February 7, 1955

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliof:

He was preparing a speech on some other matter which was of more importance to him at that time than the question of freedom of speech.

I have just checked the record, Mr. Speaker, and noted that in the year 1947-1948 there were numerous sittings of the committee on human rights. My hon. friend shone by his presence and was missed very much when he did not attend the sittings. Upon looking at the record for 1947 I find he attended two sittings of the committee and missed six. In 1948 he attended three and missed ten. This is unfortunate, because if he _ had attended all the sittings of the committee the report would have been much more conclusive as a result of his experience, and perhaps now we would have legislation on human rights and fundamental freedoms. This is a fact.

We have spoken about freedom of speech, and there is freedom of the press. Freedom of the press is another thing that is very interesting. When I was in London in 1937, at the time

of the coronation, I recall that the press imposed censorship upon itself on news concerning the Duke of Windsor and his marriage. There was no regulation, but they thought the atmosphere existing at the time did not permit the press to give some of the details about the marriage and wedding trip of the Duke of Windsor. Now, that was a curtailment and it was self-inflicted. Is my hon. friend so sure that the press is free? It is not, and no legislation can change it because the press is the mirror of the views of its owner.

What newspaper is free from its own owner? I ask my hon. friend that question. With his wide experience he knows quite well that if the owner of a newspaper is in favour of a certain thing, that newspaper will not speak against it; otherwise the editor will be fired. He knows it. What law can change it? How can he change the relations that exist between the owner of a newspaper and his editor? Naturally, some owners of newspapers are more broadminded than others. It happens sometimes. There is a time when they may say to the editor, "Stop", or "Go". My hon. friend, with all his learning and with all the fine speeches he has made about freedom of the press, cannot change it.

Now, the press is not free from the advertisers. For instance, an advertiser who pays for a full page daily advertisement deserves recognition by the newspaper that prints his advertisement. Can my hon. friend deny it? Can anyone deny it? This is a tie; this is a string. This string may become a big, strong, powerful cable. Can my hon. friend change It? No, sir, he cannot. And when we begin to analyse his motion we see that while it is wonderful theoretically, in practice it is hard to apply.

And then, as to radio, I happen to be in different places, and on one occasion I attended the silliest thing I have ever seen. It was a conference of the Canadian Bar Association on the uniformity of law. Does my hon. friend know about it? Well, I was there, and all the attorneys general of the provinces were there. Some were asleep; some were awake.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

The former were as bright as the latter. [DOT]

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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

Their idea was to pass the same resolutions again and again a week before the Canadian Bar Association met. This meant that the attorneys general and the small fry of their departments were to have an extra vacation of one week before the convention to discuss the same matter. Always platitudes. On this occasion, referring to radio, they passed draft legislation of the 50433-59

Human Rights

kind my hon. friend uses in his motion. It was to the effect that when someone speaks over the radio and in doing so is guilty of slander, the one who speaks is not to be held responsible but that the radio station must accept responsibility. That draft legislation was adopted by the committee on the uniformity of law, but it was never passed by any legislative body.

Then, as to habeas corpus, my hon. friend should not be concerned about that. When habeas corpus is abrogated or suspended, otherwise than by immediate legislation, it is in virtue of an act of emergency powers passed by parliament because of particular circumstances, where the state could be in danger. But I will add something to that. I wish to convert my hon. friend to my views. I will tell him honestly that he is such an able lawyer that habeas corpus would have no importance to his clients. There is no one he could not get out of jail, and that would settle the question.

I have taken some notes, one of which relates to the Canadian Daily Newspapers Association. The hon. member for Prince Albert referred to the case of Mr. Blair Fraser, and made a fine dissertation about the examination for discovery. That was a civil case; it was not a criminal case. And as it was a civil case it came under the jurisdiction of the provinces. Ottawa had nothing to do with it, and my hon. friend knows that better than anyone else.

