§ Order for Third Reading read.6.56 pm
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Richard Luce)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
We are nearing the end of the process of considering the Bill in this House. We can all agree that it has a unique nature.
The purpose of the legislation is to give effect to a request for the amendment of the Canadian constitution, which amendment was laid before Parliament last December on the basis of a Solemn Address to Her Majesty from both Houses of the Canadian Parliament. The procedure follows a constitutional precedent stretching back for well over a century, during which the Parliament in Westminster has passed on no fewer than 14 occasions Acts amending the Canadian constitution.
This occasion is, however, a special one. The Bill will be the last of the line, because it will transfer the responsibility for amendments to the Canadian constitution to the Canadians. I do not believe that there is an hon. Member present who questions the fact that Canada is the right place for legislative authority over the Canadian constitution to reside. This is, therefore, an historic moment and one that we should welcome.
The Government have taken the view—shared, I believe, by the majority of hon. Members, as well as by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee—that, since this proposal for legislation has been put to us at the request and with the consent of the Canadian Parliament, and with the support of the majority of the provinces, it is our responsibility to enact the legislation in the form in which it has been requested. In this sense, the Bill has unique and unusual characteristics, which have imposed certain restraints on the degree of ministerial involvement in the substance.
In the process of examining the legislation many parts of the Bill have had a thorough airing in the House. Several hon. Members have subjected the Bill to the scrutiny that they customarily bring to bear on legislation in respect of territories—unlike Canada—for which the Government of the United Kingdom have administrative responsibility. That has followed naturally from the fact that the Bill includes detailed provisions touching on many political and social matters of concern to hon. Members.
Although the Government would not endorse some of the opinions that have been expressed, we believe that hon. Members had every right to express the views that they held strongly. As I said in Committee last week, I believe that what has been said has been noted by our Canadian friends. Indeed, I know that to be the case. Paradoxically, it is perhaps a comment on the close and easy relations that exist between the United Kingdom and Canada at so many levels that hon. Members have felt so much concern and have been able to bring to bear the knowledge and experience that have animated our debate.
For those of us on both sides of the Atlantic who have been closely involved in the complexities of the process 656 of patriation of the Canadian constitution which stretch back over a number of years, this has been an absorbing political and constitutional question.
This is an important Bill, because it marks the formal removal of an anomalous qualification to the exercise by Canada of its independence—an independence which de facto stretches back for many decades.
It is important because, with the removal of this unnatural anachronism, we may expect that the energies of many on both sides of the Atlantic, which have been preoccupied with the resolution of the constitutional question, may now be channelled into the further development of relations between this country and Canada.
In considering the Third Reading of the Bill—I should say to the House in passing that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will hope to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to wind up the debate—I should like to reflect for a moment on the significance of the wider relationship between our two countries.
Canada is a key member of the Commonwealth, linked with the United Kingdom through several centuries of common history, including the comradeship of two World Wars. Apart from these undoubted ties of kinship and sentiment, there are further links in the form of common membership of the NATO Alliance, of the OECD group of industrialised countries and of many other international organisations. Canada is of course a highly valued member of the international community.
There is between our two countries a profound friendship, which I do not believe any hon. Member would wish to see diminished, and we look forward to a further expansion of the political, commercial and social activities in which Britain and Canada are jointly engaged.
This afternoon, I attended the service in Westminster Abbey to mark Commonwealth Day. I can think of few more appropriate days for the House to complete its consideration of a Bill that will open a new phase in the relations of our two countries within the Commonwealth.
I therefore call upon my hon. Friends and hon. Members to support the passage of the Bill.
§ 7.2 pm
§ Mr. Clinton Davis (Hackney, Central)
I think that the whole House will join the Minister in his expressions of friendship towards Canada on behalf of the people of this country. It has been a long friendship, and I am sure that it will be a continuing one. I am equally sure that it will survive some of the criticism that I and other hon. Members have made about the constitution itself and the way in which it has been advanced by the Government in this House.
From time to time, we have expressed, some very fervently, misgivings about the timing of the Bill, the vagueness of some of its contents and some significant omissions. Underlying all that, however, is a genuine desire on the part of all of us that the patriation of Canada's constitution and the outcome of the constitutional conference that will follow will be attended with great success and will be a matter for rejoicing by all the peoples of Canada.
As the Minister has said, this is an historic Bill, and a very unusual one as it severs a bond that few people even knew existed—the bond whereby Britain alone has exclusive power to amend fundamental parts of the Canadian constitution. To sever that bond required the 657 request and consent of Canada. That request has now been forthcoming, endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the provinces—a situation that did not obtain a year ago.
Because of the change in the circumstances—and a remarkable change it has been in just over 12 months—it is imperative that the House of Commons should now signify its assent to the request. That has been the recommendation that I and my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) in leading for the Opposition have made throughout the debates, despite the qualifications that we have expressed in respect of a number of particulars.
I have no doubt that patriation will be a complete success if all Canadian people can feel that they have been and will continue to be at the centre of decision making, involved in all its complexities and actively influencing the formation of decisions that affect their lives. The Opposition have been trying to promote that objective. I am well aware that sometimes we have been criticised by people in Canada for adopting that posture, as some of them believe that we should simply have rubber stamped the Bill. To some extent, the Minister has endorsed our stand. He has commended the criticisms as being properly made in this forum, although I fully appreciate that he does not go along with our criticisms.
It has been the Opposition's judgment that success is more likely if, as friends, we voice our anxieties and, more importantly, the anxieties of important groups in Canada who feel that their pleas for justice have not been satisfactorily acknowledged hitherto. It is for that reason that we have focused attention on some of the main features of the case presented to us by the aboriginal peoples. We have run the risk of criticism, and I have been accused of interfering in the affairs of Canada. That is a mistaken impression. Happily, however, that has not been the view of wide sections of the Canadian press.
I shall emphasise the principal points that we have raised on Second Reading and in Committee. The Minister has said that the points that have been made in debate have been noted in Canada, and he says that he knows that well. I am sure that no one would doubt his word on that.
Before emphasising some of the points, I join the Minister in paying tribute to those who have made such prodigous efforts to keep hon. Members informed about events in Canada. They have briefed us about the Bill and have gone out of their way to meet hon. Members to discuss problems affecting the legislation. Like the Minister, I acknowledge the efforts made by the representatives of the federal Government, who have listened to our debates for many long, and, perhaps, tedious hours, and to the representatives of the Indian peoples, many of whom have travelled thousands of miles to be present to help us in our deliberations. I also acknowledge the efforts of the representatives of the provinces—not least, Quebec.
When the debates began, the Opposition voiced concern that the Government were trying to stampede the House into completing all the stages of the Bill before the current litigation could be decisively determined in the House of Lords. Now that we have reached the final stage, I still believe that that criticism was valid. If the Government had waited until 15 March, or a few days longer, for the conclusion of the case, I do not believe for one moment that the case for patriation would have been 658 imperilled in any way. Indeed, I believe that the opposite would have been the case. The Government would have emerged with far cleaner hands than is now possible. Justice would have been done and would have been seen to be done, and much resentment, which I fear will still be felt, would have been obviated. Instead, the Government will be charged with having colluded with the federal Government in presenting the Bill and pushing it through with unnecessary haste—the first of the Committee days coming just three parliamentary days after Second Reading. That may not be unprecedented, but it is still not helpful to the reputation of this House.
It would have been infinitely more helpful to the cause of the federal and provincial Governments if they had responded to the highly relevant matters about Quebec and the aboriginal peoples to which hon. Members have drawn attention. Unfortunately, that reluctance to respond may have reinforced the doubts and anxieties of those people about what they consider to be the motives of the Governments.
Many of those anxieties may be misplaced, but they exist and it is still not too late for a positive response to be forthcoming before Parliament has concluded its consideration of the Bill. I hope that between now and the concluding stages of the Bill in another place, or at least before the first constitutional conference takes place, the Canadian federal Government will make abundantly plain their views on some of those difficult matters.
That brings me to the value and importance of consultation. Hon. Members on both sides of the House have said that it is a matter for regret that the Indian peoples were not joined in the consultations that led to the formulation of the proposals before us. They have frequently not been consulted over many matters that affect their rights, their way of life and their cultural and educational programmes. They have not been involved, sufficiently or at all, in managing and regulating their own fisheries and other rights. They have not been sufficiently consulted about the reasons for, and the methods needed to combat, the high drop-out from schools, the enormously high level of unemployment on the reserves, alcohol abuse and a host of other problems that beset them. They have also not been consulted sufficiently when their lands and way of life have been threatened by development projects or when environmental damage and a disregard for their rights have been found necessary in the interests of modern technology and industry, from the benefits of which they have, all too often, been excluded.
It was made clear to me when I visited Canada recently that the expansion of the needs of modern industry has collided head on with the aboriginal peoples. Perhaps there is a lack of understanding by both the Indian peoples and the modern sections of society. Perhaps sufficient acknowledgment is not given to the fact that Indians regard their land and treaty rights as more than just a piece of commercial property.
The Indians claim that recent events have underlined the need for increased consultation and participation at band, provincial and national levels. That has not happened in the past and they sense that they do not effectively influence decisions that have a direct impact on them, their culture and their way of life.
Let me illustrate that with one example that I came across at first hand when visiting the Sakani tribe north of Mackenzie. I was told that lands had been confiscated for hydro-electric purposes 10 years ago and that no 659 compensation had yet been paid. Lakes have been dammed, valuable fishing rights lost and trapping lines extinguished, thereby depriving Indians of one of their links to survival. If that is true, it is no wonder that they do not have great confidence in promises of consultation on the constitutional conferences.
It is a sad fact, which cannot be altered now, that the advice of the aboriginal peoples was not sought before the constitutional proposals were drafted. They regard that as a failure which represents a breach of their treaty rights, but all the damage to confidence could be redressed if the Canadian federal Government were to declare that the Indian peoples will be involved as profoundly as the provincial Governments in the task of identifying and defining their rights, which is on the agenda for the first conference, and that they will have a major role in settling the agenda of that conference, determining who are to be their representatives and settling those matters that are essential to the lives of their people.
I understand that the Indians are asking for an assurance that the constitutional conference will not be cut off before satisfactory decisions are made to allay their doubts. They ask for assurances that there is no intention to impose on them decisions that could impair any reasonable chance of their making a worthwhile contribution to the future of Canada, which I am sure all hon. Members want.
The Indian people are looking for a watertight undertaking that there will be no collusion between the federal and provincial Governments to manipulate the constitution to deprive the Indians of their treaty rights and their land. In the light of the debates that have taken place here and in Canada, I do not believe that that situation will emerge, but the Indians still have doubts about that and I hope that they will be allayed.
The Indians seek a binding undertaking that the word "existing" which has been imported into clause 35 and has been the subject of much comment in the Houses of Commons here and in Canada has not been imported in order to deprive them of, or to adulterate, their treaty and aboriginal rights. I know that Canada's Minister of Justice, Mr. Chrétien, has said that the word is "meaningless", but many of us, here and in Canada, and in our sister party in the Canadian Parliament, have found his explanation unconvincing. The trouble is that imprecision about basic rights is obviously unsatisfactory.
The Indians are concerned that the constitution will be construed by the courts as meaning that their rights, which may not yet have been adjudicated upon, may be ignored and that rights that have been trespassed upon in the past and allegedly extinguished by prescription, will be deemed to have been forfeited.
The Indian peoples seek assurances that the constitutional talks will not end after one year and that they will not be shut out of any succeeding conference, as appears to be possible under clause 49. They would interpret such an act as a savage repudiation of their basic rights. Many misgivings have been expressed about that in the House.
Is it conceivable that all those outstanding problems can be resolved in a year? What if they are not? Who will then decide on the interpretation and definition of the Indian people's rights and how will that be done? What right of appeal exists against any injustice that may occur? I do not suggest that miracles can be worked overnight or that problems that have beset the Indian peoples can vanish overnight, but surely it is not too much to expect that 660 before patriation, or at least before the first constitutional conference is held, glaring ambiguities in the federal and provincial Governments' attitudes and policies towards treaty and aboriginal rights will be cleared up.
I am reinforced in making those points by the Minister's comments that our deliberations have been listened to with care in Canada. I also believe that to be the case. Having reiterated the doubts, I repeat that some of the doubts have been exaggerated. In a battle of ideas where people are seeking to advance a cause it is not unknown that exaggerated statements may be made.
