January 26, 1979 (30th Parliament, 4th Session)


Donald James Johnston


Mr. Donald J. Johnston (Westmount):

Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased to carry on the debate on a bill which in my opinion will be one of the most important to be considered by the House. It is a legislation which could play a predominant role in the constitutional debate and even in the existence of our country. Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I cannot stress enough the significance of the legislation for us Quebeckers, my constituents in Quebec, and I know that I do not speak only for the Anglophones in Quebec but also for all Quebeckers who believe in a united Canada. It is essential that our federal government be in a position to protect the interests of Quebeckers in the face of the present threat, that is the referendum to be held by the Parti Quebecois. Such is the object of the bill. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we hope that the debates in the House will rise above partisan considerations.
I was very disappointed to read the comments made by the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands (Miss MacDonald) in connection with the bill. I even felt that her comments were demagogic. I would like to quote an example, Mr. Speaker. [English]
At page 2039 of the Hansard for December 12, 1978, the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands said:
I do not find this legislation before us today to be in that spirit of honesty and forthrightness which this difficult subject demands. I see this legislation as being
devious, dangerous and even deceptive. It purports to be an act respecting public referendums in Canada on questions relating to the Constitution of Canada. It is, instead, a blatant attempt to subvert and undermine the responsibilities and duties of the Canadian system of responsible government.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the contrary is true. She is looking for non-existent motivations in that bill. As we often say, she is looking for difficulties where there are none.

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