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 4 of 205)


March 15, 1984

Hon. Bill Jarvis (Perth):

Mr. Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Employment and Immigration. He may be aware that some 18 part-time, casual or contract employees at the UIC office in Kitchener will be laid off at the end of the month. These people process unemployment insurance claims and, coincidentally, are doing a great deal of overtime work. Some of them are doing as much as three nights a week.

Without necessarily expecting the Minister to know the individual cases, but as a matter of departmental practice, is it his practice to effect these lay-offs on the one hand and, on the other hand, continue to pay what I would presume to be very costly overtime payments? Is that a cost effective procedure?

Second and much more important, what guarantee or assurance could the Minister give us that this will not result in undue delay in the processing of claims, as has been the experience in the past, during this period of peak unemployment wherein there has been not only a great deal of human suffering on the part of applicants but other agencies, such as social welfare agencies, have had to step in in the interim and provide some measure of relief for applicants-

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE COMMISSION
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March 9, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

The Minister for External Relations (Mr. Pepin) asks me when were times ever normal. I guess it is like the "ordinary, reasonable man"; it is a piece of fiction. But there are certainly times which approach normality closer than the times in which we now find ourselves.

I suppose that is part of the cause for my concern. My colleague, the Hon. Member for Saskatoon West (Mr. Hnaty-shyn), put it clearly on the first day of debate when he said that we have "responsibility, as Members of Parliament, to ensure the right balance between national security and the fundamental principles of a free and democratic society". That is a challenge and a serious one. The Minister himself in that same debate, when he opened second reading debate, talked about "the necessary balance between effective national security and the civil liberties which are fundamental to our society".

The seriousness of the challenge is enough for concern, trouble and uncertainty, but I believe my feelings are compounded-and I am trying to put this as kindly as I can, for lack of better words-because I feel we are dealing with tainted legislation. I believe it is tainted in three distinct aspects. One aspect I do not believe is terribly important. It happens to be a fact of political life, and that is the timing of the bill. We all know that in any election year the atmosphere of debate and the approach towards various pieces of legislation takes on an added aura, and that is the election aura. We have seen Bills recently which could be quite legitimately called political bills. They were not substantive in the sense that we regard legislation as substantive; they were political bills. I am not terribly critical. That is a fact of political life. Anyone who has been around here for any length of time will understand that.

However, the two other aspects are much more important with respect to this legislation. They are the history of the legislation and the substance of the legislation and are very much interrelated.

I am happy the Solicitor General (Mr. Kaplan) is here because I am speaking very seriously about this. I would like to take a quotation from his speech on second reading as my starting point. He said:

Bill C-9 is the result of a long and difficult process which began 15 years ago.

It certainly has been long and difficult. Without wishing to nit-pick, I quarrel with his word "process". If you use that word in the broad sense, I suppose it has been a process. But I am afraid there has not been any legislative process and that is

part of the problem. What we have had, unhappily-I am not pointing any fingers; I am simply stating what I believe to be an objective view of the facts-is a series of reactions or non-actions. The Minister of National Defence (Mr. Blais) interjected a moment ago to the effect that it is 15 years old. Yes, it is 15 years since the Mackenzie report, but that was followed by absolutely nothing. There was no action, not even a reaction. There was absolutely nothing for almost a decade and then the roof fell in.

I remember that well because I had been Solicitor General critic for 11 days when that roof fell in. We remember some very unhappy days in the House during that time which led up to the McDonald Commission. I do not criticize the establishment of that commission; it worked very hard and diligently to produce a very large report. But that was a reaction to the atmosphere in the House after revelation after revelation of alleged wrongdoing. After that commission reported, nothing happened for almost two years. Finally, we had the disaster, unfortunately, of Bill C-157. I do not know who drafted that Bill; I doubt very much the Solicitor General fully appreciated what a mess he was getting himself and the rest of us into with that particular Bill. But again it prompted a reaction, not a process.

