Monday 4 February 1991

Give Peace a Chance

Ojibway Tribal Family Services

Le Club Chanteclerc

Don Imbeau

Walter Kostantin

Andrew Chapeskie

John Karwacki

Evening sitting


Marlene Brown

Bill Laffin

Kelvin Winkler

Kenora-Keewatin District Labour Council

Laurie Normandeau

Thomas Keesick

Rich Green

Eli Mandamin

Mike Clancy

Florence Buffington



Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)
Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South NDP)
Beer, Charles (York North L)
Churley, Marilyn (Riverdale NDP)
Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC)
Harnick, Charles (Willowdale PC)
Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls NDP)
Malkowski, Gary (York East NDP)
Offer, Steven (Mississauga North L)
O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa Rideau L)
Wilson, Fred (Frontenac-Addington NDP)
Winninger, David (London South NDP)

Also taking part:
Miclash, Prank (Kenora L)

Manikel, Tannis


Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office
Drummond, Alison, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

The committee met at 1327 at the Royal Canadian Legion, Kenora.

The Chair: I would like to call the meeting to order. We will continue the process on the parliamentary channel from different parts of the province. My name is Tony Silipo. I am the Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation and I thought it would be appropriate, given that this is our first meeting, to introduce the members of the committee.

Obviously those people who are sitting here in the audience can see the name tags in front of them, but I think it would be important also for other members who may, as I say, be following these hearings throughout the province, to also see the members of the committee.

From the government side we have Gary Malkowski, Gilles Bisson, Margaret Harrington. Marilyn Churley, Fred Wilson and David Winninger. From the Liberal Party we have Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer. From the Conservative Party we have Ernie Eves and Charles Harnick, and also joining us today is the member for Kenora, Frank Miclash. We welcome him as well.

As people may or may not know, our role as a select committee is to report to the Legislature essentially on what the social and economic interests and aspirations of the people of Ontario are within Confederation and also on what form of Confederation can most effectively meet those social and economic aspirations. It is a task that this committee takes rather seriously. It is obviously an issue that is very important to us as a province and as a country because of the discussions that are beginning and will no doubt continue and that have been going on for some time on the whole question of Confederation and the constitutional framework.

I also want to say at the outset that we have been mandated by the Legislature to report with an interim report by 21 March. We then will have time, following that, to pull together a final report for the end of June. I want to emphasize that as far as the committee is concerned we see this first stage of the hearings that we begin today and will carry on throughout the rest of the month as indeed being the first stage of our work.

We know that our discussions will continue in the months leading up to our final report in June and that we will be looking for ways to continue the discussion both with those people who are interested in the various communities and with those communities that we may not have an opportunity to touch base with in this first stage of our hearings.

Before we start to hear the people who have indicated an interest in talking with us, if there are people who are here and wish to speak to the committee who have not submitted their names to us, I would ask you to do that to the clerk as the meeting is proceeding so that we can add your name to the list and give you an opportunity to talk with us.

Before we proceed with the beginning of the hearings, however, I would like to introduce Alex Skead, who is an Ojibway elder from the Rat Portage Reserve in Lake of the Woods, and who will in effect perform a traditional Ojibway blessing on the proceedings. We thought that was an appropriate way to begin our hearings here in Kenora.

Mr Skead: Thank you very much. I would like to say a few words about the ceremony so that people will understand. The importance of our way of life has been the people. As we believe, a lot of things that the Creator has provided in our lives are still alive. Some of the trees, water and the birds, flying birds and four-legged animals, we always considered those things are our relatives, so this is the reason we are using our pipe ceremonies to offer the spirits that are providing help for us as individuals. This is something that we practised for many, many years and that almost died a few years back.

I was brought up in the traditional way of my father and mother, who are very traditional people. They taught me a lot of things, to respect nature, and that is the reason I am still here. I had almost forgotten the teachings that my native elders have taught me and I am very fortunate that I went back again. As I was going to our natural school, I learned to speak in this language that I am using. I had a hard time to learn, but anyway, I am glad I did. I went through a lot. I went out fishing with a lot of these people who are very important people. I learned a lot of things. I also have been with a lot of these people that are politicians in the province and that is how I learned. I never had that school education, but I learned a lot of good things outside the office.

I was sitting by the window one time when they were having a conference and a policeman walked up to me and said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "I am preparing my agenda." I was looking outside. So that is my agenda. I study the nature. Sometimes I go and sit out on the island to learn something about myself, the importance of a human being. That is why we have these ceremonies, and the drum. I had a dream about the drum. I have another one like that at home which has been passed on from my grandfather. I do not remember him, but my dad taught me a lot about this old man. He was a medicine man. I still carry that drum and I respect it very much.

I was tired and I went to sleep and I had this drum and the other one was hanging up above my bed. I was looking at them and I guess I must have fallen asleep. I was always looking at the drum. It turned out to be an old man and he said, "I am hungry," and I looked at this one here and it turned out to be a young man, just like this gentleman that is sitting there with braids. As I glanced beside my bed, there were two more drums that came in and they turned out to be men.

Those are the teachings that we learned, to respect the drum. There are drums all over the world. I guess there is a purpose for that. Now when we hit the drum, that drum speaks for the people. Also we sing songs that come from the dream. Like I just said, that drum that turned out to be an old man, he sang a song in which he said, "I'm the one that will be listened to from now on, the spirit." That is the prayer song that we are going to use to open the program in order to help every one of you in this room.

Whatever we do we are working for the future, for our young generation. This is a feeling that I have every time I come to a ceremony. It is the future, the kids. They must not forget that culture, the respect for nature, to love each other and to respect each other regardless what colour we are, what nationality we have. We have to love each other and respect one another and work together. These are the teachings of our Indian people.

Sometimes people will think the ceremonies are too long, but this is part of the teachings that the Creator has given us to live by. So respect Him. He gave us everything to comfort us. This is the reason we give that time to our Creator with a song and also we close off with a song, and that drum will be sitting here until we complete our session, whatever we are going to talk about.

I would like to thank every one of you, gentlemen and ladies, and everybody who is not here to participate. It is a great feeling, it is a great honour for me to be here standing in front of you telling you these words that I experienced in my life.

[Remarks in Ojibway]

That is my saying thanks in the Ojibway language. I am going to sing the song that I heard the drum say: "I'm the one that hears you. that hears the prayers. I'm the one that hears and the spirit hears my prayers."

[Remarks in Ojibway]

The Chair: I appreciate it. Thank you again, Mr Skead. I would like to acknowledge in the audience the presence of the mayor of Kenora, Mayor Winkler, and ask him if he would like to say a couple of words now to us.

Mr Winkler: Mr Chairman, members of the select committee, it is indeed a great privilege for me on behalf of the citizens of Kenora to welcome you to the capital of the northwest. We want to take this opportunity to thank our member, Frank Miclash, for advising us of this hearing. We received it on 28 January and council does not always meet and we will not be making a formal presentation, but I never have been known to sit through a meeting without biting my tongue so I will reserve that right as a citizen for later.

Your committee is a very important one. We trust that people are given the opportunity from all walks of life, not just special groups, to hear what people have to say because I feel that your deliberations are going to be the foundation of building a stronger and better Canada, and I think that is what we are looking for. It is something that is going to ensure the future of this country. We wish you well. We know you have a tough task, but let's not have a report just to government once a year, let's hear from the people. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mayor. It certainly is our intent to do some of the things you have outlined, and we will welcome you back to the table later on if you so choose.


The Chair: I would like to invite the first two speakers, Peter Kirby and Gisele Spryszak, from the Give Peace a Chance group, to come forward, please. While you are taking your seats, I could just outline that our general rules are to allow groups up to half an hour for presentation, individuals up to 15 minutes. We can be somewhat flexible on that based upon the number of groups coming before us. I would also remind you that we, the members of the committee, would also like to have an opportunity to ask questions of you about some of the things you might say to us, so if you leave some time for that in your presentation, that would be helpful.

Mr Kirby: Thank you, Mr Chairman and members of the committee. I am very happy to be here to speak on behalf of peace and to take any opportunities I can to do so. I was pleased that Alex Skead was opening the proceedings today because when he passed the peace pipe it reminded me of exactly the kind of feeling we are searching for in today's world.

I would like to open and read you a poem by Edna St Vincent Millay:

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death.

I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn floor.

He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning.

But I will not hold the bridle while he cinches the girth.

And he may mount by himself: I will not give him a leg up.

Though he flick my shoulders with his whip, I will not tell him which way the fox ran.

With his hoof on my breast, I will not tell him where the black boy hides in the swamp.

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll.

I will not tell him the whereabouts of my friends, nor of my enemies either.

Though he promise me much, I will not map him the route to any man's door.

Am I a spy in the land of the living, that I should deliver men to Death?

Brother, the password and the plans of our city are safe with me, never through me

Shall you be overcome.


It is my hope that as individuals and as a community we all have that kind of courage that Edna St Vincent Millay speaks of in that poem.

Our submission is entitled Dreaming the Impossible Dream: Proposals to Amend the Constitution for Peace. Kenora Give Peace a Chance is a group of ordinary citizens who have come together to promote peace in the Middle East. The group obtained 1,700 signatures to a petition supporting a negotiated settlement in the Middle East. The group also circulated a questionnaire calling for a response from community leaders in the trimunicipal area to take a stand on behalf of peace in the Middle East. Of the 250 responses collected to date, 90% of respondents agreed to a ban of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Over 75% of respondents agreed to halt the use of Canadian forces in an offensive capacity, to promote a cease-fire which would allow for negotiations and to protect the rights of conscientious objectors.

Kenora Give Peace a Chance has contacted the trimunicipal town councils, the two boards of education, the churches and local Indian bands asking for support of these proposals. In the Kenora Shoppers Mall, which is just about a four-minute walk from here, you will find a table. Volunteers come to sit at this table, distributing handouts concerning the conflict in the Middle East and letters to our Prime Minister requesting a peaceful solution to the crisis. This table also provides a way for people to express their feelings about the war and to share them with the volunteers who sit at the table. When setting up the table each day, the volunteers light several candles. These candles symbolize hope and the continuing vigil which everyone must share through prayer and action on behalf of peace.

Our specific proposals for constitutional amendment stem from our belief that the foundation of Canada's Constitution is peace. Peace is a bond which unites Canadians and commits them to dialogue, harmony and non-violent resolution of conflict. Our Constitution should promote peace and enshrine for Canada the role of peacekeeper. We believe that these following proposals will assist:

A1. That no war be declared or Canadian armed forces used in war without the approval of the Parliament of Canada;

A2. That the decision to declare war or use Canada's armed forces should be made in as democratic a manner as possible and involve provincial and municipal levels of decision-making;

A3. That a vote in the federal Parliament or in provincial legislatures or municipal councils to decide on war or the use of Canada's armed forces should be a free vote and not dictated by party affiliation;

B. That Canada not participate in any war unless a majority of the members of the United Nations General Assembly authorize such participation as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force;

C. That Canada's armed forces be used only in a peacekeeping role and to defend Canada's borders;

D1. That Canada declare itself a nuclear, chemical and biological weapons-free zone;

D2. That Canada prohibit the use, production, sale or testing in Canada of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons;

D3. That Canada work to prevent the use, production, sale or testing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons throughout the world.

I would like to turn the mike over to Gisele now, who will speak to all of the proposals.

Ms Spryszak: I am also very pleased to have this opportunity to speak. I have found more and more the direction of Canada is changing. I feel that we as Canadian people no longer have input into this decision. When Mr Mulroney came to power, he went to the boardrooms in the United States and told them that Canada was open for business. Part of this openness for Canada was that we would be more militarily involved with the United States. I feel that Canada at one time was a peacekeeping nation and our direction has changed. They speak of a new world order and I question what this means. We are committed as lobby groups to lobby for social and economic reasons. But when it comes to matters of security, a war, the public is determined to be too ignorant and too emotional to have input into this.

We are told to look to our leaders for direction because they know all the aspects of the situation. They have information that we do not have access to. We look to them. What we find is the leader of the superpowers, his diplomacy is basically to kick ass. Our leader more or less rolls the dice. I feel that we have not been able to know the issues.

The issues as I see them are these. In the Middle East the crisis is not about stopping another Hitler. Iraq is a medium-sized, Third World country. The United States chose to support them in the last eight years in the war against Iran. The military machine of Iraq failed so it is not a world-class threat. The issue in the Middle East is also not defending democracy. Iraq and Kuwait are dictatorships. They are run by wealthy oligarchies. They have no intention of changing this form of government. The Middle East crisis is also not about opposing the principles that larger countries must not invade smaller countries.

The United States has shaped the destinies of smaller countries throughout history. Witness the invasion of Grenada, the ravaging of Panama, which was condemned as illegal by the United Nations and also the annihilation of East Timor. The Middle East crisis is also not about maintaining international rule of law. The UN and world court decisions which are supported by the US are often the ones that coincide with US economic interests; for example, the support of Israel to take over Palestine. The UN put out a resolution that Israel withdraw troops. This was ignored by the United States. Also, the US has ignored the world court decision to stop its contra war against the Sandinista government.

The crisis also has little to do with the Gulf policy of opposition to chemical weapons or nuclear proliferation. The US has opposed treaties controlling production and testing of nuclear and chemical weapons. It also approves of nuclear weapons for countries of which it approves. I believe the hypocrisy of righteousness of Canada and the US has gone too far. I have a letter here addressed to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, from the president of the National Council of Development and Peace:

"Barely one year ago you congratulated the American government for its war-like intervention in Panama, which it undertook in contempt of all international law. Moreover, External Affairs Minister Joe Clark responded last year to our organization that more time had to be given to economic sanctions in South Africa to effectively fight against apartheid, and this five years after their institution. Finally, the numerous United Nations resolutions condemning the long-standing occupation by Israel of territories wrongfully taken from Syria and the Palestinians have thus far shown the Canadian government to be rather insensitive."

I believe that Canada, as I have believed for a long time, had a role in the world -- we were looked up to for our honour, our integrity and our diplomacy. The Arab coalition has made a petition to the UN that once this war is over, Canada not be used in a peacekeeping role. I believe this war has been presented as a clean, surgical strike, antiseptic. We do not have any idea of the deaths of the civilian people. Our young men and women enlisted in order to defend the boundaries of Canada. They did not enlist in order to go to another country and wage war against men, women and children. The last toll of civilians I have been told who have died is 35,000 people. The Canadian people do not know about this.


I feel that as a peace group, hopefully we can do something to change this, to change the role that our government today is taking towards international relations. We are the greatest resource that a country has, we, the people, and the change will come from us.

Mr F. Wilson: Thank you very much for your presentation. Are you in possession of the document that has been put out, Changing for the Better, the discussion paper?

Mr Kirby: No.

Mr F. Wilson: You have no comments on its content at this time?

Mr Kirby: No. We have not received it.

Mr Beer: Thank you for coming before us and offering some thoughts not only on what is happening at the present time in the Gulf, but equally suggestions and recommendations around how a democratic country should make a decision as to whether or not it will enter into a war. While, as you know, we come from the provincial Legislative Assembly and therefore in that context have no direct legislative responsibility, clearly in matters of war and peace we all have concerns and I think very legitimate ones at this point, in terms of how we in the country do decide to get involved.

I would like to ask you two questions with regard to your recommendations. One is that you make clear on page 3, "That Canada not participate in any war unless a majority of the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations authorize such participation as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force." Certainly historically since the UN was founded, one of the key things Canada has always argued is that as a middle-sized country we have to work with other countries in the international field. The United Nations has been a prime one for us and I think Canada has demonstrated over the years a great deal of leadership there.

How do you deal with the issue where, if the Canadian Parliament voted that we should participate with the United Nations' sanctions and support those and be part of that group, at some point that may mean that the United Nations decides that we must go to war or go into some kind of military action? I take it you would then accept that that was at least legitimate, if people had been consulted in a broader sense and it was part of the United Nations, even though as individuals you might still be very much opposed to that particular action. It is just that what you are calling for here looks at constitutional amendments which in fact could, if you like, underpin any legal approach to Canada's going to war.

I would just like you to expand a bit more on how you see us as part of the United Nations when in fact there would be times, such as in Korea and the present time, when Canada would be involved in a war. How do you come to terms with that, given some of your other statements here?

Mr Kirby: You are right that our proposal is simply that -- well, not so simple in this sense. We do not believe that a vote of the security council is sufficient, and this has to do with the present makeup, composition and operation of the United Nations. We believe it has to be a vote of a majority of the members of the General Assembly which would commit Canada to war. We do accept the proposition that once that vote has been made, Canada would have to consider its obligations in the international community, but that is not the final step. The final step would still be a vote by the Parliament of Canada.

I want to emphasize that we are saying that Canada can commit itself to a peace-keeping role or as part of a United Nations joint force, which is not the case in the present war, where basically the United Nations said that after 15 January any country that wishes can declare war on Iraq.

Mr Beer: As a follow-up to the other note that you have in terms of how we can come to that decision, again, if I can just quote you, you say "a vote in the federal Parliament or in provincial legislatures or municipal councils to decide on war." What kind of role do you see municipal councils or provincial legislatures playing in the determination of Parliament's final vote? Have you thought that through? Could you tell me how that would function? You are really talking about wanting to see, I think, more community or direct participation in that decision. What were you thinking of there?

Mr Kirby: One of the things about this war in the Middle East and, I think, about any war today is the potential use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Going to war now, I would submit, is a much more serious proposition than it ever has been in the past. For that reason, I believe that the decision made by Canada to go to war has to be made in a democratic fashion.

We have not fine-tuned a proposal to involve provincial or municipal councils, but in a way we are leaving it to you to think about it, because we believe that perhaps it should be the decision of not only the federal Parliament but all of the provincial parliaments that would commit Canada to war. It would not be sufficient simply to have a vote at the federal level. We would go further than that and have you consider that perhaps there should be referendums throughout the country at the municipal level in order to assist in making that decision.

Ms Harrington: I would like to thank you for coming. I am very glad that a city like Kenora has a group such as yours that is really willing to get in there and take a definite stand.

I would also like to apologize on behalf of our whole committee that you had not received our discussion paper. We hope that will be out across this province this week. As soon as people get it, hopefully they will look at it. What we have in it are eight questions we are hoping people will look at and discuss. The first question I think you have answered and that is, what are the values we share as Canadians? I think what you have said is a tradition of peace-keeping and peace-loving and justice that we would like to be respected for on the world scene.

What I would like to ask you is, from your very strong position of justice and peace, what do you see as the roles of the English and French languages in Canada?

Ms Spryszak: I feel that the French-English issue has been used to divide Canada. It seems to be a type of psychology that is used throughout the world, because it is the same thing that has been done to the native people. You divide small bands against each other, it weakens them; you divide the Arab people against each other, it weakens them. It has served the same purpose in Canada. Whenever there seem to be economic problems, this issue is brought to the front again. I feel that it has served different governments as a means of weakening people.


Ms Harrington: As you know, at this particular time we are in a crisis almost. How would you see the French-speaking people and the English-speaking people in Ontario and in Canada working together? Do you have any vision of how we could go from this point forward in Canada?

Ms Spryszak: I believe in our policy of bilingualism and multiculturalism. Rather than having one province having more power over the rest of Canada, I think Mr Trudeau's vision of a just society and bilingualism, although at first it caused a lot of unrest, has served more to unite the country. Quebec could feel part of the country as well as the French throughout Canada.

Mr Eves: I would like to follow up with Mr Kirby on a question that was asked by Mr Beer a few moments ago about involving provincial and municipal levels of government in decision-making. You indicated that perhaps a referendum on important issues, such as whether Canada declares war or uses armed force against any other entity or country, might be the most appropriate way of doing that. I wonder if you had given any thought to any other powers that you think a referendum may have a place to play in our role as either provincial or municipal legislators.

Following up on the comments that were just made with respect to the French-language issue in the country today, especially with respect to the province of Quebec in the country today, have you given any thought to whether if you were to hold such a referendum on such an issue, you would require a majority of every province to be able to change one Constitution or adopt a different tack to the Constitution in Canada? Would you require a majority of all municipalities in the country as a whole or in each particular province as a whole?

Mr Kirby: I think that is a very good and also a very tough question. There has been a lot of talk recently about the undemocratic nature of parliamentary government because it does not allow the people of Canada to vote on such important issues as whether we go to war or whether we have a free trade agreement.

It is my belief that there is a role for the use of a referendum in Canadian society, and I believe that on important issues like peace and war, like the sovereignty of Quebec, it would have to be by more than just a passing majority. It would not, for example, in my mind, be sufficient for a majority of the municipal councils in all the provinces except Quebec to vote one way and for less than a majority of the municipal councils in the province of Quebec to vote against. That would not be sufficient. You would have to do a lot of very serious thinking about the referendum, but I do not believe that you can work against the majority of the citizens of one province.

Ms Churley: Thank you very much for your presentation. I think at this point I have more of a comment than a question because some of the questions I would ask are, I must admit, very tough questions on how to do this. But I want to congratulate you on bringing it to our attention.

I certainly think it is no coincidence and very interesting that our first presentation -- and you are the first -- would be on the war. When Premier Rae first put this committee together, of course, this was all brewing, but war had not been declared. We were very aware as a committee that if a war were to happen it would certainly to some extent change the balance and the influence on how people are thinking, because a war has such great ramifications for all of us and certainly for us as Canadians. I think many of us are grappling with and being tortured by different opinions on it.

I just want to thank you for bringing it up because I think, as people are watching us today and as we are listening to a lot of presentations, on our minds are the people, our Canadian people and the civilians all over there who are right now in the process of being bombed. No matter what our views on it, I think first on our minds right now is that we want to get it over with as fast as we can.

I guess I could ask you if in fact the fact that a war has started since we decided to start this process has made an impact on how you feel about what is happening in our own country right now.

Ms Spryszak: The fact that war--

Ms Churley: The fact that there is a war. We have been spending quite a bit of time, for obvious reasons, being worried since Meech about where we are going as a country. I am just wondering if the fact that a war has started has made an impact on how you are now thinking about what we should be doing within our own country.

Ms Spryszak: I feel that the position we have taken in the war represents very much a change that has taken place in Canada and that if Meech Lake had gone through we would be so divided against each other and it would be far easier for free trade to work because provinces would trade with the United States rather than east to west. It seems that with the war we are aligned more and more with the thinking to the south and our sovereignty is being worn away more and more.


The Chair: I would like to invite Josephine Sandy and Colin Wasacase from the Ojibway Tribal Family Services to come and join us. That is a change in the order, for the members of the committee, one of the groups that was going to speak to us this evening.

Mr Wasacase: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. We would like to thank you for the opportunity of making a presentation this afternoon. We also say thanks for the opportunity to the panel and for an opportunity to share with you some of our vision and some of our hopes.

Those are difficult to understand when you come from a non-native perspective. But the value that we hold is the same value that you hold: the value of honesty. If that value of honesty and trying to create some integrity within our world does not happen soon, then we have to begin to worry about what is happening.

I think the value of being able to share -- and later this afternoon we hope to present each of you with a small gift -- is important in order to develop and to create the kind of change we want, that we share that in an honest and a caring and a loving way. I think those values of care and love are also essential.

I think it is also essential, as we begin to move and develop, to create a world that is going to be peaceful. We have a peaceful group that just preceded us. It is important for us to begin to develop in non-violent ways. The fact is that the kind of image that is created in our Houses, in both the legislative House and the federal House, is on occasion not very conducive to peaceful solutions.

It is time for us to review the importance of all that. This afternoon, Elder Alex Skead shared with you some of his vision and some of his hope, some of his experiences and some of the realities of those values. Each of us stood, those who were Ojibway, because the honour song was sung. You did not understand that. You thought he was chanting something that was different, but if O Canada was played and God Save the Queen, it would have meaning for you. Well, his song had meaning for us. For those who love the bagpipes from the Scottish heritage, that also has meaning. So the drum has meaning.


They sat in four directions because the four directions are important in our world. The drum and the feathers also hold four directions. Those are important in our world. It is important for us then as we meet with you today to sort of share. Those of you who have agendas will notice we are on again at 7:30 this evening. Again, it is a communication problem.

Someone called it an inquiry, someone called it a commission, someone else called it a Constitution. When your office called our office and said that you were having these constitutional meetings, they were under the impression it was an inquiry meeting. So they said, "No, he is busy this afternoon," and we had slated for a 1:30 time. For that reason, we certainly want to thank the French component for allowing us to move in front of them. I think maybe if we could create these kinds of agreements, we would have a better Canada and a more improved world.

The Chair: Indeed.

