Wednesday 17 September 1997
United Empire Loyalists' Day Act, 1997, Bill 150, Mr Danford / Loi de 1997 sur le jour des Loyalistes de l'Empire-Uni, projet de loi 150, Mr Danford
United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada
Ms Bernice Woodflett
STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Chair / Président Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Simcoe Centre / -Centre PC)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings / Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud PC)
Mr John R. Baird (Nepean PC)
Mr Tony Clement (Brampton South / -Sud PC)
Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North / -Nord L)
Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings / Prince Edward-Lennox-Hastings-Sud PC)
Mr Ernie Hardeman (Oxford PC)
Mr Ron Johnson (Brantford PC)
Mrs Margaret Marland (Mississauga South / -Sud PC)
Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East / -Est PC)
Mr Gilles E. Morin (Carleton East / -Est L)
Mrs Sandra Pupatello (Windsor-Sandwich L)
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt ND)
Mr Joseph N. Tascona (Simcoe Centre / -Centre PC)
Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel PC)
Mr Bud Wildman (Algoma ND)
Substitutions / Membres remplaçants
Mr Harry Danford (Hastings-Peterborough PC)
Clerk / Greffier Mr Peter Sibenik
Staff / Personnel
Mr Lewis Yeager, research officer, Legislative Research Service Mr Michael Wood, legislative counsel
The committee met at 1543 in room 228.
UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS' DAY ACT, 1997 / LOI DE 1997 SUR LE JOUR DES LOYALISTES DE L'EMPIRE-UNI
Consideration of Bill 150, An Act proclaiming United Empire Loyalists' Day / Projet de loi 150, Loi proclamant le jour des Loyalistes de l'Empire-Uni.
The Chair (Mr Joseph N. Tascona): The matter on the agenda today is Bill 150. We'll start off the meeting with a statement by Harry Danford, MPP.
Mr Harry Danford (Hastings-Peterborough): Thank you, Mr Chairman, and members of the committee. I'm sure there'll be a few others joining us before we're finished. I appreciate the opportunity to be here and to have an opportunity to make a presentation regarding An Act proclaiming United Empire Loyalists' Day.
Let me start by saying that I believe our heritage is something we should be celebrating. If passed, Bill 150 would give us a chance to recognize the important part that one particular group, the Loyalists, played, and their descendants continue in play, in the development of Ontario. I believe the Loyalists' influence has contributed so much to the province of Ontario; that it is a heritage that belongs to all Ontarians and not just to those with Loyalist roots.
I was disappointed, I might say, to see in last week's papers the poll that found very few of our students know the basics of Canadian history. I believe this is a sign that we need to focus more on our history because it is a history we can be proud of. I believe this bill will help us focus attention on this one important aspect of Ontario's history.
As I have said before, it was Loyalist heritage that led to the development of Canada, with its bilingual, multicultural and regional traditions, under the unifying context of a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. This is the very thing that sets Canada apart from other nations. This is something we should be proud of and celebrate, and Bill 150 does that.
The Loyalists were Canada's first multicultural immigration. As a result of this massive immigration, pressures were brought forward by the Loyalists for new freedoms that were not found in either Britain or the United States. For example, the Legislature of Upper Canada passed an act in 1793 that effectively ended slavery. This was 50 years before Britain and 70 years before the United States.
Members may be wondering why we should mark UEL Day on June 19. June 19 marks the anniversary of royal assent to the Constitutional Act of 1791. This is probably the most important legacy the Loyalists have left for us. The Constitutional Act set out the framework for representative government in Upper Canada, which is the predecessor of modern-day Ontario. As a matter of fact, our roles as members of provincial Parliament can be traced back to the Constitutional Act of 1791, and indeed the first provincial Parliament held at Newark, which we refer to now as Niagara-on-the-Lake, in 1792. It was the Constitutional Act that established our court system and system of land tenure that is still in use today.
So much of what we take for granted here in Canada has happened as a result of that Constitutional Act. It was this act that guaranteed the protection of the crown for the French language and culture in Lower Canada. It was also the Constitutional Act that gave Catholics full participation rights in Canada, despite the fact that they did not have them in Britain at that time.
The Constitutional Act was passed as a result of the Loyalist migration to Upper Canada, as the new immigrants began demanding changes to the way the colony had been governed in the past. June 19 is the appropriate day because it recognizes one of the lasting contributions of the Loyalists.
I'd like to say that this bill could not have happened without the assistance of a number of organizations. Consultations were held with the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada, the Monarchist League of Canada and the Ontario Black History Society, prior to and indeed after the introduction of Bill 150. Out of those consultations I realized the need to amend the preamble of the bill to recognize all African American Loyalists and not just those that were slaves. During clause-by-clause consideration, I will be moving such an amendment.
