December 7, 1953

LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

In my opinion the yeas have it. I declare the motion withdrawn.

Motion withdrawn.

Topic:   MOTION FOR PENSIONS ON BASIS OF EQUALITY WITH OLD AGE PENSIONS REQUEST TO WITHDRAW
Permalink

HUMAN RIGHTS

MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS

CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Alistair Stewart (Winnipeg North) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of approving as a declaration of principle, the universal declaration of human rights, as adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

He said: Mr. Speaker, had this debate taken place next Thursday it would have been a most fortunate coincidence because Thursday is human rights day. Next Thursday, the 10th December, marks the fifth anniversary of the passing of the universal declaration of human rights by the general assembly of the United Nations in Paris. That was a great achievement, but it was not only the achievement of those who were in Paris at the time. It was the achievement of generations of people who have worked towards this great end. The passing of this declaration climaxed

literally centuries of struggle to have the nations of the earth declare that there were certain inalienable human rights which must not be taken away from men and women.

Throughout the centuries small dedicated groups of men and women have worked to have accepted by the nations of the world these inalienable rights, the right of freedom of speech, the right of freedom of conscience, political rights and now, as we see in this new declaration, economic rights, which are certainly not the least important. The declaration was brought about, indeed, I am quite certain that it was, by the horrors inflicted on human beings through the thirties and the forties and even today, in certain parts of the world. It was brought about by the desecration of these human rights of which we speak, and I think it was that desecration which probably prompted the then president of the United States, Mr. Roosevelt, to say in his message to congress on January 6, 1941:

We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want-which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peaceful life for its inhabitants-everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear-which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbour-anywhere in the world.

That speech of the president was a great rallying point for all people during those dark days of the war. Part of it was adopted and included in the Atlantic charter, and the representatives of the peoples of the world who met at San Francisco were determined that something should be done about human rights by this new international organization which was being built. As a matter of fact, to see that the peoples of the world meant business one has only to read the preamble to the charter of the United Nations:

We the peoples of the United Nations determined ... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small . . . have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims.

Of course we were immediately faced with the question: What are these human rights? What do they mean? Who has defined them? They were vague. Perhaps in a sense they were almost illusory. Human rights could mean all things to all men, but article 68 of the charter said:

The economic and social council shall set up commissions in economic and social fields and for the promotion of human rights . . .

But as I say, the nations of the world meant business, and as a result, the economic and social council did set up a group headed by one of the greatest women of our time, Mrs. Roosevelt, who in the years since has added further lustre to an already great name. This commission set to work to try to produce a declaration of human rights which would be satisfactory to the greatest possible number of people and nations. Eventually after much work, and those who have been at any of the United Nations meetings and have seen that committee working know what they were faced with, a draft declaration was produced which was sent to the economic and social council which body began a study of it. That study lasted for over three months. There were over 85 meetings of the council. There were numberless committee meetings.

The problem of the council was to get the greatest possible amount of agreement first of all on the idea as a whole, and then on clauses and phrases. It had to get agreement on words, even commas and periods. It says much, indeed it is almost miraculous to think, that the representatives of 58 nations finally, if they did not agree completely with what was produced, at least did not oppose the declaration which was presented to the assembly on the 10th of December, 1948. It was approved by the affirmative vote of 48 nations with eight abstaining, two absent, and none of course opposing.

The position of Canada was made amply clear by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson). I am going to quote a part of the Canadian statement made at that meeting of the assembly, and I am not quoting unfairly or taking anything out of context, for this was the position of the government of the day:

In the first place, we regard this document as one inspired by the highest ideals; as one which contains a statement of a number of noble principles and aspirations of very great significance which the peoples of the world will endeavour to fulfil, though they will make these efforts variously, each nation in its own way and according to its own traditions and political methods. In an imperfect world, it is clearly impossible to secure a perfect application of all these principles immediately. The charter itself commits the members of the United Nations to principles which are not yet applied uniformly throughout the world. The difficulties in the way of a full and universal application of the principles of the declaration of human rights will be even more complex. We must, however, move towards that great goal.

