You continue serving the term of service that you have agreed to serve.
I wish to point out that the term these men agreed to serve was not a term in the Canadian Forces but in the army, the navy or the air force. Yet by a stroke of the pen clause 5 (1) declares:
The services known before the coming into force of this part as the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, are embodied in the Canadian Forces.
National Defence Act Amendment
[DOT] (4:30 p.m.)
The three services are wiped out. The contracts made by the members of the present forces were contracts to join one particular arm of the services. Therefore I say there is a cancellation of those contracts, and those who do not want to stay in the forces should be given some consideration, whether by being pensioned off or by the provision of some settlement, plus honourable discharge.
The question went on further:
With the specific force, the army? I have signed my attestation papers. I have joined the army. The army is wiped out under the bill. What legal method can the government adopt to prosecute me for deserting something that they have done away with?
The answer was:
The law is there. Parliament has enacted the law. Parliament has said that this is the law and you are bound by that law.
Then there was another question:
Yes; but my question is: how are they going to apply that law? This is the essence of the whole question. How are they going to apply the law to something that is no longer in existence?
The answer was:
Simply by the fact that if you leave you are a deserter. You can be charged with desertion and tried for desertion. You can raise the issue at your trial.
Another question was asked:
How could he be charged with desertion of something that he has not joined?
The answer was:
Because parliament has said he is in it.
I am not too sure parliament can say he is in it. This is a case that should be tried by the courts of our land, to see if we have the power to pass this particular clause of the bill breaking a contract unilaterally. In view of what has transpired previously, all this is very odd to me.
We were talking about regulations that were going to be introduced after the bill had passed. The judge advocate general told the committee he had formulated some regulations, or suggested some regulations to the minister. I would like to read a portion of them because I do not believe they coincide with his remarks about joining the new ser-ice. These two paragraphs of the suggested regulations are very interesting:
No officer or man who immediately prior to the coming into force of Part I of the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act was enrolled in, or had been transferred to, the Royal Canadian Navy shall
April 21, 1967
National Defence Act Amendment without his consent be required to serve as a member of the crew of an aircraft or in a land force;
How can the judge advocate general say he will not be required to serve as a member of a crew of an aircraft or in a land force when he has just said he is going to be required to join the Canadian Armed Forces whether he likes it or not? There is nothing in this bill that says he will not have to serve as a member of an air crew or in a land force. In fact there is nothing in the bill to say an airman will not have to serve in a submarine, if the minister desires that he serve in it. That is why we say that this is compulsory transfer.
Another suggested regulation is:
No officer or man who immediately prior to the coming into force of Part I of the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act was enrolled in, or had been transferred to, the Canadian Army shall without his consent be required to serve as a member of a crew; and
no officer or man who immediately prior to the coming into force of Part I of the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act was enrolled in, or had been transferred to, the Royal Canadian Air Force shall without his consent be required to serve as a member of the crew of a ship or in a land force.
There is something funny here. They say that without his consent he will not be required to do certain things in the new service. However, they make it abundantly clear that regardless of what force he is in at present, he is going to be compelled to join the Canadian Armed Forces. That is why we say this is a compulsory transfer. We say this is the first step in conscription, the first step to compulsory service in Canada. I am not disputing whether that is good or bad, but if this is what it actually means then the minister should get up and tell Canadians that this is conscription. In that event I would be pleased to note the number of those members from Quebec who will get up and vote for this clause because I am quite sure their opponents in the next election will use it against them. We know the history of conscription so far as the province of Quebec is concerned.
I was very glad to see my colleague get up a few minutes ago and voice his opinion about the French matter. I say that certainly we believe you people of French stock are entitled to certain preferences under the B.N.A. Act, and I do not think we have objected too strenuously to your demands. But once you start stepping on the toes of other ethnic groups in this country then you are asking for trouble, and if it does come don't forget that you asked for it.