The Loyalist influence is seen all around us today. As a result of this, I believe the Loyalist tradition belongs to all Ontarians, whether their ancestors were Loyalists or not. The Loyalists worked on behalf of all subjects of the crown and citizens of Canada and not simply for those belonging to a Loyalist club.
I would like to ask all members to recognize the historic importance of the Loyalists by supporting this bill. The Loyalists have left an indelible mark on Ontario. By recognizing June 19 as United Empire Loyalists' Day, we will be celebrating the Loyalists' contribution, and their descendants' continued contribution, not just to Ontario but indeed to Canada.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Danford. Are there any questions or comments for Mr Danford?
Mr Ernie Hardeman (Oxford): I have a question, I suppose, on the definition of a Loyalist, as the bill lists the different nationalities and different people that made up the United Empire Loyalists. Was there a time in history where you became something other than a United Empire Loyalist. Someone who supports the United Empire today, are they not a United Empire Loyalist? Is in fact the designation of a day for people in history or people of today?
Mr Danford: Certainly the history that was established at that time in the late 1700s continues on today, and I think in all fairness almost all of us go back and have some connection with those families, those descendants of those families, who relate us to the same movement. I think we're all part of it. The fact that we're here in Ontario and how Ontario was formed, through that movement, and through again, as I've mentioned, the Constitutional Act, make us all part of it. So it's as important in my opinion for the people of today as it was for those people who originated it over 200 years ago.
Mr Hardeman: Just to make sure I understand it, I happen to be one of the nationalities on your list. Because I was born some 200 years later than the people you're referring to in the bill, and I'm a strong supporter of the United Empire, am I a United Empire Loyalist? Was there some point in history where that title was lost, that only those people who were there that day would be considered United Empire Loyalists?
Mr Danford: The descendants of those original families of that era and that time frame were granted the right to include "UE" after their names, and if you in fact, Mr Hardeman, are a descendant of that family, then as I understand it -- I could be corrected -- you would have that same right, if you requested it, to have "UE" placed behind your name.
Mr Alvin Curling (Scarborough North): I just want to follow up on the same question, because I had a thought too. At that said time, when they had the Empire Loyalists, all those who were living in Canada or in Ontario at the time were considered Empire Loyalists?
Mr Danford: No, not all those who were living at that time in Upper Canada as we knew it, in Upper and Lower Canada.
Mr Curling: So there were people who were not Loyalists really, and they were not members of the club, the group, so to speak.
Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): The natives.
Mr Danford: I hear a comment about the natives, but the natives were also considered United Empire Loyalists who came from the colonies and emigrated to Ontario, as we know it now. They were also included, United Empire Loyalists, in all fairness. It included all of those people.
Mr Curling: I saw the Iroquois here. They were the only natives who were considered as Empire Loyalists then.
Mr Danford: They were the most predominant native band that worked with the Loyalist movement and, as you know, they located near Brantford eventually. But others also are included as United Empire Loyalists. But if you go back in the histories, they were the predominant native band that was supportive and involved in that movement. There were also Mohawks, as I could mention from my area of Quinte and Adolphustown and in that area of the province, who were included in that. They joined the Loyalist movement and landed on the shores of Adolphustown. If you look in the history, the most predominant native group was the Iroquois.
Mr Curling: So there would be others then. I don't want to place too much emphasis on it. There were other natives who were Empire Loyalists but not listed here.
Mr Danford: That's right.
Mr Curling: So the recognition is based on the contribution of the Empire Loyalists to the building of Canada.
Mr Danford: Right.
Mr Tony Silipo (Dovercourt): I just have a question with respect to the import that passing this bill and having June 19 proclaimed as United Empire Loyalists has. Obviously the bill doesn't suggest that this be, for example, a legal holiday. It's a day of proclamation.
I just wondered if Mr Danford could tell us what other days we have, if any, that might fall into this kind of category, that is, where the province or the Legislative Assembly has deemed that particular events or groups or people or things should be categorized in this way. It may be unfair to ask Mr Danford this, but if you think you know, we'd love to hear, or any information we have from legislative research on this. I'd just be interested in knowing that.
Mr Danford: If I could just have a second here to check the dates so the information could be accurate.
The Chair: What specifically is your question, Mr Silipo?
Mr Silipo: If Mr Danford is aware of what other -- I guess it would have to be through legislation -- legislation has been passed, if any, in the past that would proclaim particular days during the year for either certain groups, as this suggests, or events or other important parts of our history.
Mr Danford: Oh, I see. I guess I misunderstood in the beginning. There were a number of other days that could have been used instead of June 19.
Mr Silipo: No, that's not --
Mr Danford: No, that's not what you're asking for, Mr Silipo. To my knowledge and through the research we did leading up to this, I cannot give you another date. I don't recall through the research that anything of that sort of thing came to light.