Then he mentioned the names of a few illustrious sponsors of a draft bill of rights. They are great men in this country. Opinions are free; but they spoke like philosophers or dreamers, and they did not mention a fact. They were speaking theoretically and in an academic fashion. My hon. friend, who is realistic and a man of action, took the trouble to transcribe in longhand some of those utterances. I cannot understand them.

Is it true, sir, that we value freedom less than we did 50 years ago? We value it more, because this country has reached the point where there is no other country that offers greater freedom than Canada. But some people speak about more freedom. Where does freedom stop? It would be very interesting to know that; because on the one hand, where freedom is not limited my hon. friend and others who think as he does can rise when they feel like it and speak in support of human rights and fundamental freedoms. But, outside of fair limits, limits sanctioned by law, can they come to the defence of one who has exceeded those limits?

In order to discuss the matter properly my hon. friend should tell us what the limit

Human Rights

is. He should tell us where liberty and freedom end and where licence begins. The hon. member was fair in that respect, but he was not clear enough. He said that free speech is not licence, and I agree with him on that. He said that anyone who speaks becomes subject to punishment when his words strike at the security of the state, the rights of others or are blasphemous. And I agree with him on that. But on the other hand this statement is a denial of the first part of his argument.

I would like him to explain-and he can do so-who can complain, if they have struck at the security of the state and the rights of others, or have been blasphemous. It is a very difficult matter, and no one realizes it better than the hon. member.

I took careful note of what he said when he asked this: Who denies the right whereby ideas may be tried before the bar of public opinion? Nobody denies it. My hon. friend is free to say anything he likes to the people. They can listen to him; they can approve of what he says or they can disapprove. They have the same right to be free as he has. When has my hon. friend been prevented from submitting ideas to the bar of public opinion? Never. This is an exaggeration of language.

He said that we already have a bill of rights in the British North America Act. He referred to the Saumur case and quoted Bora Laskin, a professor at the University of Toronto. I am not familiar with the top jurists of the University of Toronto. As I say, my hon. friend referred to the Saumur case and the various opinions expressed by the justices of the supreme court. Mr. Bora Laskin says that this extraordinary division of opinion creates a result that is as curious as it is unsatisfactory.

Then my hon. friend suggests that his draft bill be submitted to the supreme court. How can he suggest that when he quotes and takes as his own an opinion expressed by a Toronto professor to the effect that the decision of the supreme court in a similar case was as curious as it was unsatisfactory. Then he insists upon a parliamentary committee.

I appeared before the parliamentary committee on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Along with two of my colleagues I had been abused. One colleague is still living but the other, my good friend Mr. Church, the hon. member from Toronto, is dead. We were abused because we did not share the views of a certain editor regarding the United Nations. That editor employed language which would have been considered unparliamentary. I appeared before the committee on July 4, 1947, to ask that it redress

a wrong and restore my fundamental freedom and give me back my human rights. But I found the committee impotent. They told me their reference from the house did not cover that. I found out that a committee which had been set up by this house was not able to protect the liberty of a member of the house who had been abused by the press. What is the use arguing any longer? That is enough. I am fed up with it. I shall vote against the motion and the amendment.

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SC

Frederick Davis Shaw

Social Credit

Mr. F. D. Shaw (Red Deer):

Mr. Speaker, there are two things I should like to make abundantly clear right away. First, I would not want to have it construed that our lateness in participating in this debate results from any lack of interest. We had good reason to believe that we would have an opportunity to express our opinion earlier in the day. We feel that in a debate of this kind, particularly where the time is limited, each party in the house should have an opportunity to express its views.

In the second place, I shall not allow myself to be put in a position where it can be said that I talked out the resolution. I shall conclude before ten o'clock even though it means stopping in the middle of a sentence or even in the middle of a word. We are not endeavouring to talk out this resolution. We are interested; we have certain convictions which we are prepared to express, and we are prepared to take a position if and when a decision is rendered by this house on this resolution.

