May 26, 1930

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

May I ask a question?

Does the hon. gentleman believe that it would be proper to have the Chief Justice of Canada as governor general and that the chief justice of each province should be lieutenant-governor de facto?

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

It seems to me that is an admirable suggestion and I do not see why it should not be carried out. It would save a great deal of unnecessary expense, and perhaps might avoid the setting up in this country of certain class distinctions that are not in harmony with the democratic traditions of newer countries.

I regret further that no provisions is made for Canada amending her own constitution. On page 29, article 66 of the report, we have the statement put very clearly:

Nothing in this act shall be deemed to confer any power to repeal or alter the constitution acts of the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Dominion of New Zealand, otherwise than in accordance with the law and constitutional usage and practice heretofore existing.

I wish, however, that occasion had been taken to make some provision for such alteration. I can understand that the minister may say he had no mandate, and perhaps that may be a justification.

We have provision in this report that in certain matters of legislation, Canada is not to be subordinated to Great Britain. On page 25 we find the following:

No law and no provision of any law hereafter made by the parliament of a dominion shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the law of England or to the provisions of any existing or future act of parliament or to any order, rule or regulation made thereunder, and the powers of the parliament of a dominion shall include the power to repeal or amend any such act, order, rule or regulation in so far as the same is part of the law of the dominion.

But let me point out that in these types of legislation the provinces are still subject to Great Britain. At page 31, section 71, I find the following:

In the absence of special provision, provincial and state legislation will continue to be subject to the Colonial Laws Validity Act and to the legislative supremacy of the parliament of the United Kingdom, and it will be a matter for the proper authorities in Canada and in

Australia to consider whether and to what extent it is desired that the principles to be embodied in the new act of the parliament of the United Kingdom should be applied to provincial and state legislation in the future.

Whilst the Minister of Justice may take the view that here again he had no mandate from Canada or from any province of Canada, a bolder policy would have given to the provinces in this regard the same rights that have been secured for the dominion. I often wonder when Canada will be mistress in her own house and when the provinces will find greater security in their fellow Canadians than they do in certain laws which are on the statute books of Great Britain.

I note in the daily press of May 21 that when this report was discussed the other day in the South African parliament an amendment was introduced affirming the right of South Africa to secede from the commonwealth. According to their view the recommendations of this report, to use the words of the news item, "must not be taken as derogating from the right of any member of the British commonwealth to withdraw therefrom." Their amendment was passed on the ground not that South Africa wished to secede but, again to use their own phrase, "in order to put the matter beyond a doubt." It seems to me that such a resolution is not necessary; indeed, I would suggest that it indicates what some modern psychologists have termed an inferiority complex. I take it that secession is an inalienable right of a free people, a sovereign nation. Fancy Great Britain debating the question of secession. If we are indeed as free as we are told we are under the present arrangement, then we ought not to have to discuss any matter of that kind. It will be recalled that the report of the Imperial conference of 1926 declared, in relation to the United Kingdom and the dominions, that they are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any respect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the crown, and freely associated as members of the British commonwealth of nations.

Then again in this report there are the words:

These principles of freedom, equality, and cooperation have slowly emerged from the experience of the self-governing communities now constituting that most remarkable and successful experiment in cooperation between free democracies which has ever been developed, the British commonwealth of nations. . . .

I take it that if our association is indeed that of cooperation, we must admit that we

Shipping Legislation-Mr. Woodsworth,

are free to take our own course having regard to the best interests of our own country. That does not mean that in any sense we are false to the larger group with whom we are associated.

