March 30, 1927 (16th Parliament, 1st Session)

CON

Charles Hazlitt Cahan

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. CAHAN:

I will give the right hon.
gentleman the opportunity on the opening of the debate to-morrow if he desires it.
According to this report, Canada is admittedly a member of the British commonwealth of nations. But who authorized the Prime Minister of this country to give Canada's assent to this common agreement which is declared to be of such surpassing importance? Were the Prime Minister and his colleague the Minister of Justice authorized by parliament to give such assent? I know of no such authority. And if not from parliament, what was the source of the authority which they did exercise, or purported to exercise, in binding Canada as a whole and the parliament and people of Canada to that new agreement? At Toronto, as well as in this House, the Prime Minister declared that this was one of the great charters in British history. He said:
I have said, and I wish to repeat, that in this particular the conclusion of the conference as embodied in the report of the committee on imperial relations, will, I believe, hold a place in history by the side of the great charters of human freedom which comprise so large a part of what is known as the written portions of the constitution of Great Britain itself.
And yet we of the parliament of Canada, and the people of Canada on whose behalf he purported to act, have never authorized him to give assent for any other than his own government. He has no authority from parliament; he has no authority from the people's representatives in parliament, and yet he dares take the responsibility of refusing to submit the report to parliament where it can be dealt with clause by clause and accepted with reservations, or otherwise, as parliament sees fit.

Topic:   IMPERIAL CONFERENCE
Subtopic:   DEBATE ON STATEMENT OF PRIME MINISTER AND AMENDMENT OF MR. GUTHRIE
Full View