Canada, Senate Debates, “Status of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (6 October 1980)

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Date: 1980-10-06
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Senate Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1980 at 798.
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SENATE DEBATES — October 6, 1980

[Page 798]



Hon. Lowell Murray: Honourable senators, I wish to ask the Leader of the Government whether, in view of the current interest in constitutional reform, he can explain why there has not been forthcoming tonight the report of the subcommittee of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on which a number of our colleagues worked this summer? Even though the committee was unduly restricted in its terms of reference, as we on this side pointed out at the time, its report would be interesting and timely, ifit is to be brought in immediately.

Hon. Raymond J. Perrault (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I believe we are all aware of the outstanding work done by senators from both sides of this house as members of that subcommittee.

I understand that the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee will be meeting later this week to consider the matter of when the report should be tabled. I would not wish to anticipate what might take place at that meeting.

Senator Murray: Can the minister say, or, alternatively, can Senator Lamontagne, the chairman of the subcommittee, or Senator Goldenberg, the chairman of the committee, say whether there is a report ready or not?

Hon. H. Carl Goldenberg: Honourable senators, the committee, as Senator Murray has said, met a number of times during the summer. It agreed on the substance of its report on two of the matters referred to it. It has not had the opportunity of giving full consideration to the third matter.

In any event, the aspects of the Constitution referred to the committee, which were dealt with by a subcommittee under the chairmanship of Senator Lamontagne, are not directly related to the government proposals in the resolution to which reference has been made.

We will present a report in due course, but as I have said and as Senator Flynn knows, we did not have within our terms of reference any of the specific items which appear in the proposals to which Senator Murray made reference.

Senator Murray: I would not enter a quibble at this point except to say that the proposed resolution, the proposed address, does, according to some rather authoritative interpretations, have a most profound effect upon the powers of this place. If I recall the terms of reference correctly, the role of the second chamber was discussed by that subcommittee.

Senator Goldenberg: The second part of the report will deal with the Senate, but I do not think Senator Murray is correct when he says that the proposals in the resolution deal with the Senate in terms of the future of the Senate as referred to the committee.

Senator Murray: The Senate will be written out of renewal if that resolution passes.

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