March 9, 1938

LIB

Charles Avery Dunning (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. DUNNING:

Return tabled.

Topic:   MOTIONS FOR PAPERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN FARM LOAN BOARD-SASKATCHEWAN
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GRAIN INQUIRY COMMISSION

?

George Halsey Perley

Mr. PERLEY:

For a copy of the reports of Price Waterhouse Company in connection with the Canadian grain commission, as well as all correspondence, telegrams and other documents relating thereto, exchanged between the Minister of Trade and Commerce, his deputy or any minister of the government and commissioner Turgeon, counsel Ralston or the secretary of the commission, dated during the year 1937.

Topic:   GRAIN INQUIRY COMMISSION
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DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION


Mr. OSCAR L. BOULANGER (Bellechasse) moved: That, in the opinion of this house, in order to conform with the constitution, to respect the provinces' desire for autonomy and to favour the betterment of the dominion finances, the federal government should cease making financial contributions towards the execution of projects which are entirely within the jurisdiction of said provinces. He said: (Translation) Mr. Speaker, I apologize to you and to the house for bringing up a subject which has already been considered from various angles during the present session, but I think the discussion to which the motion I have the honour to propose will give rise will serve to recall to memory certain facts that are apt to be forgotten-facts the recollection of which will have the effect of improving the relations between the central government and the provincial administrations. I fear that some of my friends, hearing you read the motion which suggests that the federal government should respect the provinces' desire for autonomy to the extent of avoiding any financial interference in the execution of projects coming under their jurisdiction might think that I am being facetious. No, Mr. Speaker, I am not trying to be funny at the expense of the provinces; I have no intention of showing that their vehement claims to autonomy ill agree with their unceasing requests for federal grants. Someone has said, "We have nothing to learn from Ottawa." I do not propose to suggest to the author of this statement that logic should compel him to complete it by adding: "Not only have we nothing to learn from Ottawa, but we have nothing to ask of' Ottawa." Some of the provinces are so jealous of their autonomy that the federal government is running the risk of gravely insulting them by making financial contributions to the carrying out of obligations assigned to them by the constitution. Public relief and social services, for instance, come under their jurisdiction. Therefore, our Minister of Finance (Mr. Dunning), by forcing the provinces to accept every year from eighty to one hundred million dollars from the federal government for public relief and social purposes is not only inflicting a cruel injury to their pride but indefinitely postponing the realization of his dream of a balanced budget. You may think, Mr. Speaker, that I am jesting. In order to prove that I am not, I am going to quote from a publication which has just come to me, L'Unite of Thursday, March 3rd, 1938. Under the heading "Old-Age Pensions," this paper says: The centralizing ogre of Ottawa is once more threatening the autonomy of the provinces. A few years ago, it will be recalled, the provinces sacrificed to the national government part of their rights in order to establish a system of old-age pensions. According to the understanding between the federal and provincial governments, the administration of these pensions was left to each province, which was to supply 25 per cent of the amount of the pensions, plus the costs of administration. It was a piece of stupidity on the part of the provinces to sacrifice this right. It amounted to selling their birthright for a mess of pottage. This quotation shows that there is a school of opinion which claims that the federal government should refrain from insulting the provinces by making financial contributions to the carrying out of responsibilities which the constitution has assigned to the provinces. Therefore, in order to respect the provinces' desire for autonomy, to respect their pride, to avoid wounding their feelings, the Minister of Finance should cease contributing to the execution of such obligations and thus put himself in a position to realize much sooner his dream of a balanced budget. My purpose in moving the resolution which you have just read is not to deliver a more or less impertinent lecture to the provinces, inasmuch as I have just proved to you that there exists in the provinces the feeling that each government should remain within its own field of jurisdiction, that each should, to use a rather vulgar expression, mind its own business and that, in the words of the proverb, the shoemaker should stick to his last. I simply wish to provide the house with an opportunity of considering calmly and seriously the relations between the dominion and the provinces with a view to seeking means of rendering them more frank and cordial. Let us all Dominion-Provincial Relations



together, in the light of history and aided by common sense, endeavour to clear the air, to remove uncertainties, to dispel causes of misunderstanding, to extricate from the jumble of opinions and recriminations the essential principles which should guide our national life. 1 hope that some of my fellow-members will help me to recall the fundamental principles which should underlie the relations between the dominion and the provinces. As to the facts which I shall have the honour to lay before the house, I have taken them in part from the report of the special committee of inquiry on the British North America Act which sat during the session of 1935 and from the excellent brief presented to the Rowell commission by Professor Frank Scott, of the faculty of law of McGill university, Montreal. I do hope, sir, that no sarcastic motive will be attributed to the motion you have just read. I must admit, however, that it is a little difficult to avoid being sarcastic when one sees, for instance, a government, that had been pushed into power for damning trusts, objecting to a national unemployment insurance scheme on the plea of autonomy-which of course cannot be to the liking of the trusts- or when one sees a provincial prime minister refusing all contribution to an unemployment insurance scheme, arguing that his province is an agricultural province, but asking in the same breath a national crop insurance scheme at the expense of the whole of the Canadian people including the industrial workers. We must ask ourselves, sir, what was the idea of the fathers of confederation on the subject of our constitution; how that idea has changed since 1867 and what means are to be adopted in order better to understand the powers and responsibilities of the different legislative authorities in our country. Those are, I may say, the three points which should be considered in order to reach the end I had in mind when moving the resolution. After I have dealt with those three points, I hope I will have contributed in a measure to the understanding and cooperation which must exist in Canada and its provinces, if the nation created in 1867 is to achieve its aims. It is quite possible that in doing so I will be merely voicing commonplaces and stock phrases. Consequently I will be brief. There are in this chamber learned, wise and experienced men better able than I am to deal with such a complicated matter and to give appropriate advice and directions. A perusal of contemporary documents leaves no doubt but that the fathers of confederation, in 1867, had a great idea. They aimed not only at the bringing together of the British colonies of North America, but also at the creation of a new nation. As a matter of fact, the British North America Act is not, as many think, a pact, a compromise, a treaty of alliance; it is the constitution of a new nation and the charter of a new country. The raison d'etre of confederation is set out clearly in the preamble to the British North America Act. There, it is declared that the provinces of Canada, of Nova Scotia and of New Brunswick have expressed a desire to contract a federal union with a view to form a single power under the British crown. Section 4 states that the provisions of that act would commence and have effect on and after the Union, and that the name Canada would be taken to mean Canada as constituted under this act. In the language of the speech from the throne, 1865, a new nationality and a new country were created for the purpose of weaving the local particularistic views of the small colonies into a larger entity. A united body replaced the various provincial entities. A new state of things replaced the previous one and Canada of 1867 absorbed the former colonies which became administrative districts thereof. The Hon. John Rose was therefore right when he said: The feeling of nationality will soon become deeply rooted in our souls. In creating that new nation, the fathers of confederation surely intended to create a national government fully empowered to deal with all questions of a national character and presenting a common interest for all the country's citizens. That was quite clear in their minds. They had before their eyes the example of the American civil war brought about by the unreasonable claims of the various states and they were determined to preserve from such a fate the new nation they were creating. In the opinion of everyone the jurisdiction of the new federal government was not to be limited to certain specific or enumerated powers as in the case of the United States Congress. Sir John Macdonald dealt witlh this matter quite clearly and frankly: Ever since the union was formed, the difficulty of what is called "state rights" has existed, and this as we know- -he was referring to the constitution of the United States- [DOT]-has much to do in bringing on the present unhappy war in the United States. In fact they- -the separate provinces which became the United States- -commenced at the wrong end. They declared by their constitution that each state was a Dominion-Provincial Relations sovereignty in itself, and that all the powers incident to a sovereignty belonged to each state, except those powers which, by the constitution, were conferred upon the general congress. Here, we have adopted a different system. We have strengthened the general government. We have given the general legislature all the great subjects of legislation. We have conferred on them not only specifically and in detail all the powers which are incident to sovereignty, but we have expressly declared that all subjects of general interest not distinctly and exclusively conferred upon the local legislatures, shall be conferred upon the general government and that local subjects shall be conferred upon local legislatures. We have thus ' strengthened _ the general government and legislature and avoided that great source of weakness which has been the cause of the disruption of the United States. Those words of Sir John Macdonald may be found in the Debates on Confederation, session of 1865, page 33. In the course of the same speech, page 41, Sir John is quoted as follows: This is precisely the provision which is wanting in the constitution of the United States. It is here that we find the weakness of the American system-the point where the American constitution breaks down. Kindly take note of this: It is in itself a wise and necessary provision. We thereby strengthen the central parliament, and make the confederation one people and one government, instead of five peoples and five governments, with merely a point of_ authority connecting us to a limited and insufficient extent. During the same debates, Sir Georges Etienne Cartier, is reported as follows on page 60: Under the federation system, granting to the control of the general government these large questions of general interest in which the differences of race or religion had no place, it could not be pretended that the rights of either race or religion could be invaded at all. We were to have a general parliament to deal with matters of defence, tariff, excise, public works, and these matters absorbed all individual interest. Here is now the opinion expressed by Hon. George Brown: For all dealings with the imperial government and foreign countries we have clothed the general government with the most ample powers. The measure, in fact, shuns the faults of the federal and legislative systems and adopts the best part of both, and I am well persuaded it will work efficiently and satisfactorily. I could quote many more similar statements to show that in the early days of confederation there was no ambiguity and that everybody agreed perfectly well on the distribution of powers as between the central government and the provincial governments. There was no conflict on the question of autonomy, or rather each institution was autonomous in its own sphere. The federal government had all the powers which are necessary to a national government, and the provinces, all those belonging to a territorial administration. It is made clear in the very wording of section 91 of the British North America Act which says in the first place that generally speaking, it shall be lawful for the Federal Parliament to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada and that these general powers shall not be restricted by the enumeration following the first paragraph of the section, which is given just as an illustration. On the contrary, when it is a question of laying down the powers of the provinces in section 92, particulars are given, and the section ends by saying that the provinces shall have jurisdiction in matters of local interest within their borders.


CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

Would the hon. gentleman

permit a question? I am sorry I am not asking it in French. Would he suggest that the opinions he has quoted in regard to confederation are in harmony with the opinions recently expressed in judgments of the privy council and the Supreme Court of Canada on issues between the various provinces and the dominion?

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION
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LIB

Joseph Oscar Lefebre Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. BOULANGER:

No, I am afraid that

the opinions of the fathers of confederation do not exactly coincide with some of the decisions rendered by the privy council, and if my hon. friend will wait I will touch on that point a little later on. One of my points is precisely that the judgments of the privy council have altered the first conception of confederation.

(Translation) Coming back to the motion which the fathers of confederation had formed of what Canada should be, I wish to point out that at that time the position was quite clear, that is to say, all matters of national import and affecting all citizens as a people were to be under the jurisdiction of the federal parliament, and all those of a local or territorial nature were to be left to the provinces. To sum up this point, I wish respectfully to submit:

1. That the provinces, as they existed before 1867, were not sovereign states, but mere British colonies whose powers were very limited.

2. That Canada, as organized in 1867, was not created by the provincial legislatures of that period, but by the future Canadian citizens who took part in the conferences at Charlottetown, Quebec and London. As a matter of fact, the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia did not

Dominion-Provincial Relations

exist then, or rather British Columbia existed, but did not take part in the setting up of confederation. Strictly speaking, the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as they are known to-day, did not exist in 1867; they were created by the British North America Act of 1867, and the province which represented us at the time confederation was worked out was called the province of Canada, and included Lower and Upper Canada.

3. That Canada got her powers from the imperial parliament which gave effect to the constitution set up at the three above-mentioned conferences, and not from the provinces.

4. That the powers of Canada are those of a nation, and that they are liable to expand toward a greater sovereignty and a larger autonomy, such as has been actually shown.

5. That when Canada appeared on the map of the world the former British colonies in North America vanished as such and became administrative districts of Canada.

Such was the situation in 1867. It was plain, clear, well defined, and well determined. After a number of years, did it become obscure, ambiguous, unintelligible, and hopelessly confused, such as it is claimed? That claim is certainly exaggerated, but we must admit that the work of the fathers of confederation has been somewhat defaced and mutilated, so much so that its operation is more difficult, and its meaning more confused. That is hardly due to the legislative action of the Canadian or British Parliaments, but rather to the theoretical interpretation of the Canadian constitution by the courts, and more particularly by the Privy Council in England. Indeed, since 1867, there were only seven amendments to the constitution, and those amendments were not so very important. The American constitution, -which is twice as old as ours, was amended at least three times as often as ours was.

Here are the amendments which were made to the Canadian constitution:

1. The British North America Act, 187L The object of that amendment was to determine whether the dominion parliament had a right to carve new provinces out of the Northwestern Territories. While such power seemed to have been given under section 146 of the constitution, there was some doubt, and they wanted to make it clear under an amendment.

2. The Parliament of Canada Act, 1875. That amendment was to give a better definition of the powers, privileges and immunities enjoyed by parliament anent the rights of a parliamentary committee to take evidence under oath.

3. The British North America Act, 1886. The object of that amendment was to give Parliament the necessary powers to enable the Northwest Territories to be represented in the Senate and the House of Commons.

4. The British North America Act, 1907. The idea was to empower Parliament to increase the subsidies to the provinces and effect a final settlement with the latter. Experience has shown that it was not actually a final settlement. I shall later discuss that amendment which is the most important one.

5. The British North America Act, 19T5. The object of said amendment being to increase the representation in the Senate, and to change the main senate constituencies.

6. The British North America Act, 1916, the object of which was to extend by one year the term of the existing parliament.

7. The British North America Act, 1930, which sought to authorize the dominion parliament to transfer to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, their natural resources.

It will be seen that the legislative amendments to the constitution were not sufficiently important to change the latter's character or nature.

However, the legal interpretation of the constitution has had much greater consequences. As a matter of fact, the courts and especially the Privy Council in England, instead of interpreting the constitution in the light of those historical and juridical facts which have resulted in the birth of Canada, have always endeavoured to give it a narrow interpretation and to consider it simply as an ordinary statute of the United Kingdom's parliament. It would appear that the Privy Council had two reasons for so doing; first, the fear that Canada might acquire full independence and autonomy and sever its connection with the British Empire; and, secondly, the desire to favour the provinces to the prejudice of the central government. In the minds of the noble lords, an increase in the provincial powers on the one hand, and a lessening of the federal powers on the other hand, were bound to help in postponing that imaginary danger of secession with which they have always seemed to be obsessed. To gain that end, the Privy Council mostly used two means. It has sought on the one hand to limit in a manner which has sometimes been absurd, the central government's power with regard to trade, and on the other hand, it has stretched to the utter limit the interpretation of the provision conferring jurisdiction upon the provinces in matters of property and civil rights. Throughout the contest between the dominion and the provinces it always seems as though the

Dominion-Provincial Relations

provinces were sorry to have abandoned what in their minds were sovereign rights in matters of national import, and were anxious to recover them through the medium of the courts.

The Privy Council, through Lord Haldane, was then able to boast, and rightly so, of having, in the course of years, changed the Canadian constitution, and of having distorted the work of the founders of Confederation. Indeed, while paying a tribute to the late Lord Watson, who died in 1899, and who had one of the longest terms of office in the Privy Council, Lord Haldane spoke as follows:

He was an imperial judge of the very first order. The function of such a judge, sitting in the supreme tribunal of the empire, is to do more than decide what abstract and familiar legal conceptions should be applied to particular cases. His function is to be a statesman as well as a jurist, to fill in the gaps which parliament has deliberately left in the skeleton constitutions and laws that it has provided for the British colonies. . . . Lord Carnarvon's

Confederation Act of 1867, which had given separate legislatures and executives to the provinces, had by no means completely defined the relations of these legislatures and their lieutenant-governors to the parliament and governor general of the dominion. Two views were being contended for. The one was that, excepting in such cases as were specially provided for, a general principle ought to be recognized which would tend to make the government at Ottawa paramount, and the governments of the provinces subordinate. The other was that of federalism through and through, in executive as well as legislative concerns, whenever the contrary has not been expressly said by the imperial parliament. The provincial governments naturally pressed this latter view very strongly. The Supreme Court of Canada, however, which had been established under the Confederation Act, and was originally intended by all parties to be the practically final court of appeal for Canada, took the other view. . . . Lord Watson made the business of laying down the new law that was necessary his own. He completely altered the tendency of the decisions of the supreme court. . . . In a series of

masterly judgments he expounded and established the real constitution of Canada.

As a result of seventy years of legal interpretation, the dominion parliament is now deprived of its general powers under the first part of section 91 of the British North America Act, the greatest part of its power of control over traffic and trade, of a great part of its power to carrv out treaties and of almost all power of legislating in social matters for the nation as a whole.

It is all very well to speak about the sacredness of the constitution and to say that it should be left alone, but it is edifying to recall that the greatest rent which has ever been made in the constitution of 1867 was made at the request of the provinces

themselves. I am referring to the fourth amendment made to the constitution in 1907 in connection with subsidies paid by the central government to the provincial governments. Indeed, most quarrels occur about money matters, and the difficulties between the federal government and the provinces generally have a financial character. If there is anything in the constitution which they endeavoured to make permanent, unalterable and inviolable it is surely section 118 which determines the amount of the subsidy to be paid to the provinces by the Ottawa government. Yet, that is what has been changed most. We find in that section the following words:

Such grants shall be in full settlement of all future demands on Canada.

It could not have been stated more clearly or definitely. Nevertheless, no sooner had the constitution been in force, than the provinces began to scheme and to insist upon getting what they called better terms. During the seventy years that have elapsed since 1867, there have been three general revisions which increased the grants to all the provinces and over twenty special revisions which were beneficial to each of - them.

To sum up, the four original provinces now receive from the federal government more than three and a half times the amount that had been promised them in the British North America Act. All those revisions of subsidies were made without any amendment to the constitution, with the exception of the 1907 amendment, to which I referred a few moments ago. Through that amendment an endeavour was still made to state that the agreement just concluded would be "final and definite" but those words were deleted at the request, I think, of Winston Churchill who pointed out that a parliament could not bind a future parliament.

It may be noted that besides having succeeded in securing many increases in the federal subsidies, in spite of the definite terms of section 118 of the constitution, the provinces have succeeded and are still succeeding in obtaining from the federal government substantial amounts for the purpose of helping them to meet obligations which, from their very nature, are strictly provincial and territorial. Such financial help, which in fact is an increased subsidy, is disguised under the euphemism of grants in aid to the provinces. That is why the provinces receive from the federal government besides the subsidies provided by the constitution and increased in 1907 through an amendment, from $85,000,000 to $100,000,000 a year to help them to meet obligations which are their

Dominion-Provincial Relations

own concern, such as the care of the poor, direct relief, old age pensions, road-making and public works. May I mention a few instances: For old age pensions, from April 1, 1936 to September 30, 1937, $35,825,301.75. I should point out, by the way, that the writer of the article I already quoted, who said that old age pensions are a national scheme, is evidently mistaken, for on the contrary, the federal act only makes possible a contribution of seventy-five per cent by the dominion, in order to help the provinces to meet their obligations as regards their old people.

For direct relief to unemployed, and needy farmers and fishermen, from April 1. 1936 to December 31, 1937, $42,118,173.97. For direct relief in the western drought areas, from April 1, 1936 to January 31, 1938, $13,170,645.81. Relief projects, in Quebec alone, under the agreement of November 3, 1936, amount already paid, $2,420,944.59. Under the agreement of September 11, 1937, amount to be paid, $1,668,240.84. The latter payment has not yet been made, but it is the maximum amount of the federal contribution under the agreement of September 11, 1937. For the trans-Canada highway, to help the provinces in increasing their road work, from April 1. 1936 to December 31. 1937,

83.403,942.74.