Mr Silipo: So we don't have --
Mr Danford: I don't know whether --
Mr Silipo: I just wondered -- is it appropriate, Chair? I don't know if Mr Yeager could tell us -- are there other days of the year that the Legislative Assembly has decided, either by resolution or by legislation, be proclaimed as whatever? Is this a first, I guess, is what I'm getting at. I appreciate I'm talking beyond the import of the bill, which I certainly support and will indicate, when we get to it later on, more fully why, but I'd just be interested in that as well.
Mr Lewis Yeager: I don't have that information with me, but I'll have one of my colleagues in the office check that and provide you with the information as quickly as possible.
Mr Hardeman: I like to be persistent if I don't understand, so that's what I'm going to do now. I'm following up on Mr Curling's comments. As we look at what a United Empire Loyalist was or is, it started off by the majority of people emigrated to Upper Canada in order to avoid the American way of life and to get involved in the Canadian way of life. At that point in time, the people who lived here who did not come here for that reason, were they not considered United Empire Loyalists? Is it a title of an action or a title of the people we're commemorating? Is it the fact that they came over from the other side of the border and became part of our way of life and culture that is the important part of what we're commemorating, or is it the fact that they got here and became Canadians, as we are today?
Mr Danford: I think it's probably, not complicated I guess you'd say, but there are probably a few explanations. Certainly, as you've indicated, the original United Empire Loyalists were those groups of American citizens at that time who were under British rule who chose not to conform to what the American style was trying to change. They would either not take arms in some cases -- some individuals chose to do that -- or they did not agree with the principles that were trying to be imposed on them.
With that in mind, they migrated to Ontario. They were almost 10,000 in number. It increased substantially within a few years. At that time, with the people who lived in basically, as know it now, Quebec, the area and the culture were changing and it was necessary at that point in time to divide, and that's how we ended up, of course, naturally with Upper Canada and Lower Canada. I'm sure you all realize that. But the people who were part of that movement and settled in what we call now Ontario are what are referred to as United Empire Loyalists.
They had some different arrangements as far as laws and that sort of thing are concerned, and the British government granted that to those people in Ontario, rather than some of the laws that were part of Quebec at that time, because there were some differences. But it was the group that migrated under the revolution and settled in what we call now Ontario that were granted the UE status.
I might say, if it's not clear, we have another lady who will be presenting. She is totally familiar with this organization and she may be able to answer questions later if it's not in complete detail. We've done the research, but she has come with a wider range of research, representing that organization. So there may be some more questions that could be more fully addressed from our next presenter, as a matter of fact.
Mr Hardeman: I would say, Mr Danford, that I do support the bill and will be supporting it when it comes time to vote. I just have some concern that we are not bestowing, shall we say, the honour of the day on people who came here because of what we had and take away the honour from those people who were already here for that same reason: that they wanted to be part of this way of life as opposed to the American style. They made the choice earlier to come to Canada, as opposed to later. I just want to make sure we're not limiting one over the other.
Mr Danford: There's certainly no intent there. There has not been in over the 200 years, and there certainly is no more intent today; I can assure you of that.
Mr Curling: I think you captured what the Empire Loyalists, all the groups, were about. I think somehow, when you start listing the names, you're going to get into trouble, in the sense of Dutch, English, what have you, that you may leave some people out. I just wondered, for a friendly amendment, if you just leave out, "The main groups that comprised the Loyalists were the following...." Once you start naming, you know when we start saying, "I want to thank all those who contributed," the one you left out is the one who will be more annoyed than anybody else.
I think the United Empire Loyalists' contributions were quite significant in what they did in the direction they wished to be ruled, under royalty. But somehow putting the names in, you may leave some out, and some would say: "This law itself somehow recognizes Empire Loyalists and I was a part of it. I was from Australia or what have you and I was contributing. Why were we not mentioned?" I think that's where the problem comes in.
I also knew that even when you tried to describe, which you quite willingly changed, the freed African American slaves, immediately someone jumped up and said: "You left out some. What about the others?" Then your amendment, which came afterwards, said, "African Americans." I wonder if you could consider that. Instead of naming people, the groups in here, you would leave the names out and just say all those who contributed would be Empire Loyalists, because you've defined it very well there.
Mr Danford: I think most of us sitting around these tables understand when you put legislation together, or bylaws or anything of that nature, it is all but impossible to guarantee 100% accuracy. You'll notice we've taken our research from the best available records and we have listed it as the main groups. That is not to say that anyone is excluded, but we have simply noted the main groups as we could find that evidence from research. But certainly it is not intended to exclude anyone. If we try to be so precise as you suggest, we could in fact, regardless of how we tried, still eliminate something. Sometimes when you try to be so, and I probably shouldn't use the term, black and white, it is difficult to be so precise, and therefore we felt it was a fair way to simply state it as the main groups, as history shows us. That's why we have included those different variations.
