opinion the “nays” have it.
And two honourable senators having risen:
The Hon. the Speaker: Please call in the senators
Motion in amendment of Senator Flynn negatived on the following division:
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
THE HONOURABLE SENATORS
The Hon. the Speaker: I declare the motion in amendment defeated.
Honourable senators, is it your pleasure to adopt the main motion?
FURTHER MOTION IN AMENDMENT RESOLVED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE
Hon. Royce Frith (Deputy Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I move, seconded by the Honourable Senator Petten, in amendment, that the motion be amended by striking out the second paragraph thereof and substituting therefor the following:
That the following senators be appointed to act on behalf of the Senate on the said special joint committee, namely, the Honourable Senators Asseliri, Austin, Connolly, Goldenberg, Hays, Lamontagne, Lucier, Petten, Roblin and Tremblay; and”.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is moved by the Honourable Senator Frith, seconded by the Honourable Senator Petten, in amendment, that the main motion be amended by striking out the second paragraph thereof and substituting therefor the following:
That the following senators be appointed to act on behalf of the Senate on the said special joint committee, namely, the Honourable Senators Asselin, Austin, Connolly, Goldenberg, Hays, Lamontagne, Lucier, Petten, Roblin and Tremblay; and”.
Hon. Jacques Flynn (Leader of the Opposition): Honourable senators, I rise on a point of order. Although it is well disguised, this motion runs clearly against the decision just made by the Senate to keep Senator Argue on the committee. Therefore you cannot ask the Senate to change its decision unless you give notice. Then, you would need a certain majority of senators for the motion to carry. Therefore, as far as the absence of the name of Senator Argue is concerned, this motion is entirely out of order.
Senator Frith: Honourable senators, the motion just dealt with was seeking a particular amendment to the main motion. That motion in amendment was defeated. We are now moving another amendment to the main motion, and I suggest that it is completely in order and ask that it be proceeded with.
Senator Flynn: When my honourable colleague says it is in order, the only thing it changes in the main motion is two names. It replaces Senator Argue by Senator Pctten—
Senator Petten: By Senator Lucier.
Senator Flynn: Well, if you want to say that you can, or it replaces Senator Frith by you. But I would agree that it was the intention to replace the deputy leader by the whip. That is obvious. In any event, it is not by changing a paragraph that you change the substance. The substance is that the name of Senator Argue is replaced by the name of Senator Lucier, and by the vote just taken the Senate has decided to keep the name of Senator Argue on the list.
Some Hon. Senators: No, no.
Senator Flynn: So you are asking the Senate indirectly to decide exactly the opposite of what has just been decided, You cannot rescind an order of the Senate—and this is mentioned in the rules—unless you give notice, and unless it carries with a definite majority, and my honourable friend, the deputy leader, cannot contest that. It is not a face-saving device that will work with us.
Hon. Allister Grosart: Honourable senators, I rise to support the position taken by the Leader of the Opposition. I think it is quite clear that this is in no way an attempt to delay the proceedings.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, no?
Senator Grosart: It is not an attempt to delay the proceedings. If it were, I would not be on my feet. It is an attempt to convince the leadership of this house to keep to the rules, It is about time such a decision was made by the Senate.
I suggest that the Leader of the Opposition is quite right when he says that the vote just taken was a vote to have Senator Argue’s name remain on that list. The amendment was that it do not remain, and the negative vote was, therefore, that it do remain. That was the decision of the Senate. It was a clear decision of the Senate that Senator Argue’s name should remain. Now we have a motion absolutely reversing that, because that was the whole purport of that motion. Now, this completely reverses the decision the Senate made a little while ago. I therefore suggest, with respect, if His Honour is going to make a ruling, that for once we keep to our rules.
Hon. Raymond J. Perrault (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, the tactics are, of course, transparent.
Senator Flynn: On your side, of course.
Senator Perrault: No. We have listened to the senator’s agitated eloquence for the past ten minutes, but may I suggest—
Senator Flynn: You are noisy.
Senator Perrault: May I suggest that in view of the forthright action by Horiourable Senator Argue to communicate to this chamber his unwillingness to serve owing to the concerns expressed in the Senate chamber yesterday afternoon, it is obvious that he will not be a member of the joint committee. Accepting this statement from Senator Argue, the government has proposed that another senator occupy the committee vacancy that has been created on the Senate list by Senator
Argue’s expressed unwillingness now to serve on the joint committee. Furthermore, it is proposed that yet another change be made in the Senate list for that committee.
