Wednesday 6 February 1991

Thunder Bay Centre of the Deaf

Midwifery Task Force of Ontario, Thunder Bay chapter

Jack Masters

Prue Morton

Northwestern Ontario Women's Decade Council

Bob Rosehart

Bob Rongits

Association francophone du Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario

Accueil francophone

Fred Pretulac

Ernie Epp

Ontario Native Women's Association

Mary Robinson

Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group

Yves Robitaille

André Cloutier

Ann Fisher

Multicultural Association of North West Ontario

Bud Garrett

Ken Kooper

Evening sitting

Thunder Bay Multicultural Association

Aime Bouchard

Margaret Wanlin

Lisa Bibeau

Karen Lee

Lakehead University Native Students' Association

Marvin McMenemy

Peter Vanderkam

National Congress of Italian Canadians

John Gibb

Rolf Tornblom

Owen Enright



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)
Manikel, Tannis
Clerk pro tem:
Brown, Harold

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

The committee met at 13:15 at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay.

The Chair: I call this meeting to order. On behalf of the members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, I want to say how pleased we are to be in Thunder Bay today in the third day of our hearings across the province. In the two days we have spent already in this part of the province, in Kenora, Dryden and Sioux Lookout we heard a number of useful and very deeply felt feelings about this country and about the kinds of things we need to keep in mind as politicians as we proceed in our discussions. No doubt we will be having some more useful input this afternoon and this evening.

Before proceeding, I want to introduce the members of the committee. I am Tony Silipo, the Chair of the committee. From the Liberal caucus are Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer. From the Conservative caucus are Ernie Eves and Charles Harnick. From the NDP caucus are Gary Malkowski, Gilles Bisson, the Vice-Chair of the committee, Margaret Harrington, Marilyn Churley, Fred Wilson and David Winninger.

I want to say to the people who are here and who are on the list to speak to us that we have one of those problems that is in some ways a pleasant problem to have but one that creates, I know, some difficulties for those people who are preparing themselves to talk with us. There has been some little confusion with the lists of people that have been submitted to us, so we have a situation where we have a longer list of people than our normal time lines would allow us to accommodate.

What I would like to do, therefore -- and I apologize to the members of the public who were ready to present for doing it -- is to ask people who are presenting as individuals to try to keep their presentation to within 10 minutes and groups to try to keep their presentation to within 20 minutes. I will also be a little more strict than normal in terms of the time allotted for questions from the members of the committee. If you would allow some time within your allotment for questions, that would be useful. We apologize for the problem, but it is something that, as I said, was caused because of two different lists being put together. We will try to get through it. It is not a major problem.

We also would like to say that we will be pleased, of course, to receive any additional comments that individuals who are presenting here today may have later on, or, indeed, to people who do not get a chance to talk to us today, please feel free to write to us. We are very clear in our thinking that for us this is the first stage of a discussion process that needs to continue across the province. Part of what we will be doing as we finish the hearings towards the end of February is to sit down and try to work out how best that discussion can continue and what formats will facilitate a continuing wide discussion across the province. Certainly, if the indications from the first two days are reflective of what we will hear, there is a great deal of interest across the province, which is something that obviously is quite positive for all of us.


The Chair: I will begin by calling our first presenter, Denis Bergeron, from the deaf community centre in the Thunder Bay area.

Mr Bergeron: I would prefer to stand, as opposed to sitting. I want to thank all of the committee members for allowing me this opportunity to be involved in a presentation today, but I want to say at the outset that it was very frustrating to find out at the last minute that there were going to be talks on the Constitution. I do want to thank you for the opportunity to speak and for getting me on the schedule in this last-minute fashion.

I think it is important to realize that I am representing the Thunder Bay Centre of the Deaf. I am going to present a little about the values of the deaf community, issues on access, education, employment rights for deaf people and American sign language itself, which is something many of you may not understand.

I am going to ask the interpreter for a moment not to voice for me.

I wonder how many people here understood me and who had the handicap at this point. Other than Gary, I think everybody else here did. I want people to realize that and think a little bit about that. Many of you are recognizing the rights of French-language users and English-language users, which is fine, but what about people such as the native people of this country? You have not recognized their languages. They are the first people of this country. I am a Canadian. I was born and raised here. I did not immigrate to this country. I grew up here. What is my first language? It is American sign language, yet you have forced me to use my second language, English, growing up. My first language is American sign language. It is the language used by deaf people. It is the language of our community, with its own grammar and syntax, and it is something that should be recognized in the Constitution. I do not mind learning English as a second language for literacy purposes, for reading and writing. That is fine, but it is a second language. I think all of you have to see ASL as an equivalent language. I am tired of deaf people being seen as second-class citizens. We should be equal in all fashions.


When we look at the issue of education it is an extremely frustrating situation. We should not have to worry about no interpreters being in the school system. We should have access to college and university whether it is a credit or non-credit course. There is a provision that for one course per semester you are allowed to have an interpreter, but if it is a non-credit course, forget it -- you do not get in at all. That is not access. I should have access to all aspects of college and university life. I expect the interpreter should be there for anything I want to access. Interpreters should be written in as a proviso in the Constitution. It should be law. It should not be something I have to fight for.

We talk about employment equity. What that really means is that deaf people cannot do things, they cannot hear. But we have eyes, we can see. I can access things through a visual fashion. What is the difference whether I access life auditorially or through my eyes? What is the difference? There is no excuse. There should be legislation in place that stops the discrimination that is going on right now.

When we talk about accessibility, that is an extremely frustrating issue for me. Where are closed captions on TV? We do not have that in place, and do you think that what is captioned is 100% accessible? Half of the programs are not accessed. English is my second language; I do not mind using that. But why is captioning not available on all programs? I have to pay an additional price, $400, even to get a captioning machine. They have TVs with voice in place; you just turn up the volume. Why is there not a mechanism in the TVs that allows deaf citizens to access closed captioning? It is a law in the United States. Why is it not up here?

I expect that there should be accommodation made. Equality should be a reality. But look at the phone system in this country. I cannot speak on the phone; I cannot hear. So I have to use a Tty, a device for deaf people. All you have to do is go to Bell Canada and rent a phone. I have to also pay $250 to $1,000 to get a Tty. That is not access. If your phone breaks down, you go to Bell Canada to replace it. If my Tty breaks down, I have to pay another $250 to $1,000. That is not access. Why can I not have the same access as you do? Why is there not equality?

Again, legislation should be in place that makes sure that equality is a reality, whether we have public phones in shopping malls or public centres. Why can I not pick up a public phone like everybody else? I do not want to have to go up to some hearing person and ask them if they would mind making a phone call for me. I am an independent person.

I want to emphasize the use of American sign language and how that should be recognized in the Constitution. I do not want it shoved aside, not thought about. It should be in place, period. Also, we have to make sure there is provision for interpreters. It should be law. I do not want to hear the excuses that you cannot find somebody or cannot provide somebody for me. It should be there; it should be a right.

There is a real problem with deaf people isolated in the northern regions. Northern Ontario has several deaf people, one person in a community, and we have one interpreter in the whole north. I am sure there are all kinds of deaf people isolated in various communities: 500, 1,000. How do we even know how many deaf people are out there, one person in a small community? There are no senior citizens' homes that provide services for deaf or hard-of-hearing people. There is nothing in place for seniors. There are no group homes for deaf or hard-of-hearing people in the north, nothing that makes sure that services are provided, no education for these people. They are in the dark ages. They are hidden away some place. We have to make sure that these people are provided with the services they need.

I want to thank you for allowing me to come here, and I hope you do take stock of what I said.

Mr Malkowski: I want to thank you very much for having the courage to come here today and speak to us and raise these concerns. You are saying that you would like to make sure that interpreters are a right in court systems, in education, in colleges and universities. You feel that should be recognized in the Constitution. Not only ASL, but what about langue des signes québécoise ?

Mr Bergeron: Yes, definitely, LSQ also has to be recognized. For example, my parents' first language is French. Their second language is English. Both of them speak both languages well; they are bilingual. But I think LSQ also should be in the Constitution. That should be provided for also.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next Darlene Reid from the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario, Thunder Bay chapter.

Ms Reid: My name is Darlene Reid. I am here as a representative of the Thunder Bay chapter of the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario, which is a consumer nonprofit organization. A pamphlet of our provincial group is provided for you.

The Midwifery Task Force of Ontario follows a mandate to ensure that midwifery care is available to women and their families by educating and informing the public about the option of midwifery care and its benefits; promoting legal status for midwifery as a self-regulating profession with multiple routes of entry; promoting accessibility of midwifery care across Ontario; and encouraging ongoing consumer input into the legislative process and the regulation of midwifery.

In addition to this, our Thunder Bay chapter espouses the following goals: to educate and inform the public about birth options, including midwifery care; to help ensure a high standard of maternity care which is responsive to and respectful of consumer needs; to promote legal status for midwifery as a self-regulating profession with multiple routes of entry and strong consumer input; to promote the accessibility of midwifery care across Ontario.

We are sure you can see that our job can be somewhat exhaustive. Our group is comprised of childbearing families and others who want to make changes in the kind of care that is currently provided to all women during the childbearing year. It is this care that is one of the important factors, if not the most important factor, that determines the health, physically, emotionally and socially, of the entire family. The health of childbearing women is swamped by myths, routines and a dominance of male practitioners. The Midwifery Task Force of Ontario not only tries to dispel some of the myths but tries to provide the necessary input into the government and the impending legislation that can form the basis for a practice of midwifery that is responsive to consumer needs.

We feel that our provincial group speaks for the informed consumers of Ontario who need and require midwifery care. Furthermore, we feel that the facts show that midwifery care is of benefit to childbearing women and might be the only way to battle high caesarean rates and high aboriginal infant mortality rates. The underground legislative process for midwifery in Ontario has begun and we in the north feel that the regulators have been adequately taking our needs into consideration. However, the process remains too slow.

It is important to start re-examining where we spend our health care dollars. Informed consumers know that preventive and counselling programs will have more impact on how women are treated by the health care system. Midwifery is such a program, and its importance not only lies in its positive effects for a woman's health, but for newborns and families as well.


We want midwifery care because it will benefit women, aboriginals and families. It needs to be self-regulating and have a positive effect on the kind of health care that women are currently receiving.

I am here only as a representative of the midwifery task force of Thunder Bay. I cannot say that I bring to you the total views of our membership. Luckily, we had a meeting scheduled for last Saturday, and we decided that an oral presentation would emphasize the importance of our concerns best. It was agreed that I should come and speak on behalf of the group and that I should present our needs and desires as best as I could based on the group's past practices and standards.

We are pleased that this select committee decided to start its meetings in northwestern Ontario, but we feel that more notice should have been given. I must make it clear to you that our group is powered by volunteers only, most of whom are mothers who work at other careers in paid or non-paid positions. This process was made aware to us last Wednesday afternoon, and then we had to chase down this discussion paper. This proved to be a challenging job, as neither office of our Thunder Bay members of Parliament had heard of it until we asked them for it. In fact, as I was walking out the door this morning, the mailman handed me my copy.

We want to publicly thank the Ontario women's directorate for making this discussion paper available to us in time to present a brief to you here today. I wonder how the consumer groups did in Kenora, as they had to present on Monday. The highway and local travel standards are questionable in this area of the province, and it is somewhat more difficult for people to get together. We have not received any input from our Kenora, Sioux Lookout or Nipigon contacts. It is our suggestion that in the future northern Ontario groups be given adequate preparation time in order that their input can be viewed with as much strength as our southern Ontario counterparts.

I feel it is necessary to relate to you our current concerns with some of the points in the discussion paper. It is unfortunate that I cannot provide you with the exact current statistics that would make our statement more powerful. Given more time, I would have insisted on providing them, and I will try to do so at this committee's request.

Canadian women from Newfoundland to British Columbia, immigrants, aboriginals and non-natives, share bodies that can give birth. This is despite our culture, colour, language or religion. Our ability to give birth is uniquely female, yet our care in Canada is dominated by a very large majority of male care givers.

Canada is a member of the World Health Organization and the World Health Organization recognizes midwives as the international specialists in normal childbirth. Of 210 countries that belong to the World Health Organization, Canada remains one of eight that lack legislated midwifery. Our company in this regard is Venezuela, Panama, New Hebrides, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Columbia and Burundi. Our caesarean rate ended the 1980s at about approximately 20%; locally, here, it is usually higher, without the benefit of better infant mortality statistics. Yet the World Health Organization suggests that no country can safely justify a caesarean rate of greater than 10% to 15%.

When will the Canadian system become respectful of the World Health Organization recommendations regarding normal childbirth and midwifery care? When will Canadian women be allowed midwifery with accompanying legislation that is designed to protect public interests? When will Canadian women have equal rights with women from other industrialized countries? When will Canadian women be given the right to a health care system that recognizes childbirth as a normal process rather than a disease or a medical mystery?

Midwifery can answer these questions for women positively. We need midwifery as part of our total Canadian health care. Every Canadian woman should have the right to access midwifery care.

We do not know whether women's health care or midwifery care should be a federal or provincial law, policy or practice. But what we do know is this: every Canadian woman deserves accessibility to midwifery care. If this is best achieved by federal legislation, then so be it. If this is best achieved by provincial legislation, then so be it also. However, midwifery care must reflect the culture of the area. A midwife must be able to and trained to adapt her practice to the culture of the region in which she practices.

From our experience of lobbying for midwifery legislation in Ontario, we want to express our concern with federalizing all health care. In respect to the midwifery issue, we have been fairly fortunate. Both the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario and the Interim Regulatory Council on Midwifery have been fairly respectful of our needs in the northwestern region. However, travel for the regional committee of the midwifery task force remains expensive and it is only because of their strong support for regional concerns that it continues to be funded. The interim regulatory council has not escaped this funding problem. Their budget of the equity committee would not allow them to meet with northern women. It is this committee that was intended to determine how to make midwifery equally accessible to all of Ontario. We are concerned that they could not do their job effectively or accurately without hearing the people of northern communities on their own ground. Our group has tried to fill the gap by applying for Ontario women's directorate and Northern Development and Mines funding. We have yet to hear the results of our proposals. We may or may not get to talk to the equity committee members.

