31st Parliament, 1st Session

L018 - Mon 11 Jul 1977 / Lun 11 jul 1977

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 3, An Act to require the Essex County Board of Education to provide a French-language Secondary School.

Mr. Ruston: In speaking on this bill, and actually, I suppose, assuming what the outcome will be when we are finished debating it, one really wonders whether one should sit down and say it’s not worth it. I was under the impression this country was formed, in Confederation, on a compromise method. Apparently, there is no compromising, I take it, with the minister (Mr. Wells) or the Premier (Mr. Davis), in any way or in any form whatsoever. But I still want to go on.

Perhaps I can first lead up to what problems the board had in coming to the conclusion it came to. Then I would like to dwell a little while on the problems of the bill as we have it now. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, this bill is different from the one they brought in just prior to the election. It does contain three subsections that give the minister much more power to go ahead and do it on his own if the board does not act.

The problem we seem to have had in some areas is what will the enrolment of this school be? The other day -- Friday, July 8 -- when the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) was speaking, I made a note in one place where he said they had a survey made in 1973 that indicated there would be 830 students. Then in February, 1975 -- I am sure these are the words he used -- he said there would be an enrolment of 1,008 students. But the problem is that we don’t seem to have those figures available from anyone in authority that I have been able to find.

To get an idea of what we are looking at, I did get hold of the director of education for the Essex county board and I asked him what enrolment he had in the two schools that now carry French classes. His letter is addressed to me and it said: “You will find enclosed a copy of the enrolment in the French-language courses at Belle River District High School and the Sandwich secondary school as discussed this morning.”

The Belle River District High School, which is the largest school in the district and which, I believe, has the largest enrolment in the county, and which is just seven miles from where I live, had a French-language enrolment for one credit in year one of 18. In year two there are 26; in year three, 23; in year four, 10; and in year five, 7. For two credits in year one there are 21; in year two, 32; in year three, 17; in year four, one; and none in year five, for a total of 71. The first one had a total of 84. For three credits in year one there are 39; year two, 21; year three, 51; and year four one, for a total of 76. For four credits, in year one there are 29; year two, three; and year three, seven, for a total of 39. For five credits, in year one there are six; year two, 10, and year three, one, for a total of 17. That is a total enrolment of 287 being supplied French-language instruction.

In Sandwich secondary school the figures are -- and these words bother me a little. There are some French words I’m pretty good at, but these are a little difficult -- français, niveau intermédiare, year one, one class, 33 students; year two, one class, 21 students; français, cycle superieur, year three, one class, 17 students; year four, one class 17 students; and français S46 (13) 1968, year five, one class, six students; for a total of 94 students. Of the 287 at Belle River, there are about 25 being bussed from the Anderson area, which is another part of the county.

I am reluctant to talk in this particular detail but what I want to get across to the members of this House is that they are voting on something on which I really don’t think they know what they’re voting. I know that the leaders of all three parties have come out and said that we need this school, and I’m willing to accept that. But what I want to get across to the members of this House is that the Essex County Board of Education is not and has not been breaking The Education Act. It has been abiding by the law in supplying French-language instruction. I think that should be brought out, because I think it’s very important.

On the other hand, not too long ago there was an article, A Familiar Scenario for French School in the Windsor Star of April 23 by Stephen Lint. It’s actually on the Cornwall situation, comparing the school there. Some of the things that must be brought out in this are that in the Cornwall situation about 45 per cent of the students walk to school and apparently none of them travels much more than five miles by bus. In Essex county, no matter where the school is built, even if it’s put in the central part of what we would classify as the heaviest French-speaking community, the students would still have to be bussed from at the most 25 to 30 miles, though a great many of them might only be bussed 10 or 12 miles.

Going by the enrolment they had in Cornwall and taking into account how many would go to the unilingual school, at one point he writes: “It seems reasonable to expect the Essex school could expect a maximum of 35 per cent of the bilingual grade eights from the city and county; that is the students we have in the elementary school system. Assuming the number of grade eight graduates remains constant and 35 per cent do go to the Essex school, the school could expect a total enrolment in grades nine to 13 inclusive, after five years of operation, of 400.” You will recall that Bill 3 says we must build a school for 750. “If the percentage of grade 8 attending the Essex school was 25 per cent, the school’s total enrolment after five years would be 300 pupils.”

What the problem is there, of course, is that the farther the children have to ride on the bus, the farther they are taken away from some of their neighbours to another school. I am wondering what effect that will have on the overall attendance at the school. So these are the things that the board of education is faced with.

I also have a statement here from five members of the board of education. It says: “Whereas in section 255, paragraphs 2 and 4 of The Education Act, 1974, as amended in 1975, chapter 77, it states that, ‘Written evidence be presented to a board that the number of French-speaking students who elect to be taught in the French language so warrants.” Then it says: “Please be informed no written evidence has been presented to the undersigned trustees that a number of French-speaking students have elected to be taught in the French language in sufficient numbers, or any number, to justify the building of a French-language secondary school.”

This is the problem that we as legislators are having to face. The board members should have been informed of this. Whether some of them were and some of them weren’t, I don’t know. Quite frankly, it is pretty hard to get all this information together. It concerns me -- because I am the member from the area where the proposed school is to be built -- that we are asking 125 members of the Legislature, who cover all of Ontario, to decide what should be done in Essex county. I would be very reluctant to vote on whether we should build a new bridge over some river down in eastern Ontario because the local council didn’t want to build it; or a school in eastern Ontario, or the riding of the Minister for Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) as he is looking across at me. I am sure he wouldn’t like me, if I was a member of the government, coming in and telling the people in his area, “I think you better have this building built here or we had better put a new bridge over that river.” It is a bit of a problem when you look at what could happen if you carried this on a little further. So that is one of the difficulties facing school board members.

However, we can go back to 1975 when the board did vote to build the school.

“Eventually in 1975 after much lobbying and pressure on the part of the ministry and the promise of a 95 per cent grant for capital expenditures, the Essex county board voted to build a French-language high school.” This was part of Mr. Burr’s statement that he was going to give, and I think it is worthwhile reading into the record, Mr. Speaker. He mentioned one of the generals who knew how to win a victory but didn’t know how to maintain his position, and that is what we are getting about here:

“The same might be said of the proponents of the French high school. Having won their campaign, the more militant members increased their demands or requests, asking for the addition of an auditorium at a cost of another $500,000. When you realize that no other secondary school under the jurisdiction of the Essex county board has an auditorium you can appreciate how poor a move that was from the standpoint of public relations. Public opinion began to build against the school, and when the minister announced that the capital grant would be only 77 per cent instead of 95 per cent, the opposition increased.


“At the board meeting in February, 1976, the leading opponent of the school project moved a motion that would end all planning and consideration of the French high school. Because some members still wanted to explore alternatives, his motion was defeated 6-to-12. At this point, the leading proponent of the French school, apparently not content to enjoy his victory and unable to let well enough alone, made a totally unnecessary motion that the board proceed with the building of the school.”

Just previously, two motions before, he made a motion to build it, which went 12 to six. But with this new vote, the vote was nine to nine that they proceed. When they already had a motion to build, I don’t know why he needed the motion to proceed. But anyway, that motion was a tie vote, nine to nine; there are eighteen people on the board. So according to the board rules of procedure any motion that does not receive a majority is considered lost.

To continue the remarks prepared by Mr. Burr: “On this technicality the school project was halted, not as a result of bigotry but because of a procedural blunder. Defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory.

“Opposition to the building of the school continued to mount.”

At about the same time, as you will recall, the then Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) made a statement that the ministry was closing some of the beds of a number of hospitals, and proposed closing Riverview Hospital in Windsor. That’s a chronic care hospital. So you see, that was what was happening along at that time. Having sat on the regulations committee for one year, which was a useless committee because we had no authority to really do anything, I see the problem created by the minister giving grants according to regulations, when they should be in the legislation. Because he can change them at his whim. And that is what he did, when he changed the grant from 95 per cent back to 77 per cent. He didn’t have to check with the Legislature. He just passed a regulation through the executive council of the government, and changed the grants from 95 per cent to 77 per cent. So if you can just picture yourself sitting in the county board at a time like that, you can see the problems you would have with a situation like that.

At the same time, in an area where we talk about how many are going to attend the school, a Southam news reporter from Toronto was sent to Windsor to cover what he called the war between the English and the French. Well, there has never been any war between the English and French in Essex county because I have lived there all my life, that’s 57 years, and I’ve never seen it. I’m sure that just shows you what the papers will print. Over the Essex County High School, he discovered a variety of opinions and positions, but virtually no bigotry, to his surprise.

He interviewed most of the leading figures in the controversy. He travelled to Belle River High School. That’s a large high school where he said there are almost 300 francophone students. His conclusion: no war, no hate, no bigotry. He had been entirely misled by the headlines in the metropolitan newspapers of Ontario and Quebec, and often fed to Quebec by the CBE French radio station and TV station in Windsor, probably bypassing other cities on the way. Incidentally, he had some difficulty locating Belle River High School francophones who expressed any enthusiasm for transferring to a new unilingual French high school.

Three weeks earlier, CBC Radio Toronto sent a woman reporter to Windsor on the same mission. She fully expected to file a report on animosity in Essex county. To her surprise, after interviewing many people, including the principal, she left without finding it.

It’s very difficult for a board to make a decision under those circumstances. At the time the board decided to build, it made application to the village of St. Clair Beach, where it owned 25 or 30 acres of property. It paid $130,000 for it. But then, when the board decided that it would build the school there and after it made a motion to build it, the village of St. Clair Beach passed a resolution that it would not change the zoning to school purposes because it did not want an all-French school there.

It wanted to have a bilingual school or something similar so that their children could walk to school rather than ride the bus all the way to Belle River, which is roughly eight or nine miles, because Belle River school was overcrowded. So then the board went out to obtain other property. They found the piece of property on what we call County Road 42, which was then known as Highway 2. They bought 42 acres for $140,000.

It happens to be right in the very flight path of a new extended runway at the Windsor airport. I measured it on Saturday and I think it is one mile and eight tenths from where the planes will be touching down and taking off. The DC-9s go over Jefferson Boulevard, which is used as a thoroughfare. But when a new runway is built apparently to the south of the present one, that runway will extend past what we call Jefferson Boulevard which is about 1.8 miles from the property that they have purchased for the school.

So, on the news on Friday night, of course, this was all news, because there was an announcement made through Mr. Lang’s office -- I think on Friday afternoon last. And Mr. Beneteau, the chairman of the French-language advisory committee and a member of the board was quite concerned about this, which well he should be. What now are we going to do? The property that they own at St. Clair Beach is even, to some extent, in line with the present runway that is being used. It is in an area that’s classed as a “noise cone.”

What I’m trying to get across to the minister is that by passing this bill today and ordering the board in 30 days to hire an architect and start building a building, he is asking for exactly the impossible. They’ll have no alternative but to say: “What are we going to do? You can do it yourself. We are not going to do it.”

I’m sure they have no alternative because where are they going to get the property? Another thing is that the property they bought in Sandwich South township is not zoned for school purposes. It’s zoned for agriculture. There is a sewage system in that area now, which thank goodness they can hook on to. But I’m trying to get across to the people here who vote on this that this is not the way to do this, especially for 30 days.

I would like to see, and I think reasonableness would swing somebody here, that at least we make this 90 days and give the board a chance to look around. They’re going to throw up their hands in 30 days. Did anyone here ever try to buy 25 acres of land for a school, without knowing where it’s zoned, where there’s pipeline water, where there’s sewage, or what was going to be done with it -- and do it in 30 days? You’re just giving them the impossible. It just isn’t sound logic, and I don’t think we as legislators should put them in that position.

I don’t want to be wandering all around, Mr. Speaker, but there are certain things that concern me. I don’t want to get into the idea of buildings yet. On the idea of a homogeneous school -- we seem to get all the reports back in Windsor it was always unilingual, French school, and certain subjects would be taught in English because they were shop subjects or science or whatever it might be.

I called a Mr. Chenier in the ministry’s office and I’m sure I wrote notes about our conversation. I was trying to grasp something as to the problems people are having with regard to bilingual schools, unilingual schools and homogeneous schools.