However, there is another matter which I should like to bring to the attention of the house. I have been troubled over since 1926 by the question as to what is our relation to the parts of the British Empire which are not separate members of the League of Nations, the various crown colonies and dependencies. I have wondered further as to our relationship to the parts of the empire which, shall I say, are not self-governing. I think of one nation that is outstanding, in a class by itself; that is India. The question of India is discussed in the report before us at page 13 and at page 50, and the whole matter is left in abeyance, left to the government of Great Britain and to the government of India. I hesitate at this time to discuss a matter so complicated as that of British administration in India; I am loath in any way to embarrass the Labour government of Great Britain. .1 am doubtful whether, under arrangements existing since the Imperial conference of 1926, Canada has any direct responsibilities; hence any advice from us might be regarded as gratuitous. Yet I recall that some years ago, even under our previous status, this parliament took a stand regarding the granting of a larger measure of self-government to Ireland, and I do not know why such a stand was not taken at the conference in regard to India. India is a member of the League of Nations; Canada is a member both of the assembly and of the council, and if as members of the British commonwealth of nations we have not the right to advise Great Britain as to her policies in India, then I take it that we have a right to speak in that regard because of our common relationships in the League of Nations. Article 11, of the treaty of peace provides:

It is also declared to be the friendly right of each member of the league to bring to the attention of the assembly or of the council any circumstance whatever affecting international relations which threatens to disturb international peace or the good understanding between nations upon which peace depends.

I confess that I have a profound respect for the ideals of Mr. Ghandi, even though I cannot endorse many of his methods. In the Times Book of India, which I have in my hand, there aippears a full page picture of Lord Irwin in his viceregal robes. On the opposite page is a small insert of Mr. Ghandi, an insignificant squatting dark figure clad only in a loin cloth. Lord Irwin is of my own 2419-164

race, yet my sympathies are with Mr. Ghandi. In the future, Mr. Ghandi, in spite of what may seem to be fanatical eccentricities, may well be regarded as one of the greatest men of his age. Perhaps Lord Irwin will be remembered as having been the Viceroy of India during the time of Mr. Ghandi. It might be well for us to remember that Pilate, the representative of imperial Rome, is known to the world only because he was the governor who crucified an obscure Galilean, regarded then as now as a teacher of impractical and subversive doctrines.

Whether or not we have the right to speak because of our membership in the commonwealth of nations or because we are common members of the League of Nations, it seems to me that there is a common humanity and justice which transcends all national boundaries. I received the other day an appeal for self-government for India from some American leaders of thought, signed first of all by Mr. John Dewey, the veteran educationalist who has inspired so many. I will read one paragraph, as follows:

It is no adequate answer to point to the obstacles in India to the establishment of a successful national government. They will not be overcome by foreign rule resting on bayonets. India has presented her case to the world against foreign government based solely on conquest, a government alien to her spirit and her desires, which despite the individual probity of its officials has exploited the Indian people and profoundly humiliated their spirit. Were the ease for independence less strong it would still be true that no believer in democracy, no opponent of imperialism, no advocate of a fellowship of free peoples can accept the right of any British government to put down by force of arms the revolt of India's millions.

It may seem to be an insult for Americans to make an appeal of this character; yet it was only a few months ago that British leaders appealed against the American action in the Sacco-Vanzetti case, and in more recent times British leaders have appealed1 against the religious persecution which is said to be pro' ceeding in Russia. I am loath to embarrass the British government by even mentioning this matter at this time, yet I am not at all sure that instead of embarrassing the government, outside opinion may help to strengthen the hand of the British Prime Minister. The views on India of the British Prime Minister were stated at the last League of Nations assembly. His address at that time included the following:

Outside of Europe there is an old world, old in civilisation, old in philosophy, old in religion, old in culture, that hitherto had been weak in those material powers that have characterized the western peoples. But that old world, wrapped in slumber as we thought, has now be-

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I wonder if my hon

friend would mind if I asked him a question? Does he think at the present moment, in view of the very serious situation and the difficulties being experienced in preserving law and order in India, it is desirable that observations of that kind should go abroad from this parliament?