I am suggesting that we take another step today toward that great goal by approving this resolution. Towards the end of the Canadian statement it was said:

The Canadian delegation, however, approves and supports the general principles contained in the

Human Rights

declaration and would not wish to do anything which might appear to discourage the effort, which it embodies, to define the rights of men and women. Canadians believe in these rights and practise them in their communities. In order that there may be no misinterpretation of our position on this subject, therefore, the Canadian delegation, having made its position clear in the committee, will, in accordance with the understanding I have expressed, now vote in favour of the resolution, in the hope that it will mark a milestone in humanity's upward march.

And so I am asking the house to approve this declaration of principle or, in the government's words, I am asking the house to approve and support the general principles contained in the declaration.

It has been argued, and probably will be argued again, that the declaration is nothing but a moral instrument without any of the sanction of law behind it. Of course that is true. There can be no argument against a fact. But we would fall into grave error indeed if we discarded out of hand all those documents which have been given to the world and which do not have behind them the sanction of law. One thinks immediately of the French declaration of the rights of man. One thinks of the Declaration of Independence of the United States. Those documents were expressions of moral purpose, but they had no force of law behind them. It is perhaps not overstating the point to remind the house that the ten commandments, which even in these days can shake the world, have no sanction of law behind them but still express a great moral purpose. These documents and declarations have had a tremendous effect in guiding and moulding world opinion.

The declaration itself is made up of a preamble and 30 different clauses or sections. It is not my intention to read the declaration, but perhaps I might refresh the memory of hon. members as to the nature of the various sections. Articles 1 and 2 deal with rights which apply to everyone everywhere. Articles 3 to 15 enunciate the accepted right to life, liberty and freedom of the person. In those articles slavery is outlawed, inhuman and degrading punishment is forbidden, the right of asylum is granted and so on. In article 16 the right is given to an individual to marry the person of his or her choice. Article 17 states the right of the individual to hold property, and prohibits his being arbitrarily deprived of it.

The next two or three articles deal with the right of the individual to freedom of religion, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to take part in peaceful assembly, the right to take part in the government of his or her own country. Articles

Human Rights

22 to 26 are perhaps new in a scheme of human rights; nevertheless they are most acceptable to us in the C.C.F. party. They involve social rights which we are now beginning to see are an inalienable part 'of man's heritage. I refer to the right to work, the right to protection against the evils of unemployment, the right of an individual to choose his own job, and so on. These articles also recognize as a human right the right to an adequate standard of living, housing, health, medical care and so on. It is recognized that human dignity is a human right, and there can be no human dignity when people are compelled to live in poverty. There is no human dignity when people are compelled to live in slums; nor is there human dignity where there are deaths from preventable causes; nor is there human dignity wherever there is malnutrition. One can easily see by glancing at the world how frequently our concept of human dignity is being profaned.

I think any high standard of living would be commensurate with human dignity, but any standard of living is impossible without food, for without food there can be no life. It is quite obvious that those who produce the food, the farmers of the world, are a part of the basis of these fundamental human rights.

Along with rights, the individual has responsibilities. There is the responsibility of the individual to his society, the responsibility of the individual to his country and the realization that the rights of individuals must be subordinated to the just requirements of the community.

Even a cursory examination of this declaration shows that there has been a decided change in emphasis during the last two or three generations. There has been a realization that it is the individual person who is all-important. This declaration deals with the individual; it does not deal with groups. It does not deal with minorities. It deals with the fundamental rights of men and women. Under the old diplomacy, when a treaty or agreement was signed it often started with the words, "We the high contracting parties... ", whereas under modern diplomacy, for instance in the charter of the United Nations, the preamble declares, "We the peoples of the United Nations..." The emphasis is on people, just as the emphasis in the declaration is on the human family as such. The old league of nations dealt primarily, I think, with the rights of peoples, whereas the United Nations deals with the rights of men and women. By giving us this universal declaration of human

rights, the United Nations has issued a clarion call for a new order, one which must be not only listened to but acted upon.