Mr Wasacase: I would like now to introduce Josephine Sandy. Josephine is the chairperson of the Ojibway Tribal Family Services. She is a mother from Northwest Angle 33 First Nation at the south end of Lake of the Woods. Josephine has been heavily involved in her first nation developing and creating much better opportunities for her people. Her own family are well known, especially one of her daughters, who is a model and is portraying for us an opportunity for what first nations people can do when they have beauty. We certainly feel it is important for us today that we share some of these ideas and I want to conclude with her remarks, I would like to share some others but we may follow with that.

As I say, the time line for us was very short, so we just wanted to give one idea and it pretty well comes out in our presentation this afternoon.

The other person we have is our legal adviser, the other tribe that is lost and looks for other areas, Doug Keshen. It is an opportunity for us to share this time with us. He is our legal adviser for the Ojibway Tribal Family Services.

Mrs Sandy: I am a member of the Northwest Angle 33 First Nation and also the chairperson of the board of directors for Ojibway Tribal Family Services, otherwise known as OTFS. It is in this capacity as chairman of the board of OTFS that I address you today.

OTFS is an Indian-controlled family support organization comprised of 15 first nations within the Treaty 3 region of northwestern Ontario. The following first nations comprise OTFS: Lac Seul, Whitedog, Grassy Narrows, Whitefish Bay, Shoal Lake 39, Shoal Lake 40, Rat Portage, Northwest Angle 33, Eagle Lake, Wabauskang, Wabigoon, Washagamis Bay, Dalles, Northwest Angle 37 and Lac Des Mule Lac.

The chiefs of the 15 OTFS first nations have mandated OTFS to deliver a range of child and family support services that are consistent with our Ojibway Anishinawbe customary care practices. To this extent OTFS is an existing, practising example of Indian government, that is, where first nations assert and maintain jurisdiction and authority over areas of critical importance within our respective reserve communities.

Any redefining of Ontario's role in the Canadian Confederation must acknowledge the justification of different approaches by Anishinawbe first nations. It is not sufficient nor will our first nations accept a delegation of authority from the Ontario crown over matters in which we Anishinawbe have always had inherent rights and jurisdiction.

Ultimately, of course, it comes down to governments, both federal and provincial, respecting the right to be different and to have different approaches to resolving social and human issues.

OTFS has been developing a self-government process which has key elements which are of primary and essential importance and which must be respected by the Ontario government. They include:

1. The importance of re-establishing customary care practices in harmony with our community traditions;

2. The negotiation of self-government arrangements which will see provincial programs which have been destructive to our traditional customary care programs be done away with;

3. The encouragement and promotion of greater Indian control as it relates to providing support for our families;

4. The acknowledgement of crown Canada's trust responsibility under the Constitution of Canada.

Any redefining of Ontario's role within the Canadian Confederation must acknowledge that our first nations governments possess the inherent authority to structure our family services and support programs and organizations in accordance with Anishinawbe culture and custom and in a manner which respects the needs and priorities of each first nation community.

Premier Rae and Attorney General Hampton have indicated in their statements in the Legislature that they support the process of Indian self-government. They have also indicated that they are open to the concept of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that will address situations where the non-Indian justice system fails to accommodate the needs of Anishinawbe people.

We firmly believe that the non-Indian provincial courts are not meeting and addressing our needs. We have recently put forward a proposal for the establishment of an Ojibway Anishinawbe tribal family court that will respect our traditional customary care practices. We are anticipating having the support and endorsement of both the federal and provincial governments in enabling our customary care practices and customary laws to be recognized.

Any redefining of Ontario's role in the Canadian Confederation must acknowledge the need and justification for preserving and enhancing the customary care and customary laws of the Ojibway first nations. Without such recognition, we in Ontario would be missing a great opportunity to acknowledge the diversity within our province, and ultimately to constitutionally entrench the right of indigenous peoples within the province of Ontario to maintain our Ojibway culture and customary practices.

In other words, for the redefining of Ontario's future role within the Canadian Confederation, uppermost in everyone's mind should be the recognition of the importance of respecting the diversity and right of all indigenous peoples, including the Ojibway within the OTFS first nation communities, to preserve their customary care practices and identity.

If an amendment to our Constitution is required to entrench these fundamental principles, then we encourage our legislators to proceed deliberately and with confidence to entrench these rights.

It all comes down to mutual respect.

Thank you very much. Meegwetch.


Mr Wasacase: I would just like to add that indeed the entrenchment of aboriginal rights is very essential. We also feel it is important to recognize aboriginal linguistic rights and to begin that recognition as an important factor. As studies have shown, in Canada there are only three major language groups that will maintain at the rate of loss at the present time, and one of them is the Ojibway, which is very strong, with the Cree and the Inuit.

We are saying that if we are going to maintain any strength within the only lands we know called Canada or North America or Turtle Island, as by some people, linguistic rights must be recognized. We talk about our cultural rights in the paper. We talk about our inherent rights.

The other aspect that we feel is important is the lands question. We do not want them to go any further than the fact that elders indicate to us that the land is a loan to us from the Creator. We have difficulty in talking about some ownership on that aspect, and that is where we get into the argument with the legalistic people, that everybody feels some strength when he owns the land because he paid $90,000. They put a dollar value on it and it is important for them because then they have a stake, but that, for us, is the idea that land is only a part of where we disappear to when we are finished on this created earth.

The last aspect that we want to make sure is understood is that there is an opportunity for our first nations women and children who have much difficulty as a result of being able to move into a community that does not recognize them only as people, because they are different and because they somehow make some changes in order to make themselves much more acceptable in the world, and sometimes that means many difficult things. I realize that in your booklet you indicate a lot of percentages there, things that indicate the social disintegration, the tremendous poverty line, the lack of water, the lack of housing, the lack of economic opportunity.

But I think it is important that we have an opportunity of recognizing these people, real people of renewal, that under Bill C-31 at the federal level for the first time native women began to be recognized as people of equal rights as everyone else. I think it is important to continue that process, so it is those added comments.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation. I think it strikes a very positive and responsive chord among all the members of the committee. There are a number of questions that people want to raise and I will try to get around to everyone.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: May I thank you, first of all, for your last statement. As a woman on this committee, I deeply appreciate the remarks that you made on behalf of your own women and on the broader Ontario women, and for your sensitivity. I really do not have any questions. I am going to do a lot of thinking about what you have said. You said you had one point to make; I have found many. I guess what I would like to say is that it is so wonderful to be here among you. Often you have been among us at Queen's Park. I am very happy that you can bring so many more of your people here today.

I see what you are saying about the family and it certainly has been one of my mission statements, if we want to use those big words, that we have the parents as the prime educators. I think you have reminded us today that this is certainly what you are wanting to do, whether it be in education or whether it be through the court system or whether it be actually in the care of the family when it is in need. I deeply appreciate the way in which you have shown your sensitivity to that which we can understand and that which we cannot understand, when we do not come from your community.

I feel you have started us off on a very positive note, as have the other presenters, and I must acknowledge that Kenora has really given us a kickoff here that you can be proud of. You have talked to us about respecting. You mentioned that word many times and I think that is what we will have to carry through with this as we go across the province. You answered the questions in our booklet. You talked about the values that are important to you and they are very explicit values of honesty. caring and loving, which we can all understand, which are much harder to carry forth.

All I can do is really congratulate you for your presentation. I really do feel it has been a deep insight. I have had a little bit of work on alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and I think there is an awful lot for us all. I am very pleased that you are working on it in this community and beyond. I could say a lot more to you, but there are many other members who want, I am sure, to talk to you in the very same vein as I am. I appreciate your humour as well.

Mr Winninger: I too would like to thank you for sharing your Ojibway experience with us today, particularly in the family services area. We have all heard stories of children being taken out of their native communities and culture, horrifying stories of children being uprooted and exposed to mental and physical abuse in non-native facilities. I would agree with you that it is time that native self-respect and ownership of these facilities be restored.

You probably heard about the strong commitment that our Premier, Bob Rae, as well as our minister responsible for native affairs, Bud Wildman, have made towards negotiating self-government agreements with native communities, even bilateral agreements where the federal government does not choose to participate. So I certainly applaud your initiative and we as a government look forward to working with you further towards realizing your objectives.

Mr Harnick: What specific mechanisms would best help you to deliver the family services that your organization delivers in terms of a Constitution that this committee is now wrestling with? What kinds of things must be done in order to facilitate the work you wish to continue with?

Mr Wasacase: We talk about government; we talk about governing. It only leads to say that as a first nation is to be recognized as that. Once you are recognized as a government and a governing group, then at least you have an opportunity of beginning to move with laws and customary care practices that have been in existence for thousands of years. It is only most recently that we have had Europeans join us with their laws and their rules. All that we are saying now is to at least recognize that we had those in place prior to now and to try to melt that into existing practices that have existed and have been sort of accepted over the years since the Europeans gathered with first nations people.

Mr Harnick: Without beating around the bush --

Mr Wasacase: We sometimes have to do that.

Mr Harnick: No, we do not want you to do that. Without beating around the bush, the fact of the matter remains that I do not think, as of today, the first nations in this country and certainly in this province would be satisfied with anything less than a specific entrenchment in the Constitution of the right to native self-government.

Mr Wasacase: That is right.


Mr Harnick: It seems to me that would be the starting point in terms of hand negotiation, family programs. Would you agree with that?

Mr Wasacase: We state that in our paper as an opportunity to move in that direction.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for your very important presentation, specifically in recognition of the need for love and caring, as well as honesty, and the preservation of your culture. Looking at your own native self-government, it seems to me that you would like us to recognize your own self-government, but how would you like us to recognize the self-government? How would you like to see that included in the Constitution? Do you want a separate constitution or would you like to see the first nations as part of our Constitution?

Mr Wasacase: First nations people have never said they did not want to. For us to state that now would be difficult because we would have to get Canada to build a few more ships than it has built and sent to the Persian Gulf to move you back. The fact is that we have to begin to develop mechanisms that will allow us to gain and be recognized for the laws that we have, for the roles and the kinds of actions that were important to us, as first nations people, for many years.

How we fit these into existing laws and rules is the opportunity of governments -- we are talking here about first nations -- dialoguing with people so that the best kinds of solutions can be found, not only in Ontario but in Canada, and that first nations people again can have the same pride and the same kinds of feelings of kindness that were given to your forefathers who came over to look for another world, to look for another life and to look to another future and another vision.

I think all of you here today are moving on that type of voyage to develop, in order for us to have a world for our children, a world which will have all the values that I shared with you, and that each of them can hold out his hand and that we can grasp those hands not in anger and hatred, not in violence, but our hands can be held out together, together, the circle that we talk about, and that we can be strengthened by that. We hope that self-government will be part of all that process, when we talk about it.

Mr Malkowski: Basically you would like to recognize your right of self-government, that it be shared equally and have mutual respect, so very clearly that would be put in the Constitution, but basically that is what you would like, a recognition of your own self-government.

Mr Offer: Let me first thank you very much for your presentation. I think it clearly brings forward a number of very important values, some things which we in the committee are certainly going to have to grapple with.

On the basis of your presentation, there is no question at this point in time that there are a number of provincial and federal committees doing work in this area. Certainly there is work being done in Quebec dealing with some of the rights, rules and responsibilities they now want to have which are now part of some federal jurisdiction.

In your presentation you have spoken about, and have repeated a number of times, the redefinition of Ontario's role in the Canadian Confederation; a very important statement, especially what follows after that particular statement.

Is it your position that the interests you have brought forward in this document are ones which should be kept in mind by the province of Ontario in its role of looking at a redefined Confederation, or is there a role which the first nations people should play directly in dealing with your rights and roles under the Constitution?

I wonder if you can just help me as to where you feel first nations should be in this process.

Mr Wasacase: I think the process is the same as talking to your mother-in-law. I mean, you would not like your brother-in-law to speak on your behalf to your mother-in-law. I think you would like direct access to that lady and tell her how proud you are of the woman she gave you.

I think we are of the same process. We would like direct access to developing the kinds of rules and regulations that are important to us. I think it is also important that there be simultaneous workings with different levels of governments to review the various impacts that changes may make as a result of these recognitions of inherent responsibility.

I do not know if it helps here any. I think, as my friend Mr Harnick said, we continue to beat around the bush, but the rabbits come out pretty soon.

Mr Offer: Yes, I think we are coming to the rabbits actually and that is what I want and I thank you very much for that response. I think it is important, certainly for this committee's knowledge, to get a full appreciation as to where you view your role in this process and I think that will probably be a recurring theme, but I am very pleased that it is brought out on the very first day, actually. Thank you.

Mr Harnick: In terms of whom you would prefer to deal with, we now have a situation where there are certain areas of provincial jurisdiction and provincial negotiations that the native communities have to deal with; they also have to deal with the Indian Act and federal jurisdiction.

In a new Constitution, even assuming the opportunity to have self-government written into that Constitution in areas of funding, taxation, land claims, social services, what would be the preference of the first nations in terms of which level of government they deal with, or do you continue to deal with both levels of government?

Mr Wasacase: I guess we do not have much choice but to continue to deal with both the federal and the provincial now that we have the opportunity as first nations people because of treaties and those rights of treaties which were signed in the late 1800s and some earlier than that. But it is important for first nations people to deal directly with first nations people and I am saying with governments, and that is federal and at the present time provincial. So those have to continue.


Mr Harnick: Let me put this to you. If a provincial government came along and said, "We would take over the whole jurisdiction of native affairs rather than divide it with the federal government," would that be acceptable to you?

Mr Wasacase: I would not know what that meant. Do you know what that means?

Mr Harnick: I have an inkling, but I have to be honest, I probably do not know very much more than you do. But if someone came along and said: "Look, there is too much three-way dealing here. It would be much more simple if we had two-way dealing."

Mr Wasacase: The Ojibway Tribal Family Services has taken the mandate to do a bilateral agreement with the federal government and they maintain that present mandate. That is why we are looking at alternative resolutions in relationship to the tribal court system.

The Chair: Okay. I know there are other questions, but we do have other groups we want to hear from as well.

Mr Wasacase: Before we leave, we just want to say thank you very much for the opportunity of sharing with you, and because we want to share with you we have a set of paddles which we use as a symbol; in this area the first nations people live on water and our method or mode of transportation has always been water. The paddles represent the idea that as we present these to you, you share the opportunity of paddling our little canoe, which is the self-government canoe, together. This is the reason for it, so we hope that you will enjoy these.

The Chair: I know, as was noted, you did cover a number of points in your presentation, but certainly, if you have additional comments you want to develop over the next few weeks and send to us, feel free to do that as well. Thank you very much, Mr Wasacase.


M. le Président : J'invite maintenant Émile Blouin, Marielle Benson et Francine Petiquan du Club Chanteclerc.

M. Blouin : Je vais vous adresser la parole en français. I hope my compatriots from Kenora will forgive me. Those of you who do not understand French will pardon me, but I have a principle involved here.

Alors, je tiens à vous remercier de m'avoir invité à cette conférence. Vraiment, c'est ma première présentation en français dans la ville de Kenora. J'en ai fait quand j'étais professeur de français au niveau secondaire, mais c'est la première fois que je le fais publiquement.

Je vais vous parler au nom du Club Chanteclerc, qui est un petit club social qui existe ici à Kenora depuis assez longtemps, depuis 1970, je crois, mais je voudrais vous parler aussi comme individu, vous donner un peu de mon histoire, mon histoire de Canadien.

Je suis le porte-parole d'un petit groupe et je dois vous expliquer, excusez, Mme Petiquan a des problèmes à la maison. Elle a une assez grande famille. Mme Benson était ici avec moi depuis deux heures mais elle a dû nous quitter parce qu'elle est infirmière à l'hôpital et elle doit recommencer à trois heures. Alors, j'ai à côté de moi Claire Theriault.

M. le Président : Je dois demander un instant.

For members of the public who are interested, there are translation devices available at the back of the hall. If there are people who would like to make use of those, please feel welcome to do that.

M. Blouin : Qui sommes-nous ? Nous sommes multiculturels, oui. Mais, plus que ça, en y pensant, nous sommes les ancêtres d'un peuple qui n'a pas voulu disparaître, qui n'a pas voulu mourir. Nous sommes Canadiens et Canadian. Je me sens tellement les deux. Au passage des années--et prenez compte de notre placement géographique dans le nord-ouest de l'Ontario--les deux langues et les deux cultures sont arrivées.

Qu'est qu'il y a dans notre communauté francophone ? Elle n'est pas grande ; elle est très petite. II y a celle de la francophonie ontarienne, il y a celle du Vieux-Québec, que je représente parce que je suis Québécois d'origine et il y a celle des Franco-Manitobains. La majorité des francophones dans la région de Kenora, Fort Frances etc sont des Franco-Manitobains qui viennent du Manitoba. Avant tout, nous sommes Canadiens ; pas vraiment Français. Nous représentons, sur un tableau plus étendu, le Canada français au sein de l'Ontario.

Je sais qu'on a besoin de se refranchir--M. Bisson en a parlé il n'y a pas longtemps--de retrouver nos racines, retrouver notre langue, retrouver notre culture. C'est une chose que beaucoup parmi nous ont perdu. On est un peuple peu nombreux. La plupart parmi nous sont assimilés. Jusqu'ici, il reste seulement les noms de famille. Dans notre ville, il y a des Desjardins, des Dufresne, des Desgagné, des Plante, des Lajeunesse, des Lafrenière, mais ils parlent tous anglais ; ils ne parlent plus français. Leur héritage, plus ou moins, est disparu. II reste seulement le nom et peut-être la religion ; la langue est disparue. Voilà la tragédie, vraiment, la culture d'origine submergée.

Est-ce que nous sommes morts de honte nous les francophones ou bien est-ce que c'est un manque de soin ? Je crois, du fond de mon coeur, que c'est un manque de soin. On n'a pas été assez soignés et nous n'avions pas les outils pour commencer, pour progresser à un niveau plus élevé. On ne nous a rien garanti au commencement dans la province de l'Ontario.

Comment suis-je devenu, personnellement, Ontarien ? Vous voyez que je suis assez vieux, d'un certain âge ; je suis déjà professeur à ma retraite. J'ai l'esprit jeune quand même. L'Ontario a été bonne pour moi, pour ma famille, pour mes parents. Nous sommes venus du Québec et une fois traversé la frontière, vous m'avez nié ma langue et ma culture et mes chansons.

Je suis arrivé à l'âge de sept ans à Sault Sainte-Marie unilingue. Je n'avais jamais entendu parler un mot d'anglais. J'étais dans une mer anglophone où les institutions étaient anglophones : les cours, les cours de loi, les églises, les écoles, les marchés, l'économie, tous en anglais, et moi, nous, une famille du Canada... Attention, moi et ma famille, nous n'étions pas des étrangers, des foreigners. On se sentait souvent comme tel ; nous étions des Canadiens depuis 1742.

Les Blouin sont arrivés sur l'île d'Orléans, au Québec, de la France en 1742. Il y en a maintenant des milliers à travers le Canada. II y en a encore sur l'île d'Orléans, pas loin de la ville de Québec. Mes parents sont nés à Saint-Jean-d'Orléans, mais c'est une autre histoire et bon Dieu, Saint-Jean-Orléans est encore là.


Pour survivre dans mon propre pays, mon pays adopté, l'Ontario, et plus tard prospérer, j'ai dû apprendre l'anglais or else--très bien--ce que j'ai fait avec rapidité et avec plaisir. J'avais maintenant deux cultures, deux langues, deux héritages, et j'en suis fier. Soyez convaincus que je suis fier d'avoir les deux cultures. I am proud of having both cultures. I belong to both and I feel quite at home in both.

II n'y avait pas de place pour les deux dans l'Ontario que je connaissais. On vivait en français à la maison mais totalement en anglais en dehors du domicile parce qu'il n'y avait pas de choix quand plus tard nous sommes allés à Toronto. J'ai passé 18 ans de ma vie à Toronto. Ma première lecture en français, c'était peut-être la faute de mes parents, mais c'était à Vaughan Road Collegiate à Toronto, grade 9 French. Je parlais beaucoup mieux français que mon professeur, une certaine Mlle Prior, si je me rappelle. Elle a dit, «Blouin, vous parlez bien mais vous ne savez pas écrire ni lire le français.» Ça nous fait drôle dans notre propre pays d'avoir une chose comme ça arriver. Mais à qui la faute ? J'ai pensé hier soir aux deux solitudes qui existaient ; elles existent encore les deux solitudes mais ça commence à se dissiper.

La première fois à l'Université de Toronto en 1950, j'avais lu les «Two Solitudes» de Hugh MacLennan, un miracle pour moi parce que j'étais tellement isolé. J'étais à l'Université de Toronto mais on me croyait plutôt Français de France, vous savez ? Je faisais à ce temps-là un peu de théâtre et je me rappelle que le professeur a dit, « Ah ! Vous avez un accent cayayen ». Très bien, miracle, écrivain anglophone me décrivait, moi. Le héro de ce roman, Paul, avais osé sortir d'un petit monde québécois et lancer un défi à l'établissement anglophone. Mais je reviens à mon pays et à ma province qui est l'Ontario.

Je remercie du fond de mon coeur le gouvernement de l'Ontario, sa générosité et largesse envers la communauté francophone, et ça s'améliore... Je me rappelle avoir écouté M. Beer qui parle très bien français. Je vous félicite, Monsieur Beer, d'avoir appris notre langue. J'en suis présentement témoin dans mon rôle sur l'exécutif de l'AFNOO, Association francophone du Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario, qui est située à Thunder Bay. Mais pour ma génération perdue, il n'y avait rien pour nous dans l'Ontario anglophone. Sink or swim, c'était ça. Vos politiciens, vos institutions nous ont nié le droit de vivre en français, nous ont nié le droit de rire en français, de jouer en français, d'élever une famille en français ; est-ce que je pourrais dire faire l'amour en français ? Non, je ne crois pas.

J'étais devenu un Ontarien pure laine, comme on dit, après tout, et n'étais-je pas toujours un Canadien, a Canadian ? Ce n'était pas le génocide mais c'était la coercition, à mon avis. Y a-t-il une solution ? Je crois que oui, et elle réside dans les forces et la vision de l'Ontario et ses citoyens, la plus grande et la plus puissante des dix provinces du Canada. Mais il faut que ce soit un Ontario qui respecte la dualité linguistique déjà fragilement établie dans la province.

Après 350 ans d'histoire dans votre province, au pays du Haut-Canada, vous nous devez les mêmes droits qu'ont les autres groupes qui font partie de notre province. Maintenant que le bon travail de reconstruction et de réconciliation est en pleine vigueur, nous espérons pouvoir continuer à vivre en français n'importe où dans la province. Et j'ai ici à côté de moi Mme Theriault, qui vient de l'Acadie, au Nouveau-Brunswick, et elle est maintenant Franco-Ontarienne, si vous voulez.

And finally, to end my talk -- I want to be polite and I want to show that I believe in duality -- I shall turn to my second language, my adopted language. I understand full well, as well as any of you, why Quebec reacts as it does within Confederation in 1991. One half million francophones living and working in Ontario need to be assured of their place in the scheme of things, because it was not always assured. We were the drawers of water and the hewers of wood. Je l'ai, Monsieur Bisson?

What has happened in the last two decades must be allowed to grow and expand as part of the heritage of all francophones and the hundreds of thousands of us who have been lost to the French community through assimilation. You have no idea of the number of francophones. I think it is tragic. A lot of them probably do not. I really do. They could have had two cultures, two languages, and they do not. Time has wrought its changes upon us, but this seems to happen to linguistic minorities in general.

I will not go into detail now; however, the key to the survival of the francophone, and to everyone for that matter, but especially the French, must be education. I say that as an educator: education which ranges from the small classes for the functionally illiterate, of which there are already a few in northern Ontario now in place, through to the elementary school system, the secondary and the post-secondary. We must continue to educate and to train for tomorrow with the wholehearted support of the province.

Of prime importance is that the francophone should be allowed to take his education in his own language. There is the rub at certain levels, especially at the post-secondary level, plus in other areas of social services within the province of Ontario. The education will come from our schools naturally, from our libraries, from the media, from the culture and the arts and from our social services. Education has improved immensely, but a lot of these services, in the language that we should be entitled to use, have been denied us up to now.

We are not hard done by in any way, but there is a certain hidden agenda I suppose, or there used to be, in the suppression of French in Ontario. Where does Ontario, in a more general sense, fit into the puzzle that is Canada and Confederation? Well, Ontario has a key role to play, un rôle clef, the role of a benevolent judge in order to offset the threat of a separate or a sovereign Quebec. Only the economic and social strength of Ontario, I feel, can guarantee a renewed federalism. You are a key province in the coming deliberations with the rest of Canada. I cannot, as an individual, nor can we as a group in a place like Kenora envisage a fractured federal state. I am a Canadian as well as a Canadien, and maybe I could no longer be a Canadien if Quebec were to declare itself a sovereign state.