The essence of the question before us is not the procedural one advanced by opposition senators. The question relates to one of our colleagues and a decision he has taken. The fact is that this respected colleague, the Honourable Senator Argue, in deference to remarks made during the debate held in this chamber yesterday, has stated: “I am unwilling to serve because of the criticism that it is not appropriate for a member of the cabinet to serve on the committee.”
I think the best description of the position taken by the—
Senator Flynn: That is not relevant.
Senator Perrault: The best description of the position taken by the official opposition is that their reaction to Senator Argue’s decision to withdraw his name constitutes a particularly ungenerous act—
Senator Flynn: Oh, horsafeathers!
Senator Perrault:—and it is unparliamentary in its spirit.
Senator Flynn: What was ungenerous was that you would not accept the amendment.
Senator Perrault: I suggest that we proceed to support the initiative of the house leader of the government and allow the joint committee to commence its important work.
Senator Flynn: That is not on the point of order.
Hon. George I. Smith: Honourable senators, I should like to address the point of order, if I may, and I would ask honcurable senators to turn to rule 47, which was mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition. It reads:
47. (1) A motion shall not be made which is the same in substance as any question which, during the same session, has been resolved in the affirmative or negative, unless the order, resolution, or other decision on such question has been rescinded as hereinafter provided.
(2) An order, resolution, or other decision of the Senate may be rescinded on five days’ notice if at least two-thirds of the senators present vote in favour ofits rescission.
All the honourable gentlemen opposite had to do to avoid this difficulty was to agree to the motion. Why did they object to it? It only sought to achieve officially what they had announced Senator Argue was wanting to do by means of a letter, and, therefore, unofficially so far as the motion was concerned. If they now find themselves in the embarrassing position of having excavated a hole for themselves into which they have fallen, they have nobody to blame but themselves.
As my colleague and former Speaker, Senator Grosart, who is known to be well versed in the rules, has just said, surely this house, whether it results in delay or not, will follow the clearly enunciated rules. We have to have some rules, and if we are going to have them we should follow them. That rule is perfectly clear and it should be followed. It is exactly as the Leader of the Opposition said.
As for the honourable gentleman’s saying it is an ungenerous act, that is not so. It is an act to enforce the rules, and all the honourable gentleman had to do was forget his partisanship for a moment and say, “Sure, we don’t mind adopting an opposition motion that will accomplish what we have already decided should be accomplished.” That is where the trouble started. Had the honourable gentleman simply said, “Well, sure, let us adopt the motion”, then officially Senator Argue’s name would have been off the list and we would not be in this difficulty.
Hon. Charles McElman: Honourable senators, I should like to speak to the point of order that has been raised. In some circumstances this point of order would be quite appropriate, but I suggest that in the current circumstances it is not. If the amendment, as proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, had carried, there would have been one name removed from the list. That would have left a vacancy. The number of Senate members would not be up to the maximum provided for the committee. Therefore, it is not the same situation.
The amendment now proposed is entirely different, in that it proposes not only the removal of the name of Senator Argue but also one other, and their replacements, and it brings the complement of Senate representation on the joint committee up to what it is intended to be, namely, the 10 members that we arc entitled to have. So I suggest that the point of order in this circumstance is not valid and that the purpose of the present amendment is entirely different. It is for two removals and two replacements.
Hon. George J. Mcllraith: Honourable senators, I should like to say a few words—
Senator Grosart: May I—
Senator Mcllraithz I was about to speak—
Senator Grosart: It is more a point of privilege. I will sit down.
Some Hon. Senators: Oh, oh!
Senator Grosart: I am not objecting. I merely said to Senator McIlraith, “It is more a point of privilege, so I will sit down.” That is all I said before the noise started.
Senator McIlraith: If the honourable senator wishes to raise a point of privilege, I have no objection. In any event, I wanted to address myself to the point of order and rule 47, which has been quoted. I will not repeat it here. We should look at the amendment on which we voted a few minutes ago, to see whether it comes within the ambit of what is referred to in rule 47.
We should recall the circumstances very carefully. An amendment was moved yesterday to remove the name of Senator Argue from a list of names comprising 10 senators, three supplied by the opposition, in keeping with our tradition for choosing committees, and seven supplied from the government side, making a total of 10.