In 1944 Mr. Roosevelt said that true freedom has no meaning unless a man has independence and economic security. About the same time in Toronto Mr. King said that an era of freedom is achieved only as social security and human welfare become the main concern of men and nations. I hope that Mr. King's statement was something more than just a social objective. I hope it was a statement of deliberate policy. The declaration of human rights lights the way to that goal. Canada has accepted the declaration by the action of its government in Paris. I should like to think this House of Commons would endorse the action of the government and tell the people of Canada that we, as their elected representatives, also accept the declaration. Surely it cannot be said that we are prepared to do as a nation without our frontiers what we refuse to do within our own borders.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. M. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I should like to add something, Mr. Speaker, to what has been said by the member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles).

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

The member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart).

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

I wish they would make the names of the constituencies in Winnipeg less confusing, so that we ordinary people could master them.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

We are all C.C.F. out there.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Yes, that is the trouble.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin (Minister of National Health and Welfare)

Liberal

Mr. Martin:

That accounts for the chaos.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

I have followed with

considerable interest what has been said by the member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart). I want to approach the matter from a somewhat lower level. He has really given you the over-all view, the noble objectives with which we all agree. He has read from a statement by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) which I think was admirable. I have it here, too, but if I may I should like to deal with the matter in a somewhat more pedestrian fashion.

It seems to me that while this is a fine principle which we endorse, and rightly endorse, just as a stream cannot rise above its source so these things will not get any further than our own quality will take them, our own interest and our own devotion. I am proposing, therefore, to do what perhaps may seem a little remote from these fine

principles. I want to talk about them as they affect us in our own daily lives, and then try to go on from there to say something about our duty, which should be affected by these principles, too.

And may I warn you, Mr. Speaker, that at one or two stages you may think I am almost becoming political in a non-political or nonpartisan debate. I can assure you, sir, that anything of that kind will be more apparent than real, and if there is anything that looks like that I shall rise quickly to much higher ground.

Now, of course the first thing that comes to mind in connection with a matter of this kind is that everybody agrees; everybody says, "Me too"; and then we all go on to the next thing. We are in reverse from Mr. Coolidge's minister. When Mr. Coolidge returned from church he was asked what the sermon was about, and replied, "It was about sin." Then he was asked what the parson's line was, and he said, "He was against it."

It seems to me there is a great danger here that all we usually do is to affirm these fine principles, but without going any further to put them into effect. I think it is hardly an exaggeration to say that people who want to introduce these subjects into their daily conversation are regarded as a bit of a nuisance. When I returned from a visit to the United Nations and told a newspaper friend of mine that I thought it was my duty to say something about what I had seen there he said, "You will find the press are not interested. They will just sit back and relax, and that will be the end of it." And I found that his statement was a pretty accurate one.

That brings me to another point, that it is really very difficult for us, in the circumstances of the moment, to have any sense of public duty about this matter. I heard something the other day which quite shook me, and which went to show just how remote the sense of public duty has become among people when, ten years ago, the sense of public duty was at its zenith. I was told that one of the difficulties in the reserve army is that there is the greatest irritation among fellow employees if any employee is given a concession of any kind by reason of his serving in the reserve army. I hope that is not true, but I was told that it was.

As a matter of fact, I said to myself: "Well, after all, what lead are people getting? What sense of devotion to the state is there now, that a man could run across in his daily life? What advertisements do we use to get people to join the army? See the world and receive good pay." I am not criticizing that nor am I criticizing the men who respond. I do not

Human Rights

see how, in decency and common sense, as things are we can expect them to listen to any other inducement. But I do say that it does not make sense if we really are taking the wider obligation seriously.

When we come to a consideration of human rights and fundamental freedoms, is there any country that should be more concerned about or more convinced concerning things of this nature than this fortunate country in which we live? I should like to quote briefly from a speech made in the house by the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker), then representing the constituency of Lake Centre. This speech was delivered on March 24, 1952, and on that occasion he said, in part:

National unity in Canada is not only an ideal- it is a necessity-based on ordinary common sense.

And then later he said:

Great as is our inheritance, events in recent years demand that we review from time to time what is our inheritance, to ascertain whether any of our freedoms are being lost either intentionally or by default, and how far the principle of the heritage of freedom that is ours and that we take for granted is ours to enjoy.