This is just indicative of the kind of problems that face our area in voicing our concerns. Travel is expensive and the approach of one person, or two, is easy to cut. We fear on a federal level that we would get lost in all the regional diversity and disparity that exists in this good country. This is so difficult for us, even on a provincial scale, that the problems federally may be foreseen as insurmountable. Our northwestern concerns would get represented by all of northern Ontario, whose population is even more diverse than ours is.

Our aboriginal people face similar concerns. The statistics for their maternal and early child health are shocking, yet we find it difficult to believe that their women are less capable of normal pregnancy and birth than non-natives are.

Midwifery will be a preventive program that not only watches for developments that occur outside of normal but also aids and counsels to prevent abnormal reactions from occurring. We see this as a strong benefit for aboriginal women.

We must however acknowledge our lack of information in regard to the needs of aboriginal or francophone women and midwifery care. Our knowledge of aboriginal or francophone midwifery is equally limited. However, our group has become committed to trying to obtain more insight into their needs and concerns in this area. Lack of financial means and person power is our greatest stumbling block at this time. We cannot help but believe that childbirth can be viewed as normal in their culture as well.

Northern women and aboriginal women are plagued with the reality of centralized health care. Often women from the north must travel very large distances to urban communities in order to give birth. This reality includes normal childbirth for many women as well. Women are usurped from their families, communities and cultures to the high-tech urban hospitals.

The problems with this in terms of women's self-esteem, support systems, family relationships, culture shock and finances could become a long, long list. We foresee that midwifery provided in the community as part of the community health can avoid these problems at a time when the systems and relationships are so important to the birthing woman and her newborn. This would be especially beneficial to aboriginal women, providing the midwifery care is particularly responsive to their individual needs.

As citizens of Ontario, we are proud that Ontario is close to midwifery legislation. We know that all three political parties sitting in Parliament have supported and do now support the legislation of midwifery care. We are, however, concerned with the length of time that this process is taking. When midwifery was first committed to by all three parties, we had five practising midwives in the Thunder Bay area. These dedicated women also attended women in the regional vicinity of Thunder Bay.


The area of Thunder Bay is now left with no practising midwife. Many of these women left their local practice for many reasons that legislation could have prevented. Financial, political and social upheaval would have been aided or at least more easily shrugged off. These midwives may have been able to more effectively deal with the hostile political climate if the answer had not always been, "It's coming, but we don't know yet."

Statistics indicate that northern women of all kinds confront more interventions in maternity care, including caesarean section, than any other area of the province. Consumers who question maternity and women's health practices are usually considered radicals or unknowledgeable troublemakers all across Canada.

We plead with the Ontario government to recognize the benefits of midwifery care for the health of women, aboriginals and children of northern Ontario and all of Ontario. Act on this legislation now, before the north runs out of time completely and other areas become damaged as well.

I further would like to comment on the literacy level of the discussion paper. It is a document intended for the general public. I have a degree in science and some postgraduate work and I found it very difficult to wade through.

I want to apologize for providing you with my full presentation, but in the interest of time it was not preventable. Editing time was also at a minimum, so I hope that you can excuse any lack of polish.

Thank you for your ear and if there are any questions regarding provincial or federal responsibility, we would be pleased to try and locate some response.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. Certainly, if you wish, over the next days or weeks, to put together any further comments and send them to us, we would be pleased to receive them.

Mr F. Wilson: Your organization has been very effective in getting information out, at least to my office, and I would assume others also. My first child was born abroad in a system where midwives were accepted as part of the system. In fact, they were the prime players in the birthing system. My question sort of prefaces on your being a midwife yourself. Are you practising?

Ms Reid: No, I am a consumer.

Mr F. Wilson: Okay, then I will ask it anyway. Perhaps from your experience you could help us. What are the personal problems that midwives are running into in their day-to-day lives? What do they experience when they try to go about their trade or their business, briefly?

Ms Reid: I can only answer that supposing; I do not know for a fact on any, but the problems I know that northern midwives have are financial. Because it is not legislated, a lot of people who are having normal childbirth have to pay out of their own pocket to hire a midwife, plus they still have to attend a physician, because if they do develop complications in their pregnancies, they will have to go to a hospital, in which case their primary care transfers from the midwife to the physician. So people are paying double for a service.

The other is the political climate up here. Generally, people who are involved in midwifery care or involved in trying to get the legislation are quite a bit ostracized from the rest of people.

Mr F. Wilson: That is because of their political involvement, not because they are midwives, really. The feeling about midwives is not reflected --

Ms Reid: For example, if a midwife did do home births, when she does apply to be a nurse, if she is a nurse first, she gets a lot of hassle on having done home births.

Mr F. Wilson: That is the systemic aspect.

Ms Reid: Yes, that is just the way it is, and it is tough, but we really feel that legislation could deal with that problem.


The Chair: I would call now the mayor of Thunder Bay, Jack Masters.

Mr Masters: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, members of the committee. Monsieur le président, bienvenue à Thunder Bay à vous et à votre comité. C'est une reunion très importante, je pense.

I am happy that the committee has come to what we consider the central part of Canada, the very centre of this great nation of ours, and we are also the hub of northwestern Ontario. You have had an opportunity to hear from many of our neighbours.

I think the exercise is more than useful. I think you are receiving a great number of messages and I do not envy you the task of trying to sort out what you hear into something that will work.

But I suppose one of the main messages that all of us involved in government -- and as you may know, I also had the honour of serving in the federal House for a period of time -- one of the main messages that I have heard and what I have been able to catch is, we had better be listening. I think if we are not listening then we only add to the cynicism that is out there.

I also believe that we, all of us, in one form or another, through government, through societies and in our constant soul-searching, really have expounded some very basic principles constitutionally, with its difficulties, with the multicultural association. We have wonderfully kind words to say about how we are going to deal with our native population, we talk a lot about how we are going to accept one another, but somehow all of that gets lost when we try to implement it. Maybe it is because we fail to do one other thing -- and this is what I would suggest that you might be looking at when all of this is over -- and that is, to be pragmatic.

A clear message that I have heard just today again is alienation. One of our major problems that we have never truly addressed, and it is addressable, is the ability to know one another. If you know one another, it is a lot easier to do business.

I had a lady in my office just before lunch interviewing me, doing a survey. She had just arrived from Toronto. She was shocked to hear in Toronto from people who are well educated: "Gee, you are going to Thunder Bay. Let me see, Thunder Bay has a couple of grain elevators and it has a Zeller's store." Beyond that, there was no knowledge of what Thunder Bay was all about. But then, here in Thunder Bay I will hear people discuss perceived housing problems and certainly we, like any other community, have them, but they have no recognition or appreciation of the housing problems in Toronto. And I hear the people of Quebec looking for understanding and failing to understand in turn and vice versa.

So I think one of the practical and pragmatic things that has to be done in this province -- should be done in the country, but let us start with home base first -- is learn to understand each other, learn that we do have much in common, but break down the barriers that arise because somehow this part thinks that this part is getting more than they are. Once there is that understanding and there is the feeling of fairness, then I think we become very practical as a people and we temper our demands. We are more realistic about what we expect.

I think too that what people are trying to say to all of us, and because of my role I include myself in that, is, "Do something with the information that you have received."

The native people in this area -- across Canada, but in Ontario -- have to spend far too much time and energy going over the same ground. It will establish that -- and I salute the government on the initiatives that I believe you are about to take, but please take them -- they are ready to move on. There are many leaders who are ready to do something with it. We do not have, hopefully and thankfully, the race relations tensions that exist in some parts of the province, but they can occur unless we learn how to accept each other's culture and viewpoint.

I think government in general has to also recognize, before we rewrite our Constitution and before we do much more in that respect -- and it is tremendously important to understand what we are doing and where we are going and I subscribe to those thoughts -- we have to listen to the other cry that is out there: "You are taxing me too much." We are taxing each other too much, our people too much, because we are sometimes literally tripping over each other in trying to do good. We do harm without meaning to. Mr Chairman, I recognize that you have many, many people that you want to hear from today and I will respect the time of the committee.


There are many other things that I would like to dwell on. I too would like to make comment at some other point in time on policing in the province. I would like to talk about the place of French in our community and in any community across the province. I believe in a bilingual Canada but I also believe that we have been, in that area and in many others, guilty of overkill in regulation and in application. And what we do is, we create fears, and once those have been created, then goodwill and logic have a habit of disappearing.

I do want to thank the committee again for coming to Thunder Bay. I will conclude with one final note and that is, it is a trilevel situation but we all serve the same people. The municipalities have not always been consulted and considered as they ought to be and yet the municipalities are the closest to the people, and I do not mean that in a patronizing way. It is a fact of life.

What we do today is known immediately, and the results of what we do today are known immediately as well, and we have a contribution to make. But for goodness' sake, let's find that high road where, when we sit down and we discuss things, we do it together and we come up with an understanding that says yes, we are working together and we do accept each other.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mayor. There is some time for one or two quick questions. Mr Eves.

Mr Eves: Mr Mayor, you mentioned several, I think, very important and vital principles in your presentation: pragmatism, understanding and fairness. I wondered if you could perhaps respond to the situation that we in Ontario and every Canadian finds himself in today with respect to the future of our country, and how would you apply those principles to the recent demands that the governing party in the province of Quebec has recently made with respect to its 22 points in the Allaire report?

Mr Masters: I think that is a serious matter. I think it is a situation that has almost gotten out of hand, and the sad part of it is that administratively and in a business sense the two provinces work well together. In the marine field, as an example, we have an international mayors' conference that is largely given its direction and force from the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario working together. What I am trying to say is, with a new Premier and a new cabinet in position, it is not too late to ask for an opportunity of some kind of conference that would dwell on, as I think your own paper itself suggests dwelling on, the strengths of the two economies and how they are interrelated, and I think out of that could come the understanding that is required.

I also think there should be a better vehicle for the people of Quebec to explain to the rest of Canada why they are frustrated. What has led to this? That is where the language is a problem. I think we have sort of allowed it to become "us and them" or "them and us," and I think there should be a better vehicle of communication given to Quebec and then we can reciprocate and communicate better with it.

M. Bisson: Premièrement, j'apprécie beaucoup l'accueil que vous m'avez fait au commencement. C'est quelque chose pour moi comme francophone que je prends à coeur et dont je suis très fier.

I think there are a number of things that you said and I think a lot of people need to listen to that message. One of the things you touched on and I would like you to comment on is that one of the things that is troubling people obviously is the amount of taxes that we are having to pay as individuals within our society. The increase of doing government business at the municipal, provincial and federal levels is getting a lot more expensive as we are going along.

I think what I heard you say, if I understood correctly, is that there is a perception out there that if we did not have to give all of these services to people such as francophones or handicapped or whoever, somehow our taxes would come down and that would somehow solve the problem. How do we get the people to understand that equality means there is a pricetag tied on it and what do we say to people? How do we explain it?

Mr Masters: That is not really the way it is. I do not think people really quarrel too much with looking after people who are handicapped or require services. What they do quarrel with is the fact that we all seem to be doing the job, that we do it in a way that is more expensive.

Let us take the francophone situation for just a moment. What people will never understand is, why would we send out 10,000 brochures in both official languages when the potential audience for that brochure -- this is not taking away from the principle -- when the actual audience is 500? I mentioned the word "fear," and I think these are the things that bother people more. There is the fear that having governmental services in both languages seems to create the impression that if you do not speak French -- and believe me, I am a supporter of bilingualism, so I do not say it from that bias -- you are now going to have a reverse discrimination coming in, so you are discriminated against. I think those are real things that bother people and I think that by readdressing that and being practical about it we can cut that down.

Also I think that somehow all of us in government have to find less expensive ways of doing things. I do not think people want to have fewer services. I think they want the services they have. What I was referring to is the fact that there is this suspicion that housing somewhere else is better than here and so I have to go out and get it. I think a lot more understanding and communication in those areas would help us to be more realistic in our demands as taxpayers on the entire system.

Mr Bisson: Can I have a very quick supplementary?

The Chair: No, sorry, Mr Bisson; we are going to have to proceed. Thank you, Mr Mayor.


The Chair: I call Prue Morton.

Ms Morton: Thank you. I would like to thank the commission for the opportunity to comment on the Constitution, but I would also like to complain of the way in which it proceeds. It has given us a totally insufficient time to respond, and the initial advertisements did not give the exact date, times or place. I only by chance saw the discussion paper, Changing for the Better. If there is to be a real town-hall meeting where people can contribute informally, I am not aware of it. If there is not, there ought to be.

Obviously a great deal of public money has been spent, but it is doubtful if such a badly flawed process can produce much of a result. What it will probably do is confirm the common perception that all governments' commitments to community consultation result in an expensive, time-consuming process which produces beautiful reports but very little results.

The chief trouble with the Constitution is that throughout the country there is a vast distrust of all forms of government, and the bigger and more distant it is, the greater the distrust. Quebec is probably right to want to opt out of the present Constitution. Many other groups feel the dead hand of bureaucracy to be antidemocratic and ineffective also.

In a world where so much is changing so rapidly, we are better off to scrap the Constitution entirely and do without one at least until we can change our paradigms and completely rethink how we can best co-operate using new frames of reference to do so. This is obviously not something that can be decided by locking the premiers up together for a limited time and then refusing to change anything they come up with. It is also much too soon for a referendum, because that cannot ask radically new questions.

It is important that all interested parties, provinces, territories, aboriginal people, big business, small business, labour and so on discuss how their interests can best be served and how they feel they should co-operate and interact with each other. This would take a long time, but what is the hurry? We can make interim arrangements, as is already happening. As the previous speaker just said, to get people to talk together about how they can co-operate is more useful in small groups than to try and settle the whole thing in a few months.


Real democracy is very difficult to achieve in any large country. One vote every few years for a representative who cannot depart from the party line does not give a citizen much power. For that reason it is important for the central government to collect the taxes and then devolve the control over how they are spent as widely as possible, but keeping the power to set and enforce standards.

As a rough blueprint, the following points might be worth exploring:

The Prime Minister to be elected separately, as in the United States.

Members of Parliament should not be bound by a party whip.

I am bringing this to the Ontario commission because Ontario is a very powerful province and any new ideas it has would probably receive some consideration.

