31st Parliament, 4th Session

L103 - Thu 30 Oct 1980 / Jeu 30 oct 1980

The House resumed at 8:01 p.m.


Consideration of the report of the select committee on constitutional reform.

Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday of last week I had the pleasure of presenting to this House the report of the select committee on constitutional reform. At that time I requested that it be taken under consideration by this House at an early date and I am pleased that the House leaders and the House in general have done it so quickly.

It is, of course, a matter of very current concern, as it was all summer long. I hope our deliberations this evening and perhaps next Thursday evening will do something to verify the position as far as this House is concerned. In other words, I hope it will be a good exercise for all of us.

I would like to take some time this evening to consider the report of the select committee on constitutional reform. The committee’s genesis was in the debates held in this House last May, prior, of course, to the Quebec referendum. Because of my duties in the chair, I refrained from participating in the excellent and reassuring series of talks that were given at that time.

However, as early as 1972, I spoke on this subject during a throne speech debate where I stated, in part: “The good of our country depends upon recognizing our differences and providing each province the financial means and independence to control its own destiny within the bounds of constitutional responsibility. Ottawa’s largess for frivolous programs, on its terms, and without concern for provincial priorities, must be replaced by unconditional grants or the surrender of some share of its present taxation. I hope that our government will work to that end.”

Those were words that I said in 1972. Since that time there has been some surrendering of tax points and the provinces have gained one or two.

My personal inclination is towards strong provincial rights, for I believe that in the long run this will give us our strongest Canada. I am no less a Canadian because I believe the diverse interests of our country can best be served in this way. I believed then and I believe today that our constitution is not in need of radical change but adjustments and updating are necessary.

I spoke of the encroachment by the federal government through the power of the purse on fields of exclusive provincial jurisdiction and how, in my opinion, that had done harm to Canadian harmony by attempting to cast in a common mould the diverse aspirations of a large nation with different cultures and different economic needs. This financial aspect of our national experience was touched on only slightly by our committee and remains to be one of the topics that we still hope to examine.

The course of events left our committee one inning behind and during the summer we were therefore forced by circumstances to play catch-up ball. The main action and focus of attention was with the first ministers. Because they had decided to study certain topics we followed their lead, and it is on those topics our committee has reported.

As provided in our mandate, we made interim reports on our positions which served as a basis for discussion as we subsequently exchanged views across the country. I might say that occasionally those interim positions got us into a little trouble and, on a few occasions, we did change those interim positions. So if any of those are floating around and they are inconsistent with our report, that is the reason.

We did adopt them as interim positions. I, as chairman, sent copies of them to the Premier (Mr. Davis) as he entered his high-level debates. I am sure he was guided, in great part, by the deliberations we made. Unfortunately, some of our views changed and maybe some of the views of the Premier changed with us.

I may be attributing to the work of the committee greater importance in that regard than I should, but I do say we presented these interim reports so that at least the Premier would know what was happening. We did have the advice of at least three ministers of the crown as we carried on our deliberations. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) was with us, as was the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and, of course, the Premier.

We had some help from the opposition as well. The member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) had done a great deal of work on putting together a comparison of the various papers that were put out in advance on the constitution. He was with us, and we had an enjoyable time with him and a very informative time too.

On presenting our report to this Legislature, I paid tribute to our excellent staff. I now express my personal appreciation to the individual members of the committee for the sincerity and diligence with which they laboured. I say this because, without criticism of any individual, I was somewhat disappointed with the end result of our report.

It was the laudable wish of all to arrive at unanimous positions. We recognized compromise would be involved. We had hoped, thereby, to set an example and prove that reasonable people of varying political stripes, but all of goodwill, could reach agreement on the constitution. In that way, we might express some leadership to the first ministers themselves. For the most part, this was achieved.

On the two major points of national concerns, language rights and utilization of natural resources, our compromise position, in my opinion, defeated our ability to give this House the leadership I had hoped we could achieve. In this sense, I express a personal disappointment with our results.

I may say that from time to time this evening I will be speaking in a very personal sense. Perhaps I should not do so as chairman of the committee, but we did, as the honourable members know, have an introduction to our report which said it was a compromise position and each member had different personal views. I am hoping all the members of the committee, as they rise in turn to speak on this debate, will express their personal views because, as I say, the education of all of us will best be formed by their so doing. So, as chairman, I make those early remarks and I apologize to members of the committee for so doing, but I think they will all understand why.

The report’s introduction refers to a general distrust of Ontario. This is the usual and traditional role that accompanies size and success. In Canada, that lot falls to Ontario. In Ontario, it falls to Toronto. During my wartime naval service, a common reference to Toronto was “that built-up area back of Eaton’s.” That is the way they referred to it and, I suppose, in that sense of knocking us down, it continues today. So, in that sense, little has changed.

However, in Alberta, I did experience a little change in the traditional attitude to which I have just referred. We exchanged views in seven of the 10 provinces and in the Yukon. In effect, we invited ourselves to these other jurisdictions. If, in some cases, our original overtures were not greeted with enthusiasm, it had best be remembered we asked for attention at our convenience and at a time when our travelling show was not regarded as the feature attraction of the day. The hospitality and courtesy extended to all of us at all points -- I include even those points where we received very sharp criticism -- by all governments and private bodies was most generous and we greatly appreciated it.

8:10 p.m.

I have referred to a change of attitude in Alberta. I do so because I believe it essential to an understanding of our constitutional dilemma. The sharpness and intensity in their attack on Ontario’s position is considerably beyond the traditional attack to which I have referred as a national pastime. Some people say that is the only thing that keeps Canada together -- their dislike of Ontario and their dislike of Toronto. I think that is the role we have to play with grace. However, there is a certain sharpness and intensity I noticed in Alberta that went beyond the traditional.

I noted among the legislators a certain temerity in expressing opinions or taking positions other than that of their Premier. I also sensed a touch of vindictiveness, not unlike a youth overly impressed by his newfound strength and independence. I will return to this when mentioning natural resources because I feel some of Alberta’s attitude is justified.

The committee was cheered by the warmth of our reception in the Yukon. The grandeur of the land, the enthusiasm of its people and the breadth of opportunity showed us the promise that could be Canada’s if we could only get our act together.

I turn now to our various recommendations. They have been reasoned recommendations and I think they are workable solutions. But in putting them forward, the committee does not regard them as the only solutions and suggests in the spirit of trying to show workable solutions can be arrived at, that is what we have done. I do not think any of us would suggest they are the best possible solutions, but they are workable; they are reasoned; and we think they are practical.

I do not intend to read all items as we come to them but if any of you have the report in front of you, the preamble will be found on page one -- as I suppose any preamble should be found. We suggest it should begin with words expressing confidence in our future, pride in our heritage; then we go on to suggest a list of other things that might be included in it. I think it is desirable to have a preamble. Perhaps it will be the only part of the constitution with which future school children may become familiar; that seems to be the case in the United States. Many of the school children there can quote the preamble of the United States constitution. So we attach some importance to it.

However, other than to set out a few ideas, we did not undertake to draft it. We felt that should be done by the federal government, commissioned by them. It should be composed perhaps by a visionary and perhaps a lyricist. The name of the member for Lakeshore came up. I am not sure it was unanimously accepted in this context, in any event, but it requires some Irishman who has that gift of lyricism. But that is the job of the federal government

We have set out some references that the preamble might include. I draw attention to a commitment to maintain the monarchy. This is a commitment strongly held by me. In a contracting and turbulent world, I know of no more dignified, stabilizing or unifying symbolism to reach out beyond the bounds of self-centred nationalism.

Canada has been well served by the British monarchy. I want to make a comment in regard to Quebec’s attitude. We sometimes think Quebec is getting everything its own way but there is a certain courtesy among its people. They realize how dear our attention to the monarchy is in this part of the country, not only in this part of the country but to some people in Quebec themselves, although I think the monarchy, to most Quebeckers, does not mean as much as it does to those of us of some sort of British background.

However, they are courteous in that they have not pressed at any point the suggestion that part of our heritage should be abandoned. The courtesy they are extending to us is worth recognizing because it is not part of their heritage particularly. Although they have benefited greatly from their association with the British crown, it doesn’t have the same meaning for them as it does for those of us with British backgrounds, but I say they are recognizing that and I think are quite happy to accept that without argument. That was not a point in our discussions, unless it was done in a private manner.

The matter of patriation: It is no insult to my pride that our constitution lives at Westminster. It is a safe and a dignified address. I realize, however, that to the vast majority of Canadians this denotes colonialism and lack of maturity. They wish to have authority over the amending power in Canada and, of course, over the entire constitution, and I recognize the strength and logic of this position. This was adopted wholeheartedly by our committee and we certainly agree with the matter of patriation.

On an amending formula: I hope some of the other members of the committee will comment on our proposals for an amending formula. A formula is necessary, and to reach one, concessions need be made. The Victoria formula was acceptable to the committee. It caused us some embarrassment in Alberta, in justifying why Ontario should in perpetuity enjoy a veto simply because at one time it had enjoyed 25 per cent of the population. I believe this to be a reasonable safeguard for Quebec because of Quebec’s minority interest. I do not believe it is unreasonable for Quebec to have that veto, but I do not believe it is required for Ontario.

However, I wonder if the people of Ontario are prepared to give to Quebec a greater right in this regard than they themselves enjoy. I think probably that is not politically so, and that to do so would probably be politically unacceptable. I think Quebec has a need of that veto, or at least it thinks it has a need of that veto, and I don’t think we could substantiate it for Ontario in the same way. In a sense it became a bit of an embarrassment trying to justify why one of the partners in Canada should have this veto and Alberta should not.

The committee avoided this concession by changing the traditional four regions of Canada by making British Columbia into a fifth region. It has virtue in recognizing the west’s growing population and financial importance. It may be an acceptable compromise and I think one well worth studying. To bring the constitution home without a formula for amendment would perhaps encase it in cement and remove the traditional flexibility that British constitutions have enjoyed over the years.