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LAB

James Shaver Woodsworth

Labour

Mr. WOODSWORTH:

I have only a few

remarks more to make. As I said, I was loath to do anything whatever to embarrass 2419-X64.1

the British government, if my poor words here would indeed embarrass them, but it seems to me from what I have already quoted from Mr. Ramsay MacDonald that he is as anxious as I or anybody else to settle this question by peaceful means, and I am not at all sure that an expression of opinion in this house may not do something to strengthen the hands of those who are seeking to settle matters by pacific means.

I was going to say that Great Britain advanced the cause of the British Empire in granting self-government to South Africa. It seems to me, as has been shown by the Minister of Justice this afternoon, that Great Britain has made a decided advance at the last Imperial conference the report of which we are discussing to-night.

Great Britain cannot be said to be the divinely appointed policeman of the world, and the sooner we get out of our heads the idea that she is, the better. My viewpoint to-night is simply this: if we believe in selfgovernment for ourselves, why not urge that there be self-government for other portions of the British Empire? May I say to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Bennett) that I think that is a reasonable attitude? He may say that India is not as capable of selfgovernment as we are. Possibly not, but when I was a child I remember we were told that Ireland was not ready for self-government and it took a long time before Great Britain came to the decision that Ireland was ready. We 'have to-day a few Irishmen who claim they were ready all along. I would urge that just as we desire self-government for ourselves, the time has come when a great body of people such as those in India ought to be given an opportunity, even though they may not immediately succeed, of working out their own destiny.

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal

Mr. J. T. THORSON (Winnipeg South Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I warmly welcome the resolution so ably introduced this afternoon by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) and for two reasons I hope it will receive the unanimous support of the house. In the first place, the adoption of the resolution will involve acceptance without reservation of the doctrine that Canada is entitled to equality of status with Great Britain and the other British nations in that free association which, for want of a better name, is called the British commonwealth of nations. In the second place, it will be a definite mandate from this house to our Canadian representatives at the next imperial conference, whoever they may be, that when they speak at that conference their

2596 COMMONS

Shipping Legislation-Mr. Thorson

voice shall be that of Canadian autonomy over Canadian affairs, whether those affairs be external or domestic, and of free association of Canada with her equal sister British nations in that great league of British nations that has been established. Canada must at that conference play a role worthy of her place in the history of the British dominions, as the laboratory of constitutional experiment and the workshop of constitutional progress.

The Imperial conference of 1926 adopted a striking definition of the relationship of the dominions towards one another and towards Great Britain. I wish to repeat it here:

They are autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the crown, and freely associated as members of the British commonwealth of nations.

Ever since that definition was framed there has been raging controversy as to its meaning, and many have directly challenged the accuracy and even the truth of the definition. There have been two distinct schools of thought, that of the legalist, who sees no change of legal machinery, and who denies that there has been any change of status; and that of the constitutionalist, who realizes that under the British system of government constitutional convention outgrows and replaces legal theory when the need for a change arises. The legalists trained in the atmosphere of the courts and steeped in legal precedents have stressed the purely legal argument. They point out that the Dominion of Canada owes its existence as a legal entity to the British North America Act, a statute passed by the parliament of Great Britain; that the British North America Act is the charter of Canada beyond which its legislatures, whether federal or provincial, cannot validly go, and that neither the dominion nor the provinces can amend its provisions. They argue also that Canada cannot validly give extra-territorial operation to its legislation. They contend that the status of Canada is that of a dependency, and they cap their argument by showing that all legislation passed by the parliament of Canada is subject to review and an unrestricted power of disallowance by the government of Great Britain and by advancing also the doctrine of the legislative sovereignty of the parliament of Great Britain over Canada. They point out as a legal fact that our legislation is subject to the restrictions of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, and that Canadian legislatures are powerless to pass valid legislation repugnant to any enactment of the parliament of Great Britain extending to

