March 25, 1965

PRIVILEGE

MR. DIEFENBAKER-PROPOSED ADDRESS TO HER MAJESTY BY QUEBEC LEGISLATURE

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago I raised a question of privilege regarding the regularity of an action taken in connection with the repatriation of the Canadian constitution. I now want to add to what I said on that occasion, for no further opportunity will come, and unless action is taken now it will be too late.

What I am referring to is an act before the legislature of the province of Quebec in connection with the repatriation formula. In order to found my question of privilege I must place before the house the wording that now appears on the order paper of the legislature of that province, which reads as follows:

Mr. Lesage-Quebec Parliament Act-Motion-

That an humble address be presented to Her Majesty the Queen in the following words:

To the Queen's most Excellent Majesty:

Most Gracious Sovereign:

We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the legislative assembly of the province of Quebec, in parliament assembled, humbly approach Your Majesty praying that you may graciously be pleased to cause a measure to be made before the parliament of the United Kingdom, to be expressed as follows:

Then the act is set out to provide for the amendment in Canada of the constitution of Canada in the terms that appeared in the white paper.

I rise, sir, to say that it is not constitutionally proper for any province to be placed in a position of exercising the right of address to the sovereign. Such addresses to the sovereign, asking for action in the British parliament, cannot, according to constitutional authorities, be made by a province or any of the provinces. To do so would be to permit the provinces to circumvent parliament, which alone can pass such addresses.

I raise this question because it is a matter upon which we must have a clear and unequivocal statement from the Prime Min20220- 808i

ister. Has there, on the part of the Prime Minister of Canada or the government, been any arrangement made with the premier of Quebec whereby an address regarding the repatriation of the constitution shall be made directly by the legislature of that province? What will be the position of the Prime Minister when this matter is brought before the Sovereign? Will he, as her adviser, inform her that it is in order for her to accept an address from the province? If he will not, then all that will be done, should this be passed, would be a nullity. If, on the other hand, as her adviser he informs her that it is in order that any one province may do this, rather than that the consent of the provinces shall be made known to the parliament of Canada, then in effect by this advice he will have accepted the theory that there can be sovereign states within this nation.

It is a matter that must be raised now before this-I was going to say anachronism- before this unusual step can receive the fullest consideration of parliament. I raise it at this stage because on the face of it the Quebec parliament act and the address being directed to the Queen of Canada, in her dual capacity as Queen of Canada and Queen of Great Britain, would bring about a constitutional difficulty in this country that needs no further explanation.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DIEFENBAKER-PROPOSED ADDRESS TO HER MAJESTY BY QUEBEC LEGISLATURE
Permalink
LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, the right hon. gentleman has raised a very important question and I hope, speaking for the government, I will be given an opportunity to look into it and make a statement, a fuller statement, tomorrow or at the latest on Monday. But I think I should say at once that any arrangements between the provincial governments and the federal government on this matter were dealt with in the exchange of correspondence which has been tabled, and there is no arrangement I know of which goes beyond that correspondence.

I should also add at once, Mr. Speaker, that of course it is understood by us all, and I think by those concerned in Westminster, that no amendment to the British North America Act, which is within the constitutional jurisdiction of the United Kingdom parliament,

Assistance to Secondary Airports can be entertained by that parliament except on an address, and solely on an address, of both houses of this parliament.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DIEFENBAKER-PROPOSED ADDRESS TO HER MAJESTY BY QUEBEC LEGISLATURE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbakex:

Mr. Speaker, I am in entire agreement with the Prime Minister that he should take time to look into this, but I would ask him whether this matter had not been drawn to his attention until I brought it up today and, if it had, surely the incongruity that would result from accepting the proposition that a provincial legislature can enact an address to Her Majesty must have resulted in some communication to the premier of Quebec from the Prime Minister of Canada?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DIEFENBAKER-PROPOSED ADDRESS TO HER MAJESTY BY QUEBEC LEGISLATURE
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, I believe the matter is still under consideration by the legislature of Quebec. We have notice of the form in which the consideration is being given and, if required, we would certainly wish to take the appropriate steps for consultation with that government.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DIEFENBAKER-PROPOSED ADDRESS TO HER MAJESTY BY QUEBEC LEGISLATURE
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AIR TRANSPORT

POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, on November 5 last I announced that certain assistance was being given to three airports in Ontario, Sarnia, St. Catharines and Waterloo-Wellington. At that time I indicated that consideration was being given to a new policy with respect to assistance to secondary airports, that is airports which are not used by scheduled air lines generally. The government has now reached a conclusion about this matter, and I think I should communicate it to the house as briefly as I can if that will be agreeable to hon. members.

As a result of this change in policy there have been substantial changes in the capital assistance program for building local and other smaller airports. Federal assistance to municipalities and other public bodies was hitherto limited to 50 per cent of the capital cost of local and development airports up to a federal share not exceeding $100,000. Treasury board has now approved a policy under which the 50-50 limitation will be dropped. The new policy will be based instead upon the firm requirement that in every case a local body must assume full responsibility for operation and maintenance, and as well, if land is required in support of the development, then the municipality or other public

body must provide the land required. Each case will be the subject of individual study and the amount and percentage of the federal contribution determined on the merits of the case.

The limit on grants which may be approved in any one fiscal year to all airports shall not exceed an approved ceiling of $1 million. A restriction that runways must be built to "DC-3 or larger" standards has also been lifted so that small communities may now develop a basic turf aerodrome at minimum cost. Outright contributions for small aerodromes in remote areas have also increased from $50,000 to a maximum of $100,000.

The new proposal reflects the growth of all types of civil air operations other than air line in Canada, which in terms of hours flown are about three times as extensive as air line route operations. I think this will surprise many hon. members. Special studies have shown this proportion to have been maintained in the past three years.

The policy is expected to be of benefit to larger communities with relatively ambitious airport plans as well as to smaller communities which do not need and could not afford the kind of airport supported under the former scheme. The new policy also opens new possibilities for vacation and convention areas where an annual influx of summer tourists justifies a landing strip, but where the small resident population cannot afford one without considerable financial assistance.

Main line and auxiliary airports required for air line operations are not affected by the change, as the transport department either owns and operates or provides maintenance subsidies to municipalities operating them. Support for seaplane base facilities will now be made within the same general classifications as land airports; main line, auxiliary, local, development and remote.

The department estimates federal contributions under the new policy may total up to $10 million over the next 10 years. Full details of the new policy will shortly be available from the air services regional offices very shortly.

May I also say that I learned this morning with great gratification that the United Kingdom government through the agency of the minister of air transport, Mr. Jenkins, had agreed to have Air Canada fly a shuttle service on the route Montreal-Halifax-Ber-muda, or simply Halifax-Bermuda, whichever is more convenient to the air line. The British government has been very understanding of our needs and wishes in this

matter, and I wish to express great satisfaction and gratitude.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. G. Dinsdale (Brandon-Souris):

This is the first intimation members of the house have had concerning this important change in one aspect-a comparatively small aspect-of air transportation policy, and it is therefore not possible to comment in detail with respect to some of the points which have been raised. However, I would like to say that as I understand the announcement of the minister it will meet the needs of smaller communities for minimal landing strip operations, which has been a problem of growing proportions in the last few years as the increased use of smaller aircraft for personal passenger flying has developed.

I did not notice in the announcement any comment concerning the need for expanded facilities, particularly in the form of improved runway facilities, in some of the more major airports in the prairie part of Canada. I am thinking, for example, of airports that were once serviced by Air Canada and where a program of expanding and strengthening the existing runways had been embarked upon.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I may interrupt the hon. gentleman. This assistance does not apply to any airport where there is a scheduled air line; it applies only to airports where there is not a scheduled air line.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dinsdale:

I presume, then, that would apply to any scheduled air line as well as Air Canada?

