The House resumed at 8 p.m.
HUMAN RIGHTS REPORT
Hon. B. Stephenson moved resolution 12:
That this House consider sessional paper 65, the report of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Life Together.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I welcome the opportunity this evening to listen to the members of this House in their presentations regarding the document, Life Together, which is a comprehensive review of human rights in the province of Ontario as carried out by the code review subcommittee of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
As the members of the House know, the province of Ontario was the first jurisdiction in Canada to establish a human rights code. It was felt by the recently retired chairman of the commission that it was necessary and timely that a complete review of that code be carried out. That was done in the year 1976-77. The report, as the members of the House are aware, was published in July, 1977, and I’m afraid was tabled rather late since I neglected to do so, although it was distributed widely to the members of the House as soon as it was published.
The government has been reviewing the document which was produced very carefully because of the importance of this document, to the human condition if you like, in the province of Ontario. Each ministry of the government was charged with the responsibility of completely reviewing the code and its 97 recommendations and making responses which were collated through each policy field. That having been completed, the policy fields are now together collating and collaborating in developing the final position of the government related to the report.
Therefore, I think it invaluable that we have the opportunity this evening to have input from the members of the opposition, as well as members of the government caucus, in terms of the positions and the opinions, regarding not only the body of the report but also the recommendations which the code review committee made and which the commission endorsed.
I would ask that I be granted, if it’s possible, a short period of time at the end of this debate to comment upon the statements or the remarks which are made by the honourable members this evening. I should like the honourable members to know that I think it is extremely important that the government have this opportunity this evening to listen to their comments and to their concerns so that that kind of input can be brought into our deliberations regarding the eventual report which will be made to this House on the basis of the document, Life Together.
May I please request that I have even 10 minutes at the end of the debate to make those comments?
Mr. Renwick: On a point of order: We would certainly grant the minister 10 minutes or 20 minutes or 30 minutes to respond; that’s not a problem. My point of order is that I’m surprised, after all of the study which the minister has indicated has gone on within the government, at how we can be asked to have a meaningful debate if all we are to do is to provide what she refers to in that dreadful phraseology as “input” to the government decision-making policy.
Surely, as members we are entitled to have a detailed statement of the minister’s present feelings, the equivalent of a ministerial white paper about what the government thinks about that report so that we can have a sensible debate, other than for us to respond. That’s my point of order.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The honourable minister has moved the government motion number 12. Therefore, under those conditions, I feel the House should consider giving her the opportunity, and she has the right as a minister --
Mr. Renwick: Granted -- no problem.
Mrs. Campbell: That isn’t a problem.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I did give the minister an opportunity to make an opening statement, which I believe she did and asked for that permission; so if there’s nothing further, I’ll acknowledge the next member.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, I rise to debate this report and I, too, feel that it is most inappropriate that the minister has not herself expressed at least something of the government’s position with reference to this report.
My own position has been made known from time to time. As a legislator, I believe it is incumbent upon me to lend all my weight to trying to ensure that all human beings within the jurisdiction of this province should be able to live without harassment, to live with dignity and to have the opportunity to fully engage in our society.
Democracy, as I have said so many times before, is a plant of very tender bloom. When we as legislators can pick and choose between groups in our community as to who shall have the right to be free and those who shall not, then it is almost the same as taking a position that if we happen to like somebody’s face, they’re in; and if we don’t like their face, they’re out. That is not a position which I can tolerate for myself and my own conscience.
There are many people in the community looking to the relief which this report, if adopted, would give to them. There are those, for instance, who are handicapped; and what a sad day it is that they should be waiting for an acknowledgement of their full rights to participate in our society. What a tragedy that this should be so. Yet this has not come forward to even grant to them the opportunity to live with dignity.
I recognize that there are a few controversial matters in this report. Let me deal with them honestly and openly. In the first place, there is the recommendation that those who are older should not be required to retire if they do not choose to do so. I recognize, as I think every person in this House recognizes, the fact that at a time of great unemployment such as we have now it is very difficult to support that right. But, to me, all human beings within our province should have the right of alternative. I was rather stunned recently in a debate in this House when one member, not of this party, took the position that for those who were older, the welfare system should be improved. But older people are still human beings and still have rights of alternatives, it seems to me.
Then we come to the matter of sexual orientation. This is a very serious problem at the present time, particularly in the climate which has been created, if you like, or accelerated if you want another term, by some recent events which were carried in the press.
I don’t believe that it is for me to decide how other people shall live so long as they don’t breach the law. We have the situation where it is uncomfortable for some to take a stand on this subject, but surely there is a great difference, and in the field of human rights it is important that we deal with the matter of human beings discarding, if you like and if you must, some of the personal attitudes which may be in this House.
I don’t know how to strengthen that point. There is fear in some people. I think quite often fear results from ignorance, and perhaps we ought to try to understand. It is the same thing, basically, as the racial issue. It is fear in some people, fear of visible minorities. But can we stand and say that notwithstanding the fear in some people in our society, we can support discrimination against human beings of a class or group; do we have to stop and think in some more human terms about all of the problems that can be created because we are afraid, afraid to do the things which surely is our responsibility to do?
It is interesting that the minister spoke of the fact that we had the first human rights commission, it is interesting to see that in a sister province they had no difficulty with this question. I guess to them, too, there was a matter of conscience.
There is enough in our society of violence. There is enough of discrimination; there is enough of harassment of people. If it is not for us to try to lessen that, then for whom is it? So often I hear the Premier (Mr. Davis) enunciate what I think is absolutely correct, that a government is to lead. Are we to falter in that and follow when it comes to human rights? Is that our position?
It seems to me that to move to adopt the new code as suggested within the report is to acknowledge that we believe that we cannot, as legislators, deny to anyone the right to live as they see fit to live; the right to work, the right not to be harassed. Is that too much for us? Is it really too much for us?
I would appeal to the minister -- and this is perhaps unfair to her, because I have to address her as a her and not a him. This is all very much a part of the same struggle that women have had. Women have faced sexist attitudes; and I am sure the minister would confirm that, although she would feel that things are moving more favourably. I am sure she would admit that that has been a history in this province, and indeed in this country.
Can we support equal opportunity for some and not for others? I recognize the fact that there are many people in our society who believe that we should make moral judgements and they see these issues as moral issues. My belief is that so long as people live within the law, as a legislator it is not my function to condemn, it is not my function to judge, it is my function to ensure that democracy as such is strengthened by what I do as a legislator.
I view this as a cardinal principle for me. I recognize that my views in some areas are not popular in this House. I would hope that the day might come when we could all discuss all of the issues raised in this report without self-consciousness but just as matters of deep principle in a democratic society.
My remarks, of course, apply throughout the report and to the recommendations. They apply to the handicapped, they apply to the older person in our society. They apply to those whom some see as very different, to say the least, from the majority in our society. I can recall when I was in the city and we had some of the hippies coming to us from Yorkdale. I can remember the attempt of some members of the board of control to create special rules for them to be able to address the board of control. One of the members at the board of control had the very simple solution of what he saw as the problem of the hippy: Just give him a hockey stick and all will be well. It was an unpopular stand then, I suppose, but my view was exactly the same as it is today: Anyone in our society has the same right to come before a board of control under the same rules. That’s all I’m saying in my approach to this particular report. Let us set aside our fears and let us act in deep humanity in the full interest of the democracy and the democratic principles which we all in this House espouse.
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me in my almost seven years now in this House that in one form or another I have been constantly speaking about or writing letters about or encountering problems in my constituency work which touch upon the whole area of human rights. I have been appalled at the rate of speed with which action has not been taken over the years by this Legislature and by the ministry and the government in this entire area.
Mr. Haggerty: At the speed of a snail.
Mr. Bounsall: Respect for human rights in Ontario is an old tradition, but it is a tradition that is very fragile and much more fragile than we think. Public respect for human rights, although it is something that was here, or we had it or it’s traditional in this province and it existed in a strong form 20 or 30 years ago, is not something that can be taken for granted just because we had a society in which we tolerated each other and our differences years ago.
Society is constantly changing and society has to respond to those changes. We have too much optimism if we feel that this respect is just going to continue. It’s something which cannot be taken for granted anywhere in the world -- not in Canada and not in Ontario. The climate of understanding and mutual respect -- and if you come from the province of Quebec, the term they often use down there is “love,” and it should be used more by anglophones in the province of Ontario. That’s the way they perceive mutual respect and understanding; they use the term “love” and mean it in the broadest possible sense. That will not grow of its own initiative. It requires careful and constant nurturing and encouragement in our public educational institutions, whatever they may be, at all levels, as well as by legislative action and by enforcement. We must give to the human rights commission, in the acts we place before it, sufficient tools to do the job which they think should be done. When they encounter it, be it in the work place, and I’ll talk briefly on that in a few short minutes, a particular kind of discrimination they should be able, with all the tools in the Legislature given to them, to follow their instincts and their judgement in arriving at the solution to the problem which is brought before them. We do not have that in the current legislation and it’s something we very much need.