In regard to the charter of human rights and freedoms: At present some are written and some are traditional, but none is any more secure than the spirit and will of the majority of people to abide by it. If this spirit is absent, the most profound and engraved ideals mean nothing.

The committee reviewed the arguments for entrenched rights. Entrenched rights look to the courts as their guardians, as opposed to nonentrenched, which look to the legislatures as their guardians. We well understand and appreciate the arguments, both pro and con, and both sides do have their advocates. We settled for some basics, many of which will already be found in our Canadian and Ontarian bill of rights. A restatement of these can do no harm. None of them is any stronger than the will of the people to keep it.

Personally, I might wish for a similar section on entrenching basic responsibilities. I think we in Canada accept our rights as rights, but we forget that with every right there is attached a responsibility. It might be an idea, some time, in some constitution, to put in an entrenched section on responsibility. However, the committee did not recommend that.

Language rights: This is one of the two subjects that troubled us the most. To my mind, it is one of those points where we fail to give the leadership expected of us.

The resolution establishing our committee appealed to all Quebeckers to join with other Canadians in building this national constitution. I think Quebeckers were the only people of a province who were mentioned in the resolution. We were at that same time to make recommendations towards the achievement of a new constitution for Canada that would satisfy the diverse aspirations of all Canadians.

8:20 p.m.

That was our commission -- to satisfy the diverse aspirations of all Canadians. Those sentiments expressed prior to the Quebec referendum were brave and heady, but now that Quebec has responded we seem to have forgotten our suggested promise to recognize diverse aspirations.

To take us back to those debates and one or two quotes from the Premier of May 9: “I said in Quebec last week, as I have said in this province on many previous occasions, we are striving to have a situation here in Ontario where French-speaking Canadians can pursue their own cultural and educational activities in a fashion that fully responds to their desire for cultural vitality and cultural opportunity. As long as it is my privilege to serve as Premier, we shall continue to push ahead with efforts in that direction.”

Another one. “We shall protect minority rights in this province whatever the result on May 20. I want to make that clear. We shall do so in the context of our overall community, one that, while largely English-speaking in its base, is also one with a growing multicultural aspect to it, and one which has not only tolerance but also concern and positive interest in minority language rights.” That of course went further than just anglophone and francophone rights.

Again: “In spite of that tradition, in spite of what the facts may be, I believe in that statement made by the government of this province and the commitment we have given to entrench in the constitution this right. It is fundamental in terms of preservation of language and culture.”

That is the end of my quotes from the Premier. I believe some of us have overlooked the leadership given by our Premier in this regard. I think we are doing most of those things and some of us seem to be afraid to recognize those things we are doing. I think to give a little leadership we might have been able to extend a little further the recommendations of what we are doing. I know the political pitfalls in it and I know that some of the supporters of the Conservative Party, and I suppose supporters in other parties as well, have been critical that we have gone as far as we have. But I think it is essential that we recognize and remember our implied promise to Quebec and recognize the leadership the Premier of this province has given in this regard.

No country can divorce itself from its own history. Canadians have no reason to do so. Half a continent from the valley of the St. Lawrence to the valley of the Mississippi, from Hudson Bay to the Rockies, was explored and opened by Champlain. Nicollet, Brulé, LaSalle, Jolliet, Marquette, Radisson and Groseilliers and La Verendrye. Some of us might take time to reread the exploits of the Le Moyne brothers and how they left the St. Lawrence in 1685 and threaded the streams of the Laurentian range to the shores of Hudson Bay to capture trading-company outposts on James Bay.

This is our history, the history of where we now stand. We should not deny it. Where we stand today was originally discovered, at least as far as Europeans are concerned, by people who spoke the French tongue. However, when I say we should not deny it nor forget it, neither should Quebeckers forfeit their inheritance west of the Ottawa.

Above Dufferin Terrace in Quebec City stands one monument rather rare in that it pays a common tribute to two opposing generals, Montcalm and Wolfe. To me that symbolizes the spirit we need today. For us in Ontario to deny the achievements and the heritage of a third of our population is, to say the least, unfair -- not only to them, but also to ourselves. We cannot deny their culture, their language, their aspirations and hope to keep Canada “a mari usque ad mare.”

Quebeckers must not be prisoners in their own land, self-imposed as those barriers may have been. Their country must not stop at the boundaries of Quebec. They must feel at home in the rest of Canada. The least we can assure is equality in our parliaments, equality in our courts, equality in our culture and equality in our language.

Our recommendations on language rights do not go far enough, at least in my mind. None of us should ask for impractical applications or applications that are going to cost more than the reward in return or what they will achieve. So I say none of us should ask for impractical applications, but all of us should go the extra mile in giving just recognition.

Let us remember the other side of the coin. Each of us has a heritage in Quebec. I personally have many happy memories of my times in that province. I first travelled there in the early 1930s, visited the north shore, tripped around the Gaspé and the eastern townships. I have even been up to Ungava and Fort Chimo. A little more personal still, I met my wife while skiing in the Laurentians and subsequently we enjoyed a honeymoon there -- rather successful in that we are still living together. I want to be assured of my continuing rights as an English-speaking Canadian in that part of my country.

Minority language rights for other ethnic groups: To this recommendation, I personally am reasonably well satisfied. I know, however, that the members for York West (Mr. Leluk) and for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) have some strong personal views and I hope they will speak to them.

On native language rights and the native picture in total: I know of no more complicated issue than the rights and status of our native peoples. The concept of a nation within a nation is difficult for sue to grasp. I am quite ready to try to understand it but, as I say, I have some difficulties with it. Our native people wish to enjoy and should enjoy the benefits of modern society -- health care, education, transportation and communication, and certainly a secure environment.

Sometimes their traditional life seems to create conflict and the benefits of modern society cannot be obtained without some of the burdens that accompany them. The matter is in need of much continuing study, in need of empathy and understanding, and the committee has only made a beginning.

Equalization: The committee recommends that Parliament and the legislatures of Canada commit themselves in continuation to: promoting equal opportunities for the wellbeing of Canadians; furthering economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities for individual social and economic wellbeing; providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.

We realize that is being done, that it should continue to be done, but also that it requires financing to do it, and that is one facet where we realize the federal government has to have a broad taxing power. Such payments, of course, are a fact of Canadian life and, indeed, serve a worthwhile purpose. The principle should be recognized and better formulas developed.

In regard to the Senate, the Senate has been the traditional whipping boy of Canadian politicians until, of course, they are called there. Our study showed that most federal jurisdictions have a Senate and that in Canada less-populated provinces place greater reliance and emphasis on it than we do in Ontario. Ontario’s strength is in the House of Commons. For a variety of reasons we believe that Ontario can and should make concessions as to its numerical representation.

Quebec regards the Senate as a partial protector of its minority position. We in Ontario do not have that threat or do not think we have it. We perhaps do not need the same strength in the Senate that some of the smaller places do and that Quebec thinks it does, and I think we should be ready to make concessions in that regard. It may be pretty difficult to sell that to the citizens of Ontario, but perhaps it is worth a try.

We also recognize that the Senate performs many useful purposes, and we suggest where these functions could be enlarged. The Senate does deal with federal legislation and, therefore, the federal government properly makes appointments to it. However, in that we see the Senate as a protector of provincial rights and as a provincial voice at the federal level, we suggest half of the Senate seats should be appointed on recommendation of the provinces.

In regard to the Supreme Court, I trust the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) will spend some time discussing this, but again we have suggested that we should not have any special constitutional court for a variety of reasons. In the first place, we hope there will not be that much work for it. But we do suggest, because again we expect Quebec to look to the court as a protector of its minority rights in the constitutional position, it should be slightly weighed in Quebec’s favour. I hope that is a concession Ontario would be prepared to make.

8:30 p.m.

Powers over the economy: I think we had some of our best discussion on this, particularly as we travelled in other parts of the country. Section 121 is short and I will read it so we can all know it: “All articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of any one of the provinces shall, from and after the union, be admitted free into each of the other provinces.”

That, of course, is what a country is all about. The federal government subsequently proposed we go a little further and make that into the free movement of people and currency, so there is completely free movement which, again, is one of the advantages of belonging to a country. The committee, however, recognizes that many legitimate reasons exist for economic discrimination, whether it be for Newfoundland to ensure employment for its citizens. Prince Edward Island to protect its land from absentee ownership, or Saskatchewan to give priority to its native population. Ontario also has been known to favour industry within its boundaries and to define areas of special economic assistance. In fact, the whole subject of marketing boards might come under scrutiny in this regard.

The benefits must be weighed against the national interest. No hard and fast lines can be drawn and each scheme must be individually judged against the general concept. There is an ongoing need for experienced discretion and political judgement, and perhaps here is a role for the Senate to perform. We looked at it and decided this was going to go on for some time; it was not a passing thing. These conflicts will always be there as long as we have a living country. It is not a matter for the courts; it is a matter for political judgement. So we have suggested there is a possible function that a Senate or some body of political wisdom, as well as overall interest, such as the Senate would represent, should take on as its task.

Natural resources and trade: I have spoken of the animosity in the west which, in my opinion, is in part justified. Until recently, each of the provinces has been free to treat its natural resources as it saw fit. Ontario has enjoyed this position by socializing its hydro power and permitting the private sector to develop its mineral and timber wealth, with the exception of uranium, to which Ontario made little objection.

We have chosen our course without federal interference. Great wealth has been accumulated here both in the value of the assets owned by Ontario Hydro, by industry and by financial institutions headquartered here. Looking at our banks, looking at the many industrial organizations with headquarters here, we have certainly accumulated a great deal of wealth in Ontario, as they have done also in Quebec.

I do not know why Quebec does not come in for some of the animosity that seems to attach itself to Ontario. It is Ontario that gets it and not Quebec, although the complaints other parts of the country have against Ontario, in my mind, apply equally to Quebec. Somehow Quebec has got out from under.

The east has certainly gathered a great deal of wealth. Hydro has been exempt from federal tax. Other industries and financial institutions have been subject to it. Along come oil and gas and we say they are different, to my mind an argument without foundation. Ontario with all its wealth seems to be saying now, “We want to slake our thirst with your beer.” Naturally, this is resented in the west and has all the potential for being resented in Newfoundland as well as Nova Scotia.