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Where it is running regularly.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dinsdale:

I am glad to have that point clarified, Mr. Speaker. I come back to the original point I was making, namely that this will meet the real need of smaller communities which have been moving forward on their own initiative. I am wondering whether there is a retroactive provision connected with the policy that has been announced, because it is a policy that has been badly needed over the past several years. The very fact that some of these communities have entered into the expense of such a development without any federal assistance whatsoever is indicative of the fact that the policy was far too long delayed. Could the minister indicate whether there is a retroactive feature in any form of reimbursement for communities which already have an airport under construction?

Assistance to Secondary Airports

My final comment, Mr. Speaker, is to congratulate the government and the minister on their decision with respect to the service between Halifax and Bermuda. It does not affect my part of the country directly, but it is a service that has long been desired and sought after, and I am sure it will go a long way toward completing the total picture so far as air transportation is concerned.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Frank Howard (Skeena):

Mr. Speaker, if I could be somewhat regional about this and make a comment about it as it has potential application to British Columbia, I hope you will forgive me; because I feel that British Columbia is perhaps a province that has had a need for airport and seaplane base expansion and assistance far beyond that of any other province.

I think the best we can say for the minister's announcement is that it is interesting, but because the new policy is to be applied, as I understood it, to each individual airport or seaplane base on the merits of that particular airstrip or base, it seems to have a degree of vagueness about it, and it is not possible to define it any further beyond that vagueness.

The fact of the matter is that in my own province there has been growing concern for some years about the need for a fairly clearly defined policy with respect to airport assistance such as that just referred to by the minister, and it is about time something was made clear. It is to be hoped that in the application of this rather vague and indefinite policy the merits of each application will be dealt with in the true liberal tradition, in a small "1" way.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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SC

Bert Raymond Leboe

Social Credit

Mr. Beri Leboe (Cariboo):

First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to express to the minister and the government my deep appreciation for this announcement. I am sure the minister will be very happy that I will now be off his back somewhat, because I have been aboard it for several years regarding this problem.

We are very pleased to note, Mr. Speaker, that the amount of money is to be allocated' on merit. I think this is a wise position to take, and it will be very beneficial to the province of British Columbia and many of the areas which have to be served. In the constituency of Cariboo alone there are 49 places designated as landing spots for these small aircraft, and it means a great deal to the expansion and development of British Columbia.

I should also at this point like to mention that I have refrained from asking for assist-

12766 HOUSE OF COMMONS

Assistance to Secondary Airports

ance for various small airstrips, awaiting the announcement that we have heard today, because I felt that the whole of Canada must be served in a better way than by the policy we had previously. So, Mr. Speaker, we do thank the minister and the government for this announcement.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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LIB

Gerald Augustine Regan

Liberal

Mr. Gerald A. Regan (Halifax):

Mr. Speaker,

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Transport arising out of his statement that air service would be instituted by Air Canada between Halifax and Bermuda. Can the minister tell us when we may expect this service to commence, what type of plane will be used, and whether it will be a plane such as the Vanguard which could carry our excellent lobsters as well as passengers? On behalf of all Nova Scotia members I should like to thank the minister very much.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, since this is a matter of international importance perhaps I might make a brief reply. As soon as I had word from the United Kingdom government I communicated with Air Canada. I understand they are going to make arrangements as quickly as they reasonably can to institute this service. They will seek to arrange a schedule in such a way as to connect with ongoing flights to the eastern Caribbean. I am afraid they have not told me yet what kind of aircraft they will be using. When they do I shall be glad to communicate it to the hon. gentleman.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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PC

Howard Russell MacEwan

Progressive Conservative

Mr. H. Russell MacEwan (Pictou):

May I

ask a supplementary question. Having regard to the minister's announcement, I may say we would all like to go to Bermuda. I am wondering if he would reconsider the submissions made by Pictou county regarding lighting improvements at the airport at Trenton, Nova Scotia, in relation to this announcement he has just made.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The connection does not spring to my mind right away, but just the same I shall be glad to see what can be done about it.

Topic:   AIR TRANSPORT
Subtopic:   POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT RESPECTING ASSISTANCE TO SECONDARY AIRPORTS
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March 25, 1965