February 4, 1963

PRIVILEGE

MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE

PC

Douglas Scott Harkness

Progressive Conservative

Hon. D. S. Harkness (Calgary North):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Yesterday I sent to the Prime Minister my resignation as minister of national defence.

I believe it is the duty of a minister of national defence to ensure the security of Canada to the greatest extent that he believes to be possible, on the basis of the information and advice he receives. I have always believed, in pursuit of this duty as minister, that we should have nuclear weapons.

In all defence negotiations concerning nuclear weapons in which I have had a part, the sovereignty of Canada has been protected fully. We have never lost sight of the dignity or independence of this country.

I believed when I spoke here last Thursday that the position I outlined in a press release issued on Monday, January 28, was the same as that stated by the Prime Minister in his speech of January 25, as found on page 3136 of Hansard. Subsequently it became apparent to me that the Prime Minister's views on nuclear arms and my own are irreconcilable. On reflection, I believe now I made a mistake in agreeing to what would amount to a four month delay in obtaining nuclear warheads for our forces in Europe. I did so agree in the hope of getting the nuclear arms question definitely settled.

I differ from the Prime Minister in this way, that I believe we should have obtained nuclear warheads for our weapons carriers as soon as the latter were ready. I thought throughout that by remaining in the cabinet I could better achieve this purpose than by taking the easier course of resigning.

I resigned on a matter of principle. The point was finally reached when I considered that my honour and integrity required that I take this step. I shall, of course, remain in the Conservative party, and I hope to run in my constituency of Calgary North at the next election. That will be in the hands of my supporters in Calgary North to whom I hope to report shortly.

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I should like to make it clear that I absolutely reject the position on nuclear weapons set forth by the Liberal leader. That anomalous position is that Canada should evade her responsibility by accepting nuclear weapons now and then immediately negotiating out of them.

I bade farewell to my fellow ministers in the cabinet on terms of warm friendship. I thank the house for its kindness in allowing me to make this statement.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, in accordance with regular custom-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Is the right hon. gentleman rising on motions?

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

No, Mr. Speaker, I am rising in view of the statement made and simply in order to table the letter of resignation of the hon. gentleman and my reply which I sent to him today. I will say no more than I say in the letter-

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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?

An hon. Member:

Read it out.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

-namely that I regret the resignation and that I find it difficult to understand the decision in view of the statements made by the hon. gentleman on repeated occasions. I table the letters at this time.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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?

An hon. Member:

Read them.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquiflam):

May I direct a question to the Prime Minister. The right hon. Prime Minister tabled a copy of the letter which he received from the former minister of national defence, and his reply thereto. I wonder if the Prime Minister would be prepared with the consent of the house to make these two letters part of Hansard for today.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I have no objections, but I do not think that course has been followed in the past.

Topic:   PRIVILEGE
Subtopic:   MR. HARKNESS-STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION AS MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE
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PUBLIC SERVICE

RESEARCH COUNCIL

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to announce several important appointments to

Conference on Biculturalism the public service. Dr. B. G. Ballard, who has been scientific vice president of the national research council, has today been appointed president of the council. Dr. Leo Marion, who is senior director of the council and of the division of pure chemistry, has today been appointed scientific vice president of the council. Both Dr. Ballard and Dr. Marion have had long and distinguished careers with the national research council and I am sure the house will welcome their promotions to the highest offices in the council.

There is a further appointment, that of chairman of the civil service commission. The appointee of the government by order in council is Mr. Robert G. MacNeill, assistant deputy minister of national defence. Prior to his appointment by the civil service commission to the Department of National Defence two years ago, Mr. MacNeill was an officer of the Department of Finance, to which he had been transferred from the defence research board in 1949. I hope and expect that the appointment of this able and experienced civil servant to head the civil service commission will be welcomed by all.