It remains part of a giant puzzle. I think that you as politicians at higher levels in Ontario could offset the outworn clichés and the tired politicians who now carry -- I am thinking of the federal level especially, if you will excuse me -- a sort of a pejorative name as politicians because of what has taken place. I think of Meech Lake in particular and the fiasco it became.

Ontario can show the way by declaring -- and it has up to a point up to now -- that the francophone, the anglophone communities, as well as the native communities, les autochtones du Canada, and also the multicultural communities -- I am not here to discuss all these but I mention them because they are important -- have equal status across our fair province.

We have all become a part of the warp and woof -- it is an expression I like that I picked up in an English course -- of our society. But we demand qualitative changes: quality in education, quality in social services, quality of politicians, upright, upstanding, honest, fair play -- right, Frank? -- all these sort of things. Okay. I am trying to be funny, not facetious.

I think Ontario will counteract the federal dictatorship that now rules Canada, and I mention that as a footnote, I guess. I have felt that for some time.


Je voudrais terminer, si vous me donnez la permission, en français, quelques petits mots seulement. Je pleure pour mon pays en ce moment critique dans son histoire. Je suis certain que les citoyens et les citoyennes de l'Ontario et leur gouvernement vont prendre un rôle de leadership, de guides, dans les nouvelles définitions de notre pays. Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est une réalité qui va survivre ses défauts. Je vous remercie de m'avoir prêté l'oreille.

M. le Président : Merci, Monsieur Blouin. II y aura sans doute des questions.

M. Beer : Merci pour votre présentation. Je pense qu'il est très intéressant que durant cette première journée on nous a parlé d'abord de la paix, deuxièmement des autochtones, des droits et maintenant vous nous parlez des francophones. Donc, petit à petit, on commence à construire ou reconstruire ce qu'est le pays, le Canada. Je pense que l'une des questions importantes pour ce comité et surtout peut-être pour les communautés minoritaires de langue française dans notre pays c'est le fait que, aujourd'hui, on se rend compte qu'au Québec il y a un mouvement, beaucoup de discussions -- comment définir exactement ce qui arrive -- mais où, peut-être pour la première fois, l'option du séparatisme, l'option d'une sorte d'association-souverainiste, ces options sont vraiment discutées et où nous tous, Canadiens, ne savons pas exactement où on va. En effet, un des buts de notre comité c'est d'essayer de voir ce que les Ontariens et Ontariennes pensent de notre pays et où nous allons.

Je pense que ça peut être utile pour nous si vous, en tant que francophone, qui depuis longtemps habitez l'Ontario, nous disiez comment vous voyez la réaction du Québec dans le contexte où, en Ontario, on essaie d'obtenir plus de services en langue française, de développer vraiment une politique disons du bilinguisme, où on peut assurer aux francophones comme aux anglophones un certain droit de base pour les services gouvernementaux. Mais on a en même temps un certain sens que de plus en plus, pour le Québec ça n'a pas un grand intérêt, que la province de Québec préfère maintenant dire, « Écoutez, nous voulons construire notre propre pays. »

Alors, dans ce contexte-là, quelles sont les suggestions que vous pourriez partager avec nous en dialoguant avec les Québécois ? Et aussi, quel est le rôle des francophones de l'Ontario ? J'admets, je comprends et je suis d'accord que notre province a un rôle très important à jouer avec le Québec mais pourtant, quel est le rôle des francophones de notre province dans un dialogue avec le Québec ? Qu'est-ce que nous pouvons faire pour convaincre le Québec que c'est peut-être la meilleure chose pour nous deux de rester ensemble dans un pays ? Peut-être qu'on a des différences aujourd'hui mais quand même c'est un pays qui est fort. Si vous pouvez répondre à cela alors notre travail sera fini.

M. Blouin : Vous avez raison, Monsieur Beer. Je ne comprends pas -- le Québec qui existe aujourd'hui, ça ne fait pas partie de ma vie vraiment. Je retourne au Québec de temps à autre. Je voudrais dire que ça a beaucoup changé. Les Québécois de mon âge, plus ou moins, demeurent Canadiens parce que nous avons été élevés comme ça, mais je suis convaincu et je sais que les jeunes Québécois, ceux entre 15 ans et 30 ans, ont décidé qu'ils en ont eu assez du Canada anglais, des anglophones. Ils veulent régler leur propre pays qu'ils vont faire eux-mêmes. Ils sont certains d'eux-mêmes. Ils savent où ils vont, ils sont certains de réussir.

Moi, je ne comprends pas ça. Pour ceux-là, je crois qu'on n'a pas écouté d'assez près et avec assez de sincérité il y a 30 ans, il y a 20 ans. Mais qu'est-ce qu'ils veulent ces gars-là du Québec ? Pourquoi est-ce qu'ils chialent, comme on dit ? Pourquoi se plaignent-ils ? Qu'est-ce qu'il y a qui ne va pas ? On n'a pas voulu comprendre le Québécois. On ne s'intéressait pas à le comprendre, il n'était pas tellement important. Mais on voit aujourd'hui qu'il est très important parce que s'il part, notre voisin québécois, le Canada va être beaucoup plus pauvre, je vous en assure.

En même temps, qu'est-ce qu'il va nous arriver à nous, comme moi, qui sommes en Ontario depuis plus de 50 ans, qui avons nos racines et nos sources encore au Québec d'une certaine manière ? Je ne le sais pas, mais je crois que nous sommes sur le bon chemin dans la province. Vous avez assez d'écoles françaises maintenant, de conseils scolaires pour francophones, vous parlez d'un collège du Nord pour les francophones. Il y a beaucoup de choses qui se passent maintenant qui nous assurent, nous les francophones, que l'Ontario, même si le Canada se dégage -- je ne sais pas ce que je dirais à part cela -- nous avons assez de choses dans nos institutions qui vont garantir nos droits. Nous sommes beaucoup plus certains, plus sûrs de nous-mêmes que nous l'étions il y a 50 ans, je vous en assure. Un jeune homme comme M. Bisson pourra certainement vous assurer que j'ai raison. Il est beaucoup plus jeune que moi. Est-ce que j'ai commencé à répondre à votre question?

M. Bisson : Je pense possiblement que vous demeurez dans ma circonscription.

Moi, la question que je demande, c'est que vous avez dit justement tout à l'heure qu'une des affaires qui est très importante c'est de ramener le monde ensemble, d'être capable de regarder à chacun sa position, parce que sans ça c'est pas mal difficile de savoir où on va s'en aller dans les négociations constitutionnelles. Moi, je parle comme Franco-Ontarien. De quelle manière peut-on prendre ce défi-là d'être capable de faire réaliser les gens que oui, il y a des différences ? Bien, c'est la différence qui nous amène ensemble, c'est ça qui est notre sorte. De quelle manière pensez-vous qu'on peut se dégager sur ce point-là?

M. Blouin : La première chose c'est qu'il est question d'accepter la différence. Pour un certain pourcentage de notre population, ils ne l'acceptent pas. Ils veulent être unilingues, uniculturels, je ne sais pas. C'est très difficile.

Peut-être que ça remonte à 1759, quand la France a perdu le Canada. Peut-être que ça remonte à cette époque-là mais je crois que c'est plus fondamental que ça. Si vous parlez une autre langue, que vous parlez une deuxième langue, c'est le fait que vous pensez un peu différemment, c'est le fait que vous vous amusez un peu différemment. Vous êtes différent. Il y a une certaine psychologie qui s'attache à une langue. C'est cette psychologie et cette différence qu'ils ne comprennent pas.

Mais il y a des milliers de English-speaking Canadians qui nous comprennent, qui veulent garder la dualité, mais il y en a des milliers aussi qui ne le veulent pas. Ils voient dans les demandes du Québec, ils comprennent seulement que ce sont des demandes politiques et que ce sont des demandes économiques. Ils ne comprennent pas la nature culturelle, la nature sociale et la nature linguistique de ces demandes. Il est très important que le Québec survive. II y en a beaucoup dans la province de Québec qui sont convaincus qu'ils ne survivront pas dans le contexte du Canada comme il est à l'heure actuelle, comme le Canada est construit à l'heure actuelle. C'est dommage, ils ont peut-être raison, mais ça me rend très triste d'y penser.

J'espère que nous allons pouvoir sauver notre pays et aujourd'hui je crois que c'est un commencement. Est-ce que j'ai répondu, Gilles, plus ou moins ?


M. Bisson : Oui.

Une dernière question : c'est quoi qu'on dit comme francophone à ceux dans le pays qui disent, « Écoute, pour que le Canada survive, c'est très important qu'on demeure seulement une nation »? II n'y a pas seulement les francophones, il y a les autochtones et toutes sortes d'autres gens dans le pays. Mais qu'est-ce qu'on dit à ceux qui disent qu'ils ont une vision du pays seulement unilingue, avec seulement une race dans le pays ?

M. Blouin : Je pourrais commencer par dire que s'il y a une division dans notre pays, le beau Canada, on va devenir... Vous, surtout vous qui êtes anglophones ou qui n'êtes pas francophones, vous allez devenir, dans 100 ans, des Américains. C'est ça que vous allez devenir très vite, surtout dans l'Ouest du Canada, à mon avis personnel. Ça va arriver. Je ne sais pas si ça va être citoyens des États-Unis, mais vous allez devenir Américains.

Mais si on reste ensemble, si on peut former cette dualité, si le monde peut comprendre comment c'est important d'avoir les deux langues et peut-être une troisième langue, d'être un pays bilingue ou trilingue, quoique ce soit, si on vient à comprendre ça et si on vient à accepter certaines demandes que nous pose le Québec, on va rester ensemble. À ce moment-là, on va devenir très fort et on ne deviendra pas des Américains.

Mr Eves: I would like to thank you very much for what I think is a very impassioned and sincere presentation here this afternoon. I would like to seek some advice from you, however.

Mr Blouin: Any time.

Mr Eves: How would you respond to Quebec's recent proposal with respect to restructuring of the federation or Confederation of Canada certainly, I think, as you and I have come to know it? Many people have suggested that it would drastically reduce the powers that our current federal government has, and some say that it in fact will destroy Canada as you and I know it.

I would like to know how you respond to their proposal, bearing in mind that just a few short months ago it would appear that the rest of Canada, at least two and perhaps three provinces, could not agree on five demands and now we appear to be presented with a checklist, depending on who is counting, of up to as many as 22.

You mentioned earlier in your presentation, and I was struck by it, about we in Ontario having economic and social strength. I was wondering what you think that we specifically can do in the province of Ontario in that regard to respond to the proposal that the province of Quebec appears to be making and what you think of its proposal.

Mr Blouin: Can I go back to your original question about the demands of Quebec? I suppose, because I have lived here 30 years in Kenora, I have remained a strong federalist. I believe in a strong federal government, as long as I believe in that government, mind you. NDP people will appreciate that, I suppose. I have remained a federalist and I really do not want to even think of the day that Quebec would separate.

I think what is emanating from Quebec at the moment is politics. It is a pose. I have never trusted Mr Bourassa and I trust less yet M. -- but I am showing my colours here, am I not? I think it is politics they are playing. They are playing a very dangerous game, mind you, but they have got a lot of push behind them. They are not the separatist party. That belongs to Jacques Parizeau. We can thank our lucky stars we are not dealing with him.

I think they will back off but I think the key to the negotiations, whatever is going to take place in the next few months, will come from Ontario. I really believe that. What can Mr Rae and his government, with the help of everyone else, come with in Ontario to counteract and mollify some of these demands?

For the second part of your question, I strongly believe in a government that is concerned with its people and has social structures in place, unemployment insurance, health insurance, all these things from which we benefit. I certainly believe that even if we were to split up, these things would continue to be a part of the Canadian tradition.

But I certainly notice, in the year since the free trade agreement was signed, that a lot of these little things, bit by bit, are being eroded. The Americans speak of a level playing field. "Your workers have too many things going for them. They have too much health insurance. They have unemployment insurance." I think it is very important that we maintain those.

I might express to you that that kind of thing is very strong among the francophones. They strongly believe in these sort of social benefits. It is strongly inherent in the society of Quebec as well, which probably would be a mild social democratic type of government even to this day, but even the Bloc québécois.

Again, the key is the province of Ontario and the second key to the survival of Canada is education, especially education of quality at the secondary level and at the post-secondary level in particular. We have done a good job of that, and hopefully it will pay off with informed and insightful citizens. Have I answered your question or not? I beat around the bush. I forgot the last part.

Mr Eves: You forgot the last presenter, beating around the bush. No, I am just kidding. I think you have certainly addressed some of the issues, perhaps not as specifically as I would like to. Perhaps I am expecting you to provide us with a lot of instant answers when we all know that there are not any. I think that you have answered the question by saying that really the province of Ontario can play a very lead role by demonstrating understanding towards mollifying some of the representations coming from Quebec.

Mr Blouin: I hope you will listen to them carefully. Listen carefully and find out what is in their heads.

The Chair: On that note, thank you. There are a number of other questions but time does not permit us to get into them. I apologize to the members of the committee. Thank you very much.


The Chair: Can we call Don Imbeau, please?

Mr Imbeau: I am not sure I can go through with this. It is a bit scary.

Mr Bisson: We have all had to do this at one time.

The Chair: We have been called a lot of things, but intimidating, I am not sure.

Mr Imbeau: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman and committee members. For the record my name is J. Donald Imbeau. I am a Franco-Ontarian, born and raised in Blind River, which is located on the north shore of Lake Huron, migrated to Toronto, remained for a dozen years, migrated to northwestern Ontario, which is now my permanent residence.

I am currently president of the Multicultural Association of Kenora and District. I am also a member of the board of directors for the Kenora Community Legal Clinic. I am a member of a newly formed race relations council in Kenora. I am also a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I mention these facts because I need to emphasize that my presentation is solely a reflection of my personal views and not necessarily reflective of the views of my community association. The truth is, we have not had a chance to get together and talk about this.


My purpose today is to share with you a glimpse of my vision of Canada, imperfect as it may be, by first making this oral presentation summarizing my views, and second presenting at a later date a more comprehensive written submission. Some of the organizations that I am involved with will also make a written submission at a later date.

I will begin my presentation by reading the opening stanza from a poem written by Robert Service, a poem called The Ordinary Man.

If you and I should chance to meet,

I guess you wouldn't care;

I'm sure you'd pass me in the street,

As if I wasn't there.

You'd never look me in the face,

My modest mug to scan,

Because I am just a commonplace,

An Ordinary Man.

It is my view that you will not find many an ordinary man making a presentation to this committee. Perhaps they will not because of indifference, insecurity or simply fear. These are very intimidating surroundings for most people: a dozen MPs, members of Parliament, television cameras, news media and so many strange faces. But I believe for the most part the ordinary man will not appear because of humility. He does not believe that his opinion is worthy of sharing simply because he believes he is ordinary and thus unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Therefore, Mr Chairman, this committee must take steps to overcome this barrier. This committee needs to loosen its collective tie, step away from the security of the podium and go, perhaps two by two, to meet the ordinary man. Go visit the local pub in Kenora and chat with its patrons. Go to the bowling alley, the community centre, recreation centre, the shopping mall, the seniors' centre, the aquatics club, the cultural centres, the homes on the reserve and schools. Stop and chat with the common man at the street level. Do this wherever you go in as many communities as you can. Go two by two to visit all of them if you can, and ask them what they think. They will not write; many cannot. They will not stop by; no time. Many cannot even speak your language.

The second stanza by Robert Service reads:

But then, it may be, you are too

A guy of every day,

Who does the job he is told to do

And takes the wife his pay;

Who makes a home and kids his care,

And works with pick or pen... .

Why, Pal, I guess we're just a pair

Of Ordinary Men.

My only real concern about this Ontario consultative process is that you will not take the time to do this. You have a deadline and in my view this one is much, much too compressed. My first plea to you today is, please take the time for the ordinary citizen. Canada is too important, and he needs to speak, he needs to be heard before you exercise the burden of leadership. His fate is in your hands. Take the time and do it right or do not do it at all.

Conflicting loyalties: I now want to share with you my feelings, my anguish as a Franco-Ontarian or French-Canadian while I struggle with Quebec nationalism. A few generations ago my ancestors migrated from Quebec to Ontario. I represent the culmination of this migration, my total assimilation into Anglo culture. It is very sad but true: I am now part of the melting pot called "the real Canadian." But in spite of this assimilation, when I see the Quebec flag, the fleur de lys, when I see thousands and thousands of Québécois celebrating Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and when I hear the cries, "Vive le Québec libre," my pulse races. From the very depth of my being, I respond to this cry for nationhood.

Several years ago I realized that if I had been Québécois I would most certainly be a staunch separatist. But I am not a Québécois. My birthright is in Ontario. I see myself as a Canadian -- French, yes, but nevertheless a citizen of Canada -- and my pulse races and pride wells up from deep within me because this country is the greatest in all the world. I shudder when I think of its demise. To this very day, I still struggle with these conflicting emotions, but I have learned to deal realistically with this conflict.

Several years ago I also realized that if I were to move and live in Quebec, I would feel étranger, a stranger. I would feel that I would not belong. I would become homesick for my birthplace of Ontario. I realized then that my loyalty, after is all is said and done, belongs to Canada, a united Canada. I concluded that if Quebec leaves Confederation, this will rock my foundation.

I feel that this act will disfranchise me and this is my plea to the Quebec ordinary man: "If you leave you will take my heart with you, but my soul will remain in Canada. If you leave Canada, you crush my identity. You annihilate my loyalties. I cannot, I will not, envision a Canada without Quebec. I will become in heart, in mind and in soul a man without a country, a stateless man, loyal to none."

This is my plea to this committee. For me, Canada itself is not negotiable. You must keep our borders inviolable. I present to you my heart and my soul and my loyalty. Take them as a sacred trust and tell all, tell Quebec that the union itself is not negotiable. I deeply believe that to the ordinary Canadian, whether living in the east or the west, in Ontario or Quebec or in Canada's vast hinterland, Canada itself is not really negotiable.

Having said that Canada is not negotiable, I nevertheless feel that everything else is. Everything else. This is why we are here today. The articles of Confederation, this master agreement, and everything contained therein is negotiable. Nothing within is inviolable. I agree that it is time now to renegotiate this agreement in the context of present-day reality, but this time it must be a comprehensive agreement that will consider the aspirations of all Canadians equally, not favouring one region or one sector or one group over another.


The original Fathers of Confederation were successful. I ask myself, what about our present leaders? Are they less able? I think not, because where there is a will, there is a way, and afterwards there should be no need for anyone to leave this union.

The Quebec and aboriginal reality: Mr Chairman, in your deliberation I ask you to consider this viewpoint. Whatever term you use, whether it be sovereignty or sovereignty-association, whether it be self-government, self-determination or nationhood or masters at home controlling our own destiny, they all have a familiar ring. They all express, in my view, a universal desire, a cultural imperative, of a race of people wanting to control their own destiny without the shackles of oppression by a majority of others.

In my view the aspirations of Quebec and the aspirations of the aboriginal people or first nations of this country are the same and they must be given equal consideration within the context of this new agreement. It is hypocrisy to think otherwise. We must not enshrine a double standard again.

From a global perspective, their desires are not dissimilar to those expressed by blacks in South Africa or the people in the Baltic states or the Palestinian people or the Israeli people or the Kurdish people or dozens of other distinct peoples in the past 200 years of civilization. Oar new agreement must recognize the fundamental aspirations of these distinct races, distinct peoples, and by doing so we can be an example to the world and fulfil our destiny of becoming a great nation -- a universal right, a fundamental obligation.

Mr Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, we are all members of the human family but we are racially different and we must learn to live with these differences. By definition, a race is a family, a tribe, a people or nation belonging to the same stock. It is a class or kind of people unified by community, community of interests and habits or characteristics. In my view, the Quebec people are distinct. Similarly, the aboriginal people in first nations in North America are a race and are distinct.

In my view, there exists a universal principle in relation to all races; whether in Canada or throughout the regions of the world, all races possess an inalienable right to self-determination and self-government, to choose their own destiny, to control their own lives without any sort of oppression. This right to self-determination and self-government is a fundamental human right which must not be extinguished, revoked or surrendered. It cannot be, because this right does not belong to any individual of that race but to all the people within that race; a basic right that belongs to their posterity, ancestral rights if you like, which belong to children and their children for generations to come. Any insistence that this right be extinguished, revoked or surrendered, in my view, is oppression.

If Quebec chooses to exercise this basic right and secede from Canada to become an autonomous state, then we are obligated to accede to their desires. If aboriginal or first nations choose to secede similarly, we must also respect their right to do so.

Now, this position appears to contradict my previous assertion that Canada itself is not negotiable. Let me try to explain and put it this way: Attached to this universal right within the context of a community of nations is a fundamental obligation to get along peacefully with your neighbour. Quebec and aboriginal first nations people have the basic right to choose their own destiny, but I do not have to be happy about it, particularly if by exercising their right it causes an adverse effect on mine.

We must not fight a bloody civil war to maintain the integrity of Canada, but it does involve sacrifice and we must make an enormous struggle and make very many sacrifices to maintain this union.

In response to Quebec's request for separation, or for any other province or people within the Dominion of Canada, I propose that we refuse outright and unconditionally to discuss or negotiate deconfederation. For example, if Quebec in a referendum votes to separate, to become sovereign, it will take a co-operative effort to dismantle Canada and I propose that we simply and absolutely refuse to enter into any such negotiations. No compromise: Canada itself is not negotiable.

Such obstinacy on our part will have terrible economic consequences to Canada and to Quebec, but that is a price that I am willing to pay to keep Canada intact, and so it is with the aboriginal first nations. You have the right to autonomy, but if you leave this union you do so without my blessing.

My response to the people of Quebec is that really the only viable alternative is to renegotiate the terms of the union, but not to abandon the union itself. In the final analysis. once the dust settles, you will still be a Canadian.

The multicultural reality: Mr. Chairman, as you know, the Canadian Confederation in 1867 was very different from the Canada of today. What was a predominantly bilingual and bicultural nation then has now evolved into a multilingual nation. We are now a nation of immigrants and when I envision the next 100 years -- I ask that you do the same -- I am convinced that this distinction will become even more pronounced.

I believe that our present vision of Canada as a bilingual and bicultural country is really a myth. To perpetuate this myth is to remain shackled to the past. I believe that we must now take a leap of faith, a leap into the future as a multicultural and multilingual nation. I believe that we must now divest ourselves of the narrowness imposed by an official bilingual policy and replace it with an official multilingual policy, where numbers warrant it and where minority rights are respected and protected equally. I believe the best way to accomplish this task and to ensure the protection of all languages and cultures in Canada is to include in the new agreement a provision for the recognition and protection of heritage languages and culture.

My vision of Canada is not a melting pot, but a vision of a truly global village, a community of nations, a miniature United Nations, if you like, united under the concept of a single Canadian nation.

Concluding remarks: My time has passed. I will submit a written response dealing with such varied aspects as decentralization, Senate reform, Ontario's role in Confederation, equalization payments, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, immigration, free trade, the Organization of American States and the United Nations, all of which I have some strong opinions on.


I have one final point to make. The final draft of the new articles of Confederation must be put to a vote directly to the people. This can be done through a national referendum or a provincial referendum, but a referendum must be held. I want a direct say in this consultative process, which I am getting now, but also I want a direct choice on this matter to express a nay or yea. The events of this past decade have left me disillusioned. I have little faith and trust in politicians at this time.

Another of Robert Service's poems is called The Law of the Yukon. The first stanza reads:

This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:

Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane.

We the people have broken this law by sending too many of our foolish and feeble to Ottawa. Otherwise our country would not be in such a mess.

My final quotation from Robert Service is the last stanza of his poem The Ordinary Man:

We plug away and make no fuss,

Our feats are never crowned;

And yet it's common coves like us,

Who make the world go round.

And as we steer a steady course

By God's predestined plan,

Hats off to that almighty force:

The Ordinary Man.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want a referendum on the new agreement, on a new Constitution, on the articles of Confederation, whatever they might be. Good luck and thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Imbeau. As you notice, you have gone over the time. I did not want to interrupt you during your presentation. I am going to move on to the next presenter at this point, but I do want to say to you on behalf of the committee that we are quite conscious of the first area that you touched on in terms of process.

