October 11, 1949

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

That Hansard could not be quoted before the court.

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

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Homuih:

No, it cannot be.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

It was decided by the privy council, and it is a bad judgment.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

We all know what the hon. gentleman who has just spoken thinks about the privy council, and I do not think the interjection need be dealt with. But the hon. gentleman knows as well as I do, and as well as the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice know, that the established rule of law is that, in interpreting statutes, the courts look only to the words of the statute.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

That is one of the silly judgments of the privy council.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

If the hon. member wishes to use those words, he is by that very use condemning all the courts in Canada and putting them all in the same category.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

Because they follow the jurisprudence of the privy council, that silly court.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I know it is beyond me to deal with the wit and wisdom of the hon. member for Temiscouata; therefore I shall confine myself to the fact that every court in Canada follows that rule; and, quite apart from the principle of stare decisis or anything else, it is the rule of law which is followed by the courts in interpreting statutes.

As a responsible legislative body if we want to make perfectly clear the laws we wish the Supreme Court of Canada to follow in exercising what is to be their new and enlarged jurisdiction as the ultimate and final court of appeal, I submit we have no alternative but to make it clear what we mean by voting for the amendment which is now before the committee.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliol:

Would the hon. member be kind enough to tell the committee what is the link between the privy council and the Supreme Court of Canada as it is now?

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

I do not know what the hon. gentleman means by that term. Perhaps he would be good enough to enlarge upon it.

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

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

It is the woolsack. It is a bag of cotton covered with cloth, and it is put in front of the Speaker's chair in the Senate at the time of the opening and prorogation of parliament. The judges sit on it, like urchins. Some of them face His Excellency the Governor General, while the others turn their backs on him. But they sit on the woolsack because it was done in England in the middle ages. The privy council sit on the woolsack-indeed we should have a woolsack here in the House of Commons, and we should sit on it, so that the hon. member for Eglinton and the hon. member for Kamloops might sit at opposite ends, each with his back to the other.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Not so long as this government is in power.

Mr Pouliot: No, because those who sit on the woolsack are not supposed to take part in the deliberations; therefore while sitting on the woolsack they would not keep their minds in such a state of effervescence as to deliver unforgettable orations.

I am glad my hon. friends are smiling; it shows they have a greater sense of humour than I expected them to have. I want them to ask the Clerk of the Senate to take them to the attic of the Senate so that they may brush away all the cobwebs and look at that bag of wool before it is all eaten by the moths. They might sit on it, just to see what it is like to be lord chancellor.

The woolsack has such importance in the history of the British parliament that the position of lord chancellor is sometimes described as the woolsack. Occasionally they refer to the lord chancellor in terms of the bag of cotton on which he sits. I find, sir, that it is a tremendous joke; and the first thing to do, as soon as this bill respecting the supreme court as a final tribunal is passed, is to dispense with the woolsack and to let the moths eat it completely. If my hon. friends want to see it they will have to rush to the attic of the Senate.

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

John William Gordon Hunter

Liberal

Mr. Hunter:

Mr. Chairman, I have been a member of the Canadian Bar Association for many years, and as such it was my privilege and pleasure this year to attend the meeting at Banff. Banff is a delightful spot, and despite the seriousness of the profession there seemed to be a certain lightheartedness and frivolity in connection with what took place.

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On the golf course, while teeing off during session hours, I noticed a number of learned gentlemen teeing off ahead of me, some of whom were members of His Majesty's bench. Therefore I suggest it is fair to say that the frivolity at the convention was not confined to the minor satellites of the profession, such as myself, but applied generally.

I believe all who attended the Banff convention enjoyed it to the full. There must have been considerable entertainment on the Friday evening, because I recall that when I went to the convention room on Saturday morning at ten o'clock, upon which occasion the resolution referred to, and which is being used as an argument to bolster the amendment, was passed, I was astonished to observe the vacuum in the room. When I went into the large ballroom at the Banff Springs hotel that morning I am sure there were about two dozen lawyers in attendance. As time went on and this resolution came up for consideration, there may have been as many as three dozen there. The interest shown in the resolution was singularly exciting.

The resolution came up, and whether it was because of lethargy or not, there seemed to be no murmur of disapproval or of approval, and it was passed. I suggest that this resolution is being used in support of the amendment without any explanation of the circumstances which prevailed. Conventions are attended by people who want to enjoy themselves,. While I am not challenging the seriousness or the wisdom of the committee which passed the resolution or prepared it for submission to the general meeting, I suggest that approval of the resolution was given by a very small number of members of the Canadian Bar Association in attendance at that annual meeting.

I do not know whether the hon. member for Kamloops was present on that occasion, but I am convinced that if he had been, he would be only too happy to confirm what I have said.

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

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Homulh:

No, no.

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

An hon. Member:

Were you there?

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

Karl Kenneth Homuth

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Homulh:

I am everywhere.

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

John William Gordon Hunter

Liberal

Mr. Hunter:

I do not remember the hon. member for Kamloops being present on the Saturday morning when this resolution was passed, but if he was there I am sure he will not recall any lively debate, either in approval or in disapproval of the resolution. However, if the hon. member was there, he must have been in the same somnolent state as the rest of those of us who were present.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

That is a great compliment.

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

John William Gordon Hunter

Liberal

Mr. Hunter:

Despite what the hon. member has just said, the resolutions were passed in

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a routine fashion, and the interest shown was not very great. It was assumed that committees had gone into these matters with care -and I am not suggesting that in the present instance the committee did not exercise the same care. But I do emphasize the fact that the number of people present on that occasion did not in my humble opinion constitute a representative gathering of the Canadian Bar Association.

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

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

Mr. Chairman, while the

remarks of the hon. member who has just taken his seat are not the least bit pertinent to the subject matter under consideration, they do call for some reply.

I am frank to admit that I was not at the meeting of the Canadian Bar Association. Unlike the hon. member, however, I believe I am frank when I say that had I been there and a resolution of this importance had been presented to me, I would have treated it with the seriousness it deserves. Certainly I cannot accept the hon. member as spokesman for the majority of those who attended the convention of the Canadian Bar Association. I have more respect for my profession than to accept what he has said as the true state of affairs at the meeting.

One does not wish to go too far in these matters, but I suggest it is safe to say that if the hon. member regards the deliberations of the highest council of his profession with the levity with which apparently he does regard them, then he should not be accepted in the House of Commons or in the country as a spokesman for that profession.

Topic:   SUPREME COURT ACT
Subtopic:   VARIOUS AMENDMENTS
Sub-subtopic:   ABOLITION OF APPEALS TO PRIVY COUNCIL
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October 11, 1949