When the house commenced the debate this afternoon we were dealing with resolution No. 8, which is made up of four specific sections. In lines 3 and 4 appear these words: "assure amongst other rights"; and then at the end of the resolution is a paragraph relating to the advisability of submitting for an opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada the question as to the degree to which fundamental freedoms of religion, speech and of the press and the preservation of the constitutional rights of the individual are matters of federal or provincial jurisdiction.

To us that resolution was all-embracing. However, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar moved resolution No. 16 as an amendment to resolution No. 8. Resolution No. 16 in our view is not one whit broader than resolution No. 8. It is couched in slightly different language. It asks for an amendment to the constitution, whereas resolution No. 8 merely calls for the enactment of a bill or declaration of rights. By virtue of his seconding of the amendment to resolution No. 8 the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Croll) has agreed in effect that resolution No. 8 as amended contains that which is incorporated

in resolution No. 10. So actually and in effect we are dealing with the subject matters as set forth in three resolutions.

We find that there is a very specific difference of opinion in Canada with respect to this particular matter. I am sure there can be no difference among the membership of this house with respect to the desirability of preserving the freedoms as set forth in the resolution or the amendment. I am quite confident that no hon. member of this house is going to object to clause No. 1 which is designed to guarantee freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and of radio. I am sure that if a vote were taken and all hon. members of this house were to express themselves they would indicate approval of that section.

Section No. 2 states that habeas corpus shall not be abrogated or suspended except by parliament. I am quite sure that no one will disagree with that.

Then the next paragraph states that no one shall be deprived of liberty or property without due process of law, and in no case by order in council. I am not going so far as to say they would all agree with that. We have already heard the Minister of Justice (Mr. Garson) say in effect that he could not agree with the latter part of it. To me the general principle set forth in that section is one that could be supported.

Then the next paragraph states that no tribunal or commission shall have the power to compel the giving of evidence by anyone who is denied counsel or other constitutional safeguards. In the amendment we find slightly different language. It states:

(a) abridging freedom of speech and expression or freedom of religion, or of the press or other means of communication or the right of lawful assembly, association or organization.

I am sure a majority of us, anyway, agree with that clause, and so it goes through the entire amendment; but we find ourselves, interestingly enough, in agreement with a good deal of what was said by the Minister of Justice.

In my own approach to this amended resolution I must ask myself this question: Do you believe in the right of the provinces to exercise their jurisdiction as laid down by the British North America Act? Well, certainly I do, Mr. Speaker, and for the life of me I cannot understand how the government of Canada could bring in legislation and the parliament of Canada approve it and cover all the guarantees set forth in this legislation without invading fields which are set down clearly and definitely today as being, if not in whole in every case, at least in part within the jurisdiction of the provinces. To 50433-59J

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my mind action of that kind could easily precipitate civil war in the country.

Until such time as a formula is found by which we can amend our own constitution here in this country, this kind of procedure would be extremely dangerous. I can envision what stand many of the provinces of this country would take if such legislation were enacted. In fact, if we have had any difficulties in our relationships prior to this time, certainly we would have real ones if action of this type were taken.

I certainly do not want it thought or said that by virtue of having taken that position one might be in disagreement with certain very desirable objectives in the resolution before us. I for one have examined these resolutions carefully. I have followed them from the time they first appeared on the order paper; I have secured all available information, and certainly feel in the first place that I would agree with the general principles as laid down, if I cannot agree with the method of bringing them about.

As I said a moment ago, Mr. Speaker, I agree with much of what the minister has said. There are many Canadians who feel that our approach should be such as was made in the United States of America. There are other Canadians who feel that the United States of America, with its bill of rights, with certain other constitutional guarantees so-called, is a classic example of where they have altogether too many of the things we are trying to prevent.