It is the last sentence of the note at the foot of page 20 that disturbs me. That note reads: “The rate of price increase, however, must be tied to an appropriate agreement on the fair distribution of energy revenues in a fashion that respects both producers’ rights and the broad economic interest of all Canadians.” This note was inserted late in our deliberations.

Up until then I thought our committee had a contribution to make as to the aspirations of Alberta and Saskatchewan by recognizing their outright ownership of their natural resources. I do not know what is so different about energy revenues as opposed to mining revenues or industrial revenues, and I think our position can reasonably be resented. We have done little to divest ourselves of the image of greedy Ontario, or to permit other areas of this country to accumulate some wealth as we ourselves have done in the past.

On a political note, I am sure many westerners blame the economic self-interest of individual Ontarians in the rejection of the 18-cent-per-gallon gasoline increase and for defeating the only federal government in which they had a strong voice for some years.

I know my personal position on this matter is somewhat different from that of my party. The party, of course, believes that gas and oil are different. I have difficulty accepting that my thought is that the wealth of one part of the country is the wealth of the other part of the country. Certainly Ontario has shared its wealth over the years, and indirectly, I am sure, we will benefit by any accumulation of wealth in Alberta, whether it is taxed in the first course or the second course. The wealth of one is the wealth of all.

Certainly our committee has taken the position that the federal government as well as the provincial government have two rolls of taxation, both direct and indirect, and that once the asset enters the field of commerce -- not to be taxed as long as the province owns it -- then it should be subject to tax. I think that is all the assurance we have.

Alberta should be able to do what it wants with its own oil and its own resources. I don’t know what the Premier of that province is saying at this moment; we may find tomorrow morning that I will regret making that statement tonight.

We also have to go to world prices for oil, and the sooner we get there the better it will be. Most of us realize that at the present time Canadians are importing about a third of their oil and paying world prices for it. The beneficiaries at that price are non-Canadians. In other words, it is the offshore people we are purchasing it from who benefit and we are only penalizing our own people by not letting it go to world price.

In the meantime, people who are drilling for oil or wish to drill for oil are certainly not coming into Canada where they have a limited ability to charge. If they have to spend that money, they are going to go where they can get world prices and this is what is happening. If we want to find oil in our own country we had better be realistic and go to those world prices.

I would like to quote from two people we dealt with from the Independent Petroleum Association of Canada when we were out in Alberta. This has more to do with what Mr. Lalonde is at present proposing but I think it is worth while quoting from what they said:

“If Canadianization means greater participation by Canadians as shareholders, then I think Canadianization that is advanced in the positive sense instead of the negative sense is very important.” I am quoting a Mr. Frost.

“I think the Conservative budget of last year was going in that direction, encouraging Canadians to invest. If, on the other hand, the thing is done in a negative way by penalizing people because they are not Canadian, we are going to discourage what we need because it is clear that the massive in- vestment necessary for the next 10 to 20 years will require foreign investment.”

Mr. Milner said, “I think it is illogical and I will give you an example: Petrocan bought out Pacific Petroleums from Phillips and sent $2 billion out of the country. The oil is here; it is being produced; the provincial government controls it; the federal government controls it. If there was a national emergency or any one of a hundred things, we in the industry really have nothing to say about it. So we sent a couple of billion dollars down to Phillips which will promptly be reinvested in some place else in petrochemicals or something and kill you in the marketplace. That did not find a barrel of oil or a thousand cubic feet of gas.

“If his Canadianization is to tax the Canadian people to buy out existing industry, then it is a complete waste of time. If he is talking about Canadian taxpayers’ money to find a new source of supply, that at least is a credible thing to my point of view.”

8:40 p.m.

We have to come to some practical answers to the matter of oil pricing and our committee recognized that. That is one of the basics; we must look for oil and find it or some substitute for it here. At the same time, the sooner we get to world prices, the sooner we are going to be able to do that. But in the meantime, there is little point in buying out foreign oil companies and thinking we are increasing our source of energy by so doing.

So, Mr. Speaker, I have made my comments on many sections of our report. I hope others will enlarge and cover those I have not touched. It was a hard-working, rewarding and interesting summer our committee has spent. Much yet remains to be done and we have set that out in a heading, “The Task Ahead.” I hope the House will authorize us to sit again next recess to carry on our study; I believe it will be worthwhile.

In the meantime, I wish to congratulate the stand taken by the Premier in endorsing the objectives of the proposed federal Constitution Act of 1980. There has been much criticism of the Premier in this regard and I stand accused by my own party supporters in my riding who have sent a critical note to the Premier. I am waiting for them to read this report, whenever it may be published, because if they are critical of the Premier, I am sure they will have twice as much reason for running me out of the riding after they read what I have said. But I am sure the Premier is quite right in endorsing, as he has done, the amendment to the Constitution Act of 1980.

If we look through what the federal government is proposing, it is proposing a charter of rights and freedoms. That is found on page three of the bill and page six of our report. They are very similar. All of these items are similar to the recommendations made by our committee.

Official language rights: I don’t think they go quite as far as our report does, certainly not as far as I would like to see us go.

Equalization of regional disparities: that is the part of our report I read and is being done now.

Constitutional conferences at least once a year: We suggested during our discussions that might be done, as a good idea. We did not, of course, put it in our report.

Patriation: We have already dealt with that and I think most of the people in this country are in agreement with it.

Interim amending procedures: what could happen in the first two years and subsequently what could be done. I think it is good that it is coming home and coming home with a formula. What can be done in the first two years, of course, is by unanimous consent. After that it is the Victoria formula and some expansion of that. I don’t see how many of us who served on this committee, at least, can find fault with that.

I want to commend the action of the Premier in doing as he has done to support Mr. Trudeau. The resentment, certainly from some of my supporters, is caused by the co-operation or what appears to be co-operation between the Premier and Mr. Trudeau, but the House can see our committee has been thinking along the same line. I am not going to say Mr. Trudeau fell in line with our committee. I don’t think he is going to be in a hurry to fall in line with anybody. But what he is proposing is certainly in no way irrational, as some of the people criticizing him today would have one think.

The issues politicians are discussing at present on this matter are politicians’ issues.

They are not people’s issues. The majority of the people of this country will realize no difference whether the constitution remains in Westminster or takes up permanent residence in Canada. The important matter is that a decision be made and that it be made quickly. The country must get on with its day-to-day business. It must have the ability to pursue matters of impending concern, matters that are at present delayed while we talk about the rules of the game. Any constitution will work, if you have people of goodwill who want to make it work. The best of constitutions will be a failure if goodwill and cooperation are absent.

On August 6, 1980, the Honourable John Robarts appeared before us. He stated, and I quote: “I think there is a necessity for action because, firstly, it was more or less promised to the people of Quebec. I think the federal government promised it; I think that Ontario did.”

And again he says: “The problem with trying for perfection is that you may end up doing nothing because you cannot get what you think is absolutely right. So you have to take some chances ... We will see if unanimity comes out of the present series of meetings but, if it does not, I do not think we can put the whole thing to bed again for another 10 years. I think somebody is going to have to grasp the nettle.”

With that I heartily agree. I think the Prime Minister of Canada is doing that and the Premier is doing that. I hope this House will give support in getting back the constitution, or having the constitution brought here, as is at present proposed, and that after any reasonable amendments are made it may be put forward and adopted. I think it is the right thing to do, and with that I heartily agree.

I thank the members of the committee for the pleasure of working with each of them. I thank the members of the House for the privilege of chairing this committee.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a few brief comments as one participant in this committee. As you know, I am not one with a lengthy experience on select committees. Although my experience in the House goes back some years, my experience on select committees is limited to the constitutional reform committee this summer. Even though I cannot say I wholeheartedly enjoyed it, I must say it was a different type of experience. There were times when I did thoroughly enjoy it, but towards the end, when we were preparing our submissions, I felt extremely frustrated. In conclusion, I had some reservations, as the chairman did, about the result of this experience.

One thing I do not have any reservations about is enjoying the company of my colleague to my left, the member for Downsview, this evening. His contribution, his participation, his good humour and, occasionally, his blessings greatly helped our committee. I certainly enjoyed the experience of being with him.

Having listened to the chairman’s comments, I have no doubts, nor do many of my colleagues on the committee, that we had the right chairman. Our chairman was excellent and I want to thank him. I also want to say to the member for Humber that I, as one participant in the committee, felt he did us proud. He exhibited the type of savoir faire and comprehension which were extremely important in keeping this bunch of individuals together, and in trying to arrive at a consensus.

My only criticism of the chairman is that at times he was too kind and too understanding. Maybe he should have been just a bit harsher towards some of his colleagues. But, in any event, if there is some disappointment with the report, which I share with him, it certainly is not because of his leadership and his chairmanship of this committee.

I want to say as well that I am extremely proud of my colleagues on the committee. There is no doubt my colleagues from this party did us proud. I have no reservations at all in saying we got along well. We went through some difficult experiences at times. I am looking at the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell), who had a problem with her foot at one point. But there was never any problem with her mind, I will tell you that. The people of Alberta found that out.

My colleagues from the New Democratic Party’s side were extremely helpful. I found their approach and their comprehension of the process very advantageous in attempting to arrive at a consensus. In fact, they exhibited far more patience than I did. That should be underlined.

8:50 p.m.

Even my colleagues from the Progressive Conservative Party, for the most part, were very -- how should I say it? -- helpful. There will be times when I make comments about some of our recommendations when I intend to be as harsh as I possibly can towards some of their positions, but I must say that for the most part, from the early summer until October, all of them were extremely tolerable. I want to say I enjoyed the experience of sitting on the committee with them.

I want to mention that I enjoyed the company and assistance of our clerk, Mr. Forsyth, who is up there in the gallery. I have not had the experience of participating with him on a committee before. I want to say that he got better as we went on. I suppose one of the disappointments was that we had to quit travelling and start working. In any event, we think his assistance was very helpful.