It is vital this province give a much higher priority to human rights than it has, in fact, given, as far as I can see, over the last seven years and the immediate past beyond that seven year period. We must review, at regular intervals, our progress in human rights. It’s not enough to have anywhere between 20 minutes and a couple of hours in the Labour estimates, once a year, to look at this whole area of human rights. The member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) will dwell on this at some greater length when he rises to participate in this debate, that is on how we may bring before us, as members of the Legislature, and therefore in front of the public, the problems which arise in the whole area of human rights. There are problems with the funding which we have not adequately done over the years in human rights; and the problems of, in my opinion, about a third of the field workers who are needed to do the public education job in this province. There are problems with the initiatives which must be taken to ensure we continue in the tradition of respect for human rights, a respect which can be so easily fractured unless we continue to work at it day by day.
This is, I think, particularly important in the current economic climate when the need for financial restraint occurs at the same time, as jobs disappear or become much more competitive. That, inevitably, gets matched with increased incidents of discrimination. There are not feelings of love or respect for people’s religious beliefs or people’s creed or people’s colour or people’s sex. There are increasing incidents of discrimination and lack of respect, instead of the ever growing, increasing respect and love with which those problems must be met.
The best legislation in the world is useless unless the resources are provided to put that legislation into action. We have many incidents day by day that remind us that concern for human rights is not really a high priority in this province. We, as political members, speak out often in this House against discrimination. Our leaders on the government side do too. We’re in favour of human rights. But words alone carry no power and all too often what we have is simply words. There is no action, or not the proper kind of action; simply window-dressing which produces, when that is the situation, the worst kind of frustration and resentment among the victims of discrimination. They communicate that frustration to other people in their particular sphere likely to run into the same discrimination. And this frustration they transmit to their peers likely to confront it, leaves with them a feeling that, in Ontario, they cannot get justice under the code, all the time bringing comfort to the forces that would divide our community.
Ever since I entered the House and entered the debate in Labour estimates as labour critic, I have been particularly concerned with discrimination in the area of employment. Virtually every year I have urged that the act be amended, at least in the employment section, so that various categories of questions that are asked on employment forms be omitted. I am among those people who are frustrated by the complete lack of action which has taken place in this.
I respond mechanistically to the argument put forward that let’s do it all at once; the all-at-once time never arrives. Back in the fall of 1974, the then Labour minister, the member for Humber (Mr. MacBeth), made a commitment in the spring of 1975 to table the legislation which would take care of at least the employment side of the problem. The story is an interesting one. Without much communication, it seems, between the commission and the ministry, the commission announced its own province-wide survey, which resulted in this rather well-written document, Life Together.
It has got it all in here. I don’t agree with absolutely everything in it, but the problems are clearly outlined here. Most of those problems we have known about and have talked about beforehand in this House. They have added further incidents to it and put a good philosophical framework around it. So we were delayed in implementation of legislative changes until their findings were completed and the report brought in. I was rather impatient at the time over the long delay, but I could at least see something on the horizon.
Last October 1977, the report having been received at that time, I asked the Minister of Labour when she anticipated moving on it, because the commitment was overdue from the fall of 1974. She indicated that in those Labour estimates there would be no changes this fall and she hoped to introduce them in the near future. When I asked her what about the spring, she again said probably not the spring. I asked if she could give any reason for a delay beyond the spring in dealing with these important changes in the code and the answer from the honourable minister was: “No, I also can’t promise you that it’s going to be ready for introduction this year.” However, further on it was implied that she would like also to see something in this coming year, 1978.
In her very very short opening remarks, I would have thought that she would have indicated in some depth just exactly what areas in which we could expect to see action in a revised bill brought in this year at least. But we have gone around the hook again and again on this. I wouldn’t be surprised that the scenario we get is that after all the departments and ministries concerned have reviewed it, it goes back to the Ontario Human Rights Commission for comment, with maybe a suggestion that they go out and look again. They look again and they come back in; it goes around all the ministries for comment -- and we will never get anything done.
For heaven’s sake, I say to the minister, the human rights commission have done their job in this regard, let’s get it into legislation now with their many and various recommendations which are long overdue.
On the employment side, what has most concerned me over the years and seemed to be a matter of a very simple amendment -- as I said a former Minister of Labour appeared to be ready to introduce those in 1975 -- was the incident where you are asked on employment forms to give your political affiliation. There are quite blunt questions asked on the forms:
Have you ever been a member of the Communist Party? It is an affront to any person in Canada and in Ontario to be confronted with that question on an employment form, because it is US based. They have outlawed the Communist Party there; we have the freedom of political affiliation here.
That question should not be asked. What if someone was a member of the Communist Party? Why should they be forced to answer that question? Presumably if the answer is yes this arm of the multinational corporation would not grant them employment.
I gather there has been some headway made by summer students in the province communicating with employers about the removal of that form of question. There has been some headway made in that regard.
Also of interest to me is the whole area of Workmen’s Compensation Board questions; questions like have you ever been a Workmen’s Compensation Board recipient? That disability-type question should be scrubbed from application forms in this province. In the estimates of October 17, when I asked Mr. Brown of the commission what headway was being made in getting that question removed from employment forms in the province of Ontario, he had to indicate they were not very successful.
I asked Mr. Brown if, in talking to employers the summer students pointed out that if it were a recurrence of an old injury, the charge for that claim goes to the original company involved and not the current employer. Did they cover that point? The reply, unfortunately was that they just go into the question being asked, did not go beyond the question itself. There was a missed opportunity for the education of the employer in terms of getting that question removed.
That was not done; again, no doubt, due to the resources of the human rights commission in being able to cover so little ground with the employees they are allowed to hire. That question should have been gone into much more thoroughly.
Certainly in the human rights code we must not just remove that WCB question from the employment form, but also outlaw discrimination on the basis of physical disability of whatever kind. There are other ways we should have it in legislation as well, but I will not go into them. Suffice to say that is a basic and important question which should be included in the code. Other speakers for our party will go into the problems of handicapped and sexual discrimination, specifically the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden); on the administrative funding side, the member for York South; and racism and hate literature, the member for Downsview (Mr. di Santo).
One thing the commission must have if it is going to do its job in the province of Ontario is credibility. That is something which it has lacked, at least in latter years. The major difficulty with it may be the lack of funding, but that institution has got to become independent. It has got to have as its chairman a person thoroughly recognized as an expert in the field and widely regarded in the province of Ontario, something we do not have in our present chairman of the commission. She has given a lot of her life and a lot of her time to public service in this province, but she just doesn’t have the stature. I’m glad to see it’s a woman, but she just doesn’t have the stature for that particular position.
The commission and its chairman should be on a level with the Ombudsman in this province, and in fact regarded with a higher degree of respect, because they deal with everybody in the province not just those who have problems with government. They deal with a whole host of discriminatory practices and areas. That should be one of the highlight appointments and positions in this province. We should pay much careful attention to the way we choose commissioners. Some of them are very good. I wonder why others are there. For example, maybe we should survey the members of this House to arrive at who should be those appointed commissioners and get general agreement from this House on who should be the superb persons to serve on them.
Finally, on the procedures, partly again because of their lack of having funding to be able to get people in to advise them, I do not think in many respects the commissioners have procedures laid down clearly enough in order to do the particular job that’s asked of them. There should be more commissions of inquiry appointed.
I won’t go into it in depth tonight because I don’t have time in the time remaining to me, but from the complaint as submitted by the Canadian Textile and Chemical Union over the situation at Puretex, in which the minister said the matter would be dealt with expeditiously and effectively --
Mr. Lupusella: You forgot about that, I am sure.
Mr. Bounsall: -- in my opinion when one goes through the story of what happened when they arrived before the commission it appears that there’s really no good, clear-cut way of handling it expeditiously. They ran into delays and they keep running into the fact that the documentation derived from their investigations cannot be handed to them. For heaven’s sake, how can a commission lose credibility more quickly when they bring a case before it and at various points cannot receive the material which comes in on it?
Certainly I would suggest one of the key positions in that commission, someone who must be absolutely and thoroughly above reproach in his or her attitude in all of the areas covered by the code, would be the legal counsel. I would suggest, from some of the responses which have come in some of the cases placed before it, that Ian Hunter is not that person.
Mr. Sterling: I am pleased to participate in the debate of sessional paper 65 because I think it offers all members the opportunity to speak to the far-reaching matter of maintaining human dignity in a world of continual social evolution.
It has been said that Canada was founded on two cultures and there is truth to that. There is equal truth to the observation that Canada’s growth has been nurtured by two sexes and that Canadian women have contributed as much to our development as their more prominent male counterparts. Canada has never been an easy country for women to live in. Susanna Moodie’s book, Roughing It in the Bush, makes it clear that life in Ontario in the mid-1800s was a severe test of many human capacities.
One test women have always had to face that men have really never been burdened with is the traditional requirement that they contribute equal effort but receive considerably less social recognition for their work and that they must orbit around the periphery of a man’s life. In part, this pattern may have been justified by the historical role which fell to women through the biological circumstance of their function as mother to the family’s children.
There was a time not so very long ago, when the obligations of motherhood created an umbilical cord, chaining a married woman to her home forever. There is nothing inherently wrong in any family structure, provided that it offers equal opportunities for both partners and recognizes to an equal extent the dignity and worth of both man and woman.
For all our current criticisms of it, the family unit is perhaps the most important social institution in our history. Certainly it has operated effectively as a vehicle for the transfer of values and traditions from one generation to the next. In most circumstances, the transfer has occurred with an atmosphere of love and trust.
