June 24, 1947

LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I have put the motion. I read the amendment and it was up to the hon. member, if he wished to speak, to rise.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

He did rise.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I asked for the yeas and nays, and in my opinion the nays were in the majority and I declared the motion of the hon. member for Broadview lost. I would ask the hon. member now to proceed on the third reading of the bill.

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Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

In the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, I must appeal to the house against your ruling on the ground that the motion has not been legally put.

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Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I did not give a ruling; it was just the ordinary procedure of the house, and the hon. member knows it.

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Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

I do not know it.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

When a motion is proposed by an hon. member the Speaker has only one thing to do and that is to put it to the house.

It is then for the house to decide whether it is in favour of or opposed to the motion. I did that and I declared the motion lost after calling for the yeas and nays. I did not make any ruling and I see no reason for the hon. member to appeal the ruling of the Speaker.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

May I ask Your Honour a question? Is it the right of any member to speak in support of a motion or an amendment?

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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?

An hon. MEMBER :

When it is time.

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Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

Yes, when it is time, prior to Your Honour's asking the house to vote. That is the issue.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

Mr. Speaker, may I say a word for the purpose of pouring oil on the troubled waters? My recollection is that the hon. member for Broadview moved the six months' hoist, but the member for Lethbridge could not have heard the motion clearly because he himself moved the six months' hoist subsequently, and he sat down. He had been speaking to his own motion, and under the strict rules of the house he forfeited his right to speak after taking his seat. I suggest it would be conducive to progress if Your Honour, who is quite correct, would allow the hon. member for Lethbridge to proceed.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. LOW:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. FAIR:

You are a good speaker, Mr. House Leader.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Is it the pleasure of the house that the hon. gentleman shall have leave to speak to the amendment?

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Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Yes.

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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. BLACKMORE:

Mr. Speaker, I am opposed to this bill because in my judgment it is a bad bill and one which this house should reject. I believe as the days go by it will become more and more evident to the members of the house that they should not pass this bill. May I give some indication of the reasons I have for taking the stand I have indicated.

In the first place this bill binds Canada still more closely to the united nations organization. A great many people assume that there is nothing else for Canada to do than to follow along the line of accepting the united nations organization. My contention is that we made a grave blunder in this house when we accepted it in the beginning, and for us to go forward adding more strands, we will say, to the bonds which attach us to the united nations organization, when it is becoming more and more evident that we made a mistake in the beginning, is in my judgment simply sending good money after bad.

United Nations

May I give the reasons for the stand I am taking? This bill, if put into effect, will place the average Canadian citizen in constant danger and dread of the most hideous autocracy the mind of man has ever conceived, namely, the united nations organization and its all-powerful executive arm, the security council. When in 1946 Canada accepted the united nations organization and the united nations charter, Canada became a signatory to what was in effect a blanket mortgage on a basis of goods and chattels. The Bretton Woods agreement and the united nations organization charter were simply gold bricks as well as booby traps. The members who went from Canada to represent this country at the Bretton Woods conference and the San Francisco conference fell far short of what in my judgment Canada had a right to expect of them. Parliament has already taken several footsteps into the morass, the bog, the quagmire of international entanglements involved in the united nations organization. Surely we can sense the danger which threatens us. Let us refuse to accept this bill just now. Let us cautiously withdraw to solid ground, at least ground less treacherous than that upon which we now stand. Let us there circumspectly review the situation confronting us as Canadians. Let us reexamine every aspect, and let us reconsider our course of procedure. Every move we make now is fateful. Let us exercise extraordinary

discretion.

The first major reason for extraordinary discretion at the present time is the complete bewilderment which everywhere prevails, even among those who consider themselves well-informed, as regards the united nations organization. There is an utterly disheartening

vagueness of phraseology used in the wording of the charter of the united nations. As an example of that may I read a passage which the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) indulgently read into Hansard for my benefit the other day, in response to a request from me, many hon. members acting as though they thought I didn't know this passage was in the charter. For a long time I have known this passage was there. May I read it now:

Purposes and Principles

1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.

I had intended to read all four of these purposes, but I believe No. 1 will be sufficient for my purpose. May I draw the attention of hon. members, and of those in the country who may read Hansard, to that clause and especially to the portion beginning, "to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace." That passage sounds very beautiful, but that passage is a genuine booby trap which I can tell you has caught more people than you would have believed possible. It looks so different from what it is. It is made up of weasel words. Now may I go into some detail to show that, and if all goes well I will do so before I take my seat. Just to indicate how hopeless is the uncertainty and vagueness concerning practically eveiy matter pertaining to the wording of the united nations charter, I need only refer to the proceedings of the standing committee on external affairs which dealt with this very bill. In the minutes of proceedings and evidence No. 10, of Tuesday, June 10, 1947, I draw attention to a passage commencing on page 282. The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Low) asks the question:

Oh yes. I am not now thinking of that point at all, Mr. Chairman. I am trying to follow another line which is so vague that it means this whole charter needs considerable discussion and exposition in order to get anything like a picture of what would happen.