There has been some criticism of the method whereby the federal government grants to the provinces money which they spend with practically no control. It is contended that, according to the best methods of administration, the government levying the taxes ought also to do the spending and that this sort of charity beginning abroad, so to speak, is putting a premium on extravagance and on the art of passing the buck. But what can be done to avoid that unless the federal government assumes responsibility for direct relief, relief works and other social services of a similar nature, and then the provinces would object strenuously to such a violation of their autonomy and invasion of their jurisdiction. That thing has happened, as I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks.

In 1887, the provinces did not seem to have the same idea as they now have respecting the inviolability of our constitution. Indeed, in that year, a conference between the provinces was convened in Quebec city by Hon. Honore Mercier, and all the provinces sent representatives. The dominion was also invited, but declined. A number of resolutions were passed at that conference, all having the effect of asking for changes in the constitution, and they were sponsored by the provinces themselves. The provinces seeked to have those

changes passed by the imperial parliament without consulting the dominion government, but the imperial government refused to submit the question to their parliament. It is interesting to see what important changes were being aimed at by these resolutions in 1887, of which there were eighteen. Here is a list of the main points that were covered by the resolutions:

1. Abolition of the power of disallowance of provincial statutes by the federal government.

2. Granting to the provinces the right to secure prompt judicial decisions on differences between federal and provincial legislation.

3. Interdiction to private individuals to question the validity of federal or provincial statutes after two years following the enactment of said statutes.

4. Limitation of the term of office for senators and the right of a provincial government to appoint half of the number of senators representing that province in the Canadian parliament.

5. Making provincial lieutenant-governors direct representatives of the king instead of federal officials.

6. Removing from the federal government the right to withdraw from provincial jurisdiction local public works under paragraph "c", sub-section 10, section 92, of the British North America Act.

7. Using for the purposes of federal elections, voters' lists made by the provinces.

8. Granting to the provinces the right to appoint stipendiary, police and other magistrates.

9. Giving away to the provinces all fees collected in connection with legal proceedings in provincial courts.

10. Giving to lieutenant-governors the right to issue commissions for holding sessions of the criminal courts, "nisi prius", etc.

11. The right of provincial legislatures to determine the privileges of the members of the legislative council and of the legislative assembly.

12. The right of provinces to do away with legislative councils-we still have it in the province of Quebec-because two provincial chambers are not a necessity.

13. Recognition of the right of provinces to the ownership of public lands;

14. Granting to provinces the right to legislate in matters of insolvency and bankruptcy;

15. Granting to provinces the right to pardon criminals, to commute or remit sentences or to stay the execution of a sentence;

Dominion-Provincial Relations

16. Adjustment of provincial boundarylines;

17. Increase of dominion grants to provinces ;

18. Recognition of the right of the provinces to go directly to the imperial parliament in order to secure constitutional amendments.

As will be seen by the list I have just given, the provinces, which are now so vehement in their claim for autonomy and the sacredness of the constitution, did not hesitate in the past to attack the federal autonomy,-because the dominion must also have autonomy,-nor to ask for changes in the constitution that would have been favorable to them.

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION
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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Would the hon. member permit me to ask a question?

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION
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LIB

Joseph Oscar Lefebre Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. BOULANGER:

With pleasure.

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION
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SC

René-Antoine Pelletier

Social Credit

Mr. PELLETIER:

Would the hon. member be so kind as to tell us what happened to the requests made by the provinces on that occasion?

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION
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LIB

Joseph Oscar Lefebre Boulanger

Liberal

Mr. BOULANGER:

The resolutions were forwarded to the imperial government with a request for an amendment to the constitution, but the British government refused to submit them to parliament.

The moral of the story is, Mr. Speaker, that there would be more peace, harmony and understanding in Canada if we were less inclined to forget how our country was established. In order to ensure general agreement and the proper functioning of our administrative machinery, it is necessary to return to the true conception of what our fathers wanted Canada to be. It is essential to recognize frankly and honestly that there is only one government that can speak in the name of the whole nation and exercise jurisdiction in matters of national importance and general interest and that there is on this northern half of America but one sovereign state, but one country in the legal sense, but one nation. This country, one of the fathers of confederation described as follows:

I see in the distant future a great country bordering on the blue ocean, reflecting as of yore the shield of Achilles, the western mountain summits, the wliite-crested billows of the east, the meandering Assiniboine, the five great lakes, the St. Lawrence, the Saguenay, the St. John river, Minas Basin. On the shores of all these waters, in all the valleys to which they bring fertility, in all the cities and towns on their course, I see a generation of industrious, happy and moral men, free in theory as in practice-men capable of safeguarding, in peace as in war, a constitution worthy of such a country.

This country it is, in all its extent, in all its entirety, in all its essence, with its history,

its institutions and its aspirations, that I want to love, that I want to serve. I am proud of being a citizen of this country, in all parts of which I feel at home. And why not? The discoverers, explorers, and missionaries of my race, the settlers, the merchants, the artisans of my race have contributed to the physical development of Canada, just as in 1867 my forefathers contributed to its legal creation as a new unit among the nations of the world, and, ever since, the members of my race have continued to contribute to its national life.

Right and proper though it is to insist on provincial autonomy, one must not lose sight of federal autonomy. In other words, while the provinces are autonomous in the sphere of the powers, jurisdiction and objects assigned to them by the constitution, the federal government is autonomous in national and general matters, as I endeavoured to show a moment ago. The secret of the proper functioning of our system of government should consist in the absolute and scrupulous respect of the border line between federal and provincial jurisdiction. I attempted to show that our system of government is very simple in theory and that the distribution of powers is quite clear. I also endeavoured to point out that if in practice difficulties and conflicts arose, it was due to the fact that the original conception of confederation had been departed from. To this conception we should return. On it depends the harmony of the relations between the central and provincial governments. Otherwise, in the words of an editorial writer, Canada runs the risk of being " balkanized," that is of becoming a group of jealous and quarrelling states. It is easy to see that such a situation would hardly be conducive to the advancement and happiness of the country. No, the Dominion of Canada was not established in accordance with the definition that Lord Balfour gave of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is not composed of self-governing nations equal to each other and in no way subordinate one to another either in domestic matters or external relations. It is a homogeneous country with a central government possessing the full powers of a national government and having subordinate governments with jurisdiction over local matters in definite territorial divisions.

Such is the conception which our fathers had of Canada. Let us return to it, and all difficulties of interpretation and conflicts of jurisdiction will vanish. Let us return especially to the spirit of 1867, to the spirit of tolerance, of frankness, of unselfishness, of understanding, of good will, of broad-mindedness that made confederation possible.

Dominion-Provincial Relations

Our fathers built solidly in 1867; they built for the future. They envisioned a country great, glorious and happy, a nation vigorous, united and determined to make its mark in world history. It is up to their descendants to transform this vision into reality. It is true that the world has evolved since 1867, that conditions have changed, but it should be easier for the Canadians of to-day to pursue and consolidate the undertaking of 1867 than it was at that time to create the Dominion of Canada. The ship of state may sail on unfamiliar seas, but those who are at the helm will bring it safely into port if they take their inspiration from those who built and launched it. The union and cooperation that made confederation possible will ensure its survival. Therefore, without ceasing to love the bit of land on which we were bom and where we grew up, let us shun that narrow and destructive provincialism which is the greatest of national dangers and the most formidable obstacle to the realization of Canada's destiny. Let us think and act as Canadians for the good of our country, of all our country, and our country is more than a province. In the words of Honore Mercier, let us put an end to fratricidal strife; let us be united.

Topic:   DOMINION-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS PROPOSED CESSATION OP FEDERAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO PROJECTS WITHIN PROVINCIAL JURISDICTION
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CON

Thomas Langton Church

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

The question raised by the hon. member for Belle-chasse (Mr. Boulanger) deals with one of the most important problems this country has to face. There is no country in the world so overgoverned and overtaxed as is Canada.

You may lay the blame for this if you like on the fathers of confederation, because by the British North America Act provinces were created for political and not economic purposes. In my opinion the time has come for us to have a new bill of rights under confederation, for the two industrial provinces of Ontario and Quebec. We hear a great deal .about maritime rights, prairie rights, social credit rights and Pacific rights, but hardly ever do we hear any hon. members from Ontario and Quebec demanding a new deal for the two central industrial provinces. Fifty-one per cent of the people of the country are engaged in industrial pursuits, and I do not know where those two provinces will wind up-especially the municipalities. If the hon. member's motion should be adopted the governments of the provinces might as well be abolished. They should never have been created in the first place.

Under -section 92 of the British North America Act, we have two municipal systems, one within the other, a ring within a ring; we have provincial governments with powers under that section, and a duplicate muni-

cipal system of cities and towns and counties., and what is the result? Overgovernment and overtaxation. The provinces give the cities and towns and rural municipalities only such powers as they see fit to give them. For instance, from 1867 to 1918 the municipalities had exclusively the field of income tax. Then, in 1918, the dominion invaded it; now the provinces have come along and taken from the municipalities one of the main sources of their income, namely the income tax.

The hon. member's motion begins:

In order to conform with the constitution-

Well, the constitution of this country seems to be more honoured in the breach than it is in the observance. Literally it is a constitution for some provinces and not for others. It would have been a sorry day for the hon. member who moved this resolution if it had been in effect when return No. 107 to an order of the house was brought down by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) last session. What was in that order? It showed that Quebec got more relief works than any other province in the dominion, in the form of schools, court-houses, public buildings* of all kinds, roads, pavements-municipal pavements-built in the city of Montreal, botanical gardens, and so on; all these things were paid for by the general body of the taxpayers of Canada. I do not object to Quebec getting everything it can. I am one of those who do not believe in a sectional feeling; I believe in the principle of confederation, each for all and all for each. But Ontario and Quebec, the industrial provinces, are paying eighty per cent of the cash taxes of the dominion, and Ontario should have had similar treatment so far as municipal institutions go. This return is a most interesting one and shows that, "to the victors belong the spoils". Talk about a constitution; the facts in the return of which I have spoken show how the system works in practice.