We have embarked on a course about which the House, with a few exceptions, will be delighted. We are about to abandon what many of us regard as an unnecessary task. We wish Canada and all its peoples the success that they deserve. In their dealings in international affairs over the years they have a record on human rights which is second to none. They have shown in their recent observations and policies about delicate matters affecting central America that they are capable and, indeed, desirous of taking a line that is independent of their neighbours in the United States.
My wish, as I have said before, is that the Canadian people will be able to rejoice in the patriation of their constitution and that the friendship between our two peoples will be reinforced and made ever stronger by the step that this Parliament is about to take.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
I explained on the Second Reading why I could not vote in favour of the passage of the Bill at this time. I took the decision on the high ground of constitutional propriety and legal principle. I am bound to say that nothing I have heard or read either on Second Reading or in subsequent proceedings in the House, or in the spirited correspondence in The Times newspaper, has caused me to doubt the validity and correctness of the submission that I made to the House. I rise now to say, simply and shortly, that this is still my position, and that I also know it to be that of some of my right hon. and hon. Friends.
To legislate while these constitutional matters are still awaiting consideration and decision by the courts in Canada is to incur the risk of a conflict between, on the one hand, an Act of Parliament valid in English law according to the principle of the sovereignty of Parliament, which is appropriate to us here as a unitary State without a written constitution and, on the other hand, if the Quebec appeal ultimately succeeds—it is not for us in the House or in this country to anticipate the result of these legal proceedings—a decision by those courts that there has been a breach of the constitutional convention at the heart of the federal-provincial relationship. It is a conflict, if we proceed to legislate now, that we cannot be certain to avoid.
That would be an outcome as unwelcome as it would be dangerous. It is a risk that we neither need nor should incur. It is a risk that a short delay can effectively remove. Surely a short delay is but a small price to pay for so great a gain.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I rise to support the Third Reading of the Bill and to congratulate the Canadian Government, and especially the Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau, on having secured the assent of 661 most of those concerned, certainly the majority of the provinces and the people of Canada. Last week, I was invited to Canada—and I went. It is said of those who come from Cardiganshire that they cast their bread upon the waters when they know the tide is coming in. I was glad to go.
An old friend of many hon. Members, Mr. Paul Martin, a former Canadian High Commissioner, former Leader of the Government in the Senate, and former Secretary of State for External Affairs—a very distinguished statesman—was having the honour of a chair of international affairs named after him at the University of Windsor, Ontario. I had the good fortune to be asked to speak before a large assembly at which the Prime Minister and a number of members of the Canadian Cabinet were present.
I took the opportunity—I know that the House will agree that this was right—to say that, whatever may have been stated in debates in this House by those who had more reservations than myself about the Bill, there was nothing obstructive or frivolous in the case that was made, that these were genuine concerns and that all hon. Members felt that if a Bill was placed in front of us any hon. Member should have the opportunity of speaking to it, although it was my hope that they would not vote on it. However, there were some votes.
I might add, in view of the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis), that I left behind a couple of copies of Hansard. Provided that these are read, hon. Members can be certain that whatever the High Commissioner or anyone else may have done, there is a full awareness of what took place here. Nor should we overlook the fact that the debates have been fully reported in the Canadian press. Hon. Members' speeches have been dissected, some flatteringly and some not so flatteringly. Comparisons have been made between hon. Members and Members of the Canadian House of Commons, not always to our advantage. Generally, hon. Members can be sure that the full value of everything stated in this House has been noted.
I wish therefore to utter one word of warning. It is this. These affairs must be affairs between the Canadian Parliament, the Canadian courts and the people of Canada whether they live in Quebec or whether they be Indians. Nothing that we say should detract from that. There is, on the part of some people, a last-minute discovery of Indians for whom we have had responsibility that we have not exercised for 100 years. We must not treat the people of Canada, the Government of Canada or the courts of Canada with any less respect than would be found in our approach to these matters with regard to our responsibilities to our own citizens. There is a full awareness of them.
It is not for us to act in a grandmotherly way and to try to teach the Canadian Parliament or the Canadian courts what to do or how they should handle these matters that will now fall to them. I say that only to try to redress the balance. If so much emphasis is to be put on the rights and the grievances—I concede the grievances—of these groups, it should be stated, on the other hand, that it is the responsibility, which I have no doubt will be carried out, of those in authority in Canada, to ensure that the grievances are remedied.
662 I think during my visit that I removed some doubts. I had the opportunity to defend the position of some of my hon. Friends before the Prime Minister and most of the members of his Cabinet. It was a large audience. I did my best for my colleagues. There seems, however, to be a general feeling among Canadian politicians that we in this House are awfully slow in getting on with the process.
There is no doubt that when this act takes place it will be treated with great solemnity and great formality in Canada. I should therefore like to put to the Government the suggestion that the Parliament at Westminster might be associated with the formal handing over of the Act of independence. It would be less than the occasion merits if we were not to do so.
I should like finally to echo what has been stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central and by the Minister. If there is one thing that those who visit Canada from time to time know—it was emphasised to me last week—it is that, although Canada wishes to live on the best of terms with its great southern neighbour, it does not wish to be swamped by the United States. It wants to hear an independent voice. It likes to hear even a British voice, on occasion, that is not putting forward an American point of view.
Canada has a big task in continuing to build up a nation out of the numerous ethnic groups that make up that great country. I believe that this measure, treated solemnly and formally by Canada, will be yet another opportunity for Canada to assist in building the nation that it seeks to build. It has a very great future. I should like humbly to wish Canada every success in the task it is undertaking in preserving its own separate voice and in feeling that it has close connections with this country and to urge, as did my hon. Friend, that we should do all we can to build up our relations with that great country, which I have no doubt has a considerable future ahead of it.
§ Sir John Biggs-Davison (Epping Forest)
The House hopes that the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) had a pleasant and useful visit to Canada. We are grateful to him for putting in a word for us with the Canadian Government and for trying to put this unruly Assembly in a better light.
As my hon. Friend the Minister said, this is a unique and unusual Bill. It has been educational—educational for us—because by it a number of us have learnt a great deal about Canada. It has brought us closer to our counterparts, to whom the right hon. Gentleman referred, in the other House of Commons and the Senate, many of whom are joined with us in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
As part of this educational process we have all received hundreds of letters from Canadians of all parties and none. I am most grateful to them for acquainting me with their opinions, which have been varied. Some objected to the Charter of Rights as diminishing the parliamentary system that they cherish, as we do. The charter, for understandable reasons, differs from the late John Diefenbaker's Bill of Rights, which is a statute of Canada 1960 and preserves the supremacy of the Canadian Parliament. Some of my letters, notably from Quebec, have told me that they do not want patriation of the constitution.
During the weekend I turned the pages of a book written by Professor George Glazebrook entitled "A Short History 663 of Canada". It was published in 1954—some time ago. Professor Glazebrook remarked on the retention, after the Statute of Westminster, of an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, long since gone, and tothe process of amendment of the British North America Act by the United Kingdom Parliament. These however represented Canadian wishes, however confusing they might be to a logician, were not to be regarded as compromising equality of status.
It is worth remembering that the continuance of the British North America Act was not the sole derogation in the Statute of Westminster from the sovereignty of Commonwealth realms. The Statute of Westminster bound signatories to accept the veto of partners on anyalteration to the law touching the Succession to the Throne or Royal Style and Titles.Therefore, Canada limits the sovereignty of the United Kingdom in respect to the Head of State, a position about which the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English) had something to say in earlier debates.
I doubt whether, until recently, reliance on a statute of this Parliament as the basis of Canadian confederation has exercised the minds of many in Canada or in this country. Anomalies can have utility as well as old world charm. Conservatives can warm to them and it is part of the liberal ethos to remove them. As long ago as 1922 another professor, Professor Kennedy of Trinity college, Dublin, published a book called "The Constitution of Canada", in which he said thatsuggestions are abroad for change and the imperial government will be brought sooner or later face to face with a position of extreme delicacy.
I wish that all speeches in our debate had reckoned with the extreme delicacy of our position. Not even the imperious impatience of Mr. Trudeau, or his somewhat lavatorial imagery, justify the assaults that have been made in debate upon Canadian conduct of Canadian affairs, of the kind, for example, made from the Opposition Front Bench on Second Reading by the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis), who gave the impression, although perhaps he did not intend to, that he equated what he deemed our right to exercise criticism of Canadian policy towards aboriginal peoples with the right to criticise the absence of certain human rights in South Africa or El Salvador. That would seem to be a most unfortunate way of talking.
If, as the hon. Gentleman has said, King George's or Queen Victoria's treaty obligations were not long since for implementation by the Crown in Canada and Her Majesty's Canadian Minister, we, on this side of the Atlantic and in this House, have been criminally remiss in only awakening now to the existence of those obligations. My main concern is to ensure that in the Bill the request, which it is the purpose of the Bill to satisfy, came in due form and that, in the words of the third report of the Foreign Affairs Committee, itin all the circumstances conveys the clearly expressed wishes of Canada as a federally structured whole.
However, Quebec still dissents and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), who knows so much more than I do about constitutional law, and all law, has made the point again tonight. Quebec has had its veto through the generations. I have spoken of the unique position of that province, both on Second Reading and in Committee, and I shall not repeat myself now.
The Government will have their Bill tonight. I voted for it on Second Reading out of deference to the dignity and 664 sovereignty of Canada, but it would be misunderstood if I were to vote for the Bill on Third Reading. I hope that there will not be a Division. If there is, I shall abstain.
The Bill will now go to the other place. It is not for us to tell their Lordships how to deal with the Bill in their turn. However, if the matter of the Quebec veto were to be settled by the courts before it was finally disposed of in this Parliament—the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said that we should have respect for the courts as well as the Parliament of Canada—no one would be worse off.
It may not appear so to Her Majesty's present Government in Canada, but many have asked the obvious question why there is such haste in changing the constitution of 115 years, given the recognition of all parties in this place that in future Canadians should have a constitution made for Canadians in Canada. Be all that as it may, on this Commonwealth day I join all hon. Members in this debate in wishing all that is good to what that great Canadian Tory, Sir John A. Macdonald, called not the dominion but the kingdom of Canada. May Canada flourish with all her provinces and peoples.
§ Mr. Bruce George (Walsall, South)
If I strike a note of dissent from this Anglo-Canadian "love-in" it is not out of any disrespect for Canada. Quite the reverse. One of the reasons why I have been opposing patriation on principle, the timing of it and the process under which it has been undertaken is that I hold Canada in such high esteem. Canada is not just made up of the two so-called founding nations, the English and the French. There have been other founding nations whose interests have undoubtedly been neglected in the proceedings in Canada, although not neglected here. No native person or representative could say that the British Parliament had not espoused their cause with considerable vigour. I shall be opposing the Third Reading, and I ask other hon. Members to join me Those hon. Members who cannot oppose it will, I hope, like the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison), abstain.
I am saddened to learn that on Wednesday a petition that was launched by the Indian Association of Alberta will be examined by the Law Lords. It is tragic that we should be proceeding today, two days before an important decision may be made by the House of Lords, and, shortly before Second Reading in the House of Lords the Court of Appeal in Quebec will be beginning its investigation. It is sad that we are proceeding before that is concluded.
One of the most important remarks in our proceedings was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara). He said that if we proceeded and neglected the Quebec case there were those in Quebec who would see the "Anglos" ganging up on both sides of the Atlantic against the French in Canada. If that occurs, we shall have to accept some responsibility for it.
I do not see why we should be moving quite so quickly. I do not agree with those who, in the atmosphere of self-congratulation—justifiable in some case—argue that it is all over bar the shouting. It may be that those hon. Members who vote against Third Reading will not be successful. But the Bill will go to another place, and the House of Lords knows a great deal about what it is to be an ancient institution under threat of extinction. There are those in the House of Lords who will be prepared to devote the same concern that many hon. Members have in this 665 House to the rights of indigenous peoples. We are talking about the rights of the fullblooded Indians, the Métis and the non-status Indians, and the Inuit—people who have expressed their views by corning over here and by writing to us.