Topic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
Subtopic:   RESEARCH COUNCIL
Sub-subtopic:   ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPOINTMENTS
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ARTS, LETTERS AND SCIENCES DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE ON BICULTURALISM

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I indicated to the house last week that I would make a statement today concerning the government's plan to convene a conference with the provincial governments to discuss biculturalism and other questions pertaining to the Canadian confederation.

It is well to recall that almost in the last years of Sir John A. Macdonald's life these words were uttered by him:

I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that, by any mode whatever, there should be an attempt made to oppress the one language or to render it inferior to the other. I believe that would be impossible if it were tried, and it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible.

That has been the stand of successive Conservative governments since. Today we proudly call ourselves Canadian citizens enjoying every attribute of freedom and sovereignty.

Confederation was achieved by a partnership of English speaking and French speaking men who believed that the destiny of the north half of this continent might be achieved in unity but not in uniformity. But for the fundamental agreements expressed in section 133 of the British North America Act, with its assurance of the rights of language in this

country, and sections 91 and 92 assuring to the provinces their jurisdiction over education and culture, there never would have been a Canada. The recognition of the two cultures and of the English and French languages was the very base and foundation of confederation.

Canada, under confederation, has prospered and grown. There have, however, arisen from time to time-periodically it takes place- questions as to whether Canada, as she approaches the close of the first century of confederation, has achieved the full' measure of the vision of the fathers of confederation. It is with this thought in mind that the government has decided to propose the calling of a federal-provincial conference, and invitations to such a conference will be dispatched to the governments of the ten provinces at once.

The scope of the conference will be of the fullest breadth. It will be asked to study ways and means of repatriating the constitution, the problem of adequate representation in the public service, crown corporations and other government agencies; the recommendations in the Therrien report; the choice of a national flag and other symbols of our national sovereignty. In brief, the conference will be asked to examine biculturalism and bilingualism in a comprehensive manner.

I know it has been suggested in some quarters that a royal commission should be appointed for this purpose. The government believes that the course which it is now announcing is much to be preferred under the circumstances to the appointment of a royal commission. Royal commissions are appointed to find facts. The facts are well known. The responsibilities are shared by two levels of government. Any royal commission must necessarily be appointed by a federal government and any recommendations that such a royal commission might make would necessarily require to be referred to a federal-provincial' conference in due course in any event. It is inconceivable, Mr. Speaker, that action would be taken by any federal government in relation to such matters without having consulted the governments of the provinces in the fullest manner. Indeed, it may well be that the recommendations of any such royal commission would almost certainly involve action by provincial legislatures as much as by parliament. For these clear reasons the government proposes the more definite and more prompt opportunity offered by a federal-provincial conference.

The conference will provide the opportunities to examine areas of disagreement

and the nature of the courses of action required to resolve them. It will be intended to contribute to unity, harmony and restatement of the goals of the Canadian confederation. It will not be its purpose to seek uniformity in a country which has chosen unity in diversity, no unity through uniformity. In correcting any injustices that might be found we shall destroy prejudice and misunderstanding. We are ready to take action to deal firmly and positively with any danger which confronts the basis of the Canadian confederation.

This is a task to which all Canadians can give their willing allegiance. Indeed, I think it is the goal' of every Canadian proud to call himself a Canadian. Our task must be not to separate but to preserve the principles of confederation, and to round out and restate its goals for the second century of our history.

Canadians must continue to offer to the world the example of a nation composed of peoples who, though differing in language, culture and traditions, hold before mankind the beacon lights of mutual understanding and mutual respect. To the original French and English strains in the Canadian population there have now been added many Canadians of other origins. They have come of their own choice to this country and have become members of the Canadian family, bringing with them their traditions and rich heritages of culture. By their contributions they have enriched, deepened and diversified the cultures of this nation.

I see the Canada of tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, stronger, more united in her diversity, drawing her strength from the partnership of the two great original cultures and enriched by the infusion of many other races and cultures. Such a Canada is destined to play an ever greater and beneficent role in the world as an example of cultures and peoples abiding together in unity. If we remain faithful to these principles and the challenges of our time, then indeed it may be said of us in years to come, as it was said of the fathers of confederation 100 years ago, "They builded better than they knew".