The motion goes on to say:

-to respect the provinces' desire for autonomy-

What do the working people and farmers care about autonomy? How much do those who are out of work care about it? What do the real estate holders upon whom these heavy burdens are placed care about autonomy? You cannot feed the hungry by talking about autonomy.

The resolution continues:

-and to favour the betterment of the dominion finances.

Well, the government and hon. gentlemen opposite who support them are facing a railway deficit of forty million dollars. Who

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were the authors of that railway policy? The Laurier administration and the Liberal administrations which succeeded it, by establishing another transcontinental railway when one railway with a double track would have done for many years to come, branch lines off it being built by the provinces or the dominion. The result is the government have to make up a forty million dollar annual deficit. The present government announced that if they were returned to office they would tackle this problem and settle it. They have not made a move even to appoint a committee or constitute any other body to settle it. They had the Duff report, which they ignored, also the Drayton-Acworth report of 1917, on railways, for a guide.-

The resolution speaks about favouring "the betterment of the dominion finances." I will tell the house how they were bettered. The dominion finances were bettered by the dominion making a raid on the municipalities and taking away the source of over fifty per cent of their income. In my opinion the income tax should be restored to the municipalities.

I was astonished at the action of the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lapointe) in respect to this matter of income tax. The social credit movement in Alberta got all they asked for, namely a reference under the Supreme Court Act to the supreme court to settle the problem; but the poor old province of Ontario and the industrial provinces generally are not treated in the same way. The case of the King v. Caron decided that income tax was a direct tax and that the federal power could impose it. That case decided that the parliament of Canada has powers of direct and indirect taxation; that it can impose a system of taxation for any purpose whatsoever from the sky to the centre of the earth; that it can impose a direct tax. That case is not without certain exceptions and provisoes; and certainly there cannot be three bodies constituted in this country-the dominion, the province and the municipality-all imposing a tax on the very same class of personal property. That is not done in the case of bills of exchange, chattel mortgages, wills, succession duties and such things; yet in respect of this class of personal property a triple income tax is imposed. The question as to the power to make a second levy might very well be referred to the supreme court. The dominion comes along to a municipality and makes a raid itself for income tax; then it comes along a second time and is accessory after the fact to help the raid of the provinces as well, so that, with the provinces imposing a tax, there is a triple tax upon these poor

people. On behalf of one industrial province I protest against it. I believe that the people of the cities and towns are not going to stand for it much longer. They want a share of this income tax which has been taken from them. The government has heard what the mayors think of it. Why in the name of common justice should Alberta get what Ontario cannot get-a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada on such constitutional questions? The purpose of having the supreme court is to deal with these very constitutional questions. It is no use making the privy council the goat of our constitutional system on all these constitutional questions. In my opinion a stated case should have been granted under the Supreme Court Act.

Lost, stolen or strayed, Mr. Speaker, is the federal power. Where is the federal power? Where is federal autonomy and authority, and where is Canada drifting as a result of lack of autonomy and absence of direct federal control? The federal government is not being administered in Ottawa; it is, in my opinion, administered in the capitals of the provinces. Eight Liberal governments and one quasiLiberal government in these provincial capitals are usurping the powers of the federal authority. That was never the intention of the authors of the British North America Act. In 1935, on a similar motion I coined two phrases, one that the nine provinces were like a lot of Balkan states all quarrelling among themselves, and a second epigram that the British North America Act had the toilers of Canada in a strait-jacket. So they have. These are two economic truths.

Take the question I discussed the other day with reference to motor cars. I understand, from a letter I have received to-day from the head of one organization in the country, that he has been asked by one of the attorneys general what he thinks about our motor car regulations in Canada. I submit that what is wanted at the present time is a strong federal power if we are to solve some of the economic problems with which we are faced to-day.

Federal power, in the present state of affairs, is at its lowest ebb since confederation. Federal authority has become a door-mat for the provinces. The capital has been described as "the Washington of the north"; but the federal authority has been embarrassed by provincial governments and has been deficient in political strategy, so that with respect to sickness, unemployment insurance and many other problems it has been unable to take any effective action. And Ontario has been shackled worse than any other province inasmuch as it has been refused a stated case on income tax.

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The motion which we have before us to-day deals with the question, of constitutional reform. The four greatest problems facing Canada to-day, as they have faced the people of England, are constitutional, parliamentary, cabinet and law reform; but so far as this dominion is concerned, we sit still and do nothing about it. If any motion is brought forward with a view to having something definite done with respect to any of these problems, someone is sure to move the adjournment of the debate, so the motion can never be pressed to a vote. The government's policy is not only one of laissez-faire, but also one of laissez-mourir.

I do not know where this country is heading for or what is to become of our parliamentary system, with all the commissions and committees that are being appointed, and also government by order in council. This federal parliament seems to have no power. Under the British North America Act, for example, the provinces are given a cash subsidy with which to maintain provincial institutions. Do they maintain these institutions? No. I submit that this money should be earmarked for the purpose for which it is intended. The money paid out to the provinces should be definitely earmarked and the auditor general put in control to audit every dollar. What is the cash subsidy for? It is handed over to party A, that is to say the province, to be passed on to B, the municipality. Does the province pass it on for the purpose for which it is intended? Not at all. Do the provinces maintain such provincial or municipal institutions as are contemplated in the granting of the subsidy, school-houses, court-houses, gaols, hospitals, and registry offices? No. In Ontario under Sir Oliver Mowat the money was devoted to other provincial purposes. Many of these institutions are maintained by some of the provinces, but so far as Toronto and York are concerned, that is not the case. The municipalities are made to pay for all these provincial institutions towards whose upkeep Canada contributes.

The relief problem is in the same position. Some provinces receive one per diem grant; other provinces receive another greater per diem, and the whole thing is made a political football, as return No. 107 to an order of the house relating to relief works in Quebec and other provinces demonstrates.

As I say, the federal power is at its lowest ebb since confederation. The power of the House of Commons is usurped. Our powers under the British North America Act have been taken from us and handed over to useless, roving commissions. These commissions are making Cook's tours not only in Canada

but in other parts of the world as well. They go to England, they travel all over Europe, and some of them wind up in the Black Sea; others go to Australia and the United States. They are fact-finding bodies that do nothing, and by the time we get the report of the present economic commission that is making a study of the British North America Act we shall have had an election. These useless, roving, terrestrial bodies do nothing but gather clouds of facts and are purely advisory, appointed to kill time and save the government from facing the facts.

Take the coal commission. What did that commission investigate? We have not heard from it one word about a national coal supply; we have heard nothing of the suffering of the ordinary man, the consumer. All the reports of these commissions when tabled are nothing but a modern tower of Babel in advice; for there is nothing but confusion and nothing practical to be found in them. We have a Liberal government here in Ottawa and Liberal governments throughout the provinces; but what have we had or what are we likely to get in the way of constitutional reform? My right hon. leader (Mr. Bennett) is absolutely correct in what he has said, and the time will come when they will have to follow his advice. The fact is that he was so far in advance of public opinion on this question, so far in advance of it as to have been the standard bearer; and I do not hesitate to say that he is the truest, ablest, most faithful and most courageous public man I have ever served under-and I have served under a great many. In my humble opinion, notwithstanding the way in which he was attacked because of the statement he made about the Rowell commission, he was absolutely correct in what he said, not only in his facts but in his law, and his policy for a round-table conference. No practical results have flowed from that commission, and none will in the end.

And what does the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) do? Last session, referring to the social legislation of the previous administration, he described it at Pembroke as "counterfeit legislation." He said it was "counterfeit legislation." That may be his opinion, but what does the Canadian Liberal Monthly say? I quote:

The Bennett social reform legislation has effectively tied the hands of the present government for well over a year, and has prevented the administration from exploring certain avenues of valid and constitutional social reform.

Will the present government tell us who has tied their hands? They have been in

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power nearly three years, and if the measures put through by the previous administration were, as charged, "ill-considered, hastily drafted and condemned with the stigma of unconstitutionality," hon. gentlemen opposite must have known that those measures were unconstitutional when they were being enacted. Why did they not have measures of their own to propose? Return No. 107 proves that the constitution has been violated by these 450 votes I have indicated.

The other day a question came up with reference to the exemption of certain properties in connection with an agreement to which the dominion government is a party in Ottawa. Fire protection, water, police protection and other matters of that sort entered into the discussion. The British North America Act, the Municipal and Assessment acts, provide that crown property shall be entitled to exemption, and yet the government pays over a large sum of money to one municipality for fire, water and police protection. Well, what goes for one municipality should go for others, and other places should be paid for services the very same given federal property elsewhere.

Take another act in respect of which we find an invasion of federal rights-the Combines Investigation Act. That has been the star piece of political vaudeville during the past session. I intimated to the' Minister of Labour that I had received a number of letters from housewives in regard to the prices of certain commodities. But what does he care about prices of butter, tea, bread, coal, or anything else? He appointed the Tory commission to investigate the coal situation, and they forgot to mention the consumer. There was not one word about a national coal supply. The hon. gentleman refers to my leader's legislation as "counterfeit legislation," but what about the Combines Investigation Act? The government has removed from the control of the law courts and grand juries the regulation of trusts and combines in restraint of trade. These combines are flourishing in Canada like a green bay tree; they are unmolested by the government of the day; the control over them has been taken from the courts and handed over to a useless body under an official known as the registrar of combines. When I presented the twenty-six letters from housewives in Toronto, I was told that I would have to see some gentleman named Mr. McGregor, Registrar of Combines, and after seeing him I w'ould have to get in touch with the housewives; in other words I would have to pass the buck. Then I would have to draw up twenty-six different affidavits and

then present them to the head of the department, and he in turn would communicate with his lord high commissioner, the Lord McGregor, who presides over the combines investigation department, and direct him to take train to Toronto to find out whether a combine existed. It is taking the matter out of the control of the criminal code altogether, and giving it to a nobody commission. Yet they talk about breaking the constitution and autonomy.

