David James WALKER

WALKER, The Hon. David James, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.D.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Rosedale (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 10, 1905
Deceased Date
September 22, 1995
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_James_Walker
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=2bc2f317-d0f5-4f2a-bf75-774028875d7e&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister, crown prosecutor

Parliamentary Career

June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Rosedale (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General (August 19, 1957 - February 1, 1958)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Rosedale (Ontario)
  • Minister responsible for National Capital Commission (August 20, 1959 - July 12, 1962)
  • Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (August 20, 1959 - July 12, 1962)
  • Minister of Public Works (August 20, 1959 - July 12, 1962)
February 4, 1963 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Rosedale (Ontario)
  • Minister responsible for National Capital Commission (August 20, 1959 - July 12, 1962)
  • Minister responsible for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (August 20, 1959 - July 12, 1962)
  • Minister of Public Works (August 20, 1959 - July 12, 1962)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 504 of 505)


January 6, 1958

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.

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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.

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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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January 6, 1958

Mr. Walker:

Thank you very much. Of course there is one great difference between the resolution presented today by my honourable and learned friend and that advocated by my leader over the years, but it is only a difference in the modus operandi, the way in which it will be worked out. The hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar proposes an amendment to the constitution, the British North America Act, and in that regard he has received certain assistance from constitutional lawyers. The Prime Minister on the other hand proposes, not that we should take that circuitous and lengthy way, but that the bill of rights should be enacted as a dominion statute.

Now may I say this lest there be any doubt about it. The government is in favour of a bill of rights, but it is a matter of such importance and of such far-reaching consequence, that when it is enacted it will rank with the important constitutional documents of western democracy. There is no question about that. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, we must move cautiously. There is a great deal of homework to be done, because the Liberal government which occupied office for 22 years spent part of 11 years in opposing a bill of rights. Never did the opportunity really come for a vote on this important subject. Therefore for the first time the skilled law officers

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of the crown have had their attention turned to implementing a bill of rights and the working out of this problem.

I am delighted to learn from the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar that one of those who serve under him, the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway, I understand himself a lawyer, is going to expound to this house how we can bring a bill of rights into being. I would be delighted to have his assistance. Here are some of the problems which must face the government and hon. members before an act can be finally passed. I am not going to solve them at this time; I am going to outline them very briefly, and I would be glad to have the assistance of the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway.

First, should a bill be submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada and, if so, how? Should it be a draft bill, with the question asked as to whether it is within the jurisdiction of the federal parliament, keeping in mind, Mr. Speaker, that in constitutional law Canada is woefully lacking, as the hon. member I am sure will agree, in decisions on questions of this kind? In other words, where do the rights of the dominion cease under section 91 of the British North America Act and where do the rights of the provinces under section 92 begin, particularly when one discusses such abstract but very real values as freedom? Second, should we submit a series of questions to the supreme court? As my hon. friend no doubt is fully aware, to do so is very difficult because we must frame questions of law as distinct from questions of policy which latter, of course, the supreme court will not deal with.

Third, should we have a parliamentary committee to explore and agree on a draft that will be suitable to parliament when it finally reaches parliament? Fourth, would it be premature to submit a draft to the supreme court and then, having their approval, come back to the house to find that it is not acceptable to hon. members, or should the government by-pass the courts and reach rapport with the provinces by calling them into session, having a dominion-provincial conference on the question of a bill of rights, in which the property and civil rights of the provinces would be properly protected? Fifth, should the government itself draft a bill for the approval of and amendment by the provinces, send it to them and have them deal with it? Sixth, should we draft a strictly federal bill? Is this possible under the circumstances, in view of the property and civil rights of the provinces?

Then we must consider very carefully and with great respect the resolution of the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar, who suggests

that this legislation should be in the form of an amendment to the British North America Act. If the amendment concerns matters of purely federal jurisdiction, Mr. Speaker, it can be made without provincial consent; but if the matter concerns, as his resolution concerns, matters which are within the peculiar and distinct rights of the provinces then, Mr. Speaker, it is a very serious matter and, as my hon. friend so well knows, would involve its submission to the British House of Commons, but only after the amendment had been concurred in not only by the federal government but by each of the 10 provinces involved. And that, in the history at least of amendments to the British North America Act, is something which is not very often done.

Another problem on which my hon. friends who follow me might assist us is this. Would it be better to avoid an amendment to the British North America Act and substitute a statute instead, as suggested by the Prime Minister? The ninth question is this. Should a bill of rights exclude the application of the War Measures Act in time of emergency? Or how should the War Measures Act be handled in the circumstances if we are to have a bill of rights, as we most certainly hope we shall?

