MACGUIGAN, The Hon. Mark R., P.C., B.A., M.A., Ph.D., LL.M., J.S.D., LL.D.

Personal Data

Windsor--Walkerville (Ontario)
Birth Date
February 17, 1931
Deceased Date
January 12, 1998
professor of law

Parliamentary Career

June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Windsor--Walkerville (Ontario)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Windsor--Walkerville (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (December 22, 1972 - December 21, 1973)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Manpower and Immigration (January 1, 1974 - May 9, 1974)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
  Windsor--Walkerville (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour (September 15, 1974 - September 14, 1975)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
  Windsor--Walkerville (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Windsor--Walkerville (Ontario)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (March 3, 1980 - September 9, 1982)
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (September 10, 1982 - June 29, 1984)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 402 of 402)

November 18, 1968

Mr. Mark MacGuigan (Windsor-Walker-ville) moved

that the first report of the special committee on statutory instruments presented to the house on Thursday, November 14, be concurred in.

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November 4, 1968

Mr. Mark MacGuigan (Windsor-Walker-ville):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member for Cumberland-Col-chester North (Mr. Coates) upon his initiative in once again bringing this matter before the house. He has spoken correctly of the disadvantages which the Atlantic area suffers within Canada. Net average income in the Atlantic area is normally two thirds to three quarters that of the rest of the country, and its rate of unemployment is quite often double that which exists elsewhere. In recent years there has been a net migration from the area of almost 20,000 people a year. Mr. Speaker, I speak as one of those migrants, and I accept the invitation of the hon. member for Saint John-Lancaster (Mr. Bell) to indicate the interest of another part of the country, a nonAtlantic region, in this subject.

The parliamentary secretary has outlined what the federal government has been doing in this area, and has spoken of the priorities which exist. I wish he had been in a position to speak also of the priority which the government would be prepared to give to the Northumberland causeway to Prince Edward Island.

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September 24, 1968

Mr. Mark MacGuigan (Windsor-Walker-ville):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the resolution, but since this is my first opportunity to speak on the floor of this house I would like at the outset to say a few words of tribute to my very distinguished predecessor. I have the honour to represent the new riding of Windsor-Walkerville, which is the successor riding of the old constituency of Essex East. That electoral district will be linked for all time with the name of the member who represented it from 1935 until April of this year. He was successively Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Secretary of State, Minister of Health and Welfare and, after a period in vigorous opposition, Secretary of State for External Affairs. He is now Government Leader in the other chamber. By common acknowledgement, he is one of the great parliamentarians in Canada's political history, and it is fitting that the name of the riding which he so magnificently represented for 33 years should be retired from this house with him. It is both a privilege and a challenge to succeed so great a Canadian, and it is a source of special satisfaction that he has


Consideration of Procedural Changes assumed the designation in the other chamber of the Senator from Windsor-Walkerville.

On another occasion, Mr. Speaker, I hope to speak about my riding and its concerns, unemployment, insufficient housing, poverty and pollution. However, tonight I must confine myself to the resolution at hand. Legislatures, as institutions of representative government, are today confronted with the most serious intellectual challenge they have ever faced. The seriousness of the challenge results from the fact that it arises from within democratic theory rather than as previously from outside, from totalitarian or absolutist dogmas which of their very nature were challenges of force, not intellect. The internal challenge is that raised by the proponents of what is called participatory democracy.

There are many aspects of the movement of participatory democracy that we all applaud. To the extent that it means the active interest of all citizens in matters political and a very full participation by them in political parties and movements, with a corresponding openness of the political process to popular participation, it is only the perfection of the present system of representative government.

This may indeed be all that it means to many of its adherents. But to its theoreticians it means the abolition of representative government as insufficiently responsive to the needs of the people, especially to those of the dispossessed, and its replacement by a system of direct democracy in which every decision is made collectively by the whole population. Perhaps in a technologically more advanced age in which information and opinion on every issue could be conveyed directly and instantaneously to each citizen, with an equally direct and instantaneous return by the citizen to a central source, a nonrepresentational democracy would be feasible. But in the meantime it would be tantamount either to mob rule or to an oligarchy.

Often, however, an evil is merely the exaggeration of a good, and the development of a fallacious theory may serve the purpose of calling our attention to inadequacies in our present practice. Hopefully, the movement toward participatory democracy will direct our minds towards the achievement of more democratic representational government, characterized by greater openness and by more opportunities for meaningful participation in decision making. In my opinion, such democratization is needed in our governmental operations and, I might add, in all our political parties.

