Mr. SMITH (Calgary West):
We might bring them a bit of Vancouver, as the minister suggested. However, there are other things in Vancouver which we would not have at any price. The minister is not one of them. But, as I was saying, Acadia is a poor place. The roads are not good. It has railways going in two directions; but they are many, many miles apart, and the north and south railway, running between Calgary and Edmonton, is not in the constituency at all, so that if 3'ou wish to travel from one point in the hon. member's riding to another by railroad,
which you must do when it rains because you cannot drive motorcars then-they know something about mud-you must come clear around into Lacombe, to Calgavy, and from there by the Goose Lake or the Hanna line. So that in a case like that I agree with the application of what the parliamentary assistant to the minister has said. In this country, with so small a population spread over such tremendously wide areas, we must give some consideration to regional difficulties.
A few moments ago somebody sent me statistics of the population of greater Montreal and greater Toronto. I believe that, according to the last census, the population of the dominion is 11,500,007. The population of the two cities I have mentioned is over two million. So that I think the point made by the hon. member for Rosthern (Mr. Tucker) was well made. If you want to tie in Vancouver, with 338,000, and Winnipeg, with 287,000, it is even more evident that to follow rigidly the principle of representation by population would necessarily increase the size of many rural areas, and the people who have been struggling along in those places would not have proper representation.
I now turn to the constitutional side. Modest as I am, like the Minister of Fisheries, I am far from being a constitutional lawyer. Frankly, I have learned more about the British North America Act in the last couple of weeks in this house than I knew in the last thirty or forty years. But certain things in that act are apparent, and here is where I commend and compliment the Minister of Fisheries.. The great defect of the act is that it has no provision for its amendment. That was done in the other commonwealth countries, and that, it seems to me, is the major difficulty which is confronting us now.
I come to the direct question asked by the hon. member for Rosthern. He said this: granted that you consult your provinces-and he wanted to know the meaning of certain words-and then you do not have unanimity, where do you on that side of the house go from there? I think that is, as accurately as I can put it, the question which the parliamentary assistant to the minister asked. I am not going to reply to that directly at the moment, because I say that it all comes back to what the Minister of Fisheries said: there
is no method of doing it. As a lawyer with some regard for the constitution, even without perhaps very much knowledge of it, I am not going to accept the hon. member's view that because there is no regular means we should adopt this means of bulling the thing through. The fact that there may be a majority one way,
and of course a minority the other way, does not mean that we shall accept the majority view. I am sure that no one on the other side of the house, will give it as his legal opinion that if there is but one dissenter, there is power in the act to accept the view of the other eight. We come squarely back to the fact that we have no method of amendment. So it seems to me of great importance, that we should have a conference, after this bit of a measure has been dealt with, whereby we shall arrive at some scheme for amending our constitution. If we had that now we would not be in this long debate and the various difficulties which we are in.
Subtopic: AMENDMENT TO BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT AS TO RULES FOR READJUSTMENT OF REPRESENTATION