Mr. Chairman, I heard a few remarks recently to the effect that somehow or other this bill has a sort of Anglo-Saxon bias. That is what prompts me to interject just a few words at this time because I just cannot understand that. In such reading of history as I have been able to do I have never noticed that the Anglo-Saxon race has ever been noted for its slowness or its reluctance to build on its past experience. After all, that is how the British nation achieved most of the greatness for Britain that we all admire today. They are the ones who gave meaning to the words "growing tradition."
I would like to point out to hon. members opposite that surely this is what we ourselves are trying to do with this bill. With it we are trying to build on past experience something new and something good for Canada. I am positive, just as positive as I am standing here in this chamber, that regardless of the gloomy forecasts which are coming from the officials opposition, the Royal Canadian Navy tradition, the Canadian Army tradition and the Royal Canadian Air Force tradition will live on, and on, and on in the traditions and the ways of the new Canadian Armed Forces.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to be able to agree with the hon. member who has just taken his seat. With all sincerity, without any bigotry or bias with regard to any racial group of people in any part of this country, I wish to say that over the last few years I have witnessed a series of events eroding much of what we have been proud of in our history. It is most unfortunate that during our centennial year celebration some departments of government are trying their best to celebrate appropriately the centennial of our confederation with attempts to make us, as Canadians, more conscious of our history, while at the same time other departments are whittling away at our traditions, good traditions, honourable traditions, traditions which most Canadians hold dear.
[DOT] (4:40 p.m.)
There may be other millions of Canadians who object to these traditions on some grounds which in my estimation are not valid. If they do object, they should state their reasons. Parliament should be a place where men reason together and not a place where, because they happen to have a voting majority, they force their particular biases and their particular desires down the throats of all Canadians who do not happen to hold their point of view. Democracy, in my judgment, is
April 21, 1967 COMMONS
a more subtle thing than the exercise of voting power. If a democracy is to work properly, surely there should be regard for the traditions, the feelings and the points of view of all segments which together make up a country, if that country is to hold together at all.
There are millions of people in this country-I know there are a great many in my constituency and I am sure there are many others like them-who feel so keenly about this erosion of things which they hold dear, that their ability to make the contribution they would like to make toward a united Canada is lessened. I believe this fact is very sad, especially if what is taking place is unnecessary. In much of what is being done here I see actions which appear to be based completely on prejudice. I think it is most unfortunate, because I believe prejudice is unnecessary and need not exist.
I have the highest respect for Canadians of all racial backgrounds, but the fact that they come from different racial backgrounds or from different parts of the country does not give them the right to force me to submerge any recognition I may have of my origin, or the traditions which I hold dear. This does not give them that right any more than it gives them the right to wipe out my religious thoughts.
In this connection I should like to quote briefly from Edmund Burke:
A nation is not an idea only of local extent and individual momentary aggregation, but it is an idea of continuity which extends in time as well as in numbers and in space.
People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.
In this particular clause we are whittling away at one of our traditions. I do not care what the minister thinks about "Royal" or whether the majority in this house think this word should be eliminated from the names of our services. If they think it should be removed, they at least should have the courtesy and the tolerance to realize there are millions of Canadians and, although I have no way of knowing what the percentage is, I believe there are many thousands of Canadians in the services, who are proud of this tradition.
The traditional appellation "Royal" was not given lightly to military units. It is something special. It is given in recognition of duties performed and standards achieved. The Royal Canadian Air Force was not always the Royal Canadian Air Force. It received this part of its appellation by achievement. Even if I were
National Defence Act Amendment one who approved of this unification, which I am not, I see no reason that in the process, by the back door, the government should take this opportunity to wipe out the designation "Royal" from all of our armed services. This has nothing to do with the efficiency of engines or the kind of electronic equipment which might be used; that is obvious.
I should like to ask the government to come clean, to put their cards on the table, and tell us what they are up to. What is the purpose? Do they think these traditions are divisive and bad because they happen to be associated with one ethnic group in this country, namely the Anglo-Saxons? Is that the reason? I do not agree with that reason. I do not think we should allow our traditions to be eroded or destroyed, regardless of their origin.