There are those who think that the Indian nations in Canada can give very little to the Canada of the future and that their contribution is one that has passed. We ought to pause and say that there is a vibrant culture within the Indian nations of Canada. They have given a great deal to Canada. After all, it was very important that there was assistance given to the settlers in developing Canada. Indeed, in the whole of America it was Indian gold that helped finance the economic boom of Europe. We must also remember that half the world's food supply has been grown from crops domesticated by Indians. That is often almost forgotten. We must realise the importance of Indian philosophy and Indian culture and the respect that the Indians have for the environment. We must remember, too, that it was the Americans who looked very closely at government amongst the Iroquois in devising their own system of checks and balances. There are people who have contributed a great deal to Canada from among the native peoples in both peace and war.
The native peoples in Canada argue that their culture should not be swamped. My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), himself a former Prime Minister, talked about the fear of Canada being swamped by America. That is true, but the Indian nations in Canada fear being swamped by a dominant white culture. The Indians have been subjected to the process of civilising—"teaching the savages, saving them from themselves", and "remaking the Indian in the white man's mould." That has been Government policy from the beginning. It has been a process of assimilating the native peoples into the dominant culture.
The Indian peoples are reacting against that. In their contact with the native peoples, the whites offered treaties, the Bible, bottles of whisky and the bludgeon. It is not surprising that people reject this forced "civilising" process.
The native peoples have demands that we obviously have not been able to realise, although we have been prepared to put their case and although there are differences within the organisations based on whether they are full-blooded Indians, mixed bloods or Inuit. Nevertheless, there are certain common characteristics in their cause, including the right to have greater control over their destiny.
We talk a lot about self-determination. Why should not nations within major countries such as Canada have the right to a greater control over their own destinies? After all, prior to contact with the British and the French, they governed themselves. Ultimately, there has to be a greater recognition of the desire for more control, political and economic, over their own destiny.
It is also important that the Indian view that the treaties that they sign and that they hold sacred is accepted by those who sign the treaties with them and that there should be a recognition of the concept of aboriginal rights, which is being chipped away by the courts.
It is important for the Indians to recognise a secure land base upon their reserves, to have control over what is on the soil and under the soil, and not to have that resource 666 taken from them. It is important that their language and culture are preserved and that they are not subject to assimilation. In short, it is vital that there is a positive assertion on the part of the Canadian Government that aboriginal and treaty rights have existed in the past, still exist and should be confirmed and upheld in the future—a reaffirmation of the special status of aboriginal peoples.
There is still time, in the period before the House of Lords deliberates, for the Canadian Government to come to this Parliament and make a positive gesture and not simply to display an indifference towards the native peoples. Our debates in the House have been reported. The mail that we have received shows that much of what we say is being reported, at least in Canada, although not to a great extent in this country, where the issue of aboriginal rights has met with a massive indifference from the media.
The Bill is detrimental to native peoples. When one thinks of the making of the constitution in the United States of America, the image grows up of constitution-makers being neutral, fine, upstanding figures who subsequently are idealised by posterity. When we look at the process by which this constitution was made, we see that many of the dealings were sordid. It would be very difficult for historians to eulogise those provincial Premiers, the Prime Minister of Canada and these proceedings as though those figures had brought down tablets from on high and applied them neutrally. The tablets may be of benefit to some in Canada but certainly not to a minority of the people who were there first. A constitution must be founded on consent. A constitution that is not so founded will have great difficulty in being accepted.
Even though the champagne corks are popping provisionally, and will be popping again when the House of Lords finally passes the legislation, many people will view the proceedings with rather less affection than those who will be celebrating.
The Bill is detrimental to native peoples. If we look at the Charter of Rights and compare what is contained in the Bill about those international obligations that Canada has signed—the international covenant of civil and political rights, the International Labour Organisation's tribal populations convention, which they have not signed but which I wish they had, and the Helsinki Final Act—we see a gulf between the aspirations contained in the charter and those that Canada ostensibly supports.
There has grown up a body of human rights law that ought to be observed. Since the Second World War we have seen a plethora of international conventions, conferences and United Nations declarations on human rights. One person has said:Human rights are no longer a stray collection of moral principles which ought to influence the legislature. Every human right can be legally defined, interpreted and implemented. Human rights now form a coherent body of law.
Clause 35 is a sordid agreement between the provinces and the Federal Government—what Mr. Chrétien described as "quintessentially a liberal compromise". The process by which that was agreed was quite despicable, and it is obvious that aboriginal rights are not entrenched in the Bill. There has been a lack of consultation with the Indians in creating the so-called accord, and it is obvious that the Indians will play only a marginal role in the post-patriation conference. As some hon. Members said last week, they are not even given observer status at the 667 conference that will take place 15 years from now. By that time it is surely hoped by some Canadians that the Indian problem will have been resolved.
The amending formula can be used to extinguish treaty rights and aboriginal title. Indeed, the land base of the Indians can be taken away, as can their resources. The role of the governor-general can be, and has been used hitherto, to protect aboriginal peoples. Lord Denning pointed out in his recent judgment how important was the role of the governor-general. But in future the governor-general will be powerless to assist native peoples if their rights are trampled on. In this Bill, in defining the Canadian constitution, there is no reference to the crucial element of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which Lord Denning regarded as the Indians' Bill of Rights. In the proceedings that have been concocted by politicians in Canada, which they have dignified with the name of a constitution, many of the processes can be used to introduce legislation without native consent, and legislation that would be inimical to native interests.
Hon. Members have sought to remedy some of the Bill's deficiencies by means of amendments. Some people will say "What an impertinence that Members of Parliament here should table amendments to try to improve legislation in Canada." I recognise that, but it is my view, as a Member of Parliament who has an interest in human rights, that we have every right to table amendments, and the Government have every right to defeat them, as they have done. Some of our amendments were an attempt properly to define aboriginal rights. We sought to devise a real process of consultation for native peoples in the immediate post-patriation conference, and a real role in the conference 15 years hence. We proposed an aboriginal rights commission, which could be set up if the post-patriation conference failed to reach proper agreement. That aboriginal rights commission could be of enormous assistance in protecting aboriginals in Canada.
In other amendments we proposed amending the amending formula to ensure real consent by native peoples before decisions affecting them were made. We proposed amendments to strengthen the role of the governor-general. We proposed amendments to reinsert the important Royal Proclamation within the constitution of Canada. We fought, and lost, to delete the word "existing" from clause 35 which so many people—politicians in Canada, and certainly natives themselves, as well as academic observers—said was detrimental to native peoples. We fought, too, to prevent future legislation—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)
Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but we must not go over the amendments again. This is the Third Reading, and the hon. Gentleman should stick to what is in the Bill, not what he would like to have seen in it.
§ Mr. George
I am delighted that I managed to say all that I intended to say before you pulled me up, Mr. Weatherill.
If the Bill passes all its stages unamended, there are many people who will be sad—not just native peoples, but the many people who have written to me. Since the campaign began, I have received more than 3,500 letters, of which only five were abusive or supported the Prime Minister. To those who were abusive, I say "Same to you, fella". I hope that those who have not received replies will realise the difficulties that we are in. Some people will 668 continue to express their opposition to the measure in the courts, through the legislators in Canada, and through international facilities that will be available to those who wish to have recourse to those institutions.
Native peoples have fought hard to preserve their right to exist, their land, and their livelihood. Many of us here have done all that is in our power to expose Canada's intentions and hope that Canada will recognise what has been said. We hope, even at this late stage, that Canada will take measures to allay the fears that many people have expressed during the past few weeks.
I have no regrets at having opposed the Prime Minister. She has been invited to Canada in the past, and no doubt she will be invited there again. The first time that I went to Canada and expressed my hostility to a somewhat surprised audience, I was rewarded for my pains by a debate in the Canadian House of Commons, suggesting that I be given the elbow from the country unless I mended my ways. I have not bowed to such pressure. I hope that the campaign will not cease, following the passage of the measure through this legislature. I hope that native peoples will recognise that a great fight has been put up on their behalf. Canadians must surely recognise that merely passing legislation from this House denying the rights of native peoples is far from being the end of the battle. That battle will continue, and I hope that it will finally be resolved when the native peoples of Canada are afforded the rights and dignity to which I believe they are fully entitled.
§ Sir Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
Not one of us in this House would dissent from what the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said about the constitutional future of Canada resting with the Canadian Parliament, the provincial Assemblies, the courts and the people of Canada, and with no one else. If the Bill provided for the repeal of our powers to amend the Canadian constitution, we would all gladly nod it through with the greatest good will towards the Canadian people and that would be the end of the matter. However, the Bill contains more than that. It contains a new constitution and a Bill of Rights which Canada was incapable of legislating for herself, and parts of which have not even been debated in the Canadian Parliament.
The content of the Bill and its schedules has occupied the attention of this House and its Committee for nearly 19 hours. Virtually every minute has been spent on discussing issues of great importance both to this country and to Canada. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that he told his Canadian audience that we have not addressed ourselves to these weighty matters in a light or frivolous way.
This has been a debate without precedent. It has been an extraordinary debate, and one which I hope we shall not experience again, because we who have moved amendments have been talking to a blank wall. Ministers have given us answers that have borne no relation to the arguments. They remind me of the King in Hamlet whose words "fly up", but whose "thoughts remain below". They have told us that we have no option—echoing, of course, Prime Minister Trudeau—but to accede to the Canadian Government's request to enact the Bill without amendment. They are not open to any persuasion, and that is wrong.
669 We warn that to ignore Quebec, one of the two founder nations of the Canadian federation, is to run grave risks, and Ministers clap their hands over their ears. We speak of native rights, and they turn away. They displayed a brief, fleeting moment of unease when we spoke about the international covenant on civil and political rights, but we were assured that this is a matter for Canada, not for us, completely ignoring the fact that we here are enacting legislation which the Canadian Parliament cannot itself enact, and knowing that in so doing we may be in violation of the covenant. In their attitude they signify that Prime Minister Trudeau was right when he said that British parliamentarians have no option but to hold their noses and pass this legislation.
None of us who have spoken even thought that it would be otherwise. Every word that I have uttered in the debate, and I suspect that every word uttered by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides, is addressed not to the Front Bench but to Canada where, if the letters that I have received over the past year are any guide, there is a deep unease among decent and thoughtful Canadians about the constitution to which we are being made party to foist on them. The fact remains that the Bill will leave the House today unamended, as we suspected it would, because the Government believe it expedient that that should happen and, sadly, because the Opposition Front Bench—which could have taken a different view—agreed that expediency should take precedence over principle.
Although it is to the credit of the Opposition Front Bench that it has joined in detailed examination of the grave deficiencies that mar the Bill, Opposition right hon. and hon. Gentlemen have also followed the path of expediency and have decided not to support amendments—their own included—which would have made the measure less objectionable. Presumably Opposition Members think—with what appears to me to be considerable optimism—that they may form a Government once again in the future and would prefer not to face the wrath of a Canadian Government failing to collaborate in what the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) rightly described as the deception being practised upon certain important interests in Canada.
I must, therefore, make it plain that I cannot support the Bill and I shall summarise my principal reasons. I join several hon. Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison), who spoke in Committee last week, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), who spoke on Second Reading, in saying that it is wrong and shortsighted to pass the Bill before the Canadian courts have ruled that the Canadian Parliament's resolution is constitutional. The House is indebted to my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East and to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Sir C. Fletcher-Cooke) for stating in their letters in The Times on 25 February and 4 March why it is unacceptable to proceed with such indecent haste with the Bill.
The case of the Quebec Government will be heard a week today in the Quebec Court of Appeal. Their case is that the Canadian Parliament's resolution—on which the Bill is based—is unconstitutional. "Unconstitutional" is a formidable word. It is unconstitutional because it does not 670 have the assent of the province of Quebec and does not meet the requirements of the Supreme Court of Canada—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. I am sorry, but the hon. Gentleman is straying from the contents of the Bill. We heard such arguments in Committee, but they are not in order now.
§ Sir Bernard Braine
With great respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I seek to stress that certain weighty matters about constitutionality relating to the Bill's contents should be brought to the attention of the House. The Bill is being rushed through without proper regard to outside events. It is highly relevant that two court cases are pending. One is to be heard in Canada, and I should have thought that that was important. If this great constitutional issue is for the Canadians and for the Canadians alone, what right have we to ignore—by rushing ahead with the Bill—what may happen in the courts of Canada? If Quebec wins its case in the Canadian court and the court rules that what is being done is unconstitutional, the matter will doubtless proceed to the Supreme Court of Canada. That is the accepted procedure for resolving Canadian issues of the highest importance, upon which the very future of the Canadian confederation depends.
