March 5, 1976

ORAL QUESTION PERIOD

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ray Hnatyshyn (Saskatoon-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Minister of Justice? Without accepting the position of the government that the chief justice of the province of Quebec should be asked to act as conscience of the government in place of the Prime Minister, may I ask if the chief justice will be completely free to interview ministers and obtain ministerial papers, documents or other permanent records?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- FREEDOM OF CHIEF JUSTICE OF QUEBEC TO INTERVIEW MINISTERS
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Ron Basford (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, without accepting the premise of the hon. member's question, may I say this: the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec has been asked, as I think is proper and in line with my view of the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers, to indicate to me any information that he feels it is appropriate to give me relating to unwarranted attempts to interfere with the proper administration of justice in his courts.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- FREEDOM OF CHIEF JUSTICE OF QUEBEC TO INTERVIEW MINISTERS
Permalink
PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hnatyshyn:

Mr. Speaker, the minister did not answer my question. I was asking about the position of the government. For example, the Minister of Public Works raised the matter of privilege with respect to conversations he had with the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. I ask the minister if the chief justice will be given the opportunity to interview the Minister of Public Works and other ministers with respect to any intervention, alleged or otherwise, with the judiciary.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- FREEDOM OF CHIEF JUSTICE OF QUEBEC TO INTERVIEW MINISTERS
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that if the chief justice of the Superior Court wants to do that, the ministers and members of the government will co-operate fully.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Sub-subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- FREEDOM OF CHIEF JUSTICE OF QUEBEC TO INTERVIEW MINISTERS
Permalink

ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- REFERENCE TO INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS

PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn (Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ray Hnatyshyn (Saskatoon-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct my final supplementary question to the Minister of Public Works? On Wednesday the minister is reported to have said, on page 11457 of Hansard:

I had a conversation, also with the associate chief justice of Quebec, along, as I discovered, with a great many other public spirited citizens

who had taken part in trying to effect a solution to a rather difficult and, to some degree, unprecedented problem.

My question is this: does the minister admit that, along with others, as a minister of the Crown he attempted to effect a solution by acting on behalf of the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- REFERENCE TO INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
LIB

Charles Mills (Bud) Drury (Minister of Public Works; Minister of State for Science and Technology)

Liberal

Hon. C. M. Drury (Minister of Public Works):

Mr. Speaker, I do not think it would be particularly helpful if one were to try to anticipate what may be the views formulated by the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Quebec.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- REFERENCE TO INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink

ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE CONCERNING INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS

PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Eldon M. Woolliams (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Minister of Justice, the chief legal officer of Canada, with regard to the confession of the Minister of Public Works. That minister, when answering me on Wednesday last said, in part, as reported on page 11457 of Hansard:

Indeed, the only intervention that would be contemplated by me would be one to see that he was in full knowledge of the facts-

Meaning the judge, the minister having been in touch with the associate chief justice. I continue-

-and did his duty.

My question to the chief law officer of Canada, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, is this: has the minister, in view of the confession made by the Minister of Public Works that he intervened, and tried to tell the judge how to do his duty, made recommendations to the Prime Minister? Has he made any recommendations relating to the impropriety of the executive engaging in that kind of intervention with the judiciary?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE CONCERNING INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Ron Basford (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Public Works went on to say, again as reported at page 11457 of Hansard:

I did not attempt to influence the decision.

As I indicated on Wednesday, although Mr. Justice Mackay's letter asked me to take no action I felt it incumbent on me to ask my colleagues for an explanation, which I received. The information indicates no attempt on their part to interfere with the course of justice.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE CONCERNING INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

That's a whitewash.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE CONCERNING INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

Therefore, as I indicated previously, I do not intend to make a further recommendation to the Prime Minister or government until I have followed what I regard as the proper course of allowing the "chief" justice of the Superior Court to give me any information and

March 5, 1976

Oral Questions

details which the chief justice deems proper to give me in the circumstances.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- RECOMMENDATIONS OF MINISTER OF JUSTICE CONCERNING INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink

ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- POSSIBILITY OF OBTAINING LEGAL OPINION ON INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS

PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Eldon M. Woolliams (Calgary North):

Yesterday the Minister of Justice answered a question put by the hon. member for St. John's East. He pointed out two matters that would be crimes under the Code, one of which would be and I quote from page 11489 of Hansard:

-to have a private communication for the purpose of influencing a judicial decision.

It is easy for a fellow to say he did not influence the jury. It is similar to defending someone for murder. I have never heard anyone tell his counsel he was guilty. The facts determine whether he is guilty. In light of the two points of law raised in the minister's answer to the hon. member for St. John's East, has he referred those two matters to his legal officers in view of the self confession of interference by the Minister of Public Works?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- POSSIBILITY OF OBTAINING LEGAL OPINION ON INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Ron Basford (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, the words I was using yesterday are from Halsbury's definition of the nature of private communications, which amounts to criminal contempt. As the hon. member knows, that is a proceeding to be taken by a judge. In all three instances, no such proceedings have been taken.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- POSSIBILITY OF OBTAINING LEGAL OPINION ON INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
PC

Eldon Mattison Woolliams

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Woolliams:

Mr. Speaker, I know that the Minister of Justice will want to answer this question. Is he prepared to refer the matter to his legal officers? I respect Halsbury's Laws of England. However, as the chief legal officer of Canada, is the minister prepared to refer the matter to his legal officers to get an opinion rather than just refer to certain precedents and come to his own decisions without an opinion from his legal officers?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- POSSIBILITY OF OBTAINING LEGAL OPINION ON INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink
LIB

Stanley Ronald Basford (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Basford:

As an eminent lawyer in Calgary, I think the hon. member knows that contempt proceedings are not taken at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada, but at the instance of the judge himself. No such proceedings have been taken. In answer to the hon. member, I may indicate that in the course of my duties, I have many communications with chief justices throughout Canada on a whole range of matters relating to salaries, retirement, workloads and work with the judicial council. In no instance has any chief justice ever brought to my attention an attempt to interfere with the course of justice by members of the ministry.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   ALLEGATIONS OF INTERFERENCE BY JUDGE MACKAY- POSSIBILITY OF OBTAINING LEGAL OPINION ON INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF PUBLIC WORKS
Permalink

SUMMER GAMES AT ST. JOHN'S-FAILURE TO CALL TENDERS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF MAIN SPORTS COMPLEX-GOVERNMENT POSITION

March 5, 1976