Mr Curling: If you say "main," one would say, define "main". Does "main" mean numbers or contribution? Maybe there are 10 people whose contribution was greater than 200 people or any number. So when you say you just include the main groups, I could then ask you, what do you mean by "main" groups? Is it numbers?
Mr Danford: The main groups as are recorded in the records at that time.
Mr Curling: I just feel you're walking into something where people will question the fact that their contributions were not recognized because they weren't part of the main group. What that means, I really don't know. I presume that if stand up to be counted and there are enough people to be counted, then you become a part of the main group. I'm sure there are others -- I can declare my ignorance very much of the history of the United Empire Loyalists -- who have made contributions. They're not in the main groups, but they did make contributions. You were saying that too.
Mr Danford: Everyone certainly contributed. That doesn't take away from the statement of saying that the main groups involved certain groups of people. That doesn't mean someone else didn't contribute, I don't think, in all fairness. It was never intended to do that.
Mr Curling: I just raised the point.
Mr Gary Fox (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings): I come from an area that's supposed to be United Empire Loyalist territory. I've always been led to believe that the people who claim to be United Empire Loyalists were British subjects who fled from the US and came to an area of Ontario along the northeasterly shore of Lake Ontario, and their protectorate at that time was Fort Henry. Is that not true?
Mr Danford: There were different migrations. While many of them settled in Adolphustown -- Quinte is in Loyalist country as we know it; certainly in our area, Mr Fox, as you and I share the same area -- there also were significant movements to Niagara and another large movement around the Windsor-Sarnia area. There were three major areas. That's not to say we didn't cover Ontario as it spread out, but those were the three main points, as history shows us. Of course we have to rely on history and the records that are before us.
Mr Fox: I never knew that Niagara and Windsor were classified as United Empire Loyalist country.
Mr Danford: I'm relying on history and research -- that's what we based it on -- and from the United Empire Loyalist group that has been in place for so many years. I'm trusting their background and the information they provided for us in putting this together.
Mr McLean: I'd like to hear from the 4 pm witness we have to see what input she has into this before I ask any questions.
The Chair: You're right on schedule.
UNITED EMPIRE LOYALISTS' ASSOCIATION OF CANADA
The Chair: We have with us Bernice Woodflett, the national president of the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. Thank you for attending today, Ms Woodflett. It's a fairly informal process. The members may want to ask you a question or just to comment afterwards.
Ms Bernice Woodflett: I hope they will ask me some questions. The topic I've chosen perhaps will fill in a few of the cracks that appeared here, but the others I'll try if we have time.
I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today in support of Bill 150. Ontario, as we know it today, owes its creation to the United Empire Loyalists, although the name "Ontario" did not come into use until 1867.
The actual story of the United Empire Loyalists was eloquently recited by various members during the second reading of the bill, and I will not repeat that today, but I would like to add one fact to the accounts already heard. Loyalists believed in political development through evolution rather than revolution. They achieved their purpose, albeit more slowly, as we know.
In the words of Arthur Gelber during the 1984 Ontario Bicentennial: "The Loyalists' approach to democracy and politics in those early days was the foundation not only of our own parliamentary democracy, but a model which was a significant inspiration to the development of the Commonwealth. That heritage of change through evolution is one which remains with us strongly to this day."
I believe the recognition of the Loyalists and their contribution to this province has been evolving over many years. In the words of Mary Beacock Fryer, "One pervading theme threads through Ontario's story -- loyalty -- from the founders of Ontario to the motto," which she translates as, "Loyal she began, loyal she remains."
We have been reminded of this history at quite regular intervals in Ontario's time. For example, in 1816, after the War of 1812-14, the executive council of Upper Canada, as Ontario was called then, decreed that no land petitions would be received until proof of loyalty was provided. Sons had to have done their duty in defence of the province, and daughters had to prove that their husbands had also done their duty. Only when this proof was presented was land granted.
Intermarriage with new settlers somewhat diluted the Loyalist influence after the War of 1812, but in 1855 the Toronto Globe printed an editorial on the ignorance in Canada West -- a new name -- concerning the Loyalist fathers.
This may have resulted in Egerton Ryerson, who was our first Minister of Education, being approached about writing a history of the Loyalists, and eventually he did this. His two-volume history of the Loyalists is still in use today and is still read regularly by historians.
In 1859, the publishing of William Kirby's 178-page poem, A Tale of Upper Canada, served to remind us of our beginnings. The section on the Hungry Years is perhaps the best-known part, and it is one of the most poignant passages in Canadian literature.
