During peace there is a war against poverty and there is a war
to prevent war recurring. Surely we could not have any stronger motives to impel men to unite and go forward1 together. All we need is a set of sound principles upon which to go forward and such principles I am now laying down. I proceed: Fourth, each member undertakes to prohibit its nationals from owning or controlling any property or economic undertaking in another sovereign country. Fifth, each nation undertakes not to export goods to any other nation, except in payment for imports from that nation, without the consent of that nation's government. Sixth, each state undertakes to receive payment in goods and services for any debt owing to its nationals.
I am aware that there will be a good many hon. members who will not see eye to eye with me in respect of these principles, but I commend them to the consideration of members of this house as being principles upon which the welfare and harmony of a united world will be based when the world finally reaches a state of sanity and understanding in which it can have good will and cooperation. I add to the foregoing principles the following: seventh, each state undertakes that if at the end of seven years it shall have refrained from accepting goods or services (other than gold) in payment for goods and services it has sold to any neighbour state it will cancel the debt. Eighth, each state undertakes by means of some form of lend-lease or mutual aid arrangement to render available to any state of good will any supplies of goods and services which it may have in excess of the means to provide an abundant standard of living for all its own people. Ninth, each state undertakes to adopt such an economy and financial system as will make financially available for all its people whatever degree of material well-being may be found to be physically possible for the people in that state.
I commend these principles to the careful consideration of the proposed committee and of the members of this house. This resolution calls for the committee to examine into the possibilities of what Canada can do about the situation that is confronting the country. Here are some suggestions which will be found quite worthy of study.
We come now to the matter of Canadian skill, strength, freedom and courage to accomplish the "human rights" objectives which I have indicated and which we all desire. Have we the skill necessary to accomplish the things which are suggested as being appropriate and desirable by all the fine idealism which is written up in publications emanating from the united nations? My answer is that undoubt-
edly we do possess the skill. As proof of that, I point to our remarkable performance during the war. I point to the fact that in many cases we had factories and industries established hastily for the construction of war materials. Into these factories we had young men and young women brought who knew not a single thing about the processes they were called upon to execute. Yet in a surprisingly short time they learned and did their work so superbly well as to overwhelm the enemy with their production. Will anyone tell me that we cannot, under similar circumstances in peace time, train our young and old to accomplish these desirable objectives of production just as well as we did in the war? The only thing we need is adequate markets and profitable prices. That is what we had in the war. Some people have the idea that the reason we had so much success in production during the war was that there was a war on. That is not so. There was a good market at profitable prices, and every producer knew he would be sure of a market at profitable prices. That is all we need to get a high standard of production in a private enterprise country-the natural motive.
Have we the strength? I point to our manpower which performed during the war so magnificently, to our industrial structure, to our factories of various kinds, to our industrial skill, to our transportation facilities, splendid for a nation at our stage of development, to our parliamentary and civic institutions of which every Canadian can be justly proud, to our resources bountiful and rich, to our access to new discoveries and technological skills in great numbers.
Illustrative of my last remark may I refer to a statement made by an eminent chemist in the United States in 1942, because some hon. members may not have had an opportunity to read what this man said? I refer to Doctor Charles A. A. Stine, vice-president of E. I. du Pont Nemours, one of the greatest industrial chemists in the United States. He said:
Under pressure of the necessities of war, the inconceivables of only two years ago are today's realities. American chemists are discovering new continents of matter and the world of 1940 has already become an antiquity. When the war is won we shall have at our command ten to a hundred times what we had before in raw materials. New and more versatile plastics . . . high pressure syntheses of ammonia . . . fertilizer of such capacity that the trends of agriculture may be changed . . . glass that is unbreakable and will float . . . wood that won't burn . . . hosiery from air . . . window screens without wire . . . the war is compressing development.
We Canadians have at our disposal all these superb skills and technological discoveries.
Apply them to our resources with our own national skills, and what sort of strength shall we have in Canada in the production of goods and services to produce a high standard of living, of human rights for the people?
Have we the freedom to do the things which we ought to do? Judging from that list of human rights, I am not so sure that we have not given up too much of our freedom already. For generations now, international finance has been exercising an evil influence over this country. Then when we signed the Bretton Woods agreement we gave up a considerable portion of our financial sovereignty and of our trade sovereignty. Then the united nations charter threatens our national sovereignty in respect of defence. The international trade conferences which we have held, and of which one is now in progress in Geneva, have endeavoured to deprive us of empire preferences which are vital to our economic prosperity and strength, and to force upon us the most favoured nation clause to make us impotent to protect our economy against the crushing impact of the productive potential of the United States.
To the degree to which Bretton Woods and the united nations charter have impaired Canada's freedom to act, I would suggest that this house insist that these agreements be modified, and if they cannot be modified I would be prepared to suggest in all seriousness that this house advise the government to take steps to withdraw from both the united nations agreement and the Bretton Woods agreement.
Have we the courage to do the things we ought to do to ensure human rights? Have we the courage to learn new things? Have we the courage to depart from old opinions? Have we the courage to adopt new concepts, new techniques, new ways? Have we the courage tc advocate new measures for freedom? Have we the courage to fight for these new methods? Have we the courage to win? I often wonder. If there is any one thing that would cause me to lose a measure of my optimism and hope in this country it would be the very fact that so many seem to lack the courage even to consider new ways. Bather would they go forward in the old ways, even though they were assured that we were going over a precipice into chaos, deep, dark and dismal, than consider something new in the way of finance or some other economic system which might be of benefit to the nation. Have we Canadians the courage which is necessary, the courage which is more rare than is the cour-93166-203
age to die on the field of battle? It all remains to be seen. I believe, Mr. Speaker, that we have.