Despite the undoubted fact that Canada, by its established practices and procedures, is about to reach a Canadian decision on a Canadian issue that is vital to the future of Canada, the British Government are asking Britain to use its remaining jurisdiction—wielding what the Government have called an anachronistic power—to pre-empt a Canadian decision. What clearer example could there be of gross interference by Britain in Canada's internal affairs? It is wrong to do that. The Bill represents a blind act of expediency that threatens the very integrity of the delicately balanced union that we helped to create 115 years ago and that has long been regarded as one of the most imaginative acts of British statemanship. If, because we pre-empt Canada's internal judicial process, that delicately balanced unity is shattered and Quebec is driven from the confederation, we shall rightly be blamed by future generations of Canadians and Quebecois.
That is not all. A second legal action is pending in Britain, and the Government, in their blind haste, are ignoring it. The day after tomorrow our highest court will consider the petition of the Indians of Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and whether it should hear the Indians' application for a judicial review of their treaties with the Crown. If, on Wednesday, it is decided to hear the case, the matters to be argued will concern the Crown's obligations towards the native people of Canada. The points of argument are complex and I shall not take up time by dealing with them now. However, they are weighty and that is demonstrated by the many days of argument in the Court of Appeal, the length of the deliberations and the judgments by Lord Denning and his fellow judges.
I understand that there are additional arguments which learned counsel for the Indians has asked the Law Lords to consider when they review the judgment of the Court of Appeal. It would be wrong for me to go into details, because I am not competent to do so. However, like every other hon. Member, I am competent to make a political judgment on the central issue which the Government are determined, once again, to pre-empt.
The hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) intervened on Second Reading while my right hon. Friend 671 the Lord Privy Seal was giving his reasons for not waiting to hear the decision that is shortly to be made by the other place. The hon. Gentleman was right to ask why the Government had delayed the Bill until the ruling of the Court of Appeal on 28 January, but had decided to go ahead while later proceedings were pending in the other place. My right hon. Friend referred to the decision of the Court of Appeal and said:It was clear and definite … there comes a moment when one cannot wait for further possible litigation.… We might easily wait for years."—[Official Report, 19 February 1981; Vol. 18, c. 296.]
That was no answer to a question concerned solely with a specific action before the courts. To assert that the judgment of the Court of Appeal was clear and definite was to imply that the Law Lords would automatically endorse it. The day after tomorrow we shall learn whether my right hon. Friend was right. Surely another two days' delay would not have caused a crisis in our relations with the Canadian Government. The Canadians have waited 50 years for control of their constitution and all that was needed before we proceeded was a further two days. If the judgment of the Court of Appeal was undeniably correct, my right hon. Friend would have had a more plausible excuse for pressing ahead with the Bill's completion. However, as we all know, the Law Lords not infrequently overrule the Court of Appeal. No doubt the Government felt that it was better not to risk that.
What would have happened if the Third Reading had been delayed for a couple of weeks? First, we would have had the benefit of a full hearing of the Alberta Indians' case. That would have given the House an opportunity to hear the Law Lords decision concerning the Crown's responsibilities in the right of the United Kingdom. Secondly, it would have allowed us to take into account the judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal on whether the Bill that we are about to pass is constitutional in Canadian terms—a double risk that the Government might have been obliged to have second thoughts about this measure.
I have already contended—and I do so again—that the Government's persistence in riding roughshod over the judicial process is an unacceptable abuse of power. I have a special reason for saying that. The importance of the Alberta Indians' case is that it concerns the position of the Queen. The Bill will leave us today before we have been able to consider the Law Lords ruling on the extent of the Queen's responsibility towards the native peoples of Canada.
The Government are in a great hurry. They are rushing headlong into this legislation, blinkered against possible consequences both to Canada and to Britain. They cannot wait for next week's hearing in Quebec. They cannot even wait 48 hours for the Law Lords decision. They have made arrangements for the Second Reading in another place on 18 March and for the completion of all the Bill's stages a mere five days later. I understand that because of the different procedures in another place debate will be much more limited there than it is here.
Why such haste? I am reminded of Chesterfield's aphorism:Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.That may be too kind an explanation.
A crucial question remains unresolved, even at this late hour. It is inconceivable that Ministers have not grasped the implications, namely, the position of the Queen, both 672 in relation to the Indian treaties and the role of her governor-general in Canada and the fate of her discretionary powers.
Once the Canada Act becomes law, section 48 will turn the governor-general into a nodding automaton. Once the Bill is enacted, section 52 will provide that schedule B is the supreme law of Canada and that any law inconsistent with it is of no force or effect. As the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said this may be a matter for Canadians. Of course it is. This will be their problem and they will have to deal with it. However, this Parliament is required to make it possible—without our action, it cannot take place—and it should know that some of these provisions were not debated in Ottawa at all. I for one will not be party to such manipulation.
There is a further reason why I cannot support the Bill. I argued on Second Reading, and again in Committee, that if we enact the Bill as it stands we shall be in breach of our international human rights obligations. In particular, we shall be in breach of the covenant on civil and political rights which the Government have ratified, as indeed have the Government of Canada. At the same time, we shell have failed in the duty which the House owes to protect the rights of minorities and to redress their grievances when it is within our power to do so.
My hon. Friend the Minister of State did the House and myself the courtesy of giving further thought to what I said about breaches of our obligations under the international convenant. He told us that the matter had weighed upon his mind. I had no doubt that it would. He is a sincere man and he is sensitive to questions of human rights. I know that from long experience. Yet, without any kind of explanation, he pronounced himself satisfied that we would not flout the covenant by passing the Bill.
With great respect, it is of little use telling us, as he did, that the Canadian people have recourse to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. They know that very well. He will doubtless have been advised that the Human Rights Commission has already considered the case of Sandra Lovelace, a Canadian Indian victim of violations of the covenant of civil and political rights. The commission has not only considered the allegation; it found, as recently as July last, that Canada was in breach of article 27 of the covenant.
I am not plucking allegations out of the air. I am talking about the realities which Canadian Indians now understand, even if, in the past, they were ignorant of them. It is to be hoped that the Government and the Canadian Parliament will take appropriate action to remedy that violation of the covenant. I say no more about it.
The question which concerns the House is whether the Bill—not some action in Canada—for which the United Kingdom Parliament will be held responsible at the bar of history, conforms to article 2(2) of the covenant. That article requires us to take the necessary steps in accordance with our constitutional processes to adopt such legislative measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights that are recognised by the covenant.
If the Government argue that we have no responsibility for the civil and political rights of the Canadian native peoples, they are turning a blind eye to a fact that has been repeated here time and again. The undeniable fact is that the Canada Bill is going on to our statute book. It contains a detailed charter of rights and freedoms. For the moment it is a matter within our legislative jurisdiction. When it 673 is whipped through this House it is whipped through with all its deficiencies. If it contravenes our obligations under the covenant, that is our responsibility and no one else's.
The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), in an impressive speech last week, quoted a paper prepared by Professor James Fawcett, three times President of the European Commission of Human Rights. In that paper, Professor Fawcett states unequivocally that it is our business—Britain's business, the British Parliament's business—to ensure that all individuals subject to our jurisdiction have their rights recognised.
The Canadian native peoples, although not within our territory, are subject to our jurisdiction until such time as the Bill is finally enacted. It may be a constitutional fiction, but there is a responsibility here, and I for one am not prepared to rubber-stamp legislation of this kind. It is wrong for us to shuffle off the responsibility, and I shall not be associated with such a breach of our duty.
There is one hope left, and it is clearly the best hope of all. It is that Canada—a country which has been in the van of decency in international conduct throughout my life, and in particular since the Second World War—will not be deaf to what has been said in this House. It is my hope that another Parliament and another people will take heed of what is being said here. There are already indications that this hope is not without foundation.
It has been a most unusual debate. We have been talking here not to the Government Front Bench. I have been critical of Ministers, and have felt sorry, in a way, that they have been put in an embarrassing position by a request which came to them prematurely and which had not been properly thought through. I acquit the Government of any responsibility for that. The only thing that they could have done was to delay proceedings, as I have suggested, until the matter had been better clarified. That said, we have been talking here not to the Government Front Bench but across the Atlantic to another Parliament and to another people—a people with their own destiny to fulfil.
Perhaps Canadians themselves will put to their own political leaders the questions that we have raised here. Perhaps they will themselves demand the full and satisfactory answers that we have been unable to obtain here. I hope so. At least we shall have faced the issues squarely in our own House. Some of us will have tried to keep faith with our duty here and at the bar of world opinion. If the issues that we have raised are taken up again in Canada, history may well judge that our efforts have not been in vain.
§ Mr. David Ennals (Norwich, North)
Nothing that I shall say in relation to the Bill, the conduct of the British Government or the Canadian Government, will be said other than in a spirit of friendship with Canada which goes back well over 40 years. I discovered Canada in 1938. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), I went to Windsor, Ontario. I want nothing but good relations between Britain and Canada. It is the fact that we are such good friends that enables us to speak as frankly as some of us have during the debates on the Bill.
As the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine) has dealt at length with the legal argument, I shall 674 not touch upon it, but I do not believe that we have any reason to be proud of the actions of either the British Government or the Canadian Government in relation to the Bill and the issues that lie behind it. We have before us a Bill and a Charter of Rights which, although it has been ruled we can amend, we know we cannot, and which the Government will neither justify nor explain.
The Canadian Government also appear to have sworn some sort of vow of silence. Nor has the Government Front Bench—although our Front Bench has spoken openly, it has not voted—said a word that can be helpful or reassuring about the problems that have been presented by hon. Members on both sides of the House in the debate. We have been required to put the rubber stamp of both Houses of Parliament and ultimately the seal of Her Majesty the Queen on the Bill, which does nothing to entrench the rights, traditions, nationhood and forms of self-government of the Indian peoples.
As I said on Second Reading, the sequence of events has been the wrong way round. There should have been a conference first and then a Bill rather than a Bill to be followed a year later by a conference.If the Canadian constitution is patriated in its present form, without Indian assent being required to amend it, and without definition and protection of Indian rights, all the treaties made between the Crown and the Indians will have, in the end, meant nothing.That is a quotation from a recent article in The Scotsman. I agree with it. Those treaties were made in peace, in trust and in good faith by both sides. The Indians were possessors of their lands long before the arrival of the Europeans. They were never enslaved or conquered. They never gave up rights to their lands or self-government. They have never wished to be white Canadians nor do they wish to be so now. They wish to preserve their proud traditions. I believe that they are right to do so and that they should not be squeezed into some common mould.
The only people so far to come well out of this constitutional argument are the Indians themselves. Both here and in Canada the Indians have spoken with great clarity and unity—greater unity than any of us expected. If we go back to 1979, we saw a massive campaign. Three hundred and fifty chiefs came to London, led by Clive Linklater—a Saulteaux Indian—who had never been to Britain before. He and his friends awoke many of us to the issues that we are now facing. The Indians are not asking for material assistance from us or for money. They are asking us to ensure, as we promised, that their constitutional status is protected in the renewed Canadian Federation. They have asked us for the constitutional tools to enable them to develop their own nationhood, their own forms of self-government and to preserve their traditions. Several hon. Members have heard Chief Solomon Sanderson forcefully expound the concept of Indian sovereignty and Indian government that is already working so well in Saskatchewan and which provides a model for future development throughout Canada.
When we have passed the Bill through all its stages in both Houses—I fear in exactly the same form as it was handed to us by the Canadian Government—I submit that we have a right to ask for a quid pro quo from Mr. Trudeau and his Government. They ask that we pass the Bill precisely as they drafted it. The Lord Privy Seal explained that it had to be passed as delivered to us. If we are good boys and it is handed back to Canada exactly as it was sent to us we have a right to expect some response from the 675 Canadian Government to what has been said by hon. Members from both sides of the House. The Canadian Government should thrash out an agreement with the aboriginal people.
The joint council of the National Indian Brotherhood has been meeting in Ottawa in the past few days. Its representatives asked the Canadian Government to meet them and to open a dialogue which could lead to a genuine settlement of the constitutional deadlock. They are genuine and sincere in wishing to come to terms. They do not want to lose their confidence in Britain and the treaties with the Crown.
