February 24, 1959

PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

There has been lending done by the credit unions. When I made arrangements with the chartered banks to continue their lending operations under the act during the period between December 11, 1958 and the date the present proposed measure comes into effect a similar arrangement was made with the credit unions. However, I shall endeavour to obtain the information sought by the hon. member and give it to the house when the bill comes before the house on the motion for second reading.

I was also asked as to the number of applications rejected. I doubt whether that information is available because these are applications made to banks, credit unions or caisses populaires, not applications made to the department.

Various suggestions have been made as to ways in which the scope of the act might be extended. The hon. member for Queens-Lunenburg put forward a concrete proposal which was supported by the hon. member for St. John's East and also by the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo. I may say that the first two named members spoke to me about this matter also after the resolution appeared on the order paper. I may also say that I have been very much impressed by the suggestion and I tell the committee now, as I told my hon. friends, that I shall certainly be prepared to give very sympathetic consideration to the suggestion. I think there is merit in the proposal that has been made. It is a fact that the act, which has not been amended since it first came into effect in 1955, does not permit a guaranteed loan to be made to a person who at one time had an interest in a fishing vessel but no longer has such interest or to a person who desires to acquire an interest in a fishing vessel for the first time. As I have told my hon. friends, I shall certainly be glad to give very sympathetic consideration to the suggestion which has been made.

Topic:   FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
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LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

I have one more question before the resolution is carried. Would the minister also give consideration to the request I made that the directors of the credit unions be contacted to find out why they are not taking more advantage of the legislation? It may be that the guarantee on the 15-10 per cent basis may not be altogether satisfactory. It may be that it could not be done this year but the minister might consider an amendment for next year to provide a 20-15 per cent guarantee or even 20-10 per cent.

Topic:   FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

I shall be glad to give consideration to my hon. friend's suggestion with respect to contacting the directors of the credit unions. As to his second point, my impression is that the limit now set by the statute on the extent of the government's guarantee has not been a stumbling block in the way of wider use of the provisions of the act. It may be, as is indicated in the province of Newfoundland, that the availability of this type of loan under the statute is not as widely known as one would wish. I can certainly say, however, and give full assurance to the committee that it is the government's wish that the fullest use be made of the provisions of the act by those for whose benefit the legislation was enacted by parliament.

Topic:   FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
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LIB

Hédard-J. Robichaud

Liberal

Mr. Robichaud:

Are these pamphlets being circulated in the French language?

Topic:   FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

Yes.

Resolution reported and concurred in.

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon) thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill C-30, to amend the Fisheries Improvement Loans Act.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   FISHERIES IMPROVEMENT LOANS ACT
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NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT

AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.

PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Alvin Hamilton (Minisler of Norlhern Affairs and Nalional Resources) moved

the second reading of Bill No. C-26, to amend the Northwest Territories Act.

He said: Mr. Speaker, during the many years that have elapsed since the Northwest Territories Act was first enacted the house has been ready to keep pace with the development of the territories by approving the necessary amendments from time to time. I am sure all hon. members will agree that the amendments I have the honour to present at this time represent forward steps in providing the territories with orderly and effective administration.

At the present time the act provides that elected members of the council hold office for a term of three years from the date of the return of their individual writs of election. Because of the time it takes for the returns to come in from the outlying polls the effect of this provision is that each member's term of office starts on a different date. It is desirable to have all elected for the same term and it is proposed, by this amendment, to establish a definite term of office for the council itself, the term being three years from the date of the return of the writs for the

Northwest Territories Act

general election. This date is fixed in the order that the commissioner issues to the chief electoral officer prior to each general election. The life of the council will begin on that date, following the practice which the Canada Elections Act provides with respect to the House of Commons.

The present act also provides that the governor in council may, at any time after the expiration of two years from the date of the return of the writs of election of the elected members of the council, dissolve the council and cause a new council to be elected and appointed. It is now proposed, by the new amendment, to bring the principles relating to dissolution in the territories in accord with the principles followed in the provinces and in this house. A similar change was made several years ago in the Yukon Act, and its provision in this act is another step in the evolution of the Northwest Territories toward responsible government.

Hon. members will have noted that some sections are to be repealed and not replaced. These subsections provided that when an elected member dies, resigns or is otherwise incapable of holding office, the vacancy thus created in the council should be filled by appointment by the governor in council. With the repeal of this subsection, the provisions of the Canada Elections Act for by-elections when an elected member dies, resigns or is otherwise incapable, become effective. They will be effective by virtue of section 114 of the Canada Elections Act. Thus, although there will be no specific provision for byelections in the Northwest Territories Act itself, by-elections will be held as provided in the Canada Elections Act. It is considered that the time has come to provide for byelections, thereby making fully effective the right of the people of the territories to elect their own representatives. The Yukon Territory has had provision for this type of by-election for some time.