[Mr. MacGuigan.l

DEBATES September 24, 1968

I would therefore suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the primary principle of parliamentary reform should be the principle of democracy, by which I mean in this context an opportunity for more meaningful and more widespread participation in law making. I believe that this principle would have as its consequence more adequate law making; I do not mean more efficient since efficiency could be taken to mean merely the quantity of achievement in a given time whereas what I have in mind is a more qualitative test of effective operation. More adequate law making means the creation of legislation which is more attuned to the social problems of the day, which will be better received by the public, and which will be of more lasting benefit to the country.

From this starting point, it would appear that the thrust of parliamentary reform should be directed in considerable part toward the creation of a system of permanent standing committees, with greatly expanded powers, as the most effective means of increasing participation in law making. At first glance the referring of legislation from the whole house to a committee of, say, 20 members may not appear to increase participation, at least quantitatively. But in truth it would not only expand participation qualitatively, by allowing for a much fuller participation in law making by the committee members than would be possible for any members of parliament in the committee of the whole, but it would achieve this gain without diminishing the rights of any other members of this house to participate in plenary session. Moreover, while the principal benefit with respect to the operation of any particular committee would be qualitative, the total picture of the operation of the committee system would show an immense overall quantitative gain by the collectivity of members in real law making.

I would therefore, Mr. Speaker, express the following hopes with respect to the committee's recommendations:

1. That it would recommend a system of permanent standing committees which would operate for the complete life of a parliament. Normally, the same members would be members of these committees from session to session, and the committees would have power to sit while parliament was not in session and, indeed, might use that time extensively.

2. That each standing committee would have a permanent jurisdiction over a particular class of legislation. All bills and resolutions would be referred to the standing

September 24, 1968 COMMONS

committee having jurisdiction over the predominant subject matter. If the jurisdiction of the various committees were defined sufficiently precisely, the decision on allocation would normally be a routine one, although occasionally a jurisdictional decision might have to be made by the house.

3. That while a standing committee would remain a creature of the house and would be bound to deal with matters referred to it by the house, it would also have independent power to investigate matters falling within its jurisdiction, subject of course to approval by the house of its operating budget. I would be inclined to the view that every standing committee should have a minimum annual budget, with supplementary appropriations made at the house's discretion for special assignments.

4. That a permanent staff of experts, translators and secretaries would be assigned to each standing committee. On the premise of a stable division of legislative responsibility among committees, the staff could usefully operate on a year round basis.

5. That bills should be referred to standing committees after first reading in the house. This procedure would give the committees the maximum opportunity to participate collectively in law making, and at the same time would provide the government, which up to that time would have had the advice of only a small circle of experts, with the maximum advantages of committee scrutiny.

[DOT] (8:50 p.m.)

It will be obvious, Mr. Speaker, that what I am recommending for the consideration of the special committee is in large measure the structure of the United States congressional committee system. I would hasten to add, however, that we should avoid the great disadvantages of the United States system- the seniority rule for the selection of committee chairmen and members and the power of chairmen or committees to bottle up legislation which they do not like for indefinite periods of time. But I see no danger of such an undue emphasis on committee autonomy in our system. The danger I see is rather that insufficient use might be made of the great talents of the members of all parties in this house, talents which caused them to be selected by the voters of Canada to serve in this august assembly. To the exent that our Canadian democracy is inadequate, let us begin the process of perfecting it with


Consideration of Procedural Changes parliamentary reform based on the principle of democracy.

A further advantage of the committee s ystem I have recommended is that it could perform much of the work assigned in recent years to royal commissions, departmental committees and government task forces. Of course, a place will always remain for such ad hoc bodies to study highly technical matters or perhaps occasionally for matters of considerable political sensitivity. But much of the work that has been done by commissions could have been done just as well by legislative committees. Such a change would eliminate much of the action gap that has occurred between recommendation and legislation, both because the legislative proposals that would be forthcoming would be more politically realistic and because being already under parliamentary consideration they would be somewhat closer to realization. The result would be more adequate law making.

Perhaps as a newly elected member I ought not to have aired my views on parliamentary reform until I had acquired more seasoning in this house. But the times are urgent, and the necessity for parliamentary reform is more urgent still. I, therefore, have presumed to tread disrespectfully upon the hallowed ground of precedent in the cause of reform. I dare to hope that my impetuosity may be regarded in a spirit of charity, even though my proposals must be weighed on the scales of justice.

Topic:   SITTING RESUMED The house resumed at 8 p.m.
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