November 8, 1945

SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Not that I recall.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Charles Edward Johnston

Social Credit

Mr. JOHNSTON:

Were you?

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

No.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Those who were in charge of Canadian affairs in 1931 were under obligation to acquaint the people of Canada with 1he constitutional position obtaining at the time and to prepare them so that they would be able to act upon their altered status.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

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

Mr. JAENICKE:

What about section 7* of the statute of Westminster?

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

I have already answered that.

I have indicated the position of the British North America Act, and have pointed out that it has not been accepted as a constitution by the people of Canada.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

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

Mr. JAENICKE:

The statute of Westminster made the provinces autonomous.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Yes. .

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

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

Mr. JAENICKE:

What about section 7 of the statute of Westminster?

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Which one?

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

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

Mr. JAENICKE:

Amending the British

North America Act.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Just exactly as I have said,

there can be no constitution in Canada, whether it is on the basis c*f the British North America Act or any other act, until the people of Canada accept it. They have not accepted it.

Canadian Flag

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. COLDWELL:

We have been acting

under the British North America Act since 1867.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

That does not alter the situation.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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CCF

Frank Eric Jaenicke

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

Mr. JAENICKE:

What are you going to

do about it?

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Before I resume my seat I

shall indicate definitely what to do about it. The people of Canada have not acted on the altered constitutional status; hence the deplorable constitutional position in which we find ourselves in this country. I know of no country which is in such shocking constitutional circumstances as Canada. As a native of this country it is most humiliating to me to be obliged to continue to accept this position, and I am determined to do my part to rectify that position.

Legally Canada is in a state of anarchy and has been so since December 11, 1931. All power to govern in Canada since the enactment of the statute of Westminster has resided with the provinces of Canada and all power legally remains there until such time as the provinces sign an agreement and ratify a constitution whereby they delegate such powers as they desire upon a central government of their own creation. Since December 11, 1931, the parliament of Canada has governed Canada on assumed power only. It is imperative that this situation be dealt with in a fundamental way. Patchwork methods will not suffice. Obviously the first act is that the provinces of Canada shall sign an agreement authorizing the present parliament to function as a provisional government. That is number one in answer to my hon. friend. Secondly, steps must then be taken to organize and elect a constituent assembly whose purpose will be to draft a constitution which must later be agreed to by the provinces and then ratified by the people of Canada. The dominion-provincial conference is to reconvene in the near future. This would be a most appropriate time and a most appropriate occasion on which to initiate action o.f this kind. I trust that the delegates to this conference will not disappoint us in this matter. I shall observe with much interest what will be said in this conference on constitutional relationships in Canada.

' To show that I am not alone in my proposal I quote Doctor Beauchesne from .the evidence' of the special committee on the British North America Act in 1935. On page 126 of the evidence he is credited with saying:

-the statute of Westminster has altered our status . . .

47696-123J

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 . . .

The new constitution must leave nobody with a grievance. A spirit of conciliation should predominate. For these reasons, the task must be entrusted to an independent body in which alt the elements of the country will be represented. I, therefore, beg to suggest an imposing constituent assembly, formed of eminent men coming from all parts of Canada. Provincial conferences, attended by a few ministers meeting behind closed doors, would hardly satisfy public opinion. The debate should be public . . .

I want the assembly to sit in a city in the west. It would not be necessary for a delegate to be a member of parliament or of a provincial legislature . . .

And on page 128 Doctor Beauchesne is reported as follows:

I would suggest that the assembly do not sit in Ottawa, in order that it may not have the appearance of being dominated, or even influenced by the dominion power; and, as the western provinces' are of such paramount importance in the countiy, I suggest the best city for the representatives to gather in would be Winnipeg.

And again on page 131:

There have been many disputes about provincial rights since 1867 and it seems certain tint when a new constitution is drawn up, the distribution of federal and provincial powers will have to be modified.