So in considering this resolution to set up a committee to examine into the whole question of human rights, I face the future with hope and with confidence. I believe that if the committee will apply itself to its task with earnestness, with singleness of heart and with open-mindedness, having a determination to do all that can possibly be done to solve the problems confronting mankind in this most dangerous hour, it will find ways and means of giving Canadians a measure of human rights such as. Canadians have never even dared dream of as being possible in this country; for we have everything in this nation necessary to give everybody the highest standard of human rights if we would only use the resources and facilities and blessings which Providence has showered down upon us in rich abundance.
There must be a way in which our aged people can be guaranteed against the penury which now wastes them and chagrins us. There must be a way by which we can guarantee to people doing the work of this country the means of earning a livelihood adequate to support them in comfort and happiness. There must be a way of enabling the people of Canada as a whole to enjoy the good things which the Lord has given us in rich plenty. I say that in setting up this committee we ought to charge them with the solemn and sacred responsibility of discovering the means of enabling the people of Canada to enjoy and to share the rich resources which God has given them.
I wish, first of all, to express my congratulations to all hon. gentlemen who have spoken before me in this debate. I was particularly impressed by the magnificent speech delivered this afternoon by the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie). It is not the first time that I have heard the right hon. gentleman express his opinion on matters such as are being discussed today, but in my opinion he surpassed himself on this occasion. I felt personally that not only his voice but his whole heart was speaking in defence of human rights and freedom. I wish also to congratulate the other speakers who spoke before me. It seems to me that everybody agrees on accepting the same principles.
As has already been mentioned, the economic and social council of the united nations organization established in June, 1946, an important body called the commission on human rights. It is often contended that international commissions of that sort are being unneces-
sarily multiplied by the united nations. During a recent visit to the seat of the organization at Flushing Meadows with some of our distinguished colleagues, I began to wonder whether such statements were entirely accurate. I am not in a position today to give any definite opinion in that regard because it is difficult to analyse the situation with fairness.
At the opening of the special session of the general assembly on the question of Palestine, which I had the privilege to attend, several of these commissions, eight of them, I think, were formed by the united nations' delegates. I do not think any of my colleagues present had the time to find out exactly the functions of these numerous new commissions. As a matter of fact, our chief Canadian delegate at the conference, Mr. Pearson, whose competence is highly recognized in all international circles, had the honour to be appointed chairman of one of these committees to investigate some of the political aspects of the Palestine question.
But among the more permanent international commissions already formed by the united nations, it appears to me that this new commission on human rights is one of the most important. Again our country was given the distinction of being represented on that commission on human rights by a capable Canadian, Mr. John P. Humphrey. Mr. Humphrey, who was a former professor of international law at McGill university, is very well known and has always been a credit to his country. On many occasions he has expressed his opinions and his desire to see unity established in Canada. In that respect his advice was often quoted, and it has demonstrated his wish to see better understanding and tolerance between the English and French groups in Canada. On such occasions he has proven that he knows well the problems of our country. His ability and broadmindedness will allow him to understand better the great problems facing mankind and also the task he has been called upon to fulfil as secretary of the commission on human rights.
At the time of its formation, the new commission was given by the council, among other things, specific instructions to submit a report regarding the adoption and acceptance by all the united nations of an international declaration on human rights and the rights and duties of states. The task imposed upon the commission was great, and its importance for the betterment of relations between individuals and nations and for the establishment and maintenance of peace cannot be exaggerated.
In its past and often useless efforts to prevent wars, the world, through its international
organizations, has constantly tried to define certain great principles concerning the rights of individuals and peoples, and to force their recognition and observance by all nations. It has always been because such principles have been misinterpreted, ignored or violated by a nation or a group of nations in particular that conflicts of all kinds and wars of evergrowing intensity have devastated mankind. The same remarks apply to the numerous civil wars which, from time to time, have plunged certain nations into misery, desolation and even complete destruction.
But, if these former international organizations have, on different occasions, proclaimed their belief in certain general principles, it often happened that nations could not agree on these basic rules and their opinion could not be unanimous. The immediate consequence of such disagreements was the sudden discovery of undeclared hostilities, which gradually increased and developed to become sources of quarrels resulting in conflicts and wars.
One of the causes for such failures may be attributed to the fact that such international organizations understood their tasks too late; instead of working to secure the consent of all their members to the recognition of the intangible rights and duties of each at the beginning of negotiations, they waited until differences were actually created and then sought to find a solution. When passions have been aroused, it is often too late to intervene.
It is for one of these reasons, I think, that the economic and social council of the united nations has decided to define or enact for the benefit of its negotiations a declaration of rights and duties which will be accepted by all.
Since Canada has decided, by signing the united nations charter, to do its full share in the organization of this new post-war world, and wants to take an active part in all the deliberations of the new international council, I was glad to read of the intention of the Canadian government to participate in a constructive way in this new task of preparing this international charter of freedom. Such intention was indicated in the speech from the throne and also appears clearly m the order of reference of the new committee to be appointed.
But a strange thing struck my mind when I discovered that we, members of this parliament, were called to study the preparation of a bill of rights to be applicable to the world at large. If I rightly understand the nature of our task, we are to work as a nation, together with the other nations of UNO in
drafting a declaration containing the enunciation of the rights, liberties, fundamental freedoms and duties of all the nations which signed with us the San Francisco charter. Yet, we do not possess a bill of rights of our own. We are to suggest to other nations for their approval certain rules and regulations which it did not seem necessary that we should adopt ourselves.
Members of the opposition could at this point object that it was up to the government to enact a bill of rights for our own country. I would answer first, that such would have also been the duty of other governments in the past.