Any institution which fails to adapt to the changing values and aspirations of its members must ultimately face strong internal pressures. It is scarcely a secret that such pressures exist within the context of modern families and marriages. The new era of social change that has characterized the last two decades has forced upon us an honest review of the circumstances in which we ask that women live. If I may paraphrase a well-known quotation, do the mass of women lead lives of quiet desperation? Do their domestic responsibilities within marriage alienate them from the very society they support with their efforts? Are we effectively closeting women within their houses without any examination of the consequences?
It is refreshing to realize that these questions are now being recognized as legitimate. It is refreshing to recall that the most recent Speech from the Throne addressed itself to this very issue. Let me quote a portion of the Throne Speech:
“Ontario families, like families in other parts of the world, have undergone profound and rapid change in the last quarter century. There has been increasing fulltime participation in the labour force by women. Traditional parental roles have changed, as have the functions of the extended family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles and other relatives outside the immediate family circle.”
The Throne Speech goes on to observe:
“While these changes in family living have, for the most part, enhanced family life and encouraged the fuller development of individual members, they have also created uncertainty about the traditional strength of the family and its role in society.”
I was gratified to find that my government was prepared to take a leading part in supporting and strengthening the family in Ontario. At the same time, I feel I must share with members my concern as to how much we can legislate in this direction; or, to penetrate the core of the question, about what role, if any, government should play in fostering new levels of human awareness.
My first comment in this regard is that human values have been shaped over a multitude of generations. We must understand whatever efforts we make to be part of a process that will outlive us all. Indeed, in a period of human development marked by such violent change, a strategy of gradualism may assist us in creating expectations that are not beyond our reach. Nonetheless, we must ensure that our goals for men and women in society, as well as for the family unit itself, are worthy of us, that they demand from all of us what we can give.
Canada is coming to the recognition, culturally, that two identities can create a unique human gestalt in which each identity more clearly defines the other. Francophones understand themselves and their cultural growth more effectively against the broader canvas of other cultural components. In similar fashion, the family unit can be a creative device for affirming the individual identities of men and women, and any initiative which militates in favour of such perspective has my support.
Women will never really believe that they are full partners in society until society has worked to gain their trust. One of the most insidious aspects of sexual stereotyping has been the blind but well-intentioned support that governments have lent to the process in their educational systems. The human rights report itself states that “the educational system of the province still perpetuates in many ways the notion that because a person is a male or a female it is inappropriate for him or her to pursue many opportunities in life.” Fortunately, the government of Ontario has taken significant steps in identifying and dealing with such problems through the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the women’s bureau of the Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
It will never be enough simply to make opportunities for women a legal right. What women need now, in my judgement, is honest human sensitivity to their situation. They have, in many instances, been separated from the mainstream of society by their traditional familial role. If they are to enter society in a fashion which more effectively facilitates their own development as human beings, we must be sensitive to the newness of this experience of women as a group. It is one thing to tell a married woman whose family has grown up that she is now free to participate more extensively in society. It is quite another to create a climate in which that woman will feel, to put the matter directly, at home.
All of our activities, both as legislators and as human beings, should carry the message to women that this is their world too and there is no paternalism in our enthusiasm and support for their growing role in society. Women are certainly an underutilized resource in this jurisdiction, but they are more than that. They are equal partners in our society and I applaud this report for saying so.
Mr. S. Smith: I am very pleased to be able to participate in this debate this evening, and I only regret that somehow it hasn’t taken on a little more of the prominence it deserves in the minds of all legislators; in the minds of those of cabinet rank; and in the minds of members of all parties. I know of no better reason to be in politics than to support the concept of human rights.
I know we were all watching recently the four-part series entitled Holocaust. Of course, if you reflect for a moment on my age, you will note my childhood was spent during the period depicted in the film. Since I spent most of my time with my grandparents, all four of whom were European Jews, I spent most of my childhood knowing about such matters as prejudice, gas chambers, what can happen when people forget about human rights. I don’t think a day went by when we didn’t, in one way or another, thank the Lord, literally and figuratively, that we lived in a country where we didn’t have to worry about a knock on the door, someone coming in the middle of the night or someone reporting us to someone else.
This was a free country where everybody presumably could rise as high as his or her ability would permit, supposedly a country where prejudice would be nipped in the bud rather than allowed to fester, and a country where, because of democracy, we would be able to have the kinds of discussion we are having here tonight. We would be able to go about our business, make our contribution to society to the best of our ability, no matter what our race, what our background, religious beliefs or for that matter any aspect of ourselves as individual human beings.
When I determined that politics was something worth pursuing, it was in very large measure against that background, in very large measure because of the feeling that if you could give back to the democratic system, even in some small measure, some of what the democratic system in this great country has provided for you, it was not only a pleasure to do so but it was a duty and an obligation to do so. I have certainly never regretted moving into the sphere of democratic politics because no matter what the ups and downs, no matter whether one wins or loses, becomes famous or infamous, the fact is that the most important thing we are doing here is protecting other human beings and protecting democracy. There is nothing else we do that is of equal importance to that.
I wish sometimes we would remember that in this Legislature, and devote ourselves more vociferously to the support of basic human rights. I wish members in all parties would spend a little more time defending some of these basic human freedoms -- the basic right not to be discriminated against -- and a little less time, and I guess I’m as guilty as anyone, in playing the game of winning or losing or scoring points or whatever, which I guess we all have to do as part of a political scene.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is a very imperfect organization. I must say that personally I was rather fond of the outgoing chairman of the commission. I felt he was a dedicated Ontarian who worked very hard to accomplish what he believed in. I felt it was unfortunate that when he left his post, he was sort of sent off with what can best be described as very faint praise. Personally, I was nauseated at how little recognition that fine gentleman was given for the work he put into a very difficult role. That’s a strong term to use, but it’s a very sincere term and it describes accurately how I felt when I saw what happened.
His replacement is a person who obviously now has a very difficult job to do and does not require from any of us here anything other than a feeling of co-operation, so I really don’t want to comment at great length. I am disappointed that the outgoing chairman did not even know who his replacement was to be. He was given not so much the courtesy of a call to tell him how this was to be accomplished and who was to come in.
In this document, Life Together, a report on human rights in Ontario, a document prepared by the commission but prepared mostly by Rev. Bruce MacLeod, the former moderator of the United Church of Canada and a human rights commissioner, I believe are some superb ideas. There are, in this particular document, in my view, in distilled form, some of the highest tenets of our society. I congratulate Mr. MacLeod for having produced a document of this kind, and the commission for having endorsed it.
I am disappointed that the Premier (Mr. Davis) has waited this long before allowing us to debate the contents of this document. It has required a number of requests, both private and public, on the part of some of us in order to have even this debate, perfunctory as it may unfortunately be. I only wish, as I say, more of us were here to engage in the debate. Despite the fact the human rights commission deserves our commendation, I believe the organization, as I have said, is imperfect. I believe some of its procedures require strengthening and improvement and being rendered more open to the gaze of those who are affected by the decision. I also believe, considering the large number of cases that come to the human rights commission related to employment matters, that a relatively small number of these cases are closed in a manner truly and entirely satisfactory to the original complainant.
Still, I don’t think much will be served tonight by listing what might be possible improvements in the commission. What I want to take up with the members of the Legislature, Mr. Speaker, are some of the very clear recommendations here in Life Together. For instance, the commissioners recommend it become an established practice for the Premier to consult with the Leader of the Opposition, and for that matter “the leaders of the opposition parties” would probably be much more appropriate, before making a recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor for the appointment of a chairman for the Ontario Human Rights Commission. It says here, “Such consultation should also include the leader of a third party if it is represented in substantial numbers in the Legislature.”
It’s not too much to ask. If you want a body of this kind to rise above partisan politics, if you want a body of this kind to have the respect of all citizens and you don’t want it to become some sinecure for ex-politicians or some place that one assigns those of your colleagues for whom no other place can easily be found. It is not too much to ask that the director of this commission, one of the most sensitive commissions in the entire province, should be appointed by the Premier but in consultation with the leaders of the other parties. It’s not too much to ask, but it didn’t happen. Not only did it not happen, but the Premier has categorically refused to allow it to happen in the future. Human rights should not be subject to politics. I deeply resent the Premier’s attitude in this regard, and I have told him so.
With regard to another recommendation of Life Together it is pointed out that the Ontario Human Rights Commission should have some distance placed between it and the various arms of government, against which it may have to receive and investigate complaints. The report suggests that it not be a branch of government but be responsible for its own administrative arrangements. I think that’s an excellent idea.
Furthermore, it recommends that the human rights commission report to a standing committee on human rights representative of all parties in the House. Surely human rights is an important enough subject for us to have a standing committee that can oversee the work of the human rights commission, that can look at the matter in a nonpartisan way, and have the Legislature apprised of the problems that are faced by the human rights commission. When I made that suggestion to the Premier he said no, no, he didn’t want that; it was too much like the Ombudsman. He’d had a bad experience or something, and basically he wasn’t going to move in that direction.
Again I am bitterly disappointed about that. There are not that many things that I become deeply emotional about but I tell you, Mr. Speaker, human rights is one that should be beyond being just like the LCBO or any of the other places where governments of the day tend to put their friends and then keep them under very careful scrutiny. It should be open to all members of the Legislature to see how much an important quasi-judicial body is operating, a body that is looked to by most of our most defenceless citizens as their protector. That must come out from within the tight wraps, secure wraps, placed on it by the government of the day. I’ll tell you if we form a government, that will be one of the first acts that I would undertake.