What brought me up to it was that I got a letter one day from a lady, a French-speaking Canadian, who was very concerned that I had said there were only 17 people taking five subjects in the Belle River High School, where we were supplying French instructions. She said: “I don’t want to have my child taking five subjects, I want him taking only two or three. But I want him in a unilingual school where the administration and speech will be in French, so that he can retain it that way.”

I told her my understanding was that they’d have to take at least five or six. I was under that impression. But Mr. Chenier said they may end up taking four or five in French, because the technical shop and science courses are in English, but the administration and the language carried on in the school would be French. What, in effect, the school ends up being is a bilingual school. It’s a little confusing.

The other thing is, the Essex county board, when they agreed to build the school, passed a resolution that French instructions would be taken out of the present Belle River High School and the Sandwich secondary school. That means anyone who can grasp this French in a couple of subjects -- if they were English-speaking, maybe, but took French in elementary school, which they have now in some of our elementary schools, both public and separate, but the public schools have been slow in getting it in and now, I think, are starting from grade three -- they could not then go to the present high schools and take a couple of subjects in French. They would have to go to the homogeneous school. Whether they would be qualified -- I’ve been told that they would not likely be qualified to go to the unilingual or homogeneous school.

These are the concerns that we have. I stopped in the other day to a lady’s house. I won’t mention her name but I had a call from her to see her about another matter, and as we finished discussing that subject I asked her a question.

Mr. Deans: What was the question?

Mr. Ruston: I said, “I know you are a very good French-speaking person. Could you tell me what is your opinion of having the French high school and what we call a unilingual school?”

Mr. Deans: And the answer?

Mr. Ruston: And she said, “In our home we have two children. We carry on all our conversations in the home in French. They take French in the elementary school. We want them to take mostly English in the high school, so that when they go out in the world they will be able to get a job in Windsor, Toronto or Montreal because they will be fluent in both languages.” Because, in their case they’ve carried it on in their home.

So there again, it’s a very difficult situation -- where a French-speaking Canadian family carried their language with them in Essex county up to this time and I’m sure will for a number of years because they keep it in their home -- and that’s the only way you’re really going to keep it, I think. You can build schools but I have a feeling unless it’s spoken in the home, it’s going to be very difficult to maintain.

I mentioned the locations of what they have now. Now what are we going to do? Is the minister going to go down to Essex county or send his officials down and say, “Go and look up a piece of property that has a water line on it and perhaps an area where you can get hooked into a sanitary sewage system”? There are not many such areas outside the towns, the House can be sure of that.

Tecumseh, St. Clair Beach and Belle River and this part of Sandwich South just had theirs put in. Now the airport expansion has put a real mess in there because they intended to expand that area into residential to help pay for the sewage system. Now they’re going to have an airport expansion so I don’t know what we’ll do there. Is the minister going to send his officials down there? What about Ontario Municipal Board approvals? Is he going to be able to bypass Ontario Municipal Board approvals or is he going to have to go through the routine of getting zoning changes and so forth for school purposes?

I’m asking these questions very seriously because I think there are real problems that can come up for whoever has to deal with them. My goodness, if there are 400 or 500 students that want the French language, then we can build a school for them or find one for them. I’m all in favour of it. But let’s not go down and tell the Essex county board they’ve got to have a building started in 30 days because of the circumstances of the airport now. The minister is just asking for the impossible. Surely he’s got to think of something else.


Suppose the minister decides to go ahead? Is he going to consult with the French-language advisory committee as to what he’s going to build or is he going to set it up under what he classifies as what he thinks a school should be? They have been meeting with the Essex County Board of Education. Sure, they’ve had some problems now and again, but that’s to be expected in any discussions that take place or agreements to be made. None of them go smoothly all the time. That’s something that the minister, I’m sure, is going to have to consider.

As far as other buildings being available, I mentioned to the minister one day about the teachers’ college. Granted, I know he said: “It’s being used for a teachers’ college and we’ll only have to build another building at the university.” But if one considers today, with the airport announcement being made, I really think that he’s not going to get a better spot than right there at the teachers’ college. It’s on E.C. Row, which will be a main thoroughfare, just off Dougall Road going in to the city. It’s not as though it was right in downtown Windsor.

It’s a building that was built in 1964 because I was at the opening of it when I was reeve for the township of Maidstone. I know that they had an official opening and the Minister of Education was there at the time. It’s a building that is well suited to it. I have all the blueprints of it here. It’s got a cafeteria. It’s got a gym. It’s got a courtyard and it’s got all the offices necessary. It’s got kitchen services and any number of rooms. The minister may have to add on a few rooms but that’s certainly something he’s going to have to think about under the circumstances now. Otherwise, he may be years planning something else.

The other thing is that it would take two years. Maybe this teachers’ college could be done and ready by next September. I don’t think he’s going to get any building ready. But this is something that is an alternative, this year. It’s impossible now, that’s certain.

There’s another alternative, or so I’ve been informed. I haven’t looked at this building. It’s the Redemption Fathers Building on Cousineau Road and Highway 3, near St. Clair College, which is definitely on the outskirts of the city. I think that was built somewhere around 1960. I’m not exactly positive of that date but it’s around that time. Apparently it’s not being used now to any great extent, and may be able to be purchased for that purpose.

I know there is a high school in Windsor that is being closed. St. Clair College is moving out of it. It’s Patterson Collegiate. But the problem is that it’s right downtown. There’s traffic and the time involved getting to it. I know it has auditoriums, gyms, swimming pools and everything. I don’t know the condition of the building or I don’t think I’ve ever been in it. If I was, it was 20 or 30 years ago. That’s probably about the only other alternative.

I just think these are things that have made it very difficult for the board in the county to resolve the situation. The minister’s cutting of the grants certainly has had some effect. He may say that didn’t have anything to do with it. But it started to upset quite a few things. I think the Minister of Health probably started it all when he announced closing hospitals to cut back. I think that had a great deal to do with it.

I just feel I’ve been talking in vain here because I don’t think the minister is very receptive. I just think he’s making an awful mistake in passing a bill to order the school board to do something in 30 days under the circumstances that they’re in. If I was on the board, under these circumstances, I would say: “Boy, if that’s the case you’d better find it yourself.” If I was on the board and this bill was passed under regular circumstances, I would go ahead. I wouldn’t let the minister take over from me.

I certainly understand that the board, now being in such a bind, won’t have much of an alternative. I think the minister has to give them at least 90 days to try to come up with some alternative.

The other alternative is to give this bill second reading and to appoint a select committee of this Legislature to report back here by October 15. I know he is shaking his head, “no,” but it should report back here by October 15 with a recommendation -- and they could do it.

They can go down to Windsor and have a public meeting and the minister will have both sides and everybody will stew and brew around, but they will also look over the situation. They will look over the alternatives and the sites and so forth, and come up with a recommendation.

He is asking here for a blank cheque. He is asking for 125 members -- there are, maybe, 40 of them in the House, which is a very good attendance tonight considering the committee is going on, and it shows the importance that people put on this -- but he is asking 125 people to make a decision that is impossible for somebody else to carry out. That is not fair to the Essex County Board of Education. That’s absolutely not fair at all.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, up until a few moments ago, I was going to use this opportunity, which was the first one I have had, to congratulate the Deputy Speaker (Mr. Edighoffer) on being elected to that position and to wish him well in his almost impossible task. As he has now left there, and as I probably won’t get the chance again, perhaps you will convey that to him for me.

The debate on this bill, Mr. Speaker, has been somewhat unusual to this time. There has certainly been an unusual degree of agreement. It seems to be typical of this House on most issues that we all reach for every argument that we can get to refute the people in the other parties, and that we heckle one another at every opportunity.

But so far in this debate it has been to a very large extent harmonious, with a degree of agreement which is unusual in this House.

Of course, there have been some statements made that are highly critical of the government and others. The leader of the official opposition (Mr. S. Smith) on Friday, or at least one day last week, spoke about the bitterness and the controversy involved in this legislation, which requires that a French high school be built in the Essex area. He condemned the minister and the government for creating that bitterness and controversy, because he said they had procrastinated and wouldn’t take a stand and I guess I share some of those views.

I would also point out that the bitterness and controversy has equally been due to the members of the official opposition who represent that area, not giving leadership or giving wrong leadership. Just this evening the member for Essex North --

Mr. Breithaupt: Don’t start that one. Talk to your own candidate in the area, if that is a problem.

Mr. Swart: I will be coming to that in a minute, Mr. Speaker, but the member for Essex North stated, just after he rose to speak on this issue earlier today, that he had considered it -- and I quote -- “not my responsibility” to get involved in this issue until some time in the winter, or early spring. I suggest perhaps that is not good enough for those who have been elected to positions of leadership in a community --


Mr. Swart: -- to stay out of an issue as important as this one is. It is perhaps of some significance that we find ourselves at this stage at this time, because not a single or solitary Liberal or Conservative candidate in the recent election down there took an unequivocal stand on the construction of this French high school. I want to say, Mr. Speaker, if I may be political --

Mr. Breithaupt: Don’t be political, certainly not here. Can’t have any politics --

Mr. Swart: -- that I have never been so proud of the NDP, and I have some length of history in the CCF and NDP, as I have been of our members in this House --

Mr. Mancini: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker, I believe I heard the hon. member for Welland-Thorold say there was not one Liberal or Conservative candidate who took a stand on this issue in the last provincial election. I wonder if the hon. member has really checked out the facts. If he had, he would not have been able to make that kind of a statement --

Mr. Renwick: “Unequivocal stand,” he said.

Mr. Mancini: -- and I am sorry to see that he has turned this into a very political debate.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member has made his point.

Mr. Swart: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I took the trouble to check it out and I stand by my exact words that none of them took an unequivocal stand in favour of the French school. I have never been so proud of the New Democratic Party, really, as I have in this issue.

Mr. Gaunt: It doesn’t take much to stir pride in your breast.

Mr. Swart: I have never been so proud of anyone as I was of Michael Cassidy, back on January 29 --

Mr. Breithaupt: Was he running in that area? There is one vote for Mike.

Mr. Swart: -- the member for Ottawa Centre, who went to that area as the official spokesman of the NDP and made these comments, and I quote from his speech:

“Ten years ago, the Conservative government made a commitment to French high schools in Ontario. Implementing that commitment has taken a tremendous toll of energy and time from the francophone community because the government leaned over backwards to accommodate anti-French local school boards. Classes taught in French were made mandatory whenever enough pupils wanted them, but French high schools were not. The Languages of Instruction Commission was established to resolve disputes between francophone parents and local school boards, but it had no teeth. Professor Tom Symons of Trent University became a sort of Mr. Fix-It who kept the whole structure from falling apart. The New Democratic Party believes this isn’t good enough. We’ve come to the crunch in Windsor. Unless you believe that the Essex county board is going to change, the government must change the law and then take every action necessary to ensure that the law is obeyed.”

Mr. McKessock: What did your local candidate say?

Mr. Swart: He went on to say. “As soon as the Legislature reopens, the NDP intends to present a bill that would ensure that the loophole is closed.”

Mr. Conway: What did Fred Burr think of that?

Mr. Breithaupt: What did your local candidate say?

Mr. Swart: “The effect of our bill will be to ensure that the French high school in Essex county will be opened to serve your kids by September 1978. One way or another, I assure you, the law we propose will be effective.”

Mr. McKessock: And what did your local candidate say?

Mr. Grossman: He didn’t research it that much.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Swart: I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that that, in fact, was the turning point on this issue. Mr. Cassidy was speaking to a group of some 600 people, the Committee on Action for the Secondary French School, to which had been officially invited representatives of the Liberal and Conservative parties, who did not send members there to speak officially for their parties. I say the stand that he took there, on behalf of this party, provided the incentive, or maybe the threat -- at least it was the initiative that caused the government to act.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, I wish to inform the member that I attended that meeting but was not asked to speak.

Mr. Roy: Get your facts straight.

Mr. Grossman: He didn’t research it that well either.

Mr. Swart: I don’t think, Mr. Speaker, that that in any way contradicts the statement which I just made.

Mr. Roy: Get your facts straight.

Mr. Lewis: All parties were asked to send people to speak, as a matter of fact.

