FOREST, Yves, Q.C., B.A., LL.B.

Personal Data

Missisquoi (Quebec)
Birth Date
June 25, 1921

Parliamentary Career

April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Stanstead (Quebec)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Stanstead (Quebec)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Missisquoi (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council (August 30, 1968 - September 30, 1970)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 185)

February 12, 1973

1. How many requests have been received, and from whom, for RCMP Centennial licences?

2. How many have been approved and to whom were they issued?

3. In each approved case, what are the royalty scales?

4. Did the Royal Canadian Mint seek a licence and, if not, for what reason?

5. For what reason were licences not issued in the same manner as they were for our National Centennial year?

Return tabled.

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June 28, 1972

1. Since 1960, and per year, how many murders were committed (a) in Canada (b) per province (c) in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver?

2. Since 1967, and per year, how many policemen, constables, sheriffs or other such persons employed for the maintenance of the public peace, acting in the course of their duties, have been killed (a) in Canada (b) per province?

3. Since 1967, and per year, how many wardens, jailers or other employees of a prison, acting in the course of their duties, have been killed (a) in Canada (b) per province?

4. Since 1967, and per year, how many death sentences have been commuted, in the case of homicide of policemen, constables, sheriffs, prison wardens, jailers or other such persons, acting in the course of their duties?

b. Since 1960, and per year since, how many persons sentenced to (a) perpetual imprisonment (b) for a period of over twenty years, for homicide, have had their sentence reduced or would have been conditionally liberated?

Return tabled.

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May 25, 1972

Mr. Yves Forest (Brome-Missisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of taking part in the Special Committee on Election Expenses as a vice-chairman. The chairman of this committee was our distinguished colleague from Peel South (Mr. Chappell) who spoke earlier and who fulfilled his functions with much tact, skill and efficiency.

Our sessions were quite lengthy and often complex, but the committee members showed much patience, good will and understanding despite the different views, which were inevitable, about a subject on which we all pretend to be quite experts.

It must be noted that the committee received advice from a legal adviser who, most of the time, was assisted by the Chief Electoral Officer, whose skill and work we all admire. Their advice was very valuable to all committee members.

We also had the report prepared by the previous members of this committee, who made much deeper and further studies on the subject, that is the report of the special committee established by the government in 1964, whose chairman was Mr. Alphonse Barbeau-now judge of the Superior Court of Quebec-and made up of recognized experts from different parties, which presented the result of its investigations and discussions in 1966.

This committee was appointed as a result of public concern about the source of election funds as well as a need for a reform in order to curb the continuing increase in election expenses, in particular since it became necessary to use new means of communications, which are very clostly and expensive.

The committees' reports and this bill aim at improving the situation of the parties and candidates, at increasing the people's confidence in our system of parties while guaranteeing the individual's liberty of choosing not only the man, his party and his philosophy but also the way it should be supported.

Contrary to popular belief, the lack of funds is a painful aspect from which the political existence of parties and candidates is suffering. Their financing has always caused precarious situations. The very minor importance given to the financing of our political institutions is unbelievable in view of the crushing responsibilities entrusted by our system to the parties and candidates who, among other things, are required to explain to our citizens the objective and efficiency of laws, the decisions and actions liable to affect their way of life and often their existence.

May 25, 1972

Election Expenses Bill

Mr. Speaker, as many of my colleagues, after having studied a number of times the election systems of various countries, I believe that our election legislation is excellent-probably the best-and well-fitted to the special needs of our great country.

Some people have already mentioned the advisability of establishing a permanent list of voters-in fact, the first spokesman for the official opposition and the speaker before me suggested it-as a desirable measure to shorten the duration of election campaigns.

I am opposed to this suggestion and the committee which considered the report tabled by the representation commissioner in this House in April 1968 was unanimously against the establishment of such a list, which would be not only costly-I think the figure amounted to $1 a year per voter-but would be far from efficient in a political system such as ours because elections are not held at a fixed date and the people would probably not welcome compulsory registration or compulsory vote. So, I refer my colleagues to the report of the committee and to the very eloquent report tabled in the House by the representation commissioner, who has examined these various systems.