The amendment moved yesterday was simple and direct. It was that the name of Senator Argue be removed from the list in the main motion before the house. That being so, and bearing in mind the wide-ranging discussion that we had last night, some of it involving Senator Argue directly, as a person, and the suitability of his serving on the committee, and a good deal of it involving the lack of representation from the Senate of a vast region of this country—two vast regions, in fact: one being the Atlantic provinces—
Senator Flynn: That is irrelevant. Speak to the point of order.
Senator McIlraith:—and the other being the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. That was the nature of the discussion. What happened when the house met today? A message was read from Senator Argue to the effect—I have forgotten the exact terminology—that he had been apprised of last night’s debate and asking that his name be removed from the list. It was a perfectly simple and appropriate request for an honourable senator to make, under the circumstances.
That message having been read, the Deputy Leader of the Government announced his intention to accede to that request and make a change. He did not develop that—
Senator Flynn: Why did you vote against the amendment? Come to the point.
Senator McIlraith: Hear me out. Be courteous. I tried to be courteous with you. Let me make my argument, rightly or wrongly. Let it come forward. The Deputy Leader of the Government indicated that he proposed taking action, in view of the message, at the appropriate time. That was agreed. He then proposed that the subject be brought forward as the first item of business today, and that was concurred in by the Leader of the Opposition. That we have done.
The amendment—I believe I have described it accurately— was voted upon. That amendment being out of the way, there IS room for a new amendment, which the Leader of the Opposition has called in question. But what does the new amendment do? It does several things—
Senator Flynn: Oh, oh!
Senator McIlraith: The Leader of the Opposition may laugh, but we would get on better if we listened to some of the views of others as well as those of the Leader of the Opposition.
The new amendment before the house does something quite different. It sets up a whole new combination of representation of the Senate on that joint committee. It sets up a representation that will take account of the desire to have representation from that vast territory in the north of this country—a territory that is small in population but vast in area—
Senator Flynn: You are not discussing the point of order.
Senator McIlraith: Yes, I am, and I hope to stay strictly within the rules.
Senator Flynn: You are not.
Senator McIlraith: The amendment represents an attempt to bring forward the name of someone to represent that vast territory, bearing in mind the nature of that territory and the fact that the native people form a large proportion of the total population—another point that was raised in last night’s debate—and removes the name of a senator to enable that to be done. It then brings forward an action that would give representation from the whole Atlantic region—those four provinces that were not represented by the choice of names in the original motion.
Senator Flynn: You are speaking to the amendment and not to the point of order.
Senator Mcllraithz I am speaking on the point of order. I wish to make my argument. The Leader of the Opposition persists in interrupting. I don’t mind. If he wishes to do so, that is all right; but surely—
Senator Flynn: Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to decide whether the honourable senator is speaking to the merit of the amendment or to the point of order. As I see it, he is speaking to the merit of the amendment.
Senator McIlraith: No, I am not speaking to the merit of the amendment. It will be demonstrated that I am right, even to the satisfaction of the Leader of the Opposition.
Senator Flynn: Next year!
Senator McIlraith: That is the nature of the amendment before us. It does something wholly different. In its effect, it appoints a new group of senators to the committee, a whole new type of representation by the Senate—and that is completely different from the motion that was voted on.
Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.
Senator McIlraith: It is quite in order, because it involves the removal of two senators and calls for their replacement by senators from different regions. This is the first time that I have seen a situation in either house where, after a member has asked that his name be withdrawn from a committee—bearing in mind the necessity of having names coming from each side of the house—and action has been taken to accede to the members’ wishes, the house pursues the matter, as was the right—
Senator Flynn: You did. You voted against the amendment.
Senator McIlraith: As was the right—but that is another matter. Perhaps I am getting away from the rule there, but I invite honourable senators to look at what the action would have been had that motion carried. It would have been perceived to be not merely an action which would have the legal effect of removing the name, but, since the procedural practice for removing the name had already been put in motion, it would also have been perceived to have been vindictive. I am not going to pursue that, however. I am sorry this happened, but it is perhaps another matter.
For the reasons I have given I think the amendment is perfectly in order.
Senator Grosart: Honourable senators, the reason I was perhaps overanxious to rise a few minutes ago was to make clear my protest against the statement by the Leader of the Government that an action in which I participated was “unparliamentary” and “ungenerous.” I would ask him to withdraw that, because I made it very clear that I was rising only to support a point of order. I was not discussing the merits of the amendment in any way. I agrce with Senator Mellraith that all of us owe Senntor Argue thanks. He made the right decision—a difficult decision, I am quite sure—and I for one give him all the respect it is possible to give any senator for the kind of action he has taken.
