William Herbert JARVIS

JARVIS, The Hon. William Herbert, P.C., Q.C., B.A., LL.B.

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Perth--Wilmot (Ontario)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Perth--Wilmot (Ontario)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Perth (Ontario)
  • Minister of State (Federal-Provincial Relations) (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
PC
  Perth (Ontario)
  • Minister of State (Federal-Provincial Relations) (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 205)


April 30, 1984

Hon. Bill Jarvis (Perth):

Mr. Speaker, I join with the Hon. Member who just spoke in extending my sincere thanks to our colleague from Edmonton East (Mr. Yurko) on bringing the matter before the House for debate. As he likely knows, I was a member of the Special Joint Committee on Senate Reform since its inception until its report. I hasten to point out that I do not pretend to speak on behalf of that committee, nor do I speak necessarily on behalf of my Party, I speak, rather, as an interested Member of Parliament during Private Members' hour.

As I said, I compliment the Hon. Member for Edmonton East. I deplore the fact that more initiative in terms of this type of debate has not been taken in the Senate. If the Hon. Member has been following the proceedings of that Chamber, he will know that little of substance has been said, not just with respect to the committee's report but to the broader subject of reform which the Senators are quite capable of initiating in any number of matters. Frankly, to their discredit, they have not sought that initiative. That is not to cast aspersions broadly, because I believe there are a good number in the other place who are generally concerned with the status quo and generally interested in seeing some reforms initiated.

I believe that the Hon. Member for Edmonton East quoted the exact sentence from the report. An appointment for a nine-year term was recommended almost as a last resort. I believe that that is what our general thinking was at the time. The Hon. Member has put that in a much different context. I believe I heard him say a few moments ago that if a nine-year term for an elected Senate is important, it is even more important for an appointed Senate. I might get into a debate with him on that point. I do not think I will, but it seems to me that the thinking of the committee was not necessarily along the same lines as his in terms of those priorities for the nine-year term.

I would like to deal with the explanatory note. I hope that I am not doing the sponsor of the Bill an injustice. He indicated that his Bill may have an advantage over the committee's report in that the committee's report could result in more than one class of Senator. That is absolutely true. He says that his Bill will eliminate that possibility. Something about that, however, does cause me grave concern. I am not sure that it is a good analogy, but the Hon. Member will recall the Government's six and five program. At that time, a number of us thought that that program was in part a moral breach of contract if not a legal breach of contract. Its effect on some of those in the Public Service troubled me deeply.

I do not know why I should be the spokesman or defender for those in the other place who are well able to speak for themselves, but it would trouble me somewhat to think that a person who had been appointed either for life or until age 75, despite having been given that rather enviable appointment, now finds that the rules have been changed. I would be less than frank if I did not say to my colleague that that causes me some concern. I am not so concerned that it would cause me to ract totally negatively to this Bill, but it would be something that I would want to think about and explore very deeply in committee before saying amen to that particular proposal.

I absolutely agree with the sponsor of the Bill when he says that, because of economic priorities, little or no attention has been paid to this issue either by leadership candidates, leaders of Parties, or the public in general. I think his timing is dreadful. I thought that the timing of the special joint committee was dreadful, coming as it did in the penultimate year of a Parliament when our Party had just chosen a new Leader and an election was being expected, and now that we have a leadership contest in the Government Party. Despite all that, what is really wrong with the timing is the natural preoccupation of the electorate with economic matters. I would think that we would really be living in a fool's paradise were we to say to ourselves that a leadership candidate or the leader of a Party could make this a burning issue across the country in a general election.

Frankly, I did agree with the Hon. Member for Edmonton East when he said that the leadership candidates and leaders of Parties should be put on the spot. They should be asked how they feel about Senate reform. There is nothing wrong with that, but to think that this issue will be a major vehicle with

April 30, 1984

which to persuade or dissuade the electorate would, I think, be pretty naive.

As the Hon. Member has said, there is no question that those who are thinking about Senate reform want accountability. As well, they overwhelmingly reject patronage. I believe they were simply saying to the committee that if we could not as a committee, a Government and a part of a constitutional process effect significant Senate reform, then we might as well abolish it. I think that was the difference between what the committee heard as evidence and what was contained in the seven, eight or nine reports. I myself was a member of the committee which dealt with Bill C-60.

Attitudes have hardened and I believe that that is the difference between this report and previous reports. I think many of the institutions of Government have fallen into some disrepute. 1 think there is a cynicism and suspicion that exists, and that is natural for a population suffering economic pressures. This cynicism and suspicion has resulted in a hardening of attitudes, and there are very few people other than several here in Ottawa who would be great defenders of the present Senate system.

I would like to deal with my concern about, to use the Hon. Member's words, "provincial involvement in the Senate process". We must be extremely careful at least to attempt to differentiate between the involvement of people who live in a province and the involvement of provincial Governments in the Senate process. Those two things are dramatically different. It is simply too trite to say that because a provincial Government has been elected, it should be directly involved in the Senate appointment process. I have always had grave difficulty with provincial appointments. Again, I do not wish to be too cynical, but let us be realistic. Say that I am a premier of a certain province and I have a Cabinet Minister who has outlived his usefulness, is causing me trouble or is a threat to my leadership, and I have the power of appointment.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION ACTS, 1867-1984 MEASURE RESPECTING TENURE OF SENATORS
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April 30, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

As my friend, the Hon. Member for London-Middlesex (Mr. Bloomfield), just said, I would solve the problem by putting him in the Senate. I would do the same thing to my fund raiser who had made too many calls to the same well.