Their approach to the Canadian Government is sincere and right. It is fair to the Canadian people, to the provinces and the Indian people that there should be a settlement in which the Indians are fully involved and for which there is agreement. There has been no response from the federal Government. They have not said that they are prepared to sit round the conference table now. They should not wait for 12 months, as the Bill provides. Mr. Trudeau is held in high respect in the House. We want him to respond now and to sit round the table with the people who have fears so that they can seek together to thrash out the difficulties and hammer out a settlement.
In the absence of any response to all that has been said by the Indian leaders and right hon. and hon. Members—and there has been no response—I cannot vote for the Bill. When I spoke against the Second Reading I said that I would vote against it. I hoped that there would be a response from the Canadian Government and that my fears and the fears of the Indian people on whose behalf I speak would have been allayed. Instead, there has been silence. I can do no other than say that I cannot support the Third Reading. I hope that there will be a response from the Canadian Government as the Bill proceeds through another place. I hope that by the time that it receives Royal Assent, as it will, Canada will have made a positive response to what we have said. If that is so, the time spent on Second Reading, Committee and Third Reading will not have been wasted.
§ Mr. Eric Cockeram (Ludlow)
In introducing the debate my hon. Friend the Minister rightly said that the request to repatriate the Canadian constitution came with the consent of the Canadian Parliament. There is no one in the House who has listened to the debate on Second Reading or tonight who does not support the principle of repatriation. The problem that arises in the minds of many hon. Members, including myself, which is why I voted against the Bill on Second Reading, is the manner in which the House is being requested to repatriate the Bill and the timing thereof.
The Indian community has a case outstanding, which will shortly go to appeal in the House of Lords. It ill-behoves the House to attempt to prejudge that issue. We have been reminded that the province of Quebec, one of the two founding nations of Canada, namely, the British and French, with 25 per cent. of the population of Canada has a case outstanding in the Canadian Supreme Court. That case is due to start in about a week's time. We are told by the lawyers that it is due to be concluded in May. There is often slippage when cases, particularly complicated cases of a constitutional nature, go through the courts. There may be a slippage in that case until June or July. A constitution that has existed for 115 years can 676 well wait another five months to establish beyond doubt that the request made to the House is fully constitutional in the country from which that request comes.
It appears that the Government are determined and that the House is likely to give the Bill a Third Reading. The Bill will then go to another place, where there will probably be similar haste. I do not prejudge the issue, but it is probable that the Bill will receive a Third Reading in the other place in due course, after which it is necessary that the Bill receives the Royal Assent. Once again a real problem is being presented by the Government. Royal Assent will probably be given to the Bill by someone who is Queen of Canada as well as of Great Britain and who is sworn to uphold the rule of law in Canada's courts. I f, subsequently, the Canadian Supreme Court gives a ruling that in any way casts in doubt the request now before the House, we will cause supreme embarrassment in that quarter, too.
My criticism of the Government is not that they stress the importance of the rule of law, which they do rightly, nor that at the last election we put the importance of respect for the rule of law high in our manifesto, but that they seek to legislate before the law has been ruled upon. The Government are behaving in a disrespectful manner to our courts and the courts in Canada, which is a sister country of the Commonwealth. That is unworthy of the Government.
§ Mr. John Roper (Farnworth)
We have heard the arguments about the courts frequently, but as a House we have no option but to consider and support the Bill. As I said on Second Reading, it would have been wrong to refuse the request of a sovereign, independent Commonwealth Government to take charge of its own constitution, as it has every right to do under the Statute of Westminster. We are merely carrying out the provisions that were laid down and prepared for in that statute 50 years ago.
On Second Reading I made it clear that my right hon. and hon. Friends supported the measure. We support it again today. We have learnt a great deal about Canada in our correspondence on the Bill, which has been valuable to many of us. We believe that there is close friendship between this country and Canada. The links between us and Canada will develop and grow.
For many of us in the House the study of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms incorporated in the Bill has been of considerable interest. There seems to be considerable argument, which many of my hon. Friends would support, for introducing some such measure into our own legislation. I shall not pursue that matter, because if I did so you might rule me out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
On Second Reading I said that if we rejected the Bill there would be misunderstandings. Certain remarks made on Second Reading and in Committee have been substantially misunderstood in Canada. We have not helped the interests of the Indian peoples of Canada by comparing their situation with that of people in South Africa. I was glad that the hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis), speaking from the Opposition Front Bench, said that earlier remarks had been exaggerated. He paid tribute to Canada's role in furthering human rights. 677 Had he not done so, I should have felt obliged to refer to the hon. Gentleman's earlier remarks, which caused considerable offence when they were relayed to Canada.
§ Mr. Clinton Davis
I was responding to an intervention. I subsequentally withdrew the remark. It was ill-judged and totally extemporary. Many of us make such mistakes. It is a question of human rights. I should not have drawn a parallel with South Africa and El Salvador.
§ Mr. Roper
I am glad that the hon. Gentleman further clarifies the point.
No one would deny that there are problems in Canada, but the people of Canada must work them out among themselves. In giving the Bill a Third Reading we are sending them our good wishes and good will for the solution of the problems.
As has been said, it is an historic occasion in the final development of the Commonwealth. It is particularly appropriate that we come to the final stage of the Bill on Commonwealth day, as the Minister said.
§ Mr. Mark Wolfson (Sevenoaks)
On Second Reading, I said that, although I broadly welcomed the Bill, I would concentrate on that part of it for which I had an especial concern. In fact, concern for the future of the Indian people in Canada has dominated all three days of debate.
There can now be no doubt that the issue has been and will continue to be central to the reservations that hon. Members have over the patriation of the Canadian constitution and, therefore, over the Bill. Canada is a mighty country—the second largest in the world. It is endowed with immense natural resources and with a huge variety of terrain and climate. We all admire the people from Europe who had the courage, steadfastness and faith to settle that vast area.
Since the first French and British settlers came, Ukranians, Rumanians, Czechs, Poles, Greeks, Italians, Germans, the Dutch and Scandinavians have followed in their thousands. Many have come as refugees from poverty and persecution. All came to find a wider opportunity in a comparatively empty land.
The fact of the Canadian federation is an astonishing success. In that enormous country there is an established system of democratic government which contains and satisfies the needs and aspirations of a great variety of people—all Canadians but all, too, with something of the culture of the countries from which they or their parents came.
In Britain and through much of Europe we know the nation State. We should never underestimate the great challenge of forging a new nation from a polyglot community. Canada has succeeded in that challenge. We in Westminster salute her.
There are now 23 million Canadians. All but 5 per cent. of them are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. But I fear that towards the native 5 per cent. —the descendants of those whose land it was before the white man came—Canada has to a degree so far failed in her own high ideals.
I shall summarise two points. First, it is still my view that the Canada Bill does not explain what Canada intends to do about the Crown's obligations to the Indians. I have studied sections 25 and 35 and I note the reference to 678 aboriginal and treaty rights. I have also studied the amending formula by which those rights can be eliminated by the federal and provincial Governments without the consent of the Indians. Even without such considerations, however, section 35 is not satisfactory. It neither explains what rights are to be recognised, nor says how they are to be protected and implemented.
We cannot assume that that lack of explicitness is an oversight. Nor, I believe, can the House necessarily assume that the intention of the federal and provincial Governments is benign. If we are to assume anything, we must assume that those sections will be interpreted in Canada in the light of Canada's past and present Indian policy.
Time is short, and I shall be brief, but I must be blunt. Since 1840, despite minor fluctuations, Canada has had only one policy for Indians. That policy is best summarised by the word "assimilation". Indians are to be assimilated. They are to become part of the mainstream. They may hang on to their feathered headdresses, they may make artifacts for the tourist trade and the remnants of their culture will be housed in museums, but they will not be allowed to lead their own way of life, to control their own communities, to shape their own economies or to develop the resources of their own lands.
I do not wish to deal with the detail of Canadian policy, and it would not be in order for me to do so. I wish only to point to the broad sweep of assimilationist policies for Indians that Canada has practised since 1840. It remains my belief that the policy of assimilation is a direct breach of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and of the treaties. The essence of the Crown's constitutional arrangements in relation to the Indians is that, in exchange for their peaceful surrender of vast areas of their homelands, the Crown will respect and protect the Indian way of life for ever.
The policy of assimilation is wrong. It is also a failure. I am convinced, however, that the policy is perhaps the result more of ignorance than of malice. I do not think that Canadians even now are fully aware of the guarantees that the Crown gave to the Indians. I believe also that we British bear some responsibility for that. I do not believe that Canadians are aware of the constructive objectives that Indians have for themselves and for Canada.
It is never too late to redress past wrongs. Because these debates are so crucial to the Indians, I have tried to do what I can to clarify and to speak out not only for what the Crown's obligations to Indians are now, but how the Indians themselves understand their rights and obligations to the Crown. I hope that Canada is patient with us and is still listening. I hope that the Canadian press will not spend too long on the procedures of the debate but will continue to give high exposure to its content.
I turn now to my second main point. Let us go straight to the heart of the matter and examine the Indians' relationship with the Crown. In Canada's present constitution, sovereignty is divided up, not by levels of government, as we sometimes think, but by areas of jurisdiction. The Federal Government have exclusive areas of jurisdiction in defence, foreign policy, transportation and communications. Likewise, the provinces have areas of exclusive jurisdiction in the ownership of resources and in the provision of education and social services. It may come as a surprise to hon. Members that in a sense this is the key concept of the whole debate about the Indian position.
679 The Indians, too, believe that they have areas of exclusive jurisdiction on their reserves, subject only to overriding federal jurisdiction but not to provincial jurisdiction. Moreover, that federal jurisdiction is subject to the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which has never been repealed in Canada or in Britain, and to the treaties. It is in this sense that the Indians speak of Indian sovereignty, as carefully qualified participants in the overall federal system of shared sovereignty which is the essence of existing Canadian constitutional arrangements—and it was this Parliament which created those constitutional arrangements.
It is in this sense that we refer td the Crown in right of the federal Government and the Crown in right of the provincial Governments, and it is in this sense that the Indians speak of the Crown in right of Indian government. The Queen is represented by the governor-general of Canada at the national level and by the lieutenant-governors of the provinces at the provincial level, but the Indians have no distinctive Crown representative or officer to mediate in their relationship with the Crown.
The Indians have proposed an office for the protection of Indian rights. The commissioner responsible for that office would be either the governor-general in an extended role, or a new Crown representative designed to fulfil the unique requirements of the Royal Proclamation and the treaties.
Most of the Canadian population lives in a dozen cities strung across a 4,000-mile border with the United States. The rest of that huge country is virtually unpopulated except for small townships and hamlets. In vast areas of the mid-North and the far North, Indians are still the predominant population and their numbers are growing. Unless one is an assimilationist, it makes good sense that those Indian communities be allowed to control themselves. It makes no sense to attempt to control every aspect of their life through a huge bureaucracy several hundred or even a thousand miles distant. Indian government is not only an implied right in the Royal Proclamation and in the treaties. It is plain common sense.
Finally, to those Canadians—and there are many of them—who believe that Indians must take responsibility for their own affairs, it should now be clear that that is precisely what is happening. I have in mind the work of Chief Robert Manuel of British Columbia and the other chiefs of the Union of British Columbia who went across Europe last year alerting the European community to their problems and their fears. There is also the work of the Four Nations confederacy of Manitoba and of the Treaty 9 organisation of Ontario.
I am mindful, too, of the great leadership shown by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians whose chief, Solomon Sanderson, is on record as saying that the London lobby has advanced the concept of Indian government by 25 years, and I shall close by quoting a piece written by him to his own people in November 1980. It conveys the determination, strength and power of the Indian movement. He said:We have resisted military domination, missionary assimilation and legislative termination. We will insist on enactment of all the provisions of the treaties through a joint process between the governments of Indian Nations, the Crown and the governments of Canada. But we will not be limited by treaties. Our sovereign and aboriginal rights give us greater scope than the treaties. Through Indian government, through our economic development, through our social processes, through our education and through the flowering of our Indian cultures we 680 will overcome the frustrations of the last little while in our long history and determine for ourselves what it is to be an Indian within an Indian Nation.Because up to this moment the federal Government have still not responded to the Indian people's plea to meet and to talk before the Act goes back to Canada, I shall with great reluctance and some sadness abstain in the vote tonight. An Indian-inspired solution to Canada's Indian problem remains for me the challenge in Canada's future.
§ Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)
Listening to this debate, and to preceding debates on the Bill, has made me think that in some respects they are comparable to those that took place during the history of the British Empire, as we picked up one part of the world after another. Debates on those distant parts took place in this Chamber. They were marked by some considerable knowledge, by some considerable ignorance and, above all, by boundless presumption. That is the characteristic that has marked the English—if I may now adapt the national description—down the centuries and has certinly marked them in debates on the Bill.
Those of us who have had however small a part in British-Canadian constitutional relationships at any time were always aware that the historic and constitutional anomaly could give rise to difficulties. For Britain it did not cause any problem for as long as it lay dormant. For Canada it was always a regrettable latent humiliation that parts of the constitution could be amended only by the parliament of another country. Anyone who has been in that position must be glad that we are now terminating the anomaly.
The grossness of the anomaly ought to be appreciated. Here is a country recognised not just since 1931, but long before, as independent and sovereign on the international stage but which has to turn to the parliament of another country to alter its own constitution. When that happens difficulties, embarassments and bad relations are almost bound to be caused when the issue has to be discussed.
There has been no similar case within the Commonwealth, but let us note in passing that we have another wee dormant anomaly that could still cause difficulties, although to a lesser extent. That anomaly is the legal responsibility for choosing governors of Australian States, which still lies with British Ministers and not with any Ministers in Australia at any level. Before that anomaly festers, for goodness sake let us get it sorted out with Australia and remove it.
Who is to blame for the present situation? In the words of the monologue "Albert and the Lion", "no one really was to blame". One could say that it was wrong of us in 1931 to accept that we should pass the Statute of Westminster, and allow the anomaly to be perpetuated, because it was clearly going to be much more difficult to resolve it in the post-1931 relationship than in the pre-1931 relationship. The Canadians asked us to do it. Were we to say that we would not do it or should we have said that we would hold up the Statute of Westminster for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland until the Canadians had worked out a formula to put to us? Certainly none of the present generation on either side of the Atlantic can be blamed for the situation, but we cannot blame our predecessors either.
681 When the latest and concluding chapter of the saga was raised, I felt glad that we were to remove the anomaly, but resentful, as were most hon. Members, about the language used by Mr. Trudeau when he talked of the House having no option but to vote for whatever Canada put to us, without looking at the merits of the matter.
If we are asked to pass something and we have the legal responsibility to pass or not to pass it, we should not simply cover our eyes and say "Show me where to sign". Mr. Trudeau's remarks were impudent, not because Canada was a subordinate legislature, but because it was an equal legislature. It is not for one parliamentarian or the Prime Minister of one country to talk in that fashion about the parliamentarians of another country. Of course, those remarks were decidely counter-productive.
Mr. Trudeau would have been better advised to encourage us to look at the merits of the case. At least, I thought that until I sat in on the debates. I found the merits good, both with regard to the constitutional formula for future amendment of the constitution and, though with more reluctance, with regard to the charter of human rights.
It has been suggested that we should not have been prepared to pass the legislation unless the federal authorities and all 10 provincial authorities of Canada approved the request. I do not agree. It would have been all right for us to accede to the request even if, in an extreme case—to make the point—the 10 provinces had all been against it.
If we imagine a situation in which each of the 10 provinces possessed a legal veto on constitutional change and something more normal was proposed—say a weighted majority system such as applies in many federal countries—one would expect each of the provinces to say "We would rather hang on to our legal individual veto". But that system does not apply in any other federation that I know of. We could have expected the provinces to oppose the change, but it would have right for us, if we had the legal power to do so, to override them and to introduce at the request of the federal authorities a system more in keeping with what was adopted in other countries.
I did not feel competent to judge the details of the charter of human rights. I do not feel competent to judge whether it should be possible for a person living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, to write to his tax officer in French. However, looking at the broad lines of the charter, I see nothing wrong with it. It is pretty well in line with the charters of fundamental rights that we, on our own responsibility, have placed in the constitutions that we have given to quite a few countries in the Commonwealth and it is more or less in line with international practice. Without considering the details, it seems that the general lines of the charter are all right.
I have been greatly surprised by the fact that the debates have concentrated enormously on the rights of Indians and aboriginal people in Canada. I do not say that we should not have taken any interest in that matter. For example, if the Canadians had put to us a proposal that the constitution should deny Indian people the right to vote, it would of course have been right for us to say that we were not prepared to take the responsibility for passing that.
We should, however, exercise enormous restraint. We should recognise the fact that Canada is, but for this 682 anomaly, an independent country of 50 to 70 years' standing. We should pull back from the feeling that we know better than people in Canada or that when people in Canada disagree, as they always will, we are in a position to arbitrate between them. We are not. If the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson) has an infinitely greater knowledge than I have, which would not be difficult, of the Indian people of Canada, he still does not possess adequate knowledge to take decisions with regard to those people. It is for the Indian people of Canada, in relation to their own Government, to fight that kind of battle.
On the issue of constitutional legality, I should like to correct an amazing statement made last week by the right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals). I am sorry he is not now present. The right hon. Gentleman stated in regard to the divisibility of the Crown:Every Indian in Canada believes that the Canadian federal Government and its agencies are agents of the British Crown in Parliament—by which he presumably means the British Parliament—endowed by Britain with certain administrative and legislative powers, and entrusted by the British Crown with powers to implement on its behalf the promises that Britain made to the Indians".— [Official Report, 3 March 1982; Vol. 19, c. 323.]
That is rubbish. The idea that not simply some Indians, not even most Indians, but that every single Indian in Canada is unaware of Canadian independence is grotesque. It is not true. We should approach our discussion of these matters in the knowledge that, within Canada, people are well aware that their dealings on these matters, as on practically everything else, have to be settled within Canada and not with our interference. We are entitled to intervene. If the case is very strong, we are right to intervene. But we are not fitted to overturn greatly the balance of judgment that comes to us from the other side of the Atlantic.
I found amusing Mr. Trudeau's phrase about the empire striking back. I did not, however, think that I would see it in action. But, my God, we have seen it in action in the course of this debate. I think that Mr. Trudeau was impudent in the extreme but we have paid him out in spades. I think now that we can say it is quits. Actually, it is a bit more than quits because our impudence has greatly exceeded his. Let us now, after this passes, go on, or perhaps one should say go back, to a situation where the two countries deal with each other on a friendly and normal basis without the complication that has spoilt our relations over the last two years.
§ 9.3 pm
§ Mr. Ivan Lawrence (Burton)
I have not spoken before on this matter and I shall not weary the House with a lengthy speech. If there is a vote on Third Reading I shall abstain, as I did on Second Reading. I do not do so carelessly or without a great deal of heart-searching, for I appreciate that such action could easily be misconstrued as unfriendliness or even colonialism to a truly great independent nation that forms so vital a part of the Commonwealth and that stood side by side with Britain in defence of freedom, democracy and civilisation itself.
I have visited Canada. I admire greatly the Canadian way of life and the goodness and integrity of those Canadians whom I have had the privilege of meeting. It would have been far easier if I had allowed myself to be swept along on the tide of general good will towards Canada and its people—a good will that I warmly share. I have, however, chosen the course of abstention 683 deliberately. I voted for certain amendments in Committee deliberately for one and, to me, all-important reason. I believe, not as the Government and the hon. Member for Farnworth (Mr. Roper) asserts, that we have only the obligation to hand back this matter lock, stock and barrel to the Canadians, and that the role that Britain was left to play and should play in the matter is as a trustee of this constitution for the benefit of all Canadians. I believe that it is wrong for us to relieve ourselves of that trust until it has been properly discharged. And I believe that even though the Government and Parliament of Canada demand a speedy patriation.
We have not just a moral but a legal obligation to discharge that trust with all correctness. What is that trust? In legal principle it is that we must ensure that the request that is made to us is completely constitutional, no more and no less. In a democracy such as ours the mere request made by an independent parliament would be enough, but in Canada—which is a federal democracy with a written constitution—the Supreme Court is the supreme judge of constitutionality. That Supreme Court has not yet given its supreme judgment. It will do so when Quebec has been heard. Until it is heard, the constitutionality of the matter must remain in doubt—it cannot possibly be otherwise.
Although it is not a legal point, I wish, perhaps out of an abundance of caution, to avoid seeing the British Government placed in the position of having to make excuses for having done something in haste that is not constitutional. Still more so am I anxious to see that Her Majesty the Queen should not be embarrassed in any way, especially when all this could be avoided with only the hardship of a limited delay.
The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said that it would not be right to treat the Canadian courts with less respect than do the Canadians. I agree with that, but that is precisely what we shall be doing if we pre-empt the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court. That is my legal objection.
My moral objection concerns the racial minorities. I know that the laws that govern the minorities in Canada must be Canadian laws, but if I am right in believing that we hold the residuary duty to legislate in accordance with our trust, then we cannot or should not discharge that obligation without satisfying ourselves that the minority communities are being adequately protected in accordance with promises that Britain herself has made. I have my doubts about that matter.
I shall not take up the time of the House with my reasons, for they have been powerfully analysed and stated by my hon. Friends the Members for Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine) and for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson) and by the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George), in particular. I say only this. Surely we have a moral obligation to make certain that the treaties that a British Queen and a British Government negotiated with the aboriginal people of Canada are discharged with no vestige of dishonour.
That honour will be discharged, in my view, if the House of Lords and the Canadian appellate courts say that that honour has been discharged or if some assurances of respect for those obligations had come from the Canadian Government. But that has not satisfactorily happened. Until those courts say, in effect, that that honour has been discharged, or until the Canadian Government give those 684 assurances, my doubt must remain. I am far from certain that our moral obligation has been properly and fully discharged any more than has our legal obligation.
I wish the Canadian people well with all my heart. I wish to surrender our residual powers so that that self-governing democracy shall have complete control of itself and its laws and that that should be done with all our friendship and support. But I do not think that it is a matter of presumption to delay the Bill. It is far more important than that. It is a matter of honour. In all honesty, I cannot see that our obligations have truly been honoured, and I cannot therefore in honour support the Bill.
§ Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)
The hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Wolfson), who has made a gently stubborn, well informed series of contributions to these debates, had a good phrase. He said:I hope that Canada is patient with us and is still listening.That is a sentiment that I echo. It is a matter of some sadness that, although on this occasion we should be exhibiting unanimous and undiluted pleasure at what is before us—the patriation of the constitution of a great country whose representative I watched walk side by side with the British representative at the head of the procession of flags of the Commonwealth countries in Westminster Abbey today—we have seen the expression of great " disquiet by many hon. Members about how this constitution might be applied and especially how it might affect the future of the aboriginal peoples. As the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) said, this has in a remarkable way dominated our debates.
At one stage last Wednesday, the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Sir B. Braine), whose concern for human rights is well established and admired by a great many people, put on record:As I recall, only the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston), who is not present this afternoon, was prepared to express any confidence during Second Reading that the Canadian Government will live up to their obligations under the international covenant on civil and political rights.Surely that is not true. I am sure that Her Majesty's Government believe that the Canadian Government will live up to their obligations. I am sure that the official Opposition believe the same. This evening, the hen. Member for Essex, South-East said that the Canadian Government werein the van of decent conduct.
The right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals), who unfortunately is not here now said, that Iseemed to be completely satisfied that everything was all right in Canada; there was no reason for us to have any concern. Having delivered his speech, the hon. Member for Inverness left, and we have seen no more of him." — [Official Report, 3 March 1982; Vol. 19, c. 309–321.]
The latter part of that was quite true. I did not participate in the Committee stage because Liberals took the view which I understood to be shared by the Government. The Minister was present, and he took part but he did not say anything of substance. The only difference between him and me was that I was not there and he was. What is more, the official Opposition said that it was quite wrong for us to seek to amend a Bill brought before us by a sovereign country after a long process of internal consultation, negotiation and debate and a clear 685 majority verdict of the Canadian Parliament, which, I remind the House, was 246 to 24, and a clear majority, bar one, of the Canadian provinces.
The former remark of the right hon. Member for Norwich, North that I was satisfied that everything was all right is most certainly not the case. I can think of no country, my own included, where, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman,everything was all right … there was no reason for … any concern.I was very much disturbed by what the representatives of the Indians told me, and I am sure that that was reflected on both sides of the House. I was equally immensely impressed by the dignity, restraint and the trust with which they presented their case.