I think, as I said at the outset of the meeting today, that we see this first stage of our process as very clearly a first stage, and we do not suppose nor are we under any impression that we are going to be able to get the breadth of the views that exist across the province, nor could we ever, but I think that we feel we can get at least an initial sense of the different points of view that exist across the province.

We will be trying in various locations to do some of the very things you have suggested; that is, rather than sitting here around the table, to get out and talk with people in their own environments. We will do various things in different communities and then we will look for ways in which we can continue the discussions in the second stage of our work between the months of April to June. We appreciate your comments.


The Chair: I call now Walter Kostantin.

Mr Kostantin: Mr Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Walter Kostantin from Jaffray and Melick, the large town to the north of Kenora. I want to thank you for including Kenora on your schedule. We appreciate providing input into your important task.

My comments are based purely on an economic basis and I mean no offence to anyone. My comments are my own. I am not affiliated with any group. My comments will be general rather than specific. I did not have the time or facilities to get the exact facts. I was only able to get a copy of your paper after I got to this meeting this afternoon.

Ontario's debt is increasing and it has lost its triple A status in the New York lending markets. I think it may have just recaptured that, but as I say, my facts may not be exactly on, but it is the best I know right now.

The Chair: I do not think that is true.

Mr Kostantin: Not true now?

The Chair: No.

Mr Kostantin: Thank goodness. Interest rates are pretty high. It is imperative that Ontario reduce its debt and so must Canada. Interest costs, as I said, are much too high.

The provincial government has been reducing its funding to municipalities for the past couple of years and asking the municipalities to assume the financial burden, in many cases, of areas they have imposed on the municipalities and not necessarily what the municipalities desired. These areas are health and welfare, social services, transportation, etc.

To come to my reason for being here, one of these areas is bilingualism and its attendant costs. The official policy has been to allow French and English on an equal footing in localities which have at least a 10% francophone population.

Bilingualism has been initiated and fostered by the federal government in an attempt, I feel, to maintain friendly relations with Quebec, which for years has acted as the barometer in federal elections. It is my feeling that Quebec has received favoured status in Canada in return for its vote, no matter which political party is involved. I understand exactly what these statements say. It is not easy for a politician to want to perhaps admit openly to it, bat I feel honesty should prevail and that the good of the country is paramount.

Recently, Quebec has suppressed the English language with Quebec Bill 178. Now they seem to want even greater powers which endanger the federal-provincial role for all of Canada. My recommendation is that Ontario revert to its English-language basis -- I believe that at Confederation in the British North America Act there was nothing that guaranteed the French language in Upper Canada; correct me if I am wrong -- and withdraw from official bilingualism. The economic benefits would become immediately apparent. It is reported that the United States of America is spending about $1 billion per day in the Gulf war. This is an appalling amount of money. But so does official bilingualism in Canada with its reported similar amounts of money being spent on bilingualism.

I ask you to consider reverting to an official English policy and put the funding back to the municipalities for the greater good of the many, rather than the few. In another way, direct our financial reserves to the benefit of the greatest need in order to keep municipal taxes at an acceptable level to all. Please forgive me if some of my comments are not 100% correct, but they do express my personal view to the best of my knowledge. I am not against culture appreciation. I feel culture will flourish, if need be, without its being legislated. Thank you for your attention.

Mr Bisson: I think, like most Ontarians and most Canadians, we share one thing in common and it is that we are interested in making sure that our provinces and our country is in a fiscal position where they can afford to do the things that they need to do. One of the things you are quoting is that the cost of official bilingualism in Canada and Ontario is too high to maintain those services outside of Quebec. Realizing part of your argument sort of eludes me, because Quebec for years has offered services to minority-language anglophones in Quebec, such as post-secondary education, service in hospitals, government services, access to the court systems and yet it is not an issue there, can you explain the duality?


Mr Kostantin: I really cannot explain it, I am not in a position to really know. But whatever Quebec has done in the past, I am sure, has been for its own interests. I hardly think that is consistent with Bill 178, where they are suppressing the English language.

Mr Bisson: I am just more interested in the monetary aspect of what you are saying, because if Ontario were to have the rights the minority-language anglophones have in Quebec, I think I would be happy as a francophone here in Ontario. I guess what I am saying is that those services you talk about cost a heck of a lot of money and have been in place in Quebec for years and it has never been an issue of money there. It has been an issue of making sure as Canadians that we have access, no matter where we are in this country, to services that are provided by our government. I am just coming back to the point of saying, where does the money come into this? Because when we are talking about services, it has been done in Quebec for years. I fail to see your argument.

Mr Kostantin: I am not aware of what Quebec has done in the past. I do feel that with Confederation there was no guarantee for the French language in Ontario. That is something that has been given to us recently by Pierre Trudeau. As far as fostering the French language and culture as part of a founding nation is concerned, I think he did well. But as the previous speaker mentioned, this is no longer a Confederation; it is no longer Pierre Trudeau.

I think in Toronto your Italian population is perhaps the number one population and so things have changed. Multiculturalism I believe is in, yes, and I think all ethnic groups should have an equal voice in what they would like to see in Ontario. I think we owe it to them. They would not have come here if they did not think they were going to get something like that.

Mr Beer: One of the things that seems to be very important in our discussions as we go around the province, as it has been pointed out earlier, is the question of values and vision. That leads obviously into the kind of vision that we have of our country. The second part of that, I think, is being brutally honest with ourselves that there is now in the province of Quebec a movement -- however you want to define it -- which may be too far down the road towards separation or towards the kind of Canada that perhaps a lot of us in this room might be uncomfortable with.

I guess that leads me back then to the sense that I think we have to have the perspective of history and the understanding that French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians have had that somehow in something that is called Canada there will be some kind of respect for those two languages. In that context, how do we put a price on that when we know that if Ontario were to leave Canada, the consequences of that -- well, neither you nor I nor anyone on this committee today can say they are such and such. We know that the economic consequences, if no others, would be very great, just as we know that in any divorce no matter how amicable, no matter how well the two parties want to try to settle that, there are bound to be consequences and there are bound to be pain and difficulties.

As I listen to you, I think we have to discuss this question of languages; it is imperative and we must not have people feeling that somehow they cannot raise it. cannot talk about it. It is my feeling that if we talk about it, then when I look at Ontario and I look at what we do within this province to try to provide certain basic educational services, social services, health services and the like to our francophone minority, it seems to me that those are a relatively small price to pay in the same context as my colleague has noted, that within Quebec they too pay a price, if you will, in order to have a variety of English-language institutions and services.

Is there not somewhere within that, as a country, looking at our past, looking at what we have accomplished together, to see a role for the protection of those two languages which would include having certain linguistic rights in this province and in the province of Quebec?

My sense is that if we in Ontario were to say, "In so far as the provincial government has anything to do with it, there will be no French-language services," the impact of that on Quebec and indeed on Canada would be a body blow to any hope of trying to keep this country together. If we put the question in a slightly different way in terms of the cost, maybe the tradeoff would be different, maybe it would not.

Mr Kostantin: I know what you are saying. Wherever it is necessary, I believe there should be the opportunity to have French services. I have been along the Trans-Canada Highway to the east for many many years. I have noticed the French communities along the way. I have worked in Quebec. I have taken all of high school French. I have taken university French. I have travelled to France and found myself not being understood. That is another issue. That is my own problem. So I am not against the French language per se, but I feel that the rest of Ontario, or even in a broader context the rest of Canada, should not have to pay for that. They are founding nations, and then you will get the native population coming along and saying. "Hey, are they really founding nations?" That gets a little complicated and I would rather not get into that.

I feel if you want to be fair with founding nations and any nation, any culture, then take it to a referendum of the municipalities or the regions. Those regions that really strongly believe they should have that facility and say so should then pay for it, because they are going to be direct recipients of it. The other parts of the province and country that do not receive or get that same feeling from the services should not have to pay. I know that is also saying we should not have equalization of payments in health, welfare, social services, etc. in Ontario for all of Ontario, not just for certain parts of it, but be that as it may. With a referendum, if the local population really wants to have French services, then it should have it, but then it should be also paying for it and there should be some mechanism where the provincial government might be able to pick up some of that tab in some circumstances.

I am not saying we should do away with it where it is necessary, I am saying be very careful. We should not be having a tremendous amount of money expenditure for, say, the fewer rather than the masses. Our taxes could probably be much better divided if we had a little more of that money.

You know, Emile is a friend of mine. When he spoke here, the exodus to the back to get the translation device was tremendous. In fact, I did not even get one, so I had to try and go on my memory, which was not as good as it should be.

That is what it is like here in the Kenora area. Most of the people are English-speaking. The French-speaking people here are acceptable. We are communicating with each other. I do not think they are all leading a bandwagon saying they want more. They have learned to live with each other; they have learned to live with the services. But if you get the federal government imposing a French language requirement in certain federal positions, then you will have a parent saying. "If my child is going to have an equal opportunity in this great, vast country, I'm going to have him get French, because otherwise he won't work for the civil service in the federal government." So it is being imposed.

Mr Harnick: We as a committee have to weigh the things we hear from the various people who are going to present their opinions to us. One of the things I have great difficulty with is that your whole presentation was based upon certain costs that you allude come from the French language. You allude to the fact that our country has a great big debt, both federally and provincially, and you allude to the cause of that debt being the French language and the use of the French language and bilingualism. That is what I heard you say. I would like to hear from you what facts, what figures you can supply this committee with so that we can know what foundation your opinions are based upon, because unless we know those facts and figures, I cannot walk away from here saying your opinion is really worth anything, quite frankly.

Mr Kostantin: Without basis and facts, I should not question you at all. In fact. I believe in facts myself.

Mr Harnick: I appreciate that you believe the facts, but supply us with the facts so we have something to sit down and consider as opposed to an opinion picked out of the air.


Mr Kostantin: I will try to get those facts to you. As I say, I just started writing a few thoughts down this morning on this sheet of paper. I did not have the papers yet. I was not quite sure. I had phoned these numbers to get this information last week. I have tried.

Mr Harnick: I am not missing anything, though.

Mr Kostantin: I think you are if you say all the costs are attributable to French-language services.

Mr Harnick: No, what I referred to, though, is that I did not miss any of your presentation where those facts were contained.

Mr Kostantin: No.

Mr Harnick: You are acknowledging now that those facts are not available at this time.

Mr Kostantin: The $1 million-plus on bilingualism in Canada I read on a paper a year or so ago back. I could get that paper for you if you like. I do not vouch for the paper. That is something I read and I will take it as fact, otherwise it should not be published.

Mr Harnick: Other than that fact you do not have any others, though.

Mr Kostantin: No. But I can get you that.

Mr Harnick: All right. I appreciate that.


The Chair: I call Andrew Chapeskie. For the information of the members of the committee, after Mr Chapeskie, there is at least one other person that I have been told will be speaking to us.

Mr Chapeskie: I have come not so much to make a presentation but more to express a certain amount of anxiety which many northerners feel. Some find it hard to express. It is rather inchoate.

Some pin the problems in certain places. We are spending $1 million a day on bilingualism. We are spending $2 million a day on the war in the Gulf. What I want to ask this committee and what I want in particular to ask of the social democratic government in Ontario is how we who live in the north are going to fit into a new constitutional context in Canada and whether any changed constitutional context will make any difference for us at all. I think the problems we face are very deep and very structural. I work as a legal anthropologist, as a lawyer and also as a community field worker with aboriginal people in economic activities in this part of the country.

I believe that the gulf between where we are now and where we have to go is so great for the north as to render this type of exercise perhaps largely meaningless.

Here are our issues: the Globe and Mail, Tuesday 11 December 1990, page 1, a clear-cut of timber, a forest clear-cut in northern Ontario adding up to a contiguous area in square kilometres, 2,693 square kilometres of clear-cut timber. The previous speaker said he went from Hearst to Kapuskasing to Cochrane. The region, this area, this one area stretches from Hearst to Kapuskasing, maybe almost to Cochrane. We have a tremendous problem that we are going to have to deal with and I believe that an old Anishnawbe Ojibway elder, who talked to his son and his son talked to me, hit the basis of the problem. He said to his son, "The problem that the white society faces is that their way is `anacronawahaygin.' Their way is based on power, control and domination, not being content to understand what is in the circle, but to control what is outside of the circle." Those of us in northwestern Ontario who live here act out as dependent people. We are very dependent on a system which may be beyond government capacity to cope with.

Dr Noel Brown, the head of the United Nations environment program in New York, said we may be approaching the end of that period in which governments were the centrepiece of social organization and direction. People are saying we do not have money to live the way we have lived in the past. The federal government, according to Dian Cohen in the Toronto Star and on Venture, is bankrupt. But I do not believe we are working any less hard than we ever have.

Brown and other activists have said that the new opportunities for those people in peripheral areas may be best seized upon through alternative strategies rather than by going through government. I think this may apply to whether they are peace issues, environmental issues, economic issues or whatever. I want to ask this social democratic government that it think long, hard and seriously about the structural dynamics to the problems that we are facing.

The problem of funding bilingualism in Cochrane may be small if we look at where we are going economically, and we in the north feel this especially. I think if there is to be constitutional development in Canada that is going to meet the dynamics of the new emerging paradigm, we have to really tune in to the strengths that can be built upon. There is a massive amount of activity, scholarship that is leading us to certain principles which were first articulated by the original founders of social democracy in Canada. That is economic democracy.

Our social democratic government in Ontario, I do not even know that it has a position on worker ownership, on local ownership, on co-operative economics. The Minister of Cooperative, Consumer and Corporate Affairs in Manitoba in the Progressive Conservative government has a better articulated program for worker participation in the economy.

I think aboriginal peoples have a tremendous amount to teach us, but we are not getting out and reaching the grass roots. We have a Minister of Northern Development who flies into Kenora and snips ribbons on a highway and then flies out on a private government jet. I thought that ended with the previous government. If there is to be constitutional change, that change can account for pluralism, it can account for diversity, but it must build on a social democratic paradigm which we must capture and bring to life in this region.

My only suggestion as a person, as an individual speaking to you on behalf of myself, is that in this country, if we are going to have constitutional updating, in addition to all of the other stuff like cultural pluralism, I would urge that this government look at environmental issues and consider within the constitutional framework an environmental bill of rights. Do not get left behind.

I would also urge that this government consider the constitutional status of aboriginal peoples in Ontario and specifically that you look carefully at how aboriginal people are different than we are and how that can be accommodated within the constitutional context and the context of self-government, because I believe that it can be to the tremendous benefit of this country.


I also urge within this that the social democratic government we have in Ontario return to the roots of social democracy in Canada, look at what economic democracy means, look at what participation means and see how that is so critically related to other issues which must be resolved at a constitutional level but which may never be without this new order being established in this province.

We have unique opportunities and I think it is now up to our government to begin with some experiments. They do not have to be big, but they have to be bold. They have to reach out to the grass roots and they have to make sure that we in the north, and especially aboriginal people in the north, do not continue to feel so alienated from this country.

Mr Malkowski: I was truly impressed by your presentation. It is a lot for me to look at and think about regarding this committee. You talk about the serious problem that relates to the structure in our governmental system as it is now. So are you suggesting that we restructure our governmental system so that we can empower our people, for instance our natives and other special groups in the northern area?

I guess what you are saying is, the Constitution does not reflect the needs of the northerners. Could you expand and perhaps give me a few examples on how we can restructure and empower the citizens, or maybe any models that you see in other provinces, something for us to concentrate on so that we can promote a social democratic structure?

Mr Chapeskie: What I am saying is that many of the constitutional issues may make no difference to us in the north and they may make no difference to many peoples in what I call hinterland regions of this country, the regions from which the resources of this country are being taken to keep us going.

What can we do in the Constitution that can allow us to recover our sense of economic self-determination rather than living dependent and co-dependent lives in the north? I think this government can promote ideas, principles and practices of economic democracy which can help in that way and which in turn will alleviate problems or anxieties which are ventilated through constitutional frameworks where they may not be structurally related to them.

If we have problems where we have people in dependent situations and we can accept that their culture is vastly different from ours, and even those of us who are northerners have cultural priorities different from those who are in the south, can we then develop contexts of economics to encourage people to liberate themselves out of a lot of anxiety and dependent ways of thinking and assume more responsibility?

Much of that can be done at the local level. Much of it does not require constitutional change. But much of the anxiety that exists right now is finding its frustration at constitutional talks or in a constitutional forum or in any other forum. I think this government has a unique opportunity to build some bridges that way.

Mr Malkowski: You talk about Manitoba having a unique system regarding the economic system by the government there. Could you elaborate a little bit more on that? Why do you feel that ours is not as good as or up to par compared to the others?

Mr Chapeskie: I only say that the Minister of Cooperative, Consumer and Corporate Affairs in Manitoba has defined his position on workplace democracy and specifically on worker ownership better than has the social democratic government in Ontario. Why is that, if workplace democracy and participation, as we now know through studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the London School of Economics, unleashes productive potential?

The Chair: Thanks for the presentation. Once again, I apologize because we were not able to get through all the questions that I know are there.


Mr Karwacki: Ladies and gentlemen, my name is John Karwacki and I am a councillor with the town of Kenora. I would like to apologize that, had I known I would be heard, I would have dressed for the occasion.

The Chair: Quite all right, sir.

Mr Karwacki: Of course, we have been all over the living room on everything but Confederation, and I have a few reminders for our distinguished listeners on the issue of Quebec, which is basically what we have talked about. It is my opinion and I would like it on the record that I speak as an individual not as a councillor. Anything I say as a councillor does not wash.

I think that the politicians, the federal politicians in particular and you people who are the politicians in one of the strongest provinces in Canada, should tell Quebec categorically -- it has never been done -- that there will be no separation. I have never heard in all my years of anybody separating in any country under similar circumstances without a shot fired. Now I do believe that we may go on for another 100 or 200 years arguing about it and correcting all the things that are wrong with whatever is wrong, but like everything else there is never anything perfect, not in this life. If we can send an army halfway around the world on a mission that is none of our business, I am sure that the same army could remind the politicians in Quebec that we intend to stay together.

Having said that. I would like to remind you that there are other things about Confederation, Confederation with the other provinces. I do not want to blame you but you are guilty by association, in that the thing that is going to hold this country together -- and you have seen it fall apart, it is coming unglued. You have allowed the post office to become a miserable service, an embarrassment. You have allowed the CPR to turn around and take half the country. It should be running the railroad. It puts us on an exercise, "Oh yes, let's blame Via Rail." That is not where the problem is. We are not in the railroad business. The CPR is in the railroad business. Without a railroad in this country, you have got a pathetic system of travel. The army cannot even move. Our army will not be able to move across this country.

Our airlines are pathetic. If I want to go to Kirkland Lake or to Wawa, right behind you at about the centre of the province, I cannot get there. It takes me two days to get to Wawa because I do not drive 12 hours straight. I do not think anybody should. Here you have a province that is so big -- I may suggest this flippantly, but move the capital of Ontario to the geographical centre of Ontario. You do not need it in Toronto.


Then the gas prices. When you leave here, go home and look at your gas prices at the pumps and then take a look at ours on your way out. This is a sore spot, and do not ever think that the tourists do not know what is going on here. They are being gouged; we are being gouged. There is no reason for it. Our oil crosses the border, goes into North Dakota and it is sold there for less than half the price we pay for it. That is Confederation for you. It is things like that that are going to separate all of us, never mind just Quebec.

You have a situation where you are talking free trade. We are progressively getting free trade, and yet you do not have free trade between the provinces. You have got marketing boards and other boards and regulations with wheat and liquor and beer, a mishmash. Little aggravations, they say. What in fact are we as a province? What in fact are we as Canadians?

The roads are rabbit trails, absolutely unacceptable. You would think that life began and ended in front of the Royal York. Try travelling across this province. It is unbelievable. Try travelling across it in a one-ton truck with stiff springs. I assure you that there is nobody here in this room that will look as cool and elegant after a ride like that. Listen to us. Those roads there are for Canadians, they are not just for Ontarians. If you want Canada to stick together, give it a railroad, give it a road, give it something. Think about it.

Getting closer to home, there are things happening within the province that I am not very happy about. You have heard of it but you have done nothing about it. It is legislation: policing courthouses, extra costs. Turn your backs on the municipalities and say, "You will do this and you will do that." No amount of police in any courthouse will protect the judge if he is marked to be destroyed. There is just no way. You know it and it is ridiculous to assume otherwise.

The Young Offenders Act: You could have a murderer right next door to you and your grandchildren and you would not know it. Foolish legislation.

Education: We have got schools all over the province and the children go to grade 12, 13, they go to university. What do they do? They go to work in Toronto. We are like a great big school day nursery. If you are going to get the benefits from all the kids that have the brains and the knowledge, I think you had better pay for the education.

I also think that when I get put on social services -- of all things, put me on a committee for social services and I say, "Well, I want the names and the amounts of money the people on welfare are getting because I am not going to spend the taxpayers' money without knowing where it is going." So they say, "Oh no, no, no, no, the province says you can't have that." We are now into freedom of information, the most ridiculous thing you ever saw. We are talking freedom of information and we are getting less of it.

If you want to turn around and have certain rules, like what I just mentioned on welfare where you pay 80% and we pay 20%, you had better be prepared to pay the whole 100% because our 20% is a lot harder to get than your 80%, especially when you mark up liquor at 1,000%.

An annoyance that has been across this province has been the cartel, Brewers' Retail. You have had the Kenora District Municipal Association, the Northern Ontario Municipal Association, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, the chamber of commerce come to you. We want a better method of retailing beer. So what did you do? You ignored them. You talk about Confederation? That will confederate you.

The government turns around and says all municipalities can decide if they want Sunday shopping. We go around here and we argue and we fight, we get threats, I have been to hell twice. Then you let Howard Hampton loose -- you should tie a bell on him -- and he keeps saying he is going to cut it out, you are going to do something about it, you are going to revert back to no Sunday shopping. If our paper mill goes down here -- and they voted 97% to go on strike -- we are dead in the water. All we have got is tourism. That extra day, that Sunday, may save our life.

Now, to close -- I do not want to be all night, because as you can see, I am a man of few words -- talk about ridiculous: I read in the paper that the government of Ontario raised the marriage licences from $35 to $50 because the people who were recording all these things were overworked and it was interfering with their coffee breaks.

I want to tell you something. How ridiculous can you get? We have got 8% of the population that is not married. Now, you know what happens when there is a marriage and you have got six kids with six different fathers and mothers, how hard it is to record that. You should have taken that $35 and rubbed it out, wrote a cheque for anybody who got married and said: "Here. thanks for getting married. Here's $50 for a good time." Thanks a lot.

The Chair: Thank you. sir. I do not know if there are any questions. I see none. Thank you very much for your views.

I think that concludes the list of presenters before us this afternoon. If we can recess until this evening at 6 o'clock, we will be back at 6 o'clock promptly. What I would like to suggest is, I know that there probably will be some people who will want to talk informally. I have been asked to clear the hall, because they need to set up for this evening. Perhaps we could move downstairs, and that would allow some informal discussion to continue.

Mr Offer: Will our materials here be secure?

The Chair: I believe you can leave all the materials here unless I am told otherwise.

Thank you very much. We will resume at 6 o'clock.

The committee recessed at 1637.


The committee resumed at 1822 at the Royal Canadian Legion, Kenora.


The Chair: I call the meeting to order. We are resuming our hearings from Kenora. We had, I think, an interesting afternoon in which we heard from a number of people, and we have a full evening of presenters, so without further ado we will proceed with our first deputant: from CJBN-TV, Norcom Telecommunications, Wally Wiebe.

Mr Wiebe: On behalf of CJBN, I would like to thank the committee for allowing us to speak. As I listened to the proceedings today, I was a bit leery about whether this little speech I have for you would be appropriate.

We are observers in the television media and when we were asked what we felt Ontario's role in Confederation was, this is what we came up with.

Ontario is the heart and soul of Confederation. As go Ontario's feelings and stands regarding this country's unity, so go the other provinces. Only by constant communication and understanding of all who live in this province can we continue to grow and unite as one. Confederation was initially established through the communications between the provinces, but to remain an intact society we must reach out to everyone and let not the concerns of others fall upon deaf ears.

Whatever language one speaks should not matter as long as communication continues. Whatever the racial background one may have should not stop him or her from speaking out his concerns and being heard. Everyone elected to represent this province and in fact all of Canada should listen and respond to the needs of all communities, no matter whether it is as large as Toronto or as small as Kenora.

Confederation in this province, as in the rest of Canada, does not start in Ottawa but with neighbours, friends and acquaintances. It starts with you and me and then grows to the municipal levels and then the provincial levels. Only by communicating with individuals can a group be heard. As I stated in the beginning, Ontario leads the way. Communication is the key to what Ontario's role is in Confederation.