Mr. Roy: That is not what he said, he didn’t say that.

Mr. Breithaupt: It wasn’t what his local candidate said, either, but if he wants to go on that way, he can.

Mr. Rotenberg: Where were your members for Windsor?

Mr. Grossman: They were busy.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, as has been stated, all parties were asked officially to send speakers. It was the NDP which answered that request, and did send Michael Cassidy who made the firm statement there.

I was also never so proud of being a member of this party as when the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) spoke on this issue in late April. I recall there was not a single interjection from members of this House when she spoke in favour of it. I suggest that was the kind of speech, and I think most members will agree, which will be quoted in this House decades hence.

Also, I can’t help but be exceedingly proud of the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall), who was unequivocal in his stand against all the opposition to the school down there. Because of taking a stand and standing up for what he believed, I think he captured something like 54 per cent of the vote. I think the important thing is that whether he got 54 per cent or 24 per cent he was prepared to take a stand on this issue. I suggest that it is the stand taken by this party that is one of the main reasons that we have this bill before us here today.


Mr. Breithaupt: That is not true either.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Dreamer.

Mr. Conway: Are you seconding Cassidy’s nomination?

Mr. Swart: I would like to. Perhaps now, Mr. Speaker, I will be --

Mr. Breithaupt: What is the second prize?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Welland-Thorold only.

Mr. Swart: I’m sure that would be the best thing for the other parties that could happen.

Mr. Roy: That is the only part of your speech I support.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I’m taking part in this debate because I’m sure, as we all agree --

Mr. Grossman: I don’t like your speech.

Mr. Grande: You’re speaking on this, Larry?

Mr. Swart: -- this bill speaks to some pretty important and basic principles in our society at this time -- like whether we’re really interested in keeping Canada together and whether we mean to maintain the French language and culture in this province.

Of much less importance, I want to speak on this bill because, Mr. Speaker, I’m endeavouring without a great deal of success to learn French. J’ai suivi un cours en français aussi durant septembre dernier pour deux semaines -- en janvier et en mars aussi. Je continue en septembre, mais c’est difficile à mon age.

Mr. Maeck: Now you want us to educate you.

Mr. Rotenberg: You are almost as good as Diefenbaker.

Mr. Swart: It is also difficult, because the government of this province doesn’t seem to be greatly concerned at this stage about whether the members of this House are able to speak the second language in this province. I’m not sure whether all members here know that although some years ago they promoted courses in French for the members of this House -- I think there were some seven members who started to take those courses -- that at this time the Board of Internal Economy won’t even pay the fee --

Mr. Lewis: Did you say eternal or internal?

Mr. Swart: -- won’t even pay the fee for members of this House to attend a course in French.

I feel, too, that I have an obligation to speak on this bill because in my area we’re a long way down the road in the operation of a French-language secondary school. I say that our experience in the city of Welland ought to allay any fears there are in Windsor or Essex or for that matter elsewhere in this province.

The crux of this bill, of the issue, is whether the French language and culture is going to be maintained in the Essex-Windsor area. Really, that’s what the French secondary school means and nothing less than that. I think many of us at least would agree that if the French language and culture are to be maintained there or any place else in Ontario, each succeeding generation has to be raised in a French environment. The home is a big part of that. The church plays some part in it, although perhaps not as much as formerly. The caisse populaire plays a part, and I suggest that is one very important reason that we should have the new Act translated into the French language instead of only a summary of it.

But I guess most of all it is the school that determines whether a language and a culture are going to continue. You can’t do it by French courses in anglophone secondary or elementary schools. I say very sincerely that those who oppose, or want to delay -- and that’s usually another way of opposing -- the French school in Essex are wittingly or unwittingly trying to assure that the French language and the culture will die. It’s no less than that if we don’t get this French secondary school. I think it is important to recognize that.

It is important to recognize, too, that this bill does not shove French down anyone’s throat. The member for Essex North also said words to the effect that he understood that taking French should be a free choice, not one of confrontation or divisiveness. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that such free choice is not there unless we have that French school, and when that school is there then the people have the free choice. There is nothing shoved down anyone’s throat, as has been said here a number of times. It is entirely optional whether the children go to that school, and it is not in any way being shoved down anyone’s throat.

I want to deal very briefly with the argument put forward by those in opposition to the school that it will escalate costs. I checked very briefly, and granted it is only a sample of some of the areas where they have French secondary schools and some of the areas where they don’t, but the costs do not appear to be any higher, or very little higher, where they have the French secondary schools.

Perhaps the best example of this is from my own area, where we have the French secondary school in the Niagara South Board of Education. To the north, in the northern half of the Niagara Peninsula, there is the Lincoln Board of Education, which does not have a French secondary school. The expenditures for secondary school students in those areas are $1,768 per pupil in Niagara South and $1,765 in Lincoln.

In Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, the expenditures there where they have their French school is $1,816. In Leeds and Grenville, where they don’t have a French secondary school, it is $1,685.

In Sudbury, where they have a French secondary school, the expenditure is $1,826. In the Lakehead, where they don’t have it, it is $1,877, or higher.

Although granted those figures only represent a few of the boards in this province, they are not selective and they have been picked just at random. Further, Mr. Speaker, I checked the equalized mill rate from some of the areas where they have French-language schools -- Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry; Niagara South; Sudbury; Penetang. I also checked those where they don’t have them -- Lincoln, Waterloo, Middlesex and Thunder Bay. When I averaged out the equalized mill rate, believe it or not, I found they were identical. A coincidence, of course. But, it was 7.43 mills in the ones which have the French-language secondary schools and 7.43 where they don’t have them. I think it can be said with some validity that the extra assistance given to the French secondary schools -- and, for that matter to the French elementary schools -- means that the cost to local taxpayers does not increase merely because the French language is taught there.

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that the history of, French-language schools in Welland proves that they are beneficial. They are not divisive, they don’t increase local costs, and they are wholly acceptable. Perhaps it was because of this that the minister decided to appoint Mr. R. A. McLeod to do the study in the Essex-Windsor area. As he said, and I entirely agree, they couldn’t have picked a better person.

Just briefly, to give you a little of the history of the French school there, the private French elementary school was established in the 1920s. In the early ’30s it was taken into the public system without any real controversy. Then there was a large influx of people from Quebec in the late ’30s and the early ’40s. That one school grew into four elementary schools and a private French high school run by the Sacred Heart parish. There was a new private high school built in 1966. It was bought by the school board in 1968 and taken into the public school system. There was not, and I repeat there was not, a ripple of opposition to that when it was done. There was no objection from a single member of the school board. There was no objection from a single member of council and there wasn’t even a letter to the editor opposing that when it was taken over and that high school put into the public system. Now there are approximately 1,300 in the French elementary schools and about 800 in the secondary, fully composite French school where they teach academic, technical and vocational subjects.

This school has been totally accepted, I suggest, because it is wholly desirable. There is a French library now in the school, open for adults and open on certain evenings, which is associated with the main Welland library. There is a tennis court there. There is a continuing course in French for adults and there are some 600 people enrolled now in that course. Teachers come from the other schools -- not just from that board, but from other boards -- to see what is taking place in that area. Other boards buy education, including the Lincoln board which has about 75 students in that French high school.

Even some of the students who go through the elementary anglophone schools, if they can pass the test, are switching to the French high school. I suggest it is working and working well. In our area some two years ago we had what we called a backlash committee formed in opposition to the bilingual district. I can say to you, Mr. Speaker, that the schools are so well accepted that that backlash committee didn’t even attack the French schools in that area.

The point I want to make in the Welland example is twofold. First, once it’s there, it’s acceptable. Secondly, with even such an asset to French language and French culture, it is still somewhat difficult to perpetuate it in by and large an anglophone community. The principal and the teachers in that school tell me that it is difficult. Sometimes, even though the students are being taught in the French language and even though there is almost a total French environment, they will lapse into the English language at noon hour and at other times. I point that out because I want to say as forcefully as I can that if we are going to maintain French language and the French culture even in an area where there is a fairly large percentage of francophones, we can do it by nothing less than having French elementary schools and French high schools.

In conclusion, let me say that the government in its delay and the opposition in its past waffling and its members’ attitudes in Windsor have, I think, underestimated public opinion generally. I am convinced that the public of this province now at least are in favour of us proceeding with French education and the French high schools where there is a fairly substantial percentage of the population who are French-speaking. I suggest that in five or 10 years from now everyone will be asking down in the Windsor-Essex area what all the fuss was about. They will be saying that Windsor and Essex have a fuller life and are better communities because they have the French high school.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: It is with great enthusiasm that I rise to support Bill 3. At the outset, may I say I firmly believe that every Canadian, whether English- or French-speaking, should have equal opportunity to be educated in the language of his or her choice. I am happy to see that after many years of effort the Franco-Ontarian students of Essex county in Windsor will benefit from the same educational services that Franco-Ontarians enjoy in many other parts of the province, including my own riding of Cochrane North.


I am delighted that my wife and I were able to assist our four children to choose a language of instruction of their own choice. Kelly and Louis are attending Cité des Jeunes, a French-language high school in Kapuskasing, while Pierre and Suzanne are attending English-language high schools.

An editorial in the Toronto Star on April 22, 1977, suggests, “By treating its French-language-speaking minority fairly, Ontario has the opportunity to help persuade the people of Quebec they don’t need to break up Canada to preserve their own society and culture.” It goes on to say that Ontario must “demonstrate that the fate of the French minorities outside Quebec is not necessarily assimilation ... we must show that the French fact is not merely acceptable, but a vital part of Ontario life.”

There has been much misunderstanding over the aims of French instruction programs in the province of Ontario. It is trite to comment that the world is rapidly shrinking due to the increasing opportunity and indeed necessity to travel. Governments have to be aware of the need to assist in breaking down the traditional linguistic barriers. We could learn a lesson from the European community where the opportunity to absorb a second or even a third language is built into the educational system. By the age of 11, their children are benefiting from multi- language training. For instance, in addition to their own language in Germany, Portugal and Spain, they learn French and English; in Belgium, French and Dutch; in Switzerland, French, German and Italian, and in the Netherlands, English, French and German.

Too many Canadians still consider languages as obstacles to understanding and not, as many other countries on earth do, as opportunities to communicate with fellow human beings on a more intimate and satisfying level. It seems long past time when Canadians had a look at their linguistic good fortune in a world context. Any healthy English-French relationship in Canada must rest on the obvious fact that history has made us the beneficiaries of the two world languages. Believe it or not, half a billion people in the world use either English or French as their official language.

Tell anybody else in the world about our difficulties in sensibly developing our full linguistic heritage, and you will see smiles of disbelief. Ask any other person how much he would give to have one world language as his mother tongue. Ask anybody, except a Canadian or, I should add, an American, and you will find that knowing a second and, good heavens, even a third language is thought of as a marvellous advantage.

Let’s not spend so much time persistently reassuring English Canadians that the incorporation of French into our heritage would do them no real harm. Instead, let’s make them see the benefits that language acceptance can bring to all Canadians. It is very important, in my view, that every child attending Ontario schools be given the opportunity to learn our country’s two official languages. I find it most encouraging that the Ministry of Education is taking very positive steps to ensure that this opportunity will be offered to the students of this province. Such a policy will over the years promote greater regional, national and international understanding and awareness.

Mr. Roy: What took so long?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: May I quote from the report of Mr. McLeod, the mediator in the Essex French-language school matter? “The place for both English and French to learn the second language of our country is in the school. It is now perfectly clear that it cannot be done efficiently elsewhere. The country’s experience in trying to do so outside the regular school system --

Mr. Reid: Not even in the civil service.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: “ -- has proven enormously costly to the taxpayers and the results are not satisfactory.”

In this report the mediator answers the question: Why a French-language school? He said: “The question has been raised many times in the discussions as to the need for a French-language school in a predominantly English-language community, such as Essex county, particularly where those who are of French extraction in the main are bilingually English and French. In addition. it is argued that the francophone community has existed all this time without a French-language secondary school.

“It is not necessary to deal exhaustively with the whole question of need in this report as the board has heard the argument many times. However, I propose as a background for my conclusions to address some comment on some of the very practical and significant reasons for the demand for a French-language secondary school at this point in time.