At the same time, the Niagara area was the centre of Loyalist interest. William Hamilton Merritt was known for his Welland Canal, and in 1859 circulated a petition asking that the Ontario Legislature pay more attention to the history of Upper Canada. Other petitions soon followed and researchers were appointed to uncover Upper Canadian documentary material in Britain. Through such efforts a Loyalist tradition was created in the mid-19th century, many traces of which still remain today.
The reminders continued. In 1861 a provincial historical society was founded and it was called the Upper Canada Historical Society, because there was a growing interest in the history of the province. The year 1884 brought the centennial celebration of the Loyalist landing at Adolphustown. There were huge celebrations in Toronto and Niagara, as well as the Bay of Quinte area. Loyalist history was in the limelight again.
On February 28, 1896, the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Ontario was organized with the purpose of preserving such Loyalist records as were still available. Our work in this area continues today, especially now that archival space has become too scarce to keep all the valuable data which have been accumulated.
In 1904 an Ontario Archives report made available a large collection of important documentary material relating to Loyalist claims. This report is still one of our major references.
But in 1909 we have the biggest step in the evolutionary process thus far: the creation of the Ontario coat of arms, with its motto, "Ut incepit fidelis sic permanet": As she began, so she remains, loyal. This bore official witness for the first time to the Loyalist origins of the province.
The building of the St Lawrence Seaway brought attention again to our Loyalist story in the 1950s. The entire area which was to be flooded as part of the Seaway system was Loyalist ground. Some of the oldest and most valued historic buildings of the area were to be flooded. Whole villages were lost. Ontario's citizens must be forever grateful to Premier Leslie Frost and his government for having the wisdom and the sense of history to create Upper Canada Village, a living museum of the Loyalists and of early Ontario.
Today we can see some of these buildings which were saved, as well as the wonderful artefacts, the documents, the library, which make up the best collection of our early history anywhere. It is our fervent hope that proposed commercialization will be sufficiently controlled so that the historic integrity of the site is preserved.
We now move ahead to 1965 when on February 15 the new Canadian flag, the red maple leaf, was unfurled for the first time. Just three months later, on May 21, the Ontario provincial flag was proclaimed, the former Red Ensign with the provincial arms in the fly. I wonder if anyone realized at that time that the Loyalist flag is part of our provincial flag. The Union Jack is really the old Union Flag with the cross of St Patrick added. Whether it was intentional or not, the Loyalist flag is enshrined in the flag of Ontario, forever recognizing the Loyalist beginnings of our province.
Who of us will ever forget the excitement of the 1984 bicentennial celebration? Loyalist history again was at the forefront, and again people were reminded of how our province began. But 1984 was more than just celebration. Newly arrived citizens began to realize that they too followed the traditions laid down by our Loyalist forefathers.
A taxi driver in London, Ontario, who told me he had come from Ethiopia, recognized the badge on my blazer and asked if I knew about United Empire Loyalists. He went on to say he had studied English with a Canadian teacher in his native village. This teacher had told his class stories about the UELs and Ontario's beginnings. Eventually, when he knew he would have to leave his homeland, he remembered these stories and decided to try to get to Ontario to start a new life. A place which had been built by political refugees would understand his plight. As a matter of fact, he lives in my building, which I didn't know.
The Loyalists arrived with a special desire for justice and for peace, for respect and tolerance for people and cultures. Thus, at our very beginnings, the stage was set for the kind of multiracial, multicultural and multifaceted society we have in Ontario today. In a real sense we are all heirs to the Loyalist heritage.
"Our history belongs to all of us," said Sydney Wise of Carleton University. "We owe it to our children and grandchildren to pass on to them an understanding of our heritage and the strengths given us."
Bill 150 will give us the opportunity to do it. It is the culmination of all these and other efforts to give our Loyalist ancestors their due. It has taken 213 years for the evolutionary process to be completed, but with the passing of Bill 150, we will have achieved, in the tradition of the United Empire Loyalists, evolution without revolution.
The Chair: Thanks very much. Are there any questions or comments?
Mr David Tilson (Dufferin-Peel): My question has to do with the list of names that is suggested in the bill, whether or not that list is complete.
Ms Woodflett: Do you mean names of people or names of groups?
Mr Tilson: The bill refers to "the Dutch, the English, the freed African American slaves, the French, the Germans, the Iroquois, the Scots."
Ms Woodflett: You can add to that the Swiss, the Jews and about 18 more as well.
Mr Tilson: That's my point.
Ms Woodflett: The way I would answer that is that those are the larger groups. The largest group who came were German ancestors, and they perhaps spoke German rather than English when they came here. There were smaller groups. There was a group of Jewish immigrants who came and settled around the Gananoque area, for example. There weren't very many of them, but they certainly were there.
Mr Tilson: I guess my question really is that we, as representatives of constituents around the province -- are there going to be some people in this province who may not be part of that group but may consider themselves, their ancestors at least, were loyal to the empire and will be a little annoyed that this list is as short as it is? I'm not necessarily saying the list should be extended. I'm raising the question, should that list even be there?