There are many aspects of this report that are very close to my heart, aspects that I would gladly fight for and that I would like to see incorporated as soon as possible. I can endorse the vast majority of what’s written in this report. I like the fact that they have not hesitated to call for affirmative action. I know this is a problem because as soon as one goes for affirmative action there is always a possibility of reverse discrimination. I guess it’s part of the definition of the term, in a sense.
But how can we sit here day after day and see things like the police commission of Ontario, for instance, appoint men so predominantly? I believe of the last something like 120 appointments -- I wish I had the figures with me now -- six or seven were women. Women are half the population at least. A good many of the attitudes of our police forces with regard to matters of indecent assault, rape, child abuse and so on, so many of the problems the police get into -- family disputes and so on -- are such that there is no reason to believe men would necessarily know more about it or think more about it or have some better feeling about these matters than women. In fact, one could almost say quite the contrary.
Yet we don’t see that affirmative action occurring where the government has the ability to act. Affirmative action is necessary. Affirmative action is necessary in places like our television stations who still seem to think that there are only certain types of faces, certain colours and certain ways of speaking English that are, somehow, acceptable for the reading of newscasts, the announcement of the weather or the reporting of sporting events or whatever.
We have to make a definite effort to have other kinds of faces and accents, truly representative of the mosaic of this country, facing us on television. We must attune our ears to those accents so they are no longer things to be laughed at privately or imitated as a type of standup comic routine. I would like to see affirmative action in those fields.
We used to sit back smugly and look at the United States of America with its dreadful racial problems. We used to think of how terrible it was in the southern United States. I recall so well being at university when the Autherine Lucy case was among us. We beat our breasts. We were absolutely pure in these matters, weren’t we? We were so proud of ourselves. We looked at the Americans and their terrible prejudice, and we thought how wonderful things were in this country.
Yet, for all that -- and you remember the guy with the whips and the dogs, who was a police sergeant or police chief in some town in Alabama -- for all that, the Americans have been moving towards affirmative action. The Americans now have a large number of people of other races on their television screens, broadcasting sports, advertising cleansers, whatever you like. We laughed when there was one black person added to the Jackie Gleason show chorus line. We all said it was tokenism. But damn it -- dam it; excuse me, Mr. Speaker -- with time, it got so that nobody noticed the colour any more; and surely that’s how it should be.
What’s wrong with us in this country that we’re not moving as rapidly as we should in this way? What’s wrong with us that we’re so conscious of these matters as to whether one is one type, race, culture or whatever that we can’t get used to the notion that this country is built by so many different kinds of people, that its diversity is its greatest resource, its greatest joy? Let’s advertise its diversity, not hide from it.
What about the disabled? One fine thing about the report Life Together is the insistence that those who suffer disabilities, who surely suffer enough from the disabilities, should not be further discriminated against when it comes to their ability to be hired or to be promoted in jobs in which their disability is clearly irrelevant.
I remember visiting the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in my riding when I was just about to enter politics. I was talking to some people who were working there. These blind persons, young people, said to me that they didn’t want any increase, particularly in pensions, although they certainly needed the money, and they weren’t looking for some particular handout or whatever, although they obviously were in dire straits financially. They wanted just the dignity of earning their own living. That’s all they wanted. And if you asked them their hope and their prayer in life, that was number one, number two and number three: just to be able to work for themselves.
They pointed out to me how well they were able to do certain tasks; how it was no disadvantage to be blind in the performance of certain tasks for which in many ways they were better suited and infinitely more patient than sighted persons. Yet we have not gone to the point of making it certain that such persons can prove themselves in industry throughout society. We must include in the code, and put some teeth into it, the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of physical disability of whatever type.
The same goes with those who have suffered mental illness at some point in their life. I used to have to write letters to insurance companies about people who had manic-depressive illness and were now controlled on lithium; in fact, they represented no greater suicidal risk than any other person in society, and in some instances less risk was involved because of the supervision and the awareness of their difficulty so it would not take them by surprise. It took a long time and many letters to get insurance companies even to write insurance policies for these people, although in point of fact there’s not the slightest reason why companies should hesitate to do so.
This is the kind of action we have to take. Racism in our society exists. I am not one to say that things are worse now than they were before because they are not worse now than they were before. They are better than they were before, and I say so freely. But I tell you it’s disappointing, Mr. Speaker, to hear the same stupid jokes that were made about people of my religious persuasion made, almost without even changing the wording, about people from southeast Asia who are all termed “Pakis” by some of these bigoted individuals. They are the same jokes. Thirty years have passed -- I shall be 40 years old in a couple of days --
Mr. Bounsall: In reality 70 years.
An hon. member: You’re a young fellow really.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and yet the same jokes and the same stupid attitudes remain. The same fear is struck into young people on their way home from school and struck into mothers coming home from shopping centres by bullies of various types, repeating what they think is the atmosphere which their fathers and mothers created in their own homes with their own foolish jokes and prejudices in many instances, taking out their frustrations on some group as a scapegoat.
When Walter Pitman prepared a superb report on the state of racism and what needs to be done about it, when that man devoted a tremendous effort, a human effort of gigantic proportions, to prepare an excellent report on racism and some of the remedies which are required, we had this very government sponsor an Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and put out a refutation to the Pitman report which is shameful.
Mr. MacDonald: How about Phil Givens’ reaction too? It was just as shameful.
Mr. di Santo: Shameful. They should be ashamed. It is a criminal report.
Mr. Warner: It’s a good thing you got rid of him.
Mr. S. Smith: It was a shameful report, referring to various languages as esoteric and coming up with comments on the Pitman findings. One of the comments was a fairly sensitive one. Let me say what it is. On organized racism, this other report says, quoting first from the Pitman report: “The link between ethnic jokes and citizens prepared to act out their aggressions by beating up a member of a visible majority on a subway -- a relationship suggested by the Pitman report -- is an extremely tenuous one. The relationship between organized racist groups and racist violence, is direct and its results almost inevitable.” A report from our own multicultural advisory committee tries to make fun of the link between ethnic jokes and the beating up of members of ethnic minorities on subways.
There is a connection. There is a connection in the general attitude, the kind of thing we are willing to stomach in society, the kind of thing we are willing to allow to happen, while smiling or giggling or joking or joining in or turning away from things we should be confronting. We have to confront it at the highest level. These people in the visible minorities want to hear the Premier and his ministers and the leaders of the various opposition parties speak out and speak out forcefully. It is very important to them. That’s why this debate is so important.
Mr. Nixon: The Premier is not even here to listen.
Mr. S. Smith: I know so much has been said on the subject of sexual orientation. Everybody knows very well in the atmosphere created by the unfortunate Jaques trial about some of the most stupid and utterly foolish comments made by certain people who represent themselves to be representatives or spokesmen for certain extremist factions within the community of those of homosexual orientation, people who suggest that the school system should teach homosexuality as some type of preferable or alternative orientation that kids should be taught about and convinced of.
Those people are extremists. Those people are fanatics. They are the same kind of fanatics you get in matters of racism. They’re the same kind of fanatics you get in a good many other areas of our society. But it is wrong to allow the comments of those fanatics and the comments of those who were rightly nauseated by the events related in the terrible and tragic murder of the young shoeshine boy to blind us to the fact that there are thousands of reasonable people who differ from the rest of us in no way other than their preferred sexual orientation.
Be it something they are born with, be it something that developed, be it something they prefer, I don’t know, but whatever it is, that’s the only difference between those human beings and the vast majority of other human beings. To say that those people should live in fear that they might tomorrow be fired because someone will hear of their sexual preferences; to say that those people shouldn’t enjoy the right to walk in the sunshine and to be employed to the best of their ability in the job for which they are trained, merely because they find themselves oriented by sexual preference in that way, is wrong.
I know it is a difficult subject to handle politically. It is conceivable that if the government ever has the courage to bring this to a vote, and not block a vote, we would all have a free vote on the matter. I am fully aware of the political difficulties, and I wasn’t born yesterday. But just as an individual -- just as a person who has treated many of these troubled persons, who has spent many years treating people of various emotional difficulties and various lifestyles -- I tell you, Mr. Speaker, I am no more afraid of having my son, for instance, learn in a school where there is a teacher who may in his private life have a homosexual orientation than I am afraid of having my daughter study in a school where there is a teacher who has a heterosexual orientation.
In no instance would I want my children to be exposed in any way to a person who would try to influence their sexuality one way or the other, or in any way exploit their sexuality. That would be horrifying to me -- horrifying. But to say that’s likely to happen with one group than another is, I am afraid, to show utter ignorance of the facts.
How can I stand here in front of, basically, the people of Ontario, with all the training and the knowledge I have about people of homosexual orientation, and knowing what their problems are, and not tell you the truth? The truth is that they are not a danger, and they deserve not to have to suffer and fear that their jobs can disappear if somebody writes a letter discreetly to the boss saying, “Did you know about so-and-so’s private activities?” It’s not right.
In the province of Quebec, for everything we say about the Premier and his attitude towards Canadianism and towards anglophones -- I am speaking of the Premier of Quebec, of course -- the Premier of Quebec and his government had the courage to bring in a law outlawing discrimination on the basis of private sexual preference. And you know, nothing is going to happen in Quebec. No terrible events will occur. The ground will not open and swallow up the little children. Things will go on pretty much as they were.
