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. Forest:

Mr. Speaker, just before recess, I had time to speak briefly of various matters mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, such as our economy, future legislation on competition, the unemployment rate and the excellent results of the Local Initiative Programme in my constituency.

During the recent recess of Parliament, I met several small businessmen who informed me that assistance to existing industries was inadequate, that it is quite difficult to get a loan from the Industrial Development Bank or chartered banks under the Small Businesses Loans Act and that an agency should be set up to assist them in obtaining loans in special circumstances at more than reasonable rates, in order that they may overcome certain problems, finance profitable projects etc. I believe that

February 24, 1972

Speech from the Throne

suggestion deserves consideration by this government as additional assistance to industry.

However, the textile industry remains the main employer in my constituency, as in many other communities in Quebec and Ontario, and I have always taken an interest in this matter, like most of the hon. members concerned.

The textile industry is an extensive Canadian endeavour which provides 95,000 jobs in the primary sector, and more than 100,000 in the secondary sector. Fortunately, the government has realized that that industry, which had made constant efforts and large investments to improve its equipment and its techniques, and which can favourably compare with similar industries in other countries, except low-cost countries, needed a new orientation, and it implemented in May, 1970 a national textile policy which has so far had beneficial effects; some imports have decreased or are under greater control.

That industry needs a large labour force, and it is essential that it be protected, for I cannot fathom how it could be replaced, and its production and employment potential remains great.

Thanks to the efforts of the government and the industry the situation improved in 1971 as compared with 1970 and in the primary textile industry, for instance, employment increased by 3,725 between May 1970 and September 1971.

Forecasts for 1972 are optimistic provided consumption stays at its present level and the economic climate keeps improving. This is the opinion stated last month by the Canadian Textile Institute which admitted that the government's policy had encouraged industry, restored its confidence and stimulated investment. But improvements are still required since industry accounts for slightly more than half the total market of textile products and, per capita, we are importing much more than the United States, Great Britain and the European Community and this is an abnormal situation.

Lately, I was surprised to find that our trade balance with Japan was more or less on a par and even unfavourable this year, a situation which I think uncceptable while we are exporting almost exclusively raw materials required by that country and importing manufactured products such as textiles, electronic components, etc, which we could mostly produce here.

But there are other countries. I found yesterday while studying the latest statistics published by the Montreal Gazette that with Hong Kong and Taiwan our situation is even worse and, in one case, it was mentioned that last year we had been importing for over $80 million while exporting a bare $12 million. As other countries, it is high time that we take positive and efficient steps to protect our interests by setting in advance an acceptable level of importation and that we have an overall control policy regulating our import? from low-cost countries instead of relying on individual countries' action, a system which never worked.

Finally, our textile products policy should be announced in advance and for a rather long period of time so that this industry may plan its projects and investments.

Mr. Speaker, agriculture also involves a good many people in my riding, especially the dairy industry, and the dairy products price support plan has had beneficial effects and has brought about increased stability in our dairy farms. The producers I had the pleasure to meet recently seemed satisfied with recent improvements. The higher grants and larger quotas, the ordely marketing, the co-operation between producers, are all factors which helped increase the returns from industrial milk production. The average income which was $4.64 per hundredweight in 1967 is now up to $5.40; all the surplus milk that glutted the dairy market has now disappeared and the average production has greatly increased.

There still remains the problem concerning feed grain and its prices. This is a complex problem as I have seen it after meeting with representatives from the Catholic Farmers Union, etc.

The right hon. Prime Minister (M. Trudeau) in a speech he delivered to the Federated Co-operative in Montreal last February 2nd discussed the subject at length. He suggested possible solutions and I hope the equalization formula that was put forward will finally prevail.

The small farm development program announced in December will give the small farmers who want to remain as such the opportunity of building up profitable operations. The federal policy favours the family unit which is the best form of farming.

The national marketing Act will allow producers in several branches of agriculture, if they so desire, to work together and plan and organize the marketing of their products.

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne announced that the government pledges participation in legal aid. I trust steps will be taken to ensure that the provinces can extend the legal assistance that is already available, although almost exclusively in the larger centres and to a limited number of citizens, precisely because of limited means.

Mr. Speaker, although no mention is made of it in the Speech from the Throne, I expect the government will soon introduce a new bill concerning bankruptcies and insolvency, so that a more coherent and complete system can be set up that is better suited to the needs of our times. The Bankruptcy Act was last amended in 1966; since then, improvements were made in the managing of bankruptcies, but too many of them are still questionable or insufficiently controlled.

A study committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Roger Tasse tabled a report several months ago and made quite relevant suggestions. To my mind, the matter of introducing a new bill is pressing so that it can be studied and discussed as soon as possible by all interested parties.

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne announced several other interesting proposals which I shall not have time to discuss this evening. I am referring to the continued development of our national resources and the Canadian north, the promotion of more imports although these have already reached a record level, especially thanks to the participation, work and comptence of the Minister of Industry Trade and Commerce and his officials, which have earned him the admiration and respect of all Canadian industrialists.

February 24, 1972

The Speech from the Throne announces an elaborate, ambitous, exacting program which at times calls for long term solutions; still, they are appropriate under the circumstances, they meet the present needs of the country and its citizens and this program, Mr. Speaker, will get the support of all Canadians.

Mr. Speaker, before concluding my comments I would like to deal with a major problem affecting the constituencies of Brome-Missisquoi and Saint-Jean, that is the spring floods along the Richelieu River which especially those last years have caused considerable damage to the riverside residents and to all farmers whose lands are bordering the river and its tributaries in an area particularly suitable to farming. They have caused millions of dollars of damage and I realize that it is a complex problem as it concerns mostly the provincial government and the federal government to some extent and on account of the effect of these floods on the level of Lake Champlain the American authorities. I hope that the steps taken by my hon. colleague from Saint-Jean (Mr. Smith) and myself in co-operation with all the private agencies of the area will prompt the authorities to settle that problem as soon as possible.

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