October 11, 1949


On the orders of the day:


LIB

George Alexander Cruickshank

Liberal

Mr. G. A. Cruickshanlc (Fraser Valley):

One

of the maritime members was kind enough to make us a present of some apples. I should like to ask the Minister of Agriculture or his officials what they are.

Topic:   NOVA SCOTIA APPLES
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO GIFT BY MEMBER FOR ANNAPOLIS-KINGS
Permalink
LIB

Angus Alexander Elderkin

Liberal

Mr. A. A. Elderkin (Annapolis-Kings):

On a

question of privilege, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Fraser Valley (Mr. Cruickshank) made a reference to something he held in his hand but which he was careful to hide behind his back; and either because of the location of my seat in this chamber or because his voice was so choked as a result of eating those dry British Columbia apples, I was unable to hear what he said. The samples of apples I had here were of a size and variety many people think should not be sold in Canada, but I wanted to demonstrate that these apples did have very desirable eating qualities. In due course I propose to distribute some which will be as large as and very much better than the British Columbia apples about which we hear so much. I also have in cold storage a quantity of another variety and size not well known in Canada but greatly preferred by the British people before the war.

Topic:   NOVA SCOTIA APPLES
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO GIFT BY MEMBER FOR ANNAPOLIS-KINGS
Permalink
LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I think perhaps the hon. member has stated his question of privilege sufficiently.

Topic:   NOVA SCOTIA APPLES
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO GIFT BY MEMBER FOR ANNAPOLIS-KINGS
Permalink
PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Graydon:

Come up to Peel and get some real apples.

Topic:   NOVA SCOTIA APPLES
Subtopic:   REFERENCE TO GIFT BY MEMBER FOR ANNAPOLIS-KINGS
Permalink

COMPENSATION FOR TUBERCULOSIS REACTORS


On the orders of the day:


PC

Charles Delmar Coyle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. C. D. Coyle (Elgin):

Will the Minister of Agriculture clarify the situation with respect to compensation for t.b. reacting cattle? This question is being asked in the light of requests from farm organizations.

Topic:   COMPENSATION FOR TUBERCULOSIS REACTORS
Permalink
LIB

James Garfield Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. G. Gardiner (Minister of Agriculture):

The position is that the bill providing for a further amount for cattle that are slaughtered on account of t.b. was passed by council this morning, to be sent on to this house for consideration. When it is here, it will be fully discussed.

Topic:   COMPENSATION FOR TUBERCULOSIS REACTORS
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SUPREME COURT ACT

VARIOUS AMENDMENTS


The house resumed, from Tuesday, October 4, consideration in committee of Bill No. 2, to amend the Supreme Court Act-Mr. Garson- Mr. Dion in the chair.


LIB

Joseph-Alfred Dion (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

At its last sitting the committee was considering clause 3, to which Mr. Fulton had moved the following amendment:

Subject to any enactment of the parliament of Canada or the legislature of any province in exercise of their respective powers, the Supreme Court of Canada shall be bound by the law as declared in all orders of His Majesty in council hitherto made on the advice of the judicial committee of his privy council and in the reasons assigned therefor by the said judicial committee, in so far as the said law is applicable to Canada.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

There are just one or two further observations I wish to make in connection with this amendment. They arise out of remarks which have been made by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice.

I believe it would be useful if the attention of the committee and of the country were directed to the fact that, in their apparent haste to press this bill through to its conclusion early in this session, the government, through the two hon. gentlemen to whom I have referred, have taken an extraordinary position with respect to the recommendations made by the Canadian Bar Association. We have seen the deliberations and recommendations of that responsible body treated with scant respect. I am not inclined to question the fact that the government had recently been returned with a substantial majority.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

That statement apparently meets with the approval of some hon. gentlemen in the house. But, as has been pointed out, that majority is not going to vanish over-

night. It is going to last presumably for five years or at least for four years. None of the gentlemen I see in the house shows any sign of illness. Therefore I think the request that the matter be treated with due deliberation is one which is logical and reasonable. That was the initial request made by the bar association. The second request was for a guarantee-I do not think it is going too far to call it that-of the principle of stare decisis, and that is the matter which we are debating in this amendment. But even that request of the bar association has been treated with little respect by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, and one other government spokesman to whom I shall refer. The Prime Minister went so far as to say that the comments of the president of the Canadian Bar Association were not within that gentleman's right or province to make. I will read the remarks of the Prime Minister as reported at page 530 of Hansard of October 4. When the right hon. gentleman's attention was drawn to the fact that although the resolution passed by the bar association did not call for the incorporation in the bill of any provision which would in words preserve the principle of stare decisis, the president of the bar association had specifically said that the resolution, in the light of the discussions which had taken place, did intend that such a provision should be incorporated in the measure, the right hon. gentleman used these words with respect to the statement of the president of the bar association:

I submit with all respect that no one man, whatever be the position he occupies in the Canadian Bar Association, and I have occupied the office of president of that association-in my day-has the right to enlarge or modify the terms of the resolution adopted by that association.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliol:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulion:

I am glad to hear the hon. member for Temiscouata say "hear, hear," because we now know where he stands. I must confess I found it rather difficult to follow his remarks in this connection on an earlier occasion.