“The two languages, English and French, and their respective cultures were given equal status officially in this country in 1969, supported unanimously by all parties. In 1969, French was made an official language of instruction in Ontario, supported again by all three parties. These facts are being recognized and given expression in practical ways more than ever, both provincially and federally.

“French settlements were the earliest white settlements in this part of the province. Throughout the long history of this region the French have contributed substantially to the development of the area. Now the francophone community sees its language and culture threatened as never before. Therefore, it feels strongly that a secondary school conducted on the most efficient basis possible is essential if the struggle for the maintenance of its language is to be successful.

“In the [Windsor-Essex] elementary schools, there are approximately 3,000 students in French-language classes. After grade eight at the present time they cannot continue in a school environment similar to that they have enjoyed unless it is in the private school sector. Based on authoritative studies on the matter, the French-language skills they have acquired will not be strengthened and developed as necessary in an English-language school. At the same time, based on experience elsewhere, qualified anglophone students, too, who desire to become accomplished. in the use of the French language for a variety of reasons will seek admission to the school.

“The cultural opportunities provided by such a school are [most] important. However, a French-language school in this community will do a great deal more than that. It will provide education essential for career opportunities for both anglophone and francophone students. Opportunities in government, in industry and in commerce more and more are available to applicants who are bilingual. Other areas in the province are providing education to equip students for those opportunities. The sons and daughters in the Windsor-Essex area should expect similar educational opportunities here.”

And let me stress the point, Mr. Speaker, that the Essex county French-language secondary school will not -- and I repeat will not -- be a unilingual school as some are erroneously claiming. Students graduating from that school will be fully bilingual.

The ministerial commission on French-language secondary education writes as follows in regard to the objective of a French-language school: “The objective of the French-language school is to provide a process whereby French-speaking students in Ontario will be taught in their own language and, at the same time, be equipped with a knowledge of English and the capacity to live and work in a predominantly anglophone province without abandoning their identity and culture.”

I would like to commend the Minister of Education for the very detailed presentation he gave of the events leading to the legislation before us during second reading of this bill in April of this year. As was explained to the House, many avenues of mediation had been used to deal with this problem. As was suggested by the minister, we are acting now as final mediators in that debate and I hope that our decision will be unanimous.

As a Franco-Ontarian, I would like to comment on certain remarks that were made in the House during the debate on this bill. The Minister of Education stated that much of the problem stems from a misunderstanding of what French-language schools are all about. I fully agree with that statement.

The title of French-language schools may have led people to believe that these schools do not adequately prepare their students to live in an English-speaking environment. This has never been the case. In these schools, English is taught, and very thoroughly, and as the recent Interface report states, the students coming out of French-language high schools have a good command of English.

In his remarks dealing with the history of French-language education in this province, the Minister of Education said on April 22, 1977, that on the very first opening of the Legislative Assembly in 1793, French language was mentioned for use in the western district of the province.

I would like to add that the question of French-language secondary school education in Essex is not new. It was first raised in Sandwich (Windsor) in 1828. The Legislative Assembly set up a commission, of which Mr. Robert Baldwin, who was later to become Prime Minister of Canada, was a member.

Mr. Reid: And we still haven’t resolved it.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: In the journal of the Legislative Assembly of 1830, page 137, Mr. J. A. Wilkinson, from Sandwich, comments on the proposed site for a school --

Mr. Reid: Sad commentary on the educational system.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: “Les habitants du Canton de Sandwich sont principalement des Canadiens Francais. Et n’eusse-je d’autres raisons pour ce faire, cette contingence, à elle seule, m’inciterait à côter hautement l’emplacement actuel de l’école du district. Je tiens beaucoup à encourager les jeunes Canadiens français à s’instruire. Je regrette d’ajouter qu’en aucune circonstance n’aie-je entendu dire que, soit les conseillers scolaires soit le conseil [général] de l’éducation, aient fait le moindre effort en ce sens, et, en quelques occasions, j’ai même appris qu’ils avaient agi en sens contraire.”

Mr. Reid: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, for those who have may have missed the odd word:

“The residents of the county of Sandwich are mainly French Canadians. Had I no other reasons, I think that the school has to remain in that location. I hold dear to heart to encourage French Canadians to get an education. I regret to add that in no circumstance have I heard that either the school trustees, or the General Council of Education, had done whatsoever to foster education among French Canadians and on some occasions, I have learned that steps were taken to the opposite.”

Mr. Reid: One hundred years later.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: The conclusions of the commission set up in 1828 revealed two things: One, that French Canadians of Upper Canada in the 1820s, and indeed, the English-speaking Canadians, desired the best education possible for their children. Two, that the district schools (in Sandwich, especially at the secondary level) did not, in 1830, respond to the aspirations of the francophone population.

These excerpts are taken from pages 80 to 87 of the book by Arthur Godbout, L’Origine des Ecoles Francaises Dans l’Ontario (The Origin of French Schools in Ontario).

As a Franco-Ontarian, proud of my heritage, I would like to invite the population of Essex, through its elected representatives, to recognize and enthusiastically support a request that was first voiced 145 years ago. There have also been active French Canadian communities in the city of Windsor and in Essex county. For over a century, they have not had equality of opportunity for French language education, yet they have survived.

Louis Hemon, the well-known French-Canadian author of the book entitled Maria Chapdelaine published in 1916, says of French Canadians: “Ces gens sont d’une race qui ne sait pas mourir.” (“These people are of a race that does not know how to die.”) We must encourage their survival as it will help to ensure the survival of our country.

Times have changed, attitudes have evolved. The province of Ontario has done a great deal in the last 10 years to meet the educational aspirations of Franco-Ontarians. Francophones in the Essex region were the first to request a French secondary school and yet they are still deprived of it. In the name of fair play, of historical rights, for the people who helped build this part of our province, I urge this House to unanimously support Bill 3.

I would also ask the citizens of Essex to grant their French-speaking fellow citizens their long-standing request. The French Canadians of this area have been citizens of good standing within the community. They have contributed to the wealth of the region. They have lived in harmony with their neighbours.

In closing, I would sincerely hope the building of this school will foster greater understanding among the population of Essex and Windsor and that the people responsible for secondary education in that area shall, by their goodwill and “accueil,” make a success of the new French-language high school. Also, the passage of this bill will help to promote national unity. It will make our neighbours in la belle province aware that French-speaking Canadians living in Ontario can educate their children in either of the two official languages of this country.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, before I speak on Bill 3 may I first take the opportunity to welcome back the leader of the third party from Florida and tell him that he looks fit and well-tanned and I hope he enjoyed himself while he was down there resting.

Mr. Nixon: The NDP have missed him too.

Mr. Roy: I just can’t count the leadership candidates on that side now.

Mr. Lewis: It’s a good job.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I rise to make my contribution to the debate concerning Bill 3, An Act to require The Essex County Board of Education to provide a French-language Secondary School. This bill has caused me a great deal of concern -- not only myself, as the representative for the riding of Essex South, but all of the people from the riding, all of the people from the county and from Windsor in general. Also, we can’t ignore or forget the turmoil that the school issue and the bill has caused the Essex County Board of Education.


I say with all the sincerity I can muster the people of Essex county are not bigots. They do not want to deprive the French population or any other segment of society in the county or in the city of any of their rights. The people of Essex county in Windsor ask for a little common sense. They ask that all of the subjects and concerns that they have brought to me as their member be considered.

I can say to you, Mr. Speaker, that the opposition to the construction of this school has been long and profound. The opposition has come from all segments of society there; from local elected officials, from the Essex county ratepayers and from ordinary citizens. I just might like to put on the record that the local elected officials of Tecumseh, Leamington, Kingsville, Amherstburg and many other parts of the community have registered their objection to the construction of this school, not because they want to deprive anyone of the opportunity to learn French, but for exactly the opposite reason. They want to ensure that all the citizens of the area have the opportunity to learn French.

These groups have been frustrated at almost every turn. They have been frustrated by an unyielding French action committee and have been cast aside with complete disregard by the Minister of Education. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, I have heard on more than one occasion that the Essex county school board has tried to meet with the Minister of Education to give him their point of view but unfortunately it seems that he never had the time to meet with them. That’s what they told me. If it’s wrong, please correct the record.

Also, I might say that last spring we had representatives from three towns in the county of Essex. They were able to get in to see the leader of the third party and they were able to come in and see the leader of the official opposition. But they were not able to see the Minister of Education. He had his parliamentary assistant meet with them. I say to the House that the ministry has the obligation to meet every organization on a matter as important as the construction of this school.

Mr. Speaker, just let me say that I believe there are nearly 40 mixed schools here in the province of Ontario. I put this question to the Minister of Education: Is he going to phase out those mixed schools? Is he going to implement French-language schools in all of those areas where the population in those areas is much greater, as far as the francophone community is concerned, than in the area of Essex county? Why is Essex county, with a francophone population of around 10 per cent, going to get a French-language school when there are 40 other mixed schools in the province serving areas with a greater French population? Why is this happening? I hope the minister can explain this later on.

The Essex county board is faced with a great many concerns on this issue. They are faced with the concern of constructing a new building when they know the enrolment is going down. They are faced with the concern of the ever-increasing school taxes. They are faced with the concern of having their local autonomy completely destroyed by a bill, the likes of which I have never seen. They are faced with the concern of closing the French unit courses in both Belle River and Sandwich West Secondary. I believe in Belle River there are 287 students in the French unit and in Sandwich West there are approximately 95 students.

The Essex County Board of Education is concerned. They are concerned about the opportunity to give French-language education to those students in those two units. I would just like to mention, as has already been mentioned, approximately only 10 per cent of those students is taking more than four courses in French.

This reminds me of something that Mr. Levesque is doing in Quebec. In effect, he is saying: “Forget about all the French people outside of Quebec. If they really wanted to be French, they would come and live in Quebec.” I believe this is comparable to what the Minister of Education is doing in Essex county. He is saying: “Let’s forget about all of the students who want to take two and three courses in French. Let’s only be concerned with the people who want to take five or more courses in French.”

It’s the object of this Legislature, and that ministry, to give French-language education to all the students of Essex county in Windsor, not just the ones who want to take more than five subjects. What’s going to happen to those students? I was talking to the mayor of Tecumseh, Mayor Don Lappan, who happens to be French himself, and he has expressed this concern to me. He says he wants his children to take two or three courses in French, and they do too. But they do not want to go to a French-language school, where just about all their courses are in French. The minister is depriving them of that opportunity.

Not only that, I think all of us here in this assembly are going to have to come to terms with this issue: If we really want the French language to prosper here in Ontario and outside of the French province of Quebec, let’s start teaching non-French-speaking people French. That’s the only way the minister is going to do it, if it is his objective to give equal education opportunity to all.

I have tried to keep myself abreast of what the Essex County Board of Education has been doing on the French issue itself, and I have talked on a great many occasions with my board member, Mr. Phil Smith from Amherstburg, who has conveyed to me the feeling of the Essex county board. That is that the board is prepared and willing to expand all of its French education, for all of the students of Essex county. What more can we ask from a board? What more can we ask from a board that says it is willing to expand its program in all of the schools?

I would like to add that just the other day in the Windsor Star I read a report that said the Essex County Board of Education was one of the first boards in the province, and probably the most aggressive board, to try to get funds from the government so it could expand its French education under the new program the Minister of Education outlined last spring.

Basically, I oppose Bill 3 for two reasons. One I believe the construction of the new French school is an unnecessary, costly expenditure; and two, and more importantly, I believe the board, with help from the Ministry of Education, should take steps to ensure there is equal opportunity for all students to learn French.

The only way to do that in a very common-sense way and approach is to have more French units in all the secondary schools in Essex County -- have French units in Leamington and in Amherstburg and elsewhere, so we don’t have to bus students all over the place and so the students can take two courses in French if they want to, or five if they want to. Don’t burden them with a school that will be able to support only the elite French.

I cannot rise on this issue without making a few comments about the Minister of Education. I really find it funny, almost amusing, that almost a week --

Mr. Foulds: If something is funny, how can it be almost amusing?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will continue his remarks and ignore the interjections.