Dr. Linda Grayson showed extreme comprehension and patience with us. I do want to underline that fact. Again, if we have some disappointment with some of the recommendations, it is certainly not due to her draftsmanship, research or assistance. We were helped -- and I want to underline my appreciation -- by Kathleen Hall, who is in one of the other galleries, and by Mary Beth Currie, who is not here.

Mr. G. Taylor: What about Franco?

Mr. Roy: There is Franco Carrozza. I had not seen him earlier. I had not seen Franco Carrozza in the Legislature before, but there he is.

Mr. Nixon: I think we had better have a committee looking into what this committee did.

Mr. Roy: I want to say on behalf of my colleagues and myself that his assistance was greatly appreciated.

It was interesting, that in every city we visited, Franco Carrozza kept looking for Carrozza in the telephone book. In two or three cities he managed to find two or three of them and have a nice friendly chat. I do not know whether he was getting tired of us or he felt sort of lonely, but from city to city he would advise us of how many Carrozzas there were across the country.

We enjoyed the assistance and company of Pat Girouard on our trip. She was very helpful. At times she was able to curb the enthusiasm of some of the more aggressive members.

Mr. Nixon: Pat was travelling with you?

Mr. Roy: She was travelling with us. She cannot put her views on the record but her assistance was very helpful. In fact, during the trip she went to confession a couple of times to Monsignor Di Santo.

I want to limit my comments because I think the chairman has covered many of the areas that I wanted to talk about and most of the topics that we covered. But I do want to respond to some of the criticism of our committee. I do not know whether I should, since I do not know whether anybody reads the Claire Hoy column any more -- a column that appears occasionally in one of the papers.

For instance, he mentioned in his column in the Toronto Sun on October 22, 1980: “Since everybody else already knew other provinces are jealous of Ontario’s achievements, it is symptomatic of these clucks that such a ‘discovery’ would seem remarkable.” Of course, the discovery he is talking about is the fact that we express great concern that across Ontario everybody seemed to be unanimous that there was dislike for Ontario. We expressed that at page four of our report in the introduction when we said, “Your committee was dismayed by the general distrust of Ontario that exists across the country.”

I suppose many people view this process and our participation as something that was a waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of effort. I suppose it may be symptomatic of the problems in this country that a lot of people say, as Claire Hoy said, that if anybody has any criticism of Ontario it is because he is jealous of Ontario. We found that in some areas, but we also found through our travel that some of the criticism and concern about central Canada’s position was not so much out of jealousy, but out of lack of comprehension. They felt central Canada did not fully understand their position. We found this especially as we got farther from the centre. We found this in areas like the Yukon. Our chairman has commented about the great treatment we received in the Yukon.

We are all aware that because of its population and because of some other problems it would be difficult overnight to say the Yukon should become a province. Nevertheless, if we want people to participate actively in the democratic process, it seems that we should give them at least the tools, the power and some measure of self-control. It was my feeling, upon discussion with some of our colleagues in the Yukon, that in the field of taxation and spending they have less authority than most of our cities. Most of our small municipalities have more control over the raising and spending of taxes. It seems to me that some of these views can be understood only if we have dialogue and discussion with them.

My colleague the member for Humber mentioned the fact that we didn’t have to wait very long in Alberta to get their views. Their views were pretty direct and at times brutal to the members of the committee.

I want to say that to some it may have been, as the headline says, a costly constitutional sideshow, but when I consider the state we are in at the present time I feel, like many members, frustrated that somehow our impact will be limited, that we don’t have more impact and that somehow what we are doing is not really achieving very much. Then I ask myself, would I be better off to go back to the law office and just mind my own business?

I think each of us in his own way tried sincerely as a member of the committee to have some input and to participate in the process. At least we will have the satisfaction of conveying some of that to our colleagues in the Legislature. I can’t help but think when I look around me in the Legislature that this is not one of the hottest topics we have had in the last while. When I look at the whole process I feel sort of frustrated.

Just looking at what is going to happen this evening with Premier Lougheed, I find it ironic that the discussion that used to take place in legislatures no longer happens. For instance, Premier Lougheed has not appeared in his own legislature for the last two or three days because he does not want to say anything until he goes on television this evening. I thought how ironic it is to sidestep or circumvent the democratic process by going directly to the television cameras.

The action on the constitution does not seem to take place in the elected assemblies; it takes place at federal-provincial conferences or at back doors where the ministers or civil servants are wheeling and dealing. I ask myself, is this one of the reasons we are having so much trouble? Is this one of the reasons there is such a lack of understanding from one area of the country to the other?

If Claire Hoy thought we wasted more than $100,000 in travelling, I want to say I think the experience and the exchange we had with other jurisdictions was something that is priceless. When I consider spending that money in doing what we did, I consider at the same time where governments, and not only this government, have wasted money on a place like Minaki Lodge.

We were talking last week about land assemblies. Millions of dollars have been spent on land assemblies where the land is presently vacant I say to myself, in the scheme of things and the priority of things, maybe we should have spent more money doing what we are doing now. Maybe we would have fewer problems in the country had we embarked on this type of exchange before.

9 p.m.

Mr. Eaton: You don’t understand the feelings of the people up there.

Mr. Roy: I do not think anybody wants to waste $8 million or $10 million. Whether it be Minaki or anywhere else, I do not think anyone is in agreement with the fact that the government is going to spend a whole pile of money and leave the place closed. I do not want to get into that. But in the scheme of things, if the Legislature of Ontario is spending this kind of money on the constitution, it is not wasted.

I want to express my disappointment, as the member for Humber has, in one particular area. He mentioned the question of energy and natural resources. In view of what is happening now, I felt we could have spent more time and possibly had something -- I should not say more educational -- more precise and in greater depth than what we ended up with.

I want to deal with one area of great disappointment to me -- language rights. I felt this was one area where we had the opportunity of showing some leadership but we failed in my opinion. We failed miserably because we attempted to arrive at some form of consensus and, unfortunately, somehow in this committee all at once this issue became politicized.

I can recall our first discussion when the committee was formed. When we were discussing the question of fundamental rights, it appeared the question of language rights would be no problem. We were discussing so many proposals and so many best effort drafts by the federal government for entrenching fundamental and linguistic rights and there appeared to be no problem.

As we travelled across the country discussing some of these matters with various jurisdictions, there appeared to be some form of comprehension. I say to some of my Conservative colleagues on the other side, especially to the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) who is not here this evening, that I had the impression as that member travelled from one jurisdiction to the next that he had a very open mind on a variety of subjects. I can recall his attitude in Alberta. I could not distinguish him from the other members of the Alberta Conservative caucus. He was right on and seemed to have full understanding of things.

Mr. Samis: Soul mates.

Mr. Roy: That is right. I can recall the same thing when we were in Newfoundland. There seemed to be comprehension. In Quebec as well, there seemed to be no problem when we had exchanges with various groups there, including the government, the Liberal Party and members of the Union Nationale. When we got back to Ontario it was just as though we had turned down the lights again for some of my colleagues on the Conservative side.

I was extremely disappointed to hear the discussion. I was not there on that first Wednesday when there was some in-depth discussion on this issue, but as we progressed in the field of language rights it seemed that the word had come down from on high to Conservative members of the committee that somehow the other two parties, the Liberals and NDP should be isolated and that the consensus we had arrived at should no longer be maintained.

I do not say that of all of the Conservative members of the committee because we have heard the comments from the chairman. We haven’t heard the comments from the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) but, all of a sudden, we clearly had the impression the word had been handed down to some of the members of the committee from the Conservative Party that this issue had become politicized. Somehow they should isolate the Liberal and the NDP members as being supporters of section 133 of the BNA Act or the equivalent section in the Manitoba Act. The members of the Conservative Party were saying clearly that they did not accept that principle.

Then it seemed to my surprise and my great disappointment that somehow some of the members of that committee were not even prepared to accept the government’s position. I can read from Hansard, but I do not want to take that time. There were members of that committee who at different times even started questioning the official languages at the federal level. I thought this committee was going to give great leadership, but it did not even accept the Official Languages Act at the federal level. If we are not even prepared to accept that premise, it is going to be awfully difficult to give some leadership in this province.

I want to repeat my great disappointment that we could not move forward on that issue. I said to many of my colleagues in this province, many of the people I represent, the francophone minority in Ontario, that I was hoping this issue would not become politicized. We were a select committee; politics were not part of the process; there were no political marks to be made. All of a sudden that is not at all what happened. We came out with a recommendation that is mushy and flat and lacks any sort of what I consider to be leadership by the committee.

For instance: “Your committee considered at length whether Ontario should accept the principle of the obligations already incumbent upon Quebec and Manitoba by virtue of the BNA Act 133 and the Manitoba Act 23. Your committee was unable to reach a consensus, although a majority accepted the principle. All members wish to study this matter further before making a recommendation.”

Frankly, I would have stayed home if I had thought we were going to come up with something as polite and as docile as this. It is small wonder that at times Ontario lacked a certain amount of credibility in Quebec. It not only lacked credibility with the Parti Quebecois, but with all Quebeckers. How can we tell Quebeckers, “You are bound by section 133 of the BNA Act, but we in Ontario want to study the implications of this.”

It is important that the long and traditional union between Quebec and Ontario be sustained, and it is going to be more important than ever in the future. But we take this sort of two-faced and, to me, extremely docile approach. We hear the Premier of this province saying, “I do not want to institutionalize bilingualism. I am afraid of section 133. I am not in favour of this.” Let us look at what section 133 does.

It says, “Either the English and French language may be used by any person in the debates of the Houses of the Parliament of Canada and of the House of the Legislature of Quebec; and both those languages shall be used in the respective records ...”

Let us talk about that. If we were to insert Ontario into this, we have already got it. Our standing orders permit us right now to use both languages in this House. Are we saying we are afraid of entrenching something like that? We have had it in our standing orders now since 1967, I think. Yet we are basically saying we want to study it.

