July 18, 1959

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

BILL OF RIGHTS

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, with the leave of the house 1 would like to say a few words in respect of one portion of the legislative program, and in particular to answer the question asked a few days ago by the hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Howard).

This has been a long and, I think, very productive session. There have been more committees sitting than was the case at any time during the years I have been here. I think it would be generally admitted by members in all parts of the house that the work done by those committees has been comprehensive and helpful. The membership of the various committees have been most diligent in the discharge of their responsibilities.

I am not one of those who through the years have advocated the extension of the committee system, but I do feel, while maintaining to the strictest degree our parliamentary system and in no way adopting the system in effect in the United States of America, which meets the needs of that country, this session has shown the benefits that flow from the mobilization of the help of private members everywhere in the house.

I say that as a preface to my remarks in respect of the bill of rights. I am in no way changed in my view as to the necessity of a bill of rights being passed by parliament, and the experience in government in no way has lessened my feelings as to the necessity of such a bill.

As hon. members know, a draft bill was introduced in the concluding days of the last session with a view to assuring that the fullest possible representations might be made by interested bodies, groups and individuals. In that respect there have been many such representations made by private individuals as well as by institutions such as civil rights organizations in various parts of the country and the Canadian Bar Association.

I believe it is generally accepted by hon. members that when the bill of rights finally

passes it shall be as comprehensive and allinclusive as the constitution will permit. Representations and suggestions are being received even now; and while I expressed the view some months ago that there was no necessity, as I saw it then, for a committee of both houses to consider the matter fully in so far as the terms of the suggested bill are concerned, in the light of representations made since I have altered my viewpoint, as I hope I always will when reason demands a change.

I have come to the conclusion that it would be well to have the draft bill of rights submitted to a joint committee of both houses, that committee to consider no other question than the terminology of the bill. As I see it, the question as to the need of a bill of rights would not be a subject for consideration by the committee. Such a committee would provide the fullest possible opportunity for further discussion and consideration, to the end that when the bill is enacted this historic step in the maintenance and preservation of freedom under law will be the most significant that parliament can attain through^ joint counsel and consideration.

In saying that I want to make clear that from the suggestion I have to offer to postpone the introduction of the bill of rights until the beginning of the next session, no one is to take that postponement as any indication of less allegiance on the part of the government and myself to the paramount need of this legislation being passed. Therefore under the circumstances I am going to suggest that the bill of rights already drafted be brought up at the next session at the earhest possible date, and that a joint committee for the purposes I have mentioned be then set up. Even though my views changed during the progress of the present session as to the benefits that might flow from the setting up of such a committee, I realized that with the number of committees that were sitting it would be next to impossible at this session to set up still another committee.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   BILL OF RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   COMMITTEE NEXT SESSION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, while we on this side are as anxious as ever to do everything that is possible to maintain and strengthen human rights and fundamental freedoms to the maximum possible extent, we feel that the procedure outlined by the Prime Minister is a practical one, all the more so because we

8294 HOUSE OF

Miscellaneous Private Bills Report have thought from the beginning that this matter should be submitted to a joint committee of parliament for full and comprehensive consideration.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   BILL OF RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   COMMITTEE NEXT SESSION
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CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

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

Mr. Speaker, this group was very interested to hear the Prime Minister's announcement with respect to the postponement of the introduction of this bill of rights until next session.

I must say we were pleased to learn he has responded favourably to the representations made from many quarters for this bill to be referred to a committee of both houses. We are very anxious that this important document be the product of consultation and cooperation among all interested persons in this country.

In conclusion, I hope the Prime Minister has this legislation introduced early in the next session.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   BILL OF RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   COMMITTEE NEXT SESSION
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I thank hon. gentlemen for what they have said. So there will be no misunderstanding as to the words I used about the procedure, a draft bill will be submitted, and the plan I have in mind is for the introduction of the bill in this house and after discussion and second reading it will be submitted to a committee, to the end that the objectives that have been mentioned by the hon. member for Kootenay West may be attained.

miscellaneous private bills

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   BILL OF RIGHTS
Sub-subtopic:   COMMITTEE NEXT SESSION
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CONCURRENCE IN TWENTY-THIRD REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE


Mr. R. J. McCleave (Halifax) presented the twenty-third report of the standing committee on miscellaneous private bills and moved that the report be concurred in.


LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. G. J. Mcllrailh (Ottawa West):

Mr. Speaker, there is just one point I want to raise very briefly about the report, and it is this. I am not clear about the right of the committee to make a report of this nature when it is a standing committee dealing with particular bills referred to it, and only that. This is the only observation I wish to make on the subject. I feel this should be drawn to the attention of the house, because if standing committees are to make reports that go beyond the reference to them we could get into a great deal of difficulty. I am not clear as to whether or not this report goes beyond the reference to the committee, but I question it very much. It may be that the report is within the reference to the committee, but I wanted to raise that question.

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN TWENTY-THIRD REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Subject to the remarks made by the hon. member for Ottawa West, is it the pleasure of the house to adopt the motion?

Topic:   CONCURRENCE IN TWENTY-THIRD REPORT OF STANDING COMMITTEE
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Motion agreed to.


FISHERIES

NEW BRUNSWICK

PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks (Minister of Veterans Affairs)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. A. J. Brooks (Minister of Veterans Affairs):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make an announcement with reference to the New Brunswick fishermen's disaster fund. Hon. members will recall that a few weeks ago a terrific storm struck the coast of New Brunswick along the Northumberland strait taking the lives of 35 fishermen and destroying boats and equipment worth in the vicinity of $750,000. Most of those who lost their lives were heads of families, and as a result some 20 widows, 4 mothers and 83 children are left unprovided for and practically destitute.

A fund has been started in the province known as the New Brunswick fishermen's disaster fund, to which I have the honour to report that the federal government is contributing $50,000. I know, Mr. Speaker, that I speak for all those concerned when I say we are very grateful for this generous contribution.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   NEW BRUNSWICK
Sub-subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTRIBUTION TO STORM DISASTER FUND
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LIB

George Roy McWilliam

Liberal

Mr. G. R. McWilliam (Norihumberland-Miramichi):

I am sure the house and the country will welcome the announcement just made by the Minister of Veterans Affairs. We appreciate the generosity of the government in making a grant of $50,000 to the New Brunswick disaster relief fund. On behalf of the people of Northumberland-Miramichi and, I might say, all the people of New Brunswick, I wish to express their appreciation for the generous gift.

Topic:   FISHERIES
Subtopic:   NEW BRUNSWICK
Sub-subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF CONTRIBUTION TO STORM DISASTER FUND
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UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

ADVISORY COMMITTEE-INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENTS


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the Opposition):

May I ask the Prime Minister whether it is a fact, as stated by the Canadian Labour Congress, that at a meeting oh July 3 between the Prime Minister and representatives of the congress there was an agreement that when consultation with the Canadian Labour Congress is required in appointments of labour representatives to government organizations, this means that if the labour nominee is not acceptable to the

government, the Canadian Labour Congress will be so informed and will be asked to submit other nominees?

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   ADVISORY COMMITTEE-INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENTS
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

I mentioned yesterday that there had been discussions with respect to the whole question of appointments with regard to which consultation is to take place. Following discussions in my office the Minister of Labour (Mr. Starr) met with the president of the organization and, I think, one or two other officials. Unfortunately he is not here today to give the information asked for by the hon. gentleman.

Topic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Subtopic:   ADVISORY COMMITTEE-INQUIRY AS TO APPOINTMENTS
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July 18, 1959