May 18, 1982

PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn (Saskatoon West):

Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the silent Minister of Communications who, ostensibly, has some responsibility in connection with freedom of information. As the minister will know, this is the most secretive, manipulative government in the history of our country. Its action are the antithesis of openness, particularly with respect to Section 41(2) of the Federal Court Act. The government has been using this device to obstruct justice and not to allow accused persons to have access to information which would afford them proper defences and fair trials. With respect to the package to be brought before the House I want to ask the minister whether he is now prepared to commit his government to including a revocation of Section 41(2). If he is

May 18, 1982

not able to make a commitment to get this bill through and if he cannot handle his job, will he do the honourable thing and resign?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVOCATION OF SECTION 41(2) OF FEDERAL COURT ACT
Permalink
LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Hon. Francis Fox (Minister of Communications):

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. question for his-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVOCATION OF SECTION 41(2) OF FEDERAL COURT ACT
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh!

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVOCATION OF SECTION 41(2) OF FEDERAL COURT ACT
Permalink
LIB

Francis Fox (Minister of Communications)

Liberal

Mr. Fox:

That was obviously a slip of the tongue, Madam Speaker. What we need is better members so that we are not asked silly questions.

The question of Section 41(2) is indeed part of the bill on access to information. There is a number of amendments to Section 41(2) proposed in the bill which is presently before the House. As the Prime Minister indicated, and as the House leader indicated last week, we expect to be in a position to take a final decision on whether we will be bringing amendments back to the House when the bill is brought back from the committee, and the hon. member will be able to see at that time exactly what is the status of the new Section 36.1.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR REVOCATION OF SECTION 41(2) OF FEDERAL COURT ACT
Permalink

OBSERVANCE OF SPIRIT OF LEGISLATION

PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn (Saskatoon West):

Madam Speaker, my supplementary question is directed to the Prime Minister. Earlier in this part of his tenure he issued a directive to all government departments, all public servants and all ministers, that notwithstanding the fact that the freedom of information bill had not been passed, the spirit of the legislation was to be followed.

In view of the fact that yesterday the Solicitor General indicated in the House that because the freedom of information bill had not been passed-and that was the only reason- he felt obliged to invoke Section 41(2) of the Federal Court Act, whereas if the legislation had been in place-Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister is consulting with his today, if you do not mind. Would the Prime Minister indicate whether that directive stands, and will he direct the Solicitor General to release documents for the fair defence of accused persons in the province of Quebec, in the spirit of the freedom of information bill? The Solicitor General is apparently reluctant to do so as the bill has not been passed.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   OBSERVANCE OF SPIRIT OF LEGISLATION
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, 1 would want to defer to the Solicitor General to know to what document the hon. member is referring. If they are documents which are not intended-for instance cabinet minutes-to be produced to the court, the answer would have to be no. I would have to know to what documents he is referring. Perhaps he could pose a supplementary question to the Solicitor General.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   OBSERVANCE OF SPIRIT OF LEGISLATION
Permalink

REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS

PC

Ramon John Hnatyshyn

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Ray Hnatyshyn (Saskatoon West):

Madam Speaker, may I put a supplementary question to the Solicitor General.

Oral Questions

Yesterday the minister gave us the insane proposition that if the freedom of information bill had been passed he would have released the documents with respect to the RCMP officers on trial and hung out to dry by this government in the province of Quebec. In view of the fact that the Prime Minister indicates there is a directive, will he now reverse his decision and allow those documents to be produced for the RCMP officers in question?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS
Permalink
LIB

Robert Phillip Kaplan (Solicitor General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Bob Kaplan (Solicitor General):

Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister wrote to me, as he did to all other ministers, asking us to be guided by the access to information legislation as if it were in effect. The difficulty in dealing with the documents that I had before me was that the access to information law provides new machinery which I would rely upon if it were law, but upon which I cannot rely until it is enacted by the House. I am governed by the access to information law as far as I can be.

The presence of a bill does not create machinery for going to a court, such as the access to information bill would provide, to weigh considerations of public interest of disclosure or nondisclosure. If the access to information law were in place it would have machinery which I would be able to follow. But it is not in place, so while I follow the policy of access to information law I cannot use the machinery that that law would create if it were in effect.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS
Permalink
LIB

Jeanne Sauvé (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Madam Speaker:

The hon. member for Oshawa.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

Madam Speaker, first of all, in response to the question raised by the Prime Minister I should like to say that we join completely with the official opposition in offering assurances that there would be most speedy debate on the freedom of information bill if the government would only bring it forward.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

One day?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS
Permalink
NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

There would be a one-day debate if the government would produce that bill.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE OF DOCUMENTS IN TRIAL OF ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE OFFICERS
Permalink

NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Hon. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa):

Madam Speaker, I should like to put a question to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources. Yesterday I asked him a question about the new formula to be used in determining natural gas supplies in Canada. He is aware that the present formula refers only to present reserves, that is to say, reserves known to exist. The National Energy Board recklessly wants to change that formula by including unproven reserves in its calculations. Considering that this will really put into jeopardy the energy future of Canada by relying on guesstimates about our gas supplies, will the minister give unequivocal assurances to the

May 18, 1982

Oral Questions

House that he will not agree to the change proposed by the NEB?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   CHANGE IN NATURAL GAS SUPPLY FORMULA
Permalink
LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources):

Madam Speaker, I have already agreed to the change made by the NEB.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD
Sub-subtopic:   CHANGE IN NATURAL GAS SUPPLY FORMULA
Permalink

REASONS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF CHANGE IN FORMULA

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Hon. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa):

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASONS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF CHANGE IN FORMULA
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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Marc Lalonde (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources):

Madam Speaker, the National Energy Board has recommended taking into account not only established reserves but also what is known as trend gas, which is-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   REASONS FOR ACCEPTANCE OF CHANGE IN FORMULA
Permalink

May 18, 1982