As a matter of fact, their bill of rights in the United States has not offered the guarantees of freedoms that so many persons assumed would naturally follow from the passage and implementation of certain legislation. In my opinion it takes far more than legislation. Heritage and tradition play an extremely important part in this field, particularly in relation to the matter of colour, creed and race. I am inclined to the belief that if a person is determined to engage in discrimination on the basis of race, colour or creed, he is going to do it and he is going to get away with it regardless of whatever legislation there may be on the statute books.

_ By virtue of heritage and tradition, by virtue of good common sense on the part of our people, there has been the minimum of that type of discrimination in this country.

I will admit there has been some discrimination, but there are too many persons who are too anxious to magnify it out of all proportion to its importance. As a matter of fact, owing to the publicity that has been given to it, it has actually caused further discrimination that might never have taken place had it not been for the publicity and. attention given to it.

Human Rights

We who live in this country are extremely fortunate. We can stand to the rest of the world as a wonderful example of a country in which so many of these freedoms are enjoyed by so many people. It is true that governments have been responsible from time to time for encroaching upon certain freedoms of the people; but, as the minister asserted, we have our parliament and we have public opinion, both of which are very potent factors in a matter of this kind.

After looking at resolution No. 10 on the order paper and noting the reference to the United Nations declaration of human rights, and also the reference made to it by the hon. member for Spadina (Mr. Croll), and to the fact that Canada, actually endorsed it at the United Nations, I am sure it was intended to offer guarantees to the people of other countries to make them feel that there was a future, rather than for our own country and to any need that might exist within it.

We feel that this whole matter could be considered by the federal authorities dealing with the provincial authorities; but personally I would be very much opposed to our trying to do everything by legislation when so much depends upon good sense and the education of our own people. In that connection, very recently I had occasion to offer the suggestion that probably our schools, churches, service clubs and other organizations within the nation could do considerably more than they are doing now or have done in the past to remove any desire on the part of the people to engage in discrimination based on race, colour or creed. As I say, there may be sections in the country where this sort of thing is indulged in to a greater extent than in others, but in my experience there has been an absolute minimum of it.

The minister referred to the fact that they have legislation in the United States. He also referred to the fact that the communist party itself has pressed hard for such legislation. When he said that I was reminded of the fifth amendment. The fifth amendment was designed originally, I presume, to give protection to honest citizens, but we know to what extent it has been used by communists in the United States to serve their own ends and protect themselves while engaged in their nefarious practices. I could not help but recall that at the very moment the minister made his assertion.

I wanted to refer to a number of things, Mr. Speaker. Four or five different speakers have referred today to what they called the press bill or the press act of Alberta. Had time permitted I fully intended to deal with that act, which was not a press act at all or press bill. It was the accurate news and

information act of 1937. Because I do not think it has ever been done, I had intended to indicate to the house the exact circumstances under which such legislation had come into being. I intend to do that at a later date, but I could not do it now without being guilty of the very offence that I said I did not want to be guilty of.

Once again, and in conclusion, may I say that we find no fault with this parliament and the provinces of Canada laying down procedures, if they are acting within their own jurisdiction, as a contribution toward the preservation of certain freedoms, or of all freedoms, as a matter of fact. But we cannot agree that the method of procedure should be as set down here, because it would be done in utter defiance of what we have all, I believe, in this house asserted from time to time, namely our conviction that the rights of the provinces as set forth under the constitution should be respected and honoured.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. E. D. Fulton (Kamloops):

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the fact-as I am sure do all hon. members-that the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Shaw) has concluded in time for a vote to be taken on this motion. I assure you that I also intend to compress my remarks within a brief compass so as still to leave that time.

I am going to deal with one question only, namely the position in which we find ourselves as a result of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell), who has in effect eliminated most of the operative words of the motion of the hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefen-baker) and has substituted therefor the positive proposal to amend the British North America Act by adding three specific sections.