I am of Scottish origin. My ancestors fought against the constitutional authority of Britain almost as recently as the French Canadians did. I might say that for their pains they were treated much less kindly than were the ancestors of French Canadians. That, however, is aside from the point. I do not believe we should fall into the trap of judging conditions in the 20th century by the codes or ethics which existed in the 18th century. This of course is a means to stir up prejudices in the minds of those who either do not understand, or would stoop to compare the two situations. They are not comparable. I do plead with my colleagues who represent other parts of Canada to have regard for these things.
These things are held dear. What I am about to say, I say without any political implications, without any attempt to cast reflection on the government or anything of that sort; and although I am speaking only for myself, I know there are others in my constituency who feel the same way. I confess that in the last four years I have considered very seriously moving from Canada and becoming a citizen of another country because I believe, if this trend should continue, that this would be the best course to take, although a difficult one, in the best interests of my children and my children's children.
This is an indication of how deeply some of us feel about the things I have been speaking of. I am not surprised that people who come from other parts of the country and from other backgrounds perhaps do not appreciate this. All I ask that you do is look into it. I do not care what methods you employ in looking
April 21. 1967
National Defence Act Amendment into it so long as you do it objectively. I would like some of the hon. members who this afternoon, sneered at some on this side of the house who spoke from the heart, although perhaps a little heatedly, to go down to our constituencies, mix with the people there, and find out what these people think. Let them do that, before they come to the conclusion that because of some magic, since they happened to get elected with a minority government, in some way this gives them a divine power to be dictators for the next four years or for the life of this parliament.
[DOT] (4:50 p.m.)
Democracy, in its proper sense, is not that sort of thing. Democracy is the temporary placing in the hands of those who acquire the confidence of the Canadian people the responsibility of carrying on government for a limited period of time, not just in the interest of those who support them but in the interest of all Canadians, paying proper attention, in proper balance, to the rights and aspirations of all Canadians. A dictatorship of a majority as Burke said-and I do not quote him verbatim-is no more righteous than a dictatorship of princes.
I would commend to hon. members that they read citation 18 on page 16 of Beau-chesne's fourth edition of parliamentary rules and forms and citation 67 commencing on page 54. I think they are both particularly applicable to this situation. I shall quote only part of citation 67:
A minority party may question ministers, may criticize but cannot control in the ordinary case a government with a reasonably large majority. There can be no control of the executive where the supporters in parliament are prepared without question to obey the leaders of their party- through the whips. All that the minority party- the opposition-can do without support from members of the majority party is to question, inquire and criticize, but whilst this does not amount to control it is an important method of checking abuses of power.
With the support of a majority of members it would be possible for a cabinet to suspend the sitting of parliament, have the minority members arrested, withdraw the safeguards of liberty such as habeas corpus and freedom of speech, and to establish virtually a dictatorship.
The point is that in our system of government there is no magic power that protects the electorate against the folly of a government if they wish to indulge in such folly, care must be taken by the electorate when they do the electing, because once they elect a majority in parliament, that majority is allpowerful until the next election.
The only thing that keeps our democracy alive is the intangible sense of decency, honour and respect for the rights of others and a sense of tolerance among those people who form the majority. This is why I have objected most strenuously to this bill. I have done it, not with any thought of political advantage. I feel aggrieved when we are accused by the minister of holding up the passage of this bill, when he himself has refused to pay any attention to the representations that have been made with the deepest sincerity by hon. members in this and other sections of the house. The minister has brushed aside the advice of loyal, conscientious Canadians who happen to be serving officers and who have given their lives to a military career and the service of their country.
I think that when the minister accuses us of holding up this legislation and messing up the program of the government, he is akin to Kaiser Wilhelm accusing the Belgians of being perverse because they loused up his program to be in Paris before Christmas of 1914. When it is a question of what you believe to be right, objectively defended, you must let the chips fall where they may. It is under those terms that I have taken part in this debate.