But, even then, some members of the opposition could again intervene and ask us why we refused to adopt the amendment they introduced in this house last year, when we were dealing with the Canadian citizenship bill; for, at that time, an amendment to section 10 of the bill was suggested which was intended to incorporate in the new legislation on Canadian citizenship a bill of rights for Canada.
Again I would answer that the amendment as introduced was incomplete, or that the incorporation of a bill of rights in our citizenship bill was not the proper thing to do. In fact, those were the reasons why the amendment could not rally the support of the members of this house.
There is, however, in my opinion, a reason of much greater importance why it is not as yet possible for this country to enact its own bill of rights without its appearing to be unsound. I do not wish to give the impression that I am against the adoption of such an important measure; on the contrary. But in such matters we have to follow the usual and normal course.
Not only has it been the constant practice, but it is only common sense to enact measures of that sort only when a country has secured the disappearance of certain ties or bonds which may paralyse its complete freedom of action or be an obstacle to the proclamation of its real independence. There are things that a country must first do if it wishes to define the inalienable and sacred rights of its citizens. Among these things, there is the inevitable obligation to adopt, before everything else, its own constitution.
If we examine the case of all the other nations which decided, at a given moment of their history, to enact a bill or declaration of rights, we shall see that such nations did not take such measures before having, first of all, enacted their own distinctive constitutions.
For instance, in the case of our neighbour the United States, that country, after proclaiming its independence by a formal declaration in 1776, adopted its constitution in 1788 by special act of government. And it was only two years later, by way of a certain number of amendments to the constitution itself, that the United States adopted what they call their bill of rights.
In fact, in many cases-and I think it is the most logical way to do it-the bill of rights is incorporated in the constitution itself. In any event, one thing appears to be undeniable. There cannot, or at least there should not, be a bill of rights or a declaration of that kind enacted by a nation unless there already exists a constitution adopted by that nation, or unless one is formed simultaneously with such declaration.
To come back to the point I raised, it is my opinion that Canada should as early as possible, in order to follow the logical course, adopt its own constitution and then discuss the enactment, if it becomes necessary, of a Canadian bill of rights.
Who will deny that the most important of our rights as free citizens is that of adopting our own constitution? I would fail to understand our attitude if we were to study a definition of our rights as Canadians, if we decided to define these rights in a special bill, while at the same time we failed to ensure for ourselves the most important of this, the right to our own constitution as a free nation.
Both actions are necessary if this country is to affirm once more its maturity; if Canada is to attain its real freedom of action; if the nation is to complete its march toward final independence. In the meantime, in so far as the rights of Canadians are concerned, I feel we cannot be better protected than by the British North America Act, by the Statute of Westminster and also by the British charters of freedom, the principles of which have been constantly applied in our own country.
I have just given the opinion that it does not appear possible to discuss the enactment of a bill of rights for Canada before this parliament has adopted its own constitution. I also said at the beginning of my remarks that, at first sight, it seemed strange to me that we should participate in the preparation of a bill of rights for other nations while we did not even possess our own. But I think our position can better be defended in that respect, and it is my belief that if Canada does not possess a codified bill of rights, it still can work with the other nations and
offer its constructive suggestions toward the drafting of such a declaration for all nations of good will.
Our participation in that important task will at the same time be of great assistance to us if we ever find it useful to enact our own bill of rights; for I believe that there cannot exist different principles in the determination of such rights by a nation in particular or by the world at large. I would go farther and say that it is necessary for a nation itself to possess a bill of rights, comprising more specific definitions of rights and obligations of a purely local nature and applying to that nation in particular. On the other hand, when it comes to considering a declaration which would be suitable and acceptable to all other nations, the principles are necessarily wider and, in some cases, different and specially applicable to the international field. But in no case should it be permissible for a nation to possess a bill of rights, the principles of which would be different from and contrary to those expressed in an international declaration of the same kind.
There are in the world of today many nations which already possess their distinctive bill of rights. Some of these nations, in the course of their history, have been called upon to modify and even to repeal some of the provisions of their own bill. In fact, this remark applies to nearly all those nations which, through a longer and more agitated existence, have undergone various transformations resulting from both internal and external events. And, of course, there are nations which appear to be fonder, by temperament or otherwise, of this sort of declaration, although sometimes the}7 might forget more often than others to put its contents into practice.
But for all nations, those which have their own bill of rights as well as those like Canada which did not find it necessary to adopt such codification, the duty is the same, and the principles enunciated in their own bill should be identical with the contents of an international bill of rights.
For this reason, it will become necessary to study the bills of rights already in existence, so that they may be modified if they contain a definition of principles which would be contrary to the basic declarations which the world would wish to incorporate in an international bill of rights. In other words, all the united nations must again find themselves in complete agreement, and none of them must be allowed to advocate doctrines to their own people and defend ways of life which the world at large cannot accept but vill be bound to condemn.
In order to be clear on that point, it is my contention that every nation must conform in its internal policies as well as in its international dealings to the same inviolable rules and orders. It cannot be authorized to preach at home theories that are rejected in the international arena. Neither can it impose upon its people a way of life or restraints on its liberties which are internationally disapproved.
I am sure that attitudes of that kind cannot be permitted and any nation which would persist in their practice should be subject to international sanctions; it is not my opinion that actions of that kind should remain unchallenged under the cover of the principle defined in article 2 of the charter of the united nations. If, for instance, freedom of worship or liberty of individuals is threatened by any act of any state, such injustice should not be tolerated simply because the matter would appear to be within domestic jurisdiction. Nations must also conform to article 55 of the charter, which imposes upon all members the obligation to promote respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. That is where it appears essential to obtain for the guidance of every nation of good will a clear definition of the rights of nations and individuals. And it is to meet this necessity that the commission on human rights was established by the economic and social council.