Maybe I am just whistling against the wind, or whatever you want to say. Maybe the fact is that there isn’t the slightest chance this House will ever consider the matter, let alone vote a majority in favour, but I could not speak on human rights and duck that issue. The easiest thing to do would be to duck it. I know perfectly well how to duck it; I could talk on another 97 pages and leave that one out. But I know better, and I can’t just stand here and say things that either are incomplete or false. And so, Mr. Speaker, you know my position.
All right. Human rights must enjoy a higher priority in Ontario than they have up to now. The human rights commission has to be beefed up with more money and more staff. It must report on a regular basis to a committee of the Legislature that will oversee its activities. It must be taken away from the realm of partisan politics when it comes to appointments. There must be consultation on these matters. We must have in this province an attitude from the very highest level, demonstrating our commitment to the important values of humanity and democracy, even to the point of affirmative action, so that every human being in Ontario can live with dignity, with opportunity, with self-reliance and with what this country gave to me and I would that it had given it to many of my forebears -- freedom from fear.
Mr. MacDonald: My colleague, the member for Windsor-Sandwich, and others in this House have spoken to the general principles involved in human rights, to the report of the human rights commission, to the general support that report gets, coupled with a plea that there should be some haste in moving to implement the recommendations for the amendment of the Ontario Human Rights Code.
I’m not going to talk about those principles, all those topics which encourage so much rhetoric. I want to deal with what might be described as the nitty gritty, the inadequacy of resources that have been provided or not provided for the human rights commission to fulfil the mandate it has had up until now, and the greatly expanded resources which the human rights commission certainly must have if it is going to be given some sort of expanded mandate.
Let me remind you, Mr. Speaker and other members of the House, that the mandate of the human rights commission is: “To develop and conduct a program of public information and education in the field of human rights.” The human rights commission has never been able to fulfil that mandate. It has never even been able to take it seriously. Why? Let me remind the House of what is found on page 38 of the report. For the first 12 years of its existence, the commission was unable, for budgetary reasons, to assign even one human rights officer to work full time on public education. In January 1974, one education and research specialist was at last appointed.
To show you the position in which it is now, Mr. Speaker, the budgetary provision for public education and human rights in 1974-75 was only $59,000 to serve the whole of Ontario. In 1976-77, the figure had dropped to $22,000. It’s been frozen at that level for 1977-78.
I want to contrast that mandate to promote public education on human rights with the glowing terminology of the government. I have in my hand one of the many glossy publications coming out in April 1978; it is entitled Forward Together -- a Statement of the Position of the Government of Ontario on the Issues Raised in the Ubali Report on the Concerns of the South Asian Community. It starts out in its first sentence expressing the government’s shared sense of outrage, and goes on. The Premier spoke in this House April 20, 1978, when he unveiled this report and stated the position of the government. Let me give the House a couple of short quotes:
“It is clear that the vast majority of this province’s citizens have a deep and firm commitment to ensuring the civil rights and fundamental freedoms of their fellow citizens, a reflection of that general consensus in support of human rights.” In the Premier’s own credo, “My personal view of racism may be stated in a short sentence. Racism is intolerable and it will not be tolerated by any government I lead. My government will respond to social violence with the full force of the law, will confront acts of discrimination with the effective enforcement of human rights legislation and will counter prejudicial attitudes with widespread educational initiative.”
That is magnificent, high-flown rhetoric, but there is little or nothing to back it up. The government has a commission. In the face of the Premier’s plea that it is going to extend widespread educational initiatives, surely if it is going to do it, it is going to do it within the aegis of the human rights commission. That’s its job. Yet we have proof that it has had a budget of $59,000 two years ago reduced to $22,000 for general public education work.
Hon. B. Stephenson: And increased this year.
Mr. MacDonald: Increased this year -- to what now?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I’ll give the member the figures in just a minute.
Mr. MacDonald: It would be interesting to see what the increase is. May I dare to suggest in advance it’ll be minuscule and continuingly inadequate.
Mr. McClellan: It is going to be paltry.
Mr. MacDonald: Of course, it’s going to be that.
Mr. Lupusella: It will be a stingy generosity.
Mr. MacDonald: Apart from the actual basic resources and finances, what are other reasons the commission has not been able to do its job? I want to suggest that it is time for this situation to be grasped, because it has been spelled out many times before and it’s spelled out here in this report.
You will find on page 29, for example, Mr. Speaker, an indication of the fact that the human rights commission, instead of being a commission which is out in high profile with its own independence and with its own autonomy, is buried in the Ministry of Labour. Buried in the Ministry of Labour means something in terms of the crippling provision of physical assets, of clerical staff and so on. Don’t take my word for it. Let me quote again:
“Moreover, commission officers in each community need to be located where they will be useful. Too many of these offices have been placed simply as a matter of course in whatever space may be available in the accommodation used by the ministry in that community.
“In Thunder Bay, for instance, the commission office is now located with the other offices of the Ministry of Labour in a government building that is convenient to the airport but miles away from the centre of that city’s busy life. In Ottawa, the commission’s office is readily accessible only to those who can drive or afford a taxi.
“In Toronto, the commission’s offices are 12 stories above the street in the office building occupied by the Minister of Labour. A storefront office operated by the commission elsewhere in the city proved remarkably successful and demonstrated unmistakably the importance of making facilities and services more readily accessible to the public. Unfortunately lack of funds recently forced the commission to close it.”
So it’s not only a case of the commission being buried in the Ministry of Labour, from which it needs to be rescued and given an independence and given a greater autonomy and given a higher profile -- in fact, given something of the profile of the Ombudsman’s office. I am not one of those people who share, at least to the same degree, the vendetta almost that is being conducted against the Ombudsman’s office, particularly with regard to the size of the establishment that it has developed to do its job. It has a big job to do. The human rights commission has been starved for funds and it may be suggested that if the government is going to get that sort of commission to do its job it must have the funds from the outset. Otherwise, the scrooges on the Treasury bench and those without the vision that is necessary within the ministry which are responsible for it don’t give it the necessary funds.
I want to suggest that the human rights commission has a task which is just as important as the Ombudsman’s job.
Hon. B. Stephenson: More.
Mr. MacDonald: More important than the Ombudsman’s job -- I would agree with that -- and broader than the Ombudsman’s job in this sense: The Ombudsman’s job deals with problems of aggrieved citizens in relationship to government; the human rights commission has to deal with problems not only within the public sector but within the private sector -- a very wide-ranging job. What is even more important, the job is never greater than now.
Let me give you another quote, which I think is well put in this report. On page 37 it says: “Legislation can do something about the specific acts of discrimination. Education is needed to get at the attitudes which ride behind them. There is the building of a climate of understanding and mutual respect.” Here is the significant quote, Mr. Speaker, “However, it is also acutely aware that economic recession increases competition within the community for both social and material rewards, thus accelerating intergroup tensions and conflict.”
Not only do you have the complaints to deal with, a growing number of complaints produced because of the tensions in society during a period of recession and restraint, but as such calls mount, less and less staff time becomes available for the longer-term work of public education. So the human rights commission has not only a big job to begin with, it has a bigger job because of the constraints, the kind of recession we are living in, and the constraints this government is imposing.
Let me put it in this sort of mathematical way. If the Treasurer is going to be reducing budgets and imposing constraints and restraints upon society, it is precisely at that time that the budget of the human rights commission should be expanded. It is precisely at that time there is going to be even more tension within society and therefore discrimination, and therefore the need.
Just let me wind up, Mr. Speaker. The human rights commission as the minister herself concedes is certainly as important as the Ombudsman’s office. It should be rescued from its condition of being buried in the Ministry of Labour. It should be given independence and greater autonomy. It should make an annual report, as it recommends, to this Legislature. That report should go out to a committee where it can be debated for a day or two each year to keep the House in touch with it. It should have greatly expanded budgets to be able to do a job, not only in dealing with the complaints but in dealing with the public education which is implicit in the noble phraseology of the Premier, but which is never backed up with the resources to fulfil it.
Mr. Turner: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the debate of this sessional paper 65. I would like to express my personal thanks to those members of the commission and others who participated in the production of this very far-reaching report. In particular, I would like to pay tribute to the former chairman, T. H. B. Symons, who is a personal friend and neighbour -- I know him very well. I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of this House, and indeed to the people of Ontario, that Tom Symons has indeed been a good and faithful servant to this government, to this province and to the people living in this province. This province is a far richer place for his influence and participation in the many aspects of life within this province that he has taken part in and had an influence upon.
To date, people have been talking in rather wide-ranging terms. It is easy to do on this report because all one has to do is look at the table of contents. It is indeed a far-reaching and wide-ranging report.
If I may, I would like to quote from Tom Symons’ preface in the report: “The Legislature of Ontario has a proud record in protecting human rights. The Ontario Human Rights Code of 1962 was the first such code in Canada and this province continues to be viewed in many parts of the world as a leader in the field of human rights”.
I think that is something that we, as legislators, should not lose sight of. It is a fact that we should be proud of. It’s also not good enough to allow us to rest on our laurels. I think we all have to be ever vigilant in the very fragile fabric of human rights. It is something I feel very strongly about.
I would like this evening to pick out one section of this report in which recommendations were made, and that concerns age. I quote from page nine of the report: “Young people old enough to vote and to perform military services for their country are often refused employment or accommodation on the ground of age, but the existing code does not protect them against such treatment; it protects from discrimination on the ground of age only those who are between the ages of 40 and 65. For the same reason, little can be done under the code as it now stands to protect the rights of the growing numbers of people who at the age of 65 wish to continue working and are capable of doing so.”