As we at CJBN are in the communications field, we are striving to do our part. Presently we are in the midst of a proposal to broadcast the daily regional newscasts into the existing CBC Winnipeg signal that is delivered to our region in northwestern Ontario. This will give us the opportunity to provide local news and entertainment to the Red Lake, Fort Frances and Dryden areas and beyond. This is something that has not been done before and has been needed for a very long time, giving individuals in local communities the ability to communicate better. Ontario's ability to communicate, understand and respond to its people plays a major role in what Confederation is all about.

As I said, it is a short speech. We are here to observe.

The Chair: Thank you. Before opening for questions, I just want to say -- I should have mentioned this earlier -- that I do appreciate it if people keep their presentation within the time lines, because we do want to allow also some time for questions from the members of the committee.

Mr Miclash: First, thank you very much for your brief -- a very brief brief, as you mentioned -- to the committee. The key, of course, of what you are saying and what we have talked about is good communication and the importance of that throughout the province. You mentioned a project that CJBN is presently working on, where it is trying to bring in more communication for local events and maybe more provincial communications into the area. Can you expand on that?

Mr Wiebe: We anticipate that we will be able to do a weekly news program. We will have Electronic News Gathering in Red Lake, Fort Frances and Dryden, and they will cover their district areas. People right now do not have it unless we in Kenora travel way up into those regions to gather news, and then of course it is long gone. it is past. We want to give people the news of what is happening in their area on that day, let them speak their minds on events that are happening throughout their communities.

Mr Miclash: Where are you in the process at present?

Mr Wiebe: Darryl Michaluk, our station manager, and Nick Chevrefils, who is in our marketing management, are in Toronto right now talking to the various councils who control whether we do get it.

Mr F. Wilson: Thank you for your presentation. As someone who is obviously in tune with your community and someone who has probably had the chance we have not had to observe this meeting -- you said you saw the morning's events -- perhaps you could maybe enlighten us about some of the presentations you saw and some of the local feelings in the community, what is important to Kenora and things like that.

Mr Wiebe: I think the main thing with Kenora is that people want to be heard. They do not want the doors closed on them. They want to be able to have their say, and if the doors are closed they are not going to be happy, so that is what we are striving for here. Being in reporting myself, I find that if you let people have a microphone they will say their piece; they are willing to and they are very open around here. They need to have that door open.

Mr F. Wilson: Is that the impression you are getting from this show we are putting on?

Mr Wiebe: Yes. This is probably the best thing possible for them, that they are able to speak their minds. It is very good that the committee came out here.

Mr Bisson: Just a short question. It may be a bit of repetition, but with regard to the events that will be taking place over the next couple of years and the new constitutional talks in this country, what role do you see the media playing when it comes to being able to bring out what is happening, what the story is? Some of us sometimes get the feeling that the agenda is being created from the other side, and I just want you to comment on that, if possible.

Mr Wiebe: You mean that the broadcasters make the news rather than --

Mr F. Wilson: In some cases. I am trying to be very diplomatic, obviously. They are all saying, "Go for the jugular," but no. What happens is that at times a particular part of the story will be reported whereas the bigger part sometimes needs to be explained to understand the whole puzzle. How do you see the media being able to do that job in a good way to make sure that people understand what the issues are?

Mr Wiebe: It is very strange in Kenora. We cover every issue that comes our way. Being a small community, we have to, because sometimes it is very lean that things happen around here, but we are very thorough and we get both sides. We anticipate that carrying on for a very long time, at least throughout our area and the areas we cover. As I said, we have to cover both sides.

Mr Malkowski: We certainly were very impressed with your presentation. When you talk about the role of the media in making sure that communication remains open regardless of language and culture, does your own station provide service in languages other than English? Is there a francophone service provided? Is there open captioning, for example, for deaf people? What other services do you provide in order to make communication happen?

Mr Wiebe: CJBN is one of the smallest or the smallest TV station in the whole of Canada. We are hoping, of course, that with this possible expansion we can change that. We are hoping to give the native people an opportunity to have a half-hour program each week, as I understand from Mr Michaluk, our station manager, in order to expand on their own issues. As to captions for deaf people, etc. I do not know to what extent we will go.


Mr Malkowski: When we talk about the role of the media and looking at how much freedom the media may take with certain issues, what is your personal perspective on that?

Mr Wiebe: As far as covering the entire story? I feel it would be morally right to cover a story fully, giving both sides. I do not think it is right to choose sides. It is not up to me to do so.


The Chair: The next presenter is Marlene Brown. I believe members should receive a copy of the brief.

Ms Brown: My name is Marlene Brown, and I have concerns and I have views.

Canada and the world: Since Confederation, Canada has welcomed settlers from the whole world community. The result has been an exciting mosaic of a country, with a rich heritage gleaned from all nations as well as developed from the nature of the country. For this reason, if for no other, Canada must present herself as a peacekeeper to the world. When we declare war on another nation, we are asking some Canadians to take up arms against their brothers.

For the most part, we have learned to live together in this great land, and even with growing pains such as Oka, we have found dialogue to be the best means to solve disputes.

Canada and Quebec: Quebec should not be given a more special status than any of the other provinces enjoys within Confederation and should certainly not expect special treatment if it opts out of the country. It would be a definite loss to Canada if Quebec decides to go on its own, but Quebec's loss will be even greater. Canada only loses one; Quebec loses 11. No one province should hold the rest of the country at ransom.

The Ontario scene, labour: Labour law in Ontario should protect the majority in labour disputes with tough antiscab legislation. Businesses should never be allowed to disrupt communities to the extent we have seen across the border in places like International Falls, Minnesota, and Rumford, Maine.

There can never be pay equity without taking the next step, job equity. There were too many exemptions from the pay equity program and as a result even wider gaps have been created.

Equal opportunity programs have opened up a whole new can of worms. Now individuals are being hired because they are women or because they are members of a minority, not because they are best for the jobs. I guess the only remedy for this situation is for the employer not to know the sex, nationality, religion, age or physical condition of the applicant until after the position is filled.

Areas should be protected from the importation of uncompetitive labour. As a town situated on the border of a province with a lower minimum wage, many contracts are awarded out of province and our local labour force suffers because of this.

Municipalities: Municipalities should not be encouraged by the province to expand their boundaries unless the request has been put forward from the area concerned, and then only if the cost of services versus tax dollars gained makes the proposition viable.

Environment: Environmental ministries should be made conscious of their mandate and treat all violators equally, including other ministries. They should not expect the public to do their job for them. This may be a localized problem, but somehow I feel this is not the case.

Chemical warfare on nature is devastating our environment. The use of salt as a de-icing agent is poisoning our soil and our waterways. Defoliants used to maintain right of way and in forest management are not explored or tested for long-term effects. The ministries go by the manufacturer's literature and I get very nervous about a statement that reads, "The results from extensive testing conducted by both [the manufacturer] and outside agencies indicate that at levels applied on forestry site, there poses virtually no danger to humans or animals." The key words are "at levels applied" and "virtually." The chemicals used on spruce budworm were found to contain ingredients used in Agent Orange, with cancer-causing results.

Short-term remedies have time and again proven themselves to have devastating long-term effects. PCBs, DDT and nuclear waste are excellent examples that show us no matter how smart we become, we are not as smart as we think we are.

I know there are many, many more issues, but on such short notice it is difficult to make a proper presentation. I feel like a surfer in a choppy sea: I am only hitting the tops of the waves and cannot settle in to enjoy the ride.

In closing, Ontario is the pace-setter of our nation, a senior partner in Confederation, and as such it must strive to keep up with and ahead of the concerns facing Ontario, Canada, North America and the world today and tomorrow. Top on that list should be our environment. We cannot survive in a fouled nest. Governments must be handed a mandate to preserve our planet, or where Mother Nature is concerned, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Submitted with respect.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Brown. I think there are a few questions, but let me just say to you first that as you have time to think a little more about some of these issues or other issues, if you want to write to us we would be happy to have your comments on anything additional you want to send us.

Mr Offer: First, let me thank you for your presentation. You have raised some of those issues which you feel are of crucial importance. I do not think there are many around who would disagree with you that environment and labour and municipal issues are ones which are important and which impact on all of us every day.

My question deals with the current state of negotiations which seem to be evolving, with Quebec asking for extended powers. I recognize that is not yet a formal position, but it is in the first stages of an evolving position. My question to you is not so much about what Quebec's position may or may not be in the final analysis, but rather an acknowledgement that there is probably going to be some change somewhere down the line. When and where, no one knows at this point in time. But what should Ontario's position be? What do you, as a person who has brought forward important issues of concern for so many people, see Ontario's role should be as Quebec negotiates in an evolving manner with the federal government? What role should this province have as that proceeds?

Ms Brown: Ontario is as large as, and should have as much say as but not any more say than, all the rest of the provinces together. In any kind of democratic society, I would say the majority is who should say. If the provinces are in full agreement, allow them to have special powers, but I think the mandate should come from the people in the provinces and it should be on a democratic basis.

I would hate to see Quebec out of the country, because Quebec is special. They have a special heritage, but, then again, so does Manitoba. Every one of the provinces is special unto itself. But they should not have special privileges that make them an entity aside from Canada. They should still be Canadians first. I am a Canadian first; I am an Ontarian second.

Mr Offer: I sense from your presentation as it deals with these issues that there is an underlying premise that it is crucially important that the country remain together. There may be an enlargement of powers to all the provinces. That may be, but what is of crucial importance is that they remain together so that these issues can be dealt with in a concerted effort.

Ms Brown: We should be Canadians first.

Mr Bisson: You raised a point, I think, that was raised earlier this afternoon. We never had a chance to address it because of lack of time, and I would like to come back to it. In regard to trading between provinces, we find ourselves at a time when we have negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States that has certain limitations, I guess, if you want, on our side, but it is supposed to set up a mechanism of trade between north and south. What you are saying here is that we need to address what is happening east-west in regard to trading among the provinces. Can you share with the committee what you think needs to be done in future constitutional talks when it comes to addressing those questions? Just to give you an idea of where I am coming from, you alluded in your presentation to the price of labour between Manitoba and Ontario. Is it your view that Ontario should have to bring its rates down or Manitoba bring its up, as an example? How do you address all of these very complex questions?

Ms Brown: Okay, there I was putting in my view that the contractors who are awarded from this town should take into consideration the people who live in this area first, not outside, regardless of the fact that they may be able to underbid because their labour costs them less. They bring them in from Manitoba. They do not have to pay them as much as what our people here are getting, and our people are out of jobs.

Mr Bisson: I would like to go a little bit further. First of all, my belief is that we live in a democratic society, this Canada of ours. We have the right as individuals to work where we want, to come and go as we want, because that is the whole premise of a democracy. What I picked up in what you were saying in your presentation is that we need, as government at the provincial level, with our federal government, to sit down and to try to work out some of the differences between the provinces so that indeed we are not in the situation you are describing.

Ms Brown: That is one possible solution, I would say. Yes, that was one possible solution. It would make them more competitive at that rate.

Mr Beer: As a former English teacher, it was an utter delight to read your presentation. Penmanship is alive and well in Kenora. Thank you.

Ms Churley: I would just like to make one comment. I am very pleased to see that you raised the environment as one of your major concerns. It is something that is a major concern of mine. I do not think it has been raised a lot in terms of the Constitution before. I think we are going to be hearing more and more about it. I think it is very relevant to what we are trying to do as a country together as our environment deteriorates more and more. That is something we all know as Canadians we are going to have to work together on, because our environment, from one province to another, the air and the water, we all affect each other that way. So I would was really happy to see somebody really focusing on something that is dear to my heart, and I would like to thank you for that. I am sure it will be coming up again. This time around I think we are going to see that environmental concerns are part of the whole constitutional debate.

Ms Brown: We have run into that scenario between the provinces right in this area, because the water supply in Winnipeg comes out of Shoal Lake, which is mostly in Ontario. They felt that there was a pollution problem going on there, so it is an interprovincial thing. We cannot isolate ourselves on it. It has got to be not just the communities and the province and the country; it has got to be the whole world.

The Chair: Thank you. Ms Brown.


The Chair: We call now Bill Laffin.

Mr Laffin: Mr Chairman, members of the select committee, I have many things I would like to speak about, but due to the limited time I will start with the one I think is most important and go on to the others if I have time. The first item that I feel is of prime importance to me is national unity.

A number of years ago we instituted two of the most divisive machineries we could possibly invoke to create division within our country. One is the two official languages. When you impose one official language upon a multilingual country, you detract from every person in the country who does not have that language as a mother language. When you impose two official languages upon a multilingual nation, all you can expect is diversity and animosity and problems, because you are pitting one language against the other.

There is only one nation in Canada, not two nations. The "two nations" concept is wrong. So we should not have any official language in Canada; there should be no official language. Let the people use the language that fits them in the area and the region in which they belong. There is only one nation: Canada. People like myself, who went through the Second World War, will certainly understand what I am talking about, although the younger people may not.

Third is the problem that we have had for some time with the province of Quebec. As you know, we repatriated our Constitution, and in that process it was very necessary for each of the provinces to re-sign the Constitution, to recommit itself to the nation called Canada. Nine provinces signed it; one refused. That one province was Quebec. They wanted special concessions for their special society, and they did have special considerations to consider, but the other provinces said no. So Quebec said, "No, we will not sign." Special legislation had to be initiated in order to keep the province within Canada while the negotiations went on.

In the 10 years that followed that, Quebec has consistently refused to sign the Constitution. "Mr Mellowroney," if you pardon the play on words, with his boardroom voice and his boardroom air, instituted the Meech Lake accord, which is merely a system by which, instead of Quebec refusing to join Canada, it made it appear that Canada was refusing to accept Quebec. That is a wrong impression. Right today, if Quebec would come to the table and sign the Constitution of Canada, the same as every other province signed it, it will be welcomed with open arms.

We have a wonderful family in Canada. We have 10 provinces and two territories; 10 children born, 2 in the oven, so to speak. That family has to live harmoniously in the one building. When you get one of the oldest youngsters, who says, "I want my own TV or I'm going to leave home," the crowd gets together and says: "By God, you can't break up the family. Let's give him the TV." Then it is a motorcycle, then it is a car. Finally he says: "I want my own room in this house, with my own rules. I don't have to go by any of your rules, and if you don't agree, I'm going to leave and I'm going to take that strip of land across the front of your house so that you can't get to the highway."


There comes a time when you have to say: "Enough is enough, kid. You're creating more disruption in this home than we can afford to handle. Maybe it's best you do get out on your own, but when you get out on your own, you're going to do it according to our laws, and you're not going to take the furniture and you're not going to take the room and you're not going to take that strip across the front of the house. You get out on your own and we'll give you a piece of land over in the corner here to start. The door will never be shut. You can always come back if you're in trouble." But sometimes, sooner or later, they have to go on their own.

I think Quebec is ready to go, not because I want it to go -- I think it would be terrible for it to go -- but because it feels that it should go. We cannot continue to give them the gifts that they have already acquired. In the past 10 years, Quebec has gained more socially, culturally and economically than it had in the hundred years previous to that, simply by saying, "Give it to us or we're going to leave." Each government that has had a majority vote in Canada over those years has been dependent completely upon Quebec for the majority vote and it has been held to ransom.

I do not want to see Canada break up. I am a Canadian, but I think that if they are going to go, Canada has to say: "These are the conditions. Within 90 days you either come to the table and you sign like an equal partner, like every other province, or every federal MP from Quebec is gone." No more House of Commons representation for them, no more salary. Every Senator from Quebec is gone -- no salary, no entrance into the Senate. All federally funded projects in Quebec are gone; they are cut within 90 days.

Then you say Canada constitutionally has the right to set the new boundaries when a province leaves Canada. I think we are all aware of that. If you want to know what the boundaries I feel should be, you go from James Bay in the northwest of Quebec, straight down along the current border until you reach the Ottawa River, then southeasterly along the Ottawa River, the north shore of the Ottawa River to the St Lawrence River, east along the north shore of the St Lawrence River to the Gaspé coast and then along the border that it now has. The remainder of Quebec would remain Canadian. It has our main Trans-Canada Highway, our main railways. It has the lifeline to the eastern coast. No problem with an interchange between the new nation of Quebec and the rest of the country; no problem at all. Everything can be kept going right exactly the way it is now. If Quebec ever wanted to come back within, say, five years, all it has to do is come and sign the Constitution the same as every other province.

I feel that this is what should be done if Quebec decides to leave. If we feel that there is no other way, that Quebec is going to leave, we the Dominion of Canada, the nine provinces and the two territories, should set the guidelines and say: "Here it is. You either sign or you're gone." I hate to see that happen, but if it is gone, you have to choose the lesser of two evils and you have to protect your own backyard. You have to protect your own peoples who are left in Canada.

You could easily say: "Any francophone who wishes to be in the new, independent Quebec, all you have to do is travel north across the river. Any francophone who wishes to remain in Canada, the Canadian government will then do everything possible to help you transfer to the south side of the St Lawrence River."

Do I have any time left? That is enough on Quebec.

The Chair: There are a few minutes left. If you would like, you can proceed with your presentation or you could use the time for questions from the members of the committee. It is your choice. I know that there are some questions.

Mr Laffin: I would like to say that there should be a new Senate reform with elected senators. There have been three or four very good models presented by the western provinces over the past five years. That is a must.

We could revamp the marketing boards, which is a federal jurisdiction and which affects the provinces a great deal. Originally marketing boards were designed to gain new markets for our produce. Instead of getting new markets, they have restricted the production to meet the needs, just to meet the markets that we already have. It has destroyed individual initiative in many of our producing areas.

Bank interest rates: Fix them at 9%. They can make a profit on it. Put 3% on it for the deficit, another 0.5% to pay the banks for collecting it. No bureaucracy; the banks already do it anyway. I do not think people would mind 12.5% if they knew that 3% of it was going to the deficit or to any one of the major areas that we need money to spend on.

Our aboriginal peoples: Get them off the reserves. Educate them, get them off the reserves, the ghettos. With a tribal society, you can only expect social, cultural and economic poverty. A tribal society cannot exist in a modern-day society. The native people must be educated and taken off the reservations and shown how to interact with the rest of our society. Until you do that, until we do it, there is always going to be social, cultural and economic injustice for the native peoples.

I will stop at that. If there is time for a couple of questions, I will try to handle them.

The Chair: Yes, probably time for one question.

Mr Harnick: I just want to deal with the very first part of your presentation dealing with the languages aspect. One of the things that you said, you are opposed to two official languages, or any official languages for that matter, and the one interesting comment you made was something to the effect, let people use the language that best suits them in the place that they live.

Now, in so far as Ontario is concerned, would that mean that you would be content to have Ontario not be officially bilingual but that you do agree you are in favour of Ontario's position being provision of either of the languages in areas where the numbers warrant?

Mr Laffin: Oh, very definitely. I believe in bilingualism. The imposition of two official languages I am against, but bilingualism, very definitely, I believe in it. I think where the numbers warrant, for instance in the francophone communities in Ontario, every effort should be made by government, and the Ontario government especially, to see that these people are not removed from their native language. They should be encouraged; not just condoned, but they should be encouraged in every way.

The Chair: Thank you. sir.


The Chair: I had indicated to Mayor Winkler that I would give him an opportunity to address the committee at this point.

Mr Winkler: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, it is with deep conscience that I am here tonight and I thank you for letting me address you tonight, not as the mayor but as a citizen of Canada. The reason I bring this out is that when Bill 8 was introduced, a member of our council asked for it to be put on our committee agenda so that he could understand what it was about. The outside media had Kenora as anti-French, bigoted and racist. That is not the case. We are interested in what the wellbeing of the nation is. We are truly supportive of being Canadians and that is what I want to point out here. In the last year or more, Meech Lake and the Oka situation have been dominant on the minds of Canadians. Both have their roles.


When Premier Rae established this committee in his speech in the Legislature, he said it goes back to 1960. He is a little younger than I am. I can remember when I was entering my teens when the Second World War was starting and our residents from here that enlisted were trained in Quebec and came back and talked to us and said: "We think we have a war going on now. It looks like we have one in Quebec that is going to take 50 years to settle." We are coming to that mark now and that is because we did not have strong leadership at the political level. Everything was decided by what is politically expedient, not what is good for the average citizen of that province or of Canada.

When an election is called, by the time results reach Sault Ste Marie it is decided, so western Canada feels it has no part of it. What is not considered is, when the decision is made, how does it affect the average person on the street, not how many seats it is going to present in the next Legislature or Parliament?

The only thing I agree with Premier Bourassa on is that he says there is an overlap of services. There is too much government in some instances and in others there is not. The municipal level of government is ignored. It is the closest level of government to the people and yet it is ignored.

I tried, with the native situation locally, to form a committee that would have a representative from the federal government, the provincial government, the municipal government and the chiefs. I got the co-operation of senior levels of government, tried to form the committee and met with the chiefs and could not get a native representative. I wanted the programs that were under way by all levels of government, that were overlapping with dollars going down the drain and the average native citizen not benefiting -- the chiefs and the higher-ups benefit; they get trips to Toronto and that.

I was disappointed a week or so ago when meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources, who is also the minister responsible for native affairs, when he told me that when the fishing agreement and other agreements came up, the government represents the rest of the citizens. I believe that the government of the province represents all citizens, native and non-native, and I think that until the government gets both sides to the table, we are not going to solve the problems that are facing us.

I think it is time we put a halt to some of these programs and stood back and reviewed what is going on, because we are expending money on every little government for the same problem and not solving it.

I can remember that when the Conservatives were in power they threw out the local children's aid board. The budget, they claimed, was running away. It was $4 million-plus then. At that time they were going to bring it down and get it under control. Now we have family services that takes over that role and at that time when the local board was disbanded it was taking care of the whole district. I can remember when one woman did all the buying for the children's aid, and she would shop around before she bought a suit of underwear for anybody and get the best price in town.

We now have staff and more staff every year. The budget is well over $8 million, and besides that you have a separate budget for agencies being set up on the different reserves, so God knows what the total budget is. There is no control over it. Last year they had an overrun of $750,000 and the municipalities are being asked to pick this up. How many citizens of the municipalities are causing this increase?

Without local input, I cannot see the problems improving. I can only see them going back and we know what has happened in other countries, in South Africa and everything else. They keep bringing South Africa over to look at our situation here. I think it is time we stopped and sat down and got all the parties to the table, and reviewed what is going on, what is working and what is not working. We never curtail programs; we always add. Until we become sensible and think of the person on the reserve or on the street and not what the political outfall of this is, we are not going to solve our problems.

As far as Confederation is concerned, I think it was Premier Rae who said that other provinces have to agree to the opting out of Quebec. The trouble is, with the opting out of Quebec and self-government for the natives, they always want sovereignty or some tie, but nobody says, when is enough enough on the payout?

I do not begrudge the natives trying to get self-government. I think they are entitled to some recognition, more so than what they are getting, but there is a way that they can be self-supporting and not have to depend on grants. I think we have spoiled them. I do not think we have to blame the natives. I think we created the situation and we have to sit down and try to correct it. Otherwise we are just going to keep pouring into the pot and not solve the problem, but dilute it and spread it. It will be like cancer. It will spread.

We have a problem locally with alcohol and glue-sniffing. One chief came forward and finally came to our council for assistance. That is the type of co-operation we need to solve these problems.

I am rambling on here now, sir, and I will take the advice of my wife when she uses the word "KISS," "Keep it short, stupid." I would just like to close on that note.

Mr Winninger: I appreciate your comments about governments at all levels, national, provincial and municipal, working with our first nations in a co-operative manner. What I am concerned about is your suggestion that the funding that is going to our first nations is somehow being wasted. Would you not agree that we need to fund them in order that they can develop their lands and build an infrastructure and become autonomous and independent?

Mr Winkler: If it is done with review.

Mr Winninger: What sort of review do you suggest?

Mr Winkler: By all levels of government to sit down with them and review each program's worth on its merits. I think they can be self-supporting. In fact I think it can be reversed without really paying taxation to the strong federal government. You know, reliance is a smokescreen, but it also means that they can get on their feet.

Mr Winninger: You say you tried to sit down with them but there were some impediments. I did not really understand what the obstacles were.

Mr Winkler: I think you have to deal with it locally here. I think there is no difference in our levels of government. There is more than one level of government when it comes to the natives also. Each band feels its own autonomy just like each municipality does. Those things have to be understood. It is only normal for them to look at that.