Mr. Mancini: -- that the Minister of Education would come to Essex county and Windsor only a few days after the staff of the Essex county board had presented to the board five proposals for them to choose one and take action. I don’t think it’s necessary for me to repeat the five proposals. I’m sure they have already been put on the record by some of my colleagues here in this assembly. But why wouldn’t the minister wait and let the board decide on one of these proposals and help it along?

Why should he go to Windsor and Essex county and tell them he’s going to twist arms, he doesn’t care what decision they make, and he’s going to construct a French-language school? Those few short statements that the Minister of Education made about forcing the construction of the school no matter what the board decided on were probably some of the most destructive comments made in the whole issue of this French-language school debate.

It’s not very often that members of the assembly rise, on a certain issue, not in support of their party or their party leader. But just let me say this about my party leader. I have to congratulate him for having the courage to tell me and other members of this caucus that because of the nature of this legislation and because of the turmoil that it has caused in Essex county and Windsor, we could be free to vote with our conscience. There’s no other leader here in this assembly who can say that. Also, I cannot rise without mentioning that my leader was the only one to come into Essex county to face the people head on about this issue.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Head on is exactly the right word.

Mr. Mancini: I believe it certainly was the responsibility of the Premier of this province --

Hon. B. Stephenson: To play tennis?

Mr. Mancini: -- who is crushing local autonomy and who had created such a furor with his program in the area to come to Essex county the same way that my leader did and meet the confrontation and the people who were concerned head on.

Mr. Nixon: What games do you play, Bette?

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I say I’m quite satisfied with my position --

Hon. B. Stephenson: Not the same kind you do, Robert, thank God.

Mr. Mancini: -- and if the Minister of Labour would just let me wind up, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. members will refrain from interjecting. It’s out of order.

Mr. Laughren: It is difficult.

Mr. Mancini: I would just like to say I feel comfortable with my position. I think it’s reasonable. If some of the members of this House have time to come to Essex county, they’ll really be able to meet the fine people there and understand they’re not bigots. They’re fine people, and their motive is to give French education to all.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I rise to make a few comments on Bill 3, An Act to require The Essex County Board of Education to provide a French-language Secondary School. I had intended to make quite substantial comments concerning this piece of legislation. But as the history of the struggle of the French-speaking minority in the province of Ontario to attain equal linguistic rights has been well enunciated by previous speakers, I shall curtail my remarks.


I could read into the record parts of The Education Act, 1974, section 255. But all of that section is very familiar to everyone concerned. I regret very much that today, July 11, we have before us a bill that forces an elected school body to do something the collected majority judgement of its membership refuses to do. Here we, as members of this Legislature, are telling the Essex county school board, in this instance, that local autonomy does not exist.

Yet the minister could easily have avoided the introduction of this piece of legislation if he had taken into consideration recommendation 33(e) of the Symons report, just as had been mentioned by my colleague, the member for Ottawa East. I hope the Minister of Education will look into the bill that was introduced by the member for Ottawa East so that in the future such legislation as is before us today will never have to be introduced again.

The problem in the Essex county area could have been easily resolved had the Minister of Education changed his attitude in the approach to the whole question. He made mention of twisting arms. He told the board they were to do as he sort of instructed them to do. You just don’t get people to cooperate when you attempt to coerce.

No one ever can make friends and influence people with the approaches used by the Minister of Education when he at first came into the county. All he had to do was simply tell the board that the grant was restored to 95 per cent, and allow them to make their own decision. But when you make the decision for them, and tell them that they are to rubber-stamp your wish, almost anyone who is confronted with a situation like that will react in the opposite way.

As a result, the members of the Essex county school board just could not accept that type of an approach by the Minister of Education. He attempted to force them to do as he wished, rather than allow them to make their own collective judgement as to whether they should or should not have built the school under the 95 per cent grant ceiling.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You asked me to do that all the time, Bernie.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Minister, you came down there and made mention, and we saw it on television, that you were going to twist arms and that they were going to do this rather than you simply telling them, “Now look, the grants have been restored to 95 per cent, think it over.” But don’t tell them, “You either support this or don’t -- “

Hon. Mr. Wells: We’ve been trying for five years --

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Minister, you had the chance for one more attempt there to convince the board, yet you refused to take advantage of that.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister will not interrupt the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville.

Mr. B. Newman: You wanted to have your way only in this case rather than letting the collective judgement of that board of education make the decision.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You vote against the bill.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. B. Newman: I am fairly certain, in my discussions with the various members of the board, that they would have gone along with what you wanted to do, but not with what you tried to force them to do. They are considerate people. They listen to reason and they would have accepted that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yon are twisting their arms.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. minister will refrain from interrupting.

Mr. Conway: Throw him out.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Good. Then I can go home. You vote against the bill, Bernie.

Mr. B. Newman: The separate school board attempted to resolve these issues. Back in October 1974 they passed a resolution. I’ll read only one portion of that resolution: “Be it resolved that the Essex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board advise the Minister of Education that it would be willing to: (1) Build and operate a French-language secondary school in Essex county.” They would have resolved the problem for the minister.

They were so determined that back on March 21, 1977 -- three years later; that is this year -- they once again petitioned. Their resolution was: “Be it resolved that the Essex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board petition the Legislature of the province of Ontario to take legislative action to permit the Essex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board to construct and operate a French-language secondary school so that the rights of the French Canadians residing in Essex county may no longer be denied and delayed.”

They’ve asked the government to take legislative action and it could have taken legislative action --

Mr. Nixon: What was the matter with that alternative?

Mr. B. Newman: -- so that we wouldn’t have had the problems that we are confronted with today.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Oh, come on, you know why we couldn’t do that.

Mr. Roy: Why?

Mr. B. Newman: I really think that that could have gone a long way to resolving the problem.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Because it means expansion of aid.

Mr. Roy: What’s wrong with that?

Mr. Lewis: That is against government policy.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You are in favour of it; we are not.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. B. Newman: Right along I have been in favour of the provision of French-language instruction.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You are in favour of expanding grants; we are not.

Mr. B. Newman: I would even go so far as to say, “Construct a French-language school but with one condition.” The condition is simply that existing facilities be investigated first before we go ahead and construct the school. If the minister finds there are not the facilities available, then he has no alternative. We haven’t looked into that at all. We’ve completely neglected the idea that here are facilities in the community worth looking at.

I am not saying they are satisfactory. I don’t know. The facility would have to be satisfactory to the French-speaking population in the county, to the Essex county school board and as well as to those who are going to use the facilities that is, those wishing to have French as the language of instruction.

I’ve maintained that stand at all times. Back in February 1976, I was asked about it by a Windsor Star reporter.

Mr. McClellan: He has no stand here.

Mr. B. Newman: I had made mention that I am in favour of using an existing facility for the school rather than going into substantial outlay of funds, especially since most of the students would have to be bussed to the new school in any event. I am still of that same opinion. I will support the bill because I don’t think there are facilities available, but I think there is an obligation on the part of the ministry to try to find out if there are facilities available.

Mr. McClellan: It is a brand new school.

Mr. B. Newman: Two come into my mind immediately. One is Patterson Collegiate which is now being phased out, and I know there may be some legislative complications in the taking over of Patterson Collegiate. There is likewise the teachers’ college that has been mentioned.

Patterson Collegiate, even though it is an old school -- and I happen to be a graduate of that school -- has a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and an auditorium. I doubt all those three facilities are available in any of the schools in our community, or, if they are available, it is in maybe one or two schools.

I think there is an obligation on the part of the ministry to find out if there are facilities that can be used before we go into the constructing of a new school. I don’t think we should hold up the planning because I don’t think it would take much longer than maybe a month or so to explore the possibilities. Only after that, if we find we cannot get satisfactory facilities, should we go into the construction of a new school.

I would recommend to the minister that he read the July 8 editorial of the Windsor Star. It points out the position very accurately and very forcefully. The county school board, facing expenditures forced on it by the Legislature, owes it to the taxpayers to investigate the possibility of finding some economies by using an existing building. If no building is available, then construct the school.

Mr. Conway: I too would like to rise with other hon. members to participate in this very important debate on the matter of Bill 3. It is, I think, and as my hon. colleague from Ottawa East has so eloquently outlined, a genuine tragedy that we stand in this assembly in 1977 reliving what is for those of us who know anything of Ontario’s past the very familiar and tragic tale of French-language education in this province.

The precedents set very recently in Sturgeon Falls and Cornwall I think most loudly ring in the not too distant past. I listened to the minister and I listened to others here today and I think this debate, while bringing forward a certain degree of conflicting opinion, has educated, I hope, all of us. It has me, speaking from my own point of view.

I don’t want to return to the level established by my colleague from Welland-Thorold, but in terms of this particular bill, I would suggest the reason for the character of Bill 3 as put before us this year is like much of the legislation that has rendered this very sensitive matter so very controversial over the years preceding 1977 -- it is the very political climate in which it was considered. I maintain that it was the minority government circumstance of 1976, heightened obviously -- and justifiably -- by the circumstances of November 15, 1976 that have produced this particular bill. It has in it, I think, a considerable amount of repugnant quality -- not so much in its direction but in its implementation. That is why I think we’ve got this kind of bill, because the government opposite, never insensitive to the political realities of its situation, decided in the minority government climate preceding the election of 1977 to take a very political stance.

I just want to say, as someone who comes from a rather long line of Ontario politics with specific reference to this kind of an issue, that Bill 3 stands as very typical of the attitude that the Ontario Tory mentality stands for. This kind of situation has been let boil to this extent for those good reasons put forward by my friends the members for Ottawa East, Essex North, Essex South and Windsor-Walkerville. It is not untypical of what the Ontario Tory mentality has had to offer, not only to Franco-Ontarians in the past but I dare say and I happily extend that to the separate school legislation. Minorities have not always been the favourite of the Ontario Tory mentality.

One of the things I’m afraid some of us have not given full appreciation to -- and I don’t restrict this to this particular body of legislators but I extend it just as happily and perhaps most especially to the members of the press in this province -- because there is a very significant tendency for many people to dismiss as insignificant what many in this party particularly have described as the very serious conflict of fundamental principles. As my good friend from Essex North has so pointedly made reference to, there is a very significant conflict in this Bill 3 of some fundamental principles -- the principle of local autonomy versus the principle of minority rights as needed to be protected by a provincial government.


I think as a precedent to this report -- one that I think should weigh with all of us here -- perhaps the most significant historical precedent in this instance is the great Manitoba schools crisis of the 1890s, and how that particular crisis weighed upon the leader of the national Liberal Party of the day, Wilfrid Laurier. I want to take you back very briefly to the discussion of the 1890s as it related to the Manitoba schools question, where a provincial government had moved very directly to curtail significantly the rights of a French-speaking minority. What was the reaction of a French-speaking, soon-to-be Prime Minister, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, a man who I think without question had a pretty obvious commitment to his French-speaking confreres in Manitoba? Wilfrid Laurier in 1896 faced squarely the challenge of that conflict, and it is not without significance that Laurier resolved his conflict not in favour of the French-speaking minority in Manitoba, but rather in favour of local autonomy. I hope all of us here and all members of the Ontario public think of that for a moment, if only to appreciate the degree to which these principles are significant now as in the past.

As the member for Renfrew North, I can recall -- again historically -- one of the tremendous steps taken by Mlle. Lajoie in Pembroke in the 1920s when trying to establish and maintain for the French-speaking minority in the community of Pembroke, a French-language education that was slammed by the Tory regulation 17. Mlle. Lajoie accomplished what was to become for the French-speaking population in Canada, to say nothing of Ontario, a very important feat with the establishment of l’Ecole Jeanne d’Arc, a French-speaking free school that set a model for other such schools in this province not more than 50 years ago when the French-speaking minority operated under a sickenly discriminatory onus, namely the regulation 17 perpetrated on them by the Conservative administration of the day.

I want to conclude by saying that the minister says to my friend from Windsor-Walkerville, “Vote against the bill.” Clearly, we do not have that choice --


Mr. Conway: -- because there is incumbent on those of us who feel the need to show the French-speaking population outside of this province that we are supportive of the obvious justice that the French-speaking minority must have and that they deserve in this province. There is no choice. There is none whatever. But the fact that the administrative detail of this bill is so obnoxious, so transparently obnoxious, is, I think, in a way that is not unlike some of regulation 17, an indictment that will long live to embarrass the Conservative Party of Ontario.

