April 6, 1970

HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATES

OFFICIAL REPORT


Queen's Printer for Canada, Ottawa, 1970



Monday, April 6, 1970


PRIVILEGE

MR. DUMONT-RESIGNATION AND FAREWELL

RA

Bernard Dumont

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Bernard Dumont (Frontenac):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. I should like to inform the House that, as of this day, I shall no longer represent the constituency of Frontenac. I am resigning with the satisfaction of having discharged my responsibilities. Other duties will enable me to return to Ottawa in order to negotiate the rights of Quebec, after April 29.

I urge the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) to take the advice of the right hon. member for Prince Albert (Mr. Diefenbaker) and get married so as to be able to grasp the human problems facing all Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, to you and to all my colleagues I say that the experience gained in this House is highly valuable. I thank you all for your understanding, but we will surely meet again.

Som hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DUMONT-RESIGNATION AND FAREWELL
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member should perhaps indicate to the Chair whether his resignation comes into force immediately or whether he intends to tell us when he will leave the House?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DUMONT-RESIGNATION AND FAREWELL
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RA

Bernard Dumont

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Dumont:

It will take effect this very day, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DUMONT-RESIGNATION AND FAREWELL
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Frontenac having notified us of his intention to resign his seat, it is my duty to inform the House that when the Clerk has entered such notice on the journals of the House, in accordance with the provisions of section 6, chapter 143 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1952, namely under the House of Commons Act, I shall forthwith address my warrant to the Chief Electoral Officer, for the issue of a writ for the election of a new member for the said federal constituency.

[DOT] (2:10 p.m.)

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. DUMONT-RESIGNATION AND FAREWELL
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

Donald Stovel Macdonald (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Donald S. Macdonald (President of the Privy Council):

Mr. Speaker, I thought it might be of some assistance to the House if I indicated the plan for House business for this week commencing April 6.

As hon. members know, the first item for today will be government order No. 5, the report stage of Bill C-3, the hate literature bill, to be followed by third reading in due course. The second item is government order No. 15, the bill with regard to the International Development Research Centre; we would expect that would be called tomorrow. The remaining two days of the budget debate, that is, the fifth and sixth appointed days, would be called for Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Friday will be the remaining allotted day from the last period which, pursuant to the order made by the House, will be allotted to the New Democratic Party.

I hope to have a meeting with the House Leaders later today or tomorrow to discuss the general allocation of business for this part of the session.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
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CRIMINAL CODE

BREATHALYZER PROVISIONS-REFERENCE OF VALIDITY OF PROCLAMATION TO SUPREME COURT

LIB

John Napier Turner (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. John N. Turner (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, the government has decided today to refer the important question of whether the breathalyzer provisions of the Criminal Code were validly proclaimed on December 1 last to the Supreme Court of Canada for hearing and consideration pursuant to section 55 of the Supreme Court Act. This step is being taken because of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the case of Regina v. Story which held that these provisions had not been properly proclaimed.

The breathalyzer provisions contained in recent Criminal Code amendments were

Criminal Code

designed to attack the ever-growing problem of death and injury on the highways resulting from persons driving motor vehicles after having consumed excessive amounts of alcohol. While the legislation included provisions dealing with approved containers that might be used as a check on police equipment and analysis, it was made clear by the government when the legislation was before the House of Commons that approved containers had not yet been perfected and that they were not yet available for use. It was also made clear that the breathalyzer provisions would be brought into force notwithstanding the unavailability of approved containers. Indeed, the provision of the law dealing with approved containers was included as part of the legislation for the sole purpose of avoiding the delay that would result if additional legislation were required to make approved containers, once perfected, available to the public as an additional possible defence.

Because of the importance of the new breathalyzer laws to all Canadians and the desirability of eliminating confusion in the public mind that will result if these laws are not enforced with reasonable uniformity throughout the country, and because of the conflict of judicial opinion that has recently developed as to whether they are now properly in force, I consider it desirable to have this issue determined definitively as quickly as possible.

By proceeding by way of a direct reference to the Supreme Court of Canada rather than by the ordinary appeal route, I feel that a good deal of time will be saved in clarifying the legal status of the breathalyzer provisions as proclaimed last December. In addition, a substantial amount of court time throughout the country will not have to be taken up with needless argument and this in turn should result in a significant saving of expense to persons charged under the breathalyzer provisions of the Code. The required Order in Council under section 55 of the Supreme Court Act will be filed with the Supreme Court of Canada within the next few days.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   BREATHALYZER PROVISIONS-REFERENCE OF VALIDITY OF PROCLAMATION TO SUPREME COURT
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PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Eldon M. Woolliams (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, I do not like to start off in a critical fashion just after the Easter recess but I am afraid I must. At five minutes before two o'clock today we received a document called a press release. On a matter as serious as this I should have thought the Minister of Justice would hand to the official opposition a copy of the statement he should have made

on motions before issuing a press release, and flowing from that statement there could well have been a press report.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   BREATHALYZER PROVISIONS-REFERENCE OF VALIDITY OF PROCLAMATION TO SUPREME COURT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   BREATHALYZER PROVISIONS-REFERENCE OF VALIDITY OF PROCLAMATION TO SUPREME COURT
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PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

Mr. Speaker, it is high time that Parliament was taken into the confidence of this government, whose arrogance is beyond understanding.

I should like to refer to an interesting point brought to my attention by the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants who first brought this whole matter to the attention of Parliament. He pointed out that this proclamation was wrong and, as the minister knows, he is one of the leading members of the House on the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. I should like to quote from page 476 of Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence No. 11 of that committee to show that the minister was well aware of the law or appeared to be well aware of it, unless he received some bad advice along the way. The relevant date is Tuesday, March 18, 1969. As I say, at page 476 of that report the minister is reported as having said:

The Attorney General of Canada will have to approve some container as suitable. We do not have a suitable container yet developed. What happened of course was that testimony was given to this committee last year or the year before that* there was a suitable container which has turned out to be inaccurate evidence. That is the problem that Mr. Hogarth was talking about and that is why we have to delay the proclamation.

In other words, when the minister was before the committee he knew that he would have to make the proclamation with respect to the law on the breathalyzer test. He also knew that he had to specify in that proclamation the kind of container and the kind of scientific equipment that was necessary. During the Easter holidays, following the decision of Judge Craig Munroe, the minister said, "We are going to appeal." I hope, now that he has had a change of heart and is going to refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada, that he will remember that we are dealing here with something involving the rights of citizens.

Parliament passes the laws, though it is true they flow from the government. But I submit that even the present executive, including the Minister of Justice and the present Prime Minister, must obey Parliament and cannot by proclamation go beyond the powers this institution has given it.

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   BREATHALYZER PROVISIONS-REFERENCE OF VALIDITY OF PROCLAMATION TO SUPREME COURT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   CRIMINAL CODE
Subtopic:   BREATHALYZER PROVISIONS-REFERENCE OF VALIDITY OF PROCLAMATION TO SUPREME COURT
Permalink

April 6, 1970