There is nothing personal in any way in the position I am taking, but when I rise to discuss a point of order, which is my right, particularly when I am supporting a point of order raised by my leader, I object strongly to, and ask for withdrawal of, the statement that I was in any way ungenerous or unparliamentary.
Senator Perrault: Honourable senators, the remarks I made were not directed specifically at any one senator. They were directed, rather, at the attitude of the official opposition. I described what in my estimation are their questionable initiatives this afternoon as being “particularly ungenerous.” In the circumstances, after a senator has sent a communication of the kind sent by the Honourable Senator Hazen Argue, I would have thought it would have been more in the parliamentary tradition for the official opposition to have withdrawn their amendment, the point having been made.
Senator Flynn: Since the Leader of the Government suggests that our actions are directed at the person of Senator Argue, may I remind him that the objection to his presence on the committee was because of his position, not his person. It was on that principle that I believed the government side would have accepted the amendment, recognizing that an error had been made on its part in suggesting that the name of a minister be put forward for this particular committee. That is the point.
As far as concerns the argument of Senator McIlraith, to the effect that it is an entirely new proposal, I disagree entirely. I do not know if the same situation exists with regard to Senator Frith. He did not resign, yet he is being replaced. Since Senator Argue, however, has accepted the principle of the discussion of yesterday, the government side should have accepted the amendment we proposed. Now, however, they come in by the back door and say, “We want Senator Argue removed.” I say they have made a decision and they should stick by it.
Senator Grosart: I appreciate the point made by Senator McIlraith, that in his view a whole new situation has arisen in respect to this. If that is so, I submit that it will be necessary, if this is an entirely new thing, and not just an ordinary amendment or a change, to go back to rule 61 and obtain leave of the Senate to introduce this completely new situation with regard to the appointment of a senator to a committee,
Senator Frith: Your Honour, may we have a ruling?
The Hon. the Speaker: Thank you, honourable senators, for your contributions to this discussion. Here is how I see the problem.
Honourable Senator Flynn would be right if rule 47 were applicable. A resolution cannot be changed during the same sitting, or even after it, without appropriate notice. This, however, is not a resolution. It is a motion, with an amendment, that was not voted on. The motion in amendment would have deleted the name of the Honourable Senator Argue from the resolution, and that was defeated.
Senator Flynn: The Senate said, “No”.
The Hon. the Speaker: If a body as important as the Senate orders that the name of a senator be deleted from a list, the problem is to know whether that is the same as that senator’s offering his resignation. Of course, if the Senate wishes to discuss rhc rncrits of the resignation, whether it was a tactic or a manoeuvre or something else, that is another matter.
If Honourable Senator Flynn is suggesting to me that the second amendment is the same as the first one, I cannot agree. Perhaps the letter should have been read after the first amendment had been defeated. Although it was read before, it has exactly the same meaning. If Honourable Senator Argue notifies the Senate that he does not want to serve on the committee, that is surely not the same thing as an amendment, adopted by the Senate, saying that his name is to be withdrawn from the list.
In my view, the amendment is in order.
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
Senator Flynn: Your Honour has decided that the amendment is in order. We respectfully disagree, but we will not appeal the ruling.
I would say that it is a very interesting motion in itself. Senator McIlraith discussed this at length, and dealt with the substance of what it meant. On the point of order he explained that we were replacing someone with a senator from the Yukon, Senator Lucier, whom we will welcome on the committee, of course. The other change consists of replacing the deputy leader. I do not see in practice what change there is in that, unless it is merely to hide the fact that he had agreed that a minister should not be a member of the committee. Instead of admitting, very simply and very clearly, that a minister should not be on the committee, he uses that device. In any event, the motion can carry, but the record will speak for itself.
Hon. Daniel A. Lang: Just for purposes of the record, honourable senators, I should like to speak to the motion. I am not objecting to the composition of this joint committee, but I think it should be fully recognized for what it is, Before saying any more, however, I will say that I have the greatest respect for the experience, knowledge and wisdom of Senator Connolly. I know that in connection with the work of this committee there is imposed upon him a very serious obligation, and I am only sorry that he is the only member of the Senate on that committee from Ontario. This, to me, is a rather astounding distortion of our demographic limits in view of the fact that Ontario represents one-third of the population of Canada.