Section 133 says, “... both these languages shall be used in the respective records and journals of those Houses.” If we have some reservations about printing the thing in both languages, who is going to get excited about that? Have we progressed so little we are even afraid of something like this? I personally do not get turned on whether the thing is in both languages or not, but at least we would have looked at it and maybe said, “Print it if it would make you feel better.” What is there to get excited about if those records or journals should be in both languages?

Then it says, “... in any pleading or process in or issuing from any court ... and in or from all or any of the courts of Quebec.” Again, we have our criminal courts; it is the law in Ontario now that one can have a criminal trial in both languages. That is what section 133 says, and we are proceeding this way in our civil courts. We have both languages in small claims courts in certain areas of the province. We adhere to most of section 133 right now and we are not even prepared, as a committee, to accept those recommendations. We considered it at length and the committee was unable to reach a consensus.

9:10 p.m.

I felt very disappointed about something like that, especially on that last day. On that October 16 morning, all at once the word came down from on high that they were going to try to isolate the other two parties and wanted no part of section 133. I have never felt such frustration as on that last Wednesday and Thursday morning.

My colleague the member for York West wanted to make very sure that when we talked about both languages, we talked only about federal institutions. I was so frustrated I said at one point, “Would you like to add another line in there somewhere to assure that it will not apply to Ontario? It will apply in all federal institutions but not institutions of Ontario.”

If we want to give some leadership and have some credibility with other parts of Canada, especially with Quebec, how can we accept this double standard from a very practical point of view for Quebec? How can we face our own minorities in this province and say, “We cannot do this for you”? How can the Premier, who rejected the principle of section 133, tell Rene Levesque that franco-Ontarians have more protection in Ontario than anglophones in Quebec?

We did not arrive at this consensus, not because most members of the committee were not in favour of it but because all at once the issue became politicized by the Conservative members. For that reason I am very disappointed by their performance in that area.

My colleague from Humber mentioned the question of energy. I do not intend to dwell on that except to say I felt we could have taken a stronger position. The member for York West proposed at the last minute we insert in our energy recommendation the last few lines he talked about. Frankly, I thought that was unnecessary.

At the time the last draft of the report was prepared, we already had the federal position on patriation of the constitution and I felt we should have taken a stand on that issue. We were not acting in a vacuum; we were seeing what was now happening in Canada. The federal government was proceeding with patriation, with an amending formula and with a bill of rights. In my opinion, we should have made some comment about what our views were on that issue. I understand the government of Ontario is in support of it, and we have expressed support for that position as well. But I think it would have been helpful if we had made some comment or reviewed that part of it.

While we are talking about the federal proposal, I really think the positions taken by some of the other jurisdictions in criticism of it are extremely exaggerated. Newfoundland’s position is that the federal proposal is some type of scheme whereby Quebec will be able to get back Labrador. Some of those statements are unreal.

I find it ironic that we are discussing this report this evening, while at the same time we are waiting to hear the Premier of Alberta’s response to the federal proposal. From what we hear it appears one of his responses will be that he is going to start turning down the tap. In other word, he is going to reduce production in Alberta. I find it somewhat ironic to be standing here discussing draft proposals of the Ontario select committee on constitutional reform at the time when the threat of western separation appears to be more imminent than the threat of Quebec separation which existed in May when we originally formed the committee.

It would be important for Ontario and the federal government to respond to whatever approach is going to be taken by Alberta as quickly as possible. There is certainly the feeling from my colleagues on the committee that it is not going to be an easy issue. When we discussed their approach and their view of Canada with our colleagues in Alberta, it became very clear, whether we were discussing the question of natural resources or repatriation of the constitution, that they felt any threat at all to provincial jurisdiction would be vehemently opposed. They even oppose a bill of rights because they see it as some type of threat to the Legislature of Alberta.

They have a great distrust of central Canada vis-à-vis their natural resources. They see any form of taxation as a form of theft and robbery. We felt we had, after having discussed it with them and with some of the people in the petroleum association, some comprehension of their position. We recognized the importance, as we said on page 20 of our report, of the question of energy pricing.

This is one of the reasons we addressed this issue by saying: “Although the question of energy pricing is outside the strict definition of constitutional reform, your committee is convinced that the settlement of the pricing question and the subsequent issue of revenue sharing are crucial to the resolution of the constitutional questions with respect to national resources. Long-term guarantees of supply are critical to Ontario and require the acceptance of higher prices”

We accepted that and it was something which was brought home clearly and unequivocally to us in our meeting with that jurisdiction. Having said that, it would appear with the federal budget being perceived as a threat to Alberta’s revenue, the response of Alberta is going to be strident. One has to ask oneself: where do we go from here? Should we as members of the committee or should we as people who are elected in this province be expressing views on what Ontario’s approach should be or the federal government approach?

I clearly had the impression that the government of Alberta considers its ownership of resources to be somewhat absolute. In a sense, when talking trade, especially inter-provincial and international trade, they feel there should be very little federal involvement even at that point because they see it as a threat to their jurisdiction over that resource. They take the position as well that any form of taxation is a threat to the ownership of that particular resource.

9:20 p.m.

All I can say is that there are very few things in this world that are absolute. There are very few principles that are absolute, whether we are talking about principles of guaranteeing fundamental rights and liberties or talking about natural resources.

Somehow Ontario will have to play a greater role in trying not only to understand their position, but making it very clear at some point to the people and government of Alberta that their ownership of that resource is not absolute. What do we do when the Premier of Alberta says, as he may say this evening, “We are going to cut back 50,000 barrels a day”? What do we do when certain areas, not only of Ontario but of Canada, start running out or when we are going to have to go on the world market for that resource? It seems to me the message has to he made clear to the government of Alberta that we are still operating under a statute called the British North America Act. Under that statute there are certain powers there, be they under the peace, order and good government provision or under the declaratory powers.

In a federalist state, one part of that state cannot hold the other part to ransom or to blackmail. That position is going to have to be explained and that view is going to have to be expressed clearly, it seems to me, to the government of Alberta.

I appreciate that we did not deal specifically with some of these matters but these are the realities of the situation. We are in a position now where the federal government is patriating the constitution. We have expressed in this report our concern about that process and the necessity of certain guarantees. It seems to us that the original reason for having established the committee and the original reason for this whole process, considering the strains that were coming from Quebec, is still there. Movement has to be shown, although we have expressed to our federal colleagues that it may be difficult to convince the people of Quebec that we are moving when all the political parties in that province are against the federal position.

Nevertheless, it seems to us that progress must be made. That progress cannot continually be impeded by the rule called unanimity. From what I read tonight in the Toronto Star, the Parliament of Britain is talking about a memo suggesting that there must be some unanimity before the British Parliament will respond to the Canadian request. It seems to us that that sort of position is intolerable.

Having made these few comments, I must say that it is an experience I thought was helpful to me. I hope that in some way I can share with my colleagues here some of the views that were expressed across this land to us. The time is limited and I don’t want to take up too much time.

Mr. Nixon: You might as well use up the other five minutes we have got. Go ahead.

Mr. Roy: Is that all there is left? I apologize, but I thought I started about nine o’clock. I want to say I thought the experience was worthwhile. I just wish, as my colleague from Humber said, that somehow we could have brought something forward which would give more leadership and was more precise and that in the difficult areas of energy, language rights and provincial rights we could have come up with a position that showed clearly that we as members of the Legislature were prepared to grapple with the issues and to take some position which the respective governments could strive for.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I rise to take part in this debate of the report to the assembly of the select committee on constitutional reform. In the course of it, I will also want to make some references to the Canadian constitution, that is, the proposed resolution which is at present before a committee of the House of Commons for consideration because of the natural overlap of certain matters that are dealt with in our report and in that resolution.

I want to speak really to my colleagues in the assembly, the collegium of members of the assembly in their representative capacity, regardless of whether they hold office under the crown or not. I want to speak to the collectivity of the Legislature as the representatives in this province of the peoples of Ontario, divorced from the question of whether or not they are members of the government party.

The committee comes to the House with a report which is a consensus of the committee. It would be invidious of me to stand here in my place and try to indicate in what respect I do not agree with the report, or where my reservations are distinct from the consensus. Certainly some, in reaching a consensus with the number of colleagues on our committee, are going to have different views. It would be a kind of arrogance on my part to spend any of the assembly’s time about my particular reservations or my particular concerns.

Because I speak to the consensus, throughout the sittings of the committee I felt we must reach the best possible consensus, given the diverse views and the differing conceptions that the members of the committee have about Ontario and about the country to which we all belong.

The sense of consensus was most important because the task of the committee was to deal with the unanimous resolution of this assembly, passed last May, prior to the referendum of May 20 in Quebec. It was a resolution that was passed after a full week of debate, after an occasion which has never taken place before, to my knowledge, in this assembly when most of the members of the assembly participated. Those who did not read about or hear what was said. So we come to the assembly this evening with a report which is a consensus and responds to that unanimous declaration of this assembly.

My concern is whether or not this assembly will think that we, the members of the committee appointed by the assembly, have fulfilled in any small degree the task which was put before us. The resolution we passed on May 9 was:

“We, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, commit ourselves as our highest priority to support full negotiation of a new constitution to satisfy the diverse aspirations of all Canadians, and to replace the status quo which is clearly unacceptable. Further, we affirm our opposition to the negotiation of sovereignty-association and, therefore, we appeal to all Quebeckers to join with other Canadians in building this national constitution.”

The resolution went on to appoint this select committee. The terms of the select committee were: “To make recommendations towards the achievement of a new constitution for Canada which would satisfy the diverse aspirations of all Canadians.”

I report back, as a member of the committee under the distinguished chairmanship of the member for Humber, to say to the assembly, “Have we performed the work you asked us to perform?” My answer must be, “No. We reached a consensus in the committee which was the best possible consensus, given all of the circumstances”

9:30 p.m.

Had any other 15 members been appointed to the committee, going through the same processes we went through, in all likelihood they would have come up with a relatively similar consensus, because that is the level of consensus that is possible in the province at this time about the country. It is no higher and no lower than that.