Then, Mr. Speaker, a select committee of the Senate was formed. It worked diligently and its report was a damning condemnation. Now we have Bill C-9, a reaction to Senator Pitfield and his colleagues' report from the select committee of the Senate. As I said, it has not been a legislative process as I understand it. A legislative process is nothing more than exercise of government power, which is the right and responsibility to provide a service to the country and its people. It may be a social service, economic or cultural service, or it may be, as in this case, in the field of security.

As I understand the four-step process, Mr. Speaker, the Government examines the need for a new or altered service. That is often triggered by an event, perhaps a dramatic event, or perhaps a cumulative pressure on the Government to do something. It may be a report such as the Mackenzie report, but something happens to trigger that first step. The second step is the Government's diligent examination of the impact or significance of the implementation of the service or change. It may be very minor; a change in a custom's regulation. It could be very major, as I believe is the case with this particular legislation.

The third step is that if there is a major significant impact, then you make sure the public understands it. Before the technical process begins, make sure the public understands it. That can be done in any number of ways, by many vehicles. It could be a discussion or position paper, speeches by the Minister, reference to committee for study; there are all kinds of vehicles to use. I suppose the cliche is: Run it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes it, or test the waters, or whatever. But it is a very legitimate part of the four-step process. Of course, the final part is to go through the technical process that we find ourselves in now.

March 9, 1984

With respect to the third part, if I can quote the Minister, who I think was dead on when he was talking about the legal framework, he said:

We also believe that such a framework cannot be effective unless we have the support and understanding of the public.

Dead on, Mr. Speaker. I completely concur. Unfortunately,

I do not think the Minister followed his own advice.

Having put it in that four-step context, I hope the Government and the Minister understand what I mean when I say the Bill is tainted. The first step, the examination of the need for a security intelligence service, I suppose was prompted by the Mackenzie Commission, but nothing happened. Nothing really happened after the McDonald Commission for two years. The second step, the examination of significance or impact, was really skipped, unhappily. We certainly did not have the opportunity to discuss it here in the House. The only discussion up until second reading of Bill C-9, I think, was a couple of hours' debate when the Mackenzie report was tabled some 15 years ago. Absolutely nothing has been done to examine publicly the significance or impact of this legislation. Unhappily, Bill C-157 is proof that there was not a diligent and careful examination of the impact of this legislation.

Those steps were ignored, Mr. Speaker, and where does that leave us? Well, we have to deal with this Bill. I am a little concerned because I am quite sure the Minister was not pressing the House to put this Bill into committee fast. He certainly did not say so on February 10. I commend him for that because every Minister likes his Bill to go through the House and into committee. However, I am starting to detect signs of impatience this afternoon. I do not agree with everything the NDP said, far from it, but in 15 years there has not been any real, legitimate debate on the whole area of security and intelligence. Unfortunately, it is compressed into Bill C-9. I say "unfortunately" in all sincerity. It is unfortunate, but it is a fact. The 15 years of legitimate need for debate is compressed into Bill C-9.

That leads me to a very unhappy position, Mr. Speaker. I now regard some of the statements of the Solicitor General with some suspicion, if not cynicism. I am going to use two or three examples. The Minister said:

I am convinced that the mandate described in the Bill amounts to the best possible protection of civil liberties in Canada.

I would really like to be able to say: Yes, I agree. However, I am not in that position, not because of the substantive provisions of the Bill but because of the history, the cloud, changing over this. He then goes on to say:

The Solicitor General will be fully responsible and fully accountable for the security service, as in the present system.

Again I have grave difficulty accepting that statement because I sat here in the pre-McDonald Commission period, as the Solicitor General did although not in that position, and heard more than one Solicitor General deny responsibility. They said: "Oh, that is the day to day operation". Of course the Solicitor General is not responsible for the day to day operations of the RCMP or the security service. Of course not.

Security Intelligence Service

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT
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March 9, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

Mr. Speaker, there are two report clauses, Clauses 52 and 53. Clause 54 is a special report section. I would have to read them carefully to discover whether they address the concerns of the Hon. Member. I notice one report must be laid before Parliament on any of the first 15 days on which the House is sitting after the Minister receives it. I do not know whether that will address his particular concern. There are four or five clauses dealing with reports so I really cannot be any more specific than that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT
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March 9, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

Mr. Speaker, I believe I read the Bill carefully. I thought there was a provision for the review committee to report to Parliament at least annually, if not more often. I support that reporting principle.