Ms Woodflett: You're suggesting it be written in more general terms?
Mr Tilson: Or even don't refer to nationalities. I don't know. You wouldn't believe the calls we get.
Ms Woodflett: Oh, I think I do. I get quite a few.
The Chair: We'll have someone calling up and saying, "I'm Italian, I'm Irish, I'm from some other nationality and my ancestors I believe were loyal to the empire," and away we go, we're in big trouble.
Ms Woodflett: For what it's worth, we have four applications on our desk right now which have very Italian-sounding names. That's what they were. And there has been intermarriage back over the time, so I understand what you're getting at. I'm not sure what the answer is to that. I really am not.
If you take the groups that came to Canada at that particular time, then the ones that have been named were the largest groups. But certainly there should be something to indicate that they were not the only groups. How you're going to do that, I'm not sure.
Mr Tilson: Thank you very much.
Mr Curling: I just want to emphasize that the presentation was excellent, it gives you some historic background and I enjoyed that very much, but I still have those concerns too, as you know, that have been raised by Mr Tilson here.
Ms Woodflett: May I reply? You see, there were many of the people who left the United States who did not come to Canada. Many of them went to the Caribbean. Many of them went to Sierra Leone. Others went back to England. Some of them hid in Florida and areas like that. There are many people that did not come to Canada. They estimate that there was a third who left the country, a third who stayed who were rebels, and a third who were completely neutral and kind of disappeared for a few years until it was safe to come back. That is another story.
Mr Curling: What I'll do is just give notice that I'll make an amendment that may resolve some of the concern I have, that may solve the problem, I feel, that this is a reason.
Ms Woodflett: I think you speak to Mr Danford about that.
Mr Hardeman: First of all, on the issue of listing the different nationalities, I would really question whether that was important to designating a day to recognize a group that has attained a new title, which is United Empire Loyalists. What they were prior to that I'm not sure would be critical to the bill, to declare that a holiday. I would leave that to the presenter of the bill that he may want to consider that in an amendment.
I think you've somewhat clarified it for me; I just wanted to make sure I understand it. A United Empire Loyalist is an individual who came from the United States and came to Canada at the time of the independence of the United States. No one who was born after that time is a United Empire Loyalist.
Ms Woodflett: Oh, yes, I'll use my own life if I may as an example. My ancestors came from the Mohawk Valley and one group of them stayed loyal to the Americans. They were rebels. I have them on both sides. Then, my own particular group, he was a Minuteman and he got caught by the British and was given the choice of make boots for the British army or get hanged. He chose to make boots.
Mr Hardeman: Smart choice.
Ms Woodflett: Obviously. Then his family was in great danger. So they had to leave and went to a refugee camp around Sorel. Eventually the war ended and families got back together and so on and so forth. But in 1789 Lord Dorchester issued this edict because he wanted to make sure that these people had been recognized. They had lost their homes, their professions, their families in many cases, because it really was a civil war in many ways. He wanted Great Britain to recognize them in some way.
They evolved this title which stands for unity of the empire, "the great principle of the unity of the empire." That was given as a hereditary title to all the sons and daughters of those original people. So because my ancestor fought in the King's Royal Regiment, New York, and eventually came and got his land grant, and I can prove my bloodlines right back to that person, therefore I can use that title as well. Does that answer your question?
Mr Hardeman: Absolutely.
Mr McLean: Can I add a supplementary to that? If you came from Britain, are you not classified as an Empire Loyalist?
Ms Woodflett: Not unless you actually lived in the United States before 1775. I'm sorry I didn't bring my bylaws with me and I could have read that word for word, but you had to have lived in the United States before 1775 and had declared your loyalty; that is, you had to join the British standard by that time, and then after that it happened as we've described.
The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation.
At this point in time we've heard from Mr Danford and Ms Bernice Woodflett. Is there any further discussion at this point in time before we go to clause-by-clause?
Mr Tilson: I think it was Mr Silipo, but someone asked a question about similar days that we have in the province.
The Chair: Legislative research is putting that together right now. We haven't got an answer.
Mr Yeager: I think I have it sorted out. I don't know if this is complete, but the library has just brought me some initial information. There is a Tartan Day that was proclaimed in 1991, recognizing Scottish heritage. There's a Heritage Week in February that was proclaimed at least in 1993, and perhaps earlier. There's a Black History Month as well. Those are initial examples that they were able to get me on a few minutes' notice. So there are similar types of recognition in the past although they might not necessarily be specific days.