I wish now to read briefly from a speech made some years ago in the British House of Lords. Speaking on the situation there, in the very home of freedom, and referring to the danger to freedom, the Marquess of Reading said on May 15, 1947, as reported in column 763 of the parliamentary debates, House of Lords:

Personal freedom had for so long been the current coin of life in this country that we had been apt perhaps to forget that currency may be slowly and stealthily withdrawn from circulation, that coinage may be debased without any very evident outward signs, and that it may even be deliberately counterfeited without immediate detection.

It is no part of my case to-day to allege any malign conspiracy on the part of anyone deliberately to attempt to overthrow the liberties of the subject. The process has been gradual, stealthy, haphazard, almost inadvertent, but unfortunately both insidious and menacing in its cumulative effect.

It seems to me that if words like that can be used in a country like England, then we should be deeply concerned and should be on our guard. After all, England has the advantage of a homogeneous population, centuries of common tradition, centuries of law and order; and if those things can be said there, then it seems to me it behooves us to be on our guard here also.

In England they have been able to do what I doubt any other nation can do. They have been able to divide themselves politically into the right and left, socialist and nonsocialist and, notwithstanding that, to maintain their ancient laws and their respect for tradition-although a well-known English writer did say years ago, "If we get a political situation where a change of government

Human Rights

means economic revolution, then it is almost too much to expect that we can have free elections".

Since then I am glad to say events have belied that, because there have been elections over there which, in a small way, amounted to economic revolution, when there was contest as between public and private ownership. But the results were as we know them. The triumph of law and order has been such, I think, as to win the admiration of all of us. I should think that perhaps no other country in the world could equal their record.

I should like to pursue this question of freedom of the individual for a moment. We in our party value this as something of tremendous importance. We have gone all out to speak about it in economic terms, and we speak about it of course in other terms as well. And when we are trying to nail the colours of freedom to the mast we are interested to find in the evidence in other countries that it is becoming quite clear that freedom cannot stand more than so much control. When I make this statement I am referring to Great Britain, and particularly to what happened at the Margate conference, to which I referred two weeks ago. At that time I said that I believed there is evidence to show that the socialist party in England is becoming convinced of this and that their attitude is that of "stop, look and listen". As I told the house before, resolution after resolution involving wider nationalization was turned down.

I think that is significant, and I hope there will be more of it. As a matter of fact I think they are also finding out that while the bosses were not as popular as they might have been in labour circles, nevertheless labour has found that there is much more satisfaction to be found in negotiating with a boss who is ascertainable, who is available and to whom you do not have to show any more consideration than you want, than there is in negotiating with some far-off head of a board who is presumed to know about your interests much better than you do yourself, and who is inclined to take a very high and mighty line if you try to advocate the interests of your own union.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I have said in this house and I believe that controls, that the socialistic form of government and the paternal form of government, inevitably breed controls whether they intend it or not. I remember years ago reading a phrase that stuck in my mind. It had to do with coercion in all its forms. The phrase was: "Coercion is insatiable."

[Mr. Macdonnell.l

That prompts me, Mr. Speaker, to tell of a conversation which took place years ago between two men well-known and highly respected in this house at that time, and whose names are still well-known. Anyone who reads the banking and commerce committee proceedings on the review of the Bank Act ten years ago will run across the name of Mr. W. H. Moore, a well-known Liberal member of this house in past years. The name of Mr. Woods worth was well-known and has been revived by the book which has been recently published. Mr. Moore and Mr. Woodsworth, though political opponents, were personal friends, and indeed belonged to the same dining club. One day Mr. Moore said to Mr. Woodsworth: "You have been a most useful member; you have not had power but you have had influence and things have been done in this House of Commons that would not have been done but for you; but, Mr. Woodsworth, of course, if your party ever came to power you could not continue to be leader." Mr. Woodsworth asked: "Why not?" And Mr. Moore replied: "Because yours

would be a dictatorial form of government and, Mr. Woodsworth, you could not be a dictator; you could not do the tough things that dictators have to do."

I pass that on, Mr. Speaker, and I suggest that that conversation between these two well-known and highly regarded men may be of interest. It will not be agreed to by everyone in this house, but nevertheless it is an expression of the point of view that I hold, a point of view which I suggest has been fully borne out by what has happened in the United Kingdom in the last several years; and I pass it on.