There are certain features of this motion which would make it a sorry day for the municipalities if the motion were passed. These relate to federal taxation and revenue. Under our constitution the federal government has unlimited sources of taxation, both direct and indirect, for any purposes whatever. Under the first clause of section 91 of the British North America Act, " public debt and property," the federal government makes many grants to the provinces. For example, it was under that that old age pensions, sickness and unemployment insurance, technical education, health and other matters were handed over to the provinces. And under that section there has been discrimination; some places happen to build an airport; others do not. Ontario seems to be an unfortunate province; at one time it was said that not a five cent piece would be given to Ontario. The hon. member for Parkdale (Mr. Spence) will remember that. We would not get one cent if the Minister of Labour (Mr. Rogers) and his combines commission had anything to say. What we need in this country is a Pym, a Hampden, an Eliot, to rise up and say, "We will not pay any of these taxes"; we will let the law courts say what the law is.

Another matter is the question of provincial subsidies and relief grants. Why are these not earmarked and under the control of someone or some federal officer? Why should they spend this money like water any way they like, millions of dollars handed over to the provinces? Then in addition they come along and impose an indirect tax on the municipalities for the same purposes, or deduct sums for expenses. The provinces in order to maintain revenue impose direct taxation, and take away the income tax from the municipalities. The British North America Act has the workers and the toilers of this country in a strait-jacket. What is to become of the municipalities; what is to become of the holders of real estate? Real estate is being confiscated, homes taken away. Such a policy has killed the construction and building industry on which hundreds of thousands of workers depend for their livelihood, and has starved municipal revenues.

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If property owners are to be saved something must be done, and done right away. Real estate should be relieved of many of these burdens.

We want a British North America Act for the living, not for the dead. The original framers of the act were no experts; they were only ordinary laymen; they did not intend that the act they drew should be like the laws of the Medes and Persians; it was intended that it should be adaptable to existing conditions. Confederation now is at the cross-roads, the parting of the ways. The very fate of confederation is involved. This relic of antiquity, the British North America Act, is responsible for the failure of Canada to settle the economic problems referred to in the motion of the hon. member. If the motion should pass, what would become of education in the province of Quebec? I have here a statistical summary of the Bank of Canada, dated May, 1937. It deals with one feature in which I think the hon. member will be interested, namely, public support of education. It shows by provinces the grants by the dominion and the contributions from local taxation and the provinces to publicly controlled schools. In 1915, for all the provinces the proportion from dominion government grants was T9 per cent. And that has since been withdrawn, being for technical education. In the same year the proportion from the provinces was 12-3 per cent and that raised by local taxation, 85-8 per cent. Figures are given for 1920, 1925, 1930 and 1935, the proportions raised by local taxation in those years being 87-8, 86-4, 85-6 and 86-5 per cent respectively. In 1935 the grants from the dominion represented only one-tenth of one per cent as shown in Bank of Canada statistical summary, " public finance: education-government support of publicly controlled schools." I had proposed a system of scholarships long before the hon. member for Essex East (Mr. Martin) came to the house, from 1923 to 1930, and as reported at page 329 of Hansard of 1935, pointing out that something should be done to provide university national scholarships not only in medicine but in physics and chemistry, mining, scientific research, transportation and economics.

This constitutional question is not going to be solved by majorities in parliament or by parliamentary repartee. It is a problem calling for broad national sacrifice. The remedy for this taxation problem must be far-reaching and uncompromising, as much so as the application of conscription during the war. We have a war in Canada in this constitutional question, with tens of thousands of our

citizens on relief. Unemployment has its dangers. We are united when there is an enemy at the gate, but facing these internal problems we are divided. These economic problems are our internal foes. The policy of the present government seems to be a policy of laissez-faire; do nothing at all; laissez-mourir; let them die a natural death; let them starve. In my opinion the motion should have included a vote of the people, on constitutional reform to abolish provincial legislation. There should be a vote of the people, giving them opportunity to express what they think about this government and overtaxation; there should be a referendum taken at the next general election. It would be a guide to the mother of parliaments in dealing with amendments to the British North America Act.

The province of Quebec has my sympathy; Quebec and Ontario are the two old industrial provinces, and to-day they are suffering together; they pay eighty per cent of the cash taxes of all Canada. I express my deep regret to the people of the prairies for the difficulties they are undergoing; but the poor farmers and industrial workers in Ontario and Quebec, as you probably know better than I do, Mr. Speaker, are suffering just as severely and are under just as great a strain as the people of the prairies. This is the third or fourth motion this session relating to reform, but we should have a select committee of the house appointed as soon as possible next session, representative of all parties, to take up the problem of constitutional, parliamentary, cabinet and law reform.

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Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. W. F. KUHL (Jasper-Edson):

Mr. Speaker, as I see it this resolution raises again the oft-recurring question of jurisdictional legislation. I believe the time is long past when this vexatious question should have been settled once and for all. Progress in the much needed social legislation, initiated either, by the provincial legislatures or by the dominion parliament, is constantly blocked by this question. Are we going to permit the people of this great and wealthy country to perish while the courts are busy deciding . questions of jurisdiction, or are we going to set ourselves to the task of so arranging matters that the cause of these disputes will be eliminated?

I wish to suggest what I think should be done to overcome the great obstacle, and I wish to do so in as unpartisan a maimer as possible, since this is a matter which far transcends any political issue, a matter which confronts every citizen of Canada regardless of his political ideas or affiliations. With the one exception of money I doubt if there is

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any question in connection with which there is more confused thinking than as to the constitutional position which we occupy to-day. In my opinion the people of Canada are accepting a position which I do not think should be tolerated in a country calling itself civilized and democratic. We proudly proclaim that we are a sovereign nation, yet we admit that we must proceed to another country to have our constitution amended. We boast of ourselves as free Canadians, yet our census makes no provision for the enumeration of Canadians. We claim that we are a union of sovereign, self-governing peoples, yet we have no distinctive Canadian emblem to symbolize that position.

There is an explanation for these apparent anomalies, and I intend to avail myself of every opportunity to place before the house information which I believe casts light on this subject. I wish to discuss the statements contained in the preamble to the resolution we are at present considering, in order to indicate what I consider our constitutional position to be and what I think should be done to end once and for all this exceedingly vexatious question of jurisdictional legislation.

The mover of the resolution (Mr. Boulanger) in using the term "federal government" in connection with the constitution, no doubt implies that the British North America Act is a federal constitution; that Canada is a federal union and that this is a federal government. That is the hon. member's opinion, and I wish to take issue with him on all three points. On a previous occasion in this house I showed, I believe with sufficient evidence, that although it was the desire of' John A. Macdonald and the other fathers of proposed confederation that the British North America Act should become a federal constitution, actually it did not. It became merely an imperial statute which joined the provinces into a united colony called a dominion, and not a federal union. It also made provision for a central government, but it did not become a federal government; it became a dominion government.

I feel that the use of the term "federal" in referring to this government is deplorable. We do not find the word "federal" in any of our statute books; it is always "dominion." I believe any one who carefully examines the history of this country will find absolutely no historical foundation for calling Canada a federal union or this government a federal government. I do not wish to repeat the arguments which I put forth on a previous occasion in this house. Hon. members who are sufficiently interested can refer to the 51952-75

address which I delivered on February 10, but at this juncture I might just repeat the nature of a proper federal union. As I see it a federal union is a union of sovereign states, mutually adopting a constitution. The status of sovereignty must precede confederation or federation. The confederation or federation can be consummated only by formulating an agreement in the nature of a constitution, which is and must be eventually ratified by the electors composing the union, and I do not think it requires very much investigation or examination of historical evidence to discover that no such thing has ever been done in this dominion.

I may be over-optimistic, Mr. Speaker, but I am hoping in the near future to see a new constitution created for Canada. I believe we should become prepared for it, and I believe the people of Canada should be made alive to the issue. I have become intensely interested in this subject, and have done a considerable amount of reading on it. I made quite a study of the history of the Australian constitution, and if the house will permit me to do so I should like to place on Hansard a brief summary of the manner in which the Australian people constructed their federal constitution. The information I have has been obtained from a book which I found very enlightening, dealing as it does with the whole history of the constitution in Australia. The book is entitled The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth by John Quick, LL.D. and Robert Randolph Garran, M.A., and I found it an illuminating and fascinating book, in which the whole question is dealt with in the most minute detail.

In placing this on Hansard I wish to show the extremely democratic method employed by the people of Australia in creating their constitution. Although for quite a number of years previously the colonies of Australia had been negotiating in an attempt to bring about a union, no really definite action was taken until January 29, 1895, when a premiers' conference was called at Hobart, at which conference certain resolutions were adopted. I wish to read this because I believe the first step in creating a new constitution for Canada would be similar action to that taken by the Australian colonies. The resolutions were as follows:

,, x- That thi,s conference regards federation as the great and pressing question of Australasian politics.

2. That a convention consisting of ten representatives from each colony, directly chosen by the electors, be charged with the duty of framing a federal constitution.

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3. That the constitution so framed be submitted to the electors for acceptance or rejection by a direct vote.

i. That such constitution, if accepted by the electors of three or more colonies, be transmitted to the queen by an address from the parliaments of those colonies praying for the necessary legislative enactment.

5. That a bill be submitted to the parliament of each colony for the purpose of giving effect to the foregoing resolutions.

6. That Messrs. Turner and Kingston be requested to prepare a draft bill for the consideration of this conference.

Those were the resolutions adopted by the premiers' conference, the first really definite step in the creation of a federal constitution for the Australian commonwealth. The authors make this comment:

The draft bill was considered, amended and agreed to as the draft of a type of bill suitable for giving effect to the resolutions of the conference.

The draft bill provided that the convention, after framing a draft constitution, should adjourn for a period of not less than thirty and not more than sixty days.

This made it possible for the various governments to register their objections.