Canada. Therefore, for example, Canada has no final control over her own shipping, nor over her own judicial system. The privy council has ruled that Canada cannot validly prohibit appeals to the privy council. In the face of these facts the legalists triumphantly proclaim: How can Canada be equal in status with Great Britain? The hon. leader of the apposition (Mr. Bennett) and his distinguished predecessor in that office, the hon. member for South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie) have been able and outstanding exponents of the point of view of the legalists. They even seem to gloat over the badges of legislative inferiority which have been pinned on Canada and her sister dominions. There is a great deal of force and much truth in the argument of the legalists; but they have not painted the complete picture. They have missed the spirit of the system of government under which we live. It has been left to our statesmen both in Great Britain and in the dominions assembled in solemn conference to catch the spirit of our constitutional position and embody it in the definition of equality of status to which I have just referred. They belong to the school of the constitutionalists, who realize that our constitution is a living thing capable of growth and expansion to meet the needs of changing conditions, and it is not confined to statutory enactments. They know that constitutional conventions are a vital part of our constitution and that these conventions have sanctions behind them at least as powerful as the sanctions of the law. Throughout the whole course of British constitutional development there has always been a distinction between legal theory and constitutional fact, between the legal power to act and the constitutional right to exercise that power. Frequently the legal forms are left unchanged and still remain on the statute books in theory, but the constitutional right to apply the forms has ceased in fact by reason of the development and crystalization of constitutional conventions and practice. In that distinction between legal power and constitutional right lies the vitality and capacity for growth of the British constitution. For example, the king has still the unrestricted legal power of veto, but he has not exercised that power for over two hundred years, and his constitutional right to exercise it no longer exists. Similarly, the government of Great Britain has still by virtue of section 56 of the British North America Act unrestricted legal power to disallow every single act of legislation that we may pass this session. But who will admit their constitutional right to exercise that legal power? What would happen, Mr. Speaker, if they sought to exer-

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cise it? The power of disallowance has not been exercised for fifty-seven years, and by reason of the constitutional convention that has grown up that it should not be exercised, the constitutional right to exercise it is as dead as the royal veto. Similarly, other constitutional conventions have grown up with the result that the constitutional status of the dominions has changed, and the Imperial conference of 1926 accepted the doctrine of equality of status as a matter of constitutional right and reality, no matter what the legal status might be.

The Imperial conference of 1926 said that equality of status is the root principle governing the relations between the dominions and Great Britain, but it recognized very frankly that existing administrative legislative and judicial forms are not wholly in accord with the constitutional position defined by it, and recommended .that steps should be taken by Great Britain and by the dominions with a view to overhauling and repairing our legal machinery, so that legal theory might be brought into conformity with constitutional fact. It was recognized that in the case of the relationship of the dominions towards one another and towards Great Britain constitutional development had so far outgrown legal theory that legal change was essential in order that a broad foundation of autonomy and equality might be laid for the new structure of the future.

The report which is now before this house is that of the conference which was appointed by Great Britain and the dominions to carry out the recommendations of the Imperial conference of 1926 and is the result of their deliberations.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Not to carry them out, but to determine what had to be done to carry them out.

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

It deals with a great

number of matters of complexity and importance, but I shall confine myself to those recommendations of the report which, when carried into effect will increase our autonomy over our own affairs, remove the badges of legislative inferiority that we now wear, and give us that full self-government and equality of status to which we are entitled as a matter of legal as well as constitutional right.

In the first place, the conference recognizes that the dominions should have the same right to give extraterritorial operation to its legislation as is possessed by Great Britain with respect to its own enactments. There has been great controversy whether this right is not already possessed by the dominions. I

have held the view that this parliament does possess the power to give extraterritorial operation to its legislation in order that it might effectively and adequately act within its own sphere of jurisdiction, and that the decisions of the courts denying that power are based on wrong principles. But it is proposed to place this question beyond all dispute and to recognize the power without any reservations whatsoever by an enactment of the parliament of Great Britain to the following effect:

It is hereby declared and enacted that the parliament of a dominion has^ full power to make laws having extraterritorial operation.