The question of limiting the duration of election campaigns has been the subject of suggestions this afternoon by the previous speaker and also the subject of discussions both in the Committee on Privileges and Elections and in the Committee on Elections Expenses and we all agreed that the present period is necessary to allow parties and the Chief Electoral Officer to prepare and get organized. However, I believe, together with committee members, that the period during which political propaganda by parties and candidates on radio or television and in newspapers is allowed should be limited to the last month or so before election day.

This would effectively reduce election expenses but I think that despite the improvement in communications to which the hon. member for Prince Edward-Hastings (Mr. Hees) referred earlier, the prescribed period is necessary to arrange elections in a country as large as ours.

Mr. Speaker, the so-called Barbeau Committee had made seven basic recommendations aimed at establishing a more equitable electoral system. I must say that these recommendations are adequately taken into account in the bill now before us. In line with the proposal of our committee, the bill does not however retain the sixth recommendation of the Barbeau Committee suggesting that a registry be established by means of another legislation to audit the various financial returns. It simply amends the Canada Elections Act to enable the chief electoral officer to receive the returns of official agents, and I think that the government has rightly upheld this decision of the special committee on election expenses which made it the subject of one of its recommendations.

The first recommendation of the Barbeau report dealt with the recognition of political parties that would become responsible for their actions respecting the collection and expenditure of election funds through an official agent.

The 1970 Canada Elections Act already provides that political parties shall register with the chief electoral officer, under certain conditions. This legislation goes even farther by requiring the registration of agents who alone shall be authorized to receive contributions and who shall be assisted by an auditor for each party. This auditor shall report to the chief agent who, in turn, shall report, within the prescribed period, to the chief electoral officer. The reports shall indicate the parties' sources of income, detailing the categories of contributors, and shall be published. The importance and existence of parties being thus recognized, they shall become legally responsible for their actions.

Candidates must also appoint an auditor to assist their agents to produce the required report on election expenses and sources of income. This is an innovation and fortunately the government will contribute to paying the salary of this auditor.

I agree with the committee chairman and approve the recommendations of the special committee to the effect that it would not be fitting to reveal the names of donors, and this for the same reasons mentioned earlier by the hon. member for Peel-South (Mr. Chappell) which moreover are reproduced after recommendation 44 of the report of the Special Committee on Election Expenses.

The bill thus meets the first and fifth recommendations of the Barbeau Committee to a great extent. The bill, as also the Barbeau committee conclusions, provides no ceiling for total expenses of parties and candidates which henceforth will be known, notwithstanding the suggestion of the special committee. I for one feel that this is a mistake and that a limit should be set, even if it should exceed if necessary, the one suggested, subject to revision after the first general election for which the present bill will have been in force.

The bill retains the limits proposed by the special committee, but only where advertising expenses are concerned. It is a fact that nowadays the latter make up the better part of election expenses, and that this trend can only become more accentuated. For instance, Mr. Speaker, figures submitted to the committee with regard to the election of April 29, 1970, in the province of Quebec showed that 71.37 per cent of the election expenses of the five running parties had gone on advertising. A candidate will be able to claim back 25 per cent of eligible expenses, which is appreciable. I rather advocate the formula adopted by the special committee, which gives the candidate far more flexibility and freedom of action in the thrust of his advertising.

I am very happy, however, that this bill incorporates the recommendations of the two committees which I have mentioned concerning the mailing to voters, a few days before the election, of a special notice informing them of the names and political affiliations of candidates, of the addresses of polling stations, and of polling times, and that from now on candidates will not be allowed to distribute cards in their constituencies, as had become common practice. This will save candidates time and money, and voters will still be very well informed.

