Monday 12 August 1991

Denise Réaume

Ontario Metis Aboriginal Association .

Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters

Election of acting Chair



Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)

Vice-Chair: Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South NDP)

Curling, Alvin (Scarborough North L)

Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC)

Gigantes, Evelyn (Ottawa Centre NDP)

Harnick, Charles (Willowdale PC)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls NDP)

Malkowski, Gary (York East NDP)

Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex NDP)

Offer, Steven (Mississauga North L)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

Winninger, David (London South NDP)


Drainville, Dennis (Victoria-Haliburton NDP) for Mr Silipo

Marland, Margaret (Mississauga South PC) for Mr Eves

Clerk: Brown, Harold


Drummond, Alison, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1407 in room 151.

The Vice-Chair: The committee will come to order. We would like to welcome those tuning in to the parliamentary channel for our third week of hearings on Ontario in Confederation. We have lined up this week, as in the first two weeks, a number of witnesses to speak to this committee specifically on issues we have put forward to them to get responses as to where they think Ontario should be going in regard to our role in Confederation.


The Vice-Chair: We have with us today Denise Réaume, who is a professor at the faculty of law at the University of Toronto. Just for the benefit of the members, our first presenters were supposed to be here at 2 o'clock, but their plane has been delayed. They should be with us a little bit later, so we switched the order. We will start with Miss Réaume, if you would go ahead.

Miss Réaume: I would like to start by thanking the committee for the opportunity to make this presentation, and to preface my remarks on some of the specific questions asked by the committee on the question of language protections by saying at the outset that I support minority language rights and by telling you a little bit about why.

In my view, the why goes to back to one's vision of Confederation. I look upon Confederation as an agreement between two substantial and thriving communities, an agreement that the members of each of those communities could look forward to a future in which they and their descendants could carry on participating in the cultural community each group had built on this continent up to that time.

That each group would want to carry on its community does not seem to me an unreasonable desire. Indeed, it would have been outrageous if either group had sought to make the other's surrender of its cultural future a condition for its participation in Confederation. I refer to this as an agreement by each to recognize the right of the other to cultural security.

It is to our eternal shame that we did not even consider including the first nations in this agreement, and we have never given much thought to the justice of the easy assumption that later immigrants would want to learn English and French even at the cost of their own mother tongues. But these failures provide no justification for failing to honour the understanding that was achieved in 1867 between the English and French.

As a component of cultural security, the 1867 Constitution sought to foster linguistic security through the institutions that seemed most central to the Victorian legal mind, the courts and the legislatures. Other institutions and services have since come to occupy a more central role in most people's lives. Hence, government services and education were belatedly added to the Constitution in 1982.

The foundation of all of these rights in an undertaking of mutual respect for each other's culture makes their continued protection a matter of justice. Despite this, our history has been replete with attempts by the anglophone community at both the federal and provincial levels to renege on that original agreement. Almost whenever possible, governments have defied the letter of the law. Compliance has usually had to be wrested through whatever threat advantage the government and people of the province of Quebec could muster.

For most of our history, anglophone governments have never even tried to live up to the spirit of the 1867 Constitution. Only since 1969 has this begun to change. The change may turn out to have been too little too late. No one should be surprised, then, at the anger among the Québécois or that many now think they are better off going their own way. One can also understand, even if not condone, why Anglo-Quebeckers are being made to feel the brunt of this anger.

In the context of this version of the Canadian story, I would like to address two of the questions the committee poses on the subject of the roles of English and French. First, in the event of the separation of Quebec, would or should the constitutional position of francophone minorities in the rest of Canada change, and second, are the existing constitutional protections for linguistic minorities adequate?

Let me begin with the scenario of Quebec separation. Most people think this is a straightforward matter of numbers. Without Quebec, francophones constitute 5% of the Canadian population -- the same, I might add, as the percentage of the Ontario population. Does it make sense, people then say, to continue providing protections for a mere 5% of the population? This way of formulating the question is usually the prelude to a negative answer. In my view, the question is more complicated.

We must also consider the nature of the protections involved, their meaning for minority communities, the importance of minority communities and the nature of the sacrifice their continuation requires, as well as the history of Canada's settlement that led to the existing numbers.

To begin with the nature of existing protections, some are under federal jurisdiction and some under provincial. Federal protections involve the ability to use either official language in the Legislature, and the federal courts, and their joint use in the enactment of federal laws and the provision of government services.

I can illustrate my first point by reference to the use of either language in the Legislature and of both in legislation. I will then turn to whether provinces should have to continue to provide minority-language education services.

Currently Parliament has in place the machinery to secure the right to a bilingual Legislature. Translation facilities are available both in the House and for Hansard. Government lawyers are trained to draft legislation in both languages. There is no doubt that this machinery is in fact in place now because of Quebec; that is to say, because the operation of the government would have been politically untenable without it. But given that it exists, given that all the work has been put in to create some machinery, why should we withdraw it just because Quebec separates?

There will still be francophone communities that will benefit from its maintenance. At least parts of New Brunswick and Ontario will continue to send francophone members of Parliament to Ottawa, and one million francophone citizens will still occasionally need to consult the law to govern their affairs and will benefit from being able to follow debates in the House of Commons in their own language.

Translation and bilingual enactment undoubtedly cost something, but before we decide it is too much let us consider the deeper cost to the francophone community of discontinuing them and any countervailing benefits to the community as a whole of maintaining them.

If the chief legal and political institutions of this country operate exclusively in English, that sends out a powerful message. Anyone from the francophone community wanting to pursue a career, for example, in any part of these sectors will have to work exclusively in English and will therefore gear his education and training to that end.

That will undoubtedly exacerbate existing pressures towards assimilation as well as weaken the francophone community by bleeding it of some of its most talented members. Thus the consequence of abandoning these rights is not just that the occasional MP will have to speak English when she or he would have preferred to use French; the viability of the entire community is impaired by making English the language of success.

Second, we must not forget the benefits to the entire community of maintaining our bilingual capacity. We will continue to have to deal with a separate Quebec in trade and other matters. To support the francophone community will help to ensure that we will have a body of qualified people who can comfortably participate in bilateral endeavours in French. Thus Quebec's departure from Canada does not mean it will cease to make sense to promote some degree of French-English bilingualism in the country that remains.

I should add that the same arguments dictate that Ontario not dismantle the extra constitutional protections it has begun to put in place in the last decade.

Next, we should consider whether to continue the provincial obligation to provide minority-language education. It goes without saying that the arguments above are doubly powerful with respect to education, but here there is a further reason for thinking that the withdrawal of Quebec should make no difference.

The existing provisions concerning education already make the entitlement to services hinge on a numbers requirement that is locally, not nationally, determined; that is, one must be able to establish that there are enough eligible students in a particular area to warrant the provision of the requested service.

Since this numbers requirement is locally determined, I can see no reason why the presence or absence of Quebec within Confederation should make any difference to whether the services are provided. If there are enough children in Essex county, for example, to justify a French-language high school, there remain enough even though their percentage of the Canadian population at large has changed.

These arguments are strengthened, I think, by considering how the 5% came to be 5%. In fact, these numbers are not the result of laissez-faire settlement trends and meaningful free choice. Instead, the level of francophone population outside Quebec has in large part been engineered by a variety of government policies, none of them supportive of community growth.

Two of the most glaring examples concern immigration and education. After Confederation, the federal government deliberately sought out English-speaking immigrants to populate Canada, both for Ontario and to settle the west. Later, the government turned to non-English speakers from other parts of Europe, but continued through a variety of policies to make it easier for a European immigrant to come to Canada and settle in the west than for a Québécois to migrate across his or her own country to do the same, and this at a time when the Québécois were migrating to the United States in search of work because there was not enough in their home province.

Thus the francophone communities outside Quebec are almost completely composed of descendants of communities predating Confederation. No other groups, certainly not the English, can say they have had no supplementation of their numbers since Confederation through immigration practices.

To complement these federal policies, every English-speaking province at one time deliberately sought to discourage if not totally prohibit existing communities from carrying on their language by teaching it through the school system. Who can say what the size of these communities would be now if not for this continued government harassment and the putting up of obstacles in the way of community growth? However, it seems a safe bet that they would constitute much more than 5% of the population.


Under these circumstances, it would be the height of bad faith to abandon the protections these communities have fought long and hard for because minority numbers are not high enough. There may come a day, despite government support, when the population will decline to a level which makes continued support pointless; that is, when the community is not large enough to sustain any meaningful cultural life on its own. Continued government measures in this case would be like life support measures on a person who is brain-dead. But we are not there yet, and we cannot justify killing an existing community now because it may someday die anyway. That would be to ignore utterly the needs and aspirations of the present members of the francophone communities.

Second, there may also come a time, if it is not already here, when other language groups will have attained a size that permits them to sustain a community life in their own language. Such groups may also then be justified in making a claim for government protection.

In considering such claims, we need not, however, be bound by the existing model of language protection. Other groups may have different ideas about how they want their language supported. Its use in the Legislature may not be as important as other forms of support, for example. Given the settlement patterns of more recent immigrants, it may make more sense to think of language rights at the provincial or even the municipal level rather than the national level. For example, it may make sense to give Chinese some sort of official status in British Columbia, while it may be Ukrainian in Saskatchewan and Italian in Ontario.

Having concluded that the separation of Quebec from Canada should make no difference to the continuation of the existing language protections, let me turn to the question of whether those existing protections are adequate.

While I could suggest improvements to the substance of the existing scheme, in my view the chief weakness of that scheme has to do not with the content of the rights accorded, but with their enforcement or the remedial aspect of the regime. An important feature of the existing regime is that it imposes positive requirements on government. Instead of simply having to forbear from objectionable behaviour, the government must do certain things for people. This sometimes requires the creation of elaborate administrative and institutional structures. Let me illustrate the implications this has for the effective protection of rights by reference to the development of policy concerning minority-language schools in the last decade.