The delegation of Panama submitted, at the first part of the final meeting of the general assembly held at London, a draft declaration, which the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blaclcmore) read some time ago. Such drafts were prepared by a committee of the American Law Institute in 1943 and 1944; that is, long before UNO was created and before the charter of San Francisco was signed. For this reason, they have the merit of not being influenced by political considerations. The commission on human rights is to consider such drafts as submitted by the Panama delegation, and is to report the whole matter for consideration by the general assembly. Although Canada was not represented on the commission itself, we find that Doctor P. E. Corbett, formerly dean of the faculty of law at McGill university, who was attached to the league of nations as legal adviser of the international labour office, was a member of the committee appointed by the American Law Institute.
I have read carefully the statement as drafted by this committee, which was submitted by the delegation of Panama as a basis for the preparation of an international bill of rights. I must admit that the document, although incomplete, is quite impressive. In its
eighteen articles preceded by a short preamble, it summarizes well the essential liberties and fundamental freedoms of nations as well as individuals living in society.
I do not intend to discuss at length the clauses or declarations contained in that statement, which might well be considered as the proposed international bill oi rights. But I wish to make a few remarks with regard to some of the principles embodied in that statement on essential human rights and also to refer to some of its deficiencies. First, I wish to draw the attention of hon. members to an omission of prime importance in that statement on human rights as prepared by the committee of the American Law Institute. The task of that committee, composed of legal and political scientists from all important cultures of the world was, as I said, to prepare a declaration containing a summary of the essential rights of human beings. We all know-and this could only be denied by a certain group of people whose blindness or bad faith has misguided them into the desolate regions of atheism, agnosticism or proud nationalism-that all rights whatever are not conferred by man, but must originate and derive from God. In our troubled world of today, when everything seems to be confused and when doctrines of all sorts assail the minds of us all, the only intangible principle dominating all the others should be enunciated in such declaration on human rights.
In other words-and I want to be emphatic on that point-no international declaration on human rights and the rights and duties of states should be approved by the united nations and by Canada in particular, unless faith in God and also belief in religion are firmly and clearly expressed therein. Many people seem to consider the separation of church and state as indispensable to the security of a nation. They would, of course, also be of the opinion that the same principle should apply to international relations.
This group of people would consequently advocate complete exclusion of religion, not only from schools or governmental organizations, but also from international meetings. Wherever such policy was applied, past experience has shown disastrous results. It is a fact that religious hate or even religious illiteracy always becomes an enemy to progress, to national security and also to the maintenance of international peace.
I read the other day some excerpts from an interesting United States publication called the "Relation of Religion to Public Education." This book was published by the American council on education, and it contains the report and conclusions of a committee appointed by such council. The committee, after more than two years of deliberation and study, came to the conclusion that schools should accept the teaching of religion as a factor of social life. I have found the following remarks very constructive:
On all sides we see the disintegration of loyalties . . . the revival of ancient prejudices, the increase of frustrations, the eclipse of hope. . . . Religion at its best has always been an integrating force, a spiritual tonic for a soul racked by fear and cringing in weakness. . . . Its imperfections will not be lessened by an attitude of splendid isolation on the part of intellectuals, or of indifference on the part of those responsible for the education of youth.
After the horrible catastrophe of the last war, all men of good will must again return to the eternal truth if they are to succeed in their efforts toward better international realities and the maintenance of peace.
I do not wish to confuse the issue when I express such an opinion, and I am completely at ease in speaking in that way when I review the experiences of the past. If one examines with attention those declarations of rights which at times have constituted halting places in the history of mankind, he will discover that, they contained in their preamble such reference to the divine power, dispenser of all rights. Such reference is found in magna carta, the Bill of Rights of 1688, which constitute the declaration of principles so precious to British people. It is also clearly expressed in all the great charters of rights that the French people have at certain intervals adopted for their guidance. The most important of such French documents is undoubtedly the famous declaration of rights in 1789, which, written in the blood of the revolution, became a symbol for the first republic of France. Although it seemed that the leaders of the revolution wanted to crush religion at the same time as aristocracy, Robespierre insisted, before having the "declaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen" adopted by the national assembly, that reference be made in the preamble to divine authority. So it was "in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being" that the national assembly adopted the solemn declaration. And on October 30, 1946, when France proposed its last constitution of the fourth republic, reference was again made to the principles of 1789, and the constitution reaffirmed the same social, economic and political principles.
In the United States both the declaration of independence and the constitution and its
amendments, the American people expressed its belief in the Almighty, from whom is derived every right and every power.
I could refer to a number of other declarations or constitutions adopted by other countries, such as that of Eire, for instance; and in every one that I have consulted, the same faith in God and religion was reaffirmed. The only two documents I have consulted where such indispensable references wei
May I make the wish that the new international bill of rights which our worried world is trying to create and proclaim will call for the protection of Him without Whom all our quests for peace would be vain? May I also express the hope that every nation will, in that respect, come to preach and follow the same doctrine toward a better conception by man of his duties toward God? The adoption of any other kind of bill of rights would be for the world a sad mistake and a miserable blunder.
I should like to be as categorical in discussing such articles of that statement on essential human rights as deal with the freedom of opinion and expression, the habeas corpus, the right to own property and the article which concerns the right of peoples to enjoy governments of their choice through democratic elections. As I have already said, I do not intend to discuss all the principles which, in my opinion, have to be embodied in an international bill of rights. It seems to me that theoretically they are all accepted by every nation. In fact, it is often the case that such principles are better praised and glorified precisely by such governments for which it has become common practice to violate them.
For instance, I have carefully read and studied the constitution of the U.S.S.R., and I must say that I have made startling discoveries. I am sure that an attentive reading of that document will be of definite interest to every one of us.