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of the

Opposition): Mr. Speaker, the position of our party on this matter of such vital importance to our national destiny was made clear in the house on December 17 last in a statement which I was privileged to make at that time, and which I had the privilege of repeating, in both English and French speaking parts of Canada, since I gave it in the house.

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Conference on Biculturalism

In that statement I suggested, and I still think it would be the best course notwithstanding what the Prime Minister has just said, that there should be an immediate inquiry launched by the federal government and the provincial governments to find out what is the best way of getting all the facts which bear on this vitally important problem; because I do feel, notwithstanding what has been said, that there is still room for an inquiry into the facts before the governments concerned, federal and provincial, can take the right kind of action.

I went on to say at that time that the fact that responsibility in this matter was divided in that way did not exempt the federal government from responsibility in respect of matters which come under its own immediate jurisdiction and on which it could act at once.

In the relationships between the two founding races in our confederation-and the Prime Minister has emphasized that in his statement this afternoon-partnership was never more important and separation never more disastrous than in this age of interdependence. For better or for worse we are together, and it is up to us to make it for better, inside confederation. This cannot be done by any attempt to return in any way to the earlier ideas of a centralist or legislative union, held by many fathers of confederation including Sir John A. Macdonald, any more than it can be done by insisting on the strict interpretation of the contract theory of confederation as a binding, legal compact between states. The basis must be partnership that was indeed the concept of confederation, and was the solemn understanding of those in French Canada who supported confederation.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Sir John A. Macdonald once wrote in 1868, and his words appeared in an editorial in the Montreal Gazette the other day;

My own opinion is that the general government or parliament should pay no more regard to the status or position of the local governments than they would to the prospects of the ruling party in the corporation of Quebec or Montreal.

We have come a long way from those days, Mr. Speaker, and now Quebec-indeed all the provinces but Quebec especially-is far more than a local government. It is a constitutional expression of a full and equal partnership of French speaking Canadians as a founding race in confederation. It is the reflection of the duality of our nationalism in language and in culture. In that sense Quebec is more than a province. It is a political expression within the Canadian nation of the pride of

Conference on Biculturalism millions of Canadians in a culture, a tradition, a language and a race, the recognition of which by all Canadians is essential to the unity of our country.

Mr. Speaker, no country fits less into anything approaching the pattern of having a master or a privileged race than Canada; not only because of the duality of our origin as a nation but because so many cultures, traditions and races have been added to those of the two founding races to the great benefit of Canada as a whole. Our country would be much poorer without these additional contributions.

All this does not mean that we must not try to seek and achieve a real and meaningful unity. It does mean that we must not confuse this unity with uniformity. Nor does it mean that Quebec-though more than a province-should withdraw in any respect from her place as a province in a confederation; or, more important, that we should do anything in other parts of Canada to make her wish to withdraw from that place.

French Canada is part of Canada, as Canada is part of North America, which includes the United States of America. As Quebec is not an island unto itself in Canada so, Mr. Speaker, our country is not and cannot be an island unto itself on this continent. But Canada is and Canada must remain as Quebec is and Quebec will remain, an identity and a fact. Quebec will make its own adjustments to changes industrial, cultural and political that are inevitable in a changing continent in a changing world. But Quebec will do it in her own way. As a gifted and experienced student of French Canada, an American, Professor Mason Wade, put it very recently:

While French Canada is becoming more North American it is doing so on its own terms, and it is clear that Quebec will remain French and Catholic and devoted to its traditions in the future as in the past.

(Translation):

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SC

Gilles Grégoire

Social Credit

Mr. Gilles Gregoire (Lapointe):

Mr. Speaker, I was most happy to hear, a few moments ago, the most eloquent statements of policy made by the two major political leaders of our country and of English Canada.