I think we spoiled them. When I went to them, they learned well from the white social workers and people who worked with the natives. The first thing they asked me was, "What are your terms of reference for this committee?" I said, "If I came with a set of terms of reference, you would tell me you didn't have a chance for input." I said, "We're coming on first bases." Do not sell the natives short. They are good negotiators and they know how to do it and all the more power to them. I am not trying to run the natives down. I think there is a way we can be better helpful for them to achieve their goals by working together.

Mr Miclash: You indicated about representation across the country changing in a way that you would like to see something different. You would like to see politicians, whether they be federal or provincial, do it differently. How would you suggest change in that system?

Mr Winkler: I think there has to be more input. I think after Meech Lake, if you know why Meech Lake fell apart in the three-year waiting period, it was that Premier Bourassa came out with the "distinct society" questions and then wanted French-only signs on the outside and inside of stores. Then nobody knew what "distinct society" meant. We are now finding out what it means. As long as they can get their independence and still have sovereignty, have their bread buttered on both sides and have their cake and eat it too, that is fine, but there has to be a time when they have to stand up and be self-supporting on that matter, but I think with input, sitting down and seeing what is best for the average person, not the political ramifications only but what is best for the citizens as a whole.


Mrs Y. O'Neill: Mr Mayor, you talked about -

Mr Winkler: Mr Winkler in this case, please.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Oh, yes. I am sorry. You did make that distinction earlier. You talked about the role of municipalities. I presume you are a member of AMO and you likely are a rather significant member. Do they have a northern grouping -- I do not know that -- within AMO?

Mr Winkler: Yes. They have a local district organization which is meeting on 14, 15 and 16 February, and it is known as the Kenora District Municipal Association. Then there is the Northern Ontario Municipal Association, NOMA, which is the parent group, and then we affiliate with AMO.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Okay, thank you for bringing that today. I wonder if you are going to make any kind of representation as a group such as that to this important question. You certainly have different problems in the north. You have brought those to us today and I am wondering how you are going to have input into this Confederation process, because I do think as you are saying -- I have always believed this, having come from local government myself -- that we are closest to the people. We do walk the streets with them every day, and I do feel there is a significant input that should come from municipal politicians on this issue.

First of all, I want to thank you personally for being present here all day today to hear the presentations. Is there going to be input in a formal way from either the northern section of AMO or AMO itself, or do you know that?

Mr Winkler: I was supposed to attend the KDMA, but seeing as I am going to Toronto the following week, I cancelled out, but I have since heard that Mr Wildman and Mr Hampton may be in the bear-pit session. I do not know if I can arrange to drive down to be at that, but I will make every effort.

We also have another association, a loosely formed group up north here, of the mayors of northwestern Ontario, which takes in the Kenora-Rainy River district. We meet every quarter and we are trying to get a representative, Bob Rosehart, who is working with Mr Wildman on this question, to speak to the mayors there. I do not think we have time to bring that up at the KDMA.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: You may want to bring it up to make sure that the northern politicians at the local level are heard on this issue of Confederation.

Mr Winkler: Yes.


The Chair: Next we will call Dave Canfield, president of the Kenora-Keewatin District Labour Council.

Mr Canfield: First off, I would like to thank you for allowing me to make this presentation. I would also like to thank the committee for its confidence in the intelligence of us northwesterners to put these briefs together in four days.

I would like to make a few remarks on being here today. It was kind of an enlightening experience to say the least. On the opening ceremonies, which as Colin Wasacase told everybody in the room after, you did not understand what was going on and neither did I, and I guess this is part of the problem with all of us. We do not really understand what is going on. I found it very enlightening, some of the other people who have made briefs. There is Mr Blouin coming from two societies, and it is hard for us to understand that.

I will carry on with my brief, and hopefully not bore you, on our role in Confederation and Ontario's role as the labour council views it. I must say that I did not touch base with all delegates to the council, but with the executive, before we made this brief.

Confederation: The definition of this issue is based on a concept, a belief or contract for mutual support for common unified action. One of the most critical issues we face as Ontarians is that we must protect all citizens in our province. Expanding upon that, we as Canadians must protect all citizens in our country. Simply put, charity begins at home. We can protect ourselves by working to reverse the free trade agreement and stopping any deal that ties us into the free trade deal with Mexico.

You do not have to be a rocket scientist to realize that we cannot compete with US wages from $3 to $10 an hour. Wages of 60 cents to $1.20 an hour in Mexico and in the Maquiladora zone would put the final nail in the coffin for Ontario workers. The 230,000 jobs already lost to free trade would double and probably triple in the event of a trilateral agreement with Mexico. Even Canadian business is starting to open its eyes as our economy slides into the worst recession since the Second World War.

We must work to rebuild the walls and fortify the foundations of our society to protect Canadian workers and Canadian business. We can rebuild and fortify by strengthening the Canadian economy, by buying Canadian. It is more than just a nice-sounding jingle; it is something that should be practised with pride and with confidence as Canadians.

What I am going to say now I do not really have in the brief, but a thousand things came to me after I wrote this.

The devastating effects of the job loss due to free trade:

I had the advantage of attending a job-loss conference in Toronto last weekend and it was kind of a touching conference. There was a panel of six people who had lost their jobs due to free trade. To say the least, I had to leave the room at one point because of the touching stories that were coming from these people.

I think maybe the corporate executives should come down and work in our shoes and give up the nice three-bedroom house at the end of the street when you lose your job. It is hard, I guess, for anybody who has never come from the grass roots and worked from the bottom. A lot of people do not have the opportunity to climb into a suit and tie, not because they are too lazy but because they do not have that opportunity from their roots.

To continue on, we must protect our pensioners with legislation and indexing of pensions, with pension funds paid by workers who usually have little or no control of their money.

To expand on this also, there are a lot of pension plans in this province and in this country that are overfunded. Myself as a mill worker, we have one of those plans. We have two paper mills with over $100,000 in a pension fund that we go into negotiations and fight tooth and nail for every time we meet. It is our money. Our company has had a free ride for approximately six years or more. We are the only ones contributing. This situation is throughout the province, throughout the country. with overfunded pension plans. If we had legislation it would cut down on collective bargaining; it would cut down on strikes to have proper legislation to allow us to have proper control or equal control of our money.

Being close to a provincial border, we find an increasing influx of out-of-province labour and construction companies in our market, and although we welcome our brothers and sisters when work is in abundance in this province, we find ourselves unemployed and possibly on welfare in slow times, in the hard economic times we have now. If this practice is to continue, then we must have the same rules and regulations at all provincial boundaries, not to have our boundaries wide open and other provinces closed to our labour market. We are all equal in this country and should be treated that way from coast to coast.

I think Ontario should take a leading role in bringing the country together again, being careful to recognize and take positive steps towards remedying social intolerance which divides and destroys the sense of unity so badly needed to keep Canada a country of many nations and cultures, beyond any one distinct society, working together in an effort to resolve problems, not create more problems with our neighbours.

We just need to catch the latest update on the war in the Middle East to see the horrors that thousands of years of hatred, greed and bigotry have spawned. We must work hard to see beyond ourselves and gain a rich opportunity and insight about other cultures and viewpoints.


Most important, we must want to educate ourselves and our children and work together to create a Canada equal in opportunity for all and strongly oppose politicians from ramming laws through Parliament which make them popular in their own province, heedless of the segregation and division which seethes in the minds of excluded provinces while breeding discontent and hatred between cultures that are innocently drawn into a power struggle that is wanted and never needed.

We are a multicultural society, many nations within one great nation, with a rich blend of aboriginal, Inuit, French, English, German, Ukrainian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Scottish, Irish, Vietnamese, Polish, Dutch, only to name a few. If Canadian culture were to be described, I would say that Canadian society is made up of the most precious commodity there is, human spirit, gumption, spunk, determination, drive and strength. Those qualities are made only that much better by bringing to this country the diverse insights derived from various cultural backgrounds. In short, we are all Canadians beyond distinction.

To sum up, the things we should never forget as Canadians, and foremost as we grow older and supposedly wiser, never forget where we come from, as we must all be able to understand what our children and their children after them will have to struggle through just to survive this day and age, as many of us have unfortunately forgotten.

To add to that a little, I guess this goes back to the GST and a discussion that Shirley Carr, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, had with Michael Wilson about his $400 pair of shoes, "It is pretty hard for someone like Michael Wilson, who wears a $400 pair of shoes, to understand that that is over my yearly budget for a family of five for summer and winter footwear."

I think too many of us, even in the working class, as we get our homes paid for -- and I see it day by day, in my workplace especially -- forget where we come from and forget how hard it is for the young people today.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you very much for a very moving brief. I think you have certainly talked to the subject and brought us up to date from your perspective.

I too know of what you speak when you talk about out-of-province labour and construction difficulties, because I come from the city of Ottawa, where that is a great problem as well. I do think that is one fundamental place where somebody mentioned to us today if we talked about how this would affect the man on the street or the woman on the street rather than political expediency, we would be serving both sides of every one of these provincial borders, and I am glad you brought that forward.

I wonder if you could say a little bit more about what you think the role of labour is here. I was rather disturbed to read this morning that in the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, that labour group is now separating itself from the federal scene and has changed its name and I am talking about the group within Quebec. I am wondering what role you think the CFL or yourselves jointly representing each province can have to try to make Quebec labour feel very much part of the same things as you yourselves feel. I do not know enough about the interrelationship between the different labour councils. Maybe you could help me.

Mr CanfieId: To be very honest, I do not know if I can really answer that. I know there are barriers at Quebec. Living much closer to the Manitoba border, it is easier to on the Manitoba -- I hate to put it as a problem. The difference in minimum wages has a lot to do with it. I guess what we would like to see as an organized labour group in Canada is a fair and equitable wage for everyone. I think if we had that from province to province and a decent living standard in every province, we could open our doors wide.

Maybe to explain it in a better way, how government can ever dream that a trilateral agreement with a Third World country can be good -- it would be real good if they wanted to bring Mexican wages up to a decent standard of living, but that is not what they want to do. They want to exploit them. Unfortunately, that happens right in our own country. People in different provinces are exploited, in some provinces more so than others, because they just do not have legislation, or we all have different legislations. Quebec has anti-scab legislation; we do not have it here.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Do you see a role for labour then at this moment, at this crucial time, or can you bring that to one of your group's gatherings, provincial or federal? I really do think there is a very strong role here for labour.

Mr Canfield: I see a role, speaking locally for ourselves as a labour council. We are in the hardest economic times since the Second World War. I think there is a role for labour and business both to get together and maybe bring some common ground together, instead of pushing ourselves farther apart. I do not know if I am quite answering your question.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think we are thinking on the same vein.

Ms Harrington: I would briefly like to react to some of your comments. First of all, you said to buy Canadian and use pride and confidence when you do. I think that is very well stated. Coming from Niagara Falls, we certainly have a problem with cross-border shopping as well, and I think we have think long and hard about that pride in trying to put our money into Canada.

Second, you stated that Ontario has a leading role to play. I speak for myself that as part of the new government we are finding as we listen to people around this province that, yes, we do have a very heavy responsibility as new people elected in this province, to bring some new light, with your help, on the way things should be going, along with our more seasoned partners, to try to use our power in Ontario for the good of the whole country.

The last comment that I noted, you said various things about the way workers are treated. It reminded me of a couple of presentations we heard this afternoon. First, one man said that the white man's way is power, control and domination. Obviously, he was referring to government and our whole society, the way it is structured. That is something that I think all of us have to think very long and hard about. I think most of the new people in government would agree with me that we were elected to try to change that, that we have a mandate. Our roots, as New Democrats, come from the social gospel movement, which is co-ops, which is getting people together, treating people as equals.

I would like to just let you know that we have only been in government now for three to four months and it has been many, many years that we have not been in government, so I am asking you to bear with us and to look forward to the future with hope that things can be changed.

You also made note that there are many other members of the government now who are women and who come from a worker's background, and I think that is something very positive.

I want to end by saying that this afternoon another man stated about how he wanted the ordinary men -- and I would like to also add women -- in this province to be listened to. I would just like to say that our government in Ontario, and I include all of us in the Legislature, I believe, are ordinary people. We want to speak for you and work with you.

Mr Offer: Just a short question. First, thank you your presentation. In response to Mrs O'Neill's question in terms of labour law, I believe I heard you state that there is a fairly large variety of labour laws that run from province to province, be it anti-scab legislation in one province, minimum wage in another and a whole variety of pieces of legislation in between. I think I heard you say that maybe one of the difficulties that labour has is that there is not a uniformity across the country dealing with those aspects of legislation.

My first question is whether that is correct, whether you feel it would be in the best interests of labour that there be a uniformity of labour legislation across the country. I say that because, as you know, there is a distinction between provincial responsibility and federal responsibility, and labour legislation in the main falls within the provincial responsibility.


We hear many models and examples being put forward which seem to be a reduction of federal power. What you are saying seems to be that in the area of labour legislation maybe there should be an increase in federal power so that there can be a uniformity of this action across the country. I guess my question is, is that your position and how do you see that working?

Mr Canfield: If we are to open our borders up in Canada from province to province, then yes, we definitely need legislation that is equal from province to province. I do not really have a problem with that. As I stated before, we do not have a problem with our brothers and sisters coming from out of province when there is a lot of work. We are not saying we do not want them here. We are just saying that as Ontario taxpayers, and setting down the tax base of this province, we definitely should not be out of work and have other people working in our place.

I can give you an example, with no names or companies, of an outfit from out of province that had people working down here on a job. These people happened to get into a conversation with someone who was involved in the labour movement. They said: "You know, that guy's a pretty good guy to work for. He's allowing us to work 12 hours a day." He was paying them $7.50 an hour and no overtime, but they thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread because he was allowing them to work 12 hours a day. I have a different word for that man.

Mr F. Wilson: I would like to talk to you in your capacity as the president of the Kenora-Keewatin District Labour Council. I know you are dedicated to the workers of the area, so I feel quite safe asking you this question. You have spoken here about the many things that are burdening the workers today -- the GST, the possible three-way deal with Mexico and a few others. In spite of all that, you also talk about the pride and the confidence of workers. What I would like to know is, and I think this committee has to know this, do you feel that pride and confidence are still there? Do you feel that they still believe in Canada and that they still believe in Ontario?

Mr Canfield: I think it is there more than ever. For some reason, I do not know why, when hard economic times come, we seem to buckle down and even take more pride, maybe because we have to. We are all human beings. When you buy a Canadian-made sweater, such as I am wearing, or when you buy a Canadian hat, you can wash it in the washer and you can wear it again. If you buy a Taiwan hat and wash it in the washer, you throw it in the garbage. Sure you pay more: you have to pay more for quality.

Mr F. Wilson: How do they feel about the province itself, about Ontario as an entity, and Canada as a political entity itself?

Mr Canfield: I am not really sure I understand the question.

Mr F. Wilson: We are out here searching for answers to a lot of questions; we do not know the questions, in some cases. We are trying to get to the grass roots of the feelings of the people of Ontario to help us in our deliberations. I am just wondering if workers, even through the hard times we are going through, still have that pride of being a Canadian and that pride of being an Ontarian.

Mr Canfield: Definitely, I would think they do. As you say, we have a grass-roots government now. Maybe it will bring the pride out more or maybe it will bring the people out more. Maybe it will bring more response because we figure we are going to be heard. I do not really know.

Mr Bisson: You said something that really strikes a chord in regard to equality. I think the view that your labour council is putting forward is one that is quite thought out in regard to equality. What you are saying, if I understand correctly, is that we have inadequacies within our own nation with regard to trade from east to west, across borders of provinces.

I take it what you are saying is that in order to make things a level playing field -- as they like to use the term as what you are advocating -- rather than bring those who have more down, is to be able to bring those who have less up. I would like you to maybe expand on that a little bit because I think it is a message that has to really be spread. You are perfectly right in regard to trade with the Mexicans; we put ourselves in a situation of having to compete head to head with an employer who is paying his employees 75 cents an hour, compared to maybe $15 or $17 an hour up in this area, along with benefits. We know who is going to win out. How do we get to that? How do we get the Mexicans, for example, if we get into a free trade agreement, to come up or whatever?

Mr Canfield: I guess in our own back door in the last few years, with the women's movement for pay equity, we have definitely been moving closer to an equitable workforce. We do have a long way to go. As the Premier said in his statement at the conference, you must be patient; it is not going to happen overnight. I think the average worker understands that. I do think we are going in the right direction. It is trying to be done by the Canadian Labour Congress, by other labour organizations, the Ontario Federation of Labour.

There have been talks with Mexican labour people, as we did with the free trade agreement, not to tell the American workers that we are against them. We are not against them. We are not against the Mexican people. We want to see them thrive and we want to see their standard of living increased. But when you have a government -- it has been in power there for, I believe, 62 years -- which, unlike Nicaragua, as bad as the injustice is there, does not even allow outside people to come in to monitor its elections, and the Americans stand by and say, "That's okay." But to get involved in a war in the Gulf, that is not okay, there is a suppression there. But it is okay in Mexico because it comes in with their corporate agenda and the manipulation of workers.

Mr Bisson: I would like to thank you for the presentation that you made. It is quite thoughtful. I would like to point out to the district labour council in the area that I am wearing a Canadian suit, so I am preaching the principles. I would like to thank you seriously for the presentation because I really think this is the key of what you are talking about and it is a good direction. In order to achieve equality, it is not a question of trying to push somebody down to get it equal but trying to bring the other up with us, and maybe at the end of the day we will have our place under the sun.


The Chair: I call now Laurie Normandeau.

Ms Normandeau: Good evening. My name is Laurie Normandeau, and while I work for a Canadian union and I am associated and affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress through our labour council, I am just appearing here on behalf of myself as an independent and as a very concerned citizen. I would like to present my brief now regarding general overview of how I view some of the most critical issues facing our great country.

I believe Canada is a country in crisis, a crisis emanating from the lack of positive, progressive federal leadership. In order to change our great country for the better, for indeed the status quo can no longer remain inert, nor can it be considered non sequitur, we must first examine some issues, the resolution of which may provide a catalyst for that change.

My first issue concerns social intolerance. Legislation has been passed to supposedly ameliorate the perceived injustices and inequities with which Canadian society is challenged. However, while the essence of such legislation is an ameliorative step in a progressive direction, it is at best a Band Aid solution to an ancient haemorrhaging malignancy.

That malignancy, unfortunately, feeds upon legislative weaknesses and rationalizes an attitude which supports social intolerance, which results in a perception of inequitable sovereignty, a perception of pay equity legislation creating employment inequity, a perception of aboriginal rights abrogating taxpayers' rights and the perception that divergent climatic topographical influences create a regionalistic distribution of wealth and benefits, to the exclusion of regions in need of such wealth and benefits.


I have named only a few contributing factors which influence the average Canadian's motivation relative to his desire to establish a cohesive, unified federation working towards the betterment of all. But how do you change the attitude of people who over decades have been conditioned to think only of their own needs and wants? Government cannot simply legislate the way a person thinks, so the onus remains within each and every Canadian individual's power to change those intolerant attitudes. As the late Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "There is little hope for us until we become tough-minded enough to break lose from the shackles of prejudice, half truths and downright ignorance."

My second issue concerns regional and cultural disparity. While legislation can provide support for the much needed attitude change regarding enhanced social tolerance, the provincial and federal governments must also make strident efforts to alleviate regional and cultural disparity. It has long been recognized that the glut of wealth and seat of power are centred in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor, while the needs of the many are sacrificed to perpetuate the wants of the few. This creates the perception of elitist distinction, hardly conducive to resolving inequities which arise due to unequal distribution.

I urge you to listen to the essence of what will be presented to you in terms of employment, distribution of government funds allotted for educational, social, health and welfare enhancements, environmental protection and transportation needs, to name only a few. Then compare the austerity from which these needs arise with the rationale given to enhance the serviceability of the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal corridor. I would suggest that the Senate be comprised of a working group -- and I want to emphasize the word "working" -- of elected officials to assist regions of need, instead of being comprised of appointed individuals being pandered to while slipping their dotage away in an ivory tower of nepotism.

My third issue concerns job protection. In order to promote Canada's competitive edge on the world market, we as Canadians must ensure that the incentives for promoting the marketability of our products are in place; simply put, to make sure our products are as economical and as good if not better than the next guy's or country's. I would suggest that the federal government insist that restrictions be enforced to defeat globalized exploitation of cheap labour markets in developing countries like Haiti.

Case in point: Nearly 300 American companies currently operate factories in Haiti, paying their workers a meagre $2.55 a day, with a dictatorial overlord who kills people who seek, and indeed need, wage increases.

Like it or not, pivotal to Canada's economic security and success is Canada's interdependence with the United States's ability to compete in the globalized market, thus decreasing Canada's economic autonomy while increasing her vulnerability at the whim of the American initiatives to create more for less.

Case in point: The trilateral trade agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico, while a temporary boon to the United States, will become Canada's bane as disagreement wreaks its irreparable devastation by dissolving thousands upon thousands of Canadian jobs. Notice I said "temporary boon to the US," for Japanese investment in the Mexican labour market, from decades of perfected management tactics combined with an increased ability to pay higher wages, are stealing the American labour market. The US simply cannot compete with its Japanese counterparts, who offer not only higher wages but enhanced amenities for the Mexican employees. The only positive thing to emanate from the struggle for labour is that employees are finally starting to be compensated and recognized for being the most valuable and precious resource they are.

With the Japanese economic influence drawing the much needed labour market away from the American companies in Mexico, the US will once again experience its own tailspin of non-competitive economic decline. Canada's role in this exercise would only further underscore the folly of having signed her autonomy away by endorsing the trilateral trade agreement, leaving in its wake economic consequences of severe proportion. Ontario, long recognized as being the heartland of Canada's industrial region, would suffer the most job loss devastation.

In summary, I believe that Canadians already possess the tools of ingenuity, intellect, creativity and compassion to strengthen their country by building bridges with tolerance and demolishing walls of prejudice and hatred, by demanding elected, responsible, functional representation in a Senate comprised of individuals dedicated to the people instead of the biased interests of an elitist political entity, and by lobbying for protection of Canada's competitive place within shrinking global borders. While I have not even scraped the surface of Canada's dilemmas, which are legion, I believe the fundamental concerns I have presented are those which are of most critical import.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express these concerns, as I trust you will find them reiterated throughout our province. I wish you well in your endeavours and would like to encourage your continued efforts during your quest on how to change Canada for the better.

Ms Churley: Thank you for your paper. I am very interested in what you had to say about labour. It seems to me that there is starting to be a bit of a pattern in what we are hearing. That is something I think I heard a lot during the failed Meech accord, that is that although we have had different agreements about Quebec and how Quebec should fit into the Constitution, etc. there is an overwhelming sense that we have an awful lot of inequity to take care of in Canada that has nothing to do with the problems between Quebec and the rest of Canada. There is an overwhelming concern about the economy and the kinds of things you are talking about. I guess I am asking you if that in a way is what you are saying, that the working people of Quebec have the same problems as the working people in the rest of Canada and the inequities between women are the same in Quebec as here, and natives all over the country. I get a sense that that is what you are saying here. I just wanted to clarify that. I told you, obviously, what I think.

Ms Normandeau: Basically, that is what my main focus is. We are all human beings, and as such we all have the same needs, the need for equitable justice, and when the fine, intricate balance between need and fulfilment of need is not attained there will always be the perceived intolerance built up between the two dichotomies, I believe. Until the tolerance level is really examined and, I believe very strongly, until our attitudes are changed towards our neighbours, not only across the borders of our provinces but also our neighbours culturally, we are not going to progress until we can transcend our own differences. In fact, I think the differences can make us stronger because of the diversification and the richness, the wealth that such differences can bring to our lives.

Mr Beer: I have two questions. One I put from another perspective just because I want to try to see if we can get a better sense of what you are talking about, in the context of, as you put it, the glut of wealth and the seat of power in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal area. Let me put it in sort of the greater Toronto context. I suppose if you were an ordinary working person living in that area, many people might be coming at it from the other perspective, saying: "Look, we need more services. We need more child care. We need a whole series of things." People are perhaps looking at money from their perspective and saying it is going to other places when in fact the population is there. How do we begin to bring people together to have some kind of understanding of the needs in the northwestern part of the province, while the numbers in terms of population are perhaps not similar, but the very fact that there is a smaller number of people in a much more spread-out fashion with its own particular geographic problems -- the nature of winter and so on; there will be needs there, too.


It seems to me we get into this sort of ping-pong match, with the greater Toronto area being the kind of place all Canadians love to hate, yet there are, I think it is fair to say, some particular problems that have arisen in not only Toronto, but Montreal, Vancouver and the large urban areas, and somehow we have to deal with that.