I now come to another matter with which I think we shall agree, namely, the difficulty of maintaining freedom intact and inviolate in our own daily lives. I belonged to an organization during the war called the civil liberties association. By the way, I am quite sure the fact that I belonged to it is going to get me in trouble one day; and possibly I might join that noble army of martyrs who are suspected of having been communist because, Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you there were communists in this civil liberties association.

I went to a friend of mine once and asked him to join. He said: "Don't you know that the communists will get in?" I said: "Yes,

they are in now." He said: "What are you going to do about it?" I said: "The only thing we can do is to get enough sensible fellows like you to come in with us and vote them down." But no, he would have no part of it.

I learned another thing in the civil liberties association. I learned something in a way

that I had never known before, the extreme importance of time. I found out that communists would stay later at meetings than anybody else.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

That is right.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

And I have always

remembered that, because when I have read foolish resolutions passed by people that I thought were otherwise sensible I said to myself: "How could sensible men pass those resolutions?" I have reminded myself of the terrible nights that we stayed hour after hour at the civil liberties' meetings so that I came almost to hate them because of the extreme discomfort of having to stay there because the communists were there. They stayed and stayed in the hope that they would tire the rest of us out and then they would be able to do their deadly work and the civil liberties association of the city of Toronto would be in the newspaper in the morning as having done something that was incredibly foolish.

I am talking about freedom and the maintenance of freedom. What it means is the negation of intolerance. That often comes pretty close home. I have known people who were ready to say what could be taught in university chairs and what could not be taught. Perhaps you have, too. I have always thought it a very dangerous occupation. I have always thought that the real test was that as long as there was no propaganda it was very dangerous to try to enter in and to dictate, to those who were teaching, the kind of things they should teach. It is a difficult subject, and I am not going to go further with it, but it is a thing that I thought I should comment on.

I want to go back, now, Mr. Speaker. If it had not been for your kindness you would have said that up to the present I have been out of order because I have hardly mentioned the declaration yet. I want to talk a little more about it.

I want to say a word, a reminder that freedom has its ups and downs. I have a feeling that you can give the year and the place where freedom reached its zenith, at any rate, within the last centuries, and that was in 1913, in a little town in Alsace called Zabern, where a little unknown cobbler was knocked down and I think wounded by a Prussian officer. The result was, as somebody put it, that the chancelleries of Europe were shaken by this act of injustice to a common man on the street of this unknown place. I believe that was the zenith. That was in 1913. Just think of the abyss into which we have fallen since. The wounding of that unknown man shocked Europe, that one act of injustice to a common man. I need not remind you of

Human Rights

what has happened since and how acts of injustice and worse have been perpetrated on millions and millions of common men.

I do not propose to deal at any length with the articles of the declaration, but I want to bring to your attention two or three to try to relate them to ourselves. Number 4 says that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude. It was not so many years ago that we thought slavery was just something that might exist in some remote tribe in Africa that had not yet been fully explored. We now know that slavery has existed for millions and millions of people taken in war and subjected to a life that we do not even like to think of.

Article 5 says that no one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Many of us can remember the time when we thought that torture was a thing that we read of in strange stories about strange far-off countries. Now of course it has become a commonplace.

Then, I want to mention article 14, the right of asylum. It says that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. I think our record in that has been pretty good; but we sometimes find those to whom we give asylum difficult in various ways. Sometimes we do not like them because they work too hard. Sometimes we do not like them because they seem to be able to save money and to buy things that we cannot buy. At any rate, there it is. There is the article which says that everyone is entitled to the right of asylum.

I want to ask what is implied in this vote that we are going to give on this. I think we should be prepared to vote for this, and I want to know what is implied in it. What does it really mean? First of all I think it should mean that we should know a lot more about what is going on. I hope the minister will add to our knowledge this afternoon, but we should know more, a lot more.

I would like to go back two or three years to an incident that happened in this house. The present member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) and the former member for Peel, Mr. Graydon, whom we all remember and all miss, spoke in the debate that took place at that time, which will be found in Hansard. of May 21, 1952. It had to do with the resolution for a convention for the fixing of minimum age for children in employment. The hon. member for Cape Breton South had this to say:

So far as I am concerned, Mr. Speaker, I would still like to see the resolution go before the committee. I think it would be an education for a great many of us to meet with the officials and to discuss this particular form of legislation.

