An hon. Member:
Do not listen to them.
Do not listen to them.
The hon. member for Davenport went on to say:
I am too soft-hearted: I cannot stand the tears of the women when they ask me to help them out.
The hon. member then went on to quote the Toronto Evening Telegram. Here is an hon. member who is so disturbed about hous-
Transitional Measures Act ing that, in his own words, he does not like to go home as frequently as perhaps he should because of the pressure that is put on him. And the hon. member for Eglinton asks if there is a national emergency. If that is not sufficient, perhaps I should read from the statement of the hon. member for Rosedale, as reported on page 1535 of Hansard. I quote:
The reason that we have this housing shortage, in this peculiarly acute form, is that hundreds of thousands of our young men were overseas at a time when they might have been acquiring some sort of a house in this country. When they came back no houses were available. They had all been taken by people who had moved into the cities, or by the natural growth of the population. There were no houses for them, and we have not yet begun to fill up that gap; therefore we have a national emergency-
Finish the sentence.
The concluding words are:
-arising out of the war, and it is housing.
That is the complete sentence. The hon. member for Rosedale says we have a national emergency arising out of the war, and it is in connection with housing. Then the hon. member for Eglinton gets up and asks, is there a national emergency? Why don't they get together and decide what they are going to say in the house? Actually they are not in the house just now to promote the wellbeing of any particular section except one which they particularly like to represent, namely big interests; and they are determined to put every obstacle in the way of all other hon. members trying to do business. Even after all their filibustering-
I rise on a question of privilege, Mr. Chairman, of which I think you are as well aware as I am. I believe the hon. gentleman made some reference to the fact that the hon. member for Eglinton and myself were interested in protecting certain specific interests, which was a reflection upon us. Would you kindly ask him to withdraw the remark?
I understood the hon. member for Ontario to refer to hon. members generally in that part of the house. I do not think he referred to anyone specifically.
Yes, he did.
I quoted from Hansard what was said in this house by the hon. member for Eglinton and his colleague the hon. member for Rosedale. My concluding remark was to the effect that these Tories in the house-[DOT] not any particular two or one-should get together and decide what they want to say.
There is no question at all about what the hon. gentleman said. He
stated that my colleague and myself represented only big interests, I think the term was, or something like that. He was very specific in regard to the two members and also in regard to the interests they represent. I would ask you to request him to withdraw the remark.
The hon. member for
Ontario has stated definitely that he did not say what has been alleged by the hon. member for Rosedale. His last remark was that his statement applied to a certain party in the house; and I am not asking him to withdraw.
In that case we will have to let it go until tomorrow, when Hansard will be available; but my recollection is very clear.
Mr. Chairman, we have had some question-
I understood the hon. member for Ontario had concluded his remarks.
No, not quite.
Carry on the filibuster a while longer.
The only other observation I want to make in this debate is that I am as interested as any hon. member of this house in finding out what the bill contains. I am not prepared to indulge in a lot of shadowboxing at this stage. All that is asked in the resolution now before us is that we permit the introduction of that bill. When we come to second reading, if things are not in it that we think should be in it or things are in it that we thin]; should not be there, I believe that is the appropriate time to really criticize. But until we have the bill before us we are simply flogging a dead horse in carrying on this debate, which is precisely what my hon. friends to my right have been doing all week. Though we have only another hour to sit this week I do hope we may conduct ourselves as the people of the country expect this parliament to be conducted, and permit the bill to be introduced.
I do not think the Minister of Justice questions the fact that we are dealing with a matter which affects the constitution. He has stated in clear terms that the validity of the legislation to be founded upon this resolution depends upon the existence of an emergency. Here may I say that I was not speaking about an emergency in the interesting passage read to the committee a short time ago by the hon. member for Winnipeg North. He read from a speech I made in this house some years ago, when possibly my hair was more abundant and possibly not quite as white as it is
today. As the record shows, I was talking about the Natural Products Marketing Act, which was based not upon an emergency but, as the minister well knows, upon concurrent legislation in all the provinces, and upon the theory that this legislation of the nine provinces empowered this parliament to enact legislation it might not otherwise enact. On that issue, which was as remote from the question of an emergency as a camp meeting is from a beer garden, I expressed certain views, not one word of which I desire to retract at this time. What I said had no bearing upon the question of an emergency. As a distinguished member of the legal profession, Mr. Chairman, you will recollect that this matter of the constitutionality of the Natural Products Marketing Act went first to the Supreme Court of Canada and then to the privy council. There the legislation was held to be unfounded, not because there was no emergency-because emergency was not invoked as its basis-but because the provinces had not the power to enact legislation giving jurisdiction to this parliament.
I think it well to bring these matters to the attention of the committee, and even to the attention of the hon. member for Ontario. May I remind him that we have a constitution. We pride ourselves upon respecting it. We know that our liberties and the very essence of our well-being depend upon respect for the constitution. If there be no emergency, as the Minister of Justice admits, this parliament has no competency to pass the anticipated legislation.
Now I want to say just one word about the attitude of hon. gentlemen to my left and across the way who are sometimes pleased to call us Tories. What people are called does not matter very much. If the name be disrespectful, it may reflect upon the upbringing and good taste of them who use the language; but I have no complaint on that score. This is a serious question which goes to the very wellsprings of our national existence. If it be competent to this parliament to enact legislation of this kind in the absence of a national emergency, then Canada ceases to be a confederation and becomes a unitary state. I think we will all concede that the provinces would not have come into confederation, we would not have come into existence as a nation, otherwise than on the basis of confederation, with distinct rights, privileges and powers reserved to the separate entities, the provinces, that went to make it up. I hope I can discuss this matter quite dispassionately. I am willing to assume that every hon. gentleman in this house is interested in arriving at a conclusion which will respect the constitution.
Transitional Measures Act
There are a number of gentlemen on this side of the house, some of whom have spent a life that is beginning to be long, in the pursuit of the law. They are not infallible; but some people think they know something about their profession. They are putting forward a point of view that the Minister of Justice, although opposed to it, does not consider either futile or time-wasting. I think we shall make better progress and arrive at a saner and safer conclusion if gentlemen are permitted to express their views amid that attention which is characteristic of a deliberative legislative body.
The question is one of major importance. To style this discussion a waste of time is an expression of petulance or possibly, if one wished to be extremely kind, is a failure to understand all that is at issue. There has been criticism of those who have but put forward a point of view which has found repeated expression in the courts. Some people talk very lightly of the courts. Under the Canadian system of government, which is the system of the rule of law, Canadians depend upon the courts as the final arbiter, as the great check upon the legislative and administrative branches of government. The case in which the legislation was enacted, on which I was speaking when I uttered the passage quoted by the member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Stewart), referred in no way to a national emergency. Consequently, the passage that he read has no bearing upon this present issue. I have asked the hon. minister to point to those conditions which create the national emergency which will justify the legislation.
The hon. member for Montmagny-L'Islet (Mr. Lesage) has discussed the question in a very interesting way. Nevertheless, all of the judges of the court of appeal of Manitoba arrived at a unanimous decision that the law based upon an emergency was defective for lack of power. It is quite true that at least one of them did not find it necessary to pass upon the question of an emergency because the law was found invalid for other reasons. Nevertheless, it was not said that there was no emergency. At least two of the judges found in terms most categorical that there was no national emergency. We have the finding of the trial judge and we have the unanimous finding of the court of appeal confirming that judgment, with at least two, if not three, of the members of that bench finding that there was no emergency. That being the case, it seems to me-
May I ask a question?