Hon. Jake Epp (Provencher): Madam Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Justice. It relates to the Morgentaler clinic in Winnipeg. Up to this point of time the Attorney General in Manitoba has argued that there is nothing wrong with the establishment of a clinic. However, the clinic did not receive hospital status and did not establish a therapeutic abortion committee. Therefore, now that Morgentaler has said that abortions are being performed, it is obviously in contravention of the Criminal Code of Canada.
While I know, and the Minister of Justice recognizes that the administration of justice is a provincial matter, has he discussed this matter with the Attorney General of Manitoba? Obviously it is now a very public flaunting of the Criminal Code of Canada, a law which is passed through this House, through the Parliament of Canada. Obviously this has some very serious implications for the administration of law and the perception of law in the country. Would the Minister tell the House what discussions he has had, or what methods of remedy he is recommending in this case?
May 13, 1983
Hon. Mark MacGuigan (Minister of Justice): Madam Speaker, I have not had discussions with the Attorney General of Manitoba in this case. I find it hard to imagine circumstances in which I would feel that to be appropriate. The law, as my hon. Friend knows, is made by this House, but its administration is in the hands of the provincial Governments.
It is certainly my impression that the Attorney General of Manitoba has indicated that, when the proper information is provided to him by law enforcement authorities in that Province, he will take the appropriate action according to the law. However, Madam Speaker, even if, in a hypothetical case, a provincial Attorney General were to take a different view of the law, I do not believe, as Minister of Justice in the federal Government, I would have any authority to overrule or in any way countermand the role which the provincial Attorney General is taking in carrying out his duties. That is a matter for the people and the Government of that Province. I have no reason as yet, Madam Speaker, to think that that, in any event, is the situation here.
May 13, 1983