I believe it goes deeper than that, Mr. Speaker. I do not believe that a provincial Government which has successfully sought from its electorate a mandate on a certain set of issues has ipso facto or automatically a mandate to involve itself directly in the appointment of a person to a federal institution. Unless senate appointments were part of the campaign issues of that Government, its electorate has given it a mandate to act within the boundaries of that particular province.

I believe that I as a member of the committee and all members of the committee diligently sought an alternate and more acceptable form of an appointed Senate. It was not to be found. I can say to the Hon. Member for Edmonton East, that with respect to regional representation, it was made clear to us by witness after witness that in the minds of Canadians a

Tenure of Senators

region is now a province. It is not the western region or the Atlantic region or the maritime region. A region is a province. I think we should forget all about lumping Manitoba and Saskatchewan together or lumping two or four of the Atlantic provinces together. We should forget that because it is not going to work.

I am absolutely convinced that when people now talk in terms of regions, they talk in terms of provinces. That is why, instead of proportional representation or election at large within a province to the Senate, we recommended a senatorial district or whatever it might be called. Those of us from Ontario, and I am sure those from other provinces, know that there are extraordinary differences in the interests, ambitions, prejudices, fears, hopes and aspirations of those who live in rural southwestern Ontario and those who live in metropolitan Toronto. Even more dramatically, those who live in northern Ontario from North Bay up to James Bay have different interests. I am sure the same is true in every province. Therefore, we said to ourselves that if we need greater regional representation in the Senate, then we cannot do so by election at large or by using a list of eligible candidates from our particular Party from the Province of Ontario. If we have as our pillar the principle of greater regional representation, then we must carve the regions into districts.

Frankly, I would be one of the first to support having this Bill go to committee if I were convinced that it would act as an effective lever to get the provincial premiers and the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) to the bargaining table. If that is all that it accomplished, it would be worthwhile. There is no question about that. We in the committee had serious doubts about using that kind of lever. We are very anxious for the next First Ministers' Conference to see if anyone will take the intiative to put it on the table. We have some hope that the premiers, who have their annual conference I believe in August of each year-just the provincial premiers, no federal Government involvement-will put it on the agenda for the next conference.

With respect to the Hon. Member's remarks that no reform had occurred because the package was too large to swallow, he may be right. There is no question about the present report; it is a package. It is a package and it is inextricably interrelated-an elected nine-year term senatorial district. It is very har to carve out the pieces, pull out the district and put in proportional representation. One will find that argument very flawed if one accepts the regional representation argument. It is very, very flawed. That concerned me deeply with respect to the reply of the Prime Minister. I do not think that the Government has thought through those three principles and how they were interrelated. I appreciated receiving the reply of the Prime Minister well before the time required for that reply.

I certainly hope that the subject matter raised today by the Hon. Member for Edmonton East will be the subject matter for further debate and, particularly, I hope that it is a matter

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April 30, 1984

Tenure of Senators

for further debate in the other place where, so far, that debate has been saddly lacking.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS-PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   CONSTITUTION ACTS, 1867-1984 MEASURE RESPECTING TENURE OF SENATORS
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April 16, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

Mr. Speaker, the usual discussions have taken place and on behalf of my Party I give that unanimous consent.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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April 16, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

Mr. Speaker, I have one comment and two questions that I think I can put quite succinctly. I would not want the Hon. Member for Thunder Bay-Atikokan (Mr. McRae) to underestimate the importance of confidence in terms of job creation. I am sure his riding is no different than mine. Two and a half or three and a half years ago, because of high interest rates, massive amounts of money went into that form of investment rather than into job creation spending, such as the purchase of motor vehicles, trucks and so on. That is one simple example of job creation or the lack of job creation because of lack of spending confidence.

My first question deals with what neither of us like to call functional illiteracy, but nevertheless that is the word used for it. Is the Hon. Member aware of the pilot programs in the United States run by volunteer agencies where retired teachers are recruited to assist in this type of program? If it can be done through the volunteer sector at less cost to the Government, it is something that I very much want to support. As an educator the Hon. Member may be aware of that. I have only been exposed to it through a couple of television programs.

The most important point is that the Hon. Member talks about the good general background, the academic training and up-grading from say grade nine to grade twelve or whatever. My experience has been that those seats purchased by Canada Manpower at various community colleges for academic training have been significantly less successful in terms of job procurement for those students than the narrow technical training. There is a welder's school in my riding. I disagree that someone trained in a very narrow field, as the Hon. Member puts it, has to go back and start over when that job becomes redundant. It is not a good approach to take because, first, that person has gone through the discipline of retraining. He has at least been exposed to an academic atmosphere. Second, he has at least had a job and is becoming aware that once one has a job, it is not secure until age 65 because in the eighties and into the next century all of us will have to go through processes of retraining. This will likely occur at numerous intervals during our working career.

Therefore, I have some serious difficulty with his approach of the good general background. I would far sooner put the carrot out and say to a prospective employee, if he is willing to go back to night school and get up to the Grade 12 or 13 level, he will have the first leg up on technical training with which we as a Government may assist him.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
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April 2, 1984

Hon. Bill Jarvis (Perth):

Mr. Speaker, my question, directed to the Minister of Labour, is supplementary to the question asked by the Hon. Member for Churchill. When the Minister indicates that the amendments to the Canada Labour Code, long promised by him, will come forward within a couple of weeks, may I interpret that to be an undertaking that first reading will be given to that Bill before the Easter recess?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF AMENDING LEGISLATION
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