When that enactment is passed one of the badges of legislative inferiority will drop from our lapels, and it will not be open to our courts to declare that our legislation is invalid by reason of its being extraterritorial in its operation. We shall then have fuller control and greater autonomy over such matters as fisheries, taxation, shipping, air navigation, radio communication, marriage, criminal law, smuggling, immigration, deportation, and other matters involving extraterritoriality. Who can deny that these are all matters of selfgovernment in which the Canadian people are vitally interested? Why then should our antonomy over them be any longer restricted?

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

May I ask the hon.

gentleman how it would increase our legislative powers with respect to deportation and radio communication? The privy council has held that we have full power of deportation. How would it widen our legislative powers with respect to radio communication?

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LIB

Joseph Thorarinn Thorson

Liberal

Mr. THORSON:

That question I shall not deal with at the moment. When the recommendations of this report are implemented we shall have absolute equality of status with Great Britain in this respect, and I think this parliament may be trusted to pass reasonable legislation within the jurisdiction it possesses.

A great portion of the report deals with the Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1866. That act has had a curious history. When it was enacted it was described as "an act to remove doubts as to the validity of colonial laws," and its purpose undoubtedly was to extend the powers of self-government of colonial legislatures beyond the narrow limits which had been assigned to them by judicial decisions particularly in the courts of South Australia. But at the same time the act imposed restrictions upon the legislative powers of the dominions in that it rendered void all acts passed by the dominions to the extent of their repugnancy to legislation of the parliament of Great Britain

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extending to the dominions. The parliament of Great Britain has in the past asserted and exercised its legislative sovereignty over the dominions, notwithstanding the various constitutional acts, such as the British North America Act, with all their implications of selfgovernment, by extending its legislation to the dominions, Where it has done so it has abridged the right of self-government of the dominions affected and cut down their autonomy. The parliament of Great Britain has acted in this manner for the purpose of obtaining in respect of important legislation uniformity throughout the dominions. But it is recognized by the report that this procedure is no longer constitutionally appropriate in the case of the dominions in view of their constitutional equality of status with Great Britain. It is proposed therefore to repeal the Colonial Laws Validity Act in its application to laws made by the dominion parliaments, and to remove the restrictions upon their rights of selfgovernment which were imposed by the operation of the act. It is proposed to accomplish this by an enactment of the parliament of Great Britain in the following terms:

(1) The Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1805, shall cease to apply to any law made by the parliament of a dominion.

(2) No law and no provision of any law hereafter made by the parliament of a dominion shall be void or inoperative on the ground that it is repugnant to the la\v of England or to the provisions of any existing or future act of parliament or to any order, rule or regulation made thereunder, and the powers of the parliament of a dominion shall include the power to repeal or amend any such act, order, rule or regulation in so far as the same is part of the law of the dominion.

When this legislation is enacted two other badges of Canadian legislative inferiority will disappear. This parliament will have full and complete control over Canadian shipping-a control which it does not possess to-day. It will of course be desirable to have uniformity as far as possible in the matter of shipping legislation, and the Canadian parliament can be trusted in that respect. But that uniformity will hereafter be the result of willing cooperation and concurrent legislation; it will no longer be imposed upon Canada by a parliament which is not responsible to the Canadian people.

The privy council has ruled in the case of Rex v. Nadan that the Canadian people cannot prohibit appeals to the privy council, even if they should wish to do so. That is a denial of self-government; for how can it be said that we have full self-government if the judicial function of government upon which we depend for the administration of justice, for the adjudication of our rights and the FMr. Thorson.]

preservation of our liberties, is withheld from us, or we are restricted in the scope of its exercise? When this legislation is enacted it will be within the power of this parliament to abolish appeals t'o the privy council, at any rate in respect of all matters over which this parliament has jurisdiction. Whether this parliament should within its competence abolish appeals to the privy council is perhaps a matter of opinion, but surely there can be no question that Canada should have the right to abolish such appeals if, in the exercise of her free judgment she wishes to take such action. The abolition of appeals from Canadian courts to the judicial committee of the privy council is for the Canadian people to decide, and for no one else.