On behalf not only of the Social Credit group in this house but of all French Canadians throughout Canada, I should now like to express our feelings in that respect.

While we asked for the establishment of a royal commission on biculturalism, we are told that a federal-provincial conference will be called and that the premiers of the provinces and the Prime Minister of Canada will

examine the extent of bilingualism in our country and French Canadian representation in the civil service. The Prime Minister's statement leaves us with mixed feelings of joy and sadness. In our opinion, by consulting the provincial premiers regarding French Canadian representation in federal departments or crown companies, the government fails to shoulder its own responsibilities. In that field of federal jurisdiction the government should have acted on its own.

On the other hand, we agree with the Prime Minister that when it comes to choosing a national flag, the government should consult the provincial premiers to obtain a crosssection of Canadian opinion.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest, in view of the statement just made to the effect that we shall have a federal-provincial conference, instead of a royal commission, I would urge all newspapers in the country to ask all associations to submit briefs on bilingualism and biculturalism. Be they English speaking groups from the province of Quebec or elsewhere, or those who may have representations to make on the matter, either French speaking groups from the province of Quebec or French speaking groups from other provinces, I would have them send their briefs direct to the Prime Minister's office, in order to let him know, prior to that federal-provincial conference, what they mean by biculturalism and bilingualism in this country. If all our associations of both great races would submit briefs prior to the federal-provincial conference, when the time comes for us to sit around a table we would have something to help us consider the situation, and that would represent some kind of inquiry since we cannot get the inquiry we had requested.

We would like to know when that federal-provincial conference will be held; we would have liked to know who will take part in it.

The other day we inquired about it, and the reply was given that the provincial premiers would be represented, and in that way the four political parties. We would have liked to see representatives from the four political parties in the house. I have no intention to talk on behalf of the other political parties, but we would have liked to see our own representatives, in addition to both Social Credit premiers from Alberta and British Columbia who perhaps do not understand our problems as well as our own Social Credit members.

Those are a few suggestions, Mr. Speaker, that we wanted to make to the Prime Minister on the occasion of his statement. I hope he will take them under consideration and that he will bring some changes to his statement of today, in order that we may have still more satisfaction.

I was pleased to hear statements of policy from those two political leaders, for those statements make it clear that there is today an awareness of the existence of two great races, two great cultures in Canada.

(Text):

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquitlam):

Mr. Speaker, I do not think any member of the house will oppose the idea of convening a federal-provincial conference to look into the question of biculturalism and the relationships between the two great races which went to make Canada. However, we in this party feel that the government ought not to dismiss completely the value which could be obtained from appointing a royal commission to look into this matter. Federal-provincial relations and the basic matters of biculturalism and bilingualism have long concerned the people of Canada, ever since confederation.

The last royal commission which was set up to look into federal-provincial relations was known as the Rowell-Sirois commission. It was appointed in response to the economic needs and pressures of the depression days in the 1930's. Because of that fact it, of necessity, placed its major emphasis on fiscal and economic matters. But today the problems are of a different character. Growing industrialization and urbanization have created new problems. French Canadians feel with a good deal of justification that modern events are pressing in upon them and threatening the survival of their language, their culture, and those spiritual values which they cherish so dearly.

We English speaking Canadians have not always been sufficiently sensitive to this situation. While we may deplore separatism, we cannot afford to ignore the sense of grievance and injustice of which separatism is a symptom. It matters not whether we agree that there is a sense of grievance. I for one do agree. But whether we agree or not, if there is felt to be a sense of grievance then that of itself is a problem and one to which we must apply ourselves.

That is why on February 20, 1962, I issued a statement as leader of our party in conjunction with the president of the New Democratic

Conference on Biculturalism party provisional council for the province of Quebec, and I want to read only an excerpt or two from that statement, if I may, Mr. Speaker. I said:

Canadians must face the fact that, almost a hundred years after confederation, our federal-provincial and French-English relations continue to be seriously unsettled and unsatisfactory. The New Democratic party believes that we must not permit this situation to drift until it gets out of hand. We believe that there is urgent need for a thorough study of our experience of Canadian federalism and for a careful rethinking of the relations between the two nations which together make up the basic partnership in confederation.