And page 135:

I think the time is ripe for a change in the constitution. I do not think you would need much publicity in order to draw to the attention of the people of this country that the British North America Act is inadequate.

And finally on page 129:

Whether our country should be changed from a dominion to a kingdom is also a subject which might be discussed. I would suggest that the country should be called "the federated states of Canada."

I should also like to quote in this connection a resolution which was adopted at a convention of Social Credit supporters and monetary-reform-minded people held in the city of Edmonton in 1942. This resolution is to be-found at page 59 in the publication "Prepare Now," issued by the bureau of information, legislative building, Edmonton. It reads as follows:

Whereas the statute of Westminster, in granting complete sovereignty and equality with Great Britain to Canada and other nations of the British commonwealth, has changed the relative positions of the provincial and federal governments as provided in the B.N.A. Act: and

Canadian Flag

Whereas it is desirable and expedient in the interests of national unity that an interprovincial conference of appropriate representatives of the Canadian provinces be held for the purpose of reviewing and adjusting the constitutional relationship as between the provinces ami their central government with a view to providing effective democratic government in Canada:

Therefore be it resolved that -without in any way prejudicing or jeopardizing the rights and privileges of any minority group in Canada, a comprehensive conference of representatives of the provinces be held for the purpose of considering:

1. The existing legislative and administrative organization in the provincial and federal spheres.

2. A more expedient allocation of powers as between the provincial and federal authorities.

3. Ways and means of facilitating the drafting, the adoption and the implementation of a Canadian constitution in keeping with the rights granted in the statute of Westminster.

I contend, Mr. Speaker, that such are the actions which should be taken before it is .appropriate to adopt a distinctive national flag. I submit that the adoption of a new flag of our own designing should be the .crowning act to putting our constitutional lhxmse in order.

I believe that the statements which I have placed upon the record are historical facts. I believe that the conclusions which I have drawn from these facts are the only ones which can be drawn from them, and I believe, consequently, that the solution which I have suggested is the only one adequate for the circumstances. If hon. members of this assembly can successfully dispute either the facts which I have submitted or the conclusions which I have drawn therefrom, I shall be prepared to withdraw those conclusions, but if they do not do so, I believe the people of the country have a right to know what they propose to do in the circumstances.

It was my intention to move an amendment, but as one has been moved already I shall refrain from doing so until the amendment already moved has been dealt with. So far as the substance of that amendment is concerned, I repeat what I have previously indicated. I think it is premature to consider any flag, either the one suggested in the amendment or any other. There are other and more important actions to be taken before we can consider the adoption of a new flag.

Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-*couata): Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the. Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie), the hon. member for Nanaimo (Mr. Pearkes) and the leader of the C.C.F. (Mr. Coldwell) upon their eloquent speeches. It was a good thing the government brought this matter

before the house and for the house to refer it to a committee. I have listened with patience to the remarks of the hon. member for Jasper-Edson (Mr. Kuhl). Some of the newer members have said that he was out of order, but they should not be surprised. This is the ninth or tenth time I have heard him make his annual oration about the nullity of the British North America Act. We are living in a democracy and he has the right to express his views, but I am sure that if he does so before the end of the session he will be surely called to order.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MacNICOL:

He would be out of order if he did.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

And when I think of it. I have heard it eight times, nine times. I remember distinctly what he said, and it was so highly technical and so technically constitutional that he did not remember it himself and had to read his speech. Of course, having delivered the same oration, nine times, he should have remembered it better; however, there are so many ones and twos and et ceteras that it is pretty hard to put them all in their right places.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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SC

Walter Frederick Kuhl

Social Credit

Mr. KUHL:

Let the hon. gentleman

examine my speech and take it apart. What he has said is no answer.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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IND

Jean-François Pouliot

Independent Liberal

Mr. POULIOT:

Oh, I could not. I would die of boredom.

Topic:   CANADIAN FLAG
Subtopic:   APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEE TO CONSIDEB AND REPORT ON SUITABLE DESIGN
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November 8, 1945