More time and power should be given to parliamentary committees.

There should be representation from the aboriginal peoples and from the territories.

The Canadian government should be primarily responsible for foreign policy, for research and for collecting and distributing taxes. This distribution will be to the provinces, territories and aboriginal peoples. The Canadian government should also be responsible for setting and enforcing standards to ensure major needs of the people are met.

The Senate should be abolished and replaced by advisory bodies formed of members elected by region to set the standards necessary for each sector: health, social services, education, environment and so on. The Canadian government would then consider the total picture and take the necessary action, bearing in mind that changes might need to be made to accommodate some jurisdictions. For example, some aboriginal groups might want to organize child care quite differently and the standards set might be inappropriate.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be paramount. However, it must be administered in a non-bureaucratic way because human actions rarely fit neatly into the designated slots. There should also be an Office of the Canadian Ombudsman.

There should be no barriers to interprovincial trade and there should be encouragement of Canada-wide acceptance of professional qualifications, educational curricula etc, with language qualifications added according to need.

There should be an intensive drive towards making the entire nation bilingual through the regular education systems. Research as to how countries such as Switzerland manage their language instruction would be valuable. A vast exchange program between English and French students should be instituted for the last year of high school or perhaps added after finishing high school, in which case it could become something like a youth corps which took on jobs that communities cannot afford to have done. Although this is not a short-term solution, if people were truly bilingual we would not need to put things in both languages. It would not matter, except in cases where there are specialist terms which people would not know.

In its entirety, I am sure that this scheme is unworkable, but the ideas contained in it could be useful if our present ways of thinking are open to change, which they must be. The only thing impossible is the status quo.

I have not in this letter brought out at all the other major problem, which is the relations between big business and the rest of the country. That is another major problem which needs to be gone into, probably not right outside the present context.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Morton. Just on your last point, if you, as you think about those other issues, want to send us your comments, we would appreciate receiving them. I just want to say that again we realize, as I said at the outset, some of the problems with the time lines. We intend to very clearly make sure that the discussion does continue and we will look for appropriate ways to ensure that that happens. Thank you very much, ma'am.


The Chair: Next is Leni Untinen from the Northwestern Ontario Women's Decade Council.

Ms Untinen: Good afternoon. The Northwestern Ontario Women's Decade Council is a non-partisan, volunteer-based organization composed of members of district women's groups as well as individuals. Its main goal is to improve the quality of life of women in northwestern Ontario in all spheres, economic, social and political. For the past 14 years, we have worked on issues and concerns of northern women. Present priorities include women in economic development, women against violence and mental health.

Canada enters the 1990s at the crossroads of Confederation and provincial sovereignty. To the citizens of Ontario these are threatening, confusing and emotional times. It is interesting to imagine that 50 years from now circumstances, information and decisions which seem so complicated today may be captured in a page or two of history. A frightening prospect is how the perception of this decade's history will be recorded.

Will the chapter read: "In the 11th hour the dice were rolled behind closed doors. After 124 years of Confederation, leaders of the country and provinces were unable to negotiate outstanding constitutional accord issues before a deadline agreed upon late one night in the kitchen of the government centre at Meech Lake. And so the nation of Canada began the process to dismantle"?

Will historians write that Canadians were unable to respond to their aboriginal peoples' wants? Or was it their needs? Or was it their legal rights? Will it be recorded that Quebec made stringent demands because of its unique qualities or because of its legal rights? Will the motivation seem to be selfishness and arrogance or because of a fear of assimilation based on Canada's record of assimilating aboriginal people? Will history refer to broken promises and treaties? Will historians have access to information on legislation, contracts and conventions that we as decision-makers should be considering today but are unaware of?

In 1882 Ernest Renan wrote: "A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle...a nation is a great solidarity, created by the sentiment of the sacrifices which have been made and of those which one is disposed to make in the future. It presupposes a past; but it resumes itself in the present by a tangible fact: the consent, the clearly expressed desire to continue life in common."

By this definition Canada may have lost the opportunity to make the decision to continue as a nation. Sadly, many Canadians have lost the desire to continue life in common. The tragedy of this situation is that we will have lost by default: not that we as a society tried and could not, but because we forfeited our chance.

We too often have allowed our elected representatives all authority and all responsibility, and those to whom we have given power have tried to protect us from dealing with decisions by seeking to impose solidarity, not understanding. The ability to make appropriate decisions lies in an understanding of the past history, the present circumstance and future direction, an understanding that many Canadians do not possess.

Each of us has opinions and emotional sentiments, but what many of us lack is the understanding that the actions of various sectors of our Canadian and Ontarian society are rooted in history. We lack knowledge of that history. We lack clarity on what are demands and what are inherent rights of sectors of our society. We lack the concept that there could be nations within the nation, just as there are families within a family.

Ontario has the technology to inform and educate citizens on the diversity of our people, the legislation and treaties which influence our multicultural, bilingual practices and programs. The province must convey to the people the information required to make educated and just decisions. Ontario must have the will and determination to assist the people of the first nations of our province in achieving satisfactory negotiations of their agenda for self-government, land claims and quality of life issues.

Pierre Berton in his book Why We Act Like Canadians wrote: "We know who we are not even if we aren't quite sure who we are. We are not American." This statement may be more accurate today than when it was written in 1982. Symbols of our identity, the vision of Via Rail on steel tracks connecting people from sea to sea, the Canadian beaver, the prairie wheat fields, the abundant timber forests and the monarchy have either changed or diminished in symbolizing the face of a developing Canada. All people, as individuals and collectively, require an identity, to know who we are and where we came from, to build on, to change, reflecting changing times, cherishing valued old traditions and creating new ones as we grow.

The grief experienced with the fading of some of Canada's symbols is not in the loss but in the void. As Canadians, as Ontarians, we need to establish positive new symbols bridging our diversity from our country's east-west extremities, from our province's north-south borders. We need to embrace the concept of existing independently together, sharing our raw materials and technology, enjoying urban and rural lifestyles, respecting the colour and traditions of our multicultural backgrounds and the sounds of our bilingual languages, being proud of a profile of men and women working side by side, valued equally.


Our symbols should not be imposed on each other, but welcomed and protected by each of us, uniting our commonness, celebrating our differences, blending through growth, not revolution. The face of Canada and Ontario is a mosaic, the total sum of our parts, available to each of us to claim as we desire, where appropriate. We as Ontario and Canadian citizens are a great deal more than not American.

Canadian politics have been traditionally based on a patriarchal model with a rigid, lineal decision-making process. This process focuses on "power over" rather than the "power to" and decision-making from the top down. The Meech Lake accord followed this model. The process has proven wrong and further may prove to be devastating for Canada as a nation. The inclusion of Quebec in the Constitution did not have to place women's rights in jeopardy, ignore Canada's aboriginal peoples' concerns or relegate Canadians living in the Yukon and Northwest Territories to a second-class, non-participatory position.

Voices calling for amendments to protect the rights of all people were wrongly labelled anti-Quebec, amounting to emotional blackmail. Public consultations and hearings could have and should have been taken seriously. Native and women's organizations have continued to be silenced through cuts to their organizational and publication or broadcasting budgets. The legacy of Meech Lake is an enforced silence and a country polarized by protectionism.

Ontario must demonstrate leadership in utilizing the skills and expertise of the people of the province by developing a model of true consultation on issues affecting their lives. The province must convey to the people the information required to make educated and just decisions. The province must exhibit its social conscience as a basis of the framework of our development.

This very moment, as we stand looking towards the future, a world war rages between countries seeking and retaliating to "power over." This very moment war rages in homes across the province. One in eight women is physically battered by her partner in a domestic relationship. This very moment war rages in our communities. One in four females and one in eight males are sexually assaulted before they are 18. This very moment war rages on Ontario's children. Hundreds of thousands will be physically and emotionally abused and/or be forced to live in poverty. This very moment many Ontarians fear war with our francophone and aboriginal sisters and brothers.

Ontario has tremendous natural and human resources. We have the capabilities to empower our people. We can share the "power to" rather than inflict "power over." There is no future in "power over.

Ontario's future lies in its financial viability. Canada's future lies in economic sharing between the have and the have-not provinces. Federal-provincial co-operation, not provincial sovereignty, will facilitate the appropriate distribution of our country's great wealth of resources. Canada will not survive as a nation without economic security for all partners.

All Ontarians need to understand clearly and simply what the deficit is, both grammatically and numerically. How was this deficit caused? What is its relationship to the provincial debt and the national debt? What are our assets? What are our liabilities? What and to whom do we as a province and a country owe? What individual personal financial practices and decisions affect the provincial and federal deficits and debts?

In terms of the recession, we need to know the contributing factors. What part does the world economy play? What part is affected by the United States economy? What is Canada's role, Ontario's role, the individual's role? Only with this information can individuals respond.

Each of us in our daily lives is called upon to balance our incomes and expenditures and to decide for which investments we are prepared to incur debt. We do this with facts and figures and understand the consequences of not adequately budgeting. We also understand within our family units which individuals are disadvantaged and dependent and where and why we must share our resources. While we do not all agree on priorities and methods, we have the knowledge to decide where we will spend, where we will save and where we will share.

We need this information at the provincial and federal levels and we need facts, not propaganda. We are aware of how our governments' financial actions affect our daily lives. We need to know how our daily practices affect our governments' financial actions. We need to consider that some of us have the freedom to make financial choices and some of us can barely survive, needing assistance with even basic necessities.

In Ontario the information which will affect our economic future is not the property of a small, elite group of financial experts and political managers. The consequences will be shared by all Ontarians. The information, the total picture, not bits and pieces, must be shared by all Ontarians. The Ontario government must give the people, all of the people, the total information in a format that is clear, concise and understandable.

Despite many concerns from across the country, the federal government entered into the Canada-US free trade agreement. "Its intent was to improve the economies of both countries, to strive for full employment and improve living standards, and to strengthen both countries in the international marketplace; with both countries' ability to take measures to safeguard public welfare fully preserved."

The agreement appears to be falling short of its goals. Ontario's unemployment statistics continue to creep higher. Canadians have seen major changes to their unemployment program. In Thunder Bay alone, welfare payments are up 53%, the case load up 47%. Municipal council and administrators search for ways to cut community-based support programs to cover mandatory income benefits.

"Outshopping" has become a new Canadian word. The Pigeon River border crossing, which serves the relatively small portion of Ontario's residents in the northwestern Ontario area, reports that $19 million in declared goods were brought across the border in a one-year study period prior to ending July 1989. And the Thunder Bay Venture's report on outshopping notes that the 37 border points studied report similar increases across the country.

Manufacturers and retailers press for additional concessions in their attempt to compete. Canadian and Ontario companies attempt to negotiate salary and benefit freezes or reductions. Health and safety standards may be threatened in the name of production. Ontario companies or branch plants have closed or moved to southern locations resulting in job losses, and Canadians now pay a goods and services tax not imposed on exported goods.

In answer to our questions about the possible plus side of free trade, we are encouraged to see all recent financial concessions and crises as unrelated. In the meantime, without a verdict on the original agreement, the Canadian government approaches a Canada/US agreement with Mexico. Uninformed and concerned, Ontario citizens fear these further negotiations. Ontario owes its citizens an honest scorecard on the positive and negative results of free trade and its relationships to other financial situations.


The Ontario government must not support further free trade agreements without an adequate sharing of information, facts and options through a consultative process and with direction from an educated society.

Ontario's economic goals must include a broader-based definition of economic development and must incorporate long-range planning into industrial growth, job creation and quality-of-life considerations.

Looking at the economy from everyone's perspective is essential to develop the potential of Ontario. Economic development must be looked at in a total sense: "This includes reasonable industrial expansion, job creation, and economic growth, along with quality-of-life considerations; adequate and affordable housing, recreation and cultural facilities, traditional as well as alternate education systems, health care facilities and a full range of support services. Other necessary considerations include accessible 24-hour child care and convenient public transportation."

Economic development has traditionally been an issue concerning the business and political sectors. Women and their concerns have generally been excluded from the planning and implementation process. Development schemes must not perpetuate the assumption that women exist only as dependants of men.

Employment and Immigration Canada's report, the Ontario Labour Market, 17 November 1990, states, "Ontario's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.1% higher than November 1989. Since November 1989, nine out of every 10 jobs lost were accounted for by men, reflecting the severe downturn in the male-dominated manufacturing and construction industries." These figures may be viewed as a trend. This is substantiated by Success in the Works; A profile of Canada's Emerging Workforce, Employment and Immigration Canada, 1990, and Labour Market Trends, Ontario Ministry of Skills Development, both of which project that while the labour force is growing at only half the rate it was during the 1970s, women's participation will increase and account for half of the workforce in 10 years.

While we could interpret this to mean good news for women, we must look at further related statistics. From the Ontario Women's Directorate Database 1990, we know that women earn an average of 64.8% of male earnings. The 1988 Statistics Canada female earnings for full-time, full-year employment was $23,260. Of women with at least one child under the age of six, 60.6% participate in the labour force and face costs of up to $6,000 per year per child for licensed child care. Further, we know that the average family income for single-parent employed female-headed families was $19,740. The face of the labour force and the economics of Ontario is changing.

In addition to paid employment, a recent socioeconomic study on women's work by the Northwestern Ontario Women's Decade Council highlighted 69% of the respondents estimating that they spend more than 20 hours per week on household tasks. Add to this the hours of volunteer activities that women contribute to their community and we have a true picture of the double workload women continue to carry.

The shift in the male-female workforce participation rates, the disparity in earnings and subsequent disparity in taxable incomes and the fact that more women will become primary income earners has serious financial and systemic implications for women, for both traditional and non-traditional families and for the community and the province of Ontario.

What is needed before future decisions are made is a more realistic perspective of women's role in today's society. Women must be an integral part of planning the future.

In working to advance the status of women, we have learned --

The Chair: Excuse me, Ms Untinen. You have reached the end of your time, if you would just summarize and conclude, please.

Ms Untinen: We have learned to share knowledge, skills, expertise and resources. Power is achieved through empowerment and the collective "power to." By embracing the feminist perspective, Ontario could model a process that will serve the future of the province, the country and the people well.

