Mr. Warren Allmand (Nolre-Dame-de-Grace):
Mr. Speaker, this motion asks the federal government to issue a white paper putting forward policy regarding federal-provincial responsibility in certain areas, namely, (1) manpower development, (2) the war on poverty including assistance, welfare and family allowances and (3) corporations and other institutions in the credit business. The three general areas mentioned, or the six if we include the subheadings under "war on poverty", are not explicitly mentioned in the divisions of jurisdiction under our present constitution.
With respect to manpower, whatever may be its definition it is not mentioned at all in the constitution. "War on poverty" is a phrase coined in the United States and has reference there to a comprehensive program for social and economic opportunity. Its purpose has been the elimination of poverty rather than stopgap periodic assistance. Sections 92(7) and (13) of our constitution refer to charities, civil rights, etc. and these sections have been interpreted to include wider programs of welfare and social security, but no consideration to date has even been given to a program as broad as the U.S. war on poverty.
Sections 91(2), (15) (16) and (19) cover trade and commerce, banks and interest, and the trade and commerce section has been interpreted to include the incorporation of companies irrespective of objects which would include companies in the credit business.
The significant thing in all these areas is that they have aspects which could fall under both federal and provincial jurisdiction. This is a natural phenomenon. In our modern complex world, human creation and conduct
are not easily categorized and certainly are not easily fitted into jurisdictional slots conceived 100 years ago. There are a few problems and needs today which can be approached and dealt with adequately under any one area of legislative jurisdiction. As a result of this situation most federal states have resorted to what is known as co-operative or creative federalism. Several areas of government, federal, provincial and even municipal, get together to attack a problem which because of its many legislative aspects could not be attacked alone.
In a federal system this approach is much more efficient and beneficial than one where the different levels battle for jurisdiction in the courts and elsewhere, although sometimes this will be the last necessary resort. It must be remembered that a constitution is meant to serve the political, economic and social needs of the people and is not to be used in political power plays for the political aggrandizement of politicians.
In the Speech from the Throne we have two references to the manpower department. It says that the manpower department is to be a conversion of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and that the government will develop manpower policies which are essential to the sustained growth of a highly productive economy and to the elimination of pockets of poverty. There is no direct use of the phrase "war on poverty" but job retraining and mobility, education and rural reform have all been described by this term.
[DOT] (6:20 p.m.)
It is doubtful that anyone could speculate as to all the possible legislation that might be enacted under a manpower or poverty administration. Some projects may be clearly federal, others provincial and others questionable. I can see no objection to the government issuing a white paper indicating the general jurisdictional bases for these matters and I think this would be good, but I think it would be impossible to set out with any finality the strict lines of constitutional jurisdiction that this motion demands, especially under our present constitution which in my opinion is extremely inadequate.
It seems to me that we do require a broad and deep study of federal-provincial jurisdiction and the whole role and purpose of federalism in Canada, but such a study should consider all areas of jurisdiction and should be done by a committee of this house
February 14, 1966
Dominion-Provincial Relations or by a royal commission rather than by a white paper. Such a committee or royal commission would be desirable before any wide-ranging constitutional amendment. It is to be noted that the province of Quebec has already established a similar commission.
While we are discussing problems of federalism and the concept of co-operative federalism, I should like to make a few observations regarding some of our recent federal difficulties. As a Quebecker whose principal language is English I consider these questions of utmost importance. My family has lived in Montreal for at least four generations and I consider it my home. I think it is a great and exciting city and I would not consider living anywhere else. However, in recent years there are some in Quebec who act and talk as if everything within the territory of Quebec, including Montreal, is for the benefit of and within the sovereignty of Quebec. In opposition to this view there are many who consider Montreal as much Canadian as it is Quebec. Most of the great economic and cultural institutions which helped build Montreal serve all Canada, not just Quebec. They were built by Canadians of all provinces to serve Canadians of all provinces. I refer to Montreal's port, its railroads, air lines, banks, universities, industries, hospitals and many other things.
These institutions and this city should belong to all Canadians both French and English. I realize this was not always the case in the past when our economic and cultural institutions were not only controlled by English Canadians but by certain established groups of English Canadians, to which my family did not belong, I may say. The solution to this situation, however, is not to transfer control from one nationalistic minority to another nationalistic minority. With this in mind many of us in Montreal are beginning to wonder whether the trend to increasing provincial jurisdiction in Quebec will not lead to injustice for its minorities and stifle the effectiveness of Canadian institutions which are situated in that province. It would seem to me that works and institutions which are interprovincial and which serve people beyond the boundaries of a province should be subject to federal jurisdiction, which does not mean English Canadian jurisdiction or a jurisdiction dominated by English Canada. There are several articles of the constitution which would support this view.
It has been rather disturbing in recent days to hear provincial governments state that they feel they have some sovereign right to share in economic and fiscal policy. These are the same governments which would become immediately disturbed if the federal government dared cross in the most minor way the boundaries of provincial jurisdiction. Sections 91(2), 91(3), 91(14), 91(15), 91(19) and 91(20) of the B.N.A Act clearly give the federal government sovereign authority in determining national economic and fiscal policy. This is not an area with several aspects which require co-operative federalism, although this is not to say that it could not be approached in that way. Until the constitution is amended it must be repected on both sides and, where the job requires, worked out co-operatively by both sides.
In an editorial appearing in Saturday's Le Devoir the editor, Claude Ryan, made the following statement in an article which was entitled:
The English speaking community in the Quebec of today.
At another place he said:
In private life, the last few years have revealed numerous situations in which the minority wields excessive power over the majority.
He says at another place:
The prime responsibility of the English speaking group is to open wide the doors of its institutions to the members and values of the majority, so that they might become, instead of ghettos of power, true expressions of the environment in which they exist.
Mr. Speaker, I agree fully with these statements but I would also suggest that this could be done without weakening the federal authority.
At another place when discussing the role of the English speaking Quebecker in the public life of Quebec Mr. Ryan referred to Mr. Kierans, the Quebec minister of health and welfare, and said:
Instead of considering himself as the "professional defender" of the rights of a small group, right from the start he asserted himself as a Quebec citizen and a Quebec politician. He espoused the over-all problem of the society in which he lives.
February 14, 1966
Once again I would agree with that statement, since Mr. Kierans was elected to the Quebec legislature. But members of parliament elected to the Canadian parliament, even from Quebec, are elected as Canadian citizens in a Canadian milieu to propose Canadian programs.
In concluding his article Mr. Ryan said:
In the difficult phase before us, we must avoid, on the one hand, panic action and, on the other, blackmail. Between those two extremes, men of good will are bound to find the right formula to get us all out of the vicious circle where we have been for many generations.
Again I agree fully with this high principle but I must make the comment that this must apply to Quebec and to the other provinces as well as to the federal government.
Topic: PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic: SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED UNDER ADJOURNMENT MOTION