Mr. Riddell: My feelings exactly.

Mr. Sweeney: I rise with reluctance, Mr. Speaker, to speak to this bill --

Hon. Mr. Wells: You are not alone.

Mr. Sweeney: -- both from the point of view that the time is late and that by this time I’m sure the minister’s ears are ringing with one denunciation after another.

Mr. Lewis: With praise and adulation.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You’d never know the hon. member was going to vote for the bill.

Mr. Sweeney: Let me say right at the beginning that there’s no question of that. I’m going to vote for the bill. I’m going to support it.

Mr. Conway: There’s a lot less question about the attitude of the member for Renfrew South.

Mr. Roy: There’s no doubt I was being critical about certain aspects --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You were fair.

Mr. Roy: I was too fair. That’s the problem.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. The member for Kitchener-Wilmot has the floor.

Mr. Sweeney: I want to be very sure that the minister understands the very fact that so many of us rose to speak on this bill was not just for the sake of hearing ourselves repeat, time and time again, some of the same arguments, but to impress upon him and his colleagues the very deep seriousness with which we view this bill.

I haven’t had much experience in this House, the minister well knows. However, both from what I’ve seen and heard in this House and from what I was aware of before coming into it, I don’t think a bill has ever been presented to it that has set the kind of precedent that this one is setting. I don’t think a bill has ever been presented to it that is harsh -- and that’s a mild word -- as this one is.

Mr. Riddell: Vicious is better. The most vicious bill that has ever come into this House.

Mr. Sweeney: And, therefore, it is incumbent upon each of us here, or as many of us who --

Mr. Lewis: What?

Mr. Riddell: You don’t believe in local autonomy over there, not a bit. You people don’t know what local autonomy is.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. Sweeney: It’s incumbent upon us to be as clear as we possibly can to the minister and his colleagues as to just how we feel about this -- to make him aware of the fact that he has put us all in a box. There’s no question about that, and you know it. How much of it was conceived that way, I don’t know. How much is accidental, I don’t know. But that’s the point we find ourselves in.

Each of us brings to this debate our own history and, like my colleague from Carleton East, I had the experience of attending school in the province of Quebec for four years. Like my colleague from Carleton East, I must say that I received my education in English, without any second thought. It was made as clear as possible to me, even as a young boy getting educated there, that I was getting no more than my due rights. I never questioned it, and for that I’m grateful to this day. I wasn’t at that time. I didn’t even understand it, or appreciate it. That’s one of the reasons why I have to support this bill. There is a debt that I feel I personally have to pay.

The second point is that working fairly recently with another school board I was instrumental in encouraging that board to build the first French-language school in that county. I can tell you very clearly it wasn’t without a certain amount of opposition. That county was, and is, only two per cent francophone. To try to justify to the trustees and to the ratepayers the need for a French-language school for the francophone population of that county was not an easy thing to do. But it was done, and it was done without the acrimony that has accompanied this particular situation.

So, it’s that kind of history, that kind of personal background that I bring to this decision. I really don’t have any choice. I have to support this bill. But let us clearly understand that there are two very important principles here, and we’ve discussed the first one. The first one is the minority language rights of the francophone population of this province. There’s no question about that.

Secondly -- and almost equally important given the present age, the present context in which we find ourselves -- is the principle of local autonomy. This bill just slashes it. The unalterable irony of this bill, of course, is the recognition that the local board has acted totally and completely within the law as it now stands, and they are being punished for it.

Yes, they’re being punished. I recognize the supremacy of this Legislature. I know we can make new laws. I know we can change the laws as they exist. But the minister himself is frequently the one who says: “How can we justify changing the rules in midstream?” When we asked him not too long ago about his recent curriculum decisions with respect to grade nine students coming into the secondary schools in September 1977, we said: “Why don’t you do the same thing for grade 10?” He said: “We can’t change those roles in midstream.” Yet that’s what he is doing here.

The legislation which is presently on the books of this province very clearly allows the local school board to make the decision that it does. It says in subsection 4 of section 255: “… where in the opinion of the board it so warrants, or where practical…” Those are all optional terms. They’re the terms which the board used. That’s where the minister is slashing local autonomy. That’s where he’s just taking it and waving it aside.

Let’s just take a very brief look at how we got to this point because the second major point I want to make is that the problem we are in now is totally the minister’s responsibility. He is the one who got us all into this -- his ministry, his government -- because we have known what is happening here since 1969. We had the history of Sturgeon Falls and Cornwall to look back on. We know that these questions aren’t resolved easily. From 1969 to 1975 the minister and his ministry quite honestly, no criticism implied, tried to get this thing settled and he had it --

Hon. Mr. Wells: Your party didn’t push at all.

Mr. Roy: That’s bull.

Mr. Sweeney: He had it. In 1975, he had it right in the palm of his hand.

Mr. Roy: Read my speech of ’73.

Mr. Sweeney: After six years of struggling, he had it.

An hon. member: It’s the government.

Mr. Sweeney: After the experience in Sturgeon Fall’s and Cornwall, he knew the problems.

An hon. member: That’s right.

Mr. Sweeney: The board had finally agreed to go ahead, and what did he do? To this day I can’t understand that decision. When the board said to the minister: “Yes, we will go ahead”; and within months after them making that decision, after all that trial and tribulation, he changed the grant regulations. When the board appealed to the minister -- and when he gave us his hour-long discourse when the bill was introduced in the last session, he himself revealed the fact that he had correspondence from the board asking him to make an exception, given these circumstances, given the history, given the problems it had gone through and let the 95 per cent level stand -- his response was: “Sorry, Madam Chairman” -- I think it was a woman at that time, if I remember his notes correctly -- “Sorry, I can’t make that kind of an exception. If I do it for you I will have to do it for everyone else.” And yet that’s the very exception the minister is making now.

If he had only done it two years ago. He could have done it two years ago but he let the thing go; he let it get out of hand and that’s the problem we are facing today. That’s what I can’t understand. That’s why it has to rest on the shoulders of the government.

We now have the information that the federal money coming to the minister for francophone education is not being used for francophone education -- the minister himself has admitted it and he even has gone on to say that we are going to have to make some changes in that. In other words, a couple of years ago when all of these things could have been corrected, they weren’t. The minister waits until today; we have a national crisis on our hands and now he is going to do something. That’s the kind of dilemma the minister has put us in.

Finally, may I just say that that particular area of the problem has always deserved special attention, because the francophone population of Windsor and Essex are original settlers. These are not people who have migrated from some other part of Canada. This is one of the original settlement areas for francophone population in this country, just as many parts of Quebec were. These are the original people. These are the people who contributed to and took part in the original Confederation agreement, so that we would have the minority rights protection we are talking about right now.

Yes, we are going to support the minister’s bill. We are going to do it because we believe that minority language rights at this point in time take precedence; but we are doing it with great reluctance. We are doing it with great reluctance and we are doing it knowing that it isn’t necessary, because the way out is so simple and so obvious. The minister knows it himself and to this moment I can’t understand why he doesn’t take it.

The present legislation very clearly says that when there are 20 or more students you must open a class. How simple it would be to say, in subsection 4 of section 255, that when you have a certain number -- and the minister decides the number, 150, 200, 250 -- I don’t know what the magic number is but the minister has used the number before and why can’t he use it again? Simply say, “When you have that many, you must provide a school.” That’s the first point.

The second point is why does the minister insist in this bill that they must build? Why doesn’t he just say, “You must provide a school”? Give them the option. We know there either is or can be a surplus secondary school in the city of Windsor. We know that with a little bit of arranging and a little bit of give and take here and there, the former Windsor teachers’ college could be made available for this purpose. I am not saying, necessarily, that either one of them will do the job. All we are saying is, at least give the board the option.


To the best of my knowledge, I would stress to the minister, there is nowhere in The Education Act where you force a board to build a school. You say that the board has to provide a space where education can take place. You don’t say they have to build a school. That has to be unnecessary harshness in this bill.

How can we possibly not empathize with the people of that area when we are literally beating them over the head with this legislation? And it isn’t necessary. There is still time, there is still time to change the legislation to give those people a little bit of dignity, a little bit of pride; to respect their local autonomy and to get the school at the same time. We can do everything that needs to be done. What else can it be except pride, stubbornness, saving face or whatever you will?

We support the bill, I support this bill; but I do so reluctantly because of the way in which the minister has brought it in.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I shall be brief, sir. I had listened to this debate when it began prior to the call of the election. I had listened to it, or read about it, as it resumed. I listened carefully today and I was wont to enter because of the words of the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston), and then the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini). These members individually and together, made a plea to this Legislature to be, in the words of the member for Essex North, more reasonable; and in the words of the member for Essex South, to exercise common sense; a plea which I do not dispute for a moment was genuine and feeling.

Obviously there is emotion running deep in those members and in that caucus, as elsewhere in the Legislature. What I wanted to do, albeit late, is to turn that plea around on behalf of many of us in this Legislature, and speak, as it were, to the members who represent the people affected in Essex county, and ask them, even at the eleventh hour, to I reconsider their positions in this debate.

This has been a good debate. Members have participated feelingly, knowledgeably and spontaneously. It’s a good debate in a Legislature which sometimes doesn’t have real debate or real interchange.

Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to rehash the minutiae and the details of transportation costs and site selection and all of those related matters. I don’t want to engage in recrimination, because it is an admittedly painful subject. While I share the feeling of my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) in the pride he has in some of the things which New Democrats in the Legislature have said, I want to admit, willingly, that I share equally a very bitter disappointment in the position which some of our candidates took in the Essex-Windsor area during the course of the election and which I personally wish had been otherwise.

Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to abuse the Minister of Education. I think he has deserved some of the criticism directed at him, to put it as gently as I can, in terms of the delay and the time that it has taken us to arrive at this position. But I must admit that I don’t view the bill quite so repugnantly as some people.

I wouldn’t have called it, as the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) did, a “vicious” bill. I wouldn’t have put it that way at all. It is a necessary bill; it is a bill for which there is now no alternative. It is a bill which is the result of exhausted patience and exhausted endurance, culminating in this finale today in the Legislature. I don’t even want, to restate the profound and qualitative difference which many of us believe exists between those schools in the province which are, to use the words of the member for Essex South, mixed or bilingual and those which are unilingual and which have, I think, a rather different impact on the Franco-Ontarian population which seeks its education in a unilingual school.

In an odd way, all the arguments having been exhausted, one of the really sad things about this debate is the sense that the members from the county involved feel they must have their apparent decision to vote against the bill. I wish it were possible to have it otherwise. If I may, speaking to them as a colleague, even of another party, I would say that one understands and appreciates what’s going on in Essex county; and, boy, I can tell them that some of us truly regret it.

The pressures, the tensions, the sense of local autonomy violated -- it all pours out in the expressions of defensiveness which we hear from Windsor-Essex members. There’s a kind of protective feeling about what’s going on in Essex county; a sense of members and a county under siege; the need to repeat again and again that people in Essex are not bigots, when this Legislature needs no such reassurance; the sense, I guess, generally of defensiveness that has emerged in the course of this debate from people who represent the citizens of that area.

I can understand it. I think we do understand it and what’s involved. But I want to say to those members that I don’t really think that’s enough.

When the member for Essex South rose he said midway through his speech, if I remember him correctly, that there were two reasons for his opposition to Bill 3. Both the reasons he put to this Legislature were intensely local reasons; they were intensely an organic product of what was going on today in Essex county.

I think what is true of everybody in this House is a recognition -- and I put it to the member for Essex North and to the member for Essex South -- that we have to speak in different terms, that there is a greater issue. It is an issue which even the members from Essex must bring themselves to address.

I don’t pretend it’s easy, but it’s critical. All members of the Legislature have talked of it. And as a matter of fact when I listened in my office this afternoon to the member for Ottawa East, he talked of it: He said that what was happening with the Essex bill was that the debate on Canadian unity was being brought into the Ontario Legislature. That’s what we were talking about.