Perhaps the Hon. Member's question is a little broader than that. If a particular incident occurs, should or could the review committee make it public? I would agree to that subject to it not threatening or putting in danger the security of the state.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT
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March 9, 1984

Mr. Jarvis:

But they were so cumulative that they affected the very principle of ministerial responsibility. Therefore, when the Minister makes a statement like the one he made on February 10, given the history of this legislation, how can he with any reasonableness expect me to accept that at face value? I cannot do it because the history leading up to Bill C-9 does not permit me to do that.

Finally, we have the statement:

The Review Committee will have full access to detailed information on the activities of the service.

We are talking about accountability. I have to say to the Minister that if there is to be accountability, it has to be complete. There is no such thing as being half accountable or partially accountable or even 99 per cent accountable. Unless it is complete accountability, there is no such thing. Unless those Cabinet documents in the possession of the security service are opened to the Inspector General, and through him to the Review Committee, I say there is not accountability. Those documents in the possession of the security service, even though they are classified as a Cabinet document, are likely the most vital documents relating to accountability.

As a result of this it will be heavy going in the committee. However, we have had committees before which were heavy going. I think the Minister and his colleagues on the Treasury benches have to be very flexible about this. I do not think there is any way to avoid giving this committee permission to travel. The historic element, the separation of the proposed force from the traditional RCMP force, dictates that necessity. Given the chequered career that this legislation has had, I see no way around that at all.

I believe it was either the Minister or my colleague for Saskatoon West who spoke about the morale of the force. I am concerned about that, as I think we all should be. While the principle of upholding the morale within the RCMP security intelligence branch is important, it is not as important as the principles of civil liberties and the security of the country. Therefore, while that morale may continue to suffer because of the 15 long and difficult years, I regret it very much but there are other principles which I believe are paramount to that. Those are the principles of the protection of our rights as citizens and the protection of the integrity of our country from those who would seek to attack it. I wish I had more time to deal with the mandate and powers; I know I have not.

Before the Speaker cuts me off, I would like to say that my principal concern is accountability. The Minister has made significant changes from Bill C-157. I am speaking about changes with respect to the operation and powers of the Director. I am a little concerned because the Bill does not correspond with the Senate committee report. I am concerned about the provision that the Minister may issue written directions to the Director. What about oral directions? Should all directions not be in writing? Would this provision create an

March 9, 1984

Security Intelligence Service

incentive for the Solicitor General not to reduce his directions to writing? If that became the case I would be concerned.

I am concerned about the establishment of the office of the Inspector General. Unless the Solicitor General follows the recommendations of the Senate committee which would allow the Inspector General access to Cabinet documents within the possession of the security service, accountability sadly suffers. Unless the accountability is 100 per cent, I do not believe it amounts to anything. The Inspector General would be deprived of the directives and documents of a Cabinet nature which he gets from his political superiors, which I believe is most important.

Finally, unless the Inspector General has access to those particular Cabinet documents, the review committee will not. My comments with respect to the Inspector General apply equally, and possibly with greater force, to the review committee.

With respect to the make-up of the review committee, I am not sure whether it is better to have Privy Councillors as compared to those who are now serving in either the House or Senate. I believe the recommended number is three to five Members. I doubt that that is large enough; it may be. The Senate committee in the United States has reasonably good sized membership composed of very senior and prestigious senators in that country. It is very prestigious in the sense that you are judged by your peers to be privy to highly confidential information.

I presume my time is just about up. I have no particular comment to make at the second reading stage with respect to the make-up of that review committee. I think that is something we could deal with in committee. I believe committee stage is absolutely crucial if the Bill is to be rescued. I believe it should be. I believe there should be a security service, either inside the RCMP or outside. The committee stage is going to be absolutely crucial to that.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   CANADIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE SERVICE ACT
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