February 1, 1937

LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I am sorry my right hon. friend says that.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I go further. I say that the Department of Justice was not heard at all on that reference. They had counsel there. Did he speak? Why not?

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

They arranged it among themselves.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The answer is known to me. He would have to contradict the submission of his leader.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

No.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Yes, sir, that is exactly the fact, if you want to know the way in which these cases were handled.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I think this is gossip my right hon. friend may have heard. It is not fair at all.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

It is not gossip. Has my hon. friend read the arguments?

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

Yes.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

The arguments were

reported in part in the London Times. I have not seen them in detail.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

I think my right hon. friend will be sorry for these statements.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

I cannot be sorry for them; I know them to be accurate, and what is more it is the considered opinion of those who are able to express adequate opinions. It is not the first time that has happened and it will not be the last. You cannot project a counsel, however eminent, into a constitutional case without any training in constitutional matters. That is obvious, I think, to everyone. I propose at a proper time to discuss the question of these judgments when they are available.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

We shall all do it.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

We shall all do it, I hope, but it is not going to change two essential facts. One is that prior to the judgments in the aeronautics and radio cases there was no suggestion, after the decision of the supreme court, that we had any jurisdiction to deal with these matters, but in those judgments-

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

They were not judgments, my right hon. friend said.

B.N.A. Act-Mr. Coldwell

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

Well, opinions, I should have said. I thank the hon. gentleman, the learned counsel-

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

My right hon. friend cannot have it both ways.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CON

Richard Bedford Bennett (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BENNETT:

No one suggests he wants it both ways. After the expression of those opinions there was an entirely modified view with respect to our power, a view which was acted upon and believed to be sound, and when we read the decision we shall know whether it is or not. I do not know how far the decision does go. That, however, is the position. But for those judgments the legislation would not have been submitted to this parliament.

But, worse still, by reason of these statutes being submitted, not as concrete cases but as hypothetical ones, we have now an expression of opinion as reported in the press that is a complete reversal of the radio and aeronautics cases, and we have the creation of sovereignties in provinces with respect to our international obligations wholly at variance with anything that has been heretofore understood. That, I think, cannot be denied by anyone. That is the reason why I believe we should discuss the matter in the light of the exact judgments themselves.

I trust that the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) will withdraw his motion for the reason I suggested the other day, namely, that we should have a conference, as was indicated by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Cahan) and by the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Thorson).

The nature of the amendments that have to be made is one issue. The willingness to make them is another. The reasons given by the hon. member for Selkirk as to the necessity for their being made seem to me to be completely unanswerable. As to the method to be employed, I think the method we have of a joint address could probably not be changed very readily in this country. As to how to arrive at the questions to be considered, I think that can be done only after careful consideration with the provincial authorities. I say this to the Minister of Justice, that we had to deal with an extremely difficult matter, the question of the preparation of a section of the Westminster act dealing with Canada, and we had a conference in this city of representatives of all the provinces. We met at ten o'clock in the morning; they went away the next day; and, as I said the other day, their initials are upon the amendment that was agreed to, upon the document which is now in the archives of this country, because we had placed before them

our idea as to what the proposals should be, and after a conference with them we were able in a very short time to arrive at a solution of our difficulties. I believe that what was said by the hon. member for St. Lawrence-St. George, coupled with what has been said by the hon. member for Selkirk, indicates a method of dealing with this situation which would not take too long a time but rather would enable speedy adjustment of our difficulties to be had.

As I have said, I shall hope that an opportunity may arise to discuss these judgments in the light of their entire text and not of a part of it.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

I feel that to a very large extent the purpose of placing the motion on the order paper has been fulfilled, both by the discussion which occurred last Tuesday and by that which has taken place to-day. The motion was placed on the order paper entirely from a layman's point of view. I am not so much interested- and I think there are many members of the house in the same position as myself-in the constitutional and legal aspects of this particular problem as in the social and the economic situation which has to be dealt with and remedied. And I take it that although we have had decisions from the privy council, those decisions may serve an added and a good purpose in that they must focus the attention both of this parliament and of the people of Canada upon the grave condition with which we are confronted.

Perhaps the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) this afternoon misunderstood some of the remarks which I made. I said, for example, that in my opinion the will of the people as expressed by parliament must prevail. I did not say, nor did I intend to have it inferred, that the will of this parliament ought to prevail over the rights of the provinces, whatever they may be. In my opinion -and I think it is the general opinion in this house-in the event of the provinces placing in the hands of this parliament any jurisdiction which formerly belonged to them, this would be done partly of necessity and wholly of their own volition. That is fundamental.

I also referred, and the minister referred, to the Statute of Westminster. I alluded to it as evidence that the self-governing dominions were now regarded as coequal partners in the British commonwealth of nations. I did not mean to convey that in any respect I thought the Statute of Westminster gave us the right or the power to override provincial rights and provincial jurisdiction. It is true that an assumption of power by either the dominion

B.N.A. Act-Mr. Coldwell

or a province does not give that power, and I do not think this parliament should assume power which it does not have. But it seems to me that the time has arrived when greater powers must be given to someone to secure at least some measure of uniformity in social legislation in this dominion and as between the provinces. The sovereign power of the provinces was not denied by any of us this afternoon; indeed we recognized it, and my reference by way of illustration to the unitary system of legislative union in Great Britain and to the necessity there of a certain devolution or handing over of power to some local authority, such as the counties, does not mean that we should infer that the provinces have no greater status in our dominion than have the counties in England. I do not hold that view at all.

The minister told us that a committee of parliament would not suffice. I submit that if the government has an alternate proposal to place before this house, parliament and the country should be taken into the confidence of the government at an early date, because I can assure hon. members that not only in the industrial centres are such questions being asked as those to which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) and other members have referred, but in the rural areas, at least of western Canada, there is a great deal of misgiving and of unrest regarding the position of the marketing act, and also of the wheat board, which did not come under that act but nevertheless is, in the public mind closely allied to the question of orderly marketing.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Vien

Liberal

Mr. VIEN:

Why should not each province in turn, within its own jurisdiction and territory, assume these duties?

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROPOSED COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND AMENDMENTS LOOKING TO IMPROVEMENT OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Permalink

February 1, 1937