The spirit of women in northwestern Ontario is captured in the following lines:
Across the vastness of northwestern Ontario lies an invisible chain.
Never still, the live movements of northern women stir the linkage,
The echo of the chain vibrates through its length and rings out across the country,
Threat causes the chain to pull taut and call on its collective strength.
Hurt moves the chain to circle and protect.
Energy flows along the chain to the weariest link.
With achievement and celebration the chain shines.
Should the chain knot: caring hands work tirelessly to ensure the chain is restored.
The links of the chain are woven through the patchwork of women's lives,
Representing their work; their history; their vision.
Each of us holds tight, drawing on, strengthening,
giving the chain life.
It is our wish to extend this spirit to the people of Ontario and to Canada.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: We will move on to the next presenter, Bob Rosehart, president of Lakehead University.

Mr Rosehart: Good afternoon. I have prepared a very brief summary and perhaps I will just read it for you.

A new Canada. Thank you for the opportunity to address you today. As president of Lakehead University during the past few years, I have had the opportunity to be confronted with many of the issues in front of you today.

Your theme, Canada at the Crossroads, is appropriate, and equally important, I think you should try to focus on a vision of Canada in the future. A replay of the events of the past eight years in particular I feel will not be useful. This is a time to look forward, not a time to look at the past and to point blame at various processes and governments and whatever.

Canada is a geographical and cultural mosaic that from a systems engineering perspective would no doubt be considered to be inoperative. Our pioneering spirit over the years, coupled with our vast natural resources wealth, has put us in the big leagues of the industrialized nations without perhaps really earning our way there. Additionally, a considerable degree of our secondary manufacturing base, which as we know is mature and overmature in this province at the present time -- many of those plants were a result of US branch-plant type activity which had little research and development activity behind them, and quite honestly we see many plant closures in southern Ontario and the rest of Ontario that reflect this, unfortunately.

The original reason for the creation of these plants related to cheap energy from Niagara in the Sir Adam Beck era and the relatively low cost of labour and raw materials. Perhaps this explains to some extent why Canadians, and Ontarians in particular, suffer somewhat from an inferiority complex and often like to avoid issues, rather than seriously confront them.

Unfortunately, today no nation or province is an island in our global economy and this trend will continue to increase. Canada needs to have a long-term vision that is based on further investments, not liabilities. Quite often in the private sector and occasionally in government people see investments in education as a liability and increasing grants as a liability. These really have to be looked at as further investments in education.

In Canada our spending on research and development as a function of our gross national product has actually declined in recent years. In terms of industrial R and D, it was nothing to be proud about in the first place. We really have to look at further investments in education, research and development and serious moves toward a value-added society.

I guess the question is, can we do it? I would honestly have to say, after observing other jurisdictions in the world and travelling often to many parts of Canada, that I think the jury is out. To be successful we will have to learn to deal with not only being too dependent on our neighbours to the south, but also learn to constructively deal with regional and cultural challenges in this country.

If we do not deal with these issues successfully, I feel the gradual slipping of our standard of living will further encourage ties with our neighbours to the south. I am not sure that Ontarians in general share this consensus or have really given it any serious thought. I do however notice that people tend to get somewhat excited when their standard of living is in decline. I believe, particularly in southern Ontario, the current recession is taking its toll in mature industries, but there is still a feeling out there that we will be looked after. It may be true, but with the fiercely competitive environment of the Far East and Europe, I am really not sure who is going to come and be our champion and our saviour.


When one looks at the future relationship of Quebec to Canada, one has to view the events of the last 20 years as a strong suggestion that if political factors alone are the driving force, Quebec is almost assured to become some type of largely independent entity. If we, however, look towards some new vision of Canada that is very much more tied to the socioeconomic development of all regions of Canada, then perhaps there is some hope for Canada. The frustration, however, for those directly involved, at least at present, is that Quebec refuses to participate in any meaningful way in any federal-provincial discussions.

To conclude, a strong, new vision is needed of Canada and its people. Canada, in many ways, for the first time is an endangered species. Perhaps it is this threat which will bring out Canadian patriotism. If this is to succeed, however, much more patience, understanding, tolerance and compromise will be necessary by all Canadians than has been exhibited in the past few years.

The elements of a new national vision should include:

(a) Strong, viable and co-ordinated leadership by all levels of government: In this context maybe Canada seriously needs to look at other types of taxation systems, for example, whereby municipal levels of government receive directly a share of income tax wealth instead of this current system where we have a very centralized and hand-me-down system of government. Perhaps there needs to be a considerably revised system. Not that it is exactly an economic model of prosperity itself at the present time, but the system of taxation they have in Sweden and the sharing between the municipalities, the provinces, or counties in that case, and the national government does provide a lot of encouragement at the local level. I think local municipalities find their current situation extremely frustrating.

(b) A socioeconomic strategy that will allow the restructuring of our business and industrial activity: There is lots of talk about these kinds of strategies. As the talk continues, I do not see our spending on R and D increasing all that much. I do not see the kinds of venturesome incentives that would encourage value-added industry, and what we have is continued plant closings.

(c) A constitutionally based acknowledgement of the societal rights of our aboriginal peoples.

(d) An acknowledgement of the historical duality of the English and French cultures in Canada: Here I am not talking specifically about language, but it is hard in the Canadian context to ignore the history, no matter how much people want to ignore our history. In this community you are visiting here today, this area was first settled in, I believe, 1811, with the French fur-trading post, Old Fort William, and it was in 1869, I believe, that a surveyor by the name of Simon Dawson got out of a boat at a place called Prince Arthur's Landing, which is now the foot of Dawson Road in Port Arthur, and ever since then we have had our own little microcosm here, our micro-Canada debate in Thunder Bay.

(e) Regional development strategies that, quite honestly, were very much in vogue in the last 1960s and early 1970s: Perhaps they were before their time, but it is probably time for another wave of regionalism in Canada. Perhaps living in the north you become a bit focused on this, that if things do not happen in either Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, it is not Canada. There is a lot of Canada outside the few major cities of this nation.

In summary, a major challenge of any new vision of Canada is to achieve widespread public support for and patriotic pride in our unique society. At present this will involve a major reordering of individual Ontarian's priorities. For whatever reason, we are a society in Ontario and also Canada that is very self-centred. If you look at some of the very successful countries of the world today, in terms of social programming, in terms of industrial activity, research and development and education, a lot of those countries and a lot of those jurisdictions have a lot more pride that they visibly show in their region, than the typical resident of Ontario or the typical Canadian.

It is possible, but probably not without further threats to the nation of Canada as we know it today. To fail, however, is to see the disintegration of Canada and the inevitable fragmented association with our neighbours to the south. I would suggest to you that Canada is well worth the fight, but are Canadians up to the battle?

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Rosehart. There are a few questions that we will be able to take. Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Thank you. Welcome to the hearings. I wonder if you might comment. One of the things that has come through in all the discussions over the last number of years is that perhaps politicians are not regarded in that high a light that we should be entrusted with trying to resolve some of these issues. While I think we all accept that perhaps some of that is understandable, none the less, the political people are ultimately elected and will have to be involved in any decision. To what extent do you think we should be looking at other approaches? For example, as a university president, are there things which the universities throughout the country could do in dealing with some of these issues? Should we be looking at bringing together representatives from a variety of walks of life in a way not unlike what happened in Quebec in the late 1960s when it tried to put together a sort of estates general?

One of the themes of your paper is to look at doing some things differently and I wonder, from your own experience, whether we need to be getting some of these other national groups and organizations working at this in the same way that we are.

Mr Rosehart: I think the trick is, not just the universities or the colleges or the school system, but to get all Canadians really seriously discussing these issues. There is a variety of ways that you can do that. You can do it, you know, through curriculum units in elementary and secondary school; you can do it through similar activities in colleges and universities. One of the things that constantly amazes me is that one of our levels of government funds all sorts of foreign academics to come and study Canadian culture. In fact, I remember going to a conference in Minneapolis a few years ago where there was a chap from a small university in Ohio who had observed the dance traditions of a northern Manitoba town during its winter carnival. He presented an academic paper on this and he would make use of such words as his "operatives." The locals did not want to tell all about what they were doing, but his operatives would tell him the meaning of some of these things. I thought at the time it was sort of interesting that it was our tax dollars paying for this.

At the same time, these kinds of encouragements for forums and research in Canadian universities are not there. So to give you a shorter answer, I think anything that could be done at all levels. These particular hearings under the jurisdiction of the province and also Mr Spicer's endeavour, I think, will bring out people. Over the television in the last couple of days I think you provided a forum for people to speak out that they would not have had before. There was a lot of criticism in the past of these things being behind closed doors.

I think the challenge you have now as politicians is, you have the responsibility. You are going to hear lots of input. I think at some point leadership becomes an issue. I would suggest some of these issues, if you listen to the public opinion polls or if you take a straw vote, you will do Canada a disservice, and that is where you are politicians and the rest of us are people on the street.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Rosehart. We will have an opportunity, no doubt, later on to continue our discussion informally. Thanks for your comments.


The Chair: We will move to the next speaker, Bob Rongits.

Mr Rongits: First off, I would like to congratulate the Premier of Ontario for making this opportunity possible for me and for other people in Ontario. I know you people have been taking a lot of criticism for the initiative you have taken, but I disagree. I think it is an excellent opportunity for ordinary Canadians to express their views. You did not open a can of worms; the can of worms has been around. You just have not heard about it.

It is especially important for the north because we have very few outlets to express our anger and I know you have heard quite a bit and, you know, all sorts of things like that.

I have been a student here for three years and I have been a university student for five. I have been at four universities, in Europe and a whole bunch of other places. I have been around the country and, you know, I am very proud to be a Canadian and I am concerned about Canada's future.


There is no true-blue Canadian city of very large size between Winnipeg and Toronto, and in between this space you have the wealthiest part of the world still unexploited. I am not sure if the environmentalists want to exploit it. I am not sure if we as Canadian citizens want to exploit it. But let's just face it; it is there. We have a huge fault in Atikokan. We have a huge fault in Sudbury. We have minerals. We have resources. Who is going to control it? The people of Thunder Bay receive goods and we are a hinterland economy. We are not a heartland economy; southern Ontario is a heartland economy. The hinterland economy is in Thunder Bay. It needs to become a heartland economy and very quick. It needs to become a heartland economy because, if it does not, then we are going to lose control and we are going to lose control to the state of Minnesota.

The closest large city we have is Duluth, and it is a four-hour drive, yet the people of Thunder Bay gladly go there and they gladly spend their money there. And if you ever get a chance to go there, I would invite you to spend some time here; I would invite you to spend some time and talk to the people, meet the people in university, meet people in the pub and find out what we think. Because we are Canadians as well, okay? And it is simply, people vote with their feet and it is because people have very little money up here. The average Ontario income is $50,000. We in the north do not have that. I do not think there is 20% of the people who make $50,000 a year. I would like Ontario to know this because I think that is very important.

Also one other problem that the north has is that the youth tends to leave. I came to the north, I did not leave. Why does the youth leave? After four years here, I have come to some conclusions. One of the reasons the youth leaves is that there is very little to do up here. It is very cold, but it is not a problem. It is a lovely place. It is a city of 200,000 people if you count the suburbs, and yet who controls the media up here and the communications and the radio stations? We have two FM stations, a few AM stations and one television station. What other city of this size in Ontario has one television station? There is not one, okay?

Thunder Bay is a very important city because it is the outfitting centre for the north and it is more important than any other city that has 200,000 population just because of the hinterland it controls. And it is not because the people of Thunder Bay are great; it is because it is in such a location. It is very important. It is on the alluvial plain and all that. It is colder up here. All students up here need a vehicle. All citizens up here need a vehicle.

We need to spend more money on ourselves, you know, and in the wintertime it is minus 20 normally here. You have gotten a very good glimpse, very, very beautiful weather, but to be honest, more often than not it is very cold up here. And you know, we need to address that, maybe not this generation but the next generation. And let's get the communications going; let's get more FM stations; let's get more TV. Let's get more fun things going and then the youth will stay and you will have your problems solved. When the youth stays, the entrepreneurs stay, everyone stays and everyone is happy and then you have a very proud, true-blue Canadian city. That is all I really have to say about that.

Another misconception I think that has been developed about the north is that it is a welfare state. I am originally from Hamilton. Most people in southern Ontario think that we dole out a lot of money to welfare and things like that. Actually I think more money goes into the central coffers in Toronto and very little comes back. The pulp mills, the lumber, the mineral rights and all these things generate a substantial amount of revenue and you cannot forget that. I think it should be redistributed. Everything goes to the central coffers, including, for example, just simple things like fishing licences. It all goes into the central fund. Very little comes back to us and I wish we would look more into getting more money for ourselves. But that is not for me to decide; that is for the people of Ontario to decide.

I think the Fathers of Confederation would be proud of me for saying this, but I think we should dust off all those old manuals about creating a new province and think about northern Ontario. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I think it would be a wonderful thing for the country to consider partitioning another area of land and having another province. Maybe I am wrong, maybe you do not think I am right. Let's think about it and talk about it, because the wealth is there. We can support ourselves. The intelligence is here too. Let it bloom.

That is it.

The Chair: Thank you. If you hang on, there are a couple of questions.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Bob, I think you did what your university president did before you. He talked about his recommendations as being vision and I think your recommendations are visionary. I am very interested in what you are talking about, that people are voting with their feet and going to Duluth.

Mr Rongits: Yes.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: You said a little bit about communication strategies that would keep people here. Could you say a little bit more about what would perhaps convince people that there is quite a bit on this side?

Mr Rongits: The problem Canada has is that we do not have any money any more, but we need to build an infrastructure that maybe is not profitable in 1991 and 1992. By the time 2000 or 1999 comes around, it will be. That is what I think.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Could you say a little bit about it?

Mr Rongits: We just got cellular phones -- Prince Rupert is another economy very similar to ours; it has about the same amount of people -- and those are excellent tools in the bush for communication. We just got them. Why were we the last people to get them?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Can you say a little bit about the retail or manufacturing or that area that you think might help?

Mr Rongits: Much of it is subsidized by. You know, we have Can-Car and all these wonderful things. One thing, with this opportunity, let's talk about western Canada, because Thunder Bay is in Ontario but we have a large influence from western Canada. Let's look at the subsidies that the European Economic Community has for grain, for example. Western Canada is reeling and it is complaining about all the subsidies; the United States cannot do anything about it either way.