In 1982, section 23 was enacted as part of the charter, according to children who met certain criteria the right to be educated in their mother tongue. What follows is a synopsis of what happened in many provinces in the wake of this new provision. I will not name names here, but this general description was true of many provinces, not, I am happy to say, Ontario.

In many provinces, the government response to section 23 was simply to do nothing, even in provinces that had little or nothing in the way of provision for French-language instruction in place. Time passed while parents gradually realized that in fact the province was doing nothing, and so those parents began to organize and formulate their own demands. A lobbying effort followed and the governments gradually started discussions, halfheartedly in most cases, with these parents' groups. Ultimately, after the passage of considerable time, the government would announce its plan. The scheme announced would a minimal one, wholly unsatisfactory to the parents.

Finally, having nowhere else to turn, these parents' groups began to initiate litigation to test the extent of the obligations imposed by section 23. The litigation itself took several years to wind its way up to the Supreme Court of Canada. To make matters worse, all along the way the litigants encountered a serious reluctance on the part of the judiciary to get too involved in what the courts thought was the legislative task of designing a school system.

Thus, although having substantially succeeded in their litigation, parents' groups still must return to a policy drawing board that is substantially controlled by the government, a government which has already proven itself, in many of these instances, reluctant to move in the direction the parents want.

Almost 10 years after the enactment of section 23, it has been estimated that only half the children who are eligible for French-language instruction outside the province of Quebec actually have access to it, 10 years during which a large group of children have been essentially denied their constitutional rights just because it has taken this long, and it is still not over, for the provinces to put in place the machinery that will make those rights meaningful. When you think about it, that is nearly an entire cohort of children moving through the school system. Children who would have been in grade 10 now have had their entire education in English and could have had it in French if the provinces had acted properly.

Thus, the articulation of a right to positive government action without attention to how to compel such action in a timely fashion can be an empty promise. A government unsympathetic to the objective can impose serious obstacles to its achievement and in the process exhaust an already fragile community to the point where it simply ceases to press for its rights.

Some might argue that this means such rights should not be entrenched in the first place. However, if that were true, we should have to repeal several rights already in the Constitution that are taken to be fundamental in our society. For example, the Constitution protects the right to vote. It is easy to see this as a prohibition on barring an eligible voter from the polling booth, for example, and thus as purely negative. However, that ignores the complex web of government action that produces the polling booth itself. Electoral boundaries must be drawn, officials appointed, ballots printed, staff hired, ballots counted. The right to vote does not conjure up in most minds all this activity on the government's part because we are fortunate to live in a state in which it would be unthinkable for a government to try to evade those responsibilities.

But once a minority-language school system is in place, the right to an education might also be reconceived as the merely negative right of a child not to be turned away at the schoolhouse door. Neither of these rights is more positive than the other. The difference between them is that the positive obligations imposed on the government by the right to vote have already been carried out by every jurisdiction in this country and no one would think of challenging them, whereas with respect to the language protection it seems more positive because most of the work remains to be done and there is political resistance to doing it.

In this context, the creation of new positive rights requires attention to their enforcement. The Constitution cannot include a detailed blueprint, a complete design of a school system, for example, but it could include deadlines by which government must take action, create consultative bodies to facilitate minority input into policy formulation or require a review of government proposals either by the courts or by a special constitutional body.

Let me just conclude by summarizing my main two points: First, Quebec separation provides no reason for reducing the protections now enjoyed by francophones. Without Quebec, there will continue to be French-speaking communities that will benefit from them and to whom a historic debt is owed. Their flourishing will in turn enrich the larger community. Second, the main failing of the existing provisions is that their enforcement can be too costly in money, political energy and time, leaving minority communities still relatively at the mercy of hostile majorities.

Thank you again for your attention and I would be glad to answer any questions you might have.


Mr Malkowski: Your presentation really helped me in terms of understanding language rights. Could you clarify something for me, please? You spoke of recognizing the Chinese language at an official status in BC. What do you mean by that? Do you mean by providing language translation or cultural interpreters?

Miss Réaume: In fact there are many countries, many jurisdictions around the world, where some language other than the majority language is given official status. But what that means varies enormously from one country to another. In Canada what that means at the national level is that French and English can be used in certain forums: in the courts, in the Legislature. You have a right as well to have federal government services provided in your choice of official language, and you have the right to schooling in your language. Those are the protections that we have created in Canada that made sense for our country in 1867 and again in 1982. We give that the label of "official language" status, but there is no magic to those particular provisions. What makes sense, what sort of provisions should be put in place for any particular community, should depend on the needs of that community.

A good example is what happened in Manitoba after the Supreme Court of Canada decided that all the legislation of the province had to be re-enacted in French because it had originally only been enacted in English and that was in violation of Manitoba's responsibilities under the Constitution. What the government did was enter into negotiations with the francophone community to say: "It's going to cost an awful lot of money to re-enact all of that legislation, almost 100 years worth of legislation. Is there a better use we could put that money to that would make more sense for your community, providing a wider range of provincial government services, for example?" Initially the francophone community was much more attracted by the idea of providing provincial services to the Manitoba francophone community in its own language than it was in spending the money on having legislation translated. That deal fell through in the end, but that is an example.

In deciding what to do with respect to the Chinese in British Columbia, for example, we have to go to those people and say: "What kind of support would help you? What kind of support would allow you to maintain your language as a vibrant part of your community?" It might be provincial government services. It might be municipal services, if the Chinese-speaking population is almost exclusively situated in the city of Vancouver, for example. It may not be the same sorts of things.

One thing seems relatively constant, though, and that is education. In my view, it is extremely likely that any group that is going to be seeking some form of protection for its language is going to want to do it in some way or other through the school system.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you very much for a very enlightening presentation. I talk to francophones quite often, since I represent a riding in and come from the nation's capital, Ottawa. I have worked with francophones very closely since 1972, particularly on the educational issues. In all those cases, I have come to the conclusion, very gradually, mind you, in my case, that it is mandatory that French-language communities have governance of French-language education. I was representing francophone communities and began to realize I was not doing that nearly as well as somebody who would have shared culture and language.

In any case, I speak to francophones very frequently, and I am getting more and more, particularly as they know I am working in this area in the Legislature right now, that they do not feel Bill 8 will protect them if Quebec separates. As late as last Thursday evening, I had a long discussion with a very high-profile leader of the francophone Ontario community. That was his impression.

I find that very difficult, because when I started to see this devolution or evolvement or whatever the term is going to be in the end, and the result will determine which is the best verb, I thought: "Isn't it great that Ontario has had the foresight to put this into legislation? Bill 8 will protect our francophones." Francophones I am speaking to do not share that same sense of security if Quebec separates. I am wondering if you can enlighten me a bit about that.

Miss Réaume: There is likely more than one thing going on. I think one of the fundamental aspects of the Franco-Ontarian psyche that you have to understand is that this is a community which has lived since Confederation in an environment which has largely been hostile to its continued existence. It is only very recently that Ontario began to put in place the range of services, etc, that are now available to the francophone community. Ontario was one of the ones that banned the teaching of French in the schools in 1912. Even after they allowed it again, it was in such a fashion as to make this an impossible vehicle for the actual continuation of the culture. It was, "Okay, you can teach French in the school one morning a week," sort of thing. That is just not sufficient to allow a group to continue its language.

So these are people who have lived in an environment which has been largely hostile to their continued existence. It is not the least bit surprising under those circumstances that they should feel much more insecure than you do about whether the provisions which are now in place, which have no constitutional authority and which could be changed tomorrow if the government changed, are actually going to do the trick.

The other factor goes back to this question about enforcement. It is very easy for a government to frustrate the actual legislative regime that is in place, frustrate it in substance if not actually disobey the law, by simply dragging its heels on any number of levels, by simply making people have to ask and ask and ask to get what they are entitled to under the legislation. Nobody will go on doing that for ever. People will give up in frustration and despair at some point.

It is not enough that there is a law on the books that says you have a right to X, Y or Z. What the francophone community needs to know is that this province is dedicated in spirit as well as by the letter of the law to actually providing a meaningful range of protections that will support these communities. It is not helped by incidents like making cities unilingually English, for example, or the various English rights groups getting on to the front pages of the newspapers with their anti-French rhetoric. That certainly does not help these people feel they should feel secure about their continued existence.

There is another thing that I think is going on there, though. I do not think there is any doubt in anyone's mind that to survive as 5% of the population -- that is the francophone percentage of the Ontario population -- in a context in which there is not the same degree of bilateral exchange across the Quebec border that there is now, the same kind of supports, cultural and otherwise, that there are now, is going to be an uphill battle. It may not succeed in the end no matter what degree of government protection is provided.

For example, the many demographers keeping their eye on the long-run predictions will say: "Given the past assimilation rates in Ontario, it is only a matter of time. By the year 2015 or something there will be no more Franco-Ontarians. Therefore, why don't we just stop this nonsense now? They are doomed anyway." Well, it may be that they are. There may be nothing we can do about that. Languages have died out in the past and language groups in a particular area have died out in the past, but the ones that are here now are still very much alive and kicking. Even if the demographers are correct about the predictions for the future, the people who are here now deserve the services they are now being provided with.


Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. One of the things that was quite interesting when we were travelling in the winter was that the question was asked of a number of representatives of the francophone community what they felt would be the impact on their rights in the event Quebec separated, or whether they derived any strength from the existence of Quebec in Confederation as we have it now. The answer was no, that they derived their rights, whatever they may be, by the mere fact that they are Ontarians and had been for generations upon generations. I believe that is much in line with what you have been saying. I think that was borne out in terms of the representation we heard, and it is quite interesting how your presentation just flows very naturally from that.

You say, and I have written down some of the comments, that rights are rights but the real issue is the enforcement of those particular rights, and that is the role of governments, be they provincial, federal, municipal or regional. I think we have received a lesson in the whole question of Bill 8, not necessarily over the rights but the obligation in terms of government making certain the general population is informed what it is doing, why it is doing it and how it is doing it. If they fail in that respect, an awful lot of not nice things happen. I am wondering -- it is really almost a reaction to an improper message getting out -- if you might want to share with us whether you see that as a crucial aspect of the points you are bringing to this committee today.