Human Rights

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
?

Gordon Graydon

Mr. Gordon Graydon (Peel):

Mr. Speaker, may I just make one or two observations in connection with this proposal? As to a number of these conventions which arise out of the deliberations of the special agencies of the United Nations and of international organizations, it seems to me that a procedure such as that which has been recommended by the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis) ought to be followed. When the conventions come before parliament, they come in the form of a resolution, and there is no opportunity in committee of the whole to interrogate anyone in the government; they sometimes also come in fairly detailed form as does this convention. On previous occasions, when resolutions of a detailed nature of this kind have been before the house, I have felt that proper provision is not made under the rules for a proper and full discussion unless the matter goes before a special committee of the house.

As to the present situation, I only want to make one or two additional remarks. We voted first for this declaration in 1948, as I understand it, and perhaps the minister will tell us what has been done in the interval to take it seriously. A couple of weeks ago the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming) made a suggestion in the house which I think might well be brought back to the memory of hon. members. He was speaking about the possibility of our doing something with our great stocks of wheat to try to help those who are in need of help. I mention that merely as being one of the practical things which we have to consider.

Look at the actual amount which we have contributed, which I believe is somewhere between $1 and $2 million this year, in the way of assistance to underdeveloped countries, and make comparisons. Of course if you start with nothing the subscription will seem quite large, and I am not saying for a moment that it should be larger or smaller. I hope the minister will say something to us about what he regards as our responsibility in this question.

I know there are two views. There is the view that it is possible, by giving assistance to backward countries, to slacken their efforts, and actually do harm. Personally I find it difficult to believe that, provided it is done wisely. But I should like to hear about that. As I say, if you compare this amount, what we are spending on what we might call construction, with the amount that we are spending on defence, in other words on destruction, the comparison would be so trifling that you would not dare to give the figure. Obviously that is not a fair comparison at all and I do not suggest for a moment that it is. I should like to hear from the minister what he has to say about that.

You cannot spend even the short time that I did at the United Nations without having these things rise up and strike you. Despite all the wrangling that goes on there, you

cannot help feeling that somehow or other there ought to be some means of understanding. I think it was Charles Lamb who had criticized somebody with great asperity and a friend asked, "Do you know the man you are criticizing?" Lamb replied, "No, of course not; I could not attack him like that if I knew him". I hope there is force in that, although I must admit that the Russians seem to be able to continue their sharp attacks even though they are sitting in the seat next to you.

I am afraid my remarks have been rather rambling. This declaration might be treated as a matter which just passes in the night, so to speak, something that means nothing to us, something about which in our hearts we are really bored to death. If we take that attitude it seems to me that we may have occasion to rue it bitterly. On the other hand, common sense ought to enter in. I hope the minister will be able to give us a view which will combine the common-sense approach with these obligations at a time when we can see that right decisions may involve blessings beyond what we can imagine, while on the other hand wrong decisions may lead to evils beneath our darkest imaginings.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

George Hugh Castleden

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

Mr. G. H. Caslleden (Yorklon):

Mr. Speaker, this resolution calls for government approving as a declaration of principle the universal declaration of human rights adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948. This being 1953, I think we will agree that we are already a bit late. These 30 articles I believe are accepted as the most comprehensive statement of human rights ever given to the world.

The nations which put them together in their organization presented them as being most necessary for the fulfilment of the aims of the United Nations in bringing freedom to the world. We will remember that in world war II, which preceded the forming of the United Nations, we promised those men who fought, those who died, that they were fighting to establish in this world, among other things, four freedoms: the freedom of the whole world from fear, from want, freedom of speech and assembly, and freedom to worship as we wished.

The concerted efforts of all the nations, through the United Nations, have presented this declaration of human rights in the hope that it will bind the peoples of the world together toward achieving that aim. We must remember that in democracy as it stands today we can and must produce, first, social progress and, second, a better standard of living, and all of this in a greater degree of freedom than the world has known before.

We believe that Canada should make this formal declaration as outlined in this resolution, so that the people of Canada can be aware and learn to know what these actual articles are. They should be known to every person in Canada. They should be part of their training. Every person who wishes freedom to be maintained and extended in this world should know what those basic rights are as outlined by this world organization.