The west is always considered in a bind; what about Thunder Bay? It is the rail network for the east. What about the Fort Frances area and all those little, small farms and those little, small alluvial plains? They all got bought out and they all became ineffective and unproductive years ago because of all of this subsidization that is going on. And in the north you just cannot do it. I mean, the growing season is too short, but we would like to grow our own food, I am sure. I am not the best person to talk to about that; I am still a student. I have only been here for four years and it is too complex. You cannot come up here in one day and understand the north. The trees are different, the climate is different, everything is different.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you, in your short time, for helping.

The Chair: If we do it briefly, question and answer, we will allow one more.

Mr Bisson: I have never been known to be brief.

The Chair: I know. That is why I am going to encourage people to try very hard.

Mr Bisson: Yes. The thing I would just like to get to is that you touched on a couple of points, I think, that are important. What you are basically saying is that you see the nation of Canada having to provide infrastructure by which the regional differences could be, first of all, realized, and then sort of tackled so that we can tie those regions together as a nation.

The difficulty, though, is that when a federal government or even a provincial government attempts to do that, the bottom line is it costs money. We can use that argument in a number of issues -- if we talk about northern development, if we talk about French-language rights, if we talk about access for the disabled, it all costs money. What do you say to Canadians? I agree with you that it is something we have to do, but how do you explain that argument to Canadians, to understand that if we want equality in this country, it is going to cost the price? What do you say?

Mr Rongits: Do you want money?

Mr Bisson: Yes, sure, give me some.

Mr Rongits: Okay. Canada is the third-largest producer of gold in the world. Make a tax credit so that every Ontario resident can buy one ounce of gold and the province will have an extra nine ounces of gold in its Treasury. Not in the government Treasury but in the people's Treasury. Short-term problem, long-term bonanza. It is just one example of visionary things that you can do if you think about that, you know. We need a container for it.

I do not know how to solve the money problems. One third of our federal budget goes towards paying interest on the national debt. That is much too large, just the interest on it. No, we do not have money, that is true.

The Chair: Thanks very much.



The Chair: Now to Ivan Trottier, l'Association francophone.

M. Trottier: Je tiens à remercier le comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération pour l'opportunité qu'il m'accorde aujourd'hui. L'Association des francophones du Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario, l'AFNOO, m'a délégué pour transmettre l'opinion qu'elle s'est faite relativement au rôle que l'Ontario devrait et doit jouer dans les débats constitutionnels présents.

L'AFNOO est une association qui se compose de 25 groupes affiliés, ce qui représente environ 10 000 francophones. Ses débuts remontent à 1976 et depuis ce, la communauté francophone est dotée de nombreuses institutions : écoles françaises, conseils scolaires francophones et bientôt un centre scolaire-culturel francophone, un centre médico-social communautaire francophone et une garderie francophone. Donc, ceci prouve le dynamisme de la communauté francophone de notre région.

L'AFNOO croit que la constitution doit reconnaître les trois communautés nationales qui ont bâti le Canada, soit les communautés autochtones, francophone et anglophone. Par contre, nous nous désolons à entendre toutes les remarques préjugeantes et désobligeantes tenues à l'égard de la communauté francophone. À ce moment-ci, il s'impose enfin de rappeler le rôle prépondérant de la communauté francophone dans la découverte et le développement de l'Ontario, rôle qui remonte à tout près de quatre siècles.

Ceci dit, permettez-moi de décrire la vague de déclarations d'unilinguisme qui a révolté les communautés culturelles de l'Ontario avec l'aide d'une analogie. Le peuple ontarien, et surtout anglo-ontarien, promouvait la sauvegarde et la préservation de l'environnement. Ils veulent conserver les forêts vierges, assainir les cours d'eau, protéger la faune, assurer la survivance de la forêt. Pourquoi, je dis pourquoi est-ce qu'ils veulent le faire ? C'est tout simplement pour augmenter la qualité de vie des gens. Qu'est-ce qui est plus beau que de voir un arbre majestueux au milieu d'une clairière entourée d'oiseaux gazouillants, avec comme musique de fond le ruissellement provenant d'un cours d'eau. C'est cela qui augmente la qualité de vie d'un individu.

Donc, il est évident que la diversité de la vie est proportionnellement reliée à la qualité de la vie. Si je compare cette analogie avec la crise d'unilinguisme, la question que je me pose est : pourquoi, en sachant que la diversité de la vie est proportionnellement reliée à la qualité de vie, est-ce qu'un peuple, les anglophones, tente d'éliminer une ou plusieurs cultures, entre autres la culture française, pour ainsi réduire la diversité des cultures au sein d'une communauté ? Une réponse à cette question expliquerait une foule de tensions qui existent entre plusieurs peuples.

Le peuple canadien s'est battue pendant plus d'un demi-siècle à essayer d'angliciser les résidents canadiens sans succès. Je réfère ça au "melting pot" pour ainsi faire place à la vision multiculturelle. Pourquoi aujourd'hui reculer, défier l'évolution et tenter à nouveau ce qui a été fait durant plus de 50 ans ? Qu'est-ce que le gouvernement attend pour reconnaître la langue française comme outil important du développement de l'Ontario et du Canada ? Est-ce que le gouvernement a honte de reconnaître la langue française ?

En terminant, l'AFNOO veut faire part de deux structures que l'Ontario devrait considérer. La première : les communautés nationales doivent avoir la possibilité de gérer les structures politiques et administratives des services pertinents à leur épanouissement. C'est un besoin fondamental à combler, à l'aide de mécanismes appropriés. Les communautés nationales doivent être assurées à long terme d'un financement équitable de leurs institutions. La seconde : le statut égal de la communauté francophone doit nécessairement se refléter dans l'organisation des pouvoirs, tant aux paliers fédéral et provincial qu'au municipal. En outre, l'administration publique de la province de l'Ontario doit impliquer davantage ses régions dans l'élaboration de ses politiques sociales, économiques et culturelles.

Sur ça, je vous remercie de l'attention que vous m'avez accordée.

M. le Président : Il y a sans doute des questions ?

M. Beer : Merci pour la présentation par l'AFNOO. Je comprends la crise de l'année passée, mais si on peut mettre ça de côté un moment, est-ce qu'on pense que, avec les changements qui ont commencés dans la province, de plus en plus il y a vraiment un avenir pour la communauté francophone dans le Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario ? Si oui, et j'espère que oui, si votre réponse est toujours oui, quels sont certaines actions, certains programmes que le gouvernement provincial devrait mettre en oeuvre ou continuer ?

M. Trottier : Je voudrais juste clarifier un point : je ne suis pas le président de l'AFNOO ; je suis le directeur général. Je suis ici en tant que délégué parce que le président est retenu ailleurs. Donc, je suis dans l'impossibilité de spécifier les réponses parce que je n'ai pas consulté avec les autres.

M. Beer : Même a titre personnel?

M. Trottier : A titre personnel, il est évident que la communauté francophone dans le Nord-Ouest a de l'avenir. Personnellement, mon opinion est que, comme l'analogie c'est de la diversité, plus une population est diversifiée, plus elle est intéressante, et plus elle est intéressante, plus les gens sont intéressants à vivre, plus les relations sont intéressantes.

M. Bisson : Une petite question : Vous, vous venez de Thunder Bay, n'est-ce pas ?

M. Trottier : Je demeure à Thunder Bay.

M. Bisson : Avec tout ce qui s'est passé vis-à-vis des questions de l'année passée, comment est-ce que vous vous êtes senti dans la communauté ? Moi, mon impression est que ce n'était pas l'avis majoritaire. Pouvez-vous expliquer un peu ?

M. Trottier : Je suis originaire du Québec. Lorsque cette crise-là est passée, ça a renforcé mes liens avec le Québec. Je parle au nom de moi-même, je parle au nom de Ivan Trottier. Personnellement, quand la crise a passé, j'ai dit, ça y est, je suis un Québécois. Ça a confirmé ma provenance québécoise.

M. Bisson : Comment est-ce que vous vous sentez comme Québécois ici ?

M. Trottier : Je me sens comme isolé. Je me sens comme rejeté. Juste un exemple, encore ce matin, il y a une dame qui m'a appelé au bureau et qui m'a dit : «Hier, on était au `bowling' et je parlais avec mon mari en français. La personne avec qui on jouait, une anglophone, nous a dit, `Pourquoi vous parlez français ? Parlez anglais. Je ne sais pas si vous dites des bêtises à mon propos.' » Toutes des remarques comme ça, je trouve que c'est un manque d'éducation premièrement. Les gens ne sont pas éduqués face au multiculturalisme ; les gens ne sont pas éduqués face au bilinguisme. Je trouve ça déplorable -- c'est un manque à leur culture -- même si je me sens proche d'être bilingue. Je suis capable de bénéficier des deux cultures et je crois que c'est une richesse immense.


The Chair: The next speaker is from Accueil francophone.

M. Lepage : Mon nom est Roger Lepage. Je voudrais remercier les membres du comité de me permettre de discuter avec eux de mes visions et de mes sentiments au sujet du rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération.

Je représente l'Accueil francophone de Thunder Bay, qui est une agence qui offre des services de traduction et d'interprétation aux membres de la communauté francophone qui font demande des services sociaux, médicaux et légaux. Mais je suis ici quand même comme un francophone, un Ontarien et un Canadien.

Je voudrais féliciter le gouvernement de l'Ontario pour avoir pris cette initiative de nous offrir la chance de parler de nos idées et, pour moi, très souvent de mes soucis.

La question que se pose le gouvernement de l'Ontario est aussi la question que je me pose depuis assez longtemps et je n'arrive pas encore à y trouver une réponse valable.

D'une part, je suis très triste de témoigner ce qui se passe au Canada présentement, de la part d'Ottawa mais aussi de toutes les autres provinces. La francophonie en moi m'encourage à célébrer avec le Québec le fait que la possibilité de la société distincte que le Québec représente est peut-être très prête à célébrer par elle-même ses différences, plus spécifiquement sa culture française.


Je crois fortement au fait que la communauté francophone fait partie du Canada, en tant que peuple fondateur, tel que reconnu par le gouvernement de l'Ontario en fait de la Loi 8, concernant des provisions pour assurer l'accès aux services gouvernementaux dans la langue de choix préférée, soit l'anglais ou le français, et aussi que la communauté francophone est reconnue par le gouvernement du Canada comme étant un peuple fondateur. Nous devons sortir de nos petites boîtes qui nous emprisonnent tous et qui ne nous permettent pas de reconnaître la valeur d'une autre langue, d'une autre culture qu'on peut s'offrir à notre merveilleux pays.

Un autre point que j'aimerais aborder est le fait qu'il y a une grosse majorité de la population canadienne mal renseignée au sujet du Canada, du rôle des trois peuples fondateurs et de leur futur rôle. Le Canada n'est pas un "melting pot", mais reconnaît plutôt tous les efforts et les espoirs de toutes nos cultures. La question d'identité culturelle ne devrait pas être mélangée, en outre, ne devrait même pas être discutée dans le même contexte que celle de l'économie. Trop de personnes, trop de groupes d'intérêts sont intéressés à confondre les questions pertinentes en offrant au peuple canadien une avenue pour blâmer ce à quoi notre pays fait maintenant face.

Je suis certain que les membres du comité savent bien que, en temps d'économie positive, les questions mentionnées sont discutées avec calme et raison. Comme je l'ai dit au commencement de mon petit discours, je suis heureux et j'espère, peut-être naïvement, qu'ensemble, comme voix unie, l'Ontario pourra arriver à soulager les problèmes auxquels nous faisons face présentement.

Je n'ai pas les réponses, mais je suggérerais quand même que l'Ontario prenne un rôle décisif et principal pour montrer le chemin au reste du Canada. J'ai quelques recommandations :

La première est que le gouvernement de l'Ontario suive l'action positive de la province du Nouveau-Brunswick en se prononçant une province officiellement bilingue.

La deuxième recommandation, que le gouvernement de l'Ontario reconnaisse son rôle en fait de chien de garde pour assurer à la communauté francophone sa sauvegarde, qui assurera les droits de la population francophone en tant que peuple fondateur du Canada.

Ma troisième recommandation est que le gouvernement de l'Ontario reconnaisse les implications complètes de ses plans futurs pour l'Ontario, afin de servir sa population.

Et maintenant je fais référence au Rapport du Comité d'étude provincial-municipal sur les services sociaux, qui est aussi reconnu sous le sigle de PMSSR. Ce plan pourrait avoir des effets néfastes pour les minorités, les francophones inclus, dans notre province si les pouvoirs d'administration pour des services sociaux se transféreraient aux municipalités, car nous avons déjà eu un aperçu de certaines municipalités qui sont très rigides dans leur philosophie de desservir certains groupes, comme par exemple la communauté francophone.

Je souhaite aux membres du comité de la Chambre beaucoup d'énergie et mes sentiments d'espoir envers ce sujet.

Mr Harnick: You mentioned Bill 8. As far as you are concerned, in your experience here -- I caught very briefly that you are involved with medical services, legal services -- has Bill 8 been an adequate bill in terms of providing the necessary services in the French language?

Mr Lepage: Bill 8 has certainly laid a good, solid base and a good groundwork for work to be done. I think the government of Ontario needs to be patted on the back for that bill, specifically speaking as a francophone working in this area.

Mr Harnick: Where should we go from Bill 8, if anywhere?

Mr Lepage: I think you still need to work on Bill 8 a bit. In response to Mr Beer's question of Ivan Trottier, I think the direction this government needs to take foremost is education, educating the public of Ontario about the issues pertinent to the francophone needs in Ontario. By that, I mean the role we have played in Canada. I hear so many people using information that to me just does not reflect what actually is true, and I get worried when this happens.

Mr Harnick: Is the principle that French language services be applied where numbers warrant satisfactory?

Mr Lepage: At this time, yes.

Mr Harnick: In a commonsense sort of way.

Mr Lepage: Yes.

M. Winninger : Je m'excuse, je ne suis pas bilingue et je parle français comme un anglophone, mais j'ai une question pour vous néanmoins.