Let us look at this committee for one moment. Newfoundland has a representative on the Senate section, Quebec has four, British Columbia has one, Ontario has one, Alberta has one, Manitoba has one, and the Yukon has one.
I am not going to vote against this motion, but I do not want you, my colleagues, or the public or the press, to think that I am unaware—and I hope they are aware—of how badly this committee is loaded against the main population, and, in fact, the main economic base of this country.
Hon. Lowell Murray: Very briefly, I want to say that before honourable senators move to appoint members to this committee they should be aware of very serious restraints that are being put on the work of the committee by various spokesmen for the government, including two ministers and a parliamentary secretary, who are interviewed in today’s edition of La Presse.
In an article by Gilbert Lavoie, it is clear from the interviews with the two ministers, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, Mr. Gray, and the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Ouellet, that the government has decided, not to cede an inch of ground to the requirements of the Senate concerning the amending formula and, in particular, section 44.
The point is made that, in the same way that the government wishes to provide for a mechanism to break an impasse with the provinces, it is necessary also to provide for a mechanism to break any impasse with the Senate.
In particular, I want to draw your attention, honourable senators, to the reference to the two ministers of the Crown and to the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Irwin, who is to be a member of the committee, as I understand it, and also a reference to another member of Parliament, Mr. Lapicrre of Shefford. If I may quote from the text of the article, Mr. Lavoie says:
Interviewed separately, two ministers, Mr. Herb Gray and Mr. André Ouellet, gave the same answer practically word for word and stated that they could not see why the Senate ought to be exempted from the proposed resolution which empowers the government to abolish the monarchy in Canada if it so desires. Mr. Ron Irwin, Parliamentary Secretary to Justice Minister Jean Chretien, made a similar statement, adding that the whole question had already been the object of lengthy discussions but that it had been impossible to reach a compromise.
Then the article goes on in much the same vein and quotes another member of Parliament, Mr. Lapierre of Shefford, who is to be a member of the committee, as I understand it. It says that one of the reasons for putting in place this mechanism to break any possible deadlock with the Senate would be if the government wished to abolish the monarchy and the Senate objected. I will give honourable senators the precise quotation:
Mr. Lapierre pointed out that it would not be logical to allow the Senate to stand in the way of constitutional reform—
And then, in quotation marks:
“after giving ourselves the means to go over the heads of the provinces”. He expressed the opinion that within two years Canada will definitely break all ties with the British monarchy.
Again in quotation marks:
“If we were to do so and appoint a head of state in Canada the Senate might object and everything would amount to naught . . . that would be inadmissible”. “Similarly, if we wanted to change the Senate, the senators would be both judges and party if we leave them with the right of veto”.
Then Mr. Lapierre, referring to himself and to his colleague, Mr. Serge Joyal, makes some remarks that some honourable senators may find insulting about their attention to their duties and their property qualifications in various provinces.
To give him credit, and as one might expect, Senator McIlraith, who was interviewed, said;
—Liberal Senator George McIlraith said it is revolting to sec members of the Commons censure the Senate in advance and hold it responsible for the constitutional impasse. “In 70 years the Senate has never been at the origin of an impasse. Now and then it did send bills back to the Commons so they could be improved, period”. Mr. Mcllraith said he did not know how his Liberal Senate colleagues would react if the proposed resolution is not amended, etc—
I simply think it is important, before the Senate moves to appoint its members to the committee, that they know precisely some of the constraints that are being put on this committee by two ministers of the Crown and by the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Justice—the minister who has the responsibility in the government for constitutional reform, as I understand it—who will also be a member of the committee, and by member of the Liberal majority in the other place, Mr. Lapierre of Shefford.
I think it important that honourable senators be aware of those facts before they proceed to vote.
Hon. D. G. Steuart: Before the vote is put on the motion as amended, I should just like to say a few words. While I recognize that with only 10 members representing the Senate of Canada on this joint committee, it is practically impossible to represent all provinces and territories—and I did support and I do support the principle that a cabinet minister should not be on this committee—nevertheless, I must rise to say a word for those of us on this side who represent regions which are not represented on this committee. While Lorne Nystrom,
an NDP member from Saskatchewan, is a fine young man, he will in no way reflect the views of a great many on this side who come from Saskatchewan.