Another amendment to the bill will authorize the commissioner, on the recommendation of the Northwest Territories council, to designate the place in the territories where, under the act, one session of the council will be held each year. Under the present wording the right to designate the place rests with the governor in council and it is a forward step to give to the commissioner the right to do so on the recommendation of the council itself.

The purpose of the third amendment is to clarify the present section 37. It is desired to appoint presiding officers for the small debt tribunals established under the judicature ordinance, and it is not clear whether the present section 37 of the Northwest

Territories Act is broad enough to authorize their appointment. A similar amendment was passed at the last session of parliament in connection with the Yukon Act.

The fourth amendment in the bill concerns the importation of liquor into the territories. At the present time subsection (1) of section 42 of the Northwest Territories Act prohibits the importation of liquor into the territories unless the permission of the commissioner has been obtained. The commissioner may be unavailable, and it is therefore proposed by this amendment that he be authorized to designate a person to act for him under this section when required. Once again, a similar amendment was made to the Yukon Act at the last session of parliament.

Although section 42 of the Northwest Territories Act adequately controls the importation of liquor into the territories, at the present time another federal statute also applies. The Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act prohibits the shipment of intoxicating liquors into a province except to the provincial government or provincial liquor board or commission. The application of this statute to the Northwest Territories is unnecessary duplication, and this amendment will exclude the territories from its application. A similar amendment was made to the Yukon Act at the last session of parliament.

The purpose of this last amendment is simply to authorize the governor in council to make regulations respecting the protection of sites, specimens and documents of archaeological, ethnological and historical importance. This is considered by the legal officers of the crown to be properly the subject of federal legislation. The proposed amendment is similar to section 51 of the Yukon Act and it will bring the Northwest Territories Act into accord with the Yukon Act in this respect.

With this statement of general principles on these amendments, Mr. Speaker, I think I will content myself. I should like to emphasize the point I made at the resolution stage of this bill that we are moving step by step toward assuring that the administrative and judicial aspects of these expanding territories will grow as the economics of these territories change. In some cases, the changes will be faster possibly than the people in the territories may request them, but in most cases the changes will be with the advice of the councils in each of the two territories. I think this indicates the attitude of the government. I trust that in the debate that will occur on these amendments the various points that can be taken

1356 HOUSE OF

Northwest Territories Act in regard to the concept of movement forward will be raised by hon. members because, on many of these points, I do not want to take the position that the final word has yet been spoken. Many of us feel that we are breaking into new fields and we are somewhat reluctant to take the position that what we are doing is absolutely right. I think if the debate proceeds in that spirit it will add something to the progress we are making and will give me some ideas, I hope, for future amendments to these acts concerning the two territories so that we can keep pace with the progress in those areas.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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LIB

Mervyn Arthur Hardie

Liberal

Mr. M. A. Hardie (Mackenzie River):

I said a few words concerning the judicial aspect of the amendments at the resolution stage of this bill, but I should like now to consider for a moment a part of what the minister has said concerning these amendments. He indicated that, by these amendments, he was proposing to give the Northwest Territories council greater autonomy. With regard to the first clause, he said that a definite term of office for council members would be fixed. But in the particular clause dealing with the matter we find the following:

Every council shall continue for three years from the date of the return of the writs for the general election of the elected members thereof and no longer, but the governor in council may at any time dissolve the council and cause a new council to be elected and appointed.

I direct attention to the second part of clause 1, which provides:

-but the governor in council may at any time dissolve the council and cause a new council to be elected and appointed.

In my opinion, this provision does not do what the minister said would be done, namely give a definite term of office to the elected members of council. What this clause will do is to make it possible for the governor in council or the cabinet here in this federal House of Commons, if they so desire, to dissolve the council. If they do not like the colour of the eyes of the members who are elected to council they could the following day or at any time thereafter dissolve the council and cause a new election. I do not think this clause is in keeping with the second amendment with which I wholly agree and which the minister said was a step towards more autonomy.

In the second clause which deals with the convening of the sessions of the council, a change is made from the provision found in the old act which says that the governor in council shall determine the place and time of meetings. Under this new amendment it is the commissioner on the recommendation of the council who does this. In the first

clause, in order to give greater autonomy and to bring it more in line with the amendment that is proposed in clause 2, instead of reading "governor in council" I think it should be "the commissioner in council" who dissolves the council.