That poses a real question for the assembly with respect to our report and our recommendations. Every member of the assembly must ask himself whether we meant what we said when we asked for a new constitution for Canada. We said that the status quo was unacceptable; that the diverse aspirations of all Canadians must be met; and we called upon the people of Quebec to join with us in that task. Are members in a position to say to the committee, “Yes, you have performed your task” or “No, go back and do it again and come to us with a better report”? I hope the latter will be the answer, not just in terms of the task ahead, but in terms of some of the qualifications and reservations which the consensus in the committee saw fit to put within our own report. That is the question which is involved tonight.

This is not the end of the road. This is a different kind of report from the report on some specific task which comes into the assembly and is debated and finds its way into legislation at some later date. This is part of a process. I am asking the members of the assembly, “Did the process stop on May 20 or is it a continuing process?” I believe it is a continuing process.

We started our deliberations in the prologue of a failure; we finished our deliberations in the aftermath of a failure. What was the failure? It was the failure of the 10 Premiers and one Prime Minister, the failure of the 11 first ministers; each of them participated in that failure. All of them must bear the responsibility for that failure. Not one of them -- no matter what position he is now taking -- can evade participation in that failure.

The work of our committee was, without a doubt, affected by that pervasive sense of the failure of the first ministers’ conference in September of this year. It is within that context we must think about what this assembly asked this committee to do and what this committee must now do if it is to advance the process of constitutional reform in the terms in which the resolution of this assembly instructed the committee. That means to me that we must continue with our work. We must go back at it again.

We do not yet know the dimensions of that failure; but we lived through it and we come to the assembly with a report which in large measure reflects the failure of the first ministers. In a large sense it reflects the difficulties within the country which are not yet resolved.

Let me turn for a moment to the value of the report. I happen to think it is a quality report because of the participants in it. The distinguished member for Humber was the chairman of the committee. My colleagues from all the parties participated in that committee and all contributed. There is no sense whatsoever in my mind but that the process of that committee was what this assembly is all about. That we were able to reach consensus is a tribute to the membership of the committee.

Let me pay my tribute to Linda Grayson, to Kathleen Hall, to Smirle Forsyth and Franco Carrozza, and to Mary Beth Currie, who was with us for a short period of time. She was with us about six or seven weeks at the inception of the committee, and worked very hard for us; then she went on to begin her career in law at Queen’s University.

Let me pay my tribute, as I have on a number of other occasions, to Pat Girouard for the skill and expertise that is involved in following a committee such as this across the country to make certain we have an adequate and full record of the proceedings of the committee. And let me pay my tribute to all of the supporting services of Hansard and of the legislative library and others who contributed to that success.

I say without fear of contradiction, one only has to read the 34 pages of the report -- and that is all it is -- to see that its hallmark is quality, of which we in this assembly can be proud.

Let me speak a little bit about the significance of the report. Others have referred to it. The significance of the report is contained in the one-line statement that we were dismayed at the sense of distrust of Ontario throughout the country. If we had to file a single-line report, that would be the report. If we had to file a single recommendation, that single recommendation is in the introduction: “Your committee recommends that ongoing discussions be held among legislators to facilitate the process of constitutional change.”

We have run into a peculiar situation in the country. The 11 men no longer have any credibility to solve the constitutional problems that are presented to the country. That is the fundamental dilemma and contradiction of the times. There are some people who talked to me about enshrining in the constitution a provision that the first ministers meet annually. I think perhaps we should enshrine it that they can meet as often as they want -- as long as they do not talk about constitutional matters. That might be the solution to the whole of the constitutional problem that we are faced with.

We must recognize that the dimensions of their failure are not yet visible to us. Let us not confuse the issue by thinking that it was anything other than the failure to which I refer.

I participated in the two trips the select committee took. The first trip was a kind of a trial; it was a very interesting trial operation for us. We went to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; we came back to Ottawa and then to Toronto. I enjoyed it. It was most interesting, and it gave the committee a lot of confidence in itself. It provided a cohesiveness for the committee when we landed back in Toronto which was visible throughout the rest of its deliberations and its other trips.

9:40 p.m.

I will always remember the 13 days we spent, from the time we left Toronto and went to Whitehorse, when we went down to St. John’s, Newfoundland and came back to Toronto. I do not have any sense that I slept in a Holiday Inn and did not know which city I woke up in the next morning. I had a very clear photographic sense of each and every place we went to across this country. I think I share that with all of my colleagues on that committee. It was a remarkable and unique experience. The compression in time allowed us to get exactly what we had to have, and that is basic impressions.

Let me talk briefly about five of those particular impressions. Let me also say that there was no question, amidst strong and different views that were expressed to us, about the basic underlying hospitality that was extended to the committee. I share exactly what the chairman said about that hospitality. That does not mean there were not sharp differences of opinion and views expressed which led to the statement about our dismay, but the underlying hospitality and courteousness was extended to each and every member of the committee as we made these various trips.

Let me very briefly give only my impression of the Yukon -- nothing that will change the course of history. The interesting thing about the Yukon is there is a government established under the Yukon Act and there is a provisional government of Indian peoples. We do not have to go abroad to understand that there is a provisional government parallel to the existing legal government of the Yukon facing immense and terrible difficulties. We all came away with the immensity of the two solitudes of the Yukon: 5,000 native people, 16,000 white people. The two solitudes were obvious to us. This is an extremely difficult problem. We would not have known anything about it had we not gone there.

We went to Alberta. I will come back to Alberta, not because it is other than a difference in degree. The quality of the concern about the role of Ontario is prevalent across the country. Its degree happens to be heightened in various parts of the country, and one of them is Alberta.

Let me mention Quebec. One cannot conceive what it is like as a member of the assembly of Ontario to sit down with the leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Claude Ryan, or to have luncheon with the Speaker of the National Assembly in the province, and to be told what has happened to the communications between Ontario and Quebec. Why have the communications broken down? Why is it that the traditional history of the country has been abruptly broken over a period of time? It is not through lack of goodwill in a personal sense, but the intercommunication between the government of this province and the government of Quebec is, as we have learned and we surmised, only to be designated as formal. It is not the kind of essential communication that is part and parcel of the initial Confederation and association of the country. We, in Ontario, permit this to go on at our peril.

Let us go for a moment to Newfoundland, where there are people saying, “Our way of life is going to be unalterably changed and we are going to do our best to protect it.” As the resources come from off the shore on to the land in Newfoundland for processing and transshipment, or whatever the process is, the impact will be traumatic and dramatic on a way of life that is valued and treasured. I, as a central Ontario person, believe Canada is the greater for that valuing and that treasuring of the way of life of the people in Newfoundland.

There are many other areas I could talk about in relation to the impressions all of us received during the course of our trip. Let me make reference to one unhappy occurrence. We went to Ottawa and met with senior civil servants charged with this question of constitutional reform before there were any leaks of confidential documents, before there was any suggestion whatsoever that we knew what was in the minds of the federal government. Every member of the committee came away from that meeting shocked and dismayed at the arrogant attitude exhibited by the federal government about this country. It was a disturbing event I will never forget.

The civil servants who met with us -- and I am not suggesting they are responsible, because the government is always responsible; I am only saying we met with the senior civil servants engaged in this -- were planning for failure. That is what they were planning for. There was no will to succeed in the kinds of adjustments and accommodations necessary for this country to survive as the kind of federal organization we in this party and in this assembly must all believe in. The country cannot work except under a federal system.

I want to turn very briefly to the question of the native peoples under the constitution. The committee agreed we would invite the representatives of the principal organizations in Ontario representing the native peoples, and they came and presented their position to us. On page 32 of the report there is the statement about the native peoples. I hope each and every member of the assembly reads and rereads the statement about native peoples and the constitution. I am not going to read it into the record tonight. It is part of the record of this assembly because of its inclusion in the report.

Let us lay to rest one specific problem that people seem to have with the native peoples’ communities. The native peoples’ organizations are quite competent to represent their constituency in a constitutional assembly or convention and to let people know their positions. They would be, in my judgement, the true representatives of the native peoples in the province and quite competent to participate on an absolutely equal basis in the process of constitutional change.

One can go on. I am not going to go on at any great length about the condition of the Indian and native peoples in Ontario or into the technical ramifications of the jurisdictional questions involved. We have all seen and looked at the report issued by the federal government in June of this year with respect to the conditions of the native peoples, and thanks to David Lancashire of the Globe and Mail we had a three-part series quite recently about the condition of the native peoples in the country.

I happened to read recently -- and it is a matter about which I have no personal knowledge at all, but I was struck because I had not even heard that the Beothuk people in Newfoundland had disappeared -- in the Evening Telegram of St. John’s, Newfoundland, that last year was the 150th anniversary of Shananditti, the last of the Beothuk, who died of tuberculosis in 1829. The correspondent to the newspaper had this to say: “The extermination of a race of people, generally called genocide, is a blot on any civilization.”

9:50 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, I want you and this assembly to understand that we have in this province a condition of genocide with respect to a large portion of the population representing the native communities. We have that responsibility. Certainly, some will escape the genocide: some will make the assimilation; some will not die. But I say to the assembly that what is happening at Grassy Narrows, Whitedog and elsewhere throughout northern Ontario on the reserves, the so-called enclaves that out of our great generosity provide the land on which the native people find themselves located in the province, is genocide. One of the responsibilities of this assembly is to pay that debt of justice at some time to the native peoples.

I have a very simple view of justice. I spent a long time trying to understand what justice meant, and justice is very simple to me. It is simply a certain kind of regard for other people’s interests; that is all it is; but it is the nexus between barbarism and civilization. The assembly has to understand that where we in the legislatures of Canada and Ontario have failed, where even the law courts can do nothing about it under some esoteric doctrines of aboriginal claims that have to be revived and re-established, perhaps after these centuries in the constitution of this country it may be possible in some way to pay that debt of justice we owe to the native peoples.

There are any number of other matters one could speak about in the course of a debate such as this, and I have a number of other areas I want to touch upon.