Having said that, I do not propose to vote against the motion but, in view of what was said by the honourable senator who just spoke, I am greatly concerned by the way this committee was chosen. I am aware that the way these names are brought forward is not particularly democratically. However, we are having a vote and, of course, a vote is a democratic way to proceed.
I have great respect for the members of that committee, and I hope that they will, in tact, represent the various views that have been expressed on this floor by members on both sides and, certainly, in the caucus. This will be a difficult job because when the final stage of this constitutional Address comes to this house, there will be no practical way to amend it in substance. That means that when it comes back here, if the views of a great many members are not in fact represented in the final draft—and statements have been made which would lead one to suspect that they may well not be—then we will be faced with the very difficult choice of all or nothing—either voting entirely against it and defeating it, or voting in favour of it—take it or leave it.
A great many senators have already indicated that they do not intend to follow party lines but that they will, in fact, follow their conscience and the best interests of their regions.
Senator Mclilmanz Honourable senators, having spoken last evening on this subject, I should like now to say just a few words. I am grateful that government representatives here have shown flexibility and a spirit of compromise in the light of the comments made in the Senate last evening. I appreciate very much that the Atlantic provinces will now be represented. I commend them also for their good judgment in placing the name of the Honourable Senator Paul Lucier before the Senate to represent that important part of Canada, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Having expressed my appreciation, I would just like to say, a few words in reply to Senator Lang who said that Ontario, with one-third of the population, would have only one spokesman from the Senate. I draw to his attention that in the Senate we do not deal in demographic terms and we do not deal with representation in the Senate on the basis of population. That is something all of us have to bear in mind always. It is regional representation in this chamber.
Senator Lang: It is a pretty large region.
Senator McElman: It is regional representation in this house, and I believe I am accurate in saying that the Province of Ontario will now have on the total committee six members out of 25, and that is not bad regional representation—not bad at all. I do not think we should take too seriously any representations that may be made here that the Province of Ontario, because of its population and acknowledged economic strength within the Canadian community, is being badly done by.
Senator Smith: Honourable senators, I should like to say a few words on this motion containing the revised list of senators recommended to be accepted by the Senate for membership of this committee. I certainly take no personal exception in any way to any of the members on that list—they are all very estimable gentlemen—but I do draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that the leadership of the Senate missed a glorious opportunity to remedy two very obvious omissions which were mentioned last night.
First, they have clearly omitted any representative of those senators who have expressed reservations about the contents of this document that we arc dealing with, that is, the Joint Address and the suggested statute that goes with it. There was an excellent opportunity of putting up a new list. I realize, of course, that the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the Government pay no attention to what is said by anybody except themselves anyway, so I do not object to the fact that they are making at racket over there and paying no attention to me. That is perfectly all right. I would not expect to impress them in any event, but I repeat there was an excellent opportunity to put on that committee someone who, at the very heart of the deliberations, could represent the views of those senators—and clearly there are quite a number of them—who have some reservations about the content of the resolution and what goes with it.
The second very clear omission was mentioned last night by Senator Bosa, that is, there appears to be no one who could be said to represent what he referred to as ethnic groups. Surely when this new list was being formulated, those two omissions could readily have been taken care of with a little foresight and a little attention to the interests which are represented in this Senate and in this country and which ought to be represented in the persons of the Senate members of this joint committee. I think it is most unfortunate, indeed, that this oversight was permitted to occur.
Senator Grosart: Honourable senators, the Deputy Leader of the Government informed the Senate yesterday that he regarded it as important that he consult the government. This appears on page 1156 of yesterday’s Hansard. On two separate occasions he made it clear that he thought it necessary to bring the suggestions, comments, and so on, to the attention of the government. I would ask him now if he has done that and, secondly, if the agency known as the Federal-Provincial Relations Office was eonsulted on the decision to put before the Senate this list of names?
Senator Frith: Honourable senators, the procedure that has always been followed in my experience when a joint committee is to be established—and the only two I have had any experience with are the Joint Committee on Official Languages and this committee that we are now considering—is to discuss membership on the committee, first, with the other side in this house, and then with the Commons representatives, including those in the government. The exact procedure that I have been engaged in has been to forward the names of senators to act on behalf of the government party in the Senate, and then the other place put forward names. We discuss these names, and
in that sense both members of the House of Commons and members of the government were consulted. I did bring to the attention of the government and members of the House of Commons the debate that took place here last night. What was the second question?