We were no longer rehashing the sad history of Essex county and the government errors and the government frailties, whatever they may be. We were talking to something which transcends the simple matter of constituency representation. We were talking about Canada. We were participating in a national debate. We were saying that the question of minority rights, language, culture and education, transcends Essex county. That’s what we’re dealing with.

I was struck by all of that when I listened to the members even before the supper hour. That’s why I want to ask them, presumptuous though it may be, to join with the rest of us in supporting this bill. The member for Essex North said -- I heard him -- he wouldn’t like to vote on a bridge or a road in some other member’s riding; but that’s our job, that’s what we’re elected for. There are moments in the life of this Legislature when one looks beyond an individual riding and says it speaks to the greater issue. That’s simply what this debate is all about and that’s what we’re asking members to do: to provide leadership that extends beyond the local option. It’s a very great and good principle.

I went home over the dinner hour to get hold of one of my political theorist loves -- totally unorthodox for socialists -- I went back to read a little Edmund Burke. And I want to remind the members representing Essex, and perhaps the members of the Legislature generally, of that magnificent speech Burke made to the electors of Bristol, who had put him into the House of Commons in 1774. You probably recall, Mr. Speaker, that there were a couple of people elected from the riding of Bristol at that time; Burke stood second, but was elected and confirmed. When he was greeting his constituents on the night of the victory, the man with whom he shared the riding said that he was subservient to their interests as people in Bristol. Burke replied this way to his own supporters:

“Certainly, gentlemen, it ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinions high respect, theft business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his response, his pleasure, his satisfactions to theirs. And above all, ever and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.

“But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgement, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man or to any set of men living. Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

Mr. Reid: And he represented a rotten borough at the same time.

Mr. Lewis: Then Edmund Burke was put to the test because the issue arose immediately after. It is fascinating how these historical parallels can be invoked. He was put to the test because the Irish question emerged over a matter of cultural rights, with England wanting to extend to Ireland at that moment in time, uncharacteristically, a slight gesture of generosity. The electors of Bristol were having nothing of it; and they told Burke, for God’s sake be our advocate. To which he replied: “I should only disgrace myself. I should lose the only thing that can make such abilities as mine of any use to the world now or hereafter. I mean that authority which is derived from the opinion that a member speaks the language of truth and sincerity, and that he is not ready to take up or lay down a great political system for the convenience of the hour.”

It has often struck me that the principle to be entertained is that members of the Legislature, in debates like this, speak beyond their ridings, beyond their constituencies. It is absolutely central to the parliamentary system.

That is why I appeal to the members for Essex South and Essex North to set aside the rancour and division. We shouldn’t imperil the future around this bill. This bill stands as a symbol, which everybody understands, of something far more important. What we are doing here tonight, first of all, is reaffirming the rights of the francophone minority in Essex county to an education to which they are entitled by law. But what we are doing more fundamentally is reaffirming the intention of the members of the Ontario Legislature to say to Essex county, to say to this province, to say to Quebec and to say to Canada, that francophone rights, language, culture are sacrosanct as an indispensable component of this country.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I feel constrained to join this debate because of a reference made by the Minister of Education in his interjections, perhaps half an hour ago, indicating that our party had not taken a constructive stand in this matter as it presently is before the Legislature; and more important as it has been before this House in the last six to eight years. I recall to the minister that during the debate on The Education Act in 1973 or 1974 that we in our party, with myself as leader, ably supported by the hon. member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) and the former member for Nipissing (Mr. R. S. Smith), as well as others, spoke as strongly as we could and offered amendments in committee to the House. These would have strengthened the position of the Languages of Instruction Commission in making their decisions binding on the parties involved in any community of the province of Ontario. We believe that would have been, and would still be, the most healthy course to pursue, since it would have established, by the responsibility and power of this House, the requirement in all of those communities in Ontario where there is a francophone population which can be properly served by a French education system, that such a school system be established as an undoubted right of the population in that community.

I feel that the leader of the NDP is being slightly presumptuous when he indicates in his excellent address that my colleagues from Essex North and South have somehow or other been diluting their own views or bowing to the views of their constituents rather than expressing their own views. I don’t support their particular position, but I thought they put it forward effectively and well. In order to quote Edmund Burke, and in such an effective way as the leader of the NDP always does, perhaps in some small degree he was unfair to my colleagues who have expressed their views tonight and previously in this debate. They expressed their views before the electorate, as did the representatives of the NDP and the Conservative Party. Whoever had been elected down there would surely, if they were honourable men, have had to take the same position. To somehow indicate they are something less than excellent in their positions in this House is difficult for me to take.

Mr. Lewis: I didn’t mean that.

Mr. Nixon: I hope not.

Mr. Lewis: No.

Mr. Nixon: Because as far as we are concerned, Mr. Speaker, our leader has very effectively put forward our position and it is one which transcends the objections that have been expressed by members here through their speeches and by their interjections. I certainly feel that position is transcended by our responsibilities in this province to see that others in our Confederation in no way feel we are weak in accepting the fact that this is a bilingual nation and a multicultural nation. But the bilingual aspects are those which are our responsibility to support, and through this bill enforce.

I just wish that the leadership of the government, which was lacking in 1973 and 1974, and frankly in a strange and perverse way is lacking now, could still be put forward, so that we in this House are prepared to say that in any part of this province, and in any community where there is a need for French education, as decided by the Languages of Instruction Commission -- which can hold hearings from both sides; and which obviously could be appealed from, if that is the correct phrase, to the cabinet -- so that it is basically a political decision once again that these rights could be confirmed across the province.

The alternative that this bill involves -- and we are supporting it, at least it is going to pass in this House; I see the minister is looking at the clock hoping that he can sum up so that we can get this finished perhaps --

Hon. Mr. Wells: Tomorrow.

Mr. Nixon: I don’t know, maybe Wednesday or Thursday.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Doesn’t matter to me.

Mr. Nixon: That’s good, because it doesn’t matter to me either.

Mr. Speaker, I believe the correct alternative is already before this House in the amendment to The Education Act moved by my colleague from Ottawa East. In fact, there is still time to implement that amendment and move away from this Act, which says to the democratically elected board of education that we deem you to have taken a certain decision, which obviously they have not taken, that we require boards of education all across this province to do certain things that many of them object to. If you think of the complaints that have come to you from elected board members in your own area about specific things that are required under our statutes that we believe are correct, or at least are the will of the majority of the elected members of this House, then surely the amendment to The Education Act putting this responsibility under the Languages of Instruction Commission would be eminently fair; and it would be equal to all communities, without us, as a Legislature, selecting one area and taking them by the neck and shaking them and saying: “You will do thus and so.” It would surely be fair, and even better as an example to those in Quebec and other areas of Canada who need an example; this would surely be the far healthier alternative for us to take.

I regret that this bill is before us; and I don’t have any hesitation in saying that really I regret having to support it, since it is so special in its effect and that the alternatives, the broad statement of our commitment to bilingual education in this province, could be before us if the Minister of Education took the leadership and accepted the amendment that is before the House and has been now for two or three years.

I intend to vote for the bill, with the feelings of reluctance that I have already expressed. I would say to you, Mr. Speaker, that there are still alternatives which would be better for the community of Essex, would be better for Ontario; and I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, better for Canada.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest at the offset of these few remarks that I was most impressed with the eloquent words of all of the speakers in this debate. Not the least of which were those of the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis); and I would like to suggest to this House that perhaps there is one element that was ignored or left out of his comments. It certainly came through to me during the course of this debate and the things that have led up to it, that my colleagues from Essex and Windsor-Walkerville have faced the anguish within their communities and have had to, in a sense, be a bit of a catalyst for us. Certainly the ministry action in bringing this Act before us was part of that process, but I think the stance taken by my colleagues cannot be ignored and I appreciate at the same time the plea that the member for Scarborough West makes to them.

As a new member of this Legislature and speaking for the first time in this House, I would like to suggest to you that my remarks in support of this bill will be very brief, but I hope that the brevity is not interpreted as a lack of sincerity because this is to me, and I hope to all of us, a very important issue.

At the same time as I say that in support of the bill, I would have to suggest that I am happy that I wasn’t part of the system of delay, mentioned so many times in the earlier debate, that has made this, to quote the minister’s own words, “a touchy and inflammatory situation.”

I think it is obvious to all of us that many people still do not know what are the issues, or what is the main issue in Essex. That may seem strange, but if you get the same kind of correspondence that I get as a new member, I’m sure you would agree; and these aren’t from people in my own constituency but from people across the province who are still puzzled about this issue. I hope that this debate is well recorded so that the people do know what the issue is.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to digress, and again keeping an eye on the clock, for a very few moments I would like to make an observation or two as our party’s education critic, and say that when the dust settles on this debate, and if the bill passes and again I’m sure it will, I would ask that the facility and the program offered in the facility be of a quality equal to that which might be, or indeed is, available to other students in our separate and public schools in this province. At the same time, I would urge, assuming the passage of this bill, that a very close eye be kept on the size and cost of this facility, keeping in mind our government’s professed concern about large deficit and the need for careful spending.

Keeping that in mind, I would have thought this bill would have included a provision to seek adequate facilities before charging ahead and building, but that seems to be the Tory fashion. I caution all of us -- and certainly the minister -- to keep an eye on this development, this school, and to be sensitive to the people of the community. Let’s not build it and then forget it.

I would suggest, too, that we don’t build it and twist it around to something that might serve just the advantage of the party in power; and if you don’t think things can be twisted around, I would remind you that only a few weeks ago the people of our province were subjected to some of the most distasteful advertising that I have ever seen or heard of in a political campaign, let’s not lose sight of that.

In summary, I recall the words of Charles Dickens. I believe it was in “A Tale of Two Cities” but I didn’t have the chance, like the member for Scarborough West, to get home at supper time. I believe near the beginning of that wonderful story it was said that, “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

Our dream of one Canadian identity based on two official languages, and enriched by a multicultural society, becomes more real every time one culture or one group acknowledges and accepts and works with another. When this happens we truly have, “the best of times.” However, when you get to that goal or dream through delays and bickering, you have, in my opinion, “the worst of times.”

I and the members of our party have thought long and hard about this, and I would say the majority is in support of this. We would have preferred to see a different type of legislation but that will not be the case, I assume. When this Act is passed, let us all set our emotions aside and work to make sure that this type of situation does not happen again.

If I may close with the words -- again the member for Scarborough West might check me on this one, but I believe it’s one of our minister’s relative, H. G. Wells, who suggested that “civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.” Let’s avoid another catastrophe.

Mr. Speaker: Will there be other hon. members wishing to speak to this bill before the hon. minister sums up?

Mr. Peterson: Are you prepared to allow me the two or three minutes that are remaining this evening? I assume the minister will be winding up tomorrow. Is that correct? Or can he say everything he wants to say in two minutes?

Mr. Speaker: I think we could determine that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would be willing to ask the leader of the other parties if they wish to extend the time. We could probably wind up this debate in about 15 minutes. If there’s only one other speaker in the opposition side I could wind up.

Mr. Breithaupt: We are certainly prepared, Mr. Speaker, to agree to finish this tonight.

Mr. Speaker: Do we have the permission of the House? All right.

The hon. member for London Centre.

Mr. Peterson: I will take about two minutes, Mr. Speaker. When I sat and listened to the hon. leader of the New Democratic Party, a man for whom I have an infinite amount of respect, I felt very uneasy for my colleagues from Essex North and Essex South. I felt that the member for Scarborough West unfairly placed a burden on them that really, in the circumstances, was not correct or was not fair.

Mr. Lewis: Okay.

Mr. Peterson: Anyone who observed this campaign of some weeks ago, in relation to all parties, realized the difficulty of their position; one has to assume, as I assumed, that they were honourable, fair and reasonable and sincere in their positions.

Mr. Lewis: So do I.

Mr. Peterson: Those positions were stated before the election -- long before the election, when this bill first came to the House as well as during the election and after the election.

Mr. Foulds: He wouldn’t have said otherwise.