The merits of this scheme were obvious and notable. It avoided all the great defects of the process of 1891. It secured popular interest, by providing that the members of the convention should be elected by the people themselves, and that the constitution should be submitted to the people themselves for acceptance. It conciliated the parliaments by giving them a voice in initiating the process, a voice in criticizing the constitution, before its completion, and a voice in requesting the enactment of the constitution after acceptance. In other words, whilst necessarily assigning to a single body, representative of all the colonies, the task of framing the constitution in the first instance, and finally revising it, it ensured that both the peoples and the parliaments of the several colonies should be consulted at every stage-in initiation, in deliberation and in adoption. And lastly by making statutory provision in advance for every step of the process, it ensured that the matter once begun should be brought to an issue. No fuller security could have been given that the constitution would be based upon the will of the people and of the people's representatives.

The next step in the creation of the constitution was the Bathurst convention of November, 1896. This was known as the Peoples' Federal Convention, and was a convention of two hundred representatives of the various colonies of Australia. The authors state:

Its chief benefit rvas that it dissipated the atmosphere of suspicion in the minds of a section of the people with regard to the commonwealth bill.

Following this were the convention elections. Elections were held, and the number of candidates which entered the field indicates the enthusiastic manner in which the people

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constructed their constitution. In the colony of Victoria there were twenty-nine candidates in the field, only ten of whom were to be elected. In South Australia there were thirty-three candidates, and only ten to be elected. In Tasmania there were thirty-two, of whom only ten were to be elected.

The next step was the Adelaide convention held on March 22, 1897. At this convention three committees were set up, the first of which was for the consideration of constitutional machinery and the distribution of functions and powers, and was to consist of four members from each delegation. The two remaining committees were set up to deal with other matters. Following this the legislatures of each of the colonies considered the draft constitution, and suggested amendments which they deemed wise.

The next step was the Sydney session of the convention, held on September 2, 1897. The authors make this comment:

This convention was called to reconsider the draft constitution together with amendments suggested by legislatures. On September 9 a resolution moved not to conclude work until Queensland was represented. Resolution was carried. 286 amendments were considered. Due to shortness of time four main resolutions were considered.

This conference adjourned on September 24 until the final session, which was held in Melbourne on January 20, 1898. It would appear, then, that the next step in the construction of their federal constitution was the Melbourne session of 1898. This was the last and most important, extending from January 20 to March 17. On the last day Mr. Barton made a motion inviting the premiers of all the colonies to supply copies of the draft constitution to the electors. Mr. Kingston, in putting this motion from the chair, made the following enlightening statement which I should like to place on Hansard:

It seems to me that this is not the time when one should stand trembling on the brink of a distinct declaration as to future policy in connection with this great movement. I can but speak for myself alone; but in regard to this constitution I say unhesitatingly that I accept it gladly. More, I welcome it as the most magnificent constitution into which the chosen representatives of a free and enlightened people have ever breathed the life of popular sentiment and national hope. Mine will be no Laodicean advocacy; but with such ability as I may possess, and with the fullest enthusiasm and warmth of which my nature may be capable, with my whole heart and strength I pledge myself to recommend the adoption of this constitution, daring any danger and delighting in any sacrifice which may be necessitated by unswerving devotion to the interests of the commonwealth of Australia.

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I think those remarks indicate the highly democratic principles that were followed from beginning to end in the creation of the Australian federal constitution.

The next step we find is the referendum on the draft constitution, taken in 1898. The authors make this comment on the first referendum :

In accordance with the requirements of the enabling acts, the draft constitution was forwarded to the governors of the several colonies by the president of the convention and by the representatives. From the rising of the convention an interval of eleven weeks elapsed before the popular vote was taken in foui-colonies, an event which in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, was fixed for Friday, June 3, and South Australia for June 4. Western Australia alone took no action, but awaited the result of the vote in the other colonies. In the colonies in which the vote was to be taken copies of the draft constitution were freejy distributed to the electors. In New South Wales and Tasmania the constitution was accompanied by an official explanation prepared by R. R. Garran; in Victoria the Melbourne Argus published an unofficial statement by Doctor Quick; and in South Australia a summary of its provisions was circulated by the government.

The campaign for and against the constitution began promptly and was vigorously conducted by the newspaper press, the federal representatives of each colony and prominent politicians of all parties.

I have here the results of the first referendum. I shall not give the figures in detail but they indicate that the majority in favour of the constitution at its first draft was 111,349.

On January 29, 1899, all six premiers met in conference again and arrived at a unanimous agreement. A second referendum was held, so that the people of Australia had the opportunity of voting on their constitution on two occasions; and it is interesting to note the difference in the size of the majority in favour of the constitution. On the second referendum the majority in favour of the constitution more than doubled, being 236,602.

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Grote Stirling

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. STIRLING:

How many voted?

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Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Here are the totals: Total number of people voting yes, in favour of the constitution, 377,988; total voting no, 141,386. The authors make this interesting comment on the situation:

These figures are a striking proof of the extent and sincerity of the national sentiment throughout the whole of eastern Australia; and they are also a unique testimony to the high political capacity of the Australian people. Never before have a group of self-governing practically independent communities, without external pressure or foreign complications of any kind, deliberately chosen of their own free will to put aside their pro-vincial jealousies and come together as one people, from a simple

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intellectual and sentimental conviction of the folly of disunion and the advantages of nationhood. The states of America, of Switzerland and of Germany were drawn together under the shadow of war. Even the Canadian provinces were forced to unite by the neighbourhood of a great foreign power. But the commonwealth of Australia, the fifth great federation of the world, came into voluntary being through a deep conviction of national unity. We may well be proud of the statesmen who constructed a constitution which, whatever may be its faults and its shortcomings, has proved acceptable to a large majority of the people of the five great communities scattered over a continent, and proud of a people who, without the compulsion of war or the fear of conquest, have succeeded in agreeing upon the terms of a binding and indissoluble social compact.

Again I wish to remark that such comments indicate the highly democratic nature of the method by which the people of Australia constructed their constitution.

The final act was the conference of the premiers in 1900, from January 24 to January 27. This conference arranged for a delegation from the states to be present at Westminster when the bill was passing through the imperial parliament. On July 9 the queen gave royal assent to the measure, and on September 17, 1900, the queen signed a proclamation declaring that on and after the first of January, 1901, the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia should be united into a federal commonwealth under the name of the Commonwealth of Australia.

There is one more paragraph I should like to place on Hansard. The authors of this book discuss the constitution clause by clause, and there is an interesting comment at the words "have agreed." This is what they say:

These words make distinct and emphatic reference to the consensus of the people, arrived at through the procedure, in its various successive stages, prescribed by the substantially similar enabling acts adopted by the legislatures of the concurring colonies. In four of the colonies acts were passed enabling the people to take part in the framing and acceptance or rejection of a federal constitution for Australia Through those acts the people agreed, first, to send representatives to a federal convention charged with the duty of framing for Australia a federal constitution under the crown in the form of a bill for enactment by the imperial parliament; and, secondly, they agreed to pronounce their judgment upon the constitution at a referendum, which in each colony was arranged to follow the convention. In all the colonies the constitution was eventually referred to the people. At this referendum each voter was enabled to vote by ballot "Yes" or "No" on the question asked in the ballot paper, "Are you in favour of the proposed federal constitution?" In this manner there was in four colonies a popular initiative and finally in all the colonies a popular ratification of the constitution, which is thus legally the work, as it will be for all time the heritage, of the

Dominion-Provincial Relations

Australian people. This democratic method of establishing a new form of government may be contrasted with the circumstances and conditions under which other federal constitutions became law.

My suggestion, therefore, to settle once for all these jurisdictional disputes is that the provinces of Canada be called together in a constituent assembly for the purpose of drafting a new constitution, to be finally ratified by the Canadian people. The question as I have tried to put it to the house was very simply summed up by Doctor Beau-ohesne in the evidence he gave before the special committee on the British North America Act in 1935. I should like to quote Doctor Beauchesne because I think he sums up the whole situation exceedingly well. His evidence will be found at page 125 of the report of proceedings:

When the British North America Act was passed, the population of the four provinces which formed the Dominion of Canada aggregated 3,070,601, or less than the present population of Ontario or Quebec. The total revenue of the dominion in 1868 was $13,687,928, and the total expenditure $14,071,689. The net debt of the country was $75,757,135. Our railway mileage was 2,278. Motor vehicles were not known; aviation was a dream. The west was uninhabited except by Indians, half-breeds, fur dealers and roaming buffaloes. The population of British Columbia was very small since it was put down in 1871 to 45,000, of which number only about 9,000 were whites. Prince Edward Island had a population in 1861 of 80,857. . .

The act was passed mainly as a compromise because the legislature was so deadlocked that nobody could form a government. We were then a colony with a governor who still received elaborate instructions from the colonial office. There was no question of our representation in foreign countries; we were not even allowed to negotiate our own treaties; there were British garrisons in our country; social reform was looked upon as the last word of dangerous radicalism. .

We have since progressed very materially; our industries have been multiplied; our urban population has exceeded our rural population; the war and its dire consequences have appeared; imperial conferences have taken place; the British commonwealth of nations has been formed; the statute of Westminster has altered our status. Most of the provinces have lived beyond their means, but they have let up on the autonomy principle in later years. Nobody will doubt that economic legislation in Canada is more difficult of introduction than in any other country in the world, on account of our dual system of government. The time has come, in my humble opinion, when the British North America Act, except as to minority rights, should be transformed and a new constitution more in conformity with present conditions should be adopted. Amendments here and there would be mere patchwork which could not last. The people of 1935 are different from those of 1867. What we want is a new constitution.

[Mr. Kuhl.i

All let or hindrance to the creation of a federal union under the crown, as requested by Canada in the Quebec resolutions, has been removed. We can emulate Australia and follow the leadership of and bring to fruition the vision of the first prime minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald, by constructing a constitution and creating a federal union. This I believe to be the only method of dealing with the questions raised by a resolution such as this. I see no other way out, and I believe sooner or later the people of this country must become reconciled to that fact.

