May 15, 1946

REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

I wish to bring to the attention of the Minister of Justice in order that he may explain on behalf of the Supreme Court of Canada, which is denied the right of explaining, an article appearing in a recent issue of the Financial Post in regard to the Supreme Court of Canada, pointing out that, so far as the supreme court is concerned, in one case involving S200 a 37-page judgment was given by the supreme court, whereas in another case involving a man well known in public life the court refused to hear the case on the ground that less than $2,000 was in dispute. This article-

Topic:   THE SUPREME COURT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order. I cannot see that there is sufficient urgency in the matter which the hon. member seeks to bring to the attention of the house to justify his proceeding with the question at this time. I would suggest to him that he move for the production of papers respecting the matter.

Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Minister of Justice): I am quite sure, sir, that you have not seen the article in question. If you had seen it you would have come to the conclusion, as I think most other lawyers would, that it is urgent that the misapprehension which this article might create should be cleared up, if in fact it is not true. I ask for your indulgence because I think it is a matter of genuine public interest.

Topic:   THE SUPREME COURT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

I have noted the remarks of the Minister of Justice. This is not regular procedure, but to bring the matter to the attention of the house and with unanimous consent, the hon. member for Lake Centre may continue.

Topic:   THE SUPREME COURT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Thank you. This article says, having regard to these cases, one of minor importance and the other in which a man formerly in public life was involved, one being hear^ and the other not:

What flashes through the minds of Canadians as they hear about this Supreme Court turndown? Could there possibly he any connection between that fact and the other fact that Mulock is influential in politics?

My question is: Will the minister explain the difference between these two cases, so that any suggestion of bias, prejudice or the suspicion of the likelihood of there being any in the supreme court, will be removed?

Mr. ST. LAURENT: The hon. member for Lake Centre is rendering a real public service in bringing this matter to the attention of the house. It came to my attention over the week-end, and I had the same misgivings about it that he had when he saw it. The title of the article is: "Our Supreme Court Should Be Careful." It then goes on to say:

Just out from the Supreme Court of Canada is a thirty-seven page judgment. Somebody is suing somebody for $200 because sixteen horses shipped from Saskatchewan arrived at Montreal with their tails cut off.

I do not know where the writer of the article got the information that there was a thirty-seven page judgment. I looked at the reports of the supreme court and that case has not yet been reported. I did not look at the Dominion Law Reports to see if it had been reported there, but I inquired about the facts, and I found that this is a case in which the supreme cpurt had no alternative but to exercise its jurisdiction.

An action for damages which involved the interpretation of the live stock bill of lading as approved by the transport commissioners had been brought, and the case was dealt with in the trial court and in the court of King's bench of the province of Quebec. After the judgment in the court of King's bench confirmed the judgment of the trial court an application for special leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was made in the court of King's bench on the ground that this was a form that was in use generally all over Canada, and that there was a matter of considerable public interest in the proper construction of that form, which was the approved form of making contracts with transportation companies for the transportation of live stock.

The Quebec court of King's bench or court of appeal, as is authorized by the Supreme Court Act, granted leave to appeal. That having been done, the supreme court had no discretion; it had to hear and dispose of the case.

In the other case, an appeal as of right was taken from the unanimous confirmation by the court of appeal of Ontario of a judgment rendered in the Ontario trial court in a case in which there was no specified amount of money involved. Under the statute and under the practice of the supreme court, confirmed by a large number of cases, that is not a case which can be appealed to the supreme court as of right. The respondent moved to quash the appeal. The supreme court heard the motion, and finding that it was not a case which could could be appealed as of right, granted the motion and declared itself without jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Labour Conditions

It is most unfortunate that, because of the names of persons involved in the litigation, there should be any suggestion that their present or former positions in society or politics could have anything to do with the result. As a matter of fact, the house sees that the supreme court was without discretion. It so happened that when the motion for the dismissal of the appeal came before the supreme court, the chief justice was absent, and the court was presided over by Mr. Justice Patrick Kerwin, who, if there was anything in the suggestion sometimes heard that a man does not forget to which political party he belonged before he went to the bench-

Topic:   THE SUPREME COURT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"
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PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HOMUTH:

Do not be too sure of that.

Topic:   THE SUPREME COURT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"
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LIB

William Ross Macdonald (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER:

Order.

Mr. ST. LAURENT: -would not be suspected of leaning for political reasons towards one who had been prominent in another party. Suggestions of that kind are most unfortunate, and it is most unfortunate that there should be anywhere in the house any echo of it. The reputations of our courts are above that; and it is necessary for the sound administration of justice that they should remain above it.

This matter might be the occasion of proceedings for contempt, but proceedings for contempt have to come before the court that is injured, and it is not something that one finds very palatable to put gentlemen in the position of having to decide in cases in which there has been reflection upon themselves personally.

I feel sure this paper, the Financial Post, m will be only too anxious to correct whatever misapprehension this article may have caused when it is able to verify that the factual background upon which it was based was entirely unfounded.