Embodied in the constitution itself is found a chapter entitled: "Fundamental rights and duties of citizens", which might justly be called the bill of rights of the Russian people, or at
least of the Russian government. It is interesting to read about the great principles defined in that declaration and to try to reconcile their application with so many events which took place in that country or behind the iron curtain in all Russian dominated countries.
One can learn, for example in that Russian document in article 125 that citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly or street processions and demonstrations. And then he will recall so many events and occasions when such freedoms were constantly denied to so many Russians.
For instance, how could it be seriously contended that newspapers in Russia are allowed to comment on world or even domestic events with the same liberty and independence as is the case in our country or in any other democratic country whatever. If such contention was made, all we can say is that the Russian government is lucky indeed to find in all the newspapers of the U.S.S.R. such complete and unfaltering agreement and support. Even our great Liberal party in its most glorious days could never succeed in obtaining from Canadian newspapermen such decisive and constant help.
If it is a Canadian who reads such article of the Russian constitution, he will remember the recent declarations of Igor Gouzenko, a former Russian citizen, who could not in his heart and in his mind conceal any longer the real truth concerning the absence of liberty and freedom in his country.
In sections 127 and 128 is embodied the great principle that citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed inviolability of the person and that no person may be placed under arrest except by decision of a court of justice. I leave it to members of this house and to the public at large to reconcile that declaration of principle with what has happened in the U.S.S.R. in the past.
And coming to article 124 of the same constitution of the U.S.S.R. one cannot help being astonished to read that, if freedom of religious worship is recognized, freedom of antireligious propaganda is also allowed to all citizens of that country. I may say that I know of no other country where freedom of anti-religious propaganda is especially mentioned and referred to in the constitution.
If one will recall, for instance, the trial and condemnation of Archbishop Stepinac by the courts of a Russian satellite, he will be inclined to think religion might be tolerated in those countries under Russian domination, but he will also believe that anti-religious propaganda is not only permitted but is strongly encouraged.
There is also another chapter in the constitution of the U.S.S.R. dealing with the electoral system, and I could not fiind anything in it to explain or justify what happened during the recent elections held in Poland, another Russian dominated nation. We all remember the strong but useless protests uttered at that time by one of the members of the Polish government.
For all these reasons, I think the time has come for the world to define in a clear declaration what it means by the rights and fundamental freedoms of nations and individuals.
And, Mr. Speaker, in spite of some events which may at times contribute to develop pessimism in the troubled sphere of international relations, I sincerely believe that the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) found the right expression when he said at one of the meetings of the general assembly at New York:
Each state represented here has its own ideals, its own standards, its own ways of life. Differences of outlook are therefore inevitable. It is what we do about these differences that is crucial. Attempts to exploit them to the advantage of any nation or group of nations can accomplish nothing wholesome or constructive. Let us beware of recrimination, of charge and counter-charge. Let us, with good will, patience and forbearance, pursue the course which leads to resolution and not to exploitation of differences.
For these reasons, if for no other, I am firmly convinced that the proclamation of an international bill of rights will go a long way toward helping nations to attain that aim.
Mr. Speaker, the resolution before the house sets out a state of affairs which has been discussed in the house before. The resolution of the government is based upon the charter of the united nations, and it deals with human rights and fundamental freedoms. It proposes to appoint a committee of both houses of parliament to look into the matter so as to see what can be done.
Another related resolution, which was introduced by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), dealt with all the freedoms, including freedom of religion-which we hope we shall never lose in this country- freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom of the press, and the right of habeas corpus. There has now been added the right under which no one would be deprived of his liberty by order in council, or detained to give evidence without the benefit of counsel.
These resolutions were discussed in the session of 1937, on February 17. A resolution I placed before the house at that time proposed the appointment of a committee to look into these freedoms. They are all based on four things. My resolution is based on these four things: parliamentary reform, constitutional reform, cabinet reform and law reform -and to a great extent the latter. A long discussion took place in the house on February 17, 1937, in which the then minister of justice took part.
So far so good. In its resolution now before the house the government seems to forget one fact, namely that by the Constitutional Act of 1791 so much of English law was copied into the constitution of Canada as was adapted to our circumstances. This included the provisions in respect of habeas corpus, the various acts which had come before the country, the rights under magna carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights and the right of habeas corpus. All these things, were included. Then came the Statute of Westminster.
All those matters were dealt with in the debate in that year. As I have said, the liberty of the subject is an important matter, and something which has been dearly bought in the old land. Many people have died for it, including Ridley, Latimer and Cranmer, who were burned at the stake. Then there were the seven bishops who won freedom.
I do not want the liberty of the subject to become a meaningless thing in this country. I said the other evening that in some places trial by jury was, to some extent, supplanted by trial by newspapers. Sometimes magistrates will remand prisoners for a week or two weeks until they make up their minds.
As I said before, we in the British commonwealth are very fortunate. Through our allegiance to the crown and to common ideals and interests and loyalties, this unseen link engenders a chain of mutual sympathy which has been moulded, and which has stood the strain of two long struggles for survival.
As Lord Chatham said in 1776, there is something behind the throne greater than the king himself. As I said in the house on September 11, 1941:
Every principle for which the British nation struggled in the old land since the 17th century has been surrendered to the political caucuses. Parliament itself, which came into being to ensure that taxes shall be voted only by those who have to pay them, has become the institution through which those who do not pay them impose them on others. I want to emphasize to the committee that powers of legislation older even than the right of taxpayers to determine the national expenditure have been surrendered, and if we are to continue this sort of thing, the power of parliament will be gone forever. Whole spheres of activity, involving the livelihood of every man, woman and child in this country, have been removed from the jurisdiction of the law and of parliament and reserved for the
determination of tribunals, irresponsible, irremovable, governed by no control and subject to no appeal.