Senator Grosart: The second question was whether the Federal-Provincial Relations Office was consulted?
Senator Frith: I did not consult them—not knowingly, in any event. Whether they were consulted—putting it in the passive sense—whether somebody consulted them about anything I dealt with, I don’t know, but I was not dealing, with a body by that name.
Senator Grosart: In fairness to the honourable senator, perhaps he may wish to correct the following sentence which appears in today’s Ottawa Citizen.
After a prolonged procedural wrangle, debate on the list was adjourned and Frith promised to consult the government, meaning the Federal Provincial Relations Office which is masterminding procedure for the constitutional debate.
I would ask him, first ofall, to comment and then to assure the Senate, if it is so, that that particular agency is not masterminding the procedures before us?
Senator Frith: Honourable senators, I do not think it is proper for me to comment on what was said in the newspaper, and I do not intend to do so.
Hon. Orville H. Phillips: Honourable senators, before the motion is put, I would like to make a few brief comments. I echo the sentiments expressed by Senator McElman during last night’s debate. He did bring forward the appointment of a representative from the Atlantic provinces. However, I think of thegtreatment accorded the Negroes south of the border. In the United States the blacks are often afforded one member on a committee, or a member of the United States Cabinet, and this individual is referred to as the “token black”. I hope that Senator Petten will not consider political colours too much, but rather that he will pay diligent attention to the Atlantic region.
I suggest to Senator Petten, with great respect as a friend, that he has a rather difficult task because we find that three former premiers from the Atlantic region, and now members of a chamber that is supposed to represent provinces and the regions, have been overlooked. I do not wish to discourage you, Senator Petten, but, rather, I want you to know that there is a very heavy burden on your shoulders, and we from the Atlantic provinces will be watching you.
I have great respect for the ability and experience of Senator Hicks. He is a Rhodes Scholar, a former university president, and a former Premier of Nova Scotia. He is a difficult man to replace. Then at the far end of the chamber we have Senator Robichaud, a former distinguished Premier of New Brunswick, and a former Chairman of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission. He has a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge, which will take a lot of special effort on the part of Senator Petten to equal. I don’t mean Senator Petten does not have the ability, but rather that it will take a lot of work on his part.
Last night it was suggested that Senator Argue would not have the time to attend the committee because of his duties as a cabinet minister. I suggest, with the same thought in mind, that Senator Petten will not have time to be the Liberal Whip and a member of that committee. The committee will be meeting morning, noon and night, and he cannot continue as Liberal Whip in this chamber. I don’t like to see him lose his salary as Liberal Whip, but I think he should resign in order to be able to attend the committee meetings. I am sure he would be very welcome. Not only his colleagues on the government side, but also those senators on this side, would welcome him back as Liberal Whip after the committee has finished its sittings.
I am also pleased that the Northwest Territories and the Yukon were considered in the composition of the committee. I do not wish to criticize Senator Lucier, but I am surprised that 71 senator such as Senator Adams, who was present throughout the whole debate and at every vote, was not appointed to the committee. I hope Senator Adams will take Senator Lucier aside and bring him up-to-date on the proceedings in this discussion.
Honourable senators, I have just received a note from my seat-mate suggesting that I overlooked Senator Smith when I mentioned the former premiers. I did not do so deliberately. His ability and experience arc so well known that I did not consider it necessary to mention him.
Hon. Hartland de M. Molson: Honourable senators, I should like to ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate a question. After the last few days, during which there have been a great many provocative remarks, perhaps provocative questions, I want it clearly understood that there is no underlying provocation in my question.
Since the start of this debate there has been a question as to the procedure to be adopted when the resolution has gone to the committee and the committee reports back. The Leader of the Opposition suggested yesterday that the Standing Committee on Standing Rules and Orders look into the matter of the procedure. I replied that it sounded like a reasonable request and that I would examine the question. Obviously I have not had time to do so. My question to the Leader of the Government is a very simple one. What does he propose the course of events will be when a report is received back from this Joint Committee on the Constitution and reaches the floor of the Senate? Would he mind explaining to us exactly what will happen then?