As for the sections that have been changed to make it possible for by-elections to be held, I wholly agree. I thank the minister for listening to the representations that have come from my riding and from myself in this regard. As to all the other amendments that are proposed, I entirely agree with what the minister has said.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, coming from and practising law in a riding which is contiguous to the area of the Northwest Territories I have had frequent occasion to consider the question of the administration of justice and the constitution of the courts and I am going to take advantage of the suggestion of the minister to put forward two or three brief suggestions derived from practical experience.

With regard to the question of the amendment dealing with the appointment of judicial officers, may I say this. I read what the minister said the other day and what the hon. member for Mackenzie River (Mr. Hardie) said with regard to the question of concurrent jurisdiction. Apart from the question of autonomy there is a question of mechanics there which may well be considered. Here we have a situation where there is in effect a superior court in the Northwest Territories and there is access to the courts of certain provinces. You might easily find the situation-and I think it has developed-where interim and interlocutory applications might be made to a court outside the Northwest Territories and filed in the court house of record there; you there have a case probably commencing in the territories and then interlocutory applications are made in another place. I think that in due course, from what my experience has been, it would be well to consider the repeal of that particular section.

But even more anomalous than that situation, I think is the one where a superior court has jurisdiction in probate matters and where equally concurrent jurisdiction is given in probate matters to the county courts in some of the provinces. The situation might develop that an order made by a superior court judge in the Northwest Territories could be repealed or revoked or set aside by a county court judge presiding in a probate court in one of the provinces. I think that is not a desirable situation at all.

Finally, I would call the attention of the minister to a situation which has come to my

attention on several occasions. This particular section deals with the appointment of sheriffs. In my provincial jurisdiction the right to levy distress under conditional sale agreements is placed in the hands of a sheriff as an officer of the court. That particular situation does not exist in the territories. I understand that, under the terms of most of these conditional sale agreements which are drawn-by the finance companies-and naturally are slanted in the favour of the finance companies who draw them-it is possible for the personal agent or representative of the finance company to levy distress on his own without intervention of the sheriff. I would suggest to the minister that one way in which to remedy this situation would be to invest the sheriff with the complete and sole jurisdiction and discretion in connection with these distress warrants.

The only other suggestion 1 have to advance is in line with what the minister has said about the gradual granting of a more autonomous form of government to the territories. The time may well come before too long when the appointment of an attorney general may be desirable to advise the council and to act as does the attorney general in the provincial jurisdictions in connection with the administration of justice. I think that the time may well come before too long when this is a consummation to be desired. I put these suggestions before the minister as a result of my own practical experience in dealing with the courts and the system of judicature in the territories.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a few words. I listened with a great deal of interest to the comments made by the hon. member for Mackenzie River (Mr. Hardie). I always pay attention to what he has to say. We all know that he has a keen mind, a warm heart, a fund of experience and a great reservoir of native wisdom. I thought that his criticisms of clause 1 had some validity. I should like the minister to deal with that matter at greater length and to reply to the criticisms of the hon. member. This clause seems to me to be somewhat contradictory having regard to regular democratic procedures in the territories. It reads as follows:

Every council shall continue for three years from the date of the return of the writs for the general election of the elected members thereof and no longer, but the governor in council may at any time dissolve the council and cause a new council to be elected and appointed.

As I understand that clause, if there were elected a council of a stripe of which it was not fond or whose personnel were unpopular with the government or the senior members of the administration, it would be possible 66968-9-87

Northwest Territories Act for the governor in council to get rid of the lot of them by just dissolving the council and having a new council elected. I may not understand the situation fully but I listened carefully to what the hon. member for Mackenzie River said. As I said before, throughout his years here he has come up with some practical suggestions. He has a great deal of knowledge with respect to the territories. I should like the minister to reply in committee to the criticisms made by the hon. member.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I must inform the house now that if the hon. minister speaks he will close the debate.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Alvin Hamilton (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources):

Mr. Speaker, there were two points made tonight that I think deserve an answer. The first one dealt with the suggestions made by the hon. member for Mackenzie River (Mr. Hardie) and the hon. member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Godin) on the resolution stage, and by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin) tonight concerning the judicial arrangements and procedures in the Northwest Territories. I mentioned casually on resolution stage that representations had been made to us over the past year with regard to reform in the administration of justice in the territories, and that as a result of those representations the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) and one other would be going up there this summer. I looked into that recently and I found out I am slightly in error. The Minister of Justice is going up a little sooner than that, and I have an advance copy of a press release which is due out tomorrow, and I trust that when this is announced hon. members will see the extent to which the hon. minister is planning to cover the north in looking into this matter. I think I should say that the minister is being accompanied by the deputy minister and by the commissioner of the mounted police and is covering 14 places in the Northwest Territories.