To this end, the federal and Quebec executives of the New Democratic party propose that a federal-provincial commission on Canadian federalism and biculturalism be immediately constituted. Such a commission should bring together and draw upon the experience and knowledge of outstanding Canadians from all parts of the country. It should hold public hearings throughout the country and invite representatives of every section of the Canadian community to present their point of view and make recommendations for appropriate action.

Then later on I said:

The New Democratic party believes that a new approach is necessary on the important problem of Canada's unity. We believe that the program adopted at our founding convention, with its pioneering conception of co-operative federalism, presents such a new approach. True Canadian unity depends on equal recognition and respect for both the main cultures of our country and this is the basis on which the New Democratic proposals are formulated.

However, the task we face as a country must be understood by all our people and this requires much more intensive thought and study.

Then I proceeded to suggest the kind of outstanding people who should be appointed -university figures, men in responsible positions in the press, business, industry, labour, agriculture. I wound up by saying:

Canadians of this stature-and one could name many others-would make a lasting contribution to the constitutional and cultural future of Canada. The New Democratic party urges that the commission should be appointed now, without delay, so that Canada may celebrate the hundredth anniversary of confederation as a united country, with clear guide lines for the future.

Mr. Speaker, I submit that there is much to be said in favour of having a royal commission to enable persons who have devoted a lifetime to a study of this problem to give us the benefit of their advice and experience. The personnel on such a commission would be important. But most important of all is that it would provide an opportunity for various points of view right across Canada to be heard so that any recommendations to this parliament and to the legislatures of Canada would be made only after having studied the representations of all those interested in

Conference on Biculturalism presenting their views. That would cover not only the representatives of the two basic races who made up confederation, but also of the ethnic groups who have now brought to Canada the richness of their culture and their heritage.

I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the Prime Minister's proposal of today to convene a federal-provincial conference is not really an alternative proposal. It seems to me that such a conference would have more merit if it had before it the carefully thought out recommendations of a group of outstanding French speaking and English speaking Canadians as well as representatives of other ethnic groups.

Like the Prime Minister and some other members of this house, I have had the privilege of attending a number of federal-provincial conferences. I do not think anyone could expect that a group of men, who are as busy as the heads of ten provincial governments and the government of Canada, can possibly give the kind of time which is necessary to really find a solution to this very complicated problem. I think all experience in the past has shown that a federal-provincial conference has limited value unless it has been preceded by careful preparation and has before it specific recommendations and proposals upon which it may base its discussion.

I think there are various recommendations we could get from many parts of the country. One of the things to which I think the government of Canada ought to give consideration is the idea of setting up two bilingual colleges for senior civil servants, so that senior civil servants might go to either one of two colleges, where they would have an intensive course in the language other than their mother language and a better understanding and appreciation of the culture other than the one in which they were raised. Colleges of this nature would help to develop a properly constituted bicultural and bilingual civil service. That is the kind of thing which cannot be done merely by having regulations under the civil service commission.

In conclusion may I say that in Canada we have reached an important milestone in the history of relationships between English speaking and French speaking groups in this country. A lack of understanding at this stage could have serious consequences for the future. I believe it is possible to work out a modus vivendi. I am equally convinced that with patience, understanding and good will it is possible to chart a course of action which will strengthen and extend the point

of unity in this country. I suggest to the government that, in conjunction with a federal-provincial conference, they again give some thought to the proposal that we have a royal commission on biculturalism so that the various groups in Canada can make their suggestions, and so that the Prime Minister and the premiers of the provinces would have before them concrete recommendations based on study and on representation from all parts of the country.

Topic:   ARTS, LETTERS AND SCIENCES DOMINION-PROVINCIAL CONFERENCE ON BICULTURALISM
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February 4, 1963