Here we have the responsible head of the Canadian Bar Association, who was present when the resolution was passed, making the statement to which I have referred. Who, may I ask, is entitled to comment on the meaning of that resolution if it is not the president of the association? Are we to take it that this subject is so sacred, and the wishes of the government majority so overpowering, that no one in this committee or in the country has the right to comment on this matter? That is the effect of the position taken by the Prime Minister. He questions the propriety of the president of the bar

Supreme Court Act

association saying what was intended by that resolution. I draw to your attention, Mr. Chairman, the fact that the president of the bar association has left no doubt as to what he takes to be the meaning of the resolution. Af*er the discussion in the house had begun, he made a statement in Saint John, New Brunswick, as to the meaning to be attached to the resolution. He was reported in the press of September 28 as follows:

Though it is the practice for the supreme court to abide by the rule of stare decisis, Mr. Carter said, it is not bound inflexibly to do so. Such an enactment by parliament would safeguard provincial and minority rights, he said.

The enactment to which the president of the bar association had reference was one along the lines of the amendment which we are discussing here today. I believe it is incumbent upon this committee to consider and attach the greatest weight to the words of the responsible president of the Canadian Bar Association in discussing the meaning of the resolution which that association passed.

In the bill now before the house, Mr. Chairman, there could not be anything much less than there is now. What we have before us in the clause under discussion is a simple enactment that the Supreme Court of Canada shall have final and exclusive ultimate jurisdiction in respect to all cases arising in Canada. There could not be a much simpler declaration than that appeals to the privy council are abolished. It is not embroidered; it is without qualification. Therefore the resolution of the bar association must have had some meaning. If you take the simple proposition that appeals to privy council are to be abolished, that is what we have before us, and the bar association passed a resolution with respect to that proposition. I submit, sir, that they must have hoped that that resolution would be given some practical significance in the measure which is being considered. The only way in which that can be done is by some modification of the provisions of this bill. Having regard to this fact, taken in conjunction with the statement of the responsible president of the association that he thinks it desirable or essential that some such provision be incorporated in the legislation, I submit that this committee should give it the most serious consideration, and I suggest it is less than proper to say that the president of the association had no right to use these words or to enlarge in any way upon the meaning of the resolution.

As I have said, we have had that suggestion from the Prime Minister; we have had criticism of the Canadian Bar Association, ranging from the one expressed by the right hon. gentleman all the way down to the one

Supreme Court Act

expressed by the hon. member for Inverness-Richmond on October 4, as reported at page 533 of Hansard, where, dealing with the resolution of the bar association, he is reported as having said:

I want to say that, so far as section (g) is concerned,-

And he was referring to section Cg) of the resolution.

-in which it says the rule of stare decisis ought to continue to be applied with respect to past decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, a great deal of effrontery was shown by the committee of that organization in passing this resolution.

Here again we have the suggestion to which I have referred, namely, that this matter is somehow so sacrosanct, and the desires of the government majority in this house are so sacred, that the responsible body of the bar association, amongst whose members are numbered a great many judges, is "showing effrontery" when it even dares to deal with the subject matter of this resolution. It is a most extraordinary suggestion. If there were nothing else, that very attitude would be sufficient justification to make us pause and ask ourselves whether there is not something behind all this which it would be well for us to look into.

In fact I think there is a great deal behind it. One can gather what is behind it when one remembers the attempt which has been made again by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice to suggest that anyone who supports this proposed amendment must lack confidence in the Supreme Court of Canada. By this means, an attempt is made to whip up prejudiced feelings in support of the government's position and against the suggestion that the amendment be viewed on its merit. With respect, that is one of the most illogical positions I have ever seen the right hon. gentleman take. It is most illogical for him to attempt to distort the plain meaning of the words of this amendment out of their context and to read into them an expression of want of confidence in the Supreme Court of Canada. For him to say that those who would vote in favour of this amendment thereby indicate their lack of confidence is as illogical as it would be for me to say that those who are opposed to the amendment oppose it in fact because they do not want to see the Supreme Court of Canada bound by the rule of stare decisis.

When one observes the vehemence of the attempt to arouse prejudice which is displayed by the government, one wonders whether in fact that is not the motive behind their opposition to this amendment. I know we have the greatest verbal tributes paid to the principle of stare decisis, and we have the utmost assurance, in words, that the Supreme Court of

Canada will of course always follow that principle. But when it comes to the simple fact, Mr. Chairman, of a request to incorporate that provision in the statute, we find hon. gentlemen opposite saying "Oh, no; we cannot go that far, because it would be an expression of want of confidence in the Supreme Court of Canada." You know, Mr. Chairman, as well as every other lawyer in this committee and a good many laymen as well, that courts in interpreting statutes interpret only the words in the statutes; they even look at what the Prime Minister may have said with regard to the intention of the government when the legislation was enacted.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

That is a wrong judgment of the privy council.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink
PC

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Homuih:

It is not.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
Permalink

October 11, 1949