Miss Réaume: I am sure that it is. What has been done through Bill 8 is to put in place a whole range of services that did not exist in the past, so of course you have to tell people that this is available to them now. Quite frankly, in a lot of francophone communities, the first time people would hear of such a thing, they would probably disbelieve the message bearer, given Ontario's history. "You're telling me that I can go to court and I can speak French to the judge and the judge is going to understand me?" This was unthinkable in times past.

All of a sudden this is not only thinkable but doable. Of course you are going to have to get the message out to the people who can make use of those services, not only that the service is there, but that they really can use it without jeopardizing their situation. For too long in the past, the right to use French in the courts, for example, was a paper-only right in the sense that, sure, if you went to court and started speaking French they would not throw handcuffs on you and drag you out; but the judge, if he or she could understand at all, probably would not be terribly used to this and might be a little bit cranky about having to dredge up that rusty old French from his or her brain or about getting the translator in to translate the whole business. Litigants are not foolish. They know darn well that if they have irritated the judge, chances are things are not going to go their way in the action.

It is not enough to just have these things on paper. What is necessary is to get the message across that these services are finally being willingly provided and are going to be fully available to the community. At the same time, the government has to do what it can to prevent those who are opposed at any cost and on all grounds to the measures in the first place from trying to distort what is being done so as to whip up sentiment in communities that are going to be against anything you do for the francophone minority.

That has been the main problem with Bill 8, all these scaremongers going around saying, "Oh, this means everything is going to be bilingual the day after tomorrow and nobody in this province will be able to get a job at General Motors on the assembly line if he can't speak both French and English." That is just utterly ridiculous. There is no way you can completely control that kind of behaviour on the part of critics, but the government has to do whatever it can to make sure accurate information is out there to counter that kind of scaremongering.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. Do you have any short closing comments at this point?

Miss Réaume: Just that I wish the committee well in its deliberations.


The Vice-Chair: Next, our presenters who were supposed to be here finally made it in. I take it their plane was delayed, from what I was told. We have from the Ontario Metis and Aboriginal Association the president of that association, Olaf Bjornaa, along with the legislative co-ordinator, Harry Daniels. Perhaps you would come forward, please. I see the clerk has a copy of the brief, which he will distribute among the committee.

Mr Bjornaa: I will let Mr Daniels, our co-ordinator, read out our brief. He can go through it and we will be willing to answer any questions.

The Vice-Chair: You have an hour.

Mr Daniels: First of all, I want to apologize for being tardy in our appearance here, but we do not control Canadian Airlines International. We had our plane break down at the airport in Sault Ste Marie and had to wait for another. Consequently we got here quite late, and we apologize for that, although it is not our fault in the final analysis.

We want to thank you for putting time aside and apologize again for not appearing the last time we were supposed to be here because of a mixup in the communications in our office.

I will read the presentation and we will answer the questions you may have. I do not know what title you gave me, sir, when you came in here, but I am the chief negotiator for OMAA. I heard something different on the way up.

OMAA has appeared before this committee before and made recommendations, but at this time we will present what we feel to be substantive and positive recommendations for changes to the Canadian Constitution. Let me preface my statement by saying that while we harbour a certain degree of optimism in view of recent Supreme Court decisions, we also retain a healthy pessimism for the process. The four constitutional hearings held on aboriginal rights deteriorated into a debate on the effect that they would have on provincial powers. We were faced with a wall of provincial protectionism and intractability.

I see our first vice-president, Henry Wetelainen, has joined us.

The recent signing of the statement of political relationships between the Ontario government and the chiefs in assembly is but another step in the right direction, and may be the beacon that leads the way to a more positive relationship between the aboriginal people and Canada.

In response to your memorandum of July 3, 1991, inviting OMAA to make a presentation, we will deal with section 5 in the order that items are presented.

Self-government: The right to self-government should be included in the Constitution of Canada by a simple resolution stating that the aboriginal people of Canada have the right to self-government. In order to better understand self-government, another approach would be to include the right to education, culture, language, land, natural resources, hunting, fishing and trapping, and guaranteed representation in all legislatures, to name a few. Perhaps this would add a new perspective which would allow government and Canadians to understand that to exercise these rights, the aboriginal people must practise self-government.

A formula could be developed whereby:

1. The federal government would retain exclusive authority in certain matters;

2. The province would retain exclusive authority in certain matters, in keeping with the Constitution;

3. The aboriginal people would assume certain powers and share others in bilateral and trilateral arrangements with the federal and provincial governments; and

4. The exclusivity and sharing of powers would be determined through negotiation.

Inserting the rights of aboriginal people in the Constitution would be the easy part. The methodology of implementation and transference of powers would prove to be the hardest mountain to climb.

Constitutional responsibility -- "Indians and lands reserved for the Indians": There should be a substantive change to class 24 of section 91 of the British North America Act, 1867. This now is inconsistent with section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which states that the aboriginal people of Canada are the Indians, Inuit and Metis. As it sits, 91(24) is archaic, exclusionary and selective in the treatment of aboriginal people. It adheres to the old British imperial notion that they will decide who the aboriginal people of Canada will be.

The weight of evidence over the years suggests that by a process both of omission and commission, the federal government has tended to erode and reduce its responsibilities to native peoples. The effect has been to fragment a people originally recognized in the Constitution collectively as "Indian" into registered Indians, urban Indians, non-status Indians, Inuit, Metis, treaty Indians, non-treaty Indians, etc, ad nauseam.

One result of this legal administrative dispersal of the native people has been to create hopelessly confused jurisdictional tangles to deprive aboriginal people of their land, resources and badly needed services, and to dilute their sense of identity and community. This process has also served the purpose of decreasing the number of people who are recognized by the federal government as having special status. We believe the Constitution confers special status on the Metis, along with its associated benefits and rights. This fact is well established in history.


Our recommendation is to delete the words "Indians and lands reserved for the Indians" in class 24 of section 91 and substitute the words "Aboriginal people of Canada and lands reserved and to be reserved for the aboriginal peoples of Canada." This change is non-threatening to anyone and effectively puts the responsibility for all aboriginal people with the federal government. The provision of service would be determined through negotiations, through equalization payments and lateral transfers of funding and resources to the aboriginal people.

Three founding nations: What do we really mean by unity in Canada? It must centre around a strong sense of national identity, of course, but an identity which has respect for and embraces all cultures. This is impossible if we insist on maintaining the delusion that there were only two founding cultures in Canada. What happens then to the culturally vibrant and linguistically diverse groups that have existed here from time immemorial? With 56 aboriginal languages in Canada, how can we be focused only on bilingualism? In the face of historic reality, only the most hardened élitist could write off aboriginal cultures as having made no contribution to Canadian life. Can we possibly accept this élitist attitude and still seriously expect to develop, foster and preserve Canadian unity? It hardly seems possible.

Another fundamental omission in the constitutional amendments is some tangible recognition that aboriginal people were the original inhabitants of this country, and that from the start they played a vital and indispensable role in founding and shaping its development. Absent-minded and passing references to this fact in brochures are patronizing and do not constitute real recognition. A few examples picked out of a historical continuum will illustrate that Canada today might have a very different geographic configuration -- if indeed it would have existed at all -- had it not been for the crucial role played by its native people.

People of Indian origin originally held title and enjoyed the rights of use and possession over the total area of what is now called Canada. This fact was recognized from an aboriginal perspective by the Royal Proclamation of 1763, which in turn provided the basis for subsequent treaties and other means of extinguishing aboriginal land title. This process was not accomplished entirely without conflict, but the conflict was minimal compared to the costly wars of extermination which were fought in the United States of America. The aboriginal people in Canada, for the most part, co-operated peacefully as allies and partners in the business of founding a nation, and expected in return that promises which had to do with their lands and cultural and economic survival would be kept. It is still not too late to honour these promises.

As allies, aboriginal nations also played a central role in historical events leading to the formation of Canada. After capitulation, Quebec was regarded as a British Franco-Indian province in deference to the major groups shaping its destiny. During the wars with the United States, Indian forces held the balance of power in Canada and had a critical part to play in protecting their country's borders from persistent encroachments from the south.

The Metis of the northwest formed the first provisional government under Louis Riel in 1869 and laid the foundation for the creation of Manitoba and its subsequent entry into Confederation. It was the Metis who insisted on federation with Canada and resisted American annexation policies. Two Metis wars of resistance were fought to protect their land rights and to gain such other democratic freedoms as representation in Parliament, language rights for both French and English, etc. The Manitoba Act was a negotiated response to the demands of Riel's provisional government and a condition of its dissolution.

In short, we are saying the rights of indigenous peoples must be protected by the Constitution. The inclusion of the aboriginal people as members of the founding nations of Canada can either appear in a preamble or a Canada clause, whichever is the strongest and most enforceable.

The word "existing" in subsection 35(1) has proven to be a major stumbling block in constitutional talks with aboriginal people. The removal of the word "existing" would clear the way for enshrining aboriginal rights in the Constitution. Those rights we outlined earlier.

In order to ensure that section 35, as it exists, protects and guarantees the rights of aboriginal people, any amendment to the Constitution directly affecting the aboriginal people must be subject to a consent clause. Section 35 must include a clause or section that would ensure that the aboriginal people attend a constitutional conference on any subject which may have an effect on them. There must be commitment to the aboriginal people and steps taken to enforce section 35 by way of amendments on commitment and enforcement, instructing governments of their responsibility and trust.

The Constitution should guarantee native representation in the House of Commons in proportion to their numbers after an accurate enumeration of the population by the decennial census. Until an accurate census is completed, about 5% to 10% of seats in the House of Commons should be reserved for native peoples with due consideration for Atlantic and northern Canada. A separate native electoral roll should be compiled and those entitled to register under this roll must meet normal electoral qualifications, such as age, citizenship and residency, and also identify as an Indian, Inuit or Metis.