It is my intention this afternoon to place a few of the important ones actually on the record in the hope that they may be more widely read and more widely understood. I am not putting them all on, as the document is somewhat too lengthy, but I would quote the following points:

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 9. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 11. (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

As the hon. member for Winnipeg North has stated, toward the end of this list of articles come those which deal with the freedom of man and the right to work. Article 18 reads as follows:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 20 reads in this way:

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 23 reads as follows:

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

Human Rights

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24 reads as follows:

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25 reads as follows:

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the. health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

Article 26 is important to the freedom of the world. It reads as follows:

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

And so on down through the rest of those 30 articles. A knowledge of these 30 articles should be a part of the training of all Canadians. The fulfilment of these articles should be the standard of achievement for all peoples. This proclamation outlines how the declaration can be fulfilled.

A previous speaker this afternoon stated that we are in the habit of reading things of this kind and then doing nothing about them. I am pleased to note also that the statement made by the hon. member today should have been made in this parliament. I wonder if he would not have felt some fear if his statement had been made in other places these days.

In Saskatchewan I think we hold the unique position of being the first province in the Dominion of Canada to have written into the statutes of the province a bill of rights for the people. I know there are those who maintain that such a thing is not necessary. My own personal observation is that it has improved the people's understanding of the meaning of democracy. People are more aware of their rights, of their freedoms, and of the importance of remaining vigilant. There is a greater realization of the dignity of the person as a result.

Human Rights

Freedom and liberty are not guaranteed in any nation by the erection of any memorial or statue at our gates. They are safe only when enthroned deeply in the hearts and minds of the people. Citizens who are ready and alert to come to the defence of freedom and to strike early at those things which threaten it constitute the safety of democracy.

In this resolution we are asking the government to make a declaration of principle. Such a declaration is, I believe, a necessary and good thing. I believe it would be good for Canada and for democracy. Until those freedoms are a real part of the life of all Canadians we have not fulfilled our sacred pledge to those who died in world war II for us who live on. We owe a declaration such as this by the Canadian government to the thousands-yes, millions-who have gone before to establish democracy and freedom; to ourselves; to those people to whom we made those promises, and to those who come after in order that they may move forward in the spirit of the brotherhood of man and with their faces toward the light.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this resolution. Of course I know it may be argued that because of the vote of the delegation and the statement of the Secretary of State for External Affairs at the United Nations in 1948, our government has already approved this declaration of human rights with certain reservations as a federal state. However, I should like to see a resolution of this sort passed by this house. I think it is necessary that we have the expressed opinions and the support of parliament for an important declaration such as we are discussing this afternoon.

When the United Nations met at San Francisco in 1945, human rights and fundamental freedoms were an important part of the aim of the conference and were referred to again and again in the charter. For example, if we look at the preamble of the charter we read:

We the peoples of the United Nations determined-

Among other things.

-to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, . . .

There, it seems to me, we had the first declaration of human rights by the United Nations in this preamble. If we turn to article 55 of the charter, which deals with international economic and social co-operation, chapter IX, we find this:

With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for

peaceful and friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote:

a. higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development;

b. solutions of international economic, social, health, and related problems; and international cultural and educational co-operation; and

c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

Article 56 pledges the nations. It reads thus:

All members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in article 55.

Again we have still another reference to it in article 62. When this declaration was first proposed in the third committee of the United Nations it was to carry out the obligations that the nations assumed under the charter. Our Canadian delegation approved of the charter of the United Nations at San Francisco; and when the time came the leader of our delegation, in the person of the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson), approved of the declaration which the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart) read into the record this afternoon.

It seems to me that this declaration of fundamental rights and freedoms is, as it were, the culmination of a long historic struggle among men. I listened with a good deal of interest this afternoon to the hon. member for Greenwood (Mr. Macdonnell), whose interest in civil liberties has in the past done not only the hon. member himself great credit but also the organizations to which he belongs, and even the political party with which he is associated. But this afternoon he took some issue with the idea that governments accepting the principles of socialist philosophy can really defend human rights and freedoms. I do not know why, because I am a member of the C.C.F., of a democratic socialist movement, and I believe it is the only movement that aims at bringing complete freedom for the development of the human personality.

