William Warren ALLMAND

ALLMAND, The Hon. William Warren, P.C., O.C., Q.C., B.C.L., LL.D

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
Birth Date
September 19, 1932
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Allmand
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=62c8fd64-eb59-4bf9-b138-bd43854deedf&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister and solicitor, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (November 27, 1972 - September 13, 1976)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
  • Solicitor General of Canada (November 27, 1972 - September 13, 1976)
  • Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (September 14, 1976 - September 15, 1977)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (September 16, 1977 - June 3, 1979)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (September 16, 1977 - June 3, 1979)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce--Lachine East (Quebec)
November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)
October 25, 1993 - February 24, 1997
LIB
  Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 831)


December 5, 1996

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the national day of remembrance and action on violence against women. It is also the seventh anniversary of the massacre of 14 women at the École Polytechnique in Montreal. On that occasion, Marc Lepine, a deranged young man without a criminal record, not a professional criminal, was able to obtain a semi-automatic rifle and kill these innocent women. He was able to do this because there were gaps, weaknesses in our gun laws.

Parliament has now closed these gaps and tightened the law, but the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are contesting this law in court, supported by the Conservative and Reform parties.

This law may not be perfect, but whenever access to guns is limited, the rate of crime with guns is reduced. The charge that guns do not kill, people kill, is ludicrous. It is much easier and effective to kill with a gun.

With more restrictions on guns there would be fewer homicides. Canadians should send a message to their provincial governments on this issue.

Topic:   Statements By Members
Subtopic:   Gun Control
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December 5, 1996

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, on November 8 I asked the government when it would amend Canadian legislation to facilitate the establishment of an international criminal court which is under active consideration at the United Nations. Such an international criminal court would try individuals who commit serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity, including genocide and ethnic cleansing.

I acknowledge that the Canadian government is a strong supporter of the international criminal court, but as I said, the establishment of such a court requires amendments to our domestic law to permit the referral of accused Canadians who might be indicted by the new court.

Ever since the Nuremberg trials following World War II, which tried and judged Nazi war criminals, there has been a movement to establish a permanent international criminal court. Such a court should not be confused with the International Court of Justice at the Hague, known as the World Court, which judges disputes between nations.

The international criminal court would deal with individuals charged with massive violations of human rights, such as the accused at the Nuremberg trials and now those accused before the special tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. A permanent international criminal court would give credibility and provide deterrence to the process.

The Nuremberg court and the special tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda were set up post facto. In the case of the Nazi war criminals, the court was set up by the victors of the conflict. It would be much better to have such courts and their rules set up permanently in advance as is now proposed at the United Nations.

I await the government's answer. I know it supports the international criminal court but I would like to know when it will bring

forward legislation which would give impetus and give some movement to the whole issue at the United Nations.

Topic:   Adjournment Proceedings
Subtopic:   An Act To Revoke The Conviction Of Louis David Riel
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November 28, 1996

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Human Resources Development.

In his discussions with the provinces regarding the transfer of labour market training to the provinces, has the minister taken steps to ensure that the principles of the Official Languages Act will continue to apply? Does he have an assurance that francophones outside of Quebec will continue to be able to get their training in French and anglophones in Quebec to get their training in English?

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Official Languages
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November 21, 1996

Hon. Warren Allmand (Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Lib.)

moved that Bill C-223, an act to amend the Citizenship Act (oath of allegiance), be read the second time and referred to committee.

Madam Speaker, Bill C-223 proposes to amend the Citizenship Act and, in particular, to amend the oath of allegiance which individuals must take when they become new citizens. For the most part these are immigrants who have been resident in Canada for at least three years and have met the requirements for Canadian citizenship. In order to finally become a citizen they must take the oath of allegiance.

At present the oath of allegiance reads:

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

It is my experience that this oath comes as a surprise to many new citizens. Many cannot understand why, if they are becoming Canadian citizens, the principal thrust of this oath is to pledge allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II who, in their opinion, is a citizen of the United Kingdom and not truly representative of Canada.

The purpose of this oath and any oath of allegiance is to pledge allegiance to assure loyalty and to assure good citizenship. Consequently, one would expect that the principal thrust would be allegiance to Canada, to assure loyalty to Canada and good Canadian citizenship and not loyalty to Queen Elizabeth II.

The present oath is ambiguous. It speaks of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, and later asks persons "to fulfil one's duties as a Canadian citizen". This is confusing and ambiguous. At a time when national unity is under attack there should be no ambiguity and no confusion with respect to our oath of allegiance. It should be absolutely clear that our loyalty is to Canada and not, unfortunately, to the tainted monarchy in the United Kingdom.

As a result my proposed oath, which is in the bill, would read:

I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Canada and the Constitution of Canada, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

That oath is not ambiguous. There would be no confusion in the minds of new citizens. In taking such an oath they would know that they were making a serious commitment to Canada.

The present oath refers to Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of Canada. It is true that the present Citizenship Act and some other laws use the expression "the Queen of Canada" but it is a legal fiction. It is not a reality. Queen Elizabeth II is as English as you can get. She is not a Canadian. She is not representative of Canada.

In recent history there have been several occasions when Canada disagreed with the United Kingdom and voted against the United Kingdom at the United Nations. The most flagrant case was in the Suez crisis, when according to the legal fiction the Queen of Canada voted against the Queen of England even though she is the same person.

If we want citizens to be truly loyal to Canada should we use such an absurd fiction? This proposal to change the oath of allegiance is consistent with other steps which we in Canada have taken since the end of the second world war to assert our national identity and our maturity.