Native people should have the choice of opting for registration on either the general electoral roll or the native electoral roll or for both. Native electoral constituencies should be established across Canada and the number of native seats should be redistributed at the time of general redistribution after the decennial census, by a separate electoral boundary commission.

A voting system -- for example, list system or preferential system -- should be worked out by negotiation between representatives of the native peoples and the government of Canada. Similar constitutional guarantees for native representation in provincial legislatures and territorial assemblies should be made. The Constitution should guarantee the appointment of native peoples to the Senate in proportion to their numbers.

While we are not from the Yukon or Northwest Territories, we think that political and constitutional development in the Yukon and Northwest Territories should proceed towards provincehood. The claims of the aboriginal people must be satisfied before this process is completed, to ensure that the land grab that happened in the south is not repeated in the north. It may at this time be too late. The development of their governments must reflect the distinctiveness of the aboriginal peoples and be structured to ensure their rights are guaranteed and protected for all time.

All aboriginal languages must be recognized in the Constitution. That is not to say they become the official languages of Canada. It simply means that the Constitution should recognize the aboriginal culture and heritage as an integral part of the national culture. While it is now happening on a small scale, it would serve as an impetus for the education authorities in the provinces and territories to promote the study and retention of aboriginal history, language and culture in the school system.

Unless the aboriginal people and territorial governments are equal partners in Confederation, they will remain as invited guests and witnesses at first ministers' meetings. The aspirations of the aboriginal people must become a priority of the constitutional process, rather than a necessary evil. Going through the motions of constitutional talks on national television can only be characterized as storefront politics. We let the world see the process, and when it fails throw up our hands and say, "Well, we tried."

There is unfinished business. The constitutional talks on aboriginal rights got bogged down for four years on the issue of self-government, ignoring the fact that the 1983 accord on aboriginal rights, which is appended for your information, set an agenda of five items with sub-items. It was agreed that certain amendments to the Constitution Act would be sought in accordance with section 38 of that act. It is time to resurrect the agenda and do what is doable in order that progress be made in the constitutional process and the enshrinement of aboriginal rights.

In conclusion, we believe that Canadian identity must be rooted in its aboriginal heritage. The successive governments have not seen fit to recognize a Canadian identity and culture which is rooted in the land. There has always been the élitist notion through the years that has emerged as "deux nations," and more recently a "distinct society". Who is more distinct than we are? This is the home of our ancestors. During the Meech Lake debate there was a huge emphasis on immigration. This led us to believe that Canada is ruled by separate governments of immigrants catering to immigrants. We are not denying anyone a place to live. What we are stating is that our rights are paramount and must be treated as such. Canada can no longer escape the fact that aboriginal nationalism is Canadian nationalism.


Mrs Marland: Mr Daniels, this is a very powerful presentation. I am going to enjoy rereading it and studying it in depth. You have presented to the committee a number of very important statements which I will consider very seriously. I wanted to ask if you might elaborate for us how you see the guaranteed representation working in all parliaments and legislatures. I was trying to follow you as you quickly read this and I have not seen this presentation in this detail before. Are you in fact suggesting that there would be an electoral roll for aboriginal people across the nation who would elect their own representatives in Ottawa?

Mr Daniels: Yes.

Mrs Marland: So the constituency then for the aboriginal people would be the nation, or would you see it broken up geographically?

Mr Daniels: Certainly, because there are different peoples in this country. We have 56 different languages. We have about seven linguistic groups. We have territorial differences and cultural differences. We are not a homogeneous society. Because we are all brown, we just do not stick around. We are different. We live across the river from Chippewayans and do not even understand their language, but the Crees do, and so on, with the Blackfoots on one side and the Beaver Indians over here. We are not the same people at all.

Mrs Marland: No, I understand that.

Mr Daniels: There has to be something to reflect that. In New Zealand, they have four seats guaranteed in the New Zealand House and the aboriginal people themselves vote for those people who get to enter the House.

Mrs Marland: You have described the people who would be on this electoral roll as being very diverse in language and cultural background. How would you see that working? If you take a number, any number, that would be guaranteed, how would those people be elected by a constituency at large across the nation? Second, if there were to be guaranteed representation in provincial legislatures, how could that be facilitated? How would that work? Would we again have all the aboriginal people on an election roll for a province and each of them allowed to vote for X number of candidates representing all of them?

Mr Daniels: Let's take you back to the basics. We are the first citizens of this country and if we are not guaranteed in any House, or all houses, that our people are going to fight for us, then all we are doing is catering to the wants and needs of a central government. I am not being racist about this when I say this. How can I trust some white person who has no identity with me or my people to protect my rights in the House of Commons? Because we are deemed to be, at this point in history, a conquered people, owed certain rights that are being put in the Constitution, there has to be a protection for us. We have to have our own representation. I do not know what the final formula would be, Mrs Marland. I have no idea. We are offering suggestions.

Mrs Marland: I am not questioning what it is you want. I am simply asking you to help us as to how to consider that as a possibility. If we are going to say that aboriginal people should be guaranteed seats, I think we also have to be able to say who is going to elect them and how they in turn will represent this diverse nation of aboriginal peoples you have so clearly described.

Mr Wetelainen: I think we have spent well over 20 years developing political organizations, in this province and across this country, that have a constituency base and that have numbers with those organizations. It would be settling down to some types of negotiations, such as with the Nishnawbe-Aski, who have an identifiable area, a constituency base and who have developed a mechanism, how they service their people. AIAI, the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians, has the same thing. OMAA has the same thing. A number of organizations spent 20 years developing these institutions. I think it would be natural to start to negotiate with those institutions on a formula by which they would elect representatives to the House.

Mrs Marland: You would see that being broken down on a provincial level as well?

Mr Wetelainen: I think it would be a fairly easy argument because we have already developed this over time. It has already been settled. We have different organizations belonging to different groups and through that they have elected the grand chief of Ontario, and Olaf is elected through our zone corporations and our local communities. This has been done.

Mrs Marland: Mr Daniels, you mentioned New Zealand or Australia.

Mr Daniels: New Zealand.

Mrs Marland: That has guaranteed representation. Are there other countries in the world that have a British parliamentary system that also do that?

Mr Daniels: The state of Maine has a guaranteed seat for the Penobscot Indians. I think it is one seat; I am not sure. Do not quote me on that one, but I know there is guaranteed representation in the state of Maine.

Mrs Marland: But the only other country in the world is New Zealand?

Mr Daniels: To my knowledge, yes. They are talking about it in Sweden. They are talking about it for the Saame people, better known as -- what do they call them? I have forgotten; they have been known as the Saame for so long now -- Laplanders.

Ms Carter: First of all, I would like to express a great deal of sympathy with regard to your position. I think it is great that we are beginning to recognize aboriginal people more and more and to acknowledge the fact that your culture and your view of the world has a great deal to offer to the rest of us. I might even say that I think we rely on you partly to help protect us from ourselves when it comes to devastating the environment and some of the ways we behave. I am also glad there has recently been acknowledgement by churches and other groups of the abuse native people have suffered in the past, that we have admitted things have happened that should not have happened and that we are trying to take a better direction in the future.

Quite a large number of aboriginal people in Canada do not live on reserves or in identifiable groups, but live in the towns and cities and are just, as it were, mixed in with everybody else. I am wondering how those people would be included in the kind of structure you are suggesting. Also, as the generations continue, at what point does somebody cease to be an aboriginal where one gets into marriage?

Mr Daniels: We will decide that.

Ms Carter: I see. Is that your answer to that whole question?

Mr Daniels: No, but at the end, there, that gets me every time. When do you cease? It is almost like you want that whole thing. The Indians are going to disappear and if you keep mixing your blood, you are going to disappear all of a sudden. Who decides that? When and how? Is there a blood quantum you take? My blood boils. I apologize for responding so quickly, but we will decide. It is our right to decide who our people are. If we have that much blood, we want to decide who will be that Indian or Metis.

Ms Carter: I know there has been some internal controversy as regards Metis women who married non-native men and so on.

Mr Daniels: I think Henry would have the answer to that.


Mr Wetelainen: You related to a question about the urban native people. Believe it or not, we have a good handle on who they are and where they come from. The organizations that have been around a long time know each other fairly well. We usually can trace ourselves back either to the treaty we have signed, or if not, to the groups our ancestors have come from. The city of Toronto has 40,000 native people, the statistics are supposed to say. I think that enumeration could be carried out fairly accurately and I think we could probably elect a leadership or a member from that area to represent those people.

I do not think that would be a task beyond our capabilities. I think that would be a fairly simple process, and using the organizations that have existed for a long time, service the needs of those people.

Mr Bjornaa: When I come to Toronto and turn the television on, they say, "This is a Chinese or Japanese area," and I can go on down the line. I think you have already identified what areas and urban areas there are natives in. Turn the television on and it tells you whatever race of people there is. You have told us this for years.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: As usual, it is a very challenging brief. I always say that is what I am going to hear when I am at one of your presentations. I have spent a bit of time this summer in Nova Scotia and in New Brunswick, and you will likely know there is a lot of talk about guaranteed representation in those two provinces at the present time. It does seem to be gaining quite a bit of popular support. I feel the talks are progressing quite well. From what you have said today, I gather you have worked out some of the necessary logistics, which I am very pleased about, because I had not heard those before from any group. I hope this will continue to be one of your inputs to these talks and that this is a possibility. It should be looked at. It certainly is one part of a solution.

We are having parallel talks or parallel constituent assemblies, or whatever is being talked about with the national Assembly of First Nations. As a Metis, are you involved at all in that process or will your process with the federal government and indeed even with ourselves be somewhat parallel to that whole exercise as well?

Mr Daniels: Are you talking nationally?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Yes, I am talking nationally at the moment. I know Mr Clark met with the Metis in at least Manitoba. I do not know whether any of you were there.