I want to talk about one personal incident that occurred on the first trip we took. One evening I was sitting at a dinner table with my colleagues the member for Downsview, the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry and the member for Cornwall. We were chatting about the country and how long we had been around, and one of us said to the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry. “How long has your family been around?” He said, “Fifteen or 16 generations.” I picked it up and said to my colleague from Cornwall, “How long has your family been around?” and he replied, “I think eight generations.” I said to my great and good friend, my colleague from Downsview, “How long have you been around?” and he said, “I got here in the late 1960s.” And I asked myself how long has my family been around -- I am a second-generation Canadian.

We were all Canadians sitting there, but the history of the whole of this country was reflected in the people who were sitting at that table as it would be in any accidental group of four people sitting around a dinner table and talking. It spoke to our history, it spoke to our present and it speaks well of our future. But none of us had any pride of place, and no one around that table said, “I have been here longer than you have.” We were all speaking to each other at that dinner table simply as Canadians concerned about our country and representing a small part of the geographic territory of Ontario in this assembly.

I want to turn now, if I may, to the resolution that is before the House of Commons in Ottawa. The failure of the 11 men provided the opening. There was available to the Prime Minister then the kind of opening that led to the resolution that has been put before us. It was put before the House of Commons in Ottawa and before the standing committee of that assembly, but in truth it was before every legislature across the country. It deserves a little bit of concern and thought.

I do not think for one moment that the assessment by the Prime Minister and by the Premier of Ontario of the general sense of the people in the country about the four broad areas included in that resolution is very far off. Of course, if one wants to talk in provincial terms, it makes it a little bit difficult, as the Premiers in other provinces are finding, to deal with the question.

I think the esoteric question of patriation and its accompanying problem of an amending formula are the kinds of things that have turned the Canadian people off constitutional discussion. They think it has no relation to the world in which they live, and we allow that mythology to continue so long as we are unable to deal with it.

In our own way, in our own committee, the patriation question, without an amending formula, was faced up to. We would accept the fact that we would patriate the constitution with the understanding that from there on in it required unanimous consent. I do not have any real problem with the arrangement in the patriation formula of the resolution before the House of Commons, that we patriate and for two years amendments will be by unanimous consent. Then one comes to the crunch about how it is to be amended in the future.

I am speaking about the broad principle: I am not going to engage in the intricate question of textual analysis tonight as to whether every word in this is the way it should be.

The second broad principle is one of equalization. Everybody in the country accepts the principle of equalization. Again, there are very significant problems with respect to the language in which it is couched -- what the actual meaning may be when it is entrenched in the constitution. But the basic principle of equalization is accepted across the country and therefore poses no real problem to me with respect to that resolution before the House of Commons.

The question of the charter of rights is one that is very close to my view of the world in which we live. I think it is essential and I welcome the inclusion of the charter of rights in the resolution being considered, including the process of patriation. The reason I welcome it is, I do not think it imposes any limitation or is an intrusion upon our provincial authority here as a legislature, any more than it is an intrusion on any other legislature or an intrusion on the Parliament of Canada.

It is a decision the people in the country, I believe, will by and large accept that it is imposed. I am using “imposed” not in its penal sense but in the sense that it is laid on top of everybody. In my judgement, therefore, it is not a matter of which it can be said that in some ways it intrudes upon provincial autonomy or provincial distribution of powers. That may be a rationalization, and other people can put forward that view. But if I have to choose at this point in the history of Canada as to whether we are going to have a charter of rights in the process that is being used to obtain it, then I must come down on that side.

I share completely and wholeheartedly the position which, with great difficulty, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has come to on this question. During the course of the consideration by the ministry, mainly in the Attorney General’s office, of this question of civil rights and the entrenchment of civil liberties and all of the problems involved in it, the Attorney General took the time to speak to the Canadian Bar Association on August 24.

I want to quote two paragraphs of what the Attorney General said, because he and I obviously think in identical terms, and I believe my colleague in the Liberal Party would agree with this as well. I quote the Attorney General:

“Having no collective civil rights consciousness, Canadians lack a collective memory of civil rights violations. Victims of intrusions stand alone, isolated and without support. Violations, when they occur, are seen as either justifiable or as isolated aberrations, then are quickly forgotten. Canadians simply do not conceive of fundamental freedoms as rights inalienable, non-negotiable and indivisible.

“In the light of this historic attitude, it is meaningless to assert, as is frequently done, that Canada has an incomparably good record on civil rights issues. Viewed as a whole, and generally from afar, that assertion is correct, but it overlooks the suffering to which individuals have been subjected when rights have been violated. It also overlooks the shockingly fragile foundation upon which the rights of all Canadians rest.”

In that ongoing debate, speaking as he was particularly about what are known in the trade as legal rights, he came down on the side of the enshrinement within the constitution, and I accept wholeheartedly the position as he has stated it.

Let me, however, draw attention to three or four matters within this resolution related to the charter of liberties which cause me some real continuing and ongoing concern.

There is what can only be expressed as a lawyer’s qualification in the opening paragraph of the charter. It reads, “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it” -- this is it; you can always spot the lawyers when they get their hands on fundamental issues -- “subject only to such reasonable limits as are generally accepted in a free and democratic society with a parliamentary system of government.”

How delightfully expressed! But what is a court going to do with that? What is the meaning of that exception? What is the definition of it? In the discussions to date, I have not seen any content or substance given to those free-flowing words tucked away as a lawyer’s exception to the whole of the bill of rights about which we are speaking.

Let me make a second point -- we must not forget this; we make this point in our report but it generally gets lost in these discussions -- that we have a responsibility here in Ontario for our constitution. The constitution of the province is totally within the jurisdiction, at present, of this assembly, except for the office of Lieutenant Governor. To amend our constitution, we do it right here. We do not have a written constitution; as a matter of fact, I defy anybody to be able to write down even the sources of the constitution of the province. Let us not lose sight of the fact that we have a responsibility about the Ontario constitution and in my judgement the view that we in Ontario should have identical rights to these provided in this particular field.

Let me point out another concern of mine: There is no recognition, so far as I can see in that charter, of something called the right of privacy. I do not know how the omission occurred, I do not know how it can he remedied, but I point it out and I trust the Attorney General and others interested in this will look at it: There is no sense of the right of privacy. I would guess it is fundamental in the minds of each of us with respect to the kind of society we want to live in. I would hope somewhere along the line that omission would be picked up and dealt with.

We tried to deal and we were unsuccessful. We tried to reach a consensus in the committee about the insertion in the charter of rights of something called economic rights as distinct from the fundamental rights, the political rights, the legal rights and the egalitarian rights. We tried to put that in.

We tried to indicate that at this point in the life of Canada we have reached the stage at least where a person who has been wronged should have an enforceable right. We only get the right after the wrong exists and is recognized. When people are wronged with respect to their economic security, which is the gut part of the capacity to live a civilized life, the time has come that in some kind of language, somewhere, we should be able to insert an equally enforceable economic right. We tried. We were not successful.

I say to the assembly that one of the matters the assembly must consider in the course of this debate, if and when they give us the reference back, is to see whether next time we can come forward with that particular provision.

Another matter I want to touch upon is the egalitarian rights. I have two problems with it. We are to be protected against discrimination in respect of a certain number of itemized headings. For the life of me, I cannot see or understand -- and if somebody can enlighten me I will be quite happy to accept the enlightenment -- why we do not say that everyone must be assured of protection against adverse discrimination. We do not have to itemize certain specific things; we simply have to say that no one in an egalitarian country such as ours can be discriminated against adversely without having that adverse discrimination the matter of adjudication. We do not have the skills and the ability to itemize certain headings of discrimination. There are many other areas of discrimination that are not touched upon in this charter of rights. I would hope that will be dealt with at some point.

I draw the attention of the assembly to the strange situation that in a country such as Canada which is based upon the egalitarian nature of the society and the equality of each citizen, the provision of the charter with respect to discrimination does not come into effect until three years after this act comes into force. In other words, at this time, there is not in existence the clear line that permits us to say now that people will not be discriminated against on account of these particular headings. Within three years the laws of all of the provinces are going to have to meet that test, and the adjustments are going to have to be made before it comes into force.

I do not intend to go into the amending formula, the question of the referendum and the question related to the proposal in our report on the amending formula, other than to say that in a constructive sense the committee creatively put forward an amending formula which, in my judgement, is far superior to any amending formula we have seen. We will never know whether that traumatic visit to Ottawa, when we provided them with a copy of our amending formula, led them to steal the idea of the referendum and then to subvert it, corrupt it and reintroduce it in the resolution in the House of Commons as a kind of end run around the game. Our formula was a carefully staged, two-tier procedure for amendment of the constitution. I commend it to members of the assembly to study so they can understand what that particular provision is all about.

10:10 p.m.

Let me return to the fundamental questions where we need to have the impetus and direction from the assembly to raise our consensus the way in which it must be raised. We have to understand in this country that, unless we recognize that Ontario is going to be a unilingual province -- and for the lifetime of all of us who are sitting here, it is going to be a unilingual province -- we must extend that identical opportunity or right, or whatever we want to call it, to Quebec to be a unilingual province. We cannot expect Ontario to be unilingual and Quebec to be bilingual. Each of us can legitimately expect, because the workaday world of Ontario is English and the workaday world of Quebec is French, that one does not have a decent respect for the English language in Quebec and the French language in Ontario.

I am saying to the assembly that, until we are prepared to say that, then we are not going to have that magnanimity of spirit which will reach out in some way in some small measure to Quebec in the way that is essential if we are to fulfil any part of the obligation, stated and unstated, but felt in that period leading up to the referendum on May 20.

There are many other aspects of it, and I do not pretend to be knowledgeable about all of the ins and outs of that language problem. However, let me say that it is an obligation for Ontario voluntarily to assume, I trust -- and I would like the direction of the assembly to have us say that -- and to accept what Manitoba is required to accept, what the federal government is required to accept, what Quebec is required to accept and what, as I understand it, New Brunswick accepts; that is the question of the right of process in the courts and the rights with respect to this assembly. I want to make a point about that.