M. Lepage : Je vous remercie de votre effort.

M. Winninger : Est-ce qu'il est possible de protéger la langue et la culture françaises sans avoir une société distincte au Québec?

M. Lepage : Sans avoir une société distincte au Québec ? Je crois que oui, et comme Canadien, j'espère qu'il y a un espoir. Je n'ai pas les réponses, Monsieur Winninger. J'aimerais avoir les réponses. Je crois que c'est possible, oui.

M. Beer : Une autre question que je pense qu'on veut poser, et c'est un autre aspect do problème : est-ce que les Québécois francophones comprennent bien les francophones de notre province? Je me demande des fois s'il y a des liens, est-ce qu'il faut créer des liens ou peut-être améliorer la compréhension des Québécois, pour leur faire savoir qu'en effet il y a en Ontario une population francophone qui est vraiment vivante, qui a beaucoup d'outils pour son épanouissement et tout ça? Quelles sont vos pensées là-dessus ?

M. Lepage : J'aimerais savoir à quels propos ça servirait d'entamer ce sujet-là, parce que j'aime séparer les deux questions. Je crois qu'on a des liens en fait de culture française et je crois que oui, en fait d'éducation, nous, en tant que Franco-Ontariens dans le nord-ouest de l'Ontario, on est mal renseigné parfois sur ce qui se passe au Québec avec les Ouébécois, non seulement dans le nord mais au Québec. Je crois que même les Québécois dans le nord du Québec ont peut-être de l'information qui n'est pas toujours juste. Est-ce que je peux vous demander pourquoi ?

M. Beer : C'est parce que je pense que l'un des éléments ici... Est-ce que les Québécois pensent peut-être qu'il n'y a pas d'avenir pour les francophones en Ontario ? Des fois j'ai l'impression qu'ils ne comprennent pas du tout la population francophone de cette province. Peut-être que ça peut nous aider, tous les Canadiens, si on comprend mieux qu'au Nouveau-Brunswick, en Ontario ou au Manitoba il y a la possibilité non simplement de vivre en français mais vraiment de s'épanouir.

M. Lepage : Oui, je comprends votre point, et pour ajouter à ça, je crois aussi que les mêmes faits sont ici pour la population autre que francophone en Ontario pour comprendre les questions de la communauté francophone en Ontario.

M. Bisson : C'est un peu sur le même plan, ce que M. Beer vous a demandé, de répondre sur cela à un Ontarien ; on est Ontarien premièrement. Vous avez dit dans votre présentation que c'était un avenir que vous regardiez possiblement, l'avenir du bilinguisme officiel ici en Ontario. Premièrement, la question que je pose est, quel signal est-ce que ça donnerait au Québec vis-à-vis de l'attitude, comment ils nous voient ici en Ontario ? Deuxièmement, qu'est-ce que ça veut dire pour l'Ontario à votre idée ?

M. Lepage : Je crois que pour le Québec et les Québécois, nous démontrons une tolérance, que présentement on prévoit et on ressent au Canada une intolérance contre les minorités et contre la culture francophone. Je crois que le rôle que l'Ontario pourrait jouer là-dedans c'est d'être le premier. Je crois que l'Ontario a très souvent joué on rôle de leader pour les autres provinces. Je crois que l'occasion est prime maintenant pour que l'Ontario prenne le volet et se prononce comme province.


The Chair: I have been asked to point out that a table has been set up near the entrance for presenters. If there are people here who are scheduled to present and we have not heard from you yet, would you at some point make your way to the table and pass your names on so we can revise the lists and ensure that everyone is on?


Mr Pretulac: Welcome to Thunder Bay. I am glad to meet the servants of Ontario, because I think we are the bosses and you are supposed to be paid servants.

You are dealing in all the wrong matters here, I think, with Confederation. Before 1867, this was Upper Canada solely. It was divided along the Ottawa River when the American Revolution came into being. In 1867 they made Upper Canada and Lower Canada. The French owned everything up here past Sioux Lookout. Parliament divided the English and the French, so Upper Canada and Lower Canada, therefore Quebec and Ontario, were born.

I can understand the dilemma of the French people and their frustration, but it is also mine. I am part Ukrainian, part Indian and part French. I can understand none of those languages, just English.

But it hurts to see people suffering, and I think you people, before you get elected, say, "Oh, we're going to do this for you, we're going to do that for you." I do not want you to do a damned thing for me. I want you to do what I want down there, not what some conglomerate or somebody lobbying you people or who pays for you to get into power wants you to do. I want what I think is necessary for northern Ontario, that is, settling aboriginal claims, cutting federal spending for education. Everything that is wrong is all your fault, I think. You are allowing this to happen. You are supposed to be helping us, yet there is more of a hindrance here than help. There are other things, but I get choked up.

We have a Prime Minister I call "the liar," and "Wimpy Joe" got us into a war overseas. I am a Korean veteran also. I went overseas. I volunteered in the Korean war, and there was no war there; there was an internal revolution. Also, this here, there was no war declared by Canada or the United States on Iraq. It was George Bush and his entourage giving the deadline, and he had to make good on his deadline, and therefore we are involved in a war not of our own choosing. We are a peacekeeping force; we had got a Nobel Peace Prize. Now the credibility of Canada is shot right down the drain. Why? Because politicians are scared to stand up and say no to the Americans? That is about all I can say, because I get mad.

Mr Bisson: The sense I get, and I can understand why you are somewhat choked up, is that what you are feeling is that there is an erosion of the country, and the sense is that we are somehow losing our independence.

Mr Pretulac: No, no, no. It is you people, when you go in elections, who say: "I am going to get you this. I am going to do this for you. I am going to do that for you." I do not want you to do a damned thing for me. That is the whole point. I want you to ask me what I want. We have got an abortion bill that is down the drain.

Mr Bisson: We are talking about the Constitution.

Mr Pretulac: I know, but that is a part of the Constitution. Everything is a part of the Constitution. I am talking about Confederation. Our Constitution in Canada says, "Under the laws of God." Correct? Well, jumping Jehoshaphat, we are running amok here in destroying every law that we are supposed to be living under, and it is all you people's fault. That is about all I have to say.

Mr Beer: You made reference to settling the aboriginal issues. That is an issue that has come up in our hearings. What would your advice be to us? How should we approach that?

Mr Pretulac: Talk to the people, listen to them, do not say, "Just because you are Indian, get back on your reservation." You are trying to integrate the people; they do not want to be integrated. They are hunters and fishers and trappers. I can see their point of view; you people cannot. You do not know anything about hunting and fishing and trapping. That is what makes me so upset and mad. You are going to do so much for the Indian, and you are doing more damage than you can imagine.

Ms Churley: I would like to thank you for coming to speak to us. You are raising a point that I think a lot of Canadians and people in Ontario are feeling, and that is not being listened to: a lot of promises being made during elections and then people feeling not that there are broken promises but perhaps that governments are doing things that people have not really asked for. That is what we are trying to do in this process. We are packing a lot into one month, and we have asked people to come out, and you are doing exactly what we want people to do, to come out and talk to us.

Mr Pretulac: Yes, but the way you people sit here -- now, I do not blame you for being like you are. That is your lot in life, so to speak. I never went to high school. I just finished grade school. I never went to university, yet I hear the university and university students give voice to certain things. I understand all those things, and you people do not seem to get the handle on it and I cannot understand why. What the hell is going on here?

Ms Churley: I think you are starting to tell us how, in your view, and that is what I am saying, we as politicians -- some of us are new politicians; some of us are older politicians -- have a lot to learn, and I am quite interested in anything you have to say about how to do it better, believe me. I am one of the new ones.

Mr Pretulac: I will give you an example. I used to be a shop steward at an industrial plant here in town. I went for election for three years running, and everybody laughed at me because I was so radical. I would say:

"What do you want me to do? I will do it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you have got a grievance, if you have got a complaint, sign it, and I will take it into the office." I finally got in, and the union was against me and the company was against me. I did not give a hoot. I got what the men wanted. Now, that is what you people should do. You are just glorified shop stewards. That is the title.


Ms Churley: Just one last question: As a shop steward, what did you do when the workers wanted different things? That is what we are talking about here in the Constitution. A lot of people want a lot of different things. What did you do as a shop steward to deal with that?

Mr Pretulac: I listened and took the complaints to the proper places to be recognized and dealt with. That was it.

Ms Churley: So that is what you think we should be doing here as well?

Mr Pretulac: Yes, that is right.

Ms Churley: Thank you. That is helpful.

The Chair: Thank you for your comments, sir.

Mr Pretulac: By the way, I had something made up to show you. I had this made up for myself. This is for all the casualties the Gulf war is going to suffer. Thank you.


The Chair: I call next Ernie Epp. Go ahead.

Mr Epp: Good afternoon. Mr Chairperson, honourable members of the select committee of the Ontario Legislature, I appreciate this opportunity to address your committee on the vital questions of the social and economic interests and aspirations of all the people of Ontario, within Confederation, and on the form of Confederation that can most effectively meet the social and economic aspirations of the people of Ontario.

As a historian who has been privileged to serve the people of Thunder Bay-Nipigon as their federal representative, I would like to offer a historical answer to these questions. Canada has come to a fork in the road, and it is important that we understand whence we have come before we decide which road to travel in the future.

The history of the Canadian people is in many ways a history of accommodation of differences. Self-government was achieved through the close co-operation of English-speaking and French-speaking Reformers. Confederation was achieved through the close co-operation of the Liberal-Conservatives and the Reformers of the province of Canada. The Confederation vision was of a new nationality that would encompass Canadians of all backgrounds and enable Catholics and Protestants in both language communities to flourish in freedom. Sir John A. Macdonald's Liberal-Conservative Party sought and often obtained the support of both the Roman Catholic bishops and the Loyal Orange Lodges.

This spirit of accommodation met its most severe test in the public school systems of several provinces. Only Quebec has fully respected the conviction of the Roman Catholic Church that the education of their children should be controlled by the church. The other provinces -- Ontario, New Brunswick, British Columbia, Manitoba after 1889 and the others, with the exception of Newfoundland -- determined that education should be provided in public schools under the direction of a department of education.

Separate schools had been established in what is now Ontario during the period when the two Canadas were under one government; the struggle in these schools after 1900 was between French-speaking parents who sought a bilingual education for their children and the English-speaking who opposed this desire. D'Alton McCarthy's campaign for a unilingual Canada led the Manitoba government to break election promises and to violate the provincial constitution in 1889. Rejection of the Confederation accommodation by the McCarthyites led to a strong assertion of the rights of French-speaking Canadians and served to tear the nation apart during the First World War.

A new vision of the Canadian nation developed in the terrible experiences of the Great Depression and the Second World War. Where the first generation after Confederation had hoped that national policies of westward expansion, railway construction, prairie settlement and a protective tariff would both bring prosperity to all Canadians and unite them through economic nationalism, the generation of the 1930s and 1940s hoped the federal government would accept responsibility for the unemployed and develop economic and social policies that would ensure a national standard of services for Canadians in every part of the country. The policies developed during these years were applied to national and regional problems, by both Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments, for a quarter century after the war.

Where the first national policies eventually aroused strong opposition in the west -- this opposition was strongly expressed by the Progressive members who made up the second-largest group in the 1921 Parliament -- the new national policies aroused growing opposition in Quebec. Before 1960, Canadians tended to ignore the Quebec assertion that social policy was a provincial responsibility, and the old age security pension and the Canada Council for National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences were created. After 1960, however, it became increasingly difficult for Canadian governments to enact such policies as the Canada pension plan and medicare.

The Canadian spirit of accommodation was expressed in the 1960s by such policies of co-operative federalism as shared-cost programs and opting-out formulas. These policies enabled the federal government to work towards the goal of equal levels of service in every part of the nation while respecting the conviction of the Quebec government that it must control social policy. The federal government also came to recognize the bilingual and multicultural realities of the federal state. It was becoming difficult to speak of the Canadian nation, however, as the Québécois and Québécoises asserted more loudly that they were a nation within Confederation.

The Canadian federal state entered a period of crisis in the late 1960s. A new Prime Minister from Quebec, who was profoundly opposed to all nationalisms, rejected any form of special status for Quebec. He insisted in public that Quebec must be "a province like all the others" while acting on the belief that Canadian governments had been treading on provincial turf. The shared-cost programs were renewed with difficulty in 1972. He had them replaced in 1977 by no-strings-attached grants for medicare and postsecondary education under the established programs financing arrangements. The social results and costs included extra-billing by doctors in many provinces and the failure of one provincial government to pass on to its universities all of the money it received for them from the federal government, much less matching the sums it received.

The Trudeau legacy includes an individual Charter of Rights and Freedoms and a constitutional repatriation process that led to the very two-nations situation that he had always claimed to oppose. His first assertion of individual rights in 1969 had threatened status Indians with loss of their rights under the Indian Act, and the later constitutional process led to a recognition in principle of aboriginal rights but little action on this understanding. By 1987, the first nations and other aboriginal peoples knew that recognition of their rights would only be achieved by intense struggle in individual provinces whereas Quebec had received recognition of its distinct society and provincial authority in the Meech Lake constitutional accord.

Canadians will never know whether the Meech Lake accord strengthened or weakened the government of Canada. It is possible that the spending powers clause resolved the problem of federal infringement on the provincial jurisdiction that impeded the development of the new national policies after the Second World War. The fact that the accord made concessions to every province of powers that Quebec alone had consistently sought was another of the Trudeau legacies -- Quebec had to be a province like the others -- and it revealed how far Canada had moved from co-operative federalism.

Canada is now clearly committed to an experiment or a number of experiments with sovereignty. The first nations demand control of their reserves as well as of a land base that will enable them to flourish in the 21st century. Quebec appears interested in very limited exercise of power by the federal government. Canadians want a strong federal government to ensure that people in Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland do not suffer simply because they live in the less prosperous areas of our country. After 20 years of substantial accommodation to Quebec's desires, Canadians are saying forcefully that they need a strong federal government and they want to hear leaders who recognize that need and act on it.

Our attempt to satisfy both Quebec and Canada within one Constitution appears to be doomed to failure. The transition will not be easy for a government and a Prime Minister based strongly in Quebec. Many Canadians believe that the present government has not provided for the needs of the Canadians, and this conviction will require the retirement from office of that Prime Minister and government. It is clearly intolerable that he and his colleagues from Quebec should determine Canada's national policies when they have been acting on Quebec's desire to gut national powers.