As detailed in this paper, age was added to the Ontario Human Rights Code as a prohibited ground of discrimination in 1972. Taken from the Ontario Age Discrimination Act of 1966, the definition of this term in the code as it now stands, as I said before, is limited to the ages between 40 and 65. As this limitation makes clear, age was then included in the code as a prohibited ground of discrimination to protect one particular group. I understand from reading the paper that this was done because many middle-aged workers were not being hired, or were being replaced by employers seeking younger workers who would be willing to accept low starting wages and who were many years from retirement and from the benefits of a full pension at the company’s expense. I think members would agree that this section of the code has done much to eliminate discrimination against the group that it meant to protect.
As members of this House know, my colleague from York West (Mr. Leluk), who unfortunately was not able to participate in this debate due to a prior commitment, recently introduced into this Legislature a private member’s bill respecting the age of mandatory retirement. The purpose of this bill was that no person should be required to retire before reaching the age of 70, when that person is willing and capable of performing his or her job. Unfortunately, this important bill was defeated by the members opposite and will more than likely be introduced again in the next session.
The human rights commissioners, like Mr. Leluk and like others present here this evening, have been affected by a movement that has been termed by the media as the revolt of the old. Many of our senior citizens today are demanding that the retirement age be raised or eliminated entirely. They feel that mandatory retirement is discriminatory ageism.
I would like to quote from an article entitled “How Old is Too Old” by Lauren Selden, to which the member for York West made reference during the debate of his bill. I think it bears repeating for the attention of all members. “Mandatory retirement is a system that puts the stamp of respectability on age discrimination ... The real dollar costs of age discrimination are probably not calculable and a nation or a state professing to believe in the doctrine of equal protection of the law cannot sanction ageism in employment.”
This sentiment is also echoed by Mr. Claude Pepper, who is the chairman of the select committee on ageing in the US House of Representatives. He is on record as stating that mandatory retirement “is a cruel euphemism, camouflaging age discrimination and forced unemployment. With the surety of a guillotine, it severs productive persons from their livelihood, diminishes their sense of self worth and squanders their talents.”
The reason I am referring to comments from our friends south of the border is because of a recent bill passed by the United States Congress to raise the legally-enforceable retirement age in private industry from 65 to 70 and entirely waive it for federal employees. But unlike what the members opposite would like everyone to believe, as they tried to do during the debate of Bill 47, An Act respecting the Age of Mandatory Retirement, no one is suggesting that a person be forced against his or her will to continue working up until he or she reaches their 70th birthday. To quote from the sessional paper we are debating here tonight, Dr. Gingras, president of the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, stated, “The decision to stop working should be a matter of to each his own. Today there is no scientific, social or gerontological basis for selecting 65. Chronological age is not synonymous with biological age. Age should be measured by achievements, not by birthdays.”
The paper continues by stating that “while many, perhaps most, look forward to retirement at age 65 there are many others who view it as enforced unemployment with all the loss of dignity, morale and income which that implies. A person’s ability to work can become impaired at any age.”
In Canada mandatory retirement under civil law is considered a basic management right, but this is changing as human rights commissions in several provinces have now started to challenge this notion. In some cases employers have been forced to reinstate workers who were let go because of their age. So too has the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I have read cases where the commission upheld appeals from firemen against being pensioned off at age 60. In another instance, an Oshawa Times employee was reinstated in his job after a ruling that his retirement at 65 was contrary to an anti-discrimination clause in a contract with the newspaper guild.
I also think it is noteworthy to state that the Canadian Labour Congress, in a brief presented to the Commons justice and legal affairs committee last May, urged that the Canadian Human Rights Act be amended to disallow refusal of a job to anyone solely because of age.
Mr. di Santo: What about injured workers? Would you please explain something about injured workers?
Mr. Turner: When questioned by MPs, CLC officials stated they weren’t advocating that all employees work until they die, but rather that the age of retirement should be made more flexible and determined by several factors, not the least of which would be the wishes and the needs of those affected.
Although there are a considerable number of arguments that are used in favour of flexible retirement, it must also be remembered that such a program would mean a considerable number of implications for our society, and for our economy, for pension plans and for our whole outlook on life. Thus the whole issue at hand is much broader in scope than just raising the age of retirement, but I think it’s an issue whose time has come. I commend the Ontario Human Rights Commission for considering this aspect of age discrimination in their recommendations.
Mr. B. Newman: I don’t have as much time as I would like to have in speaking on the report on human rights in Ontario, the latest edition of human rights recommendations, but I would like to bring to the hon. members’ attention some of the areas that do concern me quite seriously.
I can recall back in 1967 or so there was a committee looking into the utilization of educational facilities. Seven members at present sitting in the Legislature were members of that committee and one of their recommendations, in an attempt to eliminate the discrimination as far as accessibility for the handicapped is concerned was that the government of Ontario should recognize the special needs of the physically handicapped through the incorporation in the Ontario Building Code of clauses that will ensure access to and enable normal use of all new buildings. Now, it doesn’t say public buildings. It said all new buildings.
The second recommendation was that the government of Ontario should provide special funds to school boards and municipalities to cover 80 per cent of the cost of improving accessibility to existing public buildings for the physically handicapped. The physically handicapped should be directly involved in the development of proposed changes.
Those are two of the recommendations of the committee that looked into the utilization of educational facilities. I certainly hope that the seven members of that committee will continue to apply pressure on government so that those recommendations are completely implemented.
I could also mention the report of the Legislature committee on youth, chaired by Mr. Syl Apps, the member from the Kingston area, and its recommendations. However, rather than go into all of that, I would like to stress my special concern, that being the physically handicapped.
I have, over the last three or four years, introduced an act to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code. I have done that because I have seen lack of action on the part of the government. The alibi always was, “We’re looking into the whole code and we are eventually going to come down with a new human rights code.” If we find something in legislation that discriminates against an individual, I don’t think we should be waiting for a complete hearing conducted by those who are eventually going to amend the human rights code, but we should correct the injustice as quickly as we possibly can.
The legislation I had introduced was really a copy of an act that is currently in effect in Nova Scotia and, to the best of my knowledge, I have never heard any criticism concerning that legislation. It seems to be working well in that province.
As to the areas that the legislation covers, it specifically defines physical handicap in this way:
“‘Physical handicap’ means a physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and includes epilepsy and any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment or physical reliance on a seeing-eye dog, wheelchair, or other remedial appliance or device.”
On reintroducing this bill this year, I will add diabetes to that definition, because in my estimation it is another physical handicap that an individual should not be penalized for. I have various clippings that indicate that diabetes should be included.
Another area that does concern me, and the government could have acted on it several years ago, is the handicapped person’s right to vote. A simple procedure would be drive-in voting, where the individual coming to vote could remain in the car, mark the ballot, have the ballot box brought to him and insert the ballot in the ballot box. We do that with money, we drive in for almost everything, but simply because an individual happens to be impaired or suffers some type of handicap, we deny him accessibility to the polling station. You say he can get there; he can go to one on the ground level. That’s true, but not everyone, even on ground level, can manipulate well enough to get into a polling station. To me, we should make it as easy as possible for those who have such a handicap to exercise their right of franchise. I regret very much that the few areas that I have mentioned have not been accommodated by the legislation.
I know there are others who would like to have an opportunity to speak and, rather than speak and take up more than my fair share of the time, I would hope that the minister, listening to the comments I have made or even reading the presentation that was made in the House on May 31, 1976, when we debated this bill, would read the comments I and others have made and come down with legislation that would eliminate discrimination because of a physical handicap.
Ms. Bryden: I am very glad we are having the opportunity to debate this very important report tonight. It’s the first thorough review we have had of our human rights code, which has been in place for 16 years. While I know all members of the commission in 1977 contributed to the report, I would like to pay particular tribute to the former chairman of the commission, Tom Symons, who left a very significant mark on the commission. It was under his chairmanship that the review was conceived and carried through. In the breadth of the study and the willingness to explore both the philosophy and workings of the commission, I can see his guiding hand. The fact that the final report was unanimous indicates that all commission members shared his broad-minded and exploratory approach.
There are two areas in the report I particularly want to discuss. The first one is the subject of women. Sex and marital status were inserted in the code in 1972, 10 years after the code was first promulgated. While it was a very necessary addition, it hasn’t yet eliminated sex discrimination in our society. The commission spent considerable space in its report talking about sex stereotyping in the schools and urged the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) to take more vigorous steps to change textbooks and curricula and guidance material to eliminate this. I hope the Minister of Education will heed their suggestions.
The commission also noted that greater sensitivity to the employment aspirations and abilities of women must be encouraged and it urged funding for both public education and affirmative action to redress entrenched and institutionalized discrimination against women. The commission also recommended several extensions to the code to deal with specific discrimination problems affecting women. I urge the government to consider adopting them. They are long overdue.
One proposal would remove the words “available in any place to which the public is customarily admitted,” a phrase which limited the ban on discrimination in provision of services or facilities. This phrase, for example, has prevented the code being applied to such things as discrimination by banks in granting access to credit to women.
A second recommendation would extend the ban on discrimination because of marital status to housing. At present, it does not extend beyond employment. Many single parents or separated or divorced persons or even single persons are refused housing accommodation simply because of their marital status. This must be changed.