The report goes further, Mr. Speaker, than merely to recommend an increase of autonomy to the parliaments of the dominions, and to indicate the means whereby such an increase is to ibe brought about. The fundamental principle underlying the report is that of equality of status of all the British nations that are to be affected by the report, and the right of all of them to full self-government, complete autonomy over their own affairs, and freedom from external supervision or control. That *autonomy cannot be effectively exercised, and the right of self-government is not complete, so long as the parliament of Great Britain asserts or exercises its legislative sovereignty over the dominions, otherwise than at their request and with their consent. The doctrine of the sovereignty of the parliament of Great Britain over the dominions is absolutely inconsistent with the conception oi equality of status that has been accepted. It is recognized by the report that the parliament of Great Britain has no longer the constitutional right to exercise its legal powers of sovereignty over the dominions otherwise that at their request and with their consent. It is recommended1-and this is the most important recommendation contained in the whole report-that the parliament of Great Britain shall renounce its sovereignty over the dominions in so far as it is within its power to make such a renunciation. That, Mr. Speaker, is the outstanding recommendation of the report, and the fundamental principle upon which the whole report is based. It is recommended that this renunciation of sovereignty should be embodied in a constitutional convention, and that the constitutional convention should be placed in the proceedings of the coming Imperial conference in these words:

It would be in accord with the established constitutional position of all members of the commonwealth in relation to one another that

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no law hereafter made by the {parliament of the United Kingdom shall extend to any dominion otherwise than at the request, and with the consent of that dominion;

It is further recommended that this constitutional convention itself should appear as a formal recital or preamble in the proposed enactment of the parliament of Great Britain, and in order that there might be no doubt about the matter it is recommended that this principle should also be expressed in the enacting portion of the proposed constitutional act in the following terms:

Be it therefore declared and enacted that no act of -parliament hereafter made shall extend or be deemed to extend to a dominion unless it is expressly declared therein that the dominion has requested and consented to the enactment thereof.

That, Mr. Speaker, is, in my opinion, the most effective renunciation of the doctrine of the legislative sovereignty of the parliament of Great Britain over the dominions that it would be possible for that parliament to make. When that renunciation takes place there will be a binding agreement of equality of status 'between Great Britain and the dominions and a pledge that the parliament of Great Britain will not exercise its legislative powers in respect of the dominions otherwise than at their request and with their consent. This will mark the constitutional end of the doctrine of the sovereignty of the parliament of Great Britain over the dominions and the termination of their colonial status as dependencies of Great Britain. When effect has been given to these recommendations, the constitutional right of the parliament of Great Britain to exercise its legislative powers over the dominions, otherwise than at their request and with their consent, will be dead. It will be as constitutionally dead as the royal veto power, and the power of disallowance. One more badge of legislative inferiority will fall

to the ground. . .

Only one badge of legislative inferiority then remains in Canada, and it will depend upon Canada herself how long she will continue to wear it. The constitution of Canada, so far as it depends upon the British North America Act, is left untouched, and no power of amending that act is conferred. In fact it will be provided in the proposed constitutional act that Canada shall not be allowed to repeal or alter the British North America Act otherwise than in accordance with the law and constitutional usage and practice heretofore existing. It is not defined in the report what that constitutional usage and practice is. It will not be possible for Canada, in view of these provisions, to repeal

those sections of the British North America Act which provide for the disallowance of Canadian legislation by the government ol Great Britain and the reservation of bills for the signification of His Majesty's pleasure.

It is recognized by the report however that these powers are constitutionally dead and that if the dominion parliament wishes to have the provisions relating to them deleted from the British North America Act, all that will be necessary will be to make the request, and the necessary machinery will be automatically set in motion.