Topic:   THE SUPREME COURT
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO ARTICLE IN "FINANCIAL POST"
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LABOUR CONDITIONS

STRIKE OF LUMBER WORKERS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

I was expecting to be asked a question about the strike of the lumber workers in British Columbia which started at two o'clock to-day. Since no hon. member has asked about it, I think the house is entitled to be informed. The facts are these. The International Woodworkers of America, through their representatives, have requested the British Columbia lumber operators for an 63260-98

increase, I understand, equal to twenty-five cents per hour and reduction of hours of work to forty per week.

Negotiations on a collective bargaining basis have been going on between the operators and a committee representing the union which resulted in an offer being made by the employers of an increase of 124 cents per hour with a reduction of the work week to forty-four hours. The union have also requested a union shop and a check-off system.

, The dispute is one which comes within provincial authority. Notification was publicized that a strike would occur to-day, and as there was evidence that the negotiations were breaking down, the Hon. George S. Pearson, Minister of Labour for British Columbia, consulted with me in the matter and recommended the appointment of a special commissioner. Accordingly I appointed Hon. Chief Justice G. McG. Sloan, of Vancouver, B.C., an industrial disputes inquiry commission-I quote from the order of appointment:

To confer with the parties and to endeavour to effect a settlement of the issues in dispute between them as aforesaid. In event that the commission is unable to bring about a settlement of the dispute, the commisison shall report to the Minister of Labour not later than thirty days after the date hereof or such longer period as may be authorized by the Minister of Labour setting out its specific recommendations as to the manner in which the dispute may be determined.

I have not had a report from Chief Justice Sloan. However, the information received by me by telephone early this morning from the British Columbia minister of labour is to the effect that at the meeting held by the chief justice yesterday the negotiations came to an end because those representing the union took the position that the strike was going to take place at eleven o'clock this morning. The operators felt that there was nothing to be gained by proceeding further with the negotiations, in view of the refusal of those representing the union to postpone the date of the strike.

Briefly the position is: (a) the union would not postpone the strike; (b) both parties were willing to arbitrate the question of union shop and union security conditionally, in so far as the operators are concerned, upon the strike being called off; (c) the union offered to settle the wage question on a basis of an increase of 18 cents per hour and a forty-hour week; (d) the operators are prepared to negotiate further on the question of wages providing the strike was called off.

The dominion Department of Labour is keeping in close touch with the provincial

Canadian Citizenship

department of labour, and bon. members may be assured that no possible solution will be overlooked.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   STRIKE OF LUMBER WORKERS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
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DAIRY PRODUCTS

INQUIRY AS TO CHANGES IN SUBSIDIES


On the orders of the day: Mr. MARK C. SENN (Haldimand): The other day I understood the Minister of Agriculture to say that certain changes were under consideration in the subsidies being paid on dairy products. May I ask the minister if a decision has been reached and, if so, what the decision is; or, if it has not been reached, can be say when that will be done?


LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Hon. J. G. GARDINER (Minister of Agriculture):

The question has been under discussion, but a final decision has not yet been reached. It is hoped to come to a decision shortly.

Topic:   DAIRY PRODUCTS
Subtopic:   INQUIRY AS TO CHANGES IN SUBSIDIES
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CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP

NATIONALITY, NATURALIZATION AND STATUS OF ALIENS


Hon. PAUL MARTIN (Secretary of State) moved the third reading of bill No. 7, respecting citizenship, nationality and naturalization and status of aliens.


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

Mr. Speaker, last evening the hon. member for Peel (Mr. Graydon) asked the leader of -the house what would be the business to-day, and there was no reference at all to third reading of this bill being moved. At page 1542 of Hansard the hon. member for Peel asked the question, and the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie), who was leading the house, replied:

i Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order . . . The order of business is only announced in this house as a matter of courtesy. To-morrow we shall deal with committee of supply.

Mr. MacNicol: What supply?

Mr. Mackenzie: The only supply that is possible to-morrow according to the order paper.

I suggest, sir, that no notice having been given of the intention of the government to bring up this matter to-day, it should be held over for one day. I realize that it may be only a courtesy on the part of the government, but I do ask that- the courtesy be shown, because after all it is impossible for anyone to prepare for the business of the next day unless reliance can be placed upon the statements that are made.

Hon. IAN A. MACKENZIE (Minister of Veterans Affairs): May I suggest to my hon. friend that in all the sixteen years I have been in this house I have not yet seen notice given

of the intention to move the third reading ol a bill. If my hon. friend will look at Hansard for last evening he will see that when this bill was reported for third reading the question was asked, "When shall said bill be read a third time?" and I immediately replied, "Next sitting of the house." If, however, there is any fundamental objection to third reading being given now we shall be only too glad to accede to the request of the hon. member for Lake Centre.

Topic:   CANADIAN CITIZENSHIP
Subtopic:   NATIONALITY, NATURALIZATION AND STATUS OF ALIENS
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May 15, 1946