The Canadian Bill of Rights

Letter from Davie Fulton to John Diefenbaker

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Seen by John G. Diefenbaker
Handwritten: “Confidential”
Stamped: “Office of the Prime Minister, May 13, 1950, Ottawa”

Ottawa, May 11, 1959

The Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker, P.C., Q.C., M.P.,
Prime Minister of Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Prime Minister:

I have examined, and discussed with my officials, the Briefs, letters and other submissions received by me on the Bill of Rights subsequent to my letter to you of January 27, 1959, and in particular the Resolution of the Council of the Canadian Bar Association dated March 3, 1959, together with the memorandum that accompanied it, and the letter dated April 29, 1959 and submitted to you by a delegation representing a number of organizations in Canada.

In the result, I would recommend the following additional amendments:

  1. That a new paragraph (a) be inserted in clause 3 of the bill in the following terms:
    1. “authorize or effect the arbitrary detention, imprisonment or exile of any person;”
      The remaining paragraphs now lettered (a) to (e) would, of course, have to be re-lettered as paragraphs (b) to (f).
  2. That the words “protection against self-crimination” be inserted after the word “counsel” in the present paragraph ( c) of clause 3 of the bill, so that the whole paragraph would read as follows:
    1. “authorize a court, tribunal, commission, board or other authority to compel a person to give evidence if he is denied counsel, protection against self crimination or other constitutional safeguards;

That the words "to ensure that the purposes and provisions of this Part in relation thereto are fully carried out” in clause 4 be deleted and that in place thereof there be inserted the words "in order to ascertain whether any of the provisions thereof are inconsistent with the purposes
and provisions of this Part, so that the whole clause would read as follows:

“4. The Minister of Justice shall, in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Governor in Council, examine every proposed regulation submitted in draft form to the Clerk of the Privy Council pursuant to the Regulations Act and every Bill introduced in the House of Commons, in order t o ascertain whether any of the provisions thereof are inconsistent with the purposes and provisions of this Part.”

The foregoing recommendations are, of course, additional to the change recommended in my letter of January 27, 1959. I am enclosing herewith a print of Bill C-60 as introduced at the last session of Parliament, in which all of the foregoing amendments have been incorporated. If a revised bill in these terms meets with your approval, I would recommend that the enclosed revised bill be transmitted to the Law Clerk of the House of Commons for printing and submission to the Cabinet.

I have considered also the suggestion made by Mr. Edwin Goodman for including a provision in the bill to aid in its enforcement against officers or agents of the Crown, My view is that with a Bill of Rights on the statute books it would necessarily be observed by and enforced against Crown servants and agents and that an express provision in the Bill would not be needed. Moreover, a provision going as far as has been suggested would undoubtedly require additional staff. However, if it were considered desirable to include a provision along the lines suggested, I submit for consideration a provision along the lines of the attached draft.

Yours sincerely,
Davie Fulton

Handwritten: “The foregoing proposed amendment as taken, in part from suggestions made in Dr. Schumiatcher’s bid and in part from the submission presented on April 29th. – D.”


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Canadian Bill of Rights
Creator: Government of Canada

Subject: Canada – Canadian Bill of Rights | Canada – Parliamentary Statutes

Description: Copy of the Canadian Bill of Rights

Date Created: 1960

Identifier: Canadian Bill of Rights

John Diefenbaker in Cornwall, Ontario
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities

Description: : John Diefenbaker in Cornwall, Ontario, surrounded by children in Eastern European costumes

Date Created: [1958?]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD2899

John and Olive Diefenbaker with a group of Polish children
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities | Traditional Costume

Description: John and Olive Diefenbaker with a group of Polish children in costume in Sarnia, Ontario

Date Created: 18 August 1959

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD6926

John Diefenbaker at a Chinese Youth Services banquet
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities

Description: View of large banquet table at Chinese Youth Services banquet. Large group of unidentified individuals present including John Diefenbaker. Diefenbaker is being instructed on the use of chopsticks.

Date Created: [1958?]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD2928

John Diefenbaker in House of Commons office
Creator: Unknown

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canadian Bill of Rights

Description: John Diefenbaker working at desk in House of Commons office. Behind him is a plaque of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

Date Created: [1975]

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD3141

John Diefenbaker and a delegate to the Progressive Conservative General Meeting – 16
Creator: Ted Grant – Photo Features

Subject: Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Personalities

Description: John Diefenbaker and delegate at the Progressive Conservative annual general meeting, holding copy #10 of the Bill of Rights, Ottawa

Date Created: 18 March 1961

Identifier: MG01/XVII/JGD3299


Audio

Speech by John Diefenbaker at the Young Progressive Conservative Convention, Ottawa

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada Bill of Rights

Description:John Diefenbaker affirms his lifelong championing of human rights and calls upon the youth of the party to take on responsibility for leading Canada into the future

Date Created:30November1959

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T163-PAC23

Speech by John Diefenbaker to the Progressive Conservative Women’s Association, Ottawa

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Bill of Rights

Description:John Diefenbaker declares his desire to have a Bill of Rights voted on by Parliament in the coming session

Date Created:30November1959

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T187-PAC39

Speech by John Diefenbaker to a Progressive Conservative banquet, Ottawa

Creator:Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

Subject:Canada – Head of Government | Canada – Human Rights | Canada – Census

Description:John Diefenbaker advocates for a Canadianism which will find expression in the coming census when citizens will, for the first time, be asked whether they are a Canadian

Date Created:17March1961

Identifier:MG01/XVIII/T203-PAC50


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