As the transition is achieved to a Canada no longer hobbled by the constitutional scruples of the government of Quebec and of Quebec's representatives in the federal Parliament, it will be advisable for us to maintain the policies of recognition of aboriginal rights, official bilingualism and multiculturalism that are vital legacies from the past quarter century of Canadian history. The McCarthyite program weakened Canada in the Great War and the English-speaking minority of Quebec continues to pay for the sins that McCarthy and his followers committed against the Canadian spirit of cultural accommodation. If we continue policies of respect for Canada's minorities, such action should encourage respect for minorities in an independent Quebec. I should perhaps add that Quebec's record on minorities in general is a pretty good record, whatever the English-speaking minority may suffer these days at the local level particularly. It should also reduce the number of refugees crossing the Ottawa River in both directions.

The Canadian experiment has been a noble one, and we need not be ashamed of its failure. Few of the federations created within the British Empire have survived without difficulties of one sort or another. Pray God that we be spared war within our Peaceable Kingdom. You may remember that William Kilbourn published the book in the fall of 1970 during the October crisis in Quebec, one of the ironies of Canadian history.

Let us accept the challenge we now face to accept the separation of Quebec with generosity and to reorganize Canada in that civilized and compassionate spirit that has always characterized the Canadian attitude of accommodation. Both Canada and Quebec will experience liberation through the separation. Having been married so long and by force, let us negotiate as amicable a divorce as we can.


Mr Offer: Mr Epp, thank you very much for your brief and certainly your presentation, a brief historical analysis of accommodations made in the history of this country by the federal government not only to Quebec but arguably to all provinces in this country. I know that you bring forward certain examples of those types of accommodations, whether it be railroads or language or shared-cost programs, all of which can be characterized as accommodations, none the less.

Your brief on page 4 in the last paragraph starts, "Our attempt to satisfy both Quebec and Canada within one Constitution appears to be doomed to failure." As I read your brief, I could have changed that line to state, as a result of the examples you have brought forward in your own presentation, that the history of our country shows a willingness to accommodate not only federal government and Quebec but also all provinces, and then the challenge is upon us to now seek further accommodations.

At this point in our history, in light of the accommodations which have been made towards all provinces in our history, why do you feel that there is no further possibility of accommodation?

Mr Epp: I fear that there is no accommodation now because I think the road we have trod the last 20 years is a dead end for Canada. If we could return to the 1960s and could experiment conceivably with opting-in formulas and programs rather than opting out, if we had federal governments that were eager to meet the needs of Canadians rather than fob them off in one way or another, I think there would be possibilities if Quebec wishes to go with us or if we can achieve the flexibility that would be required in arrangements with the Bank of Canada, the federal Department of Finance and other departments too, I would expect, to handle the complexities that are involved.

My brief is posited on the assumption that the vast majority of people outside the province of Quebec and some number of people within it want a federal government that provides the kind of leadership that people struggled to achieve in the 1930s and 1940s and 1950s and 1960s. The federal governments for 20 years, in my opinion, have been failing to provide that leadership, and given that kind of political action towards a dead end for the federal state of Canada, I think we need a break which allows Canada to be what I believe the majority of Canadians want it to be.


The Chair: I call Marlene Pierre from the Ontario Native Women's Association. Just before you start, in case there is a need for French interpretation in your presentation or others, I am told that some of the transmitters, the devices, are not quite functioning as they should. They are trying to fix that, so please bear with us. Go ahead, Ms Pierre.

Ms Pierre: Thank you. I would like to thank you and the Premier of Ontario, Mr Rae, for the opportunity for the Ontario Native Women's Association to make this presentation. We would like to acknowledge the presence of the various MPPs who are travelling throughout the north and want to express our gratitude that you have all come to the north. We hope this will be the first of many visitations by this government to listen and hear the people in the north. I would like to also acknowledge that we have had in the last two weeks five ministers visit our organization to hear the issues and concerns of the Ontario Native Women's Association. Again, we very much appreciate the attention that is paid to our organization by your government.

I would like to provide some background on the Ontario Native Women's Association. We have been in existence since 1971. At present, we represent 56 native women's locals across the province. Out of those 56 locals we have membership both on and off reserve communities; 32 of our organizations are located off reserve and 23 are on reserve. Twelve of them are in the remote areas of Ontario, two in isolated regions, and also 33 in rural communities. So you can appreciate that we have a great task, to properly represent the views and issues and concerns of women all across the province in their various stations in life.

Our organization is a political organization. We represent grass-roots women, women who find themselves in the poorest of the economic communities across the province. We represent families, and that also includes men. Some of our work has very much affected the lives of men and their families as well.

We also perceive ourselves to have the role of developing skill levels, speaking on behalf of women who would ordinarily not ever have the chance to meet with something like this group, or ministers.

We look at the various issues which affect family and we try to do things that strengthen family units. If I can share with you the profile of an aboriginal family, I would like, for a moment, if I can, to draw a mental picture for you about the status of aboriginal women and their families. In several studies the Ontario Native Women's Association has conducted, one in 1970, over 50% of our families were single-parent led. Their average income at that time was $5,000 a year. It has since risen in 1980 to $8,000 a year. They are reliant on some form of social assistance primarily. Their average size family, 10 years ago, was five; it is now 4.5.

You can grasp what that means in terms of what is really happening at the community level for native women, in that the socioeconomic needs of those people should be addressed in some real fashion by both levels of government and also Indian governments.

The Ontario Native Women's Association has done some other work. In the early 1970s we were able to work, along with other aboriginal women's groups in the country, to change the Indian Act by way of the removal of section 12(1)(b), which was the discriminatory section respecting who we married; if we were to marry someone who was not regarded as a status Indian, we lost our rights.


We are very grateful to one of our first presidents, Jeanette ??Corbiere Lavall, whom we have honoured, by the way, by way of an annual presentation to women who express the same kind of leadership in their communities. We also went on -- primarily, it was the work of the Ontario Native Women's Association and the Quebec women -- to ensure the rights of women through the equality clause which was constituted in the Canadian Constitution in 1982. We were largely responsible for that, with the help of the provincial government. I make that point because it was not through the assistance of any of our own governments, but we had to rely in both instances on the white justice system and we had to rely on the white governments to help us maintain some sense of equality within our own rights.

The Ontario Native Women's Association has, as you can see, long fought for equality. It is based on our conception of the inherent rights that belong to all aboriginal people. We have had a difficult time up to this time to make sure that what we saw and what we believe in for families and the future of our children has been greatly handicapped by the fact that we do not have the kind of legal resources that governments have and other types of organizations have to make sure that the rights of those people who are at the grass-roots level are being protected. We see that as a great role for ONWA.

In our deliberations with those five ministers, and hopefully we will be meeting with more, we have expressed through a document which I am going to leave with you -- it is a background paper on aboriginal women and self-government. I will also leave with you a copy of ONWA's perception of what Bill C-31 did to the aboriginal movement by all the classifications they now have in determining who we are. It is, again, a government-induced piece of legislation. I will also leave with you a copy of the most recent study ONWA did, which is the family violence study; that most revealingly portrayed what is happening at the community grass-roots level, that eight out of 10 aboriginal women have been or can expect to be physically, sexually, emotionally abused, and four out of 10 children can expect the same.

I am also going to leave some other documents which will help this committee understand where the aboriginal women in this province and, yes, in the whole country really are at.

In different parts of the country and in different parts of the province, especially in Ontario, there still is a great deal of resistance to women having a say on how their government at the local level should look. We insist in our discussions with the ministers -- and hopefully the Premier -- that native women, aboriginal women, must be there to design and have an input on how they see their government will be at the local level, because everything they will design will have a daily impact on our lives.

I would like to bring to your attention some of the kinds of things we are going to be dealing with. One very important right of self-government is the right to vote. Any citizen of any government should have the right to vote. Within aboriginal communities anywhere in the province, aboriginal people who are status Indians and belong to bands and have band membership and live off the reserve cannot vote. So as aboriginal citizens, when we are looking in the context of our own government, never mind what Canada looks like, we do not have a say.

Right now there is an activity taking place which again is government-induced, by the federal government. It really bothers us that bands are partaking in this activity. Basically, it is the usurpation of the right to equal access to services and benefits. The department is now requesting that bands distribute new status cards to band members that will portray, by way of an eight-digit number, whether you live on or off the reserve. That is designed so that those who live off the reserve will not have the same equal right of access to services and benefits. When my child goes to school with a child who is also of aboriginal descent, but because he lives in a city and they come from a reserve, he is treated differently? There should be no different treatment of our children, no matter where we live. And with respect to Bill C-31, who we choose to have children with is very much dictated by this bill. Those things, in our minds, are contraventions of every human right that Canadians should stand for.

Perhaps most devastating of all the acts of Parliament, the acts of governments, the local and regional governments, the acts of systems, was to usurp our right to our language. We know that in the province of Ontario there exists all kinds of legislation for French people, etc. We know that in the province of Ontario we are beginning to participate in an exercise called race relations, as it affects aboriginal people. One of the focuses for our organization is to make sure that the right to the preservation of our language and the instruction of that language and, further to that, the correction of the history of our people in this province is going to take place and not be lipserviced as it has been in the past. I would hope that this government will do what it professes in making sure that boards of education preserve and work actively to preserve that right of language.


I think it is worth while mentioning here, with respect to the attitude of Ontarians and the attitude of Canadians towards aboriginal people, that many of the public still believe that Indians are getting things for nothing, that we do not pay taxes, that we get this free and that free and all that sort of thing. Those myths must be dispelled, because they are not fair to us when people believe those kinds of things and treat us differently because they believe that, because they are not true.

Those rights that we want to preserve and re-establish are rights that were ours before any of the present-day government was here. When, 123 years ago or whatever it is, the first white man walked on this continent -- and I think people have been saying this to you in different forums -- we had our own government. The Canadian public does not know that either. How do you think people survived centuries on this beautiful island called Canada and in the Americas, how do you think we survived and kept the land clean and free without some form of government of our own? We want to recapture that kind of government and we would like Canada to recapture those principles and ideals of how we treat each other, with respect. We want to be unified on all of those matters, how we arrange ourselves, how we treat each other, how we deal with matters. The basis for those fundamental things is respect.

That is the kind of thing that ONWA has been fighting for, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, in the past. We are making it our business, when we are talking to our government representatives, our Indian leadership, that we want things right. We want things right for people no matter where they choose to live or who they marry or who they have children with. That is the bottom line for us. We want it recognized and implemented in local Indian governments.

Canadians have to realize, when they talk about Indians getting free housing and free this and free that -- I think it becomes very clear when we talk about the eight out of 10 women who can expect to be abused in whichever way and when we talk about the effects of the residential school -- we want to at this point congratulate Phil Fontaine for his courage. We understand that courage, because when we broke our information to the Canadian public it did take a lot of courage to stand behind something like this, when Phillip revealed to the Canadian public that there were all of those terrible things happening in the residential schools. Since that has broken, even within our own communities we can now talk about it. We can now understand why our parents have suffered and why maybe they are now suffering with alcoholism and all those other things, why people are in penal institutions. All of those things become very, very understandable.

So what does Canada do? What does Ontario do? I think the first thing we have to do is start to right the wrongs, and we can only do that together. Even ourselves in the Indian communities, we must do it together. We must work together at the community level and tell ourselves and each other what is right for our families.

I know I only had 20 minutes. I do not know where I am at now, Mr Chair.

The Chair: You are very close to that now, if you could sum up.

Ms Pierre: Okay. I think I would like to sum up, then.

I think I was in the throes of summing up, that what is required for not only Canada and Ontarians but what is required for every province in this country to think about, is that we need that one central government, that we all, every province, every citizen in that province, must contribute, and we who live in the north and for those who live in the south, we must start to share more.

I am pleased that this government is trying to do that, that more resources will come to the north from our tax dollars. I am pleased that Canada will one day look to Newfoundland and the Atlantic provinces and say, "Here's how we're going to do it together," that, "The poor people in your province, we will help them." I am very proud to be living in Ontario, because I know that we do give a lot to the whole of Canada.

So with that, I think I would like to just leave the one thought that no matter who we are and where we live, we must shout the wrongs from every rooftop. Those things that are spoken in the dark must be spoken in the daytime. Those things that are hidden must become uncovered, and together, if we do this all in the spirit of what we were here for, why we are human beings, why we were put on this earth, when we all come within ourselves to understand that, then I think Canada will again become one of the leading counties.

I feel that we have lost something in the last while with Oka. We have lost much with the participation in the different wars, or a lack of participation, whatever it has been. I would like to thank you all for listening to me and I would appreciate hearing any questions at this time.

The Chair: We actually are not going to be able to deal with any questions, I am afraid, Ms Pierre, but I do want to say on behalf of the committee that I think the sentiment you have expressed, of the need to look at the many issues that you have outlined for us with a sense of respect, is something that the committee members hold very high as well, and I hope will be reflected in our report. Thank you for your comments.

Ms Pierre: If any of the members wish to communicate with our association after this whole procedure is over, we certainly do not mind sitting with people who can make changes in our lives at any time, so I would like to extend that invitation to any of you to communicate with our association and learn more about what we stand for and what we want to see for our future.

The Chair: Okay.



The Chair: I call next Mary Robinson. While Ms Robinson is coming up to the table, I just want to announce again that there is a problem with the interpretation devices which apparently cannot be resolved until the setup is dismantled. There is one transmitter which is functioning and if you are using the devices, if you aim the little glass or plastic ball at the end of it in that direction, that might improve the reception. That is a problem that affects only the people in this room. I am told that the transmission over the television set is proceeding as normal. Ms Robinson, go ahead.

Ms Robinson: Let me begin by welcoming all of you here to Thunder Bay and repeat what you have heard from a number of other people, I am sure, which is that it is a pleasure to see people coming to the north and giving us an opportunity to see you face to face rather than the usual flurry of paper which goes back and forth.

I want to begin by addressing first of all the issue of Quebec and Ontario's role in dealing with the role of Quebec in the constitutional process.