If you refer to article 39 of chapter 7. you have a statement that the security council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with articles 41 and 42 to maintain or restore international peace and security. I am puzzled a bit about the precise meaning of that term, "any threat to the peace." The security council has the responsibility of deciding what constitutes a threat to the peace. What might that involve ?

Mr. Knowles: There have been months of

argument over that.

The witness was Mr. Hopkins, legal adviser to the external affairs department, a man who I would imagine would know as much about this whole question as any person in Canada. He said:

The Witness: That might involve the

security council deciding that there was a threat to the peace.

I do not know how anyone could possibly conceive of a vaguer situation than that. Here is the member for Winnipeg North Centre, who has been favoured through being present at many discussions at which the united nations organization was up for debate, and he says there have been many months of

United Nations

argument over the simple point of what is a threat to the peace. You would think there would not be any doubt about that matter. Surely anybody should be able to tell what is a threat to the peace; but there have been months of argument over that. And the witness finally says that might involve the security council deciding that there was a threat to the peace. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that as long as there is such uncertainty in the minds of the men who should be best informed concerning this covenant, we ought to be very careful how we proceed to entangle ourselves further in the whole situation.

May I turn now to another passage which occurs on page 282 of the same proceedings. The member for Peace River is again asking a question:

You see how that is relative to the 'bill we are discussing. "Any threat to the peace"; I should like to get, if I can. some clearly comprehensive statement on ivhat they would consider a threat to the peace.

Mr. Marquis: I understand, Mr. Low, your

point is this; the members of the security council may decide that something is a threat to the peace when it is only an internal dispute. That might be so, but I think we are bound to accept the jurisdiction of the security council on that point. Perhaps they may abuse it.

Well, I ask any hard-headed' member of this house-and the house consists of nothing but hard-headed members-whether he would sign a contract the terms of which were so vague. Yet you are signing a contract for your country, for your children and your children's children, when you accept this bill further agreeing to the united nations organization. Then to go on with what was said:

Mr. Coldwell: Is that right? Take civil war,

for example; it is specifically excluded from the jurisdiction of the security council unless that civil war has a bearing on the international situation.

Mr. Marquis: Yes. but that is the point. It

is up to them to decide whether it has a bearing or not.

Ordinary Canadians like us could not tell.

Mr. Coldwell: Of course the decision is one

for the security council.

What sort of supermen are these on the security counoil? How in the world could they think they could tell what was a threat to the peace when the ordinary man on the street in Canada could not? We had no difficulty in determining, when Hitler was on the move or when Mussolini was on the move, whether there was a threat to the peace. Are Canadians supposed to have lost their ability to reason on these matters, that we have to turn such things over to the security council?

Now I turn to page 283 for another very enlightening passage in this respect:

Mr. Knowles: There is no standard, in answer to Mr. Low, set down as to what would be a threat to the peace or an act of aggression; that would be a matter for the security council.

Dear, dear!

The Witness: It is for the security council-

I cannot decide it.

That is perhaps the best informed man in Canada, and he does not know.

Mr. Coldwell: Does not the .paragraph you

read from what the minister for external affairs for Canada said at New York pretty well explain to Mr. Low what all of us feel about the matter, that it is vague and it had to be vague because the nations which set up the charter sharply disagreed on many particulars and consequently there are compromises throughout this whole thing?

That pretty well supports my stand, does it not?

The Witness: Yes, it had to be vague at the

commencement. It is hoped that a sort of jurisprudence will grow up around it as it has grown up around the British North America Act.

To my mind there is so much vagueness about that whole situation that it fills me with dread, especially when I consider the great number of possibilities which I shall draw to the attention of the house, if all goes well, before I finish. Now may I turn to page 281 of the same proceedings for the last illustration I propose to draw from that document. There the hon. member for Peace River read to the committee clause 7 of article 2 of the charter, which I believe it would be well for me to read into Hansard so those who may be reading Hansard without having the clauses of this document before them will know just what was under discussion. Clause 7 of article 2 of the charter of the united' nations reads as follows:

Nothing contained in the present charter shall authorize the united nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the members to submit such matters to settlement under the present charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under chapter VII.

I am not going to read chapter VII; but I would say that anyone who would read it, as I have-and I am sure all hon. members have done so-would see that there must be-

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

Order.

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Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

I submit, with deference, that the hon. member is not discussing the bill. The bill is not one which has for its purpose the approval of the charter of the united nations, because as a nation we have already signed it.

United Nations

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. KNOWLES:

It was approved by parliament.

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE:

Yes; and it comes before parliament at the present time only so that we may authorize the approval of certain necessary orders and regulations. I submit the discussion is not in order.

Topic:   UNITED NATIONS
Subtopic:   POWERS OP GOVERNOR IN COUNCIL WITH RESPECT TO ARTICLE 41
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June 24, 1947