Mr Daniels: No, that was the Metis National Council. Right now the Ontario Metis and Aboriginal Association is not affiliated with any national organization. We made representations to Mr Clark to try to get us into the process. We are in the process of answering them. As it is structured right now, we are not affiliated with any national organization, so we are taking steps to see if we can rectify that.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: But you certainly have had a continuing relationship with our government.

Mr Daniels: Yes.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Then you are asking today, although it is not mentioned specifically in your brief, that this be considered, that guaranteed representation would be part of the Ontario Legislature as well as the national Parliament. You have said that?

Mr Daniels: Certainly this is not a new trail we are walking down. The Native Council of Canada proposed it on August 19, 1979, to the federal government. At that point in time, this organization was a member of the NCC. That position has not changed at any time. We have been talking about this for years, prior to that, but we just formalized it in 1979.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Are you in touch with those who are studying this in the Maritimes then, in particular the Micmacs in Nova Scotia? Have you had some kind of communication with those people this summer?

Mr Wetelainen: No, we did not.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: It might be useful for you just to see how they are making out there. As I say, it does seem to be getting quite a high profile. I do not think it is a total answer, but it is certainly part of an answer, I feel, and certainly a way in which you can have regular contact with the existing government.

Mr Wetelainen: We also think it should take some type of steps. We made presentations earlier on, a number of years ago, that we would want representation even at the assistant deputy minister level, at those types of committees, sitting on that. We have made representation to this government, with the memorandum of understanding that recently was almost signed, asking for representation on their special committee of ADMs and to this date we have been refused. You are telling us on the one hand that you want to talk to us and you sign an MOU, and on the other hand then you will not commit your ADMs to meeting with us. The federal government has already done that. We figure there is going to be long ways of talk yet. Sometimes you have to start the process and we find that --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: It might be easier to be part of the political scene than of the bureaucratic scene. At least, it has been easier for me; let's put it that way. Anyway, thank you very much for trying to help us understand how this may happen, because as you say, I think there has been a lot of talk and this is not new. I think the logistics of it, the complexities of it, have made some of us who would have to implement it more hesitant. But you certainly have given us today, with the existing structure and the process that can evolve from that, some very good ideas of how this could happen.

Mr Winninger: I know the minister has met with OMAA on more than one occasion when I have been present to discuss some of the issues, even if you do not feel you have sufficient input at the ADM level.

I just wanted to explore with you the implications of a couple of your recommendations. I have always found the concept of guaranteed representation to be a compelling one, and yet when Gord Peters, speaking for the Chiefs of Ontario the week before last was put the idea, he suggested it would be meaningless because the native bloc would be outvoted every time. I wonder if you can respond to that.

Mr Daniels: Our notion back in the 1970s was that a voice is better than no voice at all, as long as it is aboriginal voices talking from the heart and they know whom they are talking for. Whether it is Warren Allmand getting up or whether it is Svend Robinson or Jean Chrétien, still you do not have an aboriginal person talking on aboriginal rights or issues. We welcome anybody saying, "Don't stop," those of you who do that, but it is just that. Why?

Certainly they would be outvoted. Only a fool would think they would not be. However, when the issue comes up and they get to speak, then you have an aboriginal person talking from an aboriginal perspective rather than someone saying, "I think I know," like anybody. I am not going to throw names around here, but I know them all. Everybody seems to think they know. When you hear them talk, they have the idea and it is almost right but it is not quite right for me sometimes. It is just the fact that we like to have some people there to speak for us.

Mr Winninger: The alternative might be the parallel process Mrs O'Neill referred to earlier, where you have your own legislative body set up in each province to parallel ours. The suggestion might be that you would have more influence were you to set up a parallel form of government rather than participate as a small minority in our own government.

Mr Wetelainen: I do not think this country can afford any more levels of government than it already has. I think we have a hard enough time competing in the North American economy than to set up a parallel bureaucracy and start to slice the resources thinner than they are today.

When we talked about being part of this government, we also wanted to make sure we had the direct linkages to the bureaucracy and that was what we referred to. When OMAA is pursuing on this, when we sign MOUs with this government, we have a plan in our minds where we are going with this type of process and what we want to develop. We see that you have to be able to get direct linkages to the bureaucracy. You have to know the stats and what each department is spending. Those types of things are crucial in the development of our people.

Mr Winninger: You suggested that there be a consent clause so that any amendments to the Constitution that would directly affect the rights of aboriginal people could be vetoed. The question that comes to my mind is, are we talking about a simple majority or an enhanced majority of aboriginal people in order to declare a veto, or would it be one of consensus?

Mr Daniels: We would have to meet as aboriginal people, much the same as you meet in the House, to discuss the issue and find out where the commonalities are and what kinds of things affect us. I think the people affected would have to do it. If it is Indian people, then the Indians would have to do it; if it is the Metis, then the Metis; if it is the Inuit, then the Inuit. That would be a form that would have to be developed, like I said. We all sit at one end of the table as an Inuit, an Indian and a Metis, and just because we are all brown does not mean we all think alike. The Inuit certainly have much-different wants and needs than we have on the Prairies, and the east coast Indians have just as many different wants and needs and different relationships with the land and the water, although similar to the BC Indians.

We are developing something here that is scary, if you want to talk about it. If I can just make one statement, including aboriginal rights in the Constitution does not necessarily mean that we will ever get to exercise them. In the American Constitution you have freedom of speech, but try to exercise it.


It is the implementation of rights that is the tough thing. People get the process all mixed up, "We're going to put all these rights in the Constitution, and that's very scary, children," like that guy on TV. It is not that scary. The scary part is trying to get together with the government so we can implement it. How are we going to get the transfer of funds? How are we going to get equalization payments? How are we going to get the resources? How is the land going to get to us? That is the scary part.

The easy part is putting the stuff in the Constitution. If the government of the day in this province and the government at the federal level are really concerned and really want to do something properly, put the rights in the Constitution. We have told how many prime ministers, about four or five now, and how many premiers, before Bill Davis and after Bill Davis, including Bob Rae, that the easy part of this whole process -- I am just repeating myself here, maybe for my own benefit, because I think I am getting an echo here -- is putting the rights in the Constitution. That is the easy part of the process. The implementation will kill you. It will drive us crazy for hundreds of years. So we will be in bed together for years after that happens.

Mr Curling: I just want to take you and myself into the time when you have your 5% representation in the House. Having the representation there in Parliament, do you see that all the parliamentary processes set out would have to be changed dramatically? Say there are 100 people in Parliament and you have your 5% there and the parliamentary committees are set up where the real change is going to come about. As you said, it is the image of the native people; it will be the aboriginal people represented. How would they effect those changes if you have the same process that is happening? Ten or eight parliamentary committees are there. How would they then be spread around in order to make those different changes in policies?

Mr Daniels: We will be pretty busy going to committees, I would imagine. I do not know. We have not thought that far in advance, but I think Saskatchewan would be way ahead of the game. If we had a formula whereby, as your population grew, as aboriginal people you would get more representation. In the year 2000 you would be half the House in the province because we are the fastest-growing population in Canada right now, the Metis and Indian people in that province. So we would be guaranteed to have more people on committees. I am not being frivolous. I think basically what we want is a voice and someone to watchdog for us what is going on. Committees: I do not know, Mr Curling. I have no idea. We did not think about committees when we --

Mr Curling: The only point I am trying to make is that you said it right. It is nice to put the lines in the Constitution. As a matter of fact, it is nice to be invited to dinner. The fact is that you are then told what to eat and what not to eat and where you can sit.

Mr Daniels: That is right.

Mr Curling: The fact is that having got there, you want to participate fully in the entire meal and one should not say that some can eat this and some can eat the other. Today we are making changes about Sunday shopping that could affect the aboriginal people, and if that committee is sitting there and you are not there, it is quite possible that one has to look at the whole structure of how it is done to make sure that when the budget is being debated, your role is being played, that your special section is in Parliament, which will give them that right to speak on all issues and all policy changes or any legislation changes that will come about. I am just concerned that we have to look beyond that, but I think you are right: first get in that door, but make sure to say the things that have to change, so that your representation will be effective. As you were about to say, at home when they must talk the talk, they must also be walking the walk.

Mr Malkowski: It was a very impressive presentation. I know the native people have their own internal structure, but when it comes to talking about constitutional process, from our entire experience with Meech Lake, when the native people were not included and were left out, how could we avoid that situation again when it comes to provinces and the first ministers' meeting? You are asking for representation at those talks so we do not have a repeat of Meech Lake, but we also need to have representation from the Northwest Territories and the Yukon as well.

I am wondering what kind of formula you would have, like equal participation from the different groups so that you do not have one group heavily represented and then other groups of native people from other parts of the country not being represented. You mentioned having 56 languages across the country. How do you then determine equalization? What kind of advice can you give to us to make sure that all peoples are equally represented so we do not repeat the mistakes of Meech Lake?

Mr Daniels: Meech Lake was almost like a knee-jerk reaction, and I think that mistake lies in the hands of the people who did it. Brian Mulroney has to take his lumps for that one. He wanted the "distinct society" in and he was willing to sell anything for it. Meech Lake is not our mistake, Mr Malkowski; it is a mistake of the government.

We have to be equal partners in Confederation. Section 35 states that the aboriginal peoples of Canada, our Indians, Inuit and Metis population, are peoples with definite populations. So we would have to have three representations from our people. The territories certainly have to be represented. I think there has to be a sense of real purpose here. Is the government really intent upon building a Canada that reflects all of its attributes, or is it just trying to nurture this old notion of deux nations, two founding nations, and "distinct society", and retain that élitist attitude that there are only French and English in this country who are builders of Confederation? That is the mistake. The mistake is rooted in history; it is not rooted in Meech Lake.

Mr Malkowski: You mentioned the three groups. Can you mention again for me what they were?

Mr Daniels: The Indians, Inuit and Metis.