I say that no matter to what extent we have political freedom-and we have won large measures of political freedom which we must safeguard in every respect-as long as there is a denial of economic freedom, until we have rounded out our political freedom with the right of every human being to economic freedom and social welfare, we shall not have achieved freedom as I understand freedom.

Indeed, the founders of the democratic socialist movements of the United Kingdom and of the Scandinavian countries were the

people who led the fight against the autocracies of former days, just as the labour movements in various countries are fighting for the rights and the freedom of workers against the economic autocrats, the economic royalists, of today. When my hon. friend speaks of controls, may I remind him that I am not afraid of public controls exercised through democratically elected institutions such as the parliament of Canada or the legislatures of our provinces, but I am afraid of the economic controls that are used by economic royalists today.

The other evening the hon. member for York South (Mr. Noseworthy) put on the record the controls which one single individual, in the person of Mr. Murdoch, exercises in northern Ontario and elsewhere; and as long as we have individuals who have the right to determine the conditions under which thousands of men shall earn their daily bread and, what is worse, whether or not they shall have the opportunity to earn their daily bread, we do not have freedom. We are fighting for this freedom.

I said a moment ago that the long historic struggle that has brought us to the stage where we are now fighting for economic freedom is the story of a fight against autocracies of various descriptions.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

Will the hon. member permit a question?

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Surely.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell:

The hon. member will, I am sure, agree that the description he has given of individual power is subject to law and subject to government.

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink
CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

Yes. I would say, however, that the legislatures and parliament have not yet enacted the necessary legislation limiting the economic powers of a few powerful individuals in our midst. My hon. friend mentioned two gentlemen this afternoon for whom I have a very high regard. Of course J. S. Woodsworth is one of the great Canadians whom I revere for his work in days gone by. I also knew Mr. W. H. Moore, a man for whom I also had regard although he disagreed with me quite fundamentally. My hon. friend mentioned an anecdote this afternoon of a conversation with Mr. W. H. Moore regarding Mr. J. S. Woodsworth. You know, Mr. Moore had some very strange ideas and a rather strange basic philosophy with which I do not think very many members of the house will agree.

May I recount a personal conversation I had with him many years ago when I was a young member of the house, when I was a guest at a luncheon at the Speaker's home in this city. Mr. Moore sat beside me. In

Human Rights

the course of the conversation he was talking about socialism. He said to me, "You know, Mr. Coldwell, you are a socialist, and after all you socialists believe in planning-in economic law and order". He said, "You are a lineal descendant of the Tory party which professed belief in law and order in the old days". Then he went on to say, "As for me, I am an anarchist. That is why I am a member of the Liberal party".

I do not agree with Mr. Moore's philosophy in these particulars, but I think that it is a story that is worth recounting. We do not believe in anarchy. We believe in law and order, and we do not think that in our society there should be economic anarchists who can do exactly what they like from their own point of view and for their own benefit. So I say to the hon. member for Greenwood that I believe in law and order, and law and order means that you have to exercise some legal control over those who would exploit either resources or individuals in our community. Therefore I should like to see this declaration adopted, because it does point up a philosophy in which we in a movement like ours believe.

When people talk to me about socialist governments leading toward dictatorship, I think of the Scandinavian governments that have been in power for more than a generation, and more recently in the United Kingdom. Throughout the years they have conferred larger measures of freedom on the peoples of the nations where they have been in power. In fact in many countries, and particularly in the United States, people who share our point of view call themselves liberals with a small "1". In other words they believe they are in the old tradition of liberty which was once upon a time a fundamental of Liberalism with a capital "L". Of course, that lovely name of "Liberal" is conferred on parties here and there-I will not name where they are-which are anything but liberal judging them by the manner in which they conduct the governments of various countries.

I said a few moments ago that the resolution with which we are dealing this afternoon perhaps is not worded in the manner in which it should be under the circumstances. It is worded in this way:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of approving as a declaration of principle, the universal declaration of human rights, as adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948.

It may be argued that the government has already done that.

Human Rights

Topic:   HUMAN RIGHTS
Subtopic:   MOTION APPROVING UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ADOPTED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UNITED NATIONS
Permalink

December 7, 1953