Mr. Chairman, in the few minutes left to me I should like to make a few remarks concerning the advantage or disadvantage of abolishing the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army and the R.C.A.F. If the government and the Minister of National Defence had decided that the present army, air force and naval services and units, particularly the traditional and long standing units, were to be wiped out and completely abolished, I would have thought it would have been suggested that new units should be established to take their place.
Competition is involved in this question. Hon. members have spoken about morale in the services. This involves the question of competition, not only in the military area but in every facet of the life of man. The spice of life is competition, to be just a little better than someone else. That is the reason for living of most people. If you take this competition away from the armed services, if you take away their right to compete in military as well as non-military activities, I think you take away the life and soul of the armed services. Nothing is being substituted for the units that are now in existence. We are going to have a faceless, grey-or green-group of
April 21, 1967 COMMONS
people serving Canada, without any incentive to do a good job for this country on behalf of their particular unit.
Mr. Chairman, I see it is five o'clock. I presume you will want to rise so that we may proceed to private members hour.
As I read the rules, Mr. Chairman, it is fairly clear that there is no provision for the suspension of private members hour. If I may at this point, I should like to state my reason for suggesting that the Chairman should rise and report progress. Standing order 15A sets out the procedures to be followed during a debate on allocation of time. Paragraphs 7, 8 and 9 of that standing order indicate a special concern for the one-day allocation of time on third reading of a bill, but no special treatment for second reading of a bill, or committee stage, which we are now in.
[DOT] (5:00 p.m.)
I should like to point out particularly that the provision for one day on third reading has been given special consideration in section 7. The one day is allotted for third reading on three or four conditions. It states:
No motion made by a minister under sections (5) and (6) of this standing order shall provide for the allocation of a period of time less than two days for the second reading, two days for the committee stage, and one day for the third reading of any bill.
The specific provisions for third reading provide that it shall be called as the first item of business under government orders on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday of Friday. Presumably that is so we will not have a short day such as Wednesday. It also provides that third reading shall have precedence over all other business on one of those days until the normal hour of adjournment.
Section 9 of this standing order provides that Mr. Speaker shall have the authority to extend the one day for third reading for four hours. Here again the rule obviously expresses some concern about the final day for the debate under the time allocation. It gives Mr. Speaker the opportunity to extend the time, if necessary. For the purposes of such an extension it would be necessary on a Friday, such as today, to carry the debate on third reading through until six o'clock because of the one hour notice requirement.
National Defence Act Amendment However, that is not the situation today. We are now at the committee stage. There may be some ambiguity in respect of section 7, although I do not see any. This section specifically states in the sixth line, "for the third reading of the bill".
The section then makes specific provision for the one day debate on third reading. In the present circumstances I would say that the words "it shall have precedence over all other business until the time of adjournment on that day" has reference to third reading. If there is any doubt in this regard let me remind hon. members that the private members hour is considered somewhat sacrosanct. It has never been set aside unless provided for by a specific rule. I do not think I need enlarge on that point, or stress it.
We as members have been very jealous of our private members hour. Under some provisions that hour can be set aside. Standing order 16 makes such a provision, but excepts debates for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, or for a debate on allocation of time. In that regard private members hour cannot be suspended. The reference there to the allocation of time has nothing to do with this debate, but a debate such as we had yesterday. I thought we were a little bit off base yesterday in having a private members hour.
In any event there are provisions such as those contained in standing order 15 (4) and (5) which provide for the suspension of private members hour under certain conditions. Standing order 38 (2) provides that the address in reply to the Speech from the Throne shall have precedence over private members hour. There is nothing in any standing order which says that private members hour shall be suspended without specific provision for such suspension. I submit there is no provision for the suspension of private members hour at this stage of the debate. For that reason I think you, Mr. Chairman, should rise and report progress, if you believe there has been any, allowing Mr. Speaker to assume the chair during the private members hour.