Senator Perrault: I understand that the report would be debated, as is every report which comes from a committee. The particulars of the report would be open for debate. I expect that certain honourable senators will wish to suggest changes. They may propose motions to alter the report, to change the report. If those motions are adopted, as I stated in an earlier discussion on this point, the report, with the assent
of the other place, would then go back to the joint committee for consideration by that committee, and perhaps subsequent revisions in that report might go to the joint committee. The report would then, of course, have to go back to both chambers for final agreement from the other place and from the Senate.
Senator Molson: Perhaps I could ask a supplementary question. That suggests that not only would tin: details, or tht elements, or the clauses of the report be debated, but it would be possible to amend them if the Senate saw fit. Am I right on that point?
Senator Perrault: I have nothing to add to my statement.
Senator Molson: I was trying to clarify that position.
Senator Perraule: I want to say to the Honourable Senator Molson that I am sure the house leader in the other place, and certainly officials who work with me as Leader of the Government in the Senate, will cooperate in any way to attempt to assist the honourable senator’s efforts in preparing a summary for the Senate.
Hon. Duff Roblin (Deputy Leader of the Opposition): I should like to ask my honourable friend to clarify a portion of his statement that I did not quite clearly unclcrstaud. He said that amendments could be made to the report with the consent of the other place. Did he really mean to say that?
Senator Perrault: I didn’t say that.
Senator Roblin: The honourable senator said something that sounded very like it to me. Perhaps I could put my question in another way. I trust it will be possible for this house, on its own initiative, to make amendments in detail with respect to the report that is received back. Is that a correct statement?
Senator Perrault: I regret very much that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition seems to want to read the worst into things. I never stated there would have to be agreement in the other place before an amendment could be advanced in the Senate. I am sorry the honourable senator would even presume for a moment that any suggestion of that kind would emanate from this side. Of course, such a procedure would be totally contrary to Senate tradition.
What I did say, and what I stated some days ago, and what is a matter of record, is that, because this is a joint committee, when the report of the committee comes to the Senate and if after debate certain proposals are made in the Senate to change certain sections of the Address to Her Majesty or to the proposed draft bill, those proposed changes would be proposed in the form of a motion duly seconded and, if passed here by honourable senators, sent back to a re-constituted joint committee. However, in order for the committee to resume its activities to study these proposed Senate changes the co-operation and the agreement of the other place would be required in order to revive or re-establish the committee.
Senator Flynn: Do you mean you won’t raise any procedural objections to amendments being made either to the report or to the proposed resolution?
Senator Olson: Just a minute.
Senator Flynn: Well, that’s what I want to know. In other words, do you intend to claim that the report cannot be amended when it comes before us—legally, I mean?
Senator Perrault: The report will be dealt with like any other report that comes to the Senate, according to the rules, which the Leader of the Opposition frequently states he rcvercs so much.
Senator Flynn: I did not say that. On the contrary. That is why I suggested to Senator Molson that he should have his committee clarify and, if necessary, establish rules that would clearly indicate what procedure we will follow when that report comes to us. I suggest that that committee should meet and establish that. The Leader of the Government said that we were masters of our own rules. Therefore we can establish those rules in order to avoid any objections based on procedure that could be made by the Leader of the Government or by someone else.
Senator Perrault: I said that the Senate is master of its own rules, but it must be borne in mind that when we are involved with the other place in a joint committee the usual rules pertaining to joint committees apply. Of course, the honourable senator is aware of that.
Senator Flynn: I am speaking of the report and what the Senate can do with it. The Leader of the Government said that as far as the report and the document to which the report will refer are concerned, we are masters of our own rules, and that is why I suggest that we clearly establish what rules we want to follow when this report comes to us.
Some Hon. Senators: Question.
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, it is moved by the Honourable Senator Frith, seconded by the Honourable Senator Perrault, that rule 66(1) be suspended in relation to the nomination of senators to serve on the—
Some Hon, Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: In amendment, it is moved by the Honourable Senator Frith, seconded by the Honourable Senator Petten, that the motion be amended by striking out the second paragraph thereof and substituting therefor the following
Some Hon. Senators: Dispense.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators in favour of the amendment please say “yea”?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators who are opposed to the amendment please say “nay”?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it, and the motion in amendment is carried, on division.
Will those honourable senators in favour of the main motion, as amended, please say “yea”?
Some Hon. Senators: Yea.
The Hon. the Speaker: Will those honourable senators who are opposed to the main motion, as amended, please say “nay”?
Some Hon. Senators: Nay.
The Hon. the Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it, and I declare the motion, as amended, carried.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.