The tenth question is this. Could the whole thing be wrapped up and handled by a declaration of human rights passed by this parliament? I am giving no suggestions at this time for a solution; but I do ask the house to believe that the government has this matter in hand. It is being given very careful consideration by my chief, the distinguished Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton), as well as by myself and the law officers in his department.

The question might be asked; why incorporate freedom in a statute? That question has often been asked and I am sure has been asked in this house. Have we freedom at this time? Yes, we have freedom at the present time; and, of course, although this may appear to my hon. friend to be partisan, we hope we shall continue to have freedom as long as a Conservative government is in power in this dominion. Of course that might be for the next 22 years, and this matter might not appear to be too urgent; but everyone knows -and no one knows this better than the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar-that freedom has a habit of slipping very quickly away in crises and in changes. We know that eternal vigilance is always the price of freedom.

My suggestion to hon. members is this. We have freedom at the present time; but we should have an anchor to which the principles of freedom can be attached. That anchor is a statute, so that new Canadians

and old Canadians can pick up that statute and say, "These are our freedoms; these are our rights."

May I give my French-speaking friends an illustration of the importance of incorporating freedom into law. In 1763, as a result of the treaty of Paris, 60,000 French-speaking Canadians were left in this country; and had it not been for statute and for law, including the Quebec Act of 1774 and subsequent acts, does one think for one moment that the great French Canadian race would have continued its freedom of language, its freedom of religion and its freedom of law? I think these freedoms might have been done away with. But almost 200 years later we find that as a result of incorporating those freedoms into law the 60,000 French Canadian population has increased to a population of almost 5 million, still French speaking, still practising their own religion and still practising their own civil law, a veritable island in a sea of 185 million English speaking citizens on the North American continent.

This is an example of how freedom incorporated into law can succeed. Louisiana, populated by French people, as a result of the Louisiana purchase became part of the United States, and did so without any statutory protection, to preserve their freedoms. Nothing was incorporated into law, with the result that what was once a great French culture and a delightful French people, are gone. They have disappeared; they have been swallowed up in the great American democracy. Why? Because there was no law to protect them.

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January 6, 1958

Mr. Walker:

I thank my hon. friend for that suggestion.

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January 6, 1958

Mr. D. J. Walker (Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, may I first compliment, on behalf of the members of the house, the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar on his eloquent and at the same time succinct outline of this problem which faces all of us. I want to say what a pleasure it is to sit opposite the hon. member for Rose-town-Biggar. He enunciates principles and

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he enunciates them well. While I seldom have been able to agree with him, on this occasion I think the majority of the members of the house do so. We respect him because of his parliamentary ability and also because he is a very kindly man.

May I say that it is very fitting that we should pause today in our mad rush of material thinking to consider matters which are far more important, matters of the spirit. Transcending all others is the question of our freedom. This is close to all our hearts and I trust, Mr. Speaker, that in this debate which takes place after all on private members' day, as suggested by my hon. friend everybody will express himself free of any party affiliations and free of any party duties.

I know the hon. gentleman will have no objection if I briefly trace-because he has taken the opportunity of doing so himself- the history of the proposed bill of rights in this house. Not today, not yesterday but almost 12 years ago a certain member of this house tried to get a bill of rights resolution on the order paper. Not being able to do that, he moved an amendment to the citizenship act in order to bring the matter before the house. Within a short time a petition signed by 500,000 or more Canadians insisted that a bill of rights should be passed by this house.

From that day to the present time, one resolution after another advocating a bill of rights has been placed on the order paper by this certain person. I need hardly identify the member of the house whom I have in mind because to the older members of this house his name is so well known. He is none other than the then member for Lake Centre who is now the Prime Minister of Canada.

The first time he raised this matter was in May, 1946. A year later he took part in a very important debate, the reading of which I commend to all members of this house. In 1947, as found at page 3149 of Hansard, he started the pilgrimage and, as you know so well, the matter has been taken up very ably by the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar as well as by many other hon. memners.

As a result of the speech of 1947 tremendous interest was created in Canada with respect to a bill of rights. Not only did the speech catch the imagination of the Canadian people but it was cited in the United Nations and, I understand, was used when the United Nations was drafting its fundamental bill of rights, the universal bill of rights, a year later. Furthermore, one year after the speech of this hon. member the declaration of human rights was passed by the United Nations

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assembly, namely in December, 1948. In addition great interest was stirred in England. I found last summer during a visit to parliament at Westminster with some members of that house that our Prime Minister was recalled in one connection in particular, as the champion of the bill of rights.