I hope that state of affairs is now at an end. Many Indians and Eskimos are not yet citizens and have no social rights, although they were here long before we were. The Indians, for example, have no civil rights or civil liberties, even though those rights were guaranteed by treaty. We are not treating these people as I hope they will be treated when the resolution is considered.
It is not constitutional changes that are needed at the present time, because the matters referred to in the resolution are already the law of the land. It is the function of our law courts to see that the law of the land is carried out. Although this parliament deals with the liberty of the subject and the criminal code and other statutes, the enforcement of the law is under the provinces. It has been contended in this parliament that this legislature should enforce its own law. I believe it would be a good thing if we did that. We have what is called a duplicate system. We have a provincial system under section 92, and within it is another duplicate municipal system. All these freedoms referred to have long been the law of the land.
What do you propose to do? As I see it, this involves no constitutional change at all. The constitution is clear; that is not what we need in connection with these matters. After two long wars to secure freedom we need a change in the hearts of men. That is one thing which is more essential than anything else. We have been going around in a circle trying to find a solution to this problem. We propose now to appoint a committee, but that will lead to nowhere. We have had royal commissions, committees, conferences and ministers travelling abroad on this mission, and members of all parties have gone travelling, but it seems to me that all their efforts have largely been failures. As Tennyson said in his, "In Memoriam":
Let knowledge grow from more to more.
And again in the early stanzas of "In Memoriam":
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, 0 Lord, art more than they.
As I see it, one of the main factors is that we must get people back to where they started years ago, back to religion. Freedom of religion is one of the things in the charter which the government has set out. I believe that one of the great changes which will come about in this country is that we shall return, as I said the other day, to religion and the
principles of Christianity. St. James in his General Epistle, chapter 1, verses 26 and 27, says of freedom and religion:
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his own tongue, but deeeiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
We have always had freedom of religion in this country. I know I have never seen any bigotry in the city from which I come, and I was born there. All the citizens have the same freedom; they are equal; they can run for any office. Some of the brightest students that we have are children of parents who came from European and other foreign countries, and long may it continue that way.
How are we to solve these problems? I do not know, but I wish to refer to what I said when this discussion was up before. I referred to the fact that in the early days of this country everybody owned some property, a farm, a little mill or something else. We have been slow to see how the rights of property have been taken away in Canada by big business; the old business has passed away, and a large' majority of the people are just proletarians. In the days of Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier it was quite different. In this house we are behind the times, and1 unless we make up and reform our house from within, it will be reformed from without. So far as my knowledge goes, none of the great reforms that have marked the history of England since 1800 originated within parliament; every one began outside. The same is true of our house. All our great reforms, except those which were initiated a few years ago, began outside the house. Reform was not enacted into law, either in Canada or in England, until parliaments were driven to do something. Look at the mother country. Parliamentary reform did not start in the House of Commons or the House of Lords, but outside those houses. The abolition of the slave trade, the abolition of the corn laws, prison reform, colonial reform, catholic emancipation and the reform of the franchise -all these started outside parliament.
I remember away back in the days when we had a committee which investigated the white-collar worker and the great reform which went *on in our industrial system. That committee was appointed to make an inquiry in connection with the freedoms set out in this charter. What was the result? We were told about the principles of magna carta that no free man shall be arrested or detained in prison, and so on, and that there shall be no taxation without representation. Is that the law in Canada
today? No. We have appointed numerous outside bodies that are imposing taxation. It was in defence of that principle of no taxation without representation that the American colonies commenced their struggle with the British government. Yet under universal suffrage we see magna carta restricted, if not abolished, and almost kingly powers conferred upon magistrates in connection, for instance, with t'he restricting of bail. Thousands of people are in prison for debt.
All the great landmarks of our constitutional history, beginning with magna carta, going on to the Declaration of Rights, the Petition of Right, and the Statute of Westminster, were founded on one principle; they were simply the reassertion of the principle of the subjection of the executive and of its members to the law of the land. It was the strength of the barons that made magna carta possible; a police force, so to speak, not to be used unless necessary, which gave us the liberty of our whole constitutional system. Today that liberty is contracted. Today the Canadian working man is at the mercy of arbitrary social conditions beyond his control. A century ago the reform of the franchise secured the liberty of trade and industry for the mercantile and industrial middle classes. Later it was extended to wage-earners; then women were given the franchise and their aid enlisted in the betterment of social conditions. We cannot afford any longer to sit still here and take no notice of what is going on in Canada. The danger to our freedom is greater from within Canada than from without.
What is Canada's answer to all this? First, we should put our own place in order, overhaul the British North America Act and revise our parliamentary system and the other systems I have named. We should adopt some system of Christian socialism for the workers of this country, the white-collar employees, the artisans and the farmers. A system of Christian socialism was brought in a hundred years ago by the industrial revolution in England. A similar movement brought about the evangelic and Oxford movements. There were great social reforms brought about in England a hundred years ago and similar reforms have been long overdue in Canada.
We must strive for freedom from within. We must be forever on our guard. It was the armed strength of the barons which made magna carta possible, and it is the armed strength of the British empire which will ensure the freedom of the British .people. History shows that disarmament is impossible in a world where intolerance is so rampant.
The disarmament of the free is the tyrant's chance now as in the days of King John.