Mr Offer: In your presentation you have spoken about a number of different issues. On page 2 the first point you bring forward is that aboriginal people have the right to self-government and that it should be included in the Constitution of Canada. As you know, there are a number of other discussions ongoing dealing with the question of possible division of powers or a realignment of powers between the federal and provincial governments. We have that type of discussion which is ongoing on the one hand, and we have the issues you have brought forward to this committee on potentially another hand. Is it your position that the points you bring forward today are ones which should be dealt with and decided at the same time, prior to, or after the issues concerning the division and realignment of powers between the federal and provincial governments?

Mr Daniels: If during their division of powers they are carving the country up even further, then I would suggest that our rights have to be paramount and dealt with first. Mr Malkowski talked about a mistake of Meech Lake that we made. It is a historical mistake, and let's correct the historical mistake. We are the first citizens in this country and have to be dealt with as such. If you are going to divide and carve this country up any more, let us be part of that. If we are going to carve the turkey, we want to hold the knife now and again. Let me put it that way.

Mr Offer: I think, Mr Chair, that it is crucially important that when we hear presentations such as the one before us dealing with a variety of issues, this committee be very aware as to not only the substance of the presentation but also, from your perspective of course, how and when you want these particular issues to be addressed. I think it is crucially important that this committee be sensitive to that aspect of any presentation that comes before a committee.

The Acting Chair (Mr Winninger): A point well taken, Mr Offer.

Mrs Marland: I really wish we had three hours to discuss this presentation this afternoon. I have two questions. I will try to be as fast as I can. Mr Daniels, I think you said the easy part is making the changes in the Constitution. The agreement that was signed last week with the Ontario Premier was described as a landmark agreement. According to a newspaper account I am reading by Paula Todd in the Toronto Star, it goes on to say that Premier Rae cautioned that the document does not immediately give natives more power, and is a critical quote accorded to Premier Rae is: "I think what we're doing is now trying to define exactly what powers are involved and how they will work out...that obviously depends, partly, on the broader constitutional discussion that's going to be taking place over this year and in years to come."

I read that from the Ontario Premier and I also read a criticism by another colleague in opposition, not in our party but in the Liberal Party, who says really that this is just a political document, a piece of paper, etc. What is your reaction when you read the Premier, who on the one hand has signed this landmark agreement and then in the same breath is saying, "Well, of course, it really depends on what happens on the broader constitutional scene this year and in years to come"? Does that weaken the intent of the New Democratic government in Ontario today, which has made such a hoopla of what strides it is supposedly taking towards our native people, as they are referred to in this document?

Mr Daniels: I do not see that it is just rife with a plethora of platitudes. It is well intended, but I think Henry has a statement there he will want to make. It is subject to a lot of things. Of course it is. But it is a step in the right direction. As we indicated -- if I may, Henry, for a moment -- at the opening of our statement, it may be the beacon that leads the way down the road to real change. It shows that this government is concerned. It shows that this government is taking leadership and is assuming responsibility for some of the rights that the federal government should be assuming. It says in there those kinds of things. But it is --

Mrs Marland: But you are excluded anyway.

Mr Daniels: Well, of course, from this we are. But in the same context that we talked about class 24 of section 91 of the 1867 act being changed, which is racist and exclusionary and élitist and archaic, in keeping with what Mr Rae is doing with the Indians, he must also sign, has to sign the same document with the Metis people or else he is no better than the British imperialist government which came here, passed the British North America Act and said, "This little bunch is Indians, this is not, and you aren't," and so on and so forth.

Mrs Marland: Has he talked to you? Has he talked to you about signing the same document with you?

Mr Daniels: Talk to my leader.

Mr Wetelainen: I guess that is the challenge today. I think that document should be signed with the Metis.

Mrs Marland: Has Premier Rae or have his representatives talked to the Metis?

Mr Wetelainen: No, not on that document.

Mrs Marland: Have you sought an opportunity to discuss it with him or his representatives?

Mr Wetelainen: We have made representation that we want to be included in those types of discussions, and that type of document should be signed with the Metis of this province. There are people within our organization who think it was signed with the first nations because it was cheap publicity. The elected delegation of our organization figures there has to be constructive discussion with the leadership of the organization. Our people are getting restless. They are starting to block roads. They want to see some constructive changes.

Mrs Marland: What has been the response to your request to meet with the Premier or his representative?

Mr Wetelainen: We have not met with the Premier of this province yet.

Mrs Marland: You have asked for meetings?

Mr Bjornaa: Yes, we have asked them to attend our assembly. We have asked for meetings and we are going to again, for meetings with him.

Mrs Marland: But he has not attended yet.

Mr Bjornaa: No.

Mrs Marland: Okay. My second question, and I will be brief: On page 5 you make a very profound statement, "With 56 aboriginal languages in Canada, how can we be focused only on bilingualism?" Would you like to comment a little more on that?

Mr Daniels: To answer my own question, no. How can we? It is just that we should not be. The French in the audience here are going to be mad at me for this one. The English won the war, it seems to me, somewhere along the line. They settled their dispute with the French on the Plains of Abraham. They conceded, "We will put French into the Constitution," but now they want to speak French all over the country.

Because these two peoples fought, they forgot their Indian allies, like the Iroquois, the Ojibway down here, and the Ottawa Indians, the Senecas, the Oneidas, and so on and so forth. When they came west they forgot they had the Metis as allies. So why focus very narrowly?

Let's talk geographically about Canada as it exists today. How did it develop historically? It developed because of the English, the French and the Indian, Metis and Inuit people -- the Indians as allies in the east mostly, the Metis for bringing the west into Confederation and the Inuit for maintaining sovereignty in the north.

Why did they move them way up to the islands during the 1950s? Because they wanted to maintain more sovereignty, because they counted the Inuit all those years as their people, which gave them the right to claim the north. Nobody else wanted to live there but a few RCMP and a postmaster. It was the Inuit who maintained sovereignty. Service industry people were there just to service them and just a few white people who would go there. Why focus ourselves very narrowly on what happened in Canada?

We also stated in here, Mrs Marland, that we do not want all our languages to be the official languages of this country, but maybe the official languages of our ancestral territories. What is wrong with that? Or do we want to maintain this racist and élitist notion that only the white people have rights in this country? That is what we are challenging you people with.

Mr Wetelainen: I think there is only one woman who speaks one of those 56 languages. One language could be dead the minute she dies.

Interjection: I think she died.

Mr Wetelainen: If we only had one buffalo in this country, all around this country they would be screaming to save that buffalo.

Mrs Marland: Yes.

Mr Wetelainen: But part of our heritage is dying and nobody is listening, nobody is responsive. What they do in Ottawa is cut the budget on native language retention. What do we do in our school system across Ontario? We fight the school boards to get native languages included. Yet, as I said, if a species were dying, we would all be screaming. In fact, that is what has happened.

Mrs Marland: Are your languages not included in the Ontario school system, as other native languages are?

Mr Wetelainen: Yes, they are.

Mr Malkowski: I think the member is dominating the question period.

Mrs Marland: Oh, oh.

The Acting Chair: We have until 3:45 for this particular presentation. I believe that was a wrap-up to the answer to Mrs Marland's question. Since there are no further questions, and our time is almost up --

Mrs Marland: I think he was about to answer the question about native languages in Ontario.

The Acting Chair: Sorry. Did I cut you off?

Mr Wetelainen: No, I was just saying that it is difficult sometimes. It is supposed to be the language in whatever area the school board services. As long as we have 12 students we can get that language as part of the program. It is usually the quality of the education that is in question, that type of thing.

Mr Bjornaa: I would like to add just one other thing before we wrap up. I do not know why government is scared to see us in the Constitution. We are here to better our people and better ourselves. Why should government -- the Ontario government or any government -- be scared of native people bettering our lives, bettering Canada? They should be the first ones to open the doors and say, "I'm glad native people came here to better Canada, and better Ontario."

But it seems we come here as a group, we talk about our education, we talk about everything down the line -- everything. We have been here time and time again, and we are not going to go away. We are going to keep coming back, because we have no place to go. This is our homeland. Government should never be scared of us bettering our people and bettering ourselves, because we are bettering Canada.

The Acting Chair: I would like to thank you all for coming here today, a considerable distance, to present a very interesting paper.



The Acting Chair: We will now move on to the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Is Dr Ankney here? Welcome. You are the president of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, and also a professor of zoology at the University of Western Ontario?

Dr Ankney: That is correct, Mr Chairman.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation to you today. The specific question I wish to address, of those that were listed in the document I was sent, is, should section 35 of the charter be changed in any way? My answer to this question is yes, specifically as it relates to native use of fish and wildlife.

Briefly I would like to tell you why I think a change is necessary. Human beings, like wolves, bears, weasels and so on, are predators. As someone once said, we are descendants of successful hunters. It is rare in nature for predators to overharvest their prey. Why? Simply because it is too much work. Predators, including people, are essentially lazy, so they do not spend time killing more than they need for food.

Also, predator numbers are usually much lower than prey numbers. That is essentially why aboriginal peoples did not overharvest fish and wildlife, except on a local scale; that is, the area around their villages. Given their limited technology, it was too much effort to overharvest. The people were few and there was no reason to overharvest, even if it had been possible.

There are, however, situations in which predators do kill more than they need. You have probably all heard what happens when a weasel gets into a chicken coop or a bear gets into a sheep pen. The predator will sometimes kill 100 or more animals in one evening. Why? Essentially because it is easy and it is possible. Similarly we have all heard about non-native peoples shooting buffalo from trains and leaving them to rot on the prairies during the 19th century, and about people in this century netting spawning fish in numbers far greater than they need.

How does this relate to aboriginal use of fish and wildlife?

Once aboriginal people acquired European technology, and in some cases financial incentives, they acted no differently towards fish and wildlife than did non-aboriginals. I am going to give you several examples of this, some from the scientific literature and some from my own experience. I emphasize that this is not to show that native people are bad, but rather to show that they are just like other people when it comes to harvesting and overharvesting fish and wildlife.