I would like to deal very briefly with two major proposals endorsed by the Barbeau Commission and the special committee-tax deductions granted to contributors in

May 25, 1972

order to encourage public participation in political life, and measures designed to democratize access to radio and television at election time-both excellent innovations.

This bill provides for a tax deduction of one third, up to a maximum of $500, of contributions made annually to registered parties or to candidates through authorized agents who will have to file a report. The special committee had rather recommended the introduction of tax relief for individuals and corporations. This is, however, an excellent measure which should encourage the public to participate in the financing of our political parties, a thing for which it has always showed very little interest, and the results will be most interesting to watch.

Finally, the bill aims at limiting to 6j hours the broadcasting time allowed the registered parties at election time, according to the recommendation of the special committee. This time will be divided up fairly among the parties, under the authority of the CRTC, and I believe that formula has already given good results. It is only fair that the cost be shared by the government and the parties themselves that will benefit from the arrangement.

I want to point out a well-advised innovation which will be welcomed by all the candidates and which is already enshrined in the Quebec Election Act. As everyone is aware, election campaigns signal the revival of the almost general practice whereby the rates of advertisement in newspapers, over the radio and television are boosted. From now on, rates will be based on the lowest rates applicable to customers for comparable advertisements. This reform was imperative and is intended to rectify an unjust situation.

Mr. Speaker, the president of the Privy Council (Mr. MacEachen) indicated that, except with regard to fundamental principles, he was willing to listen to the recommendations of hon. members, and of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections to which the bill will be referred, and where we will have the opportunity of discussing it further and suggesting amendments. Meantime, the government must be congratulated for having introduced this bill with a view to bringing in several important and interesting changes in a complex field which touches upon the very basis of our democratic life.

This is an important step towards improving further a system that was not perfect but which won Canada the reputation of holding elections that truly reflect the will of the people.

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May 2, 1972

Mr. Yves Forest (Brome-Missisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to participate briefly in this debate to indicate my support of Bill C-6 entitled "An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Crown Liability Act and the Official Secrets Act" which is intended to respect and protect the privacy of individuals.

Even though this subject has been discussed on several occasions in recent years, through notices of motions or private bills, this is the first time that parliament is called upon to examine a bill concerning intrusion upon privacy with, the help of electromagnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other devices. I think the government and the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lang) are to be congratulated for introducing a practical, concrete and realistic legislation which might remedy this situation in today's world.

Unfortunately Mr. Speaker, I was no longer a member, in 1968-69, of the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs as private bills were then examined and experts were called upon on this subject. I had then other duties but I had been a member of this committee until 1968, to my deep satisfaction. I think the bill before us is taking into account most of the recommendations which had been made by the Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs in its report which was tabled in the House.

Nowadays, the right to privacy is a strict matter as we are living in an era of advanced electronics and technology and wiretapping has reached an unheard-of degree of sophistication about which we do not yet know every aspect.

The right to privacy had not yet been firmly entrenched as it is a new legal concept now being introduced as against those traditional rights of freedom of speech, religion, press, association and meeting. However, I still think it is a privilege which is closely related to fundamental rights and which must fulfil an increasing role in our society.

It runs contrary to our concept of justice and democracy that an individual should be spied upon by the state or by anybody without there being well-defined and controlled restrictions. And yet, such is the present situation where no legislation specifies under which circumstances and conditions wire-tapping can be used.

Protection, of Privacy Bill

In order to protect individual freedom, this bill provides for three new criminal offences: first, the interception of private communications with a device or piece of equipment defined as an electromagnetic device, or others; second, the fact of disclosing private communications intercepted with a device as described in the bill; and third, the fact of possessing, selling or buying such devices. I think this list of offences covers just about any situation which can occur in the area of wire-tapping.

However, if the right of the individual to privacy is to be protected, society must also protect itself, for there is no doubt that those who want to attack this country, to endanger national security, or to sabotage our democratic institutions-i.e., criminals, gangsters, anarchists, and other people of that type-also have those devices available to them and do not hesitate to use them for illegal purposes in order to fulfill their ambitions or to work out their resentment.