In the debate on constitutional reform on February 17, 1937, I referred to how the provincial legislatures were created, and I had a word to say in relation to industrial employment, contrasting the precepts of Christianity with the way in which our industrial workers are used. Personality counts as nothing; the dollar is all supreme. Modern life is machine life, soulless, a life of standardization, a high speed production, a highly efficient organization for the making of profit. Dividends are the chief objective; to get dividends, human beings are sacrificed. Wages were often below the level of mere subsistence, so that people were forced into other ways of life to eke out a precarious livelihood. I spoke of the long hours of work exacted, but reforms have been brought about in that. Senior employees, after long years of faithful service, were in many cases cast out without a retiring allowance to make room for younger people. I said that the admonition, "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ," was not being carried out. So, Mr. Speaker, these matters were before the house and before the countrry back in 1937. I do hope that something will be done to straighten out all these matters.
I should like to quote what I said in an election campaign in September, 1934 in Toronto-Broadview. I said:
I am for property rights and contract rights of the capitalistic system and sound money but I am also for human rights first, last and all the time, and a social order that will give fair play to labour and the consumer and for removal of the admitted abuses of the capitalistic system. The cause of freedom needs our eternal vigilance. There is no true liberty for the working man today if his whole life and that of his family are continuously at the mercy of arbitrary economic forces wholly beyond his control.
Take, for example, the effect of modern machinery on unemployment. Every new process seems to put men out of work. Our artisans are becoming machine minders, and women can mind machines as well as men. Thus you get a rise in female employment and a disastrous fall in the number of men at work. It is apparent to anyone that the very object of machines is to put men out of work. That is the reason they are invented and installed and they succeed in their purpose. Where is liberty while all this goes on?
The welfare of man should be our greatest care as a people and that of our workers' children. There can be no true remedy until the whole structure of our national and economic life is so remodeled as to aim at a national balance and stability rather than at the largest immediate profits.
It is more important that men, heads of households, should have the status of remunerative work than that our boards of trade and Department of Trade and Commerce should pub-
lish returns showing an increase in the country's wealth without any explanation of how that wealth was distributed.
The schoolteacher and not the judge or magistrate or policeman is the best protector of life and property today, as in the days of Lord Macaulay, 100 years ago.
The committee on price spreads appointed by the former prime minister of this country, the Right Hon. R. B. Bennett, did a great deal of good. I hope that the government will take this matter up and give consideration to all the matters that were included before as well as those to which I have referred to tonight.
Mr. JOHN T., HACKETT (Stanstead): Mr. Speaker, I shall not discuss the general proposition of the motion that is before the house. I am prompted to say a few words by the utterance of the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart). He has deemed it wise to criticize, in definite and pointed language, the conduct of the two commissioners who presided over the investigation into what is commonly called the espionage case. I think it was the great Napoleon who said that the best argument was reiteration. On no fewer than three previous occasions I have referred to the frequent and unfortunate appointment of members of the bench to tasks which lay beyond their judicial function. We declare frequently that we believe in the rule of law. The rule of law means to most of us a system of government which through its different branches makes laws, administers laws and interprets and applies laws to individual cases. Laws are made in parliament; they are administered by the executive, and they are interpreted and made applicable to cases by the judiciary. Happy indeed is the country which has a judiciary in which the people have complete and abiding confidence. That has been the lot of the Canadian people. Never yet within my ken has the judiciary, when acting within its proper sphere, been subjected to criticism in parliament or beyond. But in the last two or three years we have heard members of the judiciary criticized, and criticized violently, for their conduct and for their statements when fulfilling dirties allotted and assumed beyond their own proper sphere of judicial activity.
My whole life, Mr. Speaker, has been spent before the courts. I believe in the courts. I believe in the integrity of the courts. I believe in the integrity of our judges, and I am made sad by the practice which exposes that great institution, the judiciary, to criticism such as we have heard levelled at it tonight. Some will say that criticism is unwarranted. I am not going into the issue as to whether or not it is warranted; but I submit that the conduct
of the government, in appointing members of the courts to duties beyond their judicial office which expose them to criticism such as we have heard tonight, is unfortunate if not reprehensible. I am not prone to be unduly critical of those, who, in the immediate aftermath of the war appointed these gentlemen to the duties in the execution of which they have been so bitterly criticized. I am not prone to criticize the gentlemen themselves who answered the summons of the government, but I do say we have witnessed the fact that they have been criticized. We know that no judge can suffer that kind of criticism and not have it reflect upon the court of which he forms a part. I say to the government-and I must be fair, for there were grounds to say as much to governments which preceded it>-stop this abominable practices of using judges to solve political or partisan problems. The practice is growing; every time that the government has a political problem that is urgent; every time that it encounters a political situation that is difficult of solution, it refers it to a commission and names a judge to preside over the commission, so that the problem may be stayed or solved largely by the high repute of the arbiter. It is not right that men who have been appointed to judicial office, men upon whose integrity and upon whose reputation for integrity depend the fortune, the good name and the liberty of the citizen, should undertake tasks which cause them to be called partisans and tools of government.
I am going to ask the government, not for the first time, not for the second time and not for the third time, to desist from the pernicious practice of naming men who hold high judicial office to preside over commissions and committees for the solution of problems that are highly tinged with politics. And should perchance my plea fall upon deaf ears, I ask the judiciary, men whom we respect and rely upon, to have the courage and dignity to refuse when they are asked to enter upon a field which exposes them and their high office to the suspicion and to the criticism, the like of which we have heard this evening.
Every word that was uttered tonight in criticism of these gentlemen I felt almost as a personal affront, for I knew it was a wound in the side of the great institution in the service of which I have spent my life. Never has there been a time, Mr. Speaker, when as a people we depended more upon the courage upon the integrity, upon the wisdom and upon the high repute of the judiciary than today when all about us shakes and trembles. A law-abiding people, we depend for the honest interpretation of our laws upon a judiciary
whose reputation is inviolate. We ask the government to spare the Canadian judiciary so that its great tradition for impartiality may persist and its record continue.