I would like to link that to your suggestion about the Senate to deal with regionalism. I suppose when the Senate was first created, the idea was that it would be, to a certain extent, a place you could speak on behalf of the region. I just wondered if you could expand on how you see that Senate you denoted comprised of elected officials could assist regions with needs, instead of being comprised of appointed officials. Do you have a sense of how you would see that Senate being elected and how it might deal with some of those regional disparities, some of the ones I described?

Ms Normandeau: I will reply to you with another question: What would happen if Toronto General Hospital, Mount Sinai, Women's College Hospital and the whole hospital corridor along University Avenue all suddenly shut their doors? Who would represent those individuals, the patients, the clients who use these services? We have such a situation north of us. In fact, one of the women scheduled for tonight is unable to attend because of the situation arising. This situation arises in Red Lake, where the hospital facilities up there are very much in jeopardy. The Ontario government is very much aware of the situation. We are looking at a community that may be without hospital facilities. Maybe not thousands or millions of people, but certainly the lives of hundreds of people would be affected by the closure of such a hospital, if and when it does occur.

How would it affect the Toronto corridor of hospitals, say, on University Avenue in comparison to the Red Lake situation, should there not be strong representation by a body of individuals or an individual, such as a working senator to monitor the situation, to bring that priority forward and to have it addressed, instead of having all this lobbying going on? Does that answer your question with my question?

Mr Beer: I think we need to find the answer in both places.

Ms Normandeau: I think so.

Mr Eves: I want to thank you for a very well-thought-out and well-presented brief. You have expressed yourself very well indeed.

On page 2, I think you make some very good points about a needed attitude change regarding enhanced social tolerance, and you talk about the need to alleviate regional and cultural disparity, both from provincial and federal governments. You go on to talk about what Mr Beer was just bringing to mind again, Senate reform. I can tell you, having served on the previous legislative body to this one on Senate reform, your thoughts are excellent and better than a lot of so-called experts in the field. I think what Canada indeed does need is some real, true, regional representation in all parts of this country to reflect some people in this country who perhaps are not represented by a traditional means of electing both MPPs and MPs.

I wondered if you had any thoughts or advice to give us of a similar nature on the province of Quebec and the proposal it has recently introduced or supposedly is about to introduce if it is adopted by the government of Quebec, with respect to what it perceives to be a new federation or a new Canada or at least its proposal of what a new Canada should look like?

Ms Normandeau: That is almost a nebulous type of situation to put in front of me at this point because of the fact that nothing has been put in place per se. Until something has been, and that federation has been tangibly formed, it would be almost presumptuous, I would think, to even consider what form of senatorial representation should even take place, if in fact that would be what it is, rather than maybe a working committee to bridge the transformation, first of all. There are going to be adjustments certainly.

Mr Eves: I guess I did not express myself very well. I was not looking for a set of rules you would follow if such a federation were to come about. I just wondered what your personal reaction was to it and how you think we, as provincial legislators here in Ontario, or perhaps federal legislators, can respond to Quebec. They obviously have a need they feel has not been fulfilled in the current form of Confederation. I wondered if you had some thoughts on that, as you had, I think, some excellent thoughts on Senate reform and social tolerance and alleviating regional and cultural disparities.

Ms Normandeau: Assuming that their separation is complete, is this what you are asking me?

Mr Eves: No, I am not assuming that at all.

Ms Normandeau: I think I would have to have a little more complete scenario. I have all kinds of ideas, and I do not think our forum here would really permit me all these.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We are out of time.


The Chair: I call next Thomas Keesick.

Mr Keesick: Good evening. I would like to thank the three parties, the members of Parliament, for allowing me to voice my opinion on what is happening today.

My voice is centred on what is happening with the native populations within the Grand Council Treaty 3. Two or three weeks ago, there was a youth march here in Kenora in which my two boys participated, aged 13 and 14. That is what it is going to centre upon, but first I would like to quote what was said here more than 15 years ago by an elder who lives on my reserve, Archie Lands, "You may throw me out of your restaurants, you may throw me out of your hotels, but you cannot throw me out of Canada, for this is my home."

However, the inevitable seems to be happening now, because of what is happening with the crisis we have in the Persian war. We now have, in our reservation, notices preparing our young people to join in a war that is not ours. I strongly feel that in order to put a stop to what is happening today, it is to put more emphasis on what the native people think within their own area of their lifestyle.

We hear talk on the news media about the Geneva Convention being violated. I would like to remind people of the Parliament that our treaties are also being violated. Long before the war started, we had a peace treaty with the United States, and I believe as well with Canada. We were fighting for who had legal title to the land, a land in which native people, by far, were environmental participants. We have lost that war because we have signed a paper that we did not know on how that treaty would be formulated, as to how we will become self-sufficient again.

Today we have people in much higher-categorized positions, namely, Prime Minister Mulroney, President Bush, Saddam, fighting for what? Oil. I believe members of the United Nations, members of Parliament, can stop this by simply dealing not only with people who have already established a well-recognized area in their own means of survival, but also the smaller people, such as native people, the smaller businessmen. They have to listen to their opinions as to how we will see fit and possibly to stop the war that is happening.


In 1974, we tried starting what we called the Ojibway War Society. I believe we had established something that not only the municipality of Kenora but I believe nationwide -- we too are people of this country. We must stop and utilize whatever means, tools, we have in order to begin to understand who we are and what we are here for. We are being forced to enter an agreement that has been highly overemphasized, I believe, by our Prime Minister, by entering an agreement in which they are forcing native people to become part of something that we or that they did not want to become part of before something like negotiations have been done with native people.

I hope what I have said here tonight will be heard and something will be done about it, because I speak for my reserve that does not get any formal place in Parliament to be heard. I think this is the right time for me to say a bit on what I have been longing to say in front of a group of people that might do something that will ease our minds and say that people in authority are trying to do something to nullify problems that are indigenous in our country.

Mr Winninger: I appreciate the force of your comments. I know that many of the native people have been decorated war veterans who travelled by canoe thousands of miles to enlist in the First World War and the Second World War. Do you believe that the time has come now for the first nations people to be consulted with prior to a declaration of war, and I mean a consultation other than through elected representatives to the House of Commons?

Mr Keesick: What I am about to say now may be followed up by either members of our leadership here in the District of Kenora in Grand Council Treaty 3. I believe you know it is quite on the contrary to say native people have been given the sole right to voice out their opinions, because when that happens -- I do not believe anything has been done to achieve that initiative to go ahead. But if you are talking about now being the time, then I believe that we are bound by a jurisdiction problem. In order to have that nullified whereby it will give native people a chance for what you are referring to, that is, to be given major authority in legislation, if you are speaking in terms of a constitution law.

Mr Winninger: I am just curious how you see that evolving, how you see your involvement on the native level evolving in terms of, say, declarations of war or other federal initiatives.

Mr Keesick: I believe national native leaders should be consulted with before any step is being made. First of all, before enlisting native people into - again, I will recite -- a war that is not even ours.

Mr Bisson: In regard to native representation, I take it in both federal and provincial Houses, how do you see that happening? At the end of the day, if a system like that was to be put forward, what kind of forum would you see as far as native people getting their voice into Parliament is concerned? How would you see that process?

Mr Keesick: I believe, again, I would have to go on by recognized elected native leaders, to talk with the external minister, Joe Clark, on how to implement a far-going prosperity in terms of how we become involved. We have already been made participants to the war, but I do not think that is fully the end result of native people wanting to be part of what has already happened.

Mr Bisson: But in regard to native representation in our parliaments, having members of provincial parliaments or members of federal parliaments who are representing natives from native communities, how do you see that happening and what kind of process would you see? Would it be an election on reserves across all parties? How do you see that happening? Has any thought been given to that?

Mr Keesick: This is a highly explosive question you are asking me here. I believe what has to be done is to have native leaders given some authority as to how we should be maintaining our lives to become economically competitive as well as to maintain our culture. I believe the only way that can be achieved is that we should have more people sitting where you people are sitting now.

Mr Bisson: Let's pray for the day that happens.



The Chair: Next we have Rich Green.

Mr Green: I would like to thank Brad Kelly for making way within this group to make this presentation.

I am not altogether enthused by the lights and cameras, but I think I have a difficulty to try to convey to the sitting today. I bring you to the issue of justice and corrections in the first nations community. This issue brings about many areas of concern. In this field, first, I wish to remind this committee that the consistency of utilizing the self-determination, the self-government position is also fostered by the urban native community.

I take you to page 13 of the discussion paper where it states, "Improvements in the quality of life within aboriginal communities." I only wished that was changed to say, "Improve the quality of life of aboriginal people." I find that statement too restricting, making implications to define the limitations this government wishes to pursue, saying not to exceed the boundaries of first nations' communities. I find that statement totally unconstitutional.

I am presently employed by the Indian Friendship Centre in Kenora and I am the native inmate liaison worker. I would like also to bring you to a scenario of native men or women who finds themselves incarcerated in one of our Canadian prisons. The centre is where we send them so they will rehabilitate and take advantage of all the programs that were inspired by the report of the standing committee on administration of justice and the Solicitor General on its review of sentencing, conditional release and related aspects of corrections. Upon reviewing the standing committee's report on justice, it does not adequately reflect first nations' concerns, but the ongoing products of the absence of first nations' participation.

Today in our provincial system there is the temporary absence program and the Ontario parole program based on values alien to the first nations' communities. I bring you to institutions where 70% to 80% of the population are native people. The only other problem that exceeds these percentages is unemployment, which sometimes reaches 90% in communities. There are 3% being employed by the ministry today.

The suggestion I wish to make is that the committee strongly undertake a road into sensitizing the corrections system. As you see, in the first nations the difficulties are not only confined to corrections, but it certainly is a catch-all for the way we deal with first nations' problems.

We need to look at the other social service fields and the first nations would like to undertake and assume the jurisdiction, management and control in the field of corrections also. We wish to suggest initiatives to be taken to invite first nations' involvement, not only in the historic way of doing business of implementing things and conceding by a government alone, but by the genuine participation of first nations groups and communities. I would like to thank this sitting today.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much for the presentation. Could you please share with me what you feel the role could be of the Indian Commission of Ontario in identifying issues and in presenting those issues, not only in terms of all first nations, but also in terms of the way they see the relationship that Ontario should play in this discussion of their role in Confederation? I would like you to share with me your thoughts on the role that the ICO might have.

I say that because in this very first day we have had a number of representations made on some very important issues dealing with first nations persons, be it in family relations, in culture or in a whole raft of social issues. I am wondering if we might be able to use the ICO as a vehicle in presenting those types of issues as they apply throughout the province.

Mr Green: I understand the structure of the ICO. We also feel that it has only been a sounding-board. We felt at different times that their hands were tied too, and when a problem was defined at that level, inadequate resourcing was always there and we could not pursue the issue any further. Obviously, you know, the native community goes backward. They fight among themselves and go inwards, and we have no way to address these things. That is the way government has been dealing with native issues historically: leave it long enough and it will go away. But it does not go away.

Mr Offer: If the ICO is viewed at this point as being a sounding-board -- we are now in the early stages of looking at what Ontario's role should be in Confederation. We are looking at identifying and addressing a whole raft of interests and needs and of ways to address those needs. Is it not the time now to say, and I put this forward not as a suggestion but rather for your response as something more than a sounding-board, if that be the case, that there is a very definite and structured role that the ICO can and maybe should play at this point in time?

Mr Green: Because we understand that the federal government is responsible for native people, first nations people, and also we understand that the Ontario government has interests in the native issues. I understand the native community sometimes is reluctant to undertake that process for different reasons, because our interests tend to be watered down and something else comes up.

On the very issue of natural resources, we look at the town of Kenora. Boise Cascade is the biggest employer here, and I wish to bet anybody at the table tonight to find how many native people work in there directly at the mill. I would say it is insignificant. We talk about the fairness in dealing with resource management and, if it is not exercised now, how are we going to suggest that in the future in any process, ICO or otherwise?

Mr Malkowski: Just to follow up. I certainly enjoyed your presentation. On one of the points that you made you said that it was very important that we as a committee take a look at self-government when we are talking about the Constitution and also to be looking at the criminal system, the justice system, and acting in some sort of co-ordination with the first nations. Can you think of a statement or way that that could be dealt with so that it would actually be covered in the Constitution?


Mr Green: We are suggesting initiatives to be undertaken to invite first nations involvement at the senior level. We want to get away from just assuming contracts developed by the Ministry of Correctional Services at this stage. We want to be party to the development of policy and directives in that system to ensure that the culture and the values of first nations people are considered.

Mr Harnick: You have touched on some points that I think are subtle points and just for my own clarification, in your capacity with the Indian Friendship Centre in Kenora I believe what you were saying was that you are seeing a lot of the problems of native peoples off reserve. In your reference to page 13, when you talk about improvements in the quality of life, you are saying of aboriginal people generally, not just within aboriginal communities -- you are talking about improvements of life for those not living in aboriginal communities, and I gather as well that you are talking about improvements in the system of justice, not just on the reserve. You are also talking about some of the difficulties that natives have dealing with the justice system off the reserve. I gather as well that you are talking about the difficulty in the rehabilitation process, in that it does not take into account your culture and those things that are important in terms of reintegrating someone into the native community.

Can you elaborate on those things and just make it clear for me and maybe for other members of the committee that in addition to on-reserve problems, you are also talking about the problems native people have in communities such as Kenora, or for that matter in communities such as Toronto?

Mr Green: I think in the context of your handout, we talk about relationships in the country and that was the context in which I was saying this. I should be able to go anywhere in the country, that is basically what I was trying to say.

Of course, many of our institutions, many of the values that were incorporated into the policies of Correctional Services have been off-reserve values. In order to maximize these programs, native inmates are at a disadvantage when they apply for a temporary absence program, they are at a disadvantage when they apply for Ontario parole because jobs are not there, the social fabric is broken up, the economics are not there, and these are some of the standards that are set by these policies.

Mr Harnick: In other words, they cannot qualify for the temporary absence program and they are not getting as much from the justice system as the next person might?

Mr Green: That is right.

Mr Harnick: So what you are really saying, I suppose, and I do not want to put words in your mouth, but on the one hand a white person might be able to get more from the justice system because more is available to him in TAPs, parole guidelines. Are you telling us that in terms of developing a system of native justice and corrections, by the same token there should be aspects built in for native people in terms of the kind of sentencing, the kinds of rehabilitations, those aspects?

Mr Green: If I may bring you a scenario of a young person that was in a flying community up north. All his people, friends or the other people that were jailed with him, are local people. They are non-native and here he is. They got levels 1, 2, 3, 4 to motivate them to get their act together. There is no way to reward this person because of the distance, the economics of it all. There is nowhere to draw from for this gentleman to maximize those kinds of things.

We are suggesting that some programs be conceived from the native community as to what is valuable to them. How do they envision their traditional customary ways of doing the judge's component? That has never come into play at the jail, at our local one. I went there. We talk about having a good relationship with government. Sometimes I do not have a good relationship with that institution to try to resolve some of the difficulties there.

Mr Harnick: Just to close. I thank you for bringing up certain very important aspects of native communities that we had not yet touched on. Your presentation was indeed very helpful.


Mr Mandamin: Bonjour.

[Remarks in Ojibway]

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I would just like to start out by saying that I would prefer to speak in my language even though we have 40% of the population in this territory who are not provided with translation services, but I ask for your patience and indulgence as I will try and pass my message to you in your language.

First, may I extend greetings on behalf of my community to the members of this committee. My name is Eli Mandamin. I am chief of Shoal Lake First Nation number 39. Our first nation community is strategically located in the area which straddles the Ontario and Manitoba borders. This has placed us in the unique situation of being in the middle of issues such as the supply of water to the city of Winnipeg from Ontario waters. These waters are our ancestral waters. I would like to point out that when our waters were first taken to quench the thirst of the city of Winnipeg, no opinion was ever asked of any of our people as to what they thought of it.


In 1991, our community is on the move. We know that our future lies in us being faithful to our traditions. We know even more that we must work to strengthen our culture to the greatest degree possible. We must continue to resist the continued unilateral non-aboriginal penetration to our land and the suppression of our culture. At the same time, we must also continue to work towards mutually beneficial relationships with non-Indian governments in Canada that are based on the principle of respect.

I cannot emphasize to the members of this committee too much how different our culture is from yours. Perhaps this is why we find it hard to comprehend how the government of Canada has not lived up to the spirit and intent of the treaty agreements it entered into with us. This was to entrench the principles of equality, cultural pluralism, mutual co-operation and respect.

I also cannot stress enough to you the importance that we place on our treaty relationship with the federal crown in right of Canada. When the treaty negotiators came to us, we understood that they would make our ways, our culture and our heritage known to Her Majesty and her Canadian government. Our understanding of the treaty as an agreement of friendship and co-operation between two peoples of equal dignity has yet to be lived up to. We must always call on the federal government to account on this matter. We will never forgo our relationship with them on this.

It is in this context that we expect a renewal of our relationship with non-Indian peoples in Canada to be developed through the constitutional process based on mutual respect for equal partners, which also allows us to come to a greater understanding of each other.

Our treaty, Treaty 3, is now constitutionally protected in Canada. We must now ensure that the meaning and intent as understood by my Anishnabe people and my ancestors is also recognized within the constitutional context.

To the province of Ontario we say this. Work with us and understand our ways, reach practical understandings with us so that we might live in harmony in this northern land; but even more, work to ensure that proper constitutional recognition is accorded to us in present-day Canada. Recognize the bilateral relationship we have with the crown in the right of Canada which must be maintained by us as a treatment through the federal government, that it must recognize the relationship which was to have been established between us. We still wait for this meaningful, true relationship to be established.

Ontario, push the government of Canada to recognize its fundamental ethical treaty obligations to treaty aboriginal nations in Canada. Work with the government of Ontario and other provinces to ensure that treaty rights and aboriginal rights, where there are no treaties, are updated in the Canada context to reflect and respect the unique cultures of the first peoples in this land.

Remember, we are still waiting for our relationship of mutual respect with non-aboriginal people in Canada to be established as we have always envisioned in our treaty relationship with the crown in right of Canada. We ask you, do not step around us any longer. Recognize that we are the first peoples of this land.

We have so much to offer to Canada. The time of dependence must come to an end. We now face an unparalleled environmental crisis in our land. Scientists are talking of value of indigenous ecological knowledge and traditional knowledge. Economists talk of local economies. We have always practised sustainability, even when our cultures and economies have been suppressed by non-aboriginal governments in Canada.

Now we want the opportunity to fully express the potential of our culture in the 1990s. There is much that we can learn from each other. So far, however, we often get the feeling from non-aboriginal people that it is they who will teach us about the future of this country and it is they who will resolve the huge problems that we now face.

We can assure that this will not be the way in which we will find our partnership with non-aboriginal people of this land. It is only through your recognition of our rights and responsibilities as aboriginal people to preserve our cultures and societies entrenched in the constitutional framework of Canada that real substantial progress will be made in this regard.

I thank the Chairman and this committee for allowing me to deliver the message from my people.

Mr Bisson: I have to say that you are right. Unfortunately, over the history of the building of this nation, the first people have not been listened to and we have not had the opportunity to appreciate what native culture is and what it means to Canada, what we can learn from it.

In that light, when you came in and started your deliberation you went to the drum and put tobacco to it. I wonder if you can share with me the significance.

Mr Mandamin: This drum represents my grandfather and I have given him an offering. Before I came into this room, I have given him an offering so that he will stand by me and assist me in trying to have a better communication with you because, as my other brothers have spoken before me, I recognize that there is a communication problem here. It is out of respect that I offer that tobacco to the drum.

Mr Bisson: I think something needs to be done and you are quite right, it is a deplorable situation in this country where we do not understand our first people, do not know very much about the culture, customs and language. You made the point at the beginning, and I think it was a good point, with regard to not being able to express yourself in your own language. We are the visitors. This is your nation. There is no question about that. I am basically saying that is something obviously we should have thought of.

Mr Beer: I suppose, as you say, at the root of so much of the difficulty we have had over the years has been communication, different times in different ways. It seems to me that one of the things that we as a committee have to try to wrestle with is what kinds of proposals we might make that at the very least will put in process some way of communicating so that the kinds of goals, values, aspirations which you and others today have been talking about can be realized.

I try to go back, as I think one does, on some personal experience and then I want to come back to the comments that Mr Offer was making earlier around the ICO, the Indian Commission of Ontario. A number of years ago, three or four, the Ontario government and a number of the native communities in the social services area began something that I think was innovative and forward-looking in terms of turning over to native communities the responsibility for various social services. I am thinking here of Tikinagon, Weechi-it-te-win Payukotayno and other organizations like these, Ojibway Tribal Family Services whom we heard from this afternoon wanted to deal with those services in another way and that was their right.


The former minister responsible for native affairs in the Ontario government, Ian Scott, and the present minister, Bud Wildman, I think it would be fair to say, share a common purpose in trying to get the discussions around self-government under way and to make them meaningful. How do we really get that started so it can be effective? I think we could, from different experiences, find places where, provincially, we are able to work with you and make progress around different services, but where, quite understandably, because of your treaty rights, which are vested through the crown and the federal government, you are reluctant to get too involved for fear that the federal government will simply say, "Well, you're doing all of those programs -- education, social services, health -- with the province, so we'll just back right out and you work on it as if you were in effect another municipality dealing with the provincial government."

Where do we go to really get that discussion going? The Indian Commission of Ontario, it strikes me, has been a useful mechanism. Perhaps, as was pointed out earlier, it does not have the kind of teeth it needs. How often have you spoken those words to us, to others like us? In the short time I have been in this Legislature, I am already asking myself if we should not be further down the road. I heard that three and a half years ago in a similar way, and it seems that we get to where we agree on some of the goals, what we are trying to do, but somehow we have great difficulty in putting in place a process. I am just wondering if you have given some thought to that. What is it that we might usefully recommend that would help move along the whole issue of native self-government and a better recognition of your place in a constitutionally protected way?

Mr Mandamin: My first reaction would be that you have to be very serious if you want to deal with our issues. I have found that we have started dealing on some issues and they are constantly put on the back burner. I was a police negotiator and I was a constable for five years and I was a police commissioner for the Treaty 3 area. I had problems at ICO when I was trying to deliver my message on behalf of the people from this area, because the federal government and the provincial government live side by side in Toronto, whereas we are not that accessible. As you heard in an earlier comment from the mayor of Kenora, the chiefs always spend their money going to Toronto. How are we supposed to deliver our message to you in Toronto or in Ottawa? It is very hard. It is not easy. And when we do get there, you only give us about half an hour of your time.

A lot of our answers lie within our communities. Unfortunately, there are different traditions in our communities, as you can tell by our languages. We have different languages. A lot of the answers lie right in the communities themselves. I am one chief who is fortunate, because tradition and culture are still very strong in my community. They lived through the residential school regime, where they tried to destroy my culture and my traditions. I strongly believe that the answers lie right in the communities themselves, and the answers are there. It is just a matter of taking the time and making those aspirations from the community available.

Your question was quite lengthy, and I have a hard time being specific.

Mr Beer: I think you have answered it. With the Indian Commission of Ontario as the structure which brings together the chiefs, the federal government and the provincial government, would you see it, if it were changed so that instead of you coming down to Toronto and Ottawa there was more dealing directly within the community, as a mechanism that makes sense, that can work? Ultimately, I suppose, the federal government has to be involved as well, but is that something we might want to explore?

Mr Mandamin: I guess it is a possibility, but what you are cautioning there is the same thing I would caution you of, that we do not allow the federal government to be at the same level as the provincial government. With my issues that relate to the provincial government. I think these are day-to-day issues, where with the federal government it has been more of a long-term situation.

Mr Harnick: Has your band started to formulate a self-government proposal, and, if so, what can we do to facilitate what you ultimately want that proposal to do for you?

Mr Mandamin: Right now I am in a situation where Manitoba and Ontario were playing games with my community, but fortunately, enough NDP got in and they have been quite receptive to our proposals. As I said earlier, I am in a better situation than a lot of communities; I still have a lot of my elders and a lot of culture and a lot of tradition left in my community, and I feel we can provide an understanding for the environment from the culture and knowledge of our elders. I am in a situation where there is going to be mine development. Of course, the non-aboriginal people are trying their best to stop us. but what we are trying to say to them is: "Give us this opportunity. We'll show you that we can provide a mine and not pollute the water or not pollute the environment. We feel we have the resources in our communities to do that, but just give us the space we need."

We have problems with our fishing. Our fishing was taken away 10 years ago. Our wild rice was damaged because of the diversion of the water. We have had absolutely nothing. We have just been sitting back waiting for this opportunity, and I feel we have an opportunity. Unfortunately, my community is one of very few communities ready for self-government. It cannot come in a proposal package because we have to develop it at the community level.