It was also necessary, therefore, to allow police forces and police authorities to use modern refined electronic techniques in order to preserve national security, fight criminals and check the activities of subversive organizations.

I feel, Mr. Speaker, that this bill as presented reconciles the right to privacy, which cannot be absolute, with the need for society to ensure its own security.

In order that the police forces may not misuse the privilege they have to infringe upon the basic right of privacy, an application must be made to a judge of a superior court of criminal jurisdiction who, following the representations made to him by the officers designated by an authorized person, will be responsible to determining the conditions and the period of time, which may not exceed 30 days, under which the interception might be carried out. Such authorization could be renewed, but only for major reasons that must be again specified.

In urgent cases, an officer could use the same means, but he should subsequently obtain the authorization from a judge of a superior court.

I submit that it was right to defer to a superior court judge the decision to authorize or not the interceptions by means of wiretapping and not to rely, for instance, solely on the minister to take such a decision, without any control of a political or a judicial character, as customary elsewhere in certain countries including, I think, the United Kingdom.

The Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs has drawn a list of various major crimes and has suggested that this method could be authorized. But the bill does not reflect this suggestion and interception will be allowed in the case of an offence as defined in the act and I quote:

178.1 -"offence" means an offence created by an Act of the Parliament of Canada for which an offender may be prosecuted by indictment-

Finally, everything will at the judge's discretion.

But the act does not mention this control only. By amending the Crown Liability Act, a further control is established: the setting up of a compensation system for unlawful invasion of privacy by a Crown official. The damages, which may be compensated to a maximum of


May 2, 1972

Protection of Privacy Bill

$5,000, may be paid by the Crown; they might even be paid by the officer at fault.

Mr. Speaker, no doubt that as a result of the introduction of this bill, the provinces will follow suit either by modifying it or proposing another piece of legislation also aimed at protecting those who fall victims to illegal acts carried out by provincial officials in right of the Crown and providing legal means for victims to seek damages or some other kind of compensation.

Mr. Speaker, considering the provisions of the bill such as the notice of intention given to the party concerned to the effect that an intercepted private communication will be adduced in evidence and taking into account other restrictions provided in the legislation, I think that the guarantees are sufficient for the protection of individual rights.

As regards the public, it will be necessary, in view of the reports which the solicitor general and the provincial attorneys general will have to prepare, to determine to what extent these methods are used for the detection of criminals and other such aims.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that the bill provides for the establishment of a mechanism capable of protecting the average citizen who really has nothing to fear from such a bill, as well as society which needs to be protected now more than ever before.

Mr. Speaker, in concluding my remarks, I am pleased to support the bill and I hope that it will be passed by the House.

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February 24, 1972

Mr. Yves Forest (Brome-Missisquoi):

Mr. Speaker, first I want to congratulate the mover and seconder of the Address in reply to the Speech from the Throne, the hon. member for Bruce and Trois-Rivieres (Mr. Whicher and Mr. Lajoie).

The first, with his customary dynamism and eloquence, recalled the major achievements of the federal government, particularly in the field of social security, and mainly through fiscal relief, of the increase of old-age security pensions by the guaranteed income supplement, of the increase in pensions and allowances paid to veterans, etc. and our colleague, the new hon. member for Trois-Rivieres, also made a very outstanding maiden speech, which is to his credit.

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne dealt with the main issues of concern and interest to all Canadians at this time, such as the economy, industrial development, unemployment, exports, housing, agriculture, penal reforms, family income security, labour, the status of women within Canadian society, etc.

In order to cope with economic problems and support the expansion which has been making itself felt for some time already, to keep our competitive position on world markets, closer co-operation between government arid the business and industrial sectors is envisaged.

In my opinion, such co-operation is essential and is auspicious as the private sector will always supply most of the jobs and investments required for continued growth likely to give adequate impetus to all activities essential to the welfare and security of Canadians.