The second point is the key one, I believe, and this was the reason why there was added in the first section these words:

-but the governor in council may at any time dissolve the council and cause a new council to be elected and appointed.

The first change was in the use of dissolution to make it similar to the provinces. Now you can dissolve at any time like the provinces and this house. It is the next stage which causes concern. If you can visualize this council made up of five appointed members, appointed by the minister under the governor in council, with a commissioner who happens to be my deputy minister, and then four elected members you see the picture a little

1358 HOUSE OF

Northwest Territories Act more clearly. Supposing we had put in "dissolve on the advice of the commissioner, on the recommendation of the council", what would that mean? It would mean the five appointees of the federal government and the commissioner would be given the power to recommend dissolution. Supposing that there were a quarrel, which has never happened to date, between the elected members and the appointed members appointed by the federal government for the period of the duration of the office. How could we best, first of all, move toward the provincial pattern, and secondly, set the stage so that eventually when we have a resident commissioner and a majority of elected members, and finally all elected members, they could move smoothly into the new democratic position?

On the surface it would look more democratic to say, as was suggested, the commissioner on the recommendation of council; but in actual practice if we wanted to protect the elected members we would not give this power to the majority of council. Therefore, what we have done is to keep that power in the hands of the governor in council at this stage, so that if there is a difference between the elected members and the appointed members-and remember that the appointed members in the commission are in the majority-knowing our feelings on this thing we could move in and protect their wishes. If they wanted dissolution and they expressed it in a divided council, then we have the power to give them that dissolution. If they opposed dissolution, even though the appointed members wanted it, we can look at their advice.

Now, quite frankly, this is not a subject on which to be dogmatic, but it looked to me, after I listened to all the discussions and the points raised by the hon. member for Mackenzie River and again by the hon. member for Kootenay West, that considering all those things this seemed to be closer to what we wanted to do, and that is to make sure that the interests of the elected members would be paramount. I quite candidly confess we wondered if we could not move the elected members up to five and give them a majority, and cut down the appointed members, but at the present time the feeling of the members of the council is that they are not in favour of extending the number of elected members to this degree. So that with the situation as it is, and with their answers expressed to us as they are, this is the solution which we reached.

Mr. Speaker, I think that is a complete answer to that point. It sounds a little irrational but that is the explanation.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Rea in the chair. On clause 1-Duration of council; elections


LIB

Mervyn Arthur Hardie

Liberal

Mr. Hardie:

I thank the hon. minister for his explanation, but he still has not sold me on this proposition that the present wording of this bill is a step toward more democratic operation of the council. I still feel, as the hon. minister said, that if we were to change the words "governor in council" to '"commissioner in council" in clause 1, it would do exactly what the minister said it would do a moment ago. It would at least give the elected members of that council the opportunity to discuss dissolution, but under this amendment the question would not be considered by the council at all. The cabinet could decide, as I said, that because they did not like the colour of somebody's eyes who had been elected they would dissolve the council without considering the council or placing this proposition before the council. For that reason I would like to move an amendment to clause 1 of the bill as follows:

That clause 1 of the bill be amended by deleting the words "governor in council" in the eleventh line thereof and by substituting therefor the words "commissioner in council".

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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PC

Francis Alvin George Hamilton (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hamilton (Qu'Appelle):

I am sorry but I will have to oppose this amendment. I grant that it looks more democratic, but in practice it is the opposite, because it gives the power to the appointed members and the commissioner, without reference to the cabinet, to dissolve, and I think we should keep the power of dissolution in the hands of the democratic elected representatives of the people.

Amendment negatived: Yeas, 11; nays, 51.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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PC

Charles Edward Rea (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

I declare the

amendment lost. Shall clause 1 carry?

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

May I call it ten o'clock?

Progress reported.

Topic:   NORTHWEST TERRITORIES ACT
Subtopic:   AMENDMENT TO PROVIDE FOR APPOINTMENT OF JUDICIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS, ETC.
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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Mr. Speaker, may I ask the house leader what the business is for tomorrow?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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February 24, 1959