Mr. Chairman, there is a very important point which concerns us here in this regard. I was a little surprised that we did not immediately proceed to consideration of private members' business. I am not aware of any circumstances which would allow the government to encroach upon private members' time without a formal rule, or without a motion to suspend private members hours.
April 21, 1967
National Defence Act Amendment Sometimes this is done by agreement. Standing order 15 (3) specifically sets out the order of business for Friday. There is provision there that the hour from five to six o'clock shall be private members hour for the consideration of private bills and public bills.
Nothing has transpired in this house to indicate that private members hour shall be suspended, or that private members shall be deprived of their time.
Quite frequently during this session the government has made a request to abrogate the private members right in respect of this hour. Quite frequently that request has been granted. On several occasions I have protested because I think private members are being careless in the protection of their rights. I am afraid that if they yield too frequently the government will take over this time for the consideration of government business.
The order paper indicates there are 175 public bills standing in the names of private members. Some of those bills have not been reached during this lengthy session while others have been up for discussion and adjourned. Very frequently we talk about obtaining decisions in respect of these bills. If private members hour is to be discontinued in order to consider government business there will be an infringement on the rights of private members. This will prevent a decision in respect of important bills, important not only to the members who introduced them, but also to the country.
[DOT] (5:10 p.m.)
As pointed out very clearly by the hon. member who has just spoken, the order under which we have been operating up to five o'clock says nothing specifically about suspending private members hour. I doubt very much if any government would take away private members time without consent, in the one instance, or without specifically mentioning that fact in a motion. I know that from time to time when we have reached a point within days or weeks of concluding a session, we have had motions put forward to the effect that private members hours will be eliminated in order that government business may be considered. This, however, is done clearly and openly and the motion is subject to debate and vote.
In this particular instance, working under this new rule which the government devised, there is nothing to indicate that private members hour would be eliminated on any day. If the government had intended to eliminate private members hour when we were in this
closure operation, that would have been so specified. It is not so specified here. The other point that was made by the hon. member who preceded me was that in the section which has been quoted, except for the first sentence, it applies to third reading proceedings. I do not see there that private members business is struck out. Perhaps this is the result of careless drafting, but in all other sections of this order, such as subsection 6, there is an indication that Mr. Speaker shall, at fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for government business, interrupt the proceedings and forthwith put the question.
I would think, by inference, that what is intended is that this is government time that is being used for this special purpose and not private members time. I am sure that the government never intended to encroach so seriously on private members hour. I do not want to encroach any longer on private members hour. I am here to defend the rights of private members. I hope that you will find it in your power, Mr. Chairman, to rule that we should now proceed immediately to private members business, which will be public bills.
I rise, Mr. Chairman, strictly in search of information. I find myself completely stumped. It is my understanding that under a decision which was reached by a majority vote in the House of Commons, for every five minutes we lose in a procedural discussion we are losing five minutes of the time permitted for discussion of the 65 clauses of a most important bill. We have already lost sixteen minutes of time allotted for the discussion of this bill. May I ask whether it would not be possible to proceed so that we spend time on this bill and not lose a second, because we require every second-I think this is the position of the Conservatives-so that we might discuss the 65 clauses.
I believe, Mr. Chairman, you will have to look at standing order 15A, paragraph 7. The hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka has already drawn this to your attention. There is a sentence which commences:
Such an order having been called on any Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, it shall have precedence over all other business until the time of adjournment on that day, unless it is disposed of earlier.