The first has to do with native trapping. Most people are aware that, by the turn of the century, fur-bearer populations, especially beaver, were devastated in Ontario and much of the rest of Canada. Non-native people provided the financial incentive for this to happen, but by and large it was native people and Metis who did the overtrapping. One source states that the Indians literally declared war on beaver in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A second example involves caribou on Southampton Island in Hudson Bay. In 1924, the Hudson's Bay Co established a post on Southampton Island. Before that time, the Inuit rarely hunted caribou, mainly because they did not have the means to hunt caribou. They relied on food from the sea. There were an estimated 10,000 caribou in 1924. The Hudson's Bay Co provided guns and ammunition to these people. By 1930 caribou were scarce, and by 1955 they were extinct on the island. In 1980, I met the Inuit man who bragged about killing the last one.

The third example involves caribou hunting at McConnell River on the west coast of Hudson Bay. During my four summers at McConnell River, I had numerous opportunities to observe the native harvest of wildlife. The most blatant abuse I saw was three Inuit men who fired into a large herd of caribou, killed seven and wounded about 20. They took only the hind quarters and the tongues from the animals. They made no attempt to follow up and kill the wounded animals, probably, I assume, because they did not need them.

The fourth one involves James Bay geese and goose hunting. In the spring of 1976, I made arrangements for a graduate student of mine to accompany a Cree Indian and his two sons during their spring goose hunt near Attawapiskat on James Bay. The student was there to obtain weights and measurements from the geese as part of his research project. In 10 days, the three Cree hunters shot more than 100 geese, many of which spoiled.

The fifth and last example I want to mention involves native people on the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska. There, via overegging and overshooting, they have recently reduced several goose populations to extremely low levels. This did not happen historically, because these people had neither the means of access nor the means of harvesting that they presently have; that is, things like skidoos, aircraft and modern firearms.

Let me once again emphasize that giving these examples is not an attempt to denigrate aboriginal people. I could give you many similar examples of non-native abuse of fish and wildlife. I am assuming you are familiar with that, particularly things that happened in this country in the 18th and 19th centuries. Rather, I wish to point out that, given the opportunity, native people are capable of overharvesting fish and wildlife, and of killing more than they need.

We currently have relatively abundant fish and wildlife populations in Ontario and in the rest of Canada. Why is that? Largely because, starting about 100 years ago, non-native people willingly gave up their rights to unlimited harvest of fish and wildlife. Also, Canadians have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to rehabilitate, protect and enhance fish and wildlife populations previously devastated by overharvest.

This overharvest was done by both natives and non-natives. However, in 1982, via section 35 of the charter, aboriginal rights were entrenched in the Canadian Constitution. As you are aware, those rights were not defined. I certainly have no idea of exactly what the authors had in mind when they wrote "aboriginal rights." Then in 1990 the Supreme Court of Canada gave us the Sparrow decision, which defined one aboriginal right; that is, the right to fish and presumably to hunt for food. The Sparrow decision has led the current Ontario government to a policy whereby status Indians can harvest fish and wildlife virtually unrestricted.

The government also proposes to give these rights to non-status Indians and Metis. Ironically, I note that Mr Joe Miskokomon, head of the Union of Ontario Indians, recently stated that the present policy is too restrictive.


From a conservationist point of view, the present policy is potentially disastrous. Why? Because it means that 70% of Ontario's native people are not subject to any conservation laws. As Mr Krasnick told this committee recently, only about 30% of natives in Ontario live on reserves; that is, are subject to native conservation rules and regulations. During the past several months, I have met with native leaders around Ontario and I have raised this concern.

First, all of them have assured me that they believe that given a certain amount of time, they will be able to develop conservation rules and regulations and be able to enforce those rules and regulations on reserves. But all of them also agreed that it is a very serious problem as to what to do about off-reserve native people. Several have told me that if off-reserve natives will not abide by native rules regarding fish and wildlife, they should be subject to non-native laws. Unfortunately section 35, and the Supreme Court's interpretation through the Sparrow decision, will not allow this.

As a result of the non-definition of aboriginal rights in section 35, we have a situation whereby Ontario's fish and wildlife are threatened. We also have the highly divisive situation wherein natives and non-natives may work side by side in a factory, in a government office and so on, but one hunts and fishes unrestricted, while the other must follow conservation laws. I doubt very much that this is what the authors of section 35 had in mind. Regardless, because aboriginal rights were not defined, this is the result.

I do not intend to knock the Supreme Court for starting to define aboriginal rights, because somebody had to do it. However, I believe this issue is far too important to natives and non-natives alike to leave it to the courts. So I think the whole issue of aboriginal rights regarding fish and wildlife must be reconsidered and redefined.

Ultimately I believe it would be best for our fish and wildlife resources, for native people and for non-native people alike, if all Ontarians were subject to the same conservation laws, laws that are based on sound, ecological principles and that have successfully protected our fish and wildlife. After all, as the Honourable Bud Wildman recently told native leaders, it would not make any sense for the natives to have the right to fish and hunt if there is nothing for them to catch or hunt.

Mr Drainville: In terms of the comments made about the need for further definition of what aboriginal rights entail in terms of the Constitution, I would agree there needs to be far more definition and that a political definition should be given, as opposed to having to rely upon the courts to do that. On that, I am in agreement with you.

In terms of the totality of the presentation you give, I must say that I am a little disconcerted with the number of things you have spoken about in relationship to the native people, thereby, unfortunately, leading to the conclusion that native people somehow are less committed to the environment and to conservation. I do not doubt for a minute some of the things you said, not at all. I just want to add to the record that I live in the near north, and practically every day, around where I live up in Haliburton county, there are people poaching around my property. There are no native people in my area. They are people from the surrounding area who poach. That is just the way it is. I live not too far from the park as well, and there are a lot of people who just go to the park to hunt even when it is not in season for hunting, and those people obviously do not have the kind of respect we need to expect from citizens in this country as regards the environment.

I just want to say that although the things you point to are certainly concerns that need to be responded to, I think if one were just dealing with the evidence you have presented, one would almost think that this was solely a problem of native people breaking conservation laws. That is just not the truth, and I want to say that in terms of the record.

Mr Ankney: First, I would agree with you about the definition. As the previous speaker emphasized, the easy thing is to write something into the Constitution; the tough part is to find out what it means and then to enforce it. I would like to respond to your comment. I tried; I guess I did not succeed in emphasizing that my point was not that native people are worse than non-native people when it comes to fish and wildlife. I think everybody here is aware of the non-native people's abuse of fish and wildlife.

But there seem to be a lot of people in Ontario and in Canada who are not aware that given the opportunity, some native people -- and again, I do not mean to imply all -- will abuse those privileges. The difference between what you have said here is that at the moment those people you are talking about who are poaching are subject to the law and if caught are subject to fines and so on. At the moment in Ontario, native people doing the same thing are not subject to the law. That is the difference.

Mr Drainville: I guess the response would have to be made that in terms of the agreement the provincial government just recently signed in Algonquin Park, there was agreement as to quotas and how that was to be done, where it was to be done and when it was to be done. So to indicate that there is no check at all in this area I think again is just going to an extreme which is not particularly fair to the situation.

Ms Carter: I must say I find your presentation simplistic. Obviously there are native people who do the things that you have said they do, just as there are people of European origins who either are good hunters who observe the laws or are not. But I think we have to take the big picture into account here. For example, when North America was inhabited solely by those people before the days of Columbus, they did live symbiotically with the environment in a way Europeans have never done, and the environment would have lasted indefinitely had Europeans not come or had their way of life not changed.

When the European way of life impinged and complicated things -- for example, they got guns and so on, or could be paid for pelts that they hunted -- obviously their lifestyle changed. There were temptations. They had to survive and they had to fit in to some extent. But the fact remains that their native traditions, their folklore, their view of the world, which is ongoing, is one that does have a deep regard for the land and forests as an ongoing giver of life in a way that is differently based from the view we have of the world. That is something that would give us all a rosier future than we have at the moment.

I think there is an implication in what you are saying that nobody in this day and age should be able to live off the land directly, as Indian and Inuit people have done in the past. I am not sure how many people still do that in Ontario. I think there are some, or there are some who are still very largely dependent on fishing and hunting and so on as a livelihood. I think we have to respect that.

That is a way of life we need to keep alive because it involves knowledge and so on that we could do well to preserve and learn from. If you are going to apply laws in the way you suggest, that would no longer be possible. Maybe there should be a possibility there for white people who want to live in that kind of way to have the same kind of coverage. I do not want to be dogmatic about this, but I think it would be good if that possibility were left open.

Also, I would like to point out that I do not think here and now that it is hunting and fishing that are destroying the pool of game and fish. I think it is pollution. We are losing whole lakes, whole forests because of things like acid rain. If the ozone layer continues to thin, we are going to have drastic consequences from that. I was at a cottage recently and I noticed, for example, that there seemed to be no frogs around any more. I do not think anybody killed those frogs. I think they have just gone because of some kind of pollution that we have put there and we do not even know what it is specifically that is doing that. I think we have to recognize that it is the way of life Europeans have developed that is threatening the world at the moment.


Mr Ankney: If I may respond, I would have to agree with a lot of what you have said. You are right, that there are some people who are still living off the land in northern Ontario and so on. That is not what I am talking about. Most of those people have treaty rights to do that. I was not talking about treaty rights, I was talking about aboriginal rights and the way those have been defined by the Constitution and the Supreme Court.

The main point I wish to make -- this is a point I have raised with native leaders and they agree it is a serious concern -- is that 70% of native people in the province do not live on reserves. That means that at the moment they are not subject to native regulations, because there is no way for a native person living in London, Ontario, who is from a reserve by Brantford, to enforce the regulations they have in their own treaty area. They are now not subject to non-native regulations either, and that is the concern I have.

I did not mean to imply that the only problem with fish and wildlife populations in Ontario or in Canada was overharvest. In fact, we have a successful situation of conservation laws in place that have reversed the travesties of the 1800s so that we do have abundance.