I chose my words with very great care on Second Reading, and I repeat them because I cannot find a better way of putting it. This, to me, sums up my position:I have been concerned to learn of the fears of the Indian population. I am sure that if we rehearse them the Canadian Government will pay close attention to what we say. However, I am troubled that we in the House would seem to be holding out to the Indians expectations that we cannot fulfil and about which we cannot do anything. Responsibility for those peoples resides with the Government of Canada. It is with that Government that they must live and with that Government that they must deal."— [Official Report, 17 February 1982; Vol. 18, c. 337.]It is, after all, a good and civilised Government by any standards, including our own.
The right hon. Member for Norwich, North was wrong to suggest that anything that I said implied a lack of recognition or sympathy with the problems of the aboriginal population. That is not true. However, he was right when he said that I disagreed with my right hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) —fulfilling on this occasion, on behalf of the Liberal Party, the role of a Back Bencher. My right hon. Friend said, echoing slightly what the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) said this evening:There is no doubt that we have a right to deal with this Bill. Suppose the Bill contained a provision that the Indians should be exterminated? That would be absurd, and it could not be said that we were bound to enact such a suggestion".— [Official Report, 3 March 1982; Vol. 19, c. 320.]Indeed not. The hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury said "Suppose that there was a proposal that the Indians should have no vote. We could not enact that". Of course not.
If the Canadian Government were that sort of Government, they would not have come to us at all. There would be no question of legislation having been put before us. However, they came, and in doing so they risked criticism, because they are democrats. Because they are democrats, they will take the criticisms that have been made and question their policies, as all good democratic countries continually do. We pay attention to what people from abroad say about what we do in Northern Ireland. We sometimes resent what they say, and say that they are ill-informed and that they do not properly understand the situation. I imagine that the Canadians are saying precisely the same thing about many of the things that we are saying here. Equally, to some extent, people in the Canadian Parliament will be entitled to say to their critics here in the British Parliament, who demand the right to amend this Bill because it does not meet their understanding of the reponsibilities that they have, the trust about which the 686 hon. and learned Member for Burton (Mr. Lawrence) spoke, "What have you been doing about that trust during the last 20, 30, 40, 50, 150 years? How many speeches were made in the House on the matter during that time, if the matter is all that important?".
The former Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), said that for some of us this responsibility has been an entirely new discovery. The same thing was said by the hon. Member for Epping Forest (Sir J. Biggs-Davison), who said that many hon. Members had come to the matter rather late. It is, of course, a matter of trust in the Canadian Government. I trust my Liberal Canadian colleagues to be fair and just to the Provinces and minorities. Beyond that, I trust the Canadian people.
The Minister said in opening that we are removing an anachronism. He spoke of the multitude of ties, both formal and family, which bind Britain and Canada together. As a Scot from the Gaelic-speaking area of Scotland, I know of a special tie, in that Nova Scotia is the only other Gaelic-speaking part of the world. A couple of years ago, in the Mod in Perth—the Gaelic equivalent of the Eisteddfod—I met a Canadian from Nova Scotia, who had never been in Britain but who spoke fluent Gaelic which he learnt from his family who settled in Canada in the early part of the nineteenth century. He was quite understandable and there was no difficulty in communication. Indeed, there is no great difficulty in communication between the Canadians and ourselves. We well understand the problems and fears and the pride of minorities. Those problems will be respected.
I welcome the Bill without hesitation and am proud to have played some small part in its passage. If there is a Division—and I hope that there will not be—I shall vote in favour of the Bill.
§ Mr. Jonathan Aitken (Thanet, East)
For much the same reasons as the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston), I support the Bill's Third Reading. As I explained my reasons for supporting the Bill on Second Reading, I shall detain the House only briefly.
I wish to make only two points. I read carefully all the arguments put forward in opposition to, or in criticism of, the Bill. To a modest degree, I share some of those reservations and criticisms. They centre on two main issues—the rights of the Indian and Inuit peoples and the position of Quebec. Although I have listened carefully, I have come to the view that such matters are—as lawyers would say—de minimis compared with the Bill as a whole. That may sound rather sweeping, because I understand that de minimis means too small to matter and we are considering the rights of the Indian people and Quebec's position. Nevertheless, they are too small to matter when considered against the big political and constitutional picture created by the legislation.
That picture is that once nine out of the 10 provinces had reached agreement with the federal Government on the contents of the package to be sent to Westminster as a request, it was game, set and match to Mr. Trudeau. There was then no longer any constitutional reason for trying to delay, hinder or object to the legislation. In a vivid phrase during parliamentary debate in Ottawa, Mr. Trudeau urged his colleagues to beware of the tyranny of unanimity. That is a valid remark. More than most countries, Canada finds unanimity almost impossible. We have heard much about 687 the rights of the Indians, but there are many other minorities whose rights could be raised at subsequent proceedings if we were to adopt the imperialistic referee role that some hon. Members would have us do and if we were to try to legislate for the rights of the Doukhobors , the Amishees or those of the Chinese in Vancouver. We have responsibility, but no power. The House cannot try to exercise control over situations that may arise thousands of miles away.
Anglo-Canadian relations have been strengthened rather than weakened by our debates and by the arguments and discussions that preceded them. That is true on a human, parliamentary and governmental level. Those of us who have been engaged in the discussions and debates have been involved in more personal communications with Canadians than at any time in our lives. I speak as someone who is half-Canadian, with a Canadian family. The warm and friendly exchanges with ordinary Canadians—through correspondence and meetings in the House—have given us all a far greater understanding of Canada than would otherwise have been possible. That is of lasting value.
On a parliamentary level there have been numerous exchanges between parliamentarians from Westminster, Ottawa and the provincial Parliaments. That, too, has been of real value. If I had to take one example of how great the value has been, I would cite the moment when in Westminster we realised that there was every probability that the Governments in Westminster and in Ottawa would together try to hurry through the legislation. That was the best part of six months ago. At that stage Back Benchers on each side of the House made it absolutely clear, through the usual channels, that that would be quite unacceptable unless the issue had first been to the Supreme Court of Canada. In the light of history, that was an enormous bonus. We have had enough argument when the issue has been agreed; if we had had fundamental disagreements and there had been a split between the provinces and Ottawa before we had tackled it, the Bill would have been doomed. Above all, it was of value to Canada that the highest court in the land ruled on all the crucial issues before the matter was debated at Westminster.
On a governmental level, we have not heard much of the co-operation between the Canadian and the British Governments, because by their nature those communications were comparatively secret. Nevertheless, I pay warm tribute to my hon. Friends who have high office in the Foreign Office, the Canadian High Commissioner, Mrs. Jean Wadds, and her staff here in London, and the Government in Ottawa, who have co-operated and collaborated in finally getting this package through in an acceptable and realistic form.
The hon. Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) accused the Government in Westminster of colluding with the Government in Ottawa, as though that was some frightful crime and sin of which we should be rather ashamed. The reality is just the opposite. It is the business of friendly Governments to collude and to co-operate. If Parliament in its wisdom thought that this issue was unacceptable on moral or legal grounds—or, indeed, every other ground that has been canvassed high and low in the Committee stages of the debate—we were quite at liberty to say so. One of the great compliments that one can pay this Parliament is that, once the issue had been agreed on to a large extent in Canada, it was clear—indeed it is clear by the thinness of the attendance here tonight—that it was 688 not really our business to be arguing and fighting over every small comma, every issue, and every procedural wrangle that could have arisen.
As someone whose roots lie deep in Canada, I welcome this day, as the Bill begins its journey back to Canada and leaves the House. It is apposite that it should be Commonwealth Day on which this is occurring. I rejoice with my Canadian friends and relatives and wish the Bill well.
§ Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)
May I add my congratulations to and celebration of the words of the hon. Member for Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken) that on Commonwealth Day we should be approaching the end of the Commons stages of the Canada Bill. It is right that we should clearly recognise the historic nature of this day. As the hon. Gentleman has just said, the thinness of the attendance in the House this evening marks the fact that the majority of hon. Members have accepted on trust the fact that the Bill came from the sovereign Parliament of Canada and have abandoned these proceedings for activities more closely related to the interests of their constituents.
It is an historic moment for the Canadian people and for the British Parliament. In considering the Canadian nation and the process upon which it has embarked, it is right that this Parliament should recognise its success—its economic record, the respected role of its leaders in the world theatre and in the Atlantic Alliance, its championing of the recently acknowledged importance of the North-South dialogue, and its consolidation and strengthening of its own federal structure, which makes this new constitution so important.
Many people went from this country to Canada, some of them having unwillingly to turn their backs on their own native land in order to seek opportunities abroad. We in this Parliament can look on their success with some degree of envy, perhaps, and hope that their native land—so free as it is now with its advice to Canadians—might learn some of the ways of success from the expatriates who people today's Canada.
I am indeed conscious of the importance of the debate and of the brevity with which hon. Members have dealt with the issues that concern them. Given my youth and the fact that I have never been to Canada I am conscious of the comments that have been made and of the important role that has been given to me in replying from the Opposition Front Bench.
The crucial issue that has concerned many hon. Members in the House has been whether we have a moral, a political or a legal right to amend the Bill in the process of its consideration. We have had many lengthy legal and political arguments on that point during the 19 hours of the consideration of the Bill. There are hon. Members who still hold strong views on each side of the argument, but the Canadian people have made the issue much more clear-cut and much less divisive than the issue appeared to be this time last year, when so many of the provinces were still dissenting, and with the consensus in the Parliament seeming to be particularly fragile.
The consensus has now been obtained. All but one of the provinces have assented and the majority in the Canadian House of Commons is clear-cut and unequivocal. Therefore, we are not now in the position Of having endlessly to debate our rights, our privileges, our 689 obligations and our responsibilities in relation to a Bill that might not have found its own consensus on the other side of the Atlantic.
I felt some concern in trying to decide whether it was right and proper to consider these matters in some detail. Others of my hon. Friends have had no such dilemma. I came to the view that it would be wrong in principle and misconceived in practice for the British House of Commons to amend the constitution as it has been delivered to us from Canada. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) have said, it would be wrong in principle for us to amend the Bill when the Canadians have deliberated so long and reached that consensus. It would have precipitated a major constitutional crisis between two friendly countries had we ultimately decided to make an amendment after that reasonable consensus had been obtained.
The arguments for not amending the Bill on practical grounds are also very strong. The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) has reminded us that it is not just the unwillingness to interfere in the affairs of another sovereign country that should inhibit us from amending the Bill. After the Bill has become an Act and left this Parliament, we shall have no responsibility whatever for any amendment that might, even by accident, have been made during the passage of the measure through this House. Therefore, however strongly we felt on any issue, and however strong the arguments voiced in this Chamber or the other place, our ability to take responsibility after the measure has left this House is negligible, and it surely can be no role of a Parliament in a democracy to seek to take decisions over which it has no responsibility after the event.
§ Mr. Ennals
Had there been within the Bill and the charter of rights something that the hon. Gentleman felt was fundamentally wrong, would he still have taken the same line as he does now?
§ Mr. Robertson
My right hon. Friend has posed the question which, in a sense, I tried to deal with by prefacing my remarks with the degree of consensus obtaining in Canada. As other hon. Members have pointed out, had the charter of rights tried to do something that was totally inimical to the principles by which we stand and given that we have the responsibility for commenting on the Bill, we certainly would not have done so.
I was going to go on to some of the issues that my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friends raised, but, in view of the processes by which the Canadian Parliament came to its decision, it is clear that we should not be placed in the position of imposing amendments for which we would have no responsibility afterwards, no right to monitor, no right to review and no right to change if we were ultimately proved wrong.
Although the official Opposition have taken the clear view, which has been opposed by the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Sir. B. Braine), that we would not vote against the Bill in its present form, we have tried to express views and allow free debate on the many issues that have arisen. For the same reason, the Canadian Government and Parliament asked the British Parliament not simply to patriate its constitution and to return to it the powers that 690 are still subject to our jurisdiction in the British North America Act 1867, but to pass the Act of patriation and enact a charter of rights. Thus inevitably the British Houses of Parliament were likely to pass judgment on what they thought the content of the charter of rights was or should have been.