So far as the resolution itself is concerned, in my opinion such action as would arise out of the adoption of the resolution would be entirely inadequate to begin to solve our present problem; consequently I am opposed to it from this point of view. So long as the provinces of Canada are compelled to accept the present constitutional position and division of powers, with the central government having complete jurisdiction over the question of money, I feel that the central government must accept the responsibility of seeing that there is sufficient money in the country to make financially possible what is physically possible.

On these grounds, Mr. Speaker, I must oppose the resolution.

Hon. NORMAN McL. ROGERS (Minister of Labour); As the discussion has gone somewhat far afield, I think it might be useful if I reminded the house of the terms of the resolution actually before us. I do this with no disrespect to my hon. friend who has just spoken (Mr. Kuhl), but simply in order that we may understand quite definitely the proposal under consideration.

The motion is expressed in the following terms:

That, in the opinion of this house, in order to conform with the constitution, to respect the provinces' desire for autonomy and to favour the betterment of the dominion finances, the federal government should cease making financial contributions towards the execution of projects which are entirely within the jurisdiction of said provinces.

I am sure the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Boulanger) will forgive me if I do not take up in detail the several arguments he has advanced in support of the resolution. Perhaps I may plead my limited knowledge of French as a partial excuse for any failure on this account. I do know that he dealt in a very forceful and competent manner with certain references to autonomy which have been made in recent months in a number of our provinces.

Apart entirely from the merits of the specific proposal contained in the resolution,

Dominion-Provincial Relations

I believe the hon. member for Bellechasse has done a real service in bringing before us at this time the wider implications of the policy of federal grants in aid to assist provincial governments in the discharge of their constitutional obligations. I propose to deal in a few moments with some of these wider implications of the resolution, because I believe it is of vital importance that we should understand some of the consequences of certain policies which have been followed by successive dominion governments during the past twenty-five years.

Perhaps I should say at once that the resolution in its present form is not one that can be accepted, and I hope that the hon. member for Bellechasse will see fit to withdraw it at the close of the debate, after a number of other members of this house have spoken to it.

It is proposed that the dominion government should cease making financial contributions toward the execution of projects which are entirely under the jurisdiction of the provinces. It will be agreed, I think, that there is no material distinction in principle between grants in aid for projects of the nature of public works-highways and bridges -and grants for projects of the nature of social services. In its strict interpretation the term " projects " might be confined to public works and undertakings, but in its broad interpretation it would certainly include social services within provincial jurisdiction, including old age pensions, pensions to the blind, certain public health services, and the provision of relief to those who are physically disabled and unemployable. So far as these services are concerned it is clear, I think, that the dominion government could not withdraw its financial assistance to the provinces at this time without a very serious dislocation of existing arrangement for social assistance. I have no doubt, however, that this whole question-and it is one of the most important questions of our time-will receive very careful study during the investigation which is now being conducted by the royal commission on dominion-provincial relations.

The mover of the resolution did not refer at great length to public works projects in the provinces which in recent years had been assisted by financial contributions from the federal treasury in order to afford relief from unemployment. At the same time it is within the knowledge of all members of the house that there has been some opposition to this policy as it has been followed by the dominion government since 1930. I am not going to attempt to deal in detail with the various features of the policy under which

the dominion government is giving financial assistance to the provinces for public works. It began, as I have said, in 1930, and has continued without interruption up to the present time. Very large sums of money have been granted by the dominion government for this purpose. As a result, undoubtedly, there has been a decided gain in what might be termed the social capital of the nation. Highways have been built which without that assistance might not have been constructed. Assistance has been given to public works, playgrounds and recreational facilities in various provinces. Developmental roads have been constructed into mining areas, and unquestionably, through the assistance thus given by the dominion government, there has been a stimulus to the tourist trade of our country.

When all this has been acknowledged, I think it must also be admitted that as unemployment projects these public works have had a limited value. When this administration came into office we found that this policy of giving assistance for the construction of highways in particular had been followed in previous years and we felt that it should be continued at least for some time. In our agreements with the provinces, however, we did make a stipulation that those employed upon these public works projects should be taken as far as possible from relief rolls. We did not insist that all so employed should be taken from the relief rolls. We realized fully that there were many deserving people in necessitous circumstances who had kept off relief rolls and that full consideration ought to be given to this group of the unemployed. We required, therefore, that fifty per cent of those employed upon these public works projects should be taken from relief rolls. I am in a position to tell the house that on the whole that stipulation has been observed in the various provinces, and certainly municipalities adjoining such works have received a measure of benefit by reason of the fact that a considerable number of heads of families and individuals previously on relief have been given employment through these joint projects.

The necessity for works of this kind depends, of course, upon unemployment conditions. As these conditions have improved from year to year we have felt justified in reducing this form of assistance to the provinces. During our first year of office the sum set apart for this purpose, that is, for assisting the provinces in such works, was $14,895,574. I may say that the new amount voted was some $10,000,000. The remainder was a revote for works uncompleted in the

Dominion-Provincial Relations

program of the previous year. In the last fiscal year the sum was $7,331,000. Here the new amount voted was $5,500,000, the remainder being revoted from works uncompleted in the previous year. It will be seen that in this assistance which we have given the provinces we have followed very carefully the improvement in employment conditions, and while these works were designated as relief works we have gone as far as we felt we reasonably could in ensuring that those employed upon them should be taken from relief rolls.

I suggested at the beginning, however, that the resolution goes much beyond the question whether the dominion government should assist the provinces in the construction of highway projects and public works for the relief of unemployment. The resolution directs attention to the general policy of federal assistance to the provinces, which is of very great constitutional importance, and I know that the mover in what he has said this afternoon has realized full well that? by the adoption of the policy of grants in aid to the provinces we have probably retarded the adoption of a suitable method of amending our constitution. Not only that, but almost unconsciously we have entered upon a broadening field of dual responsibility with the provinces in relation particularly to social services; and I would say to the house, out of the experience I have had in the past two years, that I know of no more difficult administrative system than that of dual responsibility in relation to social services. Hardly a day passes, when, through correspondence or delegations, this government is not asked to contribute to particular projects for the relief of unemployment. These projects present a most bewildering variety. The federal government is asked to contribute to municipal waterworks, sewage disposal plants, sidewalks, recreational centres, community halls, and many other projects of this kind. Indeed, if we consented to make expenditures for these various purposes it is not too much to say that responsibilities which ever since confederation have been regarded as belonging exclusively to the municipalities and provinces would be placed largely upon the federal government.

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CON

James Earl Lawson

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. LAWSON:

Would the minister care

to make a statement from his experience as to the advisability of these social services being national in their aspect, assuming that funds were available to carry them on as a national effort?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

I am not prepared to say that all these social services should be nlaced

on a national basis. There are some that by reason of their character certainly ought to be on a national foundation. I refer particularly to unemployment insurance. As my hon. friend is aware, health insurance is regarded by some provinces as being properly the function of the provincial governments, and so with mothers' allowances and workmen's compensation. My thought would rather be this, that, whatever we do in connection with this great question of social services, we should try to define our responsibilities. We should try to escape from this blind alley of dual responsibility, because as long as dual responsibility continues you are going to have misunderstanding and friction between the dominion and the various provinces that are concerned in the discharge of that dual responsibility. I see no possible way of avoiding it. Not only that, but once our responsibilities are clearly defined, this federal government cannot be charged with seeking to evade its proper obligations. There have been many charges in recent years, possibly some of them justified, that this government and other governments have sought to evade their proper responsibilities by shifting them to other governmental agencies. That has not been a good thing for government in this country, because unquestionably it has created in the minds of many people the thought that governments were not taking their duties seriously, and were only too glad to find some excuse for avoiding them. That has not been the case generally speaking; in saying that I speak not only for this administration but for other administrations which have been charged with responsibility for national affairs.

I am sorry the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Woodsworth) is not in his seat-and I do not say this in criticism of him, because he is very constant in his attendance in this house. But the other day, speaking on a resolution which dealt with a very important social service, he said he assumed that in due course, after the discussion had gone on for a little while, some minister of the crown would rise in his place and plead that nothing could be done because of the question of jurisdiction. Mr. Speaker, it would be a sorry day for government in this country if it became a matter of reproach that a minister of the crown should seek to uphold the constitution. I do not suggest that there should be any evasion of responsibility, but equally I believe most strongly that we should be willing to observe the lines of demarcation which can properly be drawn between federal and provincial obligations.

Dominion-Provincial Relations

May I say this, that the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre and those who from time to time charge this government with avoiding its responsibilities because of the question of jurisdiction are at the same time impressing us with the importance of adopting a suitable procedure for constitutional amendment. I should like to argue the point -I could do it with strong conviction-that nothing has done more in recent years to prevent the adoption of a suitable procedure of constitutional amendment than the submission of the federal government to the financial demands of the provinces. I am not wholly blaming the provinces in this matter, because they too have been faced with serious difficulties. But our progress in the direction of constitutional amendment has been retarded by our submission to pressure to assume added financial responsibilities without at the same time acquiring administrative power. Time and again that has happened. One need only glance at the order paper to-day to see several resolutions which propose a continuance of that policy, a policy under which, for example, this dominion parliament would make further grants in aid to provinces to assist them in the discharge of their proper constitutional obligations.

Sooner or later, and I trust after the royal commission on dominion-provincial relations has made its fact-finding report, this government and the country at large will have full information as to what might properly be the dividing line between federal and provincial jurisdiction with respect to these vital questions. I think it must be the wish of every hon. member of this house that this inquiry will succeed in its object, and that it will be possible upon the basis of the information thus obtained to secure the amendment of our constitution, and as far as possible escape from this practice of dealing with social services upon a basis of dual responsibility.

I should like to place briefly before the house the train of events which has led to the present situation. The hon. member for Bellechasse has dealt with the financial arrangements that were made at confederation. At that time, as he well knows, there was no assumption on the part of even the most enlightened statesmen that governments would be called upon to assume social responsibilities which then were supposed to attach to families or to individuals. There certainly was no thought that provinces would be faced with the necessity of laying out millions of dollars upon hard-surfaced highways. I suppose it was hardly within the mind of any at that time that people would have the means of travelling by motor car over such

highways extending ultimately across the whole of Canada. Naturally the arrangements made at confederation were subject to the limitations of the thought and vision of those who lived in that day.