I have in mind first of all the Citizenship Act of 1947. Prior to 1947 we did not have a Citizenship Act. We were merely British subjects. The first Canadian Governor General was appointed in the late 1940s. Prior to that we had English Governors General. Since that time all our Governors General have been Canadian.

In the late 1940s the Privy Council was abolished as the final court of appeal for Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada was established as our final court of appeal. In 1964 the present Canadian flag was adopted as our unique and only Canadian flag. In the 1980s O Canada was adopted as our national anthem and we no longer have God Save the Queen as our anthem. Finally in 1981 the Constitution was repatriated to make our Constitution a fully Canadian document.

Recent studies and polls have supported such a change. Last summer consultants for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration held 12 sessions with Canadian citizens in various cities of Canada: Vancouver, Lethbridge, Toronto, Montreal, Trois-Rivières and Halifax. Strong opposition was voiced in these sessions by citizens to swearing allegiance to the Queen. Most preferred an oath which pledged loyalty to Canada.

A similar study was done when David Crombie was secretary of state in a Conservative government in 1987, but unfortunately no change was made at that time.

This is not a bill to abolish the monarchy. It is simply to change the emphasis in our oath of allegiance. The abolition of the monarchy would require a constitutional amendment and I am not proposing a constitutional amendment. My proposal is to pledge allegiance to the Constitution of Canada. It still includes the monarchy so it is a question of emphasis.

This bill would not abolish the monarchy but is consistent with other measures taken. It would downplay the role of the monarchy in Canada as it was when we adopted O Canada as our national anthem rather than God Save the Queen, when we adopted the Canadian flag, the Canadian Governor General and so on. I am proposing that we continue in the same tradition.

This change would not in any way change our role in the Commonwealth. Several Commonwealth countries like India and others are republics yet they still remain strong members of the Commonwealth and accept the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth, but that is a different matter.

I am proposing an oath which will emphasize Canada rather than Queen Elizabeth II. I am not wed to the exact words of the new oath in my bill. If someone in this House or elsewhere can come up with better words or expressions that have the same goal, to place the emphasis on Canada, then I would certainly be pleased to accept such a change.

My goal in doing this is Canadian unity and loyalty to a united Canada. The people of the United Kingdon are our friends and allies but they are a separate, independent country and no longer the masters of Canada. Let us have a made in Canada oath for Canadians, for Canada.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Citizenship Act
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November 21, 1996

Mr. Allmand

Madam Speaker, I simply want to respond to some of the speeches that were made in the House. They were very good speeches and very positive.

As I said in my opening remarks, I believe the oath must be changed to put an emphasis on Canada. I want to assure my colleagues from British Columbia and from Thunder Bay that I am not wed to the exact formula that is in my bill.

Unfortunately this is not a votable bill, but I believe the debate was important to give the minister, who is thinking about these things, a chance to hear the views of the different parties.

It seems there is strong support for changing the oath to put an emphasis on Canada. I have proposed that we pledge allegiance to Canada and to the Constitution of Canada.

I realize that the Constitution of Canada is not always an easy concept to grasp. In constitutional law we talk about the Constitution of Canada as including all constitutional documents. As my hon. friend from British Columbia pointed out, there are 30, 40 or 50 statutes which make up the Constitution, although the two principal documents are the Constitution Act, 1867, formerly known as the British North American Act of 1867, and the Constitution Act, 1981, the act that repatriated the Constitution.

This is not a votable item. However, it appears that there is consensus among the various parties of the House that a change is needed. Even my friend from the Bloc Quebecois admits that. He was on the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He reported to the House that in the hearings before that committee there was a consensus for changing the oath, although he does not like the present formulation. He and I have different views on this.

He would not want to pledge allegiance to Canada as a member of the Bloc Quebecois.

That is one of the reasons I am putting forward an oath of allegiance. I do not want any ambiguity for our new citizens to be in the oath. I do not want them to be unclear about what they are doing. I want them to be absolutely clear on what they are doing. I want people who come here and become citizens to know what they are pledging allegiance to. I do not want them to think on the one hand they are pledging allegiance to a Queen who is principally British and represents the United Kingdom, although as I said there is a legal fiction that she is the Queen of Canada, and then on the other hand to be pledging allegiance to Canada.

I think the time has come when we can clarify the oath, make it absolutely clear that when you pledge allegiance to Canada as a new citizen you are pledging allegiance to this country and to nothing else.

I understand the views of the Bloc Quebecois members. They have been elected to support a movement to separate Quebec from Canada and to break up the country and they do not want to pledge allegiance to Canada. As a matter of fact, when we sing "O Canada" in the House once a week they are significantly absent because they do not want to sing that anthem and they do not want to give allegiance to our flag either.

It is for those very reasons that I want people to pledge allegiance to Canada. I think our unity is under attack. Our unity is being threatened. I want to make clear to new citizens that when they come here and become citizens of Canada and pledge allegiance I want that pledge to be meaningful. I want it to be significant. I want to make sure that their loyalty is with Canada and not with any other country, that their loyalty is to the traditions, to the way of doing things in this country.

I thought the approach of the member for Thunder Bay was emotional. Mine was rather legalistic I thought he made a very good speech supporting the bill.

In closing the debate, I hope the minister and the government take notice of this debate and bring in soon a government bill which will give us a new oath of allegiance which will emphasize allegiance and loyalty to Canada.

Topic:   Private Members' Business
Subtopic:   Citizenship Act
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