January 6, 1958 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


David James Walker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Walker:

As the Minister of Justice points out, there was no anchor to which they could attach their freedoms, no place where they could turn to demand their freedoms. In this connection may I say that even with a law we are, of course, too well aware that our freedoms can disappear.
Russia has a bill of rights. In reading the debates of this house, I was interested to note that as the high-flown phrases of the Russian bill of rights were read to the house one member called out, "Is that the United Nations declaration"? That was a very interesting observation. Of course what a ridiculous situation! It is just as contradictory as bittersweet to have a Russian dictatorship enforcing a bill of rights. It just does not make sense.
Therefore that example is not one which should deter us in adopting a bill of rights; and in saying that I feel I have the backing of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar. On the other hand, we in Canada are different.
Human Rights
Our whole upbringing, our whole concept is democratic. May I quote once more from the speech made by the then member for Lake Centre, who expressed the concept very briefly in these words, as found at page 3150 of Hansard of May 16, 1947:
As I agree that although parliament can make charters, the nation can only achieve what is in those charters, if the heart and soul of man demands the achievement of those ideals. I realize that you cannot make mankind good by legislation, but on the other hand, by legislation you can set out the ideals to which you wish men to attain.
May I adopt those words, Mr. Speaker, and the thoughts contained in them. May I take another example that is a symbol of our freedom. It has been my privilege as the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Justice to work with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who come within the Department of Justice. In associating with them, I have been amazed and delighted at the manner in which they uphold the law. Their motto is "Maintiens le droit", "Uphold the law"; and, Mr. Speaker, they really do. So different are they from the Russian police who by harsh methods involving brutality and naked force are so well known. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police work through co-operation and good will with the citizens of Canada. Instead of being hard-boiled police officers they are in reality a body of professional men engaged in the work of peace officers, and a magnificent job they have done and are doing. Because we in this world need symbols as well as laws, may I say that in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with their scarlet-coated tunics and that firm discipline which is their tradition, we have a symbol of freedom within the law.
There is one more matter I should like to discuss. Nothing worth while is ever achieved without a great deal of effort, but it is also true that all things are possible if the human spirit perists in making them possible. Nearly 12 years ago the then member for Lake Centre began his long crusade to obtain a bill of rights for Canada. We trust, Mr. Speaker, that the crusade is almost over, that the consummation of his hopes is almost realized.
In his journey he has been ably assisted by men and women in all walks of life and attached to every party, including the distinguished leader of the C.C.F. group who has moved the resolution we are discussing today. It is our hope that in the debate to follow members in every corner of the house will rise in their places and express their frank views, keeping in mind that this is a question which is above politics. Freedom transcends politics as it transcends almost all other things.

Human Rights
As we all know, Mr. Speaker, the world today is again threatened by a great dictatorship. We have been amazed by the scientific achievements of that dictatorship. Sputnik No. 1 and sputnik No. 2 have been launched. Sputnik No. 10 may in reality reach the moon. The dictatorship which threatens us may reach the moon, but, Mr. Speaker, it cannot reach God. It cannot reach God because here you have a dictatorship which has not only denied the deity but has irrevocably and ruthlessly crushed all human freedom. That dictatorship will be destroyed not from without but from within, because no civilization has long survived which has abolished any conception of human freedom and at the same time has turned its back on the deity.
By contrast here we are in this dominion, this democratic nation, with the opportunity to incorporate our present freedoms in a statute. My respectful submission to hon. members, Mr. Speaker, is this: May we enshrine freedom in our hearts and may we anchor freedom in our statutes in perpetuity just as securely as we can.

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