In 1952 we had his resolution finally placed on the order paper and, his motion having been made and debated, three years later, in 1955, he again moved the same resolution in the same wording. On the same occasion he submitted to the hon. members of this house a draft bill for their consideration; a bill, Mr. Speaker, which was originally drafted by certain honourable members in the other place and amended at that time by the then member for Prince Albert.

May I today very briefly compare the resolution moved by the former member for Prince Albert, as a matter of fact the member for Lake Centre at that time, when that resolution was before the house. It is very short and I would like to read it into the record. It is to oe found at page 714 of the 1952 debates, as follows:

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January 6, 1958

Mr. Walker:

I had in mind giving my views on this very important subject, particularly on the principles involved which were so eloquently expressed today and which have been so expressed in the past by my friend the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar; but I think it would be far better and would take far less time if I were to refer to a speech made by the leader of my party when he was the hon. member for Lake Centre in 1947. I shall do so briefly, referring only to a few excerpts from the remarks he made on that occasion as recorded at page 3152 of the debates of this house for May 16, 1947. At that time the then hon. member for Lake Centre stated:

What would a bill of rights do? It would assert the right of the individual to go into the courts of this country, thereby assuring the preservation of his freedoms. These great traditional rights are merely pious ejaculations unless the individual has the right to assert them in the courts of law.

He then discussed the difference between democratic governments and authoritarian governments and stated:

The difference between democratic government and authoritarian government is this, that, while democracy gives rights of the individual against the state, authoritarianism annihilates the rights of the individual. Democracy enthrones the sacredness of human dignity, while authoritarianism enthrones the power of the state.

He then went on to discuss what a bill of rights must declare, in these words:

A bill of rights must declare for this country a government of laws, not of men. And only under a government of laws can there be a full development of the human personality.

He then discussed freedom:

Freedom today must he fought for, as it was in the past. Freedom is indivisible; there cannot be fractional freedom in our country. When the state is supreme over the individual, then every person must be prepared to act on instructions from the state. Then personal freedom ends.

I wonder if the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar will agree with the following:

History shows that if the state plans and provides for the individual, the state must have an unchallengeable right to direct the individual as to where he must go and what he must do. And when that is done, freedom ends.

My final reference is to be found at page 3158 of Hansard of May 16, 1947, where my leader discussed civil liberties in these words:

What are civil liberties? The most sacred things of the human personality. They epitomize our belief in the dignity of the human being; they translate that dignity into rights which the individual can enjoy against the state or against other all-powerful individuals within the state. Civil liberties constitute the individual a sacred being. Civil liberties make him a sovereign in his dealings with the state, provided that he remains within the law.

There we have the situation succinctly and eloquently stated. I must say to my friend the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar that the expressions he used today and on previous occasions when discussing this matter are somewhat similar to those used by the then hon. member for Lake Centre. Year after year for almost 12 years the present Prime Minister has outlined a bill of rights to this house; and without detracting in any way from the honour and recognition due to the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar for having brought in the resolution before us today, and not only today but in 1955 and 1956, I have attempted to outline the history and background of a bill of rights.

I know the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar does not object to my doing so, and by the nodding of his head I took it that he encouraged me in my attempt to outline the history of what I consider to be a movement to ensure our freedom. As we look back over the long pilgrimage of the present Prime Minister in public life we can only conclude that this bill of rights, his brain child, will soon have its fruition and be realized.

It is true, and I say this without reference to politics, that the bill of rights is synonymous with the name Diefenbaker and the name Diefenbaker is inextricably bound up in the bill of human rights. The conception of the bill of rights held by my leader is that it is a great charter of human freedom. For the Canadian people, particularly in "Cabbagetown" in my constituency of Rosedale, their ideal of freedom is personified in the person of the Prime Minister. His life typifies it. He lives,

breathes and has his being in freedom. I hope it will not sound or be considered political if I suggest that the present government typifies it also, because it is a government free of prejudice, free of fear, free of

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any outside interests which control it. The government of the day, with freedom and fearlessness, is attempting to put on the statute books those things which it feels the Canadian people are seeking at the present time.

Therefore when the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar moves the resolution he has brought forward today I know he is doing so in the interests of the Canadian people. Because it is not in his nature, I know he is not attempting to substitute himself for the Prime Minister as the champion of this bill of rights, nor in his own mind was he thinking for one moment that the Prime Minister has forgotten the subject closest to his heart over the years. All the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar is doing is helping us out and making his contribution to the fulfillment of the desire of so many millions of Canadians.

May I say that although the Prime Minister might be called the father of the bill of rights, I am sure no hon. member of this house would object to the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar being known as one of the uncles of the bill of rights.

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