In the past on frequent occasions we have stated our position as being one of respect for the constitution. The hon. member for Prince Albert, who introduced his motion, referred to the difficulties of deciding, particularly in the uncertain state of the jurisprudence on the matter, just what are the rights of the dominion parliament and what are the rights of the provincial legislatures. Therefore as a preliminary step he suggested the reference of the whole matter to the Supreme Court of Canada to decide what parts of his suggestions lay within dominion competence and what lay within provincial competence.

In his amendment the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar has eliminated that suggestion. We are therefore placed in the position that in effect we are being asked to decide this matter for ourselves. I fully agree with the hon. member for Red Deer that in any decision of this sort we must respect the position of the provinces. We have therefore

decided that we would support the amendment of the hon. member for Rosetown-Big-gar in a vote, on one understanding and one understanding only. The preliminary words of his amendment make the motion read as follows:

That, in the opinion of this house, immediate consideration should be given to the advisability of the taking of whatever steps are necessary to amend the British North America Act so as to include therein the following headings and sections:

And then follow the operative words. We will support his amendment with the reservation that those words will be taken as meaning that the matter will be submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada for decision and determination by that court, as one of the necessary steps to amend the constitution, of the extent to which the proposed amendment lies within the competence of the dominion parliament. Because we feel in principle that a bill of rights is necessary, we intend to support the amendment; but because we feel that the respective rights of the provinces must be maintained, we say we support it on the condition that one of the necessary steps be the preliminary submission of the whole question to the Supreme Court of Canada.

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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. Angus Maclnnis (Vancouver-Kingsway):

Mr. Speaker, I do not want to prevent the vote. I merely say that I do not think it is within the competence of anyone to say that the amendment means something except just exactly what it says. However, I am sure I am speaking for the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar when I say that he would be perfectly agreeable to the suggestion made by the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton).

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?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Pierre Gauthier (Portneuf):

Mr. Speaker, there cannot be any question of taking the vote tonight, because I have too many things to say on the amendment and on the main motion. One of those things is that I cannot accept a declaration of rights like the one which was contained in the universal declaration of human rights by the United Nations. Article 16 reads as follows:

Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

Consequently they accept divorce in their declaration of human rights. That is something I cannot accept. I am asking myself this question.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

Make sure you get a good answer.

Human Rights

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

Don't worry; the answer may be as good as any you can give. I ask myself whether it would be infringing upon the rights of the two provinces which do not want any divorce court within their boundaries. I refer to Newfoundland and Quebec. I ask myself whether it would not be infringing on their rights if, by a vote of the federal parliament, we were to impose upon them a divorce court, whether it be the exchequer court or any other court.

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CCF

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

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

Mr. Knowles:

That is not included in the motion before the house.

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

No, but it is a

question of human rights just the same. I am asking myself that question, and I have a right to do that. It is a pertinent question to ask.

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CCF

Harold Edward Winch

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

Mr. Winch:

As I expected, you got a foolish answer.

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

I never thought that my friend was so good a judge of good sense or bad sense.

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?

An hon. Member:

He has never proved it.

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LIB
?

An hon. Member:

They never do.

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LIB

Pierre Gauthier

Liberal

Mr. Gauthier (Portneuf):

I think the declaration made by our Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) was good when he said this at the United Nations:

I wish to make it clear here, . . . that, in regard to any rights which are defined in this document,-

That is the declaration of human rights.

-the federal government of Canada does not intend to invade other rights which are also important to the people of Canada. By this I mean the rights of the provinces under our federal constitution.

I never heard anyone here say that the Secretary of State for External Affairs is not a man of good sense. The quotation continues:

We believe that the rights set forth in this declaration are operated and well protected in Canada. We shall continue to develop and maintain these rights, but we shall do so within the framework of our constitution which assigns jurisdiction in regard to a number of important questions to the legislatures of our provinces. Because of these various reservations on details in the draft declaration the Canadian delegation abstained when the declaration as a whole was put to the vote in the committee.

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?

An hon. Member:

Ten o'clock.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Question.

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February 7, 1955