Our freedom to comment, to criticise, to suggest and to record our views is right and proper, and the Canadians could not have expected otherwise when they decided to present the Bill in the form that they did. It may be that the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury is right that whatever impudence may have been interpreted from the words of the Canadian Prime Minister in the early stages, by any stretch of the imagination the record is now straight. As Canadians plough through column after column of Hansard, covering what many of us here have sat through, they will see many comments which will keep them going for many nights if they take any interest in it.
Two issues have dominated the debate and our consideration of the Bill. The first and the most dominant has been the Indian and other aboriginal peoples of Canada. My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. Davis) summed up the details of the arguments that we have put forward following the representations that have been so sincerely and passionately put by the representatives of the Indian nations, who have been here for so long talking to and informing British Members of Parliament. I stand firmly with my hon. Friend and other hon. Members on this side of the House in saying that perhaps our consideration of the Bill would have been assisted if some of the questions that we put to a helpless and hapless ministerial team, who felt themselves obliged not to give answers to the detailed points put forward for the proper reason that it was not their duty or responsibility to do so, had been answered.
It might have helped the House if the Government of Canada had made a statement to inform and to put right hon. Members who were not striking the right note. As I said in Committee, treaties can never be for ever. For a Scotsman to wax eloquent at the Dispatch Box about the Royal Proclamation of 1763 is to risk in Scotland nationalist cries about the Treaty of Union signed in 1707. That is much closer to hon. Members. Separatists and nationalists are still carping about the need to implement that treaty in detail.
The view of the official Opposition and the view of all except the strictly separatist parties in Scotland is that we live in today's circumstances and not with what was put together in 1707 to bring about this House of Commons. The same argument, however regretfully, must be put to those whose treaties go even further into history. Many hon. Members have spoken with great passion about the rights of the Indians. That issue must be dealt with and disposed of by Canadians in the Canadian Parliament which is responsible to its electors.
Northern Ireland is on the agenda again and we have to consider the absorption of the ethnic minorities. That qualifies us to talk with some authority on the subject, but our lack of success makes a degree of humility appropriate. There are few answers to the problems but hon. Members' views are on the record. We hope that they will be read with interest.
Quebec is also an important issue. The provincial Administration is openly and avowedly separatist. Its objections arise from that basic philosophy. I recall the charm, persistence and eloquence of the agent-general for 691 Quebec who has tried to persuade hon. Members of the strength of the Quebec case. Despite that, I am still unconvinced.
Hon. Members have said this evening that there is a case for delaying consideration of the Bill until 15 March when the court in Quebec consider the veto question. That is a powerful and persuasive argument. We have already said that indecent haste was displayed in relation to the House of Lords. I recognise the strength of that argument, but it has a weakness. The issue before the Canadian court is unlikely to be resolved by court action. That is because the Quebec Administration, which is avowedly separatist, seeks the sovereignty of what our nationalists would call home rule or independence. It is unlikely to be satisfied by any court judgment on 15 March or any other subsequent occasion. That court case will be followed by another and then another. Nothing short of secession of Quebec from the Canadian federation is likely to satisfy a party that is avowedly separatist.
If it is legitimate for us on some future occasion to pick an arbitrary date after which we think all reasonable court cases will have been dealt with, is not that taking a decision that more properly should be taken by the Canadians'? If we postpone the Third Reading of the Bill to a time that satisfies us, we are not acting in accordance with the principles of the decision by a sovereign Government. The decision as to what time is right in the litigation calendar should be made, and has been made, by the Canadian people. In the House of Commons we cannot play at Canadian politics. We sometimes find it hard enough to deal with the politics of our own country.
The social, cultural, economic and personal links that bind the people of Great Britain and Canada are longstanding and real. The Scots, who were all too often driven unwillingly from their native shores by the savage pressures of economics, have made a special contribution to building up the success of the Canadian State. Many of them watch the Canadians' welfare closely and with great affection.
As a Scot, therefore, I have more than average pleasure in winding up this historic debate for the Opposition and in seeing this stage of the patriation of the Canadian constitution completed. I have no hesitation in recommending Opposition Members to support the Third Reading of the Bill. In doing so I wish the people, the Parliament and the provinces of Canada all our deepest and most sincere best wishes for their future that is now to be constitutionally, but, I hope, never personally and humanly, severed from the United Kingdom.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Michael Havers)
It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson). I wonder in exactly what role I am cast. I am described as someone who is rushing forward headlong and blinkered. We are manipulators left, right and centre, we collude with the Canadian Government and at the same time we are helpless and hapless. I feel rather confused.
I am sure that right hon. and hon. Members will forgive me if I do not review their contributions to what has been an interesting debate, except that I cannot resist congratulating the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). I am delighted that the bait that he cast on Second Reading was taken so quickly. I hope that he enjoyed his trip to Canada. I thank him for his constant support for the Bill.
692 At this hour I can be brief. We come now to the conclusion of the contribution of the House to fulfilling the request made to us by the Canadian Parliament in December last year. The Canadians requested us to pass a Bill that would create a charter of rights devised by Canadians for Canada. The Bill also incorporates as its other main elements a procedure for future amendments of the Canadian constitution and the repeal of the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster to legislate for Canada.
Because of this final provision, the last few weeks have marked the last occasion on which the House has been called upon to debate the constitutional affairs of Canada. It has been rightly said that the residual powers of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to legislate for Canada in the matter of the Canadian constitution is an anomaly in the relationship between this country and a leading member of the world community, which in practice has exercised its independent statehood for many decades. I am sure that no hon. Member would wish to oppose the passing of the power to amend the Canadian constitution to Canadians in Canada.
The Government have listened carefully to the doubts and reservations expressed about the Bill. Hon. Members were entitled to take the time of the House thoroughly to thrash out those matters. The doubts fall into two main categories—about the timing of the Bill and about points of substance in the Bill.
On the timing of the Bill, I can do no better than did the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson). A solemn address was received from the Canadian Parliament endorsing a proposal prepared by the federal Government and nine of the 10 provincial Governments. The British Government moved immediately to bring the Bill before Parliament. We delayed consideration of the Bill in January pending the outcome of proceedings before the Court of Appeal. Particularly in the light of the judgment given at the end of January, we did not believe that it would be right further to delay the Bill's progress. In view of other pending legal actions, which are still pending—the case awaiting petition in the House of Lords is only one of many—we decided that further delay could have prolonged consideration of the Bill for an indefinite period.
The Supreme Court decision on Quebec last year took months to deliver after the hearing. We were told that it would be in July, and then in August; finally, it was September before the judgment came. We considered the effect of that. We also considered the new package that Prime Minister Trudeau was able to achieve.
§ Mr. Lawrence
If it was considered constitutionally right to delay consideration of that Bill until the Supreme Court had decided on a constitutional matter, why is it not right to delay this Bill until the Supreme Court has decided on the constitutionality of this matter?
§ The Attorney-General
I am sure that my hon. and learned Friend has read the judgment of the Supreme Court in the Quebec case. I have formed an opinion from reading it of the likelihood of the present Quebec proceedings succeeding.
§ The Attorney-General
My responsibility is to advise the Government on legal matters. Others may take other views.
§ Mr. Ennals
Is it reasonable for the Attorney-General to assume what will be the judicial judgment? It seems to be most improper.
§ The Attorney-General
It is a matter not of assuming anything, but of giving the matter a balanced consideration after reading the judgment, just as we did in the Indian case.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)
Order. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to intervene, he must stand.
§ Mr. Winterton
Is it not political expediency. If not, can my right hon. and learned Friend explain it?
§ The Attorney-General
Different aspects of the legislation worried a small number of hon. Members who believed that there were defects in the legislation that would affect Canada. It was even said by one hon. Member that the Canadians would live to regret a certain provision. However, the Government have consistently taken the view that we must leave it to the Canadians to judge what is good for Canada. In the last quarter of the twentieth century it is not for this House, which is the best part of 3,000 miles away from Canada, to pronounce on matters that are unquestionably the responsibility of the Government and Parliament of Canada. Most hon. Members share that view.
It is, as has been said many times, due only to an anomaly that we are here debating the affairs of Canada at all. Those anomalies are about to be removed. That is as it should be. At the same time, there has shone through the debate, even in the speeches of hon. Members who found matters to criticise, a wealth of interest in and concern and affection for Canada that we all share. That also is as it should be. As we pass this legislation which envisages the end of a formal link, I am confident that we can expect other links, less formal but more practical, between our two countries to expand and flourish.
I shall end on a personal note. In 1942, as an ordinary seaman in Combined Operations, I had some involvement in the Dieppe raid and spent some time with the Canadian troops who played so brave a part in that unhappy operation. Any participation by me at Dieppe was prevented by a too accurately timed bomb on the ship in which I was serving, but during that time I was certainly able to form admiration and respect for the soldiers who carried out that operation. It seems to me that those soldiers displayed then the same courage, initiative and independence that we so admire among Canadians in Canada today.
I therefore invite hon. Members to support the Bill.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 177, Noes 33.695
|Division No. 85]||[9.56 pm|
|Anderson,Donald||Hogg, N. (EDunb't'nshire)|
|Aspinwall, Jack||HomeRobertson, John|
|Atkinson, N.(H'gey,)||Howell, Ralph (NNorfolk)|
|Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset)||Hunt,John(Ravensbourne)|
|Banks, Robert||Hurd,Rt Hon Douglas|
|Barnett,Guy (Greenwich)||Johnston, Russell(Inverness)|
|Beaumont-Dark,Anthony||Jones, Barry (East Flint)|
|Benyon, Thomas (A'don)||Kitson,SirTimothy|
|Benyon.W. (Buckingham)||Knight, MrsJill|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Lang, Ian|
|Best, Keith||Lee, John|
|Boscawen,HonRobert||Lester, Jim (Beeston)|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)|
|Brooke,Hon Peter||Lyons, Edward (Bradf'dW)|
|Brown, Hugh D.(Proven)||Macfarlane,Neil|
|Bryan, SirPaul||MacKenzie, RtHon Gregor|
|Callaghan, Rt HonJ.||Major,John|
|Clegg, SirWalter||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Cocks, Rt Hon M. (B'stol S)||Mather,Carol|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Mayhew, Patrick|
|Davis,Terry (B'ham, Stechf'd)||Mellor,David|
|Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)||Meyer, SirAnthony|
|Dean, Paul (NorthSomerset)||Millan,Rt Hon Bruce|
|Dover,Denshore||Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)|
|Emery, Sir Peter||Myles, David|
|Evans, loan (Aberdare)||Needham, Richard|
|Fletcher,Ted (Darlington)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Fraser, J. (Lamb'th, N'w'd)||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald||Page, Richard (SWHerts)|
|Goodlad,Alastair||Prentice, Rt Hon Reg|
|Gow, Ian||Price, SirDavid (Eastleigh)|
|Grant, George(Morpeth)||Pym, Rt Hon Francis|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'thN)||Raison,Rt Hon Timothy|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Hamilton, W. W. (C'tral Fife)||RhysWilliams,SirBrandon|
|Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Ridley,HonNicholas|
|Hawksley,Warren||Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)|
|Haynes, Frank||Rossi, Hugh|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Sandelson, Neville|
|Heddle,John||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Henderson, Barry||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)|
|Shepherd,Colin (Hereford)||Trippier, David|
|Sims, Roger||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Viggers, Peter|
|Smith, Rt Hon J. (N Lanark)||Waddington, David|
|Speed, Keith||Waller, Gary|
|Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)||Warren,Kenneth|
|Stewart, A. (ERenfrewshire)||Wickenden,Keith|
|Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|Thorne, Neil (IlfordSouth)||Mr. John Cope and|
|Tinn, James||Mr. Donald Thompson.|
|Bennett,Andrew(St'kp'tN)||Powell, Rt Hon J.E. (S Down)|
|Callaghan, Jim (Midd't'n&P)||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Cockeram,Eric||Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Stoddart,David|
|Dunlop,John||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Ennals, Rt Hon David||Wigley, Dafydd|
|George,Bruce||Wilson, Gordon (DundeeE)|
|Hardy, Peter||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Holland,S. (L 'b'th, Vauxh 'll)||Woodall,Alec|
|Hoyle, Douglas||Young, David (BoltonE)|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)|
|Lamond,James||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Mr. Stan Thorne and|
|Maynard, MissJoan||Mr. David Marshall.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read the Third time and passed.