It will be further provided in the proposed constitutional act that the dominion parliament will not be authorized to encroach upon the provincial field of jurisdiction. There is to be included in the proposed constitutional act the following clause:

Nothing in this act shall be deemed to authorize the parliament of the Dominion of Canada or the parliament of the commonwealth of Australia to make laws on any matter at present within the authority of the provinces of Canada or the states of Australia, as the case may be, not being a matter within the authority of the parliaments or governments of the Dominion of Canada and the commonwealth of Australia, respectively.

The constitutional status of the provinces remains unchanged, and their legislative jurisdiction remains intact. The conference felt that it had no authority to speak for the provinces, and that the terms of reference did not extend to them. When effect is given to the recommendations of the report this parliament will have no more power to amend the British North America Act or to encroach upon the provincial field of jurisdiction than it has had heretofore. Certain curious anomalies will result in our federal system. While the dominion parliament will receive a very substantial increase of autonomy in its sphere of jurisdiction there will be no increase of autonomy to the provincial legislatures. The provinces will remain subject to the Colonial Laws Validity Act and the legislative sovereignty of the parliament of Great Britain. They will continue to be dependent political entities; they will continue to be restricted in their rights of self-government, even within their own spheres of jurisdiction. They will not possess that full autonomy over their own affairs which every self-governing body ought to have. For example, while it will be competent for the dominion parliament to abolish appeals to the privy council in respect of subject matters within its jurisdiction, it will not be competent for the provinces to prohibit such appeals, even in respect of those subject matters which are assigned to the

Shipping Legislation-Mr. Thorson

British North America Act to the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces; for the Colonial Laws Validity Act steps in and prohibits them from so doing. The provinces will remain in their inferior legislative position until they take steps themselves to improve it. The report indicates however the solution of the problem when it points out that it will be a matter for the proper authorities in Canada to consider whether, and to what extent, it is desired that the principle to be embodied in the proposed constitutional act of the parliament of Great Britain should be applied in the future to provincial legislation. I cannot believe that the provinces of Canada will willingly continue in this status of legislative inferiority as compared with that of the dominion, when they fully appreciate the significance of these constitutional changes, and their own anomalous position in relation thereto. I agree with the suggestion that an interprovincial conference should again be called for the purpose of removing the absurd anomalies which now exist, and also for the purpose of working out a scheme for amending our constitution in a manner suited to our changing needs, and conducive to a national development of which all Canadians may be proud. The problem of devising machinery for amending our own constitution is a Canadian problem for the Canadian people to solve. Its solution will require mutual confidence of the provinces in one another and in the dominion. When we in Canada solve that problem the last badge of legislative inferiority can be taken down; it is within our own power to remove it. When we have agreed among ourselves as to our constitutional machinery for amending our constitution, the parliament of Great Britain will automatically give legal effect to our wishes, and in that respect it will be an automatic machine registering legal effect upon the wishes of the Canadian people.

In conclusion may I say that the growth of Canada towards national status and nationhood is both right and inevitable. Canada is no longer a dependency of Great Britain; she does not belong to the people of Great Britain; she belongs to the people of Canada. Canada is a nation; we are united-and are glad to be united-with the people of Great Britain in common allegiance to the one crown, but our union however is that of equality and free association. We are British subjects; we are proud of being British subjects, and we are British subjects just as are the people of Great Britain. Is there any reason why we should not enjoy self-government in Canada to as full an extent as the people of Great Britain do? Is there any