Mr Tilson: The reason I asked that question -- I don't know if it was Mr Danford or you, sir -- was we could have something for every day of the year. Maybe there's nothing wrong with that. I don't know if anyone has philosophized on that. I think it's important, this is such a multicultural society, that we recognize our historical past. I'd just like to hear someone comment on that, whether that's good or bad. Maybe there isn't any feeling. Maybe it's not bad to have all kinds of days recognizing the many different contributions that different nationalities have made to this province, to this country.
The Chair: That's not for the legislative department to comment on.
Mr Tilson: I know that. I appreciate that.
The Chair: Mr Danford may want to comment.
Mr Danford: I think in all fairness the intent of this bill covers multiculturalism. I think it was the beginning of multiculturalism. We talk a lot about it these days, and human rights and all the things that are involved with it. But this actually did involve multiculturalism and it was the first movement towards that, that all the groups banded together to form this one movement. I think that's one of the significant parts of it. The fact that brought about, actually, the province of Ontario, we think is significant, and therefore it should be recognized for that reason. It's not to distinguish between. As a group they brought about the province, and that's why it's important we do recognize a designated day, for that reason.
Mr Curling: My feeling on that comment is that's stretching it a little bit, to feel that proclaiming United Empire Loyalist Day is a multicultural thing. I think people had a focus, yes, of an issue they dealt with, but I don't think it was dealt with in a multicultural way. I think they had a cause and they all identified with that cause. But to say it was one of the multicultural creation of things is a little bit stretching. It's wonderful that all people of different nationalities who were around at that time could have got together, and to be Loyalist, so to speak, but I wouldn't regard it as a multicultural day, as a creation of a multicultural time.
Yes, I think that in recognition of the contributions that made this great country and this great province there should be days as such and we should do that to remember all this, what caused all this, why we have so wonderful a country. I think that should be done. But we must be careful as we make these days that we don't start climbing over each other and jostling for days and what have you.
I know there was a concern, and I spoke to Mr Danford about it, about emancipation day, that maybe that day should be called Emancipation Day, but now it's the day we call Simcoe Day, and how a proper debate could come about in recognizing those days because you'll find some significant things in history that are happening on the same day, and some other things that significantly happened before. Maybe one day a debate will come about, and I understand the day that is selected does not conflict with that emancipation day, so to speak.
But the question I was asking, and I think Mr Silipo asked it, was about the day itself of June 19, which would be proclaimed United Empire Loyalists' Day, if there are any other conflicting days or a celebration at that time. Legislative research stated that there are days of Black History Month, which declared before, and Scottish days were declared before and Tartan Day was declared. But for June 19, I don't know if there's any other significant day that is celebrated at that time. I know Mr Danford may not be able to answer that; neither did legislative research answer that question.
The Chair: On that note, I'd just ask if there's any other comments, questions or amendments to any section of Bill 150 and, if so, to which section?
Shall section 1 carry? Mr Danford? We're talking about sections here, not preambles.
Mr Danford: Then it would be included in section 1. I did intend to raise an amendment. Could I have a moment?
The Chair: Okay.
Mr Silipo: I wonder if while Mr Danford is checking out the wording, perhaps I could just indicate -- I'd be happy to do it under section 1; I'm just as happy under the preamble. I just want to indicate on the record my support for this bill.
I wasn't in the House when second reading took place, but I had a chance to look back at the Hansard, and quite honestly I'm sorry I wasn't there because it struck me as being one of those rare moments when not only was there a fair amount of unanimity, but there was such unanimity around a cluster of points and issues that go back to the heart of what I think makes this province and this country one of the best places in the world to live.
I share in one extent Mr Curling's concern about how far you can take the multiculturalism aspect of this, but on the other hand I do understand the point that I think Mr Danford has been making on this, which is that clearly within the makeup of the United Empire Loyalists of the time, there were people who had come to the United States and then here to Canada, to Ontario, from many different parts of the world and indeed from different races, including the native peoples. That's a point that should not be missed and so I appreciate the fact that was put in.
However we resolve the wording of this, I'll be interested in hearing what suggestions -- I'm kind of six of one, half a dozen of the other on that in terms of whether you include the largest groups or whether you don't. I don't have a strong view on that.
But I do think it is important -- it was partly why I was interested in the information. I appreciate research providing us that information in terms of the number of days or times of the year that the Legislative Assembly has made proclamations with respect to other events. I do think this is one that is important to have recognized by the assembly. I say that as somebody who fits perhaps in the category of the more recent arrivals to this country, having come here in 1970, and I say that therefore with a great deal of respect for those who have been here before.
That's not to say I necessarily agree with the views that groups such as the United Empire Loyalists might have on particular issues or not, but I don't think that's the issue here. The issue here is recognizing a part of our history and recognizing that there has been an incredible amount of evolution that also includes one of the first groups that then played a key role in developing and eventually establishing this country.