The Chair: The next speaker is Mike Clancy. For members of the committee and members of the public, there is then one other speaker left.

Mr Clancy: If you are speaking to me, I am going to ask you to speak up, because I am a little hard of hearing.

I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to you as an ordinary Canadian. In a way, you are taking quite a risk, because there is no way of telling what an ordinary citizen is going to say.

I am not a public speaker, so I will read. I cannot ad lib. I have to say that while I was waiting, I was particularly interested in what Chief Mandamin had to say. I thought it was very interesting.

Mr Chairman, members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, people of the Kenora district, I have read the public discussion paper and agree that now is the time to rise above partisan interests -- it says in your booklet -- to rediscover consensus. I believe that your dialogue with ordinary citizens is essential to bring healing to our country, provided politicians really listen and act on what they hear and provided you can establish a mechanism to ensure politicians continue to listen.

I was born and raised in Ontario. However, I feel more like a Canadian in my identity than an Ontarian. When I was much younger -- I had long hair and no job -- I hitchhiked throughout Canada, setting foot in every part of it, from east to west and as far north as Yellowknife. Wherever I went I met people who accepted me as one of their own. I felt safe and valued in every part of this country. I should mention that the most generous people I encountered were either poor or native or French Canadian. I hope that my children, as well as their children, will also feel at home in every part of this land and welcome other Canadians in the same way, in one Canada with a strong, federal identity.

However, I think it is important that natives, French Canadians and others understand that they are respected and valued and that their distinct communities have a place within a strong federal system.

I am afraid I answered your questions from the booklet out of sequence.


The first question: What are the values we share as Canadians? My God, I thought you would never ask. You are right in thinking that this is the central issue. Canadians and our institutions are starving for information about the values we have in common.

The other day, I was watching CBC television. They were telling the story that recently a video store in Winnipeg was taken to court for selling pornography. Police had to use as evidence films in which people were apparently beaten on camera to entertain the home viewer. The judge threw the case out of court because of an inability to define whether the videos were actually pornography. The judge, it seemed, lacked information about the values of community standards, information necessary in order to make a determination.

Ontario and Canada need a continuous, ongoing study of existing Canadian values. This includes the values of Canadians as a whole and the values espoused by individual Canadian communities, such as native communities. We also need a mechanism to promote and reinforce these identified values. For example, I have nothing but admiration for the non-sectarian value commercials sponsored by the Mormons and Baha'is. These commercials non-judgementally promote positive, non-contentious family values and peace. There is a terrible vacuum that these people are trying valiantly to fill. They are doing us a great service. It must be cheaper in the long run to study our culture and reinforce its strengths than to deal with the effects of loneliness, crime and mental health problems that arise when cultures erode and people can find no positive identity.

We certainly do not need a values police, and we do not need to create more bureaucracy. You probably want something specific, so what values do we as Canadians desire? Specifically, fairness, tolerance, caring, rule of law, justice, a respect for human rights, negotiation based on principle, not on power or might, and a recognition of the value of work. I believe these are values that we do share as Canadians, no matter what province we live in. There is a very good reason we chose to develop our collective character in this way. I do not presume to give you a lesson on history, but just to explain to you my reasoning in saying this.

Canada has not advertised itself as a melting-pot, as did the United States. Historically, many of the immigrants to the US were opportunists looking for a level playing field. Canada has been a haven for refugees. People who wanted to preserve their religious or ethnic identity fled to Canada because they knew Canada would not suppress their cultures and values, and that the rule of law preceded them wherever they settled, allowing them to prosper. I doubt that the predominantly English and French rulers of early Canada appreciated the multicultural experiment they were engaged in or its results.

This resulting country is one with a cultural diversity similar to the United States. However, the way this cultural diversity operates is fundamentally different. Immigrants to Canada have retained part of their culture and their language and links to their home countries. This allows the transmission of ideas from Canada to the immigrants' homelands. I wonder what lessons they take home with them? Perhaps the ideas that blood feuds are not tolerated, that women are equal to men, and that culture can maintain itself without conflicting with a neighbour's differing culture. These are ideas born and nourished in Canada and exported to the world.

We need to deliberately create in Canada a vision of Canada for the future, to make this vision a vision shared by all Canadians. Canada has a great mission, if we accept it. Canada is and must be the model of the new world order. That is such a trite saying: I do not know how else to express it. If Canada did not exist, it would have to be invented as a stage or laboratory for the nations of the world to demonstrate to the United Nations that people of all races, religions and nationalities can live together in peace.

Now I would like to skip to question 4. I know it is not in sequence.

How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples? To begin with, it would be grotesque for non-natives to tell natives how we are going to save them. It cannot be done that way. Just a few short months ago, the news media were focused on events near Oka, Quebec. Like many Canadians, I had a sickening feeling that something terrible could happen any second, something that we as Canadians would be ashamed of for generations. Now Canadians are preoccupied with events in the Middle East. What I read in the papers tells me that little has been done since the summer to remedy the problems in Oka and other communities. Everything seems to be back on hold. I wonder what native Canadians might have to do next time just to get the attention of the general public and politicians. In fairness, I do recognize that the Ontario government is making some positive action, but it seems to be alone in that.

Again, how do we achieve justice? First, we admit the mistakes and atrocities of the past. All of society must accept collective responsibility. Although many people may even have even acted from good intentions, the effects are no less evil. Our next step must be to consult with native people and be prepared to listen. We must recognize that natives and Inuit are distinctly different from other Canadians and that they were here before Canada existed. You have heard this all before. We must learn from consultation what values are necessary for native identity; then we must negotiate, based on principles rather than power, a fair approach that is flexible enough to address the concerns of the varied communities.

I believe that whatever shapes are given to the various approaches to nationhood or self-determination for natives, their cultures will have a greater chance for survival within Canada. Whatever definition we give to the phrase "first nations," we must preserve the viability and integrity of my country, Canada.

Legislators will have to deal with a great deal of criticism and will be seen by many as giving a form of preference to natives. The public will have to be educated about the reciprocal nature of any agreement. I am sure that when barriers are removed to expression of native identity, Canada will experience a renaissance of a vibrant native culture.

Question 6: What is Quebec's future in Canada? There is a future for Quebec within a strong, federal Canada, provided we do formally recognize that Quebec is a distinctive society -- as in your booklet - in its history, language, laws, politics, ethnicity, desires, fears and aspirations. As long as Quebec holds this to be true, it is a fact, and the rest of Canada would be foolish not to recognize it. If a population in our country feels it has a cultural identity worth preserving, then this cultural identity should be cherished, because it enriches us all.

However, it would be wrong for Quebec to guarantee its cultural survival at the expense of native, Inuit and other cultures within Quebec. It would also be wrong for Quebec to unilaterally disclaim its relationship and responsibilities to the rest of Canada. Having said that, I do not believe that Canadians in Quebec or elsewhere would be willing to send their sons or daughters to keep Quebec in Canada by force. I believe we have at least that much wisdom, no matter where we stand on the issue.


We need to be generous in dealing with Quebec now. Give Quebec what it needs to maintain its language and its strong culture, but do not weaken Canada's federal powers in the process. We need a made-in-Canada definition for nation, one that will nourish a Quebec identity within this country. If Quebec decides to leave Canada, I believe Quebec should be willing to let go of what it has acquired through its union with Canada, for example, perhaps northern Quebec, where the James Bay power dams are located and the population is predominantly native or Inuit. If they had a say, I wonder what they would say.

Everyone talks about the European common market as a model for a looser Canadian federation. What people seem to overlook is that the wealth and credibility of each state within the common market increases as they acquire bonds and an ability to co-operate voluntarily in a stronger federalism.

How can we secure a future in the international community? I have used the phrase "intersufficiency" because I do not know what else to call it. I believe that the existing free trade agreement is not the right direction. We do not need to be interdependent with the United States and Mexico. Instead, we need to build a viable economy and culture at home sufficient in itself, and develop areas of strength to trade with other countries.

We need to rebuild our national culture, institutions such as the CBC. We need to rebuild healthy national institutions to draw us together from east and west and north and south. We need to bring the north closer to us by deliberately rehabilitating one-industry towns dependent on primary industries and resources, and instead create self-sufficient, environmentally sensitive communities with the ability to produce and purchase locally, and perhaps most important, to use income taxes locally to keep the wealth within that community.

It is clear that existing free trade favours only multinational corporations. They have no loyalty to us, or to the United States for that matter, and would cheerfully export our jobs and pay cheques to any country where production is cheaper. Why should we then give away our resources to them?

It is clear that what I have to offer is a loose collection of ideas. In fairness, I feel that the people of Kenora should have had a little more time to prepare. I actually had to take some holiday time off work in order to do this. I feel that perhaps other people would have contributed if there was more time available. I hope that it would be clear to you that ordinary Canadians are willing to contribute time and energy if you only ask us.

The Chair: Thank you very much. I think, far from being a loose presentation, there is a fair sense of cohesiveness in some of the things that you have put before us. Are there questions?

Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. I think you have addressed many of the very issues which we are going to be addressing in the next while. One point which you brought forward stated that there is a role for Quebec in a strong federal government as long as we recognize Quebec as a distinct society.

Mr Clancy: Yes.

Mr Offer: I think that is basically what you had indicated. My question to you is, what if that option is not in the proverbial cards? What if that role that you have brought forward is not an option? I am not saying that it might not be, but you have gone through so many of the questions and shared with us your thoughts, I just could not let you leave without asking, what about an alternative?

Mr Clancy: I cannot speak with any kind of authority on this. During the Meech Lake discussions there were times when people said there were deadlines and they gave ultimatums. There were other people who said: "This is not really a deadline. This is not really an ultimatum." They did not accept that. I think that because one side in a negotiation process, union negotiations or whatever, says "That is the bottom line," does not necessarily mean that it is. It is very often a matter of defending a position.

What I hope we can do between now and that point is to put enough discussion in place that we do not put Quebec into a position of having to defend a hardened position, of having to harden that position further and further to give ultimatums. I think if we can prevent that situation from coming up in the first place by negotiations, that would be the preferred thing to do. I think we can do that.

What if they say, "This is it. we're going"? I still think they have obligations to Canada as a whole. I disagree that they can say unilaterally, "We are leaving." If they were to refer to international law, I believe they would find that they still have obligations to us. Any obligations that have been entered into over hundreds of years cannot be dropped lightly. How this can be done, I am not sure. I am afraid I do not know enough.


The Chair: Our final deputant this evening is Florence Buffington, who is appearing, I think as she will indicate, on an individual basis.

Ms Buffington: Good evening. I must admit that this is the first time I have seen this booklet. I requested a copy of this booklet and the post office refused to give it to me on Saturday, so I guess I will get it tomorrow.

I received a call last Wednesday asking me if I would make a presentation on labour's point of view on the Constitution. After getting in touch with as many activists as I could, I decided it would have to be my own view. Through the channels of communication, I thought I in fact was well read on the history and the conception of what the Constitution accord is all about. After trying to come up with what I really knew about it, I found out how little I in fact know.

Over the course of the next few weeks you, as MPPs, will hear many different points of view, concerns, accusations, hopes and dreams from presenters. There will be little that is new, that you have not heard before. It has been vented and regurgitated again and again, but the process is in the works to hear from the residents of Ontario, and I am appreciative of that fact.

Over the centuries Canada has struggled with changes, as each and every country on the earth has. Changes happen, whether they are for better or for worse, and nothing is stagnant. From the days of Upper and Lower Canada to where we are today, it has changed -- industrialisation. mass communication, extended lifespans. The list could go on and on, but change happens. Yet the same concerns were with the people when each and every change to the governing of Canada was brought about.


An example of this can be read in the newspaper article of the time. The 1 July 1867 edition of the Halifax Morning Chronicle carried a notice edged in black. The notice read, "Died, last night at 12 o'clock, the free and enlightened province of Nova Scotia." This was because of the swift passage of the British North America Act. At each step of our history, Canada has had areas or provinces that felt that they received the short end of the stick, yet after all the changes, the different conflicts from each province, Canada as we know it is still Canada.

I do not pretend to understand the language issue of French versus English. In my opinion, a language is a tool to communicate, whether it be with friends, family or foe. I do know that on the occasions when I was in Montreal, Quebec City and northern New Brunswick and I had to use the few words of French I have in my repertoire I encountered no hostility or conflicts because I was from Ontario and could not speak fluent French. My accent was atrocious, but I was trying on their turf to speak their language, and for that I was accepted.

Before resolve can come to Canada on the Constitution, Canada must lay to rest some outstanding issues. First, there are the outstanding land claims. This will be a matter not easily dealt with. The mistrust, abuse, the ignorance of the white man concerning the aboriginal people of this country has been a blight on Canada since the days of the voyageur. Canada cannot possibly go forward without settling these claims.

Second, economic security has to be in place. For Canada, the free trade agreement and the GST are but examples of the federal government ramming down the throats of Canadians something that the majority of the people do not want or understand. If in fact the FTA is now going to be including Mexico, Canada had best be at the table, because there is absolutely no way the Canadian manufacturers can compete with the 60-cents-to-$1 -an-hour labour force. The statement that I hear most often of bringing their standard of living up to ours and Canada's not falling is a pipe dream. I cannot believe there are any truly sane economists who believe this statement. For the regions of this country to service theirs, there must be economic security.

The federal government cannot afford to be neutered by constitutional accord. One only has to look to the south of us to see the effects of the eroded federal government and the added conflicts and discrepancies across the United States, from north to south and east to west. Minnesota is a strong labour state. Wages are high compared to southern right-to-work states. One only has to look at Boise Cascade's expansion project in International Falls, Minnesota, when BEandK came to town to see the effects this can have on a community, from workers coming from right-to-work states. There are vast differences between all states on education, highways, bridges, social assistance -- the list could go on and on.

The federal government cannot and should not be left in a situation where it is nothing more than an economic union with the provinces. If the Quebec discussion paper becomes policy, 22 federal or shared powers will be transferred, including manpower, natural resources, health, education and housing and those not specifically assigned in the Constitution, residual powers plus the added areas of exclusive federal jurisdiction of communication, unemployment insurance, public security, energy, environment and agriculture. Quebec will exercise full sovereignty over these areas. The federal government will be left with defence and security of the territories, customs and excise, management of the common debt and currency equalization.

There is surely a way to negotiate with Quebec for the cultural and linguistic security that it feels it needs without the ripping apart of Canada. What will happen? Where will Canada be 10 years from now? Will it have reverted again to Upper and Lower Canada? Will it have turned over the keys of the city to the United States and become the 51st state? The time is now for you as politicians to take this matter squarely on your shoulders and keep Canada Canada.

As a landed immigrant in Canada and a United States citizen, I have only to look at the quality of life in Canada that is afforded to its people and tell you that it is a far superior life than in many of the states in the United States. There has got to be a negotiated settlement between all parties involved for Canada to save itself. Once torn apart, Canada will not mend.

I would only hope that the next time hearings are held on issues as important as this, Fort Frances will be included on your roster even though it is not on the TransCanada Highway.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Ms Buffington, thank you very much for coming and presenting for us.

Ms Buffington: I got off work at 4:30 and drove 220 kilometres and have to turn around and drive back to Fort Frances to go to work tomorrow.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Does it make you any happier that we are going to Dryden after we finish this?

Ms Buffington: No, it does not.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: We think we have got a long day, as well, though. We will just let you know that. Would you tell me a little bit about your request at the post office for a copy of the document?

Ms Buffington: My local MPP is Howard Hampton and his office had sent some things for us and it had to be signed for or delivered to his office. One of his staff people went to the post office to try to get it for me on Saturday. They refused to release it.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: There is certainly not much federal-provincial co-operation that we would hope for. I find your paper quite insightful. I feel you are very well informed. I am amazed at how much you know about the Allaire report. At least you seem to have picked up quite a bit about this. Certainly, having your background from the United States, you understand that cross-border labour situation. Would you say a little bit to me about what you feel the labour movement can do in responding to the Quebec problem or Quebec proposition, or whatever you want to call what is going to come along in the next few months as we see it unfolding, whether it be from the Liberal Party or the Parti québécois? They are definitely going to be in another mode of thinking, in another level of decision-making in that province, which we will no doubt have to respond to. Can you see a role for the labour movement there and can you see a role for the labour movement in that problem that we have with the United States?

Ms Buffington: Anything I have to say is just my own personal point of view. I am affiliated with CUPE. CUPE is of course affiliated with the CLC. I am affiliated with the OFL. There are so many different points of view. The one that really concerns me the most is what I see that has happened in the southern states, in the right-to-work states, where the wages are so low. You cannot collect taxes if you are not making a decent wage. Then the schools are not funded properly, the highways are not funded properly. That is my biggest concern, that something like that could happen or that a group such as BEandK could end up in Canada or one of the provinces, working and eroding away what the labour movement has fought so long and strong for.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: How do you feel the constitutional crisis or constitutional decisions and options that we have are affected, or how can labour have input into those?

Ms Buffington: I think as you travel closer down east, you are going to have labour people speaking from the different points of view that they have decided on as a unit. I really cannot speak on any of that.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you for bringing your insight and your perspective to us tonight.

Ms Harrington: Thank you, Ms Buffington, for coming all this way. I noted at the beginning you said that we were going to hear many different points of view, and I remember on the plane this morning thinking that I do not know what on earth we are going to hear. But now that we have been in Kenora, I think I would like to say that I am glad we started in Kenora, because we have a very wide base to start with, a very important viewpoint. We started with a native ceremony and I think that has helped to try to give us some added wisdom and to try and reach through the presentations for some truth. Certainly, not that we can do that, but that the presenters themselves are bringing things to us.


The first person mentioned the lack of presentation time. Coming to Kenora I think has been rather stressful, because you have not had the time to prepare and so what comes through today is the real reality, without having time to really think about it and go to the experts. What we are hearing is the real truth.

It just comes forward at the beginning, some of those values that you presented, the ones that you brought forward, that there are benefits to being in Canada from a labour point of view. Some of the other things we have heard today are the values of peace, one of our values in Canadian society; the values of the first nations; the values of the French founding people who are very much a part of the fabric of Canada. I think what we have is a firm basis from which to view whatever happens to us as a committee in the next few weeks. What we have heard here in Kenora has been very important to us, to give us a starting point.

I would like to come back to what I heard and that was that the white man's way is power, control and domination. I think that is something that has to change and that is something that we will go through with to the Constitution. Thank you very much for coming.

Mr Harnick: I found your paper interesting in that you made it quite clear it was your belief that the federal government had to maintain a standard, to maintain quality of education, health, etc. on a uniform basis across the country. Is that something that would be consistent with the views of labour?

Ms Buffington: Yes, I believe so. Those are my feelings. I cannot speak for CUPE or the OFL or any of them. But from what I know and what I know even comparing the school system in Minnesota to Alabama or Texas, it is a far superior system in Minnesota because the wages are so much higher and there is something there to form your tax base to support education, and that would not happen if our complete tax base was eroded.

Mr F. Wilson: You have left me one question. Once again, thank you also for your journey to us and I hope you will drive safely going back.

Ms Buffington: A little fast, but I guess I will slip a little.

Mr F. Wilson: I hope we drive safely going back too. You mentioned on page 2 that the federal government cannot afford to be neutered by a constitutional accord. You also refer to the Allaire report. I am sure you are aware there are several other reports, including our own, that will be in the public domain over the next few months.

There seems to me a feeling I am getting, and I think it is probably shared by many people here within the audience and at this table, that the federal government has, for want of a better phrase, I guess to be kind, lost credibility in order to speak for the nation. Since at some point down the road there is going to be some kind of coming together of all these reports and these commissions, including the federal one also, have you any advice to give, any input? How would you like to see that shape up, remembering the Meech Lake situation, not to be repeated? What kind of an insight could you give into that?

Ms Buffington: My greatest fear for Canada is that Canada will end up being part of the United States. lam an American citizen and I am very proud of that, but my greatest fear for Canada -- Canada is different from the United States; it really is. The people are just different and it is a good difference, and that is not necessarily to say that -- speaking off the top of my head like this is hard, but Canada is a really unique place. There are so many different cultures. In my area there are natives, Ukrainians, Italians, Americans. I think somebody here mentioned the melting pot. In the United States it was assimilation and everybody should become the same. Canada has tried to keep that difference and I think that is great. They should be allowed to keep their differences.

You think of Canada and maybe you think of the maple leaf or you think of the beaver or you think of whatever, but Canadians are very special people, and you go anyplace in the world and Canadians are seen as peacekeepers. They are not seen as a warrior nation or a devouring nation or out to go and get something that is not theirs.

I feel really badly about what happened with the free trade agreement. I think that was really the downhill spiral starting for Canada, the free trade agreement, and now Mexico is going to be added to that too, and if you listen to Mr Bush, his intent is to go all the way down into South America as to what he would like to see as the boundary. Canada cannot possibly compete with that; you just cannot. When you are looking at the Mexican rate for labour, it is something like 60 cents an hour. Who here can afford to live in Canada in a cold climate, in a one-industry town, for 60 cents an hour?

There is absolutely no way that we are going to bring their standard of living up to ours. That is not going to happen. Canada's standards are going to end up going down and it will be a crying shame. With anybody I talked to over the last few days, I said, "What can you possibly afford to give up in your standard of living?" and nobody could give me one answer of anything he could afford to give up -- health care; education; OSAP for their children; there is nothing. It is a shame. I really feel sorry for Canada.

Mr F. Wilson: You are quite right. Canada is a unique people. Part of being a Canadian is being unique. Also, it is part of our problem. Where else in the world could you see this type of situation going on? But that does not give us room for despair. I think there is a lot of hope here too, and thank you very much for your presentation.

The Chair: I am sorry. There were a couple of others we had. We will just have to end it there. It has perhaps been with that hope that we will continue our work. I want to thank you for coming to talk to us and I also want to thank all of the people. This ends our proceedings for this evening. I want to thank all of the people here in Kenora who came out to talk to us about the issues you felt were important.

Although we have only spent less than a day here in Kenora, I think that I speak for the members of the committee in saying that we certainly leave this community feeling much better informed about some of the very deep feelings and views that exist among people from the different communities that make up this city and the surrounding areas. We thank you for coming and sharing those with us.

We will do our best to keep remembering those comments today and do whatever we can, recognizing that a number of the comments touched very clearly on the whole constitutional framework that we will be endeavouring to try to pull some recommendations together on, and recognizing also that a number of points that were made perhaps do not fit neatly into that package, but that is also our role, I think, as a committee, to try to sift those out and to see to it that those concerns get addressed in whatever the appropriate way might be.

We know there was a concern about the process and the time lines and we are very conscious of that. However, I think this was said, that there was also in some ways a benefit to being able to come here and just give people the opportunity to talk to us, as it happened. I think, as I say, though, we are conscious of the process. We do see this as a beginning of the discussion and we will again do whatever we can to ensure that the consultation and the discussion involving people from this community and many other communities across the province continue, in what format we are not quite sure, but that is also part of the task that we are trying to deliver on.

I would say to those of you who are interested in following our proceedings, as you know, and for people who are also watching us on the parliamentary channel across the province, our hearings continue to be televised. We will be in Dryden tomorrow morning and in Sioux Lookout tomorrow afternoon, and then proceeding on Wednesday to Thunder Bay and on Thursday to Sault Ste Marie.


Before concluding, I would like to thank all of those people who helped to make our stay here as positive as it has been, and certainly among those I would put at the top of the list are the people who fed us today. I thank those folks, wherever they may be, if they are still here and all of those other people who have helped, as I say, to make our stay here both pleasant and positive.

I think a number of people have commented on the beginning of our hearings with the ceremony from Alex Skead, and I hope that we can take, Mr Skead, some of that wisdom that has come through that ceremony with us in the days and weeks ahead. I thank you again for your participation with us today, and thank you all once again. Mr Skead was just telling me that there is a special song and a special prayer that they would like to perform for us in wishing us a safe journey and continued best wishes.

Mr Skead: There is a song that I had in a vision that was given to me in a dream. That song we always have when we go into a big powwow or a big gathering. We call it a travelling song. It was years back about at the time I was working for Kenora on the street patrol. I was there for seven years and I dreamed about the song and it stayed with me. I shared that with the people, and it is well known across Canada and the United States. A lot of our people use that for a travelling song, as they call it, and the words are saying "I am the one who makes you walk," so that is the song that the drum had given me to share with the people.

[Remarks in Ojibway]

The Chair: Thank you. Now we are adjourned.

The committee adjourned at 2137.