reason why our autonomy over our own affairs should be any less that their autonomy over theirs? I can think of no such reason, nor can any Canadian who is proud of his country and anxious to promote its full development. The spirit of the British constitution belongs to us in Canada just as it belongs to the people of Great Britain, and we are joint heirs with the people of Great Britain to the great traditions of liberty upon which the British constitution is founded. What is the essence of the British constitution? Let me express it very simply. It is the right of all peoples who live under it to sedf-govemment and autonomy over their own affairs. It is because we value that right that we desire effect to be given to this resolution. I am not alarmed, Mr. Speaker, over the future of Canada, because I have faith in Canada and in the genius of the Canadian people to work out a destiny for her, worthy of her great potentialities. That destiny belongs to Canada, and the responsibility for it lies with the Canadian people. I am willing to leave it in their hands. The future of our relationships with our equal sister British nations rests now upon the broad foundations of autonomy and self-government. That foundation is the strongest and safest foundation for the superstructure of the future that the genius of British statemanship hias ever been able to devise.

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UFA
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Hon. R. B. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition):

The hon. Minister of Justice

(Mr. Lapointe) this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, referred to a paper read before the Canadian Bar Association by Professor Kennedy of Toronto university, which paper he very properly said I had circulated in considerable numbers amongst members of the profession.

I should like to read the two closing paragraphs of that paper:

First: let dominion autonomy be sane and realistic. There is a serious danger to-day that a dominion may become a cross between the individual and his "rights" and the reasonable man of the common law and go strutting about seeking privileges for merely doctrinaire reasons, may in other words become an imperial nuisance. We must not mortgage the future to abstractions nor bankrupt the general welfare of the empire by speculating on the stock market of theoretical extensions of legal rights for which the general will is not prepared. I have a profound contempt for grandiloquent nonsense about autonomy which is divorced from social facts. The empire if it is to survive, must move on Darwinian not on Newtonian lines.

Secondly: We must keep the whole question of empire and of commonwealth out of the mire

Shipping Legislation-Mr. Bennett

of party controversy. We shall play with sacred things if we ever fight elections on this issue. It will he in the future, as it has always been in the past, the political unforgivable sin, when either empire loyalty or dominion loyalty or both are debased by political charlatans, the empire-each dominion-is greater than any ephemeral party trilimp, and ought to be dearer to us than any political office. Loyalty is a great virtue; we 6hall rob it of its subhmest meanings if we tarnish it on the political hustings. To do so would be like taking a "chalice of the grapes pf God' and using it as the loving-cup of libertines.

Whom I listened this afternoon and this evening to some of the observations that have fallen from hon. gentlemen I wondered why they dealt with the problems that we are now considering in the tone in which they did. What resentment did they harbour against the little islands in the North sea? What had those islands done to us that hon. gentlemen should speak in terms of "striking from us the shackles that bind us?" Why should we endeavour to have the people of this country believe that we are suffering untold wrongs which we in some way must rise up and redress? Why should we endeavour to induce the rising generation to believe that in this day great numbers of Canadians have been suffering from the oppression heaped upon us by the government of Great Britain, and now at last under the guidance of the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) and his Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) we have risen up and shaken off that oppression? Surely there must be something wrong in that attitude ol mind.

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LIB
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I said that for that reason they were like the magna charta.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The magna charta went farther than being merely declaratory; it was decidedly different from a mere statement of existing conditions. At least most of us who have read British history will say that while in part it was declaratory, in other instances fMr. Bennett.]

it was not. Those who are interested in the matter should turn to the address of the Prime Minister in the House of Commons on December 13, 1926, and they will find that he then expressed the views, which have perhaps been softened to some extent by the passage of time-

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council; Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Not a bit.

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CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

-that he realized that they were but declaratory of the position which had been attained not by Liberal statesmen, not by Conservative statesmen, but by the-

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Mr. Speaker, I am very gjlad that the hon. gentleman has said that nobody now questions that fact. It is delightful to think that the hon. gentleman himself has now ceased to question it. Be that as it may, I say that for the moment no one will contend that these privileges and usages found in the declaratory resolution were the work of any one man.

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LIB
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

As Professor Kennedy

has said, they represent the true Darwinian principle; they are the result of evolution.

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May 26, 1930