October 4, 1949 (21st Parliament, 1st Session)


Jean-François Pouliot


Mr. Pouliot:

I do not agree with the law society of upper Canada or of lower Canada or of the maritimes or with the Canadian Bar Association, and I shall tell the committee why. On one occasion I was with one of my friends from the Quebec bar. At the present time he is a cabinet minister in the Quebec government. He is a criminal lawyer of note. I refer to Mr. Rivard. I was sent by the general council of the Quebec bar to what was called a conference on the uniformity of laws, or something like that, held in Niagara Falls. We met there together, and we met all the somnolent deputy attorneys general of Canada. They were pleasant gentlemen of a certain age who could go to sleep very easily. We had a round-table discussion, and it was precisely a week before the convention of the Canadian Bar Association. The attorney general of British Columbia was there. He was a friend of my hon. friend. I will not mention his name because he is dead now. He was a prominent Tory and a great legal light of British Columbia. There were others there. We discussed several matters that were to be submitted to the provinces. They called it draft legislation, and they submitted it every year. It was a pretext for meeting a week ahead of the Canadian Bar Association's meeting. They were all there. Their expenses were paid by the provinces. It was quite happy and glorious inasmuch as one could be happy and glorious in his sleep. They were redrafting certain laws by changing a comma into a semicolon, and other important things. It was done in great solemnity. It was a tremendous job, and finally one of the legal luminaries from British Columbia, and some others from other provinces, decided that there should be a new section placed in the Criminal Code. My friend, Mr. Rivard, was on that committee.
Supreme Court Act
He had his code in his hand and he listened to the argument that it was in the public interest, and that there was great necessity to draft a new section of the Criminal Code. There they were. They worked hard. They were sweating. It was a very hot day. The weather was hot in Niagara Falls. Sometimes there was a word of wisdom and an odd suggestion that would come from the august lips of the deputy attorneys general. They were arguing, they were discussing and they were submitting new reasons for new sections. They were changing a word, adding another word, changing a comma into a semicolon and a semicolon into a comma, or putting a period in the middle of a sentence, and it was very well done. Finally, Mr. Rivard came with his Criminal Code and with the amendments, and he said to the illustrious lawyers: "Is not that article already in the Criminal Code?" That was prior to the meeting of the bar association.
I can tell my hon. friend the reason why the Canadian Bar Association has insisted so much on the maintenance of appeals to the privy council. It is because those who go to the privy council are the heads of the organization. That is the whole story. I do not believe in it. I do not believe in the privy council at all. I have read their judgments pretty carefully, and I am ready to take a chance on the supreme court. I hope that the amendments suggested by my hon. friend will be turned down at the earliest possible moment.

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