What concerns me is that we are now getting away from that. As I mentioned, the native leaders I have dealt with are also concerned about this direction, because they realize there is a large group of native people whom they do not have any control over, and if they are not subject to non-native laws either, that is a potential conservation problem.

Mr Winninger: Dr Ankney, I have some difficulty agreeing with your analysis of the implications of the Sparrow decision. While the decision did recognize the right to harvest for food and also for ceremonial purposes, that right was subject to and restricted by the interests of public safety and conservation measures. I fail to understand why, where 70% of the aboriginal people live off reserves, they would not be subject to the same public safety and conservation measures that non-native hunters are subject to. For that reason, I fail to see how we are treating natives and non-natives disparately for the purposes of public safety and conservation. I do not see that at all.

Mr Ankney: Certainly the Ontario government policy in terms of public safety, by and large, reflects the same rules and regulations that apply to non-natives, but in terms of conservation it does not, because native people have been told they can hunt and fish for food at any time, in any place virtually, particularly in northern Ontario, and in any fashion. The people who live on reserves, the way it has been explained to me by the Indian leaders I have met, said: "Don't worry. We're going to set up our own conservation rules about when we're going to shoot whitetail deer, when we're going to catch fish, and the species and so on." The concern is the 70% who will not be subject to those rules and regulations. They are not at the moment subject to the Ontario Game and Fish Act rules and regulations that were put in place to protect fish and game populations.

Mr Winninger: But where fish and game populations are threatened, measures can be taken under the Sparrow decision. Surely you agree with that.

Mr Ankney: It becomes very difficult in a particular instance to say, "If that native person shoots that moose, that is going to be what starts the problem of conservation." In other words, if you do not have rules and regulations, where do you say, "Okay, that moose is one too many," or that deer or that spawning fish? If there are no rules and regulations, when do you know you have a conservation problem except when you have a really serious problem?

Mr Winninger: I acknowledge your argument. I just do not agree with it.

The Vice-Chair: Are there any other questions at this time? Have you any final points you wish to make to the committee.

Mr Ankney: I would just like to emphasize again that my point was certainly not that native or aboriginal people are worse than non-native people when it comes to use of fish and wildlife. My point was that given the means to act as non-native people did, in some cases native people have acted in that way, have overharvested fish and wildlife.

I am concerned by the lack of definition of "aboriginal rights" in section 35, especially as it relates to fish and wildlife, that this does pose a conservation threat to fish and wildlife. I think we would all be better off if, through negotiations and whatever with native people and non-native people, we could agree on what aboriginal rights to hunt and fish for food really mean.

The thing we have to keep in mind is that when we rewrite the Constitution, if we do, it is not for just today or next week. It is presumably for years and years. At the moment, native people are only 200,000 in Ontario, but when they get to be 500,000, would it be possible for our fish and wildlife resources to support that many people hunting and fishing for food? Clearly not.


The Vice-Chair: At this point I would ask the clerk of the committee to come to the front so we may carry on with the next piece of our business. I would like to inform the committee that I leave the chair and turn it over to the clerk of the committee.

Clerk of the Committee: We do not have a Chair. The Vice-Chair has left the chair. It is my duty to call upon the members to elect an Acting Chair.

Mrs Marland: Mr Clerk, I would like to place in nomination as Acting Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation the name of Gilles Bisson, who is the Vice-Chair. Speaking as someone who has not been privileged to be a member of this committee for the duration the committee has been in existence, but as someone who has been in the Legislature six and a half years and knowing how standing committees of the Legislature work and how important the position of Chair is to the whole process, I think it is important on this particular committee that we have someone who has a historical perspective of what the committee has been dealing with for over a year now. Is it correct that you have been sitting for more than a year?

Clerk of the Committee: Since February 4.

Mrs Marland: Since last February. My position in placing that name in nomination is that, first of all, Mr Bisson is a francophone from northern Ontario. He has been a member of the committee from the beginning, I understand. I feel that with his experience as Vice-Chairman he is the logical person to become the Acting Chair, since we are at a point where the chairmanship has to change in any case.

The fact that I have not been a member of this committee gives me a perspective of not being entrenched with any personalities. I do not know any of the involvements of personalities through the process of the five or six months the committee has been sitting, so I think I bring a fresh perspective in placing that nomination. I am speaking especially as someone right now in this room who has at least two years more experience than one other member and in most cases five years more experience in the Legislature than all other members of this committee. So it is with respect that I place the name of Gilles Bisson in nomination to become Acting Chair.

Clerk of the Committee: Very well. Any other comments? I have a motion placed by Mrs Marland for the Acting Chair to be Mr Gilles Bisson.


Mrs Marland: If you are going to take the vote, could we not take our 20 minutes we are allowed to get our members in to take part in this vote? I am suggesting we have two members of the official opposition who are not present at this point and we are allowed to request 20 minutes to call a vote. Am I correct?

Clerk of the Committee: That is correct.

Mr Bisson: We are still open for nomination.

Clerk of the Committee: We have a motion. Let's do the motion first.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I do not think my members were aware this procedure was going to take place today, or they would not have left. I am not positive I can contact them, but I would certainly like to be given the opportunity.

Clerk of the Committee: We might order a recess at this time for 20 minutes.

Mrs Marland: If I may continue, I can quite understand Mrs O'Neill's comment that she is not sure whether she can locate her two members. I think since the election of Acting Chair is not on the agenda for today it would be --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: It was not on the agenda and I do find that --

Mrs Marland: -- quite in order for this matter to be deferred until tomorrow. The members who are not here should be notified in person that this important election is going to take place tomorrow and it would be on the agenda for tomorrow. We can agree at what time tomorrow it should take place.

Clerk of the Committee: Unfortunately I do not believe I can adjourn the meeting. I believe I can take it to a recess to allow members to be called. An Acting Chair can certainly adjourn the meeting. I do not believe I have that authority.

Mrs Marland: We can just reverse. The very fact that it is not on the agenda, which is something I had not realized until a moment ago, means we can just agree it has to revert back to the person who was in the chair and we can deal with it tomorrow.

Clerk of the Committee: That would involve withdrawing the motion. You are the mover of the motion, Mrs Marland.

Mrs Marland: I will only withdraw it if we are not going to deal with the matter today and I would be in the position of being the first to place that motion when this matter is dealt with tomorrow. I think Robert's Rules of Order would permit that in this instance.

Mr Bisson: I do not think there would be any opposition from the government side of the committee on that.

Clerk of the Committee: For the withdrawal?

Mr Bisson: Yes, the withdrawal of the motion and have it put on the agenda tomorrow.

Mrs Marland: In that case, rather than withdrawing it, why do I not just table it until tomorrow?

Clerk of the Committee: It will be withdrawn. If it comes tomorrow, it will come tomorrow and you will have your opportunity at that time.

Mr Bisson: Can I just have one other word?

Mrs Marland: Excuse me, I think we need a clarification here. I think it is in order for me to table my own motion. Therefore, it would be the first motion called tomorrow when this matter is dealt with.

Mr Bisson: May I just clarify a couple of points? The House leaders were contacted -- just for the sake of the record -- as to the vote taking place at this time. I spoke to the subcommittee member of one of the caucuses before and I spoke to the honourable member on the other side just shortly before as well. We do not have a problem on the government side, as I said earlier, deferring until tomorrow. If that is the wish of the committee we would be prepared to do that, but we would just like to state that it was mentioned at the House leaders' level as far back as Friday, I believe.

Clerk of the Committee: Very well then. The matter will be deferred. Can we have the Vice-Chair?

Mrs Marland: I am moving that my motion be tabled.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Obviously my members watch TV.

The Vice-Chair: It is nice to be back in this vantage point once again.

Mrs Marland: Now that we have a full complement of voting members, I would be quite happy for us to proceed.

The Vice-Chair: It was nice coming back for this short while, but I believe back I go. If that is quite all right with the rest of the committee, we will go ahead to have the vote at this time. It seems we have a full quorum. I leave the chair.

Mr Bisson: Just to make it clear, this discussion did happen on Friday among the House leaders -- the government House leader, the Progressive Conservative House leader and the Liberal House leader. They were informed that the vote would be taking place today. I know, in my duties as Vice-Chair, I had spoken to the subcommittee member of the Liberal Party. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to speak to the subcommittee member of the Conservative Party, as I did not see him until he arrived in the room, but assumed unfortunately that the House leader had communicated that information to him. So with that, there is no further objection.

Mrs Marland: It is not being handled in an orderly fashion. If this vote were to take place, it should have been on the agenda. I respect the fact that the discussion between the House leaders took place on Friday and perhaps this agenda had already been distributed for today, and that is why it is omitted.

Seriously, I think in fairness, as the person who has placed the motion now on the floor, both these members were not in the room and did not hear why I placed the name in nomination, and I would like to think they might consider supporting my motion, but how can they support it if they have not heard it?

Mr Offer: Maybe I can be of some assistance. I am concerned that it is not on the agenda. However, this whole matter may be resolved if we had, for instance, a five-minute recess and I would accordingly request a very short recess so we can determine what should happen in the next short while, and I believe we can resolve this.

Mr Bisson: If I can have a word, the only problem is that two of our members have airplanes to catch in a very short time. We would be prepared to go now, if that would be the pleasure of the rest of the members, or to defer till tomorrow morning. Whatever is easier, we are more than prepared to do. We can afford a five-minute break, or go till tomorrow.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I do not think five is enough for me.

Interjection: We will do it tomorrow.

Mr Bisson: Okay.

Mrs Marland: I will table my motion to be dealt with as the first item tomorrow morning.

Clerk of the Committee: Very well. Could the Vice-Chair take the chair and adjourn this meeting, please?

Mrs Marland: Is it possible we could have a copy of Instant Hansard for tomorrow morning so I do not have to repeat my motion?

Clerk of the Committee: We will try our best.

Mrs Marland: Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: The committee will come to order. Hopefully this is the last time I move chairs this afternoon. With that, the committee is adjourned until tomorrow morning.

The committee adjourned at 1618.