I think what you will have to do, Mr. Chairman, is decide whether that sentence relates to the first or last part of paragraph 7. I suggest to you that it relates only to
April 21, 1967 COMMONS
the second part because it says, "such an order". Prior to that only place the word "order" is used is the following:
For the purposes of this section, third reading shall be deemed to have been considered for one day provided the order for third reading is called-
I believe, Mr. Chairman, this is the place to Which that word is related. I have to agree therefore with the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka and, infrequently but at least on this occasion, with the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre, when they suggest there is no provision here for dispensing with private members hour. I have to agree also with them when they point out that the motion moved by the Minister of Transport, as reported at page 15119 of Hansard for April 20, makes no provision for dispensing with private members hour. Of course, private members hour would be suspended anyway if we were on third reading, where the order is given as has been pointed out. I suggest therefore there is no provision in standing order 15A to dispense with private members hour on any day except the day third reading is being considered, which we presume will be next Tuesday.
I should like to point out to hon. members who have taken part in the discussion of this point of order that the Chairman is confused, too. On January 21, 1964, when these provisional standing orders were agreed to, standing order 15A was included. I do not believe members of the committee will be surprised if I say that some days ago, when there was some inclination that standing order 15A would be invoked, the Chair spent considerable time studying 15A and its subclauses to decide exactly what was meant in different situations.
Standing order 16, which deals with private members business, in my view is the standing order which governs the ordinary practice with regard to private members business. I suggest to the committee that at the moment we are under a special order. I must admit that I cannot quite agree with the interpretation given to paragraph 7 of standing order 15A by the hon. member for Parry Sound-Muskoka, the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre or the hon. member for Medicine Hat.
I read paragraph 7 in this way:
No motion made by a minister under sections (5) and (6) of this standing order shall provide for the allocation of a period of time less than two days from the second reading, two days for the committee stage, and one day for the third reading of any bill.
National Defence Act Amendment
Since second reading has been disposed of, that part of the rule does not apply. I continue:
For the purposes of this section, third reading shall be deemed to have been considered for one day provided the order for third reading is called as the first item under government orders on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, and provided it is continued, if necessary, until the normal time of adjournment on any such day.
Now I come to the phrase "such order". I think it is the duty of the Chair to interpret what this phrase "such order" means. It is the contention of the Chair that this phrase "such order" applies to the first part of paragraph 7 and not the second part, which refers to third reading. If this were not so, then I do not know how you would interpret the last sentence in this paragraph which reads:
Under any other circumstances, a total of five hours shall be deemed to be the eqiuvalent of one sitting day.
It is my view that the phrase "such order" applies to the whole operation of this particular order under which we are operating and would indeed apply to second reading, to the committee of the whole stage as well as to third reading. I suggest the order having been called on a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, it would have precedence over all other business until the time of adjournment of that day, unless disposed of earlier. I say again to members of the committee, there is a great deal of confusion in the mind of the chairman, so I quite understand the possibility of there being some misunderstanding on the part of hon. members.
However, it is the duty of the Chair to make a ruling in this matter, and my ruling will have to be that this particular part of paragraph 7 applies to the operation of standing order 15A in the committee of the whole stage. It is therefore my view that private members hour for today will be suspended.
Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether I might ask your indulgence to rule also on standing order 16, which provides that the proceedings on private members business shall not be suspended by virtue of the operation of provisions of standing orders relating to the allocation of time to certain debates.
In the first instance I accepted the fact that this probably referred to the debate we had yesterday on allocation of time; but there again standing order 16 says that the proceedings on private members business shall not be suspended in relation to the allocation of time to certain debates. I raise this as a second
National Defence Act Amendment point and I think we might have the advantage of your ruling at the same time on another matter that is equally difficult.
I recognize the validity of the argument that the hon. member presents.
I am sure that he too will recognize the difficult position in which the Chair happens to find itself. Standing order 16 applies to the general operations of the house and standing order 15A applies to a special case. My problem is to give the proper weight either to the provisions of standing order 16 or to the provisions of paragraph 7 of standing order 15A.
There is a conflict here; I do not think there is any doubt about that. I have recognized this conflict for three or four days now, but I have to make up my mind where I should place the weight. I place the weight on standing order 15A, paragraph 7, and it is my opinion that at this time I would have to decide that this standing order does suspend private members hour. I believe the debate on the committee stage of Bill No. C-243 should continue at this time.