I believe that the crux of the resolution before us is contained in the instruction that is given to the committee to consider:
. . . what steps, if any, it would he advisable to take or to recommend for the purpose of preserving in Canada respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Our horizon has indeed been broadened by the terms of this resolution to the question of an international bill of rights. But I want to congratulate the framer of this resolution on the recognition that it gives to the fact that as a country we can best play our part in seeking to establish freedom around the world by making sure that it burns brightly within our own boundaries.
We have, to begin with, in this country a great heritage. Let there be no doubt about that. But some of us feel that that heritage is in danger. Perhaps one of the reasons why it is in danger is that it is precisely what the word implies, a heritage, not something that we won or fought for ourselves, but something that was handed down to us by people across the seas.
I dare to hope that, as the years go on, we shall transform that heritage into something really native, really part of the life of this country. In the meantime, we must face the fact that if we are to maintain and enlarge upon that heritage eternal vigilance is the price we must pay.
I should like to quote a paragraph from the writings of a distinguished gentleman in this country to whom reference has been made several times already today. I refer to Mr. B. K. Sandwell, who says this:
Canadians have never had to achieve their own rights as against their own governments. They had to achieve the rights of their own government as against the government of the mother country, but the rights which they as individuals have against their own governments they inherited from that mother country. For that reason they may not appreciate them as highly as the British, who achieved them over many generations, or as the Americans, who devised a set of their own when they devised their own constitution. For that reason also they may not realize how very easily they can be lost nor, once lost, how desperately difficult they are to recover.
I was interested this afternoon in the argument put forth by the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) for getting along if we can without a written bill of rights. He 93166-2041
sang the praises of unwritten rights, of an unwritten constitution; and I am sure that there is something in all of us that responds to the idea of our rights and our freedoms being so clearly understood, so indelibly written into the hearts of our people that they do not need to be written in law and statute.
Unfortunately, however, we do not start from scratch. We are not in the situation where freedom and liberty are ours without question. We have had certain precedents. Reference has already been made to them today, to laws and orders in council that have been passed, which, in the view of some of us, have constituted a denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is because we have had these denials that it has become necessary to make impossible their recurrence by getting down in writing the rights and freedoms that are ours.
In any society which has only an unwritten constitution, precedent plays a big part. I believe it is fair to say that that is the case in the United Kingdom. There is not a written constitution there, but there is a body of law and statute that has grown up through the years, and wrapped up in it is the story of one precedent after another. In that case, the precedents are overwhelmingly on the side of freedom and liberty.
We have many such precedents here. We also have in recent years precedents that are on the other side, and it is because we have these negative precedents that it is no longer possible for us to depend on an unwritten statement of our freedoms. We must get it down in black and white. I agree with those who have said, on both sides of the house, that this is not a matter to rush into merely by the presentation of a resolution or a bill to the house and by the passage of it by a majority vote. Not only is it a matter that should be referred to and discussed by a committee of the house as suggested in the resolution before us, but I support the proposal that representatives from the provinces might also be consulted before we achieve a final statement.
I accept the suggestion that a declaration of rights might be even more desirable than a bill of rights, but I press the point that the time has come in our Canadian history to get in writing the freedoms and liberties that we are seeking to establish, seeking to make not just a heritage we have received from the past but very much our own.
The result of the experiences we have had in recent years with the denial of certain rights and freedoms that we believed to be fundamental is that there has been a spontaneous growth of associations across the
country concerned about civil liberties. I hold in my hand a communication from the Civil Liberties Association of Manitoba. I call the attention of the house to this one because it comes from my own province and I know quite well the executive members and the membership generally of this association. The letter before me is signed by Professor W. J. Waines as president of the Civil Liberties Association of Manitoba, and Professor David Owens as secretary, and I should like to place on record the suggested declaration of rights which this association has placed in the hands of all members of parliament.
I may say that this proposed declaration was sent to us after a recent meeting which was held in the city of Winnipeg, very largely attended, where citizens of that city made clear their interest in this question and their support of a declaration of rights.
Before I read the six points in this declaration, may I read one short paragraph from the letter accompanying it:
We do not presume that every person concerned about rights will approve of the details and phraseology of the inclosed. We desire rather that the principles should be accepted, unprejudiced by the possible need for minor alterations in the statement.
It was in that spirit that this declaration was sent to us and it is in that spirit that I place it on the record of the house.
1. No Canadian citizen shall be exiled, nor deprived of his citizenship in any part, nor be discriminated against in the exercise of his citizenship because of race, religion, colour, sex, language or political beliefs.
2. No Canadian citizen shall be denied justice as administered in the regularly constituted courts of law; nor be denied protection against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. To this end, and except in time of actual insurrection or invasion, the writ of habeas corpus shall override any administrative order to the contrary.
3. No Canadian citizen shall be denied freedom of religion in the right to profess, advocate and practise any conscientious belief not inconsistent with the rights of others.
4. No Canadian citizen shall be denied freedom of expression, either in speech or writing, except as provided in the laws respecting slander, libel and blasphemy.
5. No Canadian citizen shall be denied the right of peaceable assembly; nor be denied the right of association or organization for any peaceful purpose not inconsistent with the rights of others.
6. No Canadian citizen shall be denied the right to petition the government or to criticize it in good faith; nor be restricted in the right to bring suit against the crown or any administrative board, agent or corporation acting on behalf of the crown.
Mr. KNOW'LES: The spirit of the debate is one that concerns something very sacred and fundamental, and I thought the tone of the debate had been set by the speech made by the Minister of Veterans Affairs (Mr. Mackenzie) and the able speech made by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker). I suggest that the debate should go on in that tone.
I am presenting to the house at the moment a suggestion for a declaration of rights which comes from as responsible a body as there is in connection with this matter anywhere in the country, the Civil Liberties Association of Manitoba.