A third recommendation in the report attempted to deal with the problem of adult-only buildings and the refusal of landlords to rent to families with children. While the commission felt this was a problem only where there was a shortage of suitable and affordable housing accommodation for families with children, it suggested the problem might be met by forbidding discrimination on the grounds of “family relationship,” which presumably means a ban on discrimination against children.
I am somewhat doubtful if this is a strong enough clause to outlaw adult-only buildings, but as long as there is a shortage of adequate family housing, I do not think that access to the available housing stock should be limited by whether or not one has children. The problems connected with youngsters in large apartment buildings can be met by better design, fewer high-rises and enforcement of reasonable rules and building standards.
I would particularly like to see the marital status and family relationship extension added in order to end the shocking discrimination against men, practised by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, in administering family benefits. This ministry denies men the same treatment as women receive. If they are single-parent fathers instead of single-parent mothers, it denies them the right to choose to stay home and care for their young children in the home. Instead, they are compelled to go out, get a job and to hire a housekeeper. It also denies them the choice of pursuing post-secondary education in order to increase their employability and their career prospects. Women are enabled to do this in certain circumstances.
I would also like to see the principle adopted that the code has primacy over other provincial laws. This would prevent the Ministry of Community and Social Services from writing into its regulations this kind of discrimination.
The committee studied very carefully the question of discrimination against both men and women on account of sexual orientation. It recognized that there is a great deal of misinformation and prejudice on this subject. It noted that there had been cases where people had lost their jobs or been refused housing simply because of sexual orientation. It also noted that lack of coverage by the code exposes people with this orientation to blackmail and intimidation, even though their activities are legal.
It further noted that briefs from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, the Canadian Labour Congress and many religious denominations supported this extension of the code. For these reasons, it recommended in favour of such an extension, though it suggested exemption might be granted in individual situations where sexual orientation may be a bona fide consideration.
This extension is in accord with NDP policy adopted at its 1976 convention. The party believes it is unfair to refuse jobs or accommodation to persons who have this orientation. While the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and the Leader of the Opposition support this position, I have not heard whether other members of the Liberal Party join them.
The one major omission in the commission’s recommendations as they relate to women is the failure to include the concept of equal pay for work of equal value or even to discuss it. The new federal human rights code includes this phrase. Perhaps the more appropriate place to put this clause in would be the Employment Standards Act to replace the present inadequate clause of equal pay for substantially the same work. This clause has not produced very much progress in the field of equal pay. It’s still a drop in the bucket.
Two other extensions which the commission proposes will also help women. One is to ban discrimination by association, which means that a woman can no longer be fired if she marries a fellow employee. This is obviously a necessary change.
The second one is elimination of discrimination on account of height and weight standards required for a job, when these standards are not really essential to the performance of the job. Presumably, this will be eliminated if there is acceptance of the commission’s very important recommendation to add to the code a ban on discrimination on account of physical disability as a reason for denying people employment, housing, access to public services and facilities.
This is a greatly needed extension because of the widespread nature of this discrimination and the lack of public understanding of the abilities and needs of the handicapped. I think the rights of the handicapped people were best expressed by Sondra Diamond, a paraplegic, in presenting a brief to the commission, when she said: “The universality of man is such that all people are not created physically equal, but are created equal in their need to live a full and meaningful life and in their right to pursue it.”
The federal human rights code bans discrimination on account of physical handicap but limits it to discrimination in employment. I commend the Ontario Human Rights Commission for going beyond that limit and recognizing that handicapped persons are denied opportunities to enjoy public services and facilities which they pay for. This must be corrected. I hope the Ministry of Community and Social Services will also amend its legislation and procedures to follow this principle, which is recognized in the code.
I’m particularly impressed by one of the major conclusions of the commission; namely that “Words alone carry no power.” They considered that legislation and public education were the best routes to enforce human rights and came down very definitely for stronger legislation. But they also stressed the need for resources to back it up. We can only show our commitment to the preservation of human rights if we are prepared to follow their recommendations for stronger legislation and increased resources to put it into effect.
Mr. Williams: I’m pleased to be able to participate in the debate this evening, or I should say the discussion, with regard to Life Together, the report on human rights in Ontario as presented by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In so doing, I’d like first to make two notable quotes from the report because I think it clearly focuses on what the report is all about:
“The Legislature of Ontario has a proud record in protecting human rights. The Ontario Human Rights Code of 1962 was the first such code in Canada and this province continues to be viewed in many parts of the world as a leader in the field of human rights. Over the years, the work of the Ontario Human Rights Commission has made a single contribution to the cause of human rights b0th in this country and abroad.”
That is a quote taken from the preface to the report as presented by the then chairman, Thomas Symons, and with that statement I believe no one will quarrel.
There is one other relevant and germane addition to that quote that I would also like to take from the report. That is the statement that’s been attributed to James McRuer, the former Chief Justice of the High Court in Ontario, when he recently stated, “Although freedom of the individual is a basic right” --
Mr. Renwick: Yes, I thought that would upset you.
Mr. Williams: -- “it is a limited one. In a well-ordered society there cannot be freedom in the abstract, nor is it absolute.”
The commission, in using that particular quote of the Chief Justice, was clearly pointing out, as it stated in the report, that “if there is not freedom for the community to develop in harmony and peace, then there cannot be secure freedom for the individual who lives within it.”
Mr. Renwick: What platitudes.
Mr. Williams: “The individual’s right to freedom must be exercised in the context of his or her responsibility to the community of which he or she is a part. The individual’s quest for freedom cannot fully succeed if it is accompanied by an indifference or hostility to the freedom of others. Freedom requires a reasonable balance between the rights of the individual and the rights of the society.”
I don’t think it could be better stated than the way in which it was in the report. It’s most succinct and to the point. Certainly, that quote from the report highlights everything for which the Ontario Human Rights Commission stands.
I find that in rising to speak to this report there are very few areas in which one can be critical when we have before us so many positive recommendations. I am particularly impressed with the manner in which the commission went about its review; the way in which the commission involved the community; the fact that their views were not necessarily those that highlight the recommendations of this report but rather the views that they have gleaned from all sectors of our society based on the numerous public hearings and the numerous briefs that were presented to the commission.
Accordingly, we know that we have before us a report that is truly reflective of public attitudes from all sectors of the province.
In listening to the previous speakers I was, however, somewhat disturbed to find so much time was given to criticism of the personality of the chairperson. I take strong exception to the suggestion made by one of the speakers that in order for the chairperson to be successful and to convey the credibility of the commission to the public at large that person must have a high public profile. I think the criticism of the present chairman for not having that so-called high public profile was unwarranted.
I am also critical of the observations made by one of the other members who suggested that because the chairman or chairwoman has been appointed by the Premier that somehow reflects on the ability of that person to carry out his or her responsibilities. I think that is also without justification. I don’t think we should in any way reflect upon the integrity of the chairman through that person’s association with the Premier of the province, who has the responsibility of making that appointment. I think those remarks probably were the ones to which I take the greatest exception this evening.
Going on to the positive aspects of the report itself, I have commented on and commended the commission for the manner in which it undertook its study and review. No one will argue with the statement made in the report that it is the responsibility of the commission and the government to continue to review and update its human rights legislation to keep pace with the times. Of course, this report before us this evening exemplifies and illustrates the fact that opportunity has been provided, although there has been criticism again over the time factor involved in bringing this report forward, and in the time factor involved in bringing it before the House for debate.
Some members of the House, from the comments made, appear to want to adopt the report in its entirety without any critical analysis of any of the 97 recommendations. I suggest that while the report in very large measure does deserve implementation, I see areas with which I do not totally agree. I think there are other members, as well, who are of the same opinion.
One of the major concerns I have with regard to where are we going from here as reflected in the report and suggested by the report, is whether in fact the report if implemented would take us beyond the basic and original intent of the human rights legislation. What I mean by that is while the present legislation clearly provides for protecting the rights of the individual with regard to sex, marital status, race, creed, colour, nationality and ancestry or place of origin, it would appear that under the terms of this particular report in recommending widening of the application of the act and extending the coverage under the act, we would be moving from that area whereby the basic conditions of man have been protected under this act into an area where possibly we were being asked to legislate not only the protection of man’s basic condition, as debated in this House before, but an area of legislating social behaviour and standards as well.
I am not satisfied that is the intent, nor should it be the prerogative and right of any government to legislate social behaviour and attitudes or standards. Most certainly, we must protect and ensure that people, who because of their age or race or creed may feel discriminated against, have legislative protection. This is a condition over which they have no control.
Some time ago, when the member for Windsor-Walkerville introduced a bill with regard to adding the basic condition of physical disability into the act, I argued against the form of his bill. At that time. I did support the principle because it stays with that fundamental principle I see in the bill. It protects the basic condition of man from discrimination.
There are other areas that have since been given consideration, are referred to in this report and were discussed in the House earlier this evening. There are other areas that the commission’s report recommends which, as I see from comments made by other members in the House, they too support and feel should be included in a broadened terms of coverage under the act and that deals with the very controversial matter of sexual orientation. The member for St. George and I have had very strong and diverse views on this particular subject in previous debates in this House. I think the reason for our differing views largely arises out of the fundamental principles that I see encompassed in the act --
Mr. Warner: She is more progressive than you are.