Mr. Lewis: I believe they were. Well, on a point of order, if I may --

Mr. Peterson: On a point of view, go ahead on a point of view.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, if I’ve conveyed otherwise, it was certainly not my wish. In fact I think I said at the outset that I believed the feelings and the views were genuinely held and genuinely expressed. I was asking them to reconsider on the basis of a higher matter, which they are perfectly entitled to reject and undoubtedly will. But as to the expression of the views, if one heard them tonight, they obviously felt it deeply. I don’t dispute that for a moment.

Mr. Peterson: I want to say in fairness to the leader of the New Democratic Party, he should have asked some of his own people to reassess --

Mr. Foulds: He has.

Mr. Peterson: -- people on whom he had more influence.

Mr. Speaker: Could we get back to the bill, please?

Mr. Peterson: I say this only in fairness and because of understanding the difficulty.

Let me say this was not just difficult for the members for Essex North and Essex South, this was difficult for every single member in our caucus, and I assume it was the same in all parties and on all sides of this House. This has been one of these very rare issues that goes to our collective souls, that goes to our collective sensitivities and with which each one individually has to wrestle.

For me, personally, it wasn’t a great problem. I’m prepared to subscribe to the views expressed by my leader. I want to point out at this time it was my leader, about a year ago, who started to talk sensitively and intelligently about the whole crisis of national unity in this country -- long before the election in Quebec and concomitantly what Ontario’s role was. He presented that message consistently. And I say, with a great deal of sympathy for his position in times of great difficulty, that when he was subjected to ridicule by people in all the different parties, he consistently, forcefully and sincerely carried that message.

I say when we all sit down tonight or tomorrow to vote on this bill, almost everything he said has rung true, not only on this issue but on the wider issue of Canadian unity. I say that with a great deal of pride. Believe me, as the leader of this party, like all of us in this party and many people in other parties, he has had difficulty in reconciling these two contradicting principles.

It’s easy for me, as the member for London Centre, to come down on the side of bilingualism and bilingual education. I firmly believe in that. The tragedy, as has been pointed out, is that this process was not started many years ago when the warnings were there, when we had many experts warning us and telling us what should have been done.

I just say in summary, Mr. Speaker, that I felt when I walked into the House tonight I was not going to speak, but I felt obliged to say what I just said. The tragedy, like so many other tragedies, has come so late.

There’s a certain genius in preventing problems. It’s called in some circles the art of concealing art. Maybe one doesn’t get much credit for it; but I can tell the minister that this is one of these cases that has been so mishandled that after the fact we all come back with a certain reluctance, remorse, distaste, and with a great deal of sensitivity for the people of Essex county who are feeling this even more strongly than we are. We all come back and say: “Gee, wouldn’t it have been nicer if we’d all done it a lot better? Wouldn’t it have been a better thing for Canada and for Ontario if more judgement had been shown and if more perspective had been shown?” That, to me, is the tragedy.

When the opposition comes to the minister with ideas and suggestions, don’t immediately just discount them because they’re from the opposition, because I can tell the minister a lot of my colleagues foresaw this problem years before he foresaw it.

We say that in as constructive and positive a way as we can. Tonight we’re going to support the bill. But when the minister says “for some three years you didn’t press the issue as hard as you could,” I say at that point he has abdicated his responsibility of government. Who is the government? You are the government and you have to take the responsibility. We are happy now to assist as best we can in the circumstances. It’s not a perfect solution but we’re here to assist and we’ll do that happily for the sake of this great province.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would like to thank the hon. members who have taken part in this debate. I think it has been one of the most stimulating ones we’ve had, certainly in the last year or so. I have enjoyed the comments of some, I have smarted a little under the comments of others. I think we’ve all gained a little in our knowledge of the total history and relationships of these matters, particularly those that have impact on national unity. I think the historical references in many members’ speeches were excellent, and certainly they enlightened all of us.

I recall that five years ago, just after I came into the Ministry of Education, I went to a meeting at the Holiday Inn in Windsor, and really was not very aware of what problems were present in that particular area, and was surprised when --

Mr. Reid: That’s all right, neither was your predecessor.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- surprised when I went out to lunch to find the Holiday Inn ringed with pickets, with Franco-Ontarians who live in that area who were picketing for a French-language school. We came in and met together after, and we talked about their problems.

Now, that was five years ago and we are finally, perhaps, coming to some resolution of that particular matter. Now if any blame is to be on my shoulders -- and if I was to listen to many of the speeches here today -- all the blame lies on my shoulders -- if that’s the way it is to be, so it be; but I must say, Mr. Speaker, I don’t come here tonight apologizing for this piece of legislation, because if the blame has to lie on my shoulders, I will also take the initiative to do what I think is right at the particular time, and I think that this bill is right now and I do not apologize for bringing it into this House; and I am not sorry that I have to bring it in, except that the matter has not been solved locally.

Now one of my friends mentioned in his remarks, “Why are there 36 mixed schools and 24 homogeneous French-language schools in this province? Why is there a request for a new French-language secondary school in Essex county rather than the use of an existing building?”

You know I didn’t hear one word, in any of the remarks tonight, about another group, the French-language advisory committee. These are people elected by their confreres in that area. They represent a minority. There are three trustees among them, at least two of whom have never gone along with the majority on the Essex county board and who have consistently, and strongly and with very heartfelt emotion, put forward the wishes of the minority, the francophone minority in Essex county. Their wish has been to have their own, not a mix but their own, homogeneous French-language secondary school. That’s really what it’s all about. That’s why there are mixed schools in other areas of Ontario, because that’s what the French-language advisory committee has recommended to the board; and there are 24 homogeneous French-language schools, because that’s what the French-language advisory committee has recommended and the school boards have accepted.

Now here we have a dispute between the two. The French-language advisory committees, both in Windsor and Essex want one thing, and the school board wants another.

I can understand very well the amendment that my friend has suggested that gives more power, and a binding resolution of the matter, to the decision of the Languages of Instruction Commission. That really is no different, in its impact on local autonomy, from this bill. It is --

Mr. Roy: Ah come on; now that’s wrong.


Hon. Mr. Wells: It represents an attempt to temper what the Legislature has given in local autonomy --

Mr. Roy: We do it all the time.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Well, all right, we do it all the time. Don’t criticize this bill, then, as a vicious bill that infringes on local autonomy, because it infringes in no greater way than that other bill and I say with --

Mr. Nixon: We do not enter into one community with specific instruction all the time.

Mr. Roy: That’s what your man said.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Everyone has had an opportunity to speak.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I say with all respect that notwithstanding that amendment, if we had had that amendment the matter would have been appealed to the minister and I suggest we would in all probability be here today doing the same thing.


Hon. Mr. Wells: We would have been here today --


Mr. Speaker: Order, order, please.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- doing the same thing, because the decision would have rested with the minister.

Mr. Roy: No, you have the accord; you got the decision and you got the agreement.

Hon. Mr. Wells: But in any event, I understand very clearly, and we have had here presented, by both the official oppositions, two different suggested amendments -- incidentally the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) suggested one and the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) has suggested another type of amendment; and the members of the third party suggested an amendment similar to that of the member for Kitchener-Wilmot. Now I think I indicated a long time ago, when this debate began, that that kind of long-term type of amendment would be considered.

We are going to be looking at that in the total context of things that can continue to be done to improve the French-language school system in this province and to guarantee minority rights; because we believe in them, we have always worked for them and we believe that the French-language minority is entitled to their school system and we will see that they have it. But we believe that the quickest and most expedient way to handle this particular problem at this particular time is to pass this bill.

I have been personally involved with this matter for, as I say, five years. I have seen the problems, I have seen the vacillations, I have seen the kind of things that have happened. I think that we must bring it to an end now and that we must get that school built.

As I said in my opening remarks, the way I like to view this process now is that we are acting as the mediators; we are acting as the Languages of Instruction Commission; we are acting on behalf of all the people of Ontario. We are listening to what the arguments are. After all, what better court than this Legislature? I am not sorry this bill is here; I am not sorry that we are the final judges --


Hon. Mr. Wells: -- in this particular matter. We are looking at a very interesting, a very sorry dispute. We are now looking at it, but in terms of just a local dispute, but in terms of something that has impact upon provincial and national affairs.

Mr. Reid: Make it provincial.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We are looking at something in which we have been asked to be the mediator. Each one of you, whether you are from Essex or any other riding in this province, is now being asked to mediate in this situation. I say that we should feel proud if we feel that the solution is that the rights of the French-language minority, as represented by the French language advisory committees for Essex and Windsor and as put for many years to that board, are the right solution for that particular area in order to guarantee those minority language education rights.

If that is how we feel, we should feel proud to vote for this bill. Because we are now acting as mediators saying, “This is what we want you to do.” And believe me, there is no appeal from this particular piece of legislation, because the board now has its final decision on this matter. As my friend said, once this bill passes, that then is a binding decision on that board, and I firmly hope that they will go forward and implement it.

Mr. Nixon: You hope they will go forward?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I hope that they will, and I believe that they will.

I just want to digress for a minute, because we have talked about the local members and I realize the very difficult time the local members from that area have had. I regret very much that our candidates were not on the side of the government on this particular matter. In fact, I recall speaking to one of them -- I can’t recall who he was -- and saying to him, you know, perhaps --

Mr. Martel: Nor did the electorate.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Well, the member may be right. But I said, and I guess maybe I said this because the situation is not all that green for us in that particular area, I said, “Perhaps if you really feel that this is the right course of action, and you know that it is government policy, why not come out for it and stand up for it on greater issues than just local issues?” However, I am sorry that none of our candidates chose to support the building of that school in that particular area --

Mr. MacDonald: The member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) did.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I fully realize that, but I am talking particularly just about our candidates.

Mr. Conway: Did the former member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Burr)?

Hon. Mr. Wells: But it’s very interesting, and I think that the great import that we have -- and I appreciated the leader of the third party’s remarks because this is perhaps rather an historic time. We have an opportunity in some small way to have an impact on this great debate on national unity at this time, through this small, special bill for one particular area.

Mr. Reid: We haven’t had one otherwise.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We have a chance here to express our opinion, and we have a chance to strike out for certain great issues. I must say on the issue of minority language rights as opposed to local autonomy there is no question which has precedence as far as I am concerned in this particular area. It is minority language rights. And I think that that has to be the kind of priority in these times in this country.

I was just glancing through a book I’ve got here, and it was interesting that in the last decades of the 19th century, despite the opposition of many leading English-speaking Canadians, there was a campaign to suppress the French language in English-speaking Canada. And it was gaining fair momentum. But one of the chief spokesmen, who spoke out with great force and great passion against that movement to downplay the French language in English Canada, was the major architect of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald.


At that particular time, in a debate in the House of Commons, he said these words: “I have no accord with the desire expressed in some quarters that by any mode whatever there should be any attempts made to oppress the one language, or to render it inferior to the other. I believe it would be impossible if it were tried and that it would be foolish and wicked if it were possible. Why, Mr. Speaker, if there is one act of oppression more than another which would come home to a man’s breast it is that he should be deprived of the consolation of hearing and speaking and reading the language his mother taught him. It is cruel.”

That was Sir John A. Macdonald speaking in the House of Commons.

Mr. MacDonald: He was addressing his remarks primarily to the Ontario Conservative leader.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I think that it is our sincere wish and expectation that the Essex county board, if and when this bill is passed in this House, will in good faith follow the wishes of this Legislature and demonstrate a positive sense of leadership which can be the starting point to a return to harmonious relations throughout Essex county.

I believe, for the sake of all concerned, that all members of this Legislature should give unanimous approval to this legislation as evidence of our united commitment to the rights of our French-speaking citizens, not only in Essex county but throughout the province of Ontario.

I think that nothing short of this, in my view and in the view of this government, would be appropriate if we are really earnest in our wish to improve educational opportunities for our francophone students and, further, to strengthen harmonious relationships between French- and English-speaking citizens wherever they may be in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that all may give unanimous approval to this bill and that we may move forward from here.

Mr. Speaker: As many as are in favour of Bill 3 being read the second time will please say “aye.”

As many as are opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the ayes have it.

I declare the motion carried.

Ordered for third reading.


The following bill was given third reading on motion:

Bill 3, An Act to require The Essex County Board of Education to provide a French-language Secondary School.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Before moving the adjournment of the House, Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 1, 14 and 15.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the House adjourned at 10:48 p.m.