I just think that is something that is worthwhile. As somebody who has come relatively recently and from a community the majority of whom have come relatively recently but also a community that can trace its presence in Ontario and Canada back some 150 years at least, I think I can not only voice my own views, which obviously are the only ones I have the right to, but voice the sentiment of many who have come, like me, relatively recently to this province and to this country, about the need, while we continue to ask for respect and fairness and understanding vis-à-vis the more recent immigrant groups, to be prepared in ways like this to also recognize the respect we have for some of the original settlers of this province.
It's in that spirit that I certainly support this bill. It's something that I wonder why it wasn't done before, but it's a good thing it is here. I thank Mr Danford for bringing it forward. It will add something that will be useful as we try to describe, in the limitations that anybody ever can in legislation, the evolution -- I appreciated very much the phrase Ms Woodflett used, not once but twice, of "evolution rather than revolution." As a bit of an aside, I ask my colleagues opposite to remember those words as they continue to use the terminology in terms of their own Common Sense Revolution. I too am one who believes in evolution rather than revolution.
But I do say seriously that I think this piece of legislation recognizes an important part of our history and, as such, it's important to have that done. It's important to understand that as part of the evolution of this province and this country, but it's equally important for that to be done with a view also to the future, for myself, for my son and indeed for all children to also understand that that history is a part of us as well.
That doesn't mean we necessarily subscribe to everything that was there. That doesn't mean that we agree with necessarily everything. I have particularly, for example, some different views than others might have with respect to what should happen with the evolution of the monarchy. As we've seen the empire change over the years, we've obviously begun to see in more recent times that the monarchy has to change, and perhaps we will see the day when the monarchy will no longer play a role in this country. It's something that I think is just going to be part of the continuing evolution of Canada as a country.
But that would not for one second deny and should not deny the recognition that part of our history as a province and as a country involves the very significant role the United Empire Loyalists played, and without whom this province and this country would obviously have taken a very different kind of configuration. I'm grateful for the contribution they have made and am happy to be in a position where I can raise my hand in support of a bill that seeks to recognize that history and to recognize that contribution.
Mr Danford: Is it in order to propose an amendment at this time?
The Chair: To what?
Mr Danford: To the first paragraph. I think you had asked the question earlier.
The Chair: Are you talking about the preamble or a section?
Mr Danford: I'm talking about the preamble.
The Chair: You have to wait till we get to it. We're dealing with the sections of the bill right now. There are three sections to the bill.
Mr Danford: Oh, yes. All right. Sorry.
The Chair: Mr Curling, do you want to deal with the sections?
Mr Curling: I just wanted to place on the record too that I strongly support this legislation. I want to commend Mr Danford for the way he presented it and the way he actually worked the caucus and worked me to bring me up to date on any changes he was envisioning and any concern the community had. I want to thank you for that.
I too want to echo the things Mr Silipo said as also a new immigrant of just 30 years or so, that what we are enjoying today, and I'm talking about immigrants like myself, and what my daughters and son are enjoying today, who are Canadian born, should never be taken for granted.
There were those who had a belief and a commitment that have allowed us today to enjoy this country, our country, in this manner. Knowing where we come from, as we always say, without precisely telling us exactly where we are going, makes it much easier for us. Too often we forget those things. Many times in the House there are debates that sometimes people think are rather unnecessary, but it's enlightening, it's encouraging and it's remindful of the things we should be looking at. Today I've learned a considerable amount and hope that the knowledge I gathered will stimulate me to learn more about that and to carry that kind of message out to those of us who are here in Canada and building our country.
I fully want to support this. I'd like to see all those recognized who have contributed to making this country what it is, and this is a wonderful time in which to do that. I hope that the amendments you bring forward may be helpful in making those kinds of recognition.
The Chair: Shall section 1 carry? Carried.
Shall section 2 carry? Carried.
Shall section 3 carry? Carried.
Mr Danford, do you want to speak to the preamble?
Mr Danford: If it's in order, Mr Chairman, I would move an amendment at this point. I would ask that the third sentence be removed in its entirety. I can read the sentence if you think it's required.
The Chair: The third sentence?
Mr Danford: The third sentence and it would begin with, "The main groups that comprised the Loyalists were the following: the Dutch, the English, freed African American slaves, the French, the Germans, the Iroquois, the Scots," that that be completely deleted.
The Chair: Are you sure that's not the second sentence?
Mr Silipo: No, it's the third.
Mr Danford: I believe it's the third, unless I've missed --
The Chair: Oh, yes, you're right. Any comments on that amendment? Discussion? Shall the amendment to the preamble carry? Carried.
Shall the preamble, as amended, carry? Carried.
Shall the title carry? Carried.
Shall the bill, as amended, carry? Carried.
Shall I report the bill, as amended, to the House? Agreed.
That concludes our activities for the day. I'd like to thank everyone and especially Mr Danford for his efforts.
The committee adjourned at 1644.