April 8, 1970

PRIVILEGE

MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE

LIB

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

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of personal privilege. I rise to express a grievance about a serious misquotation on the part of the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants (Mr. Mc-Cleave) in the House on the evening of April

6. His quotation of my evidence before the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs was tom from its context and if read in its context carries a meaning that is quite the reverse of the meaning he saw fit to attribute to it.

The effect of what he said was that I led the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to believe that none of the breathalyzer provisions in the omnibus criminal law amendment bill would be brought into force unless all were brought into force simultaneously. I did no such thing, Mr. Speaker. In fact, what actually transpired is quite to the contrary, and I propose to deal with this matter in detail before the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs at the first convenient opportunity.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McCleave:

Mr. Speaker,-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McCleave:

I rise on a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. The hon. member will be given that opportunity in a moment. I doubt whether it would be in order to debate the minister's question of privilege. It may be that the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants has his own question of privilege. We will come to that in a moment. So far as the minister's point is concerned, it seems to me what we have before us is a disagreement between two hon. members as to what was said or what was not said when evidence was heard before a standing committee of the House of Commons. That, in my estimation at least, does not meet the requirements of a question of privilege. The Minister started his remarks by saying he had a grievance. I suggest that the Minister of Justice put himself out of court at that moment and there is not a prima facie question of privilege.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baldwin:

Perhaps he should refer this matter to the Supreme Court of Canada, too.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

Perhaps the discussion might be pursued in other circumstances, but I would not think that the point ought to be discussed further by way of a question of privilege. Having said that, it may be that the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants has his own question of privilege. I will hear him on that.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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PC

Robert Jardine McCleave

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert McCleave (Halifax-East Hants):

Mr. Speaker, I shall be there on Tuesday. The record will be fully quoted at that time and will substantiate what I have said in the House.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. TURNER (OTTAWA-CARLETON)-MISQUOTATION OF EVIDENCE BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, hon. members are aware that the government has given notice of its intention to introduce today two bills dealing with protection of Canada's marine environment and the living resources of the sea. I wish now to table a copy of a letter which Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations has delivered to the Secretary General submitting a new reservation to Canada's acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. This reservation is intended to guard against any possible litigation of certain features of these two bills.

Canada strongly supports the rule of law in international affairs. Canada has made known to other states that it is prepared to participate actively in multilateral efforts to develop agreed rules on the protection of the environment and the conservation of the living resources of the sea.

April 8. 1970

International Court of Justice

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

Canada is not prepared however to engage in litigation with other states concerning vital issues where the law is either inadequate or non-existent and thus does not provide a firm basis for judicial decision. We have therefore submitted this new reservation to Canada's acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court relating to those areas of the law of the sea which are undeveloped or inadequate.

It is well known that there is little or no environmental law on the international plane and that the law now in existence favours the interests of the shipping states and the shipping owners engaged in the large scale carriage of oil and other potential pollutants. There is an urgent need for the development of international law establishing that coastal states are entitled, on the basis of fundamental principle of self-defence, to protect their marine environment and the living resources of the sea adjacent to their coasts.

In spite of this new reservation, Canada's acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the court remains much broader than that of most other members of the United Nations, and it is the hope of the government that it will prove possible to reach agreement with other states on the vital need to develop the law to protect the marine environment and its living resources so as to make it possible for Canada again to broaden its acceptance of the court's jurisdiction.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, one would need to see the bills to which the Prime Minister referred and would also require very full information before making any kind of definitive comment upon the statement of the Prime Minister. We must recognize that it constitutes a serious step, a step hardly in the right direction, for Canada to reduce the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. I am not passing judgment at the moment on whether or not this is the correct decision in the circumstances. I do say that the government has made this decision without any consultation with Parliament and without any discussion in Parliament.

It seems to me that the position the Prime Minister has announced today is diametrically opposite to the position he took in the House about a year ago when he indicated he was going to try to resolve all these problems

through the United Nations and through consultation with the Secretary General. My point is that we seem to have here a complete reversal of position, without any real discussion in Parliament, on a matter that we all regard as very serious. The Prime Minister's statement does not seem to settle in any way the question of sovereignty. Presumably we are talking about control of the environment.

I want to know, Mr. Speaker, why the leader of the government has felt it necessary to take this position with regard to the United Nations and reduce the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice before the bills have been introduced and discussed. Why has he felt it necessary to take this action in an arbitrary manner without, if the government is going to proceed with the proposed legislation, giving an opportunity to the members of this House, the representatives of the people, to express their views on this matter before the adoption by Canada of a position with regard to the jurisdiction of the court?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stanfield:

If there is any reason why this arbitrary action has been taken by the Prime Minister and the government before the matter has been discussed by Parliament, then certainly the Prime Minister has not given it to us. I say this is another indication of the secretive manner in which this government behaves; it is another indication of the contempt with which the government treats this House.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
Permalink
NDP

David Lewis (Parliamentary Leader of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Lewis (York South):

Mr. Speaker, at a time in human history when every nation and all peoples in the world are seeking to establish an international rule of law, it is obviously extremely regrettable that the government of this country, a country which has a position of some importance in the international family, should find it necessary to reduce the extent to which Canada is ready to submit itself to the rule of international law.

I say to the Prime Minister that this matter should at least have been discussed at some length by the appropriate committee of Parliament. The reasons in favour of the need for such a reservation should have been given to us in full, with the officials of the government explaining in much greater detail than the statement now before us does the present legal situation, the present composition of the

April 8, 1970

International Court of Justice, the fears which the government has, and the validity of those fears. If every country in the world, every member of the United Nations, were to reduce the sphere in which it would be internationally bound every time it was faced by a matter of national interest, pretty soon the whole concept of the International Court and, indeed, of the United Nations itself, would be dead and buried. This is the issue which concerns us so very deeply.

I am not persuaded from the information contained in the Prime Minister's statement that the reservation is necessary. Possibly his advisers and he have studied the situation and reached a conclusion which may be valid. But I also say that as members of this Parliament I and all others who sit in this chamber have the right to possess as much information about this matter as the Prime Minister himself possesses in order that we may intelligently understand and evaluate the action taken by the government.

At least the Prime Minister should have had the humility not to do any double-talking in this statement. What nonsense it is to say, "Canada strongly supports the rule of law in international affairs", when in the next breath he says he does not intend to be bound by it. We should stop this hypocrisy in international affairs. There has been enough of it in the United Nations and elsewhere. I do not think we serve the cause of peace and international law and order by indulging in this kind of double-talking hypocrisy, and I resent it.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
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RA

Léonel Beaudoin

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Leonel Beaudoin (Richmond):

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that we did not receive the French text of the statement just made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau).

Still, I believe that the government is well advised in being concerned about such an important question as zoning and fishing rights. In my opinion, it is imperative that our government take time to discuss the matter very seriously with bordering countries so that it becomes clear what position Canada is to adopt in future concerning our vested interests in our territorial waters.

[DOT] (2:20 p.m.)

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF LETTER TO UN SECRETARY-GENERAL SUBMITTING RESERVATION TO ACCEPTANCE OF COMPULSORY JURISDICTION
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PRESENCE IN SPEAKER'S GALLERY OF PRESIDENT OF BRITISH BOARD OF TRADE

April 8, 1970