I find that the total expenditures of the Dominion of Canada in 1869 amounted to 814,000,000. Out of that total some $2,600,000 was paid in subsidies to the provinces. The provinces at that time felt that with the subsidies and with what they were raising by direct taxation they would be fully equipped to meet any demands that might be made upon them. Certainly there is nothing in the debates of the confederation period to suggest that in the opinion of the provincial governments there was likely to be any rapid and large increase in their own expenditure.

That financial settlement at confederation was designed to be permanent, yet it was altered only two years after the British North America Act came into operation. In 1869 the province of Nova Scotia made its first appeal for better terms. At that time there was strong agitation for repeal in Nova Scotia, and the government of the day felt that it was in the interests of the country that the appeal of Nova Scotia should be recognized and that the province should receive further financial assistance. But I should like to call the attention of the house to this fact, that the assistance given to Nova Scotia, which was the first alteration in the financial arrangements of confederation, was carried out simply by a statute of this parliament, not by an amendment of the British North America Act. Edward Blake in Ontario protested strongly against this course of action being followed. A resolution was passed by the Ontario legislature suggesting that in this important matter, which after all involved a disturbance of the financial arrangements of confederation, there should ibe a proceeding by way of constitutional amendment. That protest was referred to the law officers of the crown in Great Britain, and the federal government of that day, under Sir John A. Macdonald, was advised that this parliament had entire control over the disposition of its own revenues. Thereafter parliament and successive dominion governments have been in the position to make arrangements with any single province in this country to relieve grievances, in connection with dominion-provincial financial affairs, and to do so without at the same time attempting anything in the nature of a general settlement with other provinces. I think it is not too much to say that this decision, based as it was on the report of the law officers of the crown in 1869,

Dominion-Provincial Relations

was a fateful decision in Canadian history. Certainly it served to open the door to the kind of financial improvisations which have done more to disturb and aggravate dominion-provincial relations in this country than any other single cause. From that time to the present day there have been no less than twenty-six rearrangements of general subsidies in this country. There has been only one settlement which applied to all provinces. That was in 1907, and the settlement of that day was based very largely upon recommendations made twenty years before by the interprovincial conference held in the city of Quebec. That settlement of 1907 was assumed originally to be final and unalterable, an assumption based upon the fallacy that it is within the power of any group of men to predict with confidence what new burdens shall fall upon governments in future years. The words "final and unalterable" were omitted from the enacting sections of the constitutional amendment. The revision of 1907 was only in force five years before it was altered in favour of the province of Prince Edward Island.

Some few years ago I had occasion to make an extensive study of the structure of dominion-provincial finance, and I can say to this house that one who makes such a study of the development of the financial relations between the dominion and the provinces cannot escape the conclusion that the arrangement as it now subsists conforms to no logical and intelligible principle. The review of these financial relations now being undertaken by the Rowell commission, the first general review of such dimensions in the history of our country, ought to have been made many years ago. Certainly had that been done, in particular in the period immediately following the great war, I believe we could have avoided many practices which have tended to aggravate our difficulties in recent years.

So much for general subsidies as a feature of dominion-provincial finance. I turn now to another development which has taken place particularly in the post-war period, but which was begun in 1913. As I have said, it was impossible to predict at confederation what new burdens would be placed upon governments, whether those governments were national or provincial. As time went on there developed in the provinces demands for services of an educational nature which were far beyond the thought of anyone at the time of confederation. In 1913, because of the financial need of the provinces, and certainly upon the assumption that the provinces themselves could not finance this service, this parliament granted assistance for agricultural in-

struction. Following the war we had a whole series of statutes under which this parliament gave grants in aid to the provinces for the construction of highways, for technical education, for employment offices, for combating venereal disease, for better housing, for old age pensions; and more recently-and I do not question for a moment the necessity here- the dominion government came to the aid of the provinces in connection with the emergency which developed out of the serious depression which began in 1930. But in all these grants in aid to the provinces there was, so to speak, an attempt made to superimpose an extra-constitutional structure of social services and grants in aid, upon the financial arrangements and distribution of powers made at confederation. We have, not all at once, not even consciously, but step by step, departed from the original arrangements of confederation, and without constitutional amendment have built up a structure of social services very largely upon a system of grants in aid to the provinces.

That, Mr. Speaker, brings me to the point with which I was dealing at the outset. I fully agree with the hon. member for Bellechasse that this indirect means of meeting a constitutional difficulty is not the best method of meeting the situation. It has had several results, and I think we should keep these results in mind, particularly when we are thinking in terms of improving or renovating our constitution. First, it has broken down the fences which divided federal and provincial responsibility for public works and social services. I doubt if that point needs any elaboration in this house. Secondly, it has exposed the federal government to charges of evasion or parsimony whenever it has refused financial assistance to projects and services which the constitution has placed within the provincial jurisdiction. Here, too, our experience affords ample confirmation of the truth of the assertion. Time and again this and other federal administrations, which after all have their own definite and enlarging responsibilities under the constitution, have been asked to assume financial responsibilities which belong properly to the provinces. I had occasion a few days ago to state my own conviction, that in advance of a thoroughgoing revision of our constitution it would be folly on our part to assume complete responsibility in relation to disabled persons and unemployables now on municipal relief lists. Yet there are those who believe that here too the dominion, without any attempt at constitutional amendment, in advance of constitutional amendment, and in a way which

Dominion-Provincial Relations

will retard constitutional amendment, should assume financial responsibilities without obtaining administrative powers.

In the third place this policy of conditional grants in aid has tended to provoke almost incessant controversy on constitutional powers and obligations and has produced endless friction in the relations between dominion and provincial governments. This statement is beyond contradiction. Dual responsibility, while potentially a field of cooperation, human nature being as it is and sectional interests being as they are, becomes almost of necessity a field of conflict and of friction. Personally I do not despair that this field of potential cooperation can yet be fertilized and cultivated, but I can say that after my own experience of the last two years I speak less positively of the possibilities of cooperation in the field of dual responsibility than I was inclined to do some time ago. Certainly these controversies between governments at this time, when other systems and philosophies are competing for our allegiance, is a danger to the maintenance of our institutions, and it ought to be our purpose, as far as in us lies, to prevent a recurrence of that friction. I do not suggest that it can be done at once. Neither do I suggest that the wise way to avoid it is by surrender, either on the part of the federal government or on the part of the provincial governments. But I do believe that each of us in his own field of responsibility ought to recognize the danger of prolonging misunderstandings and friction, so that in due course we shall be able very largely to escape from dual responsibility and so divide our functions that a national government will have power and resources to do the things that a nation ought to do and that provincial governments likewise will have power and resources to discharge their proper functions under the constitution.

Finally, the system of giving indirect assistance to provinces, in advance of constitutional amendments, has delayed action in securing the cooperation of the provinces in the adoption of an accepted procedure for the amendment of the British North America Act.

The importance of this question cannot be over-emphasized. It is true that we now have a royal commission examining the whole field of dominion-provincial relations. When that commission has reported, as a people we shall still have before us the problem of devising an amendment procedure for our constitution. This is the only federal state in the world which does not possess the power of amending its own constitution. I would not suggest that in any amendment procedure which could

be adopted there should be the slightest departure from the most ample protection which can be afforded minority rights. Those rights, after all, are grounded anciently in the Treaty of Paris, in the Proclamation of 1763 and in the Quebec Act. They are inviolable. They at least are the basis of partnership; they at least may be expressed in terms of a compact. But when we go beyond these minority rights attaching to race and religion, I believe that if we are to avoid futility and frustration as a national government we must devise some flexible procedure of amendment through which the people of this country, having confidence in its national destiny, will be afforded the means through which their national government can respond to national needs and ideals.

We are confronted year in and year out with necessities which we cannot meet wisely and efficiently because we have not the procedure of amending our constitution. Lacking that, as I have said, we have continued with the alternative method of grants in aid which in my opinion, is improvident and inefficient.

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CON

William Allen Walsh

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. WALSH:

Would the minister elaborate on his definition of the word "flexible"?

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LIB

Norman McLeod Rogers (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Mr. ROGERS:

We have examples of flexible methods of amendment in other countries. I would go so far as to say that we should at least have an amendment procedure which would enable us to transfer juris fiction either from the dominion to a province, or from a province to the dominion, without requiring the consent of all provincial legislatures.

I am not in this referring to minority and racial rights, because I have already made it clear that with respect to them I believe there is the strongest possible cause for requiring unanimous consent. But, apart from that there is no federal state in the world which has not some procedure of amendment which would enable its government to meet changing needs and advancing social ideas.

I have spoken longer than I had intended, because of the wider implications of the resolution to which I have referred. The matter raised by the hon. member for Bellechasse is one of greater importance than would appear at first glance. In his closing sentence he spoke most eloquently of the possibility of this country achieving national unity. It is not too much to say that the essential task before us to-day is the restoration of that unity. It is a task of the utmost difficulty. It is not the mission of one party, although naturally the party in power has a special responsibility in relation to it. It presents a challenge to all of us, regardless of what our political allegiance may be.

Questions

We must recognize that dangerous devices and tendencies which have crept into our governmental system, particularly in the post-war period, are not beyond eradication. We must also have faith that sectional points of view, however strongly and forcibly they may be expressed at times, do not represent a desire on the part of those expressing them that the country should retreat from its national destiny. One must hope that in the immediate future there will be a mobilization of national opinion throughout our country, a mobilization having its origin in a realization of the gravity of the present situation, and having its stimulus in the faith that we still have the will and the capacity to accomplish difficult tasks. Let us trust that this mobilization of opinion will secure for us what we have long lacked-amendments to our constitution, and a procedure by which under that constitution we can deal effectively with new problems as they present themselves in future years.

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March 9, 1938