I am not engaged tonight particularly in partisan matters, but I want very much to say to the assembly and to all of the members of the assembly that our party would have been opposed to a provision in the resolution before the House of Commons which would have required Ontario to provide the rights that are included in section 133 of the British North America Act and section 23 of the Manitoba Act of the federal government about those matters. That is an entirely different matter from this province’s voluntarily accepting, as part of its constitution, the kind of respect for the French language and the French-speaking people in Quebec inherent in that section. I do not need to go on at any much greater length with respect to that question of language rights.

If we deny to any part of the country what we in Ontario have had the opportunity to have over this century -- that is, the right to use the natural resources to provide the economic takeoff in the various provinces, which up until recently have not had that kind of natural resource base, to provide for the kind of diversified economy that Ontario has achieved because of the economic takeoff that took place in the early years of this century, based on its resources -- then we are being niggardly and we are being part of the failure of this part of the country to reach out.

We are going to have to deal with that question. We are going to have to understand that in provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, to name only three of the provinces, that the economic resource base is an essential precondition of economic takeoff to provide the kind of diversified industrial economy that is so necessary across the country and not just in this so-called heartland of Ontario.

I am not going to go on at any great length. There are colleagues of mine on the committee who can speak to these matters with some degree of depth and authority in economic matters which I cannot bring to that kind of concern.

The Deputy Speaker: I am sorry to interrupt the member but the time has elapsed, unless the House so desires him to continue.

Agreed to.

Mr. Renwick: Thank you; I appreciate the opportunity. I appreciate the courtesy of my colleagues and you, Mr. Speaker, in allowing me to continue and to complete my remarks this evening.

I want to talk a little bit of my concern about the failure of the 11 men, and the one man of the 11 I want to speak about is the Premier of the province, as well as the government of the province and the position of that government.

We have to understand there is a problem about the so-called economic union of the country; there is a problem with respect to language rights; there is a problem with respect to the recycling of revenues that will accumulate elsewhere. It must be abundantly clear that it is not sufficient for the Premier of this province simply to take the view that these things can be achieved only in the way in which he has stated them and which I need not restate. We have his position paper from August 1979, with respect to the recycling question. Time and time again we have had the statement and restatement of the position of this government on language rights. I am very pleased that our committee in our report was able to set aside the provision that the economic union provision was to be entrenched in the constitution. But those are the concerns that speak to a fundamental misconception about Ontario and its role in Canada at this time, as reflected by the policy of this government and the policies that have been enunciated by the Premier of this province.

It is not possible any longer to say that what is good for Ontario is good for Canada. It is not possible to pursue that conception of the federation. It is not possible to make the kind of distinction the Premier makes: He likes to talk about Ottawa as the national government; I like to talk about Ottawa as the federal government. That is what it is; it is the federal government. There is a mile of distinction between the use of those two terms. It reflects the kind of position that perhaps Sir John A. Macdonald had when he moved from being one of the leading statesmen of the union into the Confederation and went to Ottawa, the kind of outlook that is reflected in the studies that have been done and the biographies that have been written about the motivations and political objectives of Sir John A. Macdonald.

I am suggesting that is no longer an adequate model for Ontario in the Canada as we know it and as it must exist, if that failure to which I have addressed the main theme of my remarks is to be overcome. It is a funny sense; it comes through to me. I had an opportunity to look at a brief life- sketch of the other Macdonald, John Sandfield Macdonald, the first Premier of this province after Confederation, and it was quite an interesting comment he made. I felt it was appropriate to the government of Ontario that the administration of John Sandfield Macdonald was more a postscript to the past than a preview of the future, and I have a funny sense that the Premier and the government of this province are about to become a postscript to the past rather than a preview of the future. I think it is extremely important that we understand the nature of the change which must be made in the country.

One can ask me, and quite rightly must ask me, what is the alternative? As usual, rather than me expressing it, I always find expressed somewhere much more adequately and articulately what I want to see about this country. I quote from a book called Canada’s Burden of Unity, an introduction:

10:20 p.m.

“If Canadians were to finally accept regionalism as a fact of their national lives and use it as a foundation for the development of truly national policies and attitudes, it could well prove to be a blessing. Unfortunately, federal policies, the attitudes of central Canadian governments and the biases of so-called national institutions such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have painted regionalism with the brush of divisiveness, disunity and even treason. Influences tending to strengthen regional power are balkanizing, while those working to increase the central power are in the national interest. But this is true only if what is good for central Canada is also good for Canada.”

That is the change: A qualitatively different approach and direction must be given. The 11 men are no longer capable of giving it. They have run out of the collective imagination needed to understand what the country is about.

When they talk about balkanization, my sense of history says to me they must be saying the Ottoman Empire was preferable to the present Balkan states, or that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was preferable to the independent states of Europe at the present time. That must be what they mean. If I have to choose between living in one of the Balkan states or in one of the states of western Europe at the present time, or under the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Ottoman Empire, I will choose the balkanized one, any time. That is a very real danger this country is faced with, unless we understand the message of the qualitative difference in approach which must be taken.

I have gone on at great length. Let me close and take my seat with this tribute to the 10 Premiers and the one Prime Minister, the 11 first ministers, the 11 men of Canada, with apologies and gratitude to the ancient Hindu fable of the blind man and the elephant and its long-forgotten minstrel, to John Godfrey Saxe, who gave us our English version, and perhaps to my mother, who taught it to me. I want to dedicate this to those 11 men of Canada.

It was 11 men of Canada

To confronting much inclined,

Who went to see the elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind.

And so these men of Canada

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right

And all of them were wrong.

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I will commence, but I am not sure I will finish within the time allotted all that I wish to say. But, as with many subjects in this particular Legislature, we are sometimes devoid of sufficient time for all members to speak on a particular subject and indeed to represent their people fully on such a very important topic.

This committee commenced -- I and others have used the words -- in an aura of redundancy. When the first ministers were meeting, we were trying to decide in which direction we might go. Indeed we did find a direction. We started on those very same 12 topics the first ministers commenced their work on. To our great consternation, surprise and dismay, those 12 topics were doomed to failure very quickly. When we look back on it, the words of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) come back to us ringing in their accuracy about those bureaucrats who patronizingly gave us an audience -- and I use that word “audience” -- in Ottawa. Their minds even at that particular time were made up on the direction in which they were going, the direction in which they were going to advise their politicians to go -- directions possibly the politicians had put together at that particular time.

So, early on in our committee’s work, they had decided on their direction, and it made our deliberations redundant.

However, having put that together, when we look now upon what we have created -- this small binder done up in a very picturesque blue -- we have really created something that is a condensation. In my office, being a type of orderly individual, I have something like four feet of paper, and that has been condensed into these few pages.

That was a horrendous task and much to the credit of the members on the committee and much to the credit of our staff, and I give accolades to each and every one of our staff who has been named in Hansard by the other members of this Legislature. They did a glowing job, a job not many people in this Legislature are called upon to do. We worked within a time frame and under a commitment that we must get something done and put something on paper. We were trying to give ourselves something more than we have been commended for even by our own members, by the media and by the actual formation of what was taking place.

I believe it was the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), who has sat through most of the deliberations this evening, who from time to time condemned the travelling. I also listened to the member for Riverdale, who gave his reflections on our travel. It is unfortunate that this country is so large, that we do not all gain this advantage of travel. We should have the opportunity to see our fellow Canadians. To go so far north and so far west in such a short time, and to spend many hours on planes, in airports and in motel rooms, was an experience. Yet throughout we were meeting people across Canada who all said, “I am a Canadian,” in French or in English.

We saw how they portrayed themselves, how they did want it. The members from Yukon said, “Do you know how much it cost us to travel down to that central part of Canada?” They described how it was extremely expensive. Because of the expense, many people do not see some of the features of this country. We, as legislators, deserve this opportunity because of the duty we have to perform. We get this provided for us and we get that sense of politics, that sense of grandeur, that sense of this country, so we can put it down on paper and show the direction in which we are going.

I am going to try to put this together in the perspective of what we are going to do today and compare it to 1867. I have commented before that the work Mr. Pierre Elliott Trudeau is doing now with this very constitution may be symbolic only, except the great thing will be patriation.

We had some British parliamentarians before our committee unofficially, and they spoke of what may take place. But there is still that feeling of colonialism that is apparent even in Ottawa today, that we will put it together here and give it to them to pass. How much better it would be if we could say to Britain: “Repeal the BNA Act. Let us say goodbye. We have no strings attached to you. You will not have on your books even a vestige of an act that we have put together. Just repeal what is about Canada. We are a big people; we can take care of ourselves.”

How much better it would be if our leaders could have come to that conclusion without having one word of the British Parliament to do what we should be doing on this side of the ocean. We are no longer something that has to be dealt with in some other legislative forum in this world. We are on our own. We have not yet achieved this in 1980. We did not have it in 1967, and I do not think we have advanced much further since. But we are still going there.

I would have hoped that we would have come at least to that conclusion, but we must look at all that is going on. I hark back to Mr. Hatfield’s words that, if he wanted a constitution, there are many constitutional lawyers out there with one in their desk.

What we are doing cannot be done devoid of what is around us, devoid of the economics, devoid of the politicians, devoid of our social structures, devoid of what is possible within a political system and within a climate that produces constitutions. The constitutions of the world are not produced in a political vacuum; thus, our report is not produced in a political vacuum. It is a consensus, although the exculpatory phrase is at the beginning. Some of us will not agree to some parts of it and some of us will not agree to other parts of it. We must recognize that this constitution and our report are not produced in a social and political vacuum.

I notice the clock is getting down to that zenith hour of 10:30 of the evening and I will adjourn the debate on that. I hope, if it is possible, that we will be given longer time in the future to debate this and possibly the resolution of the federal Parliament.

On motion by Mr. G. Taylor, the debate was adjourned.

The Deputy Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 28(a), the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) registered his dissatisfaction with an answer to a question by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea). However, I see neither of those members present. Therefore, I must consider that request withdrawn.

The House adjourned at 10:31 p.m.