Mr. Williams: -- and the concerns I have with regard to the legislation being expanded beyond providing the basic protections, as I say, to codifying social behaviour and standards. I suggest, and I have stated this in debate, that I feel the matter of sexual orientation is in the area of social behaviour rather than in the area of reserving the basic condition of man.
Mr. Warner: No wonder so many people want you to resign.
Mr. Williams: In that debate on sexual orientation, that particular matter has been treated as dealing with a new type of lifestyle. Yet I think the Leader of the Opposition tonight made a Freudian slip when he conceded that he has treated many of these troubled people, which suggests that it’s more than a lifestyle that we’re being concerned with and which indeed we should be concerned about --
Mrs. Campbell: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I don’t want to interrupt, but we did promise the minister the opportunity of winding up, and I just wondered if we would be acceding to her request.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I’m mindful of the time that has been reserved for the minister and I have arranged that I will be concluding my remarks at 10:22.
Mr. Warner: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I understood there was still five minutes allotted to this party.
An hon. member: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker: I do believe the NDP has five minutes of the time.
Mr. Williams: All right, Mr. Speaker, on that basis I’ll have to conclude my remarks and simply state that while this report has many features which I hope will ultimately be introduced into an updating of the human rights code, we do have to give careful consideration to all the recommendations and not proceed in a holus-bolus fashion to an immediate implementation of all these recommendation at this time.
Mr. di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate because I think it’s very important for us, even though, as was pointed out by previous speakers, the debate on the report takes place several months after the publication; in fact, the report was published in July 1977.
As other members have pointed out, we cannot legislate human behaviour, but I think there is a role for us as legislators and for the government to provide leadership and, whenever human rights are offended, to provide the remedies.
I think the Ontario Human Rights Commission is entirely right when it says -- and I quote from the report: “The developing multicultural nature of the province enriches our communities, but it also increases the potential for misunderstanding, insensitivity and open intolerance. The commission lacks a strong legislative mandate to move preventively into areas of intergroup tension before crises develop and without waiting to be called.” In fact, the report enumerates a number of cases in which the human rights commission has not been able to operate because of lack of funds and because it has no legal mandate to allow for effective investigation and conciliation.
I should also point out to the members that this government has not given to the human rights commission the priority that is required for such a body in Ontario. I thoroughly agree with the commission when it says that it is unconscionable that the commission’s urgent requests for additional resources for the 1977-78 fiscal year were almost totally rejected; as a matter of fact, in that year the funds that were allocated were increased by only a meagre $3,900.
I would like to speak on one aspect of the human rights commissions operations, and that is racism. When we talk of human rights the most abhorrent example we have is the interracial relationship and the problems created by it, which are increasing in our society. As a matter of fact, all of us know what were the results of the report the Pitman commission published last year. We have an increasing interracial tension, especially in metropolitan areas and in Metropolitan Toronto in particular. Racial discrimination is directed against what is euphemistically called the visible minority, the coloured people. I think the government of this province has not only ignored the problem but by appointing the Advisory Council on Multiculturalism and by accepting and by subscribing to the report of the council has become co-responsible for the statements made by that council. I want to put into the record, because I think that it is extremely serious and extremely grave, what the response was of the council on multiculturalism no later than February 1978. I know time is running out but I want to put this into the record.
They said: “An uncritical endorsement of the Pitman report reflects unfavourably on the community, in which there is no indication that the incidence of racism is worse or even as bad as in other countries.” Then they go on to say: “The danger also exists that an unqualified acceptance of the principle of the Pitman report may do a disservice as well to the Asians themselves. If a substantial number of Toronto’s visible minorities live in fear, unwilling to use the subway system and are uncomfortable and threatened in going about their activities in their own neighbourhoods, the result must clearly be a polarization of hostility among the South Asians against a society which is doing a great deal to minimize this polarization.”
The report goes on to say, incredible as it seems: “We believe it would be a tragedy for all Canadians if the efforts of the general population to minimize the impact of racism went unnoticed by the visible minorities. It would discourage attempts to eliminate an attitude which the vast majority of Canadians see as unworthy of the Canadian ideal. A failure to perceive the public abhorrence of racial violence would -- ”
Mr. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, I believe the time has expired for the NDP. I feel that as we have given the last five minutes to our minister, we should listen to her reply.
Mr. di Santo: The point I was trying to make is that shifting the burden of racism on the visible minority is not only irresponsible but I think is criminal. For the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), in answer to a question in the House on May 1: “I applaud them” -- the Advisory Council on Multiculturalism -- “for the work that they have done in this province,” is reproachable. The minister should not only blame publicly the council on multiculturalism but her own colleague. I think that is a disservice not only to the visible minorities but to the people of Ontario and to the cause of human rights.
Mr. Speaker: Before I recognize the Minister of Labour, it is my duty to remind the House that the proceedings under standing order 28 have been postponed until next Tuesday.
Hon. B. Stephenson: This has been a most useful debate to me in my concern about human rights and my specific responsibility traditionally for this area of function within the government of the province of Ontario. But I must at this point express my very deep concern and my distress at the truly insulting aspersions which were cast upon the individual members of the human rights commission and the staff of the human rights commission by some members opposite.
I think the people of this province should be grateful for the dedicated service which the past chairman and past members of the human rights commission, and the staff of that commission, have provided for the people of this province. It has been exemplary. There is no doubt in my mind that the report Life Together was the result of the concerted effort of a group of knowledgeable, thoughtful and concerned people who have expressed and have exercised their wit and wisdom on behalf of human rights in this province. But those who are following them are equally concerned, equally dedicated, equally compassionate and, I think, equally capable of supporting and providing the barrier against intrusions into the area of human rights.
Mr. Warner: Give them some more help. Provide some more money and some more staff.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There are specific members of that commission who have been appointed recently who are just superb human beings. I think of one representative of the South Asian community; there are members of the visible minority who are also members of the human rights commission. These people are marvellous people to whom we all owe a great debt of gratitude. There was absolutely no reason for any member opposite to cast any kind of aspersion upon the service which those people and the members of the staff of the commission have provided to the people of Ontario.
Mrs. Campbell: Who did?
Mr. Warner: Name names.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) was extremely and insultingly critical, and I think it is unfortunate that any member of this House would make statements such as that about these very warm, very compassionate, very concerned, dedicated public servants, because that’s precisely what they are. They are functioning on behalf of all of the people of this province and have exerted a tremendous effort, and specifically, I would remind the members, on behalf of the visible minorities and those perhaps that are not so visible.
Mr. Warner: But you make sure they are toothless tigers.
Hon. B. Stephenson: They have worked very diligently. They are continuing to do so; they have done so against great obstacles in the past. We are attempting to lessen those obstacles and, with the support of many of the speakers who have addressed this House tonight in terms of the future role of the human right commission, I believe that we shall be able to achieve even more.
But, as an example of the kind of activity which this new and augmented human rights commission is carrying out under the new chairman, it is improving and expanding the role of public education and of community service.
Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you tell us what your policy is?
Mrs. Campbell: What’s your policy?
Mr. McClellan: Give us one clue as to your policy. What are you so afraid of?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The specific members of the commission are assuming certain roles in the community service area in community relations, in working with police forces, in working with public associations, in working with all kinds of groups, including the group in education.
Mr. Warner: They need more money, more staff, and more legislation, and you know it.
Mr. McClellan: What’s your policy?
Hon. B. Stephenson: They are doing this to ensure that this society nurtures the attitudes which are supportive of the maintenance of individual rights and individual responsibilities in order to ensure as well that each of us has a right to maintain our personal dignity, no matter what the colour of our skin, our stature or our sex.
There are increased activities in communications which have been begun and which, it is my sincere hope, will be expanded in terms of minimizing the damaging effect of discriminatory behaviour based on ignorance and fear. And, though co-operative efforts with community groups, I’m sure that role will be expanding dramatically in this coming year and in the years to come.
Mr. Warner: How about some strong legislation?
Mr. McClellan: Tell us what your policy is with regard to the report. Why are you afraid to tell us your policy?
Hon. B. Stephenson: There is a budgetary increase this year and it is my hope that it will be greater than it has been in the past. Indeed, it is my hope that we will be able to move forward with at least some of the recommendations of Life Together within the not-too-distant future.
Mr. Warner: How much? When?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I cannot give specific examples, but my personal concern is in the area of the physically disabled and in the area of affirmative action, as these were noted within the Throne Speech, I think.
Mr. Nixon: Can’t you make a more complete list of your commitments?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have other commitments as well, but those are the two I can mention right at the moment.
Affirmative action has already begun, not necessarily within the human rights commission but within the Ministry of Labour, on behalf of the physically disabled, because we do support that specific recommendation.
Mr. di Santo: How many people have you hired?
Mr. McClellan: Tell us how many people have been hired in two years.
Hon. B. Stephenson: In addition to that, there will be protection of affirmative action within the province of Ontario because as the Leader of the Opposition did note, affirmative action is not necessarily entirely compatible with the concept of human rights. If there are areas of conflict, then these must in fact be clarified.
Mr. McClellan: This is a disgrace.
An hon. member: All the way.
An hon. member: Come on. Why don’t you resign?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I gather that my time is up. I am grateful to have had the input, the information, the opinions and the concerns of the members opposite specifically, because they will indeed be of great assistance in the development of the program which was brought forward to the House, for their deliberation at later date.
On motion by Hon. B. Stephenson, the debate was adjourned.
On motion by Hon. B. Stephenson, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.