In a world where increasingly broader coalitions are being formed, often excluding us or at least placing us in an unfavourable position, and with a necessarily limited domestic market, we must absolutely aim for efficiency by putting science and technology to full use in order to assist such firms as are not afraid of innovating.

That task is one of the greatest challenges now facing Canada. That is what is called industrial strategy to be designed in keeping with characteristics peculiar to the Canadian economy and which will soon be announced, as the Hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr. Pepin) stated here yesterday.

Fortunately, Canada has numerous resources, the development of which surely spells progress; still, only orderly development, coupled with co-operation by private enterprise can ensure the evolution of our economy toward standards that better suit the needs of the future.

In the last few years, we have expected too much from our economy and we must avoid burdening it with expenditures that are unreasonable or rules that are too rigid in a country that is so vulnerable to foreign competition. Still, the co-operation must come not solely from the government but also from the representatives of industry and unions who must agree to avoid the turmoil of strikes which finally help no one and harm the Canadian people as a whole.

Forming industrial committees or councils in the various industries, groups composed of reputed experts from the three sectors who would study the various problems ahead of time, who would make recommendations on production, prices, wages, etc, strikes me as an excellent idea for we should all realize that an efficient formula must be found, before long; otherwise, we will eventually have to resign ourselves to controls-not voluntary at that-over prices, incomes, wages, with all the consequences that would entail, especially with regard to growth, investments and initiatives.

Thanks to intelligent planning, to our work and sacrifices, to discipline and common sense, through wiser use of our resources and co-operation, by remaining united instead of divided, we will surely give Canada the future it deserves, though there are now only twenty-odd million of us who live side by side with the greatest economic power in the world endowed with a domestic market of over 200 million people.

Mr. Speaker, to replace the now outdated and somewhat discredited Combines Investigation Act, the Speech from the Throne did announce the introduction of a newly revised and improved Competition Act along the lines of a bill which passed first reading during the session which ended a few days ago. This is to get to know the views of all those concerned in accordance with the participatory policy of this government-and indeed many representations have been and still are being received.

The purpose of this new legislation will be to protect consumers against truly harmful commercial practices without, however, inhibiting business operations, considering that agreements between individual companies are often useful and may even become a necessity.

Serious reservations have been made with respect to the proposed legislation, especially in connection with the duties and powers of the court which is contemplated and with the suggested procedure. The forthcoming consultations, as well as the consideration and discussion in this House and before the committee, should enable us to pass this legislation so vital in a field which is so important to the Canadian economy.

Mr. Speaker, a few months ago all the free countries of the world were faced with an economic crisis which for several of them was followed by radical changes but due to the foresight and shrewdness of this government our country has gone through this difficult period with far

February 24, 1972

fewer problems than most other industrialized nations. And according to the latest forecasts by international economic experts from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the prospects in Canada for 1972 are excellent. An increase in the actual Gross National Product is expected, and it is believed that our country-and that without any mandatory control-has maintained the lowest rate of inflation among all member countries of that international organization.

Since we now have the highest ratio of labour as compared to the population, and in view of the ever rising participation rate mainly as a result of greater and greater numbers of women entering the labour market, the rate of unemployment has reached an alarming level despite increased economic activity. That will remain the constant concern of the government, as is mentioned in the Speech from the Throne. It must be noted however that more Canadians than ever before are working and that over 200,000 jobs were created during the year.

Besides, the most recent figures released a few days ago show that 25,000 jobs have been created in January 1972, and that over the past four months only the number of jobs has increased at an annual rate of 5 per cent, which represents an unprecedented rate of increase for this time of the year.

The various machineries introduced by this government ought to further decrease the rate of unemployment, when the effects of the subsidies of the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, in aid to industry, make themselves increasingly felt and also when thousands of jobs are provided this winter through the excellent Local Initiatives program.

Speech from the Throne

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