I should perhaps just back up quickly and advise you that I practise law here in Thunder Bay as a sole practitioner. I have a degree in political studies from this university. I have a degree, my law degree, from the University of Ottawa, which I am sure you are aware is primarily a bilingual university, although I myself am not bilingual, and have been practising law with a specialty in aboriginal rights here in Thunder Bay. I am also a sessional lecturer here at Lakehead University on aboriginal people and the law. So I have a particular interest in all of the issues which you people will be looking at and I to want to start first of all with the issue of French and Quebec.

I believe the backlash we have seen with respect to this issue began with an unrealistic goal about a bilingual, bicultural Canada, that the difficulty really was that people did not understand from the very beginning that this was a project which is 100 or 200 years; this is not something we do in 10 years, 15 years or 20 years.

When I hear people say: "Look, we've spent all this money. We've put forward all this effort and we're still not bilingual," I look at the fact that French immersion in this city is probably not 20 years old, that the children who came through the French immersion programs are not yet in the workforce. They are probably just beginning to enter the universities.

The numbers in French immersion have been growing and growing and the interest in this has been growing. The problem has been that we try to go too fast. We want it too much and the goals have not been realistic. That itself has to be addressed. We do not just sort of throw it out because people say: "Oh, well, I didn't speak French. My kids had all this French in school and they don't speak French. It doesn't work. They're putting up French signs in the hospital. They're spending all this money and it doesn't work."

It may be that the government is indeed trying to put forward the symbols of bilingualism before bilingualism is really there and it may be that we have to put the brakes on on one side and have the sort of carrot and stick approach, if you like, which is to make jobs, put in place incentives for people to become bilingual, which again backlashes if there is no real need for the language in terms of numbers.

Now I am well aware that the circumstances are such that this occurs where numbers warrant, but that is not the view in the larger community. The view in the larger community clearly is, "Well, everything I get is in both languages," and so on. I think what really has to be understood is that we need to settle down and prepare ourselves to spend 100 years doing this, that in the end we will be a richer province, we will be a richer country and we will be able to communicate with each other. We cannot expect to do it in this generation or the next one.

By residing in Ottawa and attending a university where, as I understand it, the only areas which were exempt from proficiency in both languages were law and medicine, I was surrounded by people who functioned in both languages and the advantage which it gave them, if for nothing else than scheduling classes. They could take a look and say, "Oh, well, I don't have to get up at 8:30 in the morning to take constitutional law because it's offered at 8:30 in English, but I can go at 4 o'clock in the afternoon in French."

I am also very aware of the people who are proficient in the day-to-day set of circumstances in both languages who found it extremely difficult to function in law, in something that was highly technical. The level of bilingualism that is required to practise medicine or practise law is much, much more than in studying in other areas, but notwithstanding that fact, there were a great many people who were very proficient, very able to do that. Those of us who had an opportunity who are unilingual really understood how much more they have than we do.

The next point I want to make is that in our education system, I think another aspect that is missing is the value of languages, that language is not merely being able to go into a store and buy whatever you want in either language, that languages are ideas, are the communication of abstractions, are the ability to talk to one another and understand what we are about, the nuances in the language.

I think the best example of that is the efforts to develop the PONA documents for the Ministry of education, the documents related to people of native ancestry, and what were they going to call it. One of the suggestions was "Touch a Child," but it would not translate in the nuance of the spiritualism of -- "Touch a Child" does not translate. That works both ways with respect to aboriginal people. Many of the ideas, many of the nuances, the way they see the world, their holistic view of the world just do not translate properly into English. So as to people who have both languages, we look to them to interface for us in that respect. Sometimes even the interfacing just does not quite make it.

I want to turn from the question of the fact that the point I am trying to make, I think, is that we should not give up on bilingualism and biculturalism. We should perhaps just be a little more realistic about our goals and to communicate those goals and pursue them in a realistic fashion.

I want to turn from that to the Meech Lake accord. The Meech Lake accord, which would have granted a "distinct society" recognition to Quebec, is in my view merely stating the obvious. Clearly the people of Quebec are distinct linguistically and culturally and it is important to them for that to be recognized. I, for one, have no problem with that.

However, there is also the question of the French Canadian people who live in other parts of Canada. I think that Ontario's role as we go forward with constitutional talks is going to be to address that, because clearly if the separation of Quebec, or some form of sovereignty-association for Quebec or special status for Quebec, if you like, becomes a reality, the people, the French Canadians residing in other parts of the country by virtue of their geographies will not enjoy that same status. If we do it on a geographic basis, we are ignoring the fact that French Canadians reside in and have been a part of the history of this country from sea to sea. So I want to express the hope that Ontario in dealing with these issues will address that.

Meech Lake set as its priorities Senate reform, fisheries and all other matters. This brings me to the question of aboriginal people in the constitutional process, because one of the really serious problems, not that there are not a whole lot, has been fisheries.

You may or may not be aware, but the debacle we have in fisheries jurisdiction right now has to do with an 1897 decision of the Privy Council of Britain. They were asked about the separation of powers between the provinces and the federal government about who gets jurisdiction over fish. The Privy Council in all its wisdom said, "The federal government clearly has jurisdiction over fish, but the provinces own the fish."

We live with that to this day. When you add on top of that the whole question of aboriginal fishing rights, what you have is mass confusion and the circumstances which were up until recently, that a treaty right overrode a provincial law but not a federal law. So in arguing treaty law you had to look at all of these various bases.

The suggestion that somehow there was going to be constitutional reform on fisheries before the whole question of what are the aboriginal rights to the fisheries is incredible in my view, not sitting down and sorting out the rights of aboriginal people to fisheries in this country -- aboriginal rights, treaty rights -- before you look to the jurisdictional issue, or in the alternative, ensuring that aboriginal people have an equal seat at a table, because these are their rights which are being played with in the redefining of fisheries in this country.


I think Ontario's role, again, has to be to speak out on these issues on behalf of the people of this province and the very large native population which we have. You will recall that in the 1981 constitutional talks which resulted in the 1982 Constitution Act, it was Premier Allan Blakeney who stood his ground on aboriginal issues. It is as a result of his refusing to step back that we have section 35 of the Constitution Act today, which entrenches the existing hunting and fishing and treaty and aboriginal rights of native people.

My question is, as we go forward and we begin the next round -- we saw this in Meech Lake -- who will be there speaking for aboriginal people? In the Meech Lake talks, no one at the table spoke for aboriginal people, without exception. No one stated: "Hey, wait a minute here. What are we going to do about the land claims while we are divvying this up among ourselves? What do we really have to divvy up?"

So it seems to me that you will have to deal, first and foremost, with aboriginal land claims, comprehensive and specific. You have to deal with jurisdiction, hunting, fishing rights of jurisdiction, before the provinces and the federal government can sit down and divvy it up. You had better figure out what you have first.

This would bring me to Quebec. I think you will find few people in this country who are not anxious to see us hold this country together.

The Chair: Ms Robinson, I do want to let you finish, because you are going on to another point that we do want to hear about, but you are at the time already, so perhaps you would just sum up and touch perhaps on the point that you were about to.

Ms Robinson: Okay. I will sum up. The question of Quebec with respect to native people there: In the unhappy event that we make a move to sovereignty-association, that Quebec makes a move so that we cannot resolve this crisis, then I ask you, who speaks for the Cree in northern Quebec? Who speaks for the Mohawk? Do they go with Quebec or do they stay with Canada? I think they have stated very clearly that they insist on having a say. Is Quebec what was historically known as the colony, or is Quebec that which is now recognized as a province and what are the circumstances there?

I would say again to the politicians of Ontario that it will fall to you to speak for all of the residents of Ontario, and in doing that it will fall to you to speak for the aboriginal people, perhaps not just in Ontario but maybe even in the rest of this country, to make sure that these issues are addressed in a logical, rational manner and that the aboriginal people are not told, "Yeah, yeah, as soon as we get it divvied up among ourselves, we'll get round to you." It is completely unacceptable.

Much has happened in the last decade with respect to the law, and the federal government and the provinces have been dragged into the aboriginal issues by the Supreme Court of this country via various decisions on land claims such as the recent Sparrow case.

I think it is time for governments to take a lead and begin addressing this issue honestly and sincerely and not be dragged in by the courts over and over again, to set up a land claims process that is a fair and just land claims process that has representatives from everyone on it, to make money available to litigate if that is the decision of native people. They do not want to use this process. They want to use the court system. Right now they do not have that choice. The money is not available.

I thank you again for this opportunity and I hope you enjoy your stay in Thunder Bay. You certainly have lovely weather for it. You will be glad you were not here last week.


The Chair: I call next Steve Mantis from the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group of Thunder Bay. Go ahead.

Mr Mantis: Do you want to take a break? Do you want to stand up? I would get really tired if I were sitting all day, I will tell you. I work in vocational rehabilitation and they say the best thing is get up and stretch. Seriously, take a risk. Just move a little bit, move your body, get the blood flowing. It helps the brain think. It does for me anyway.

Mr Winninger: Do we have to pay for this?

Mr Mantis: Guaranteed this was free. No, you have to pay by listening, and putting up with taking a risk and maybe being a little bit embarrassed. I do not know.

First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Steve Mantis and I represent the Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers Support Group. With me is Ross Singleton. Ross and I are both members of the board of directors and on the executive. We were approached to make a presentation to the committee and they said, "It's about the select committee on the Constitution." All right, so how does that affect us? I mean, injured workers are not in the Constitution. I do not think it says anywhere in the Constitution anything about injured workers, so what does this all mean? So we had to step back a little bit and think about it.

Well, how are we affected by the Constitution? Of course, the first thought is Quebec. Okay, this is all about Quebec, right. What does Quebec want to do? It is hard for us to really know what Quebec wants to do, but it sounds like it wants to have more control over its own destiny. Hey, more power to them. If that is what it is about, then we support a process that gives them more power over their own destiny, because that is what we are after ourselves and I would not want to make any judgement at all about what happens with the Constitution and Quebec that did not have some direct relationship on my life and the lives of the other people in our organization, and what we are is a volunteer organization that provides self-help.

We are injured workers and we see people out there getting screwed day after day, right and left, and we say:

"What can we do about it? We'll help each other out." Honestly, that is the kind of Canada I want to live in. I want to live in a country where people help each other out. What does that mean in terms of a Constitution? I guess we have to have institutions that support that because, honestly, I do not think Brian Mulroney or the federal government or Bob Rae or the provincial government is going to solve my problems. It is too big. We need solutions which are generated in the community. We need people empowered to play a bigger role in their own lives and we need institutions and systems that support that.

I am not a psychologist -- we do not profess to be, you know -- but certainly our society has not been set up for people to take an active role in determining their own future. The first thing you learn is, you get in line before you go into the school building and you stay in line, and you do what you are told. So, like good people, that is what we have done. We have gone to the school and gotten whatever level of education and then we have gone to work. We have gone to work and we have worked hard, and then, you know, the Canadian dream is out there. We want to own our own home, we want to have our family.

So, following the rules, we go and get hurt, for any number of reasons.

One of the big reasons is because no one ever asked us how to make our workplace safer, and when we have tried initiatives, made suggestions, people have said to us:

"That's not your role. I'm the boss. I'll tell you what you do in this job." "Okay, fine. I will listen to you. You are the boss."

What happened in so many instances, like you might have heard when you were in Dryden, we have a health and safety committee that is in there saying, "This is unsafe." They lodged two written reports. "This is unsafe." What happened? Nothing happened and the guy died. The next day it was fixed. Is that not something? I guess it got the boss's attention, eh?

What we are talking about is an institution, a system that does not support people's control over their own lives. The bill that was just recently put through the Parliament here, Bill 208, was a bill that actually had, in its original form, ways to implement that control. In the workplace it created a health and safety committee that had power. It had representatives from labour and management who could say: "Stop the work right now. Fix it." So we do not have to go to a committee. We do not have to take it through 20 processes. Fix it now, it is unsafe. We are going to have to fix it anyway; let's fix it now before someone gets hurt. That is one example of a solution that can work. Rather than having someone up here decide for all of us, let's filter that down. Let's have ways that people down here can have some control in their lives.


Mr Singleton: Boy oh boy, tiring work. I hope this is overtime.

Mr Mantis: So when we look at the role of government and the role of the federal government, our suggestion would be a body that sets standards. Give the actual implementation and how those standards are put in place to the lowest common denominator if you can, so that what you do is you allow people in their own communities and their own workplaces and their own neighbourhoods to provide those solutions that they know are going to work. What happens is that people then get involved in the process.

What is the biggest problem today in terms of the whole political system? People do not trust it. When you have an election, what happens? People vote against the party. They are not voting for anybody; they are voting against the other guy. Why? Because they do not feel they have any control. They are not getting support they need to solve their problems. So let's find ways to give them the support. We are all just people and we all make mistakes, and whenever you have a small group of people making decisions, their mistakes begin to magnify.

The particular example is the workers' compensation system, which is what we are most familiar with. We have 2 Bloor Street East, downtown Toronto, on the 20th floor, where the final decisions are made. Now, I do not know what relationship that 20th floor is to a mine in Red Lake, to a pulp mill in Thunder Bay or to a logging operation out in Hearst or Manitouwadge. To think that they are going to make choices that in fact are going to control a person's life down here, where you can see they make a mistake and there are 450,000 claims. All they have to do is make a mistake and that affects 10% of the people. You are pretty good, you are 90%, you are doing pretty good, eh? Ten per cent means you have got 45,000 people in trouble. Think about it.

So we want to find a way to decentralize that process. We want to find a way to create solutions that work for real people in our community. Our organization has lobbied governments but also launched a program of education. We feel that in order for people to take control, they have to know what they are talking about. So the flip side of people taking more control is providing the opportunities for them to gain the experience to make the right decisions. I think the process you have started right now is a step in that right direction, where we begin a bit more open-ended discussion around some of these things and they are not all left to decisions on the 20th floor of 2 Bloor Street East.

We have really been motivated in our organization by the suffering we see every day. I do not know if it is the same everywhere across Ontario, but here in the north we are heavy industry. People work hard. People leave school in grade 10 and they go to work in the mill and 10 years later they are making $40,000 to $50,000 a year. But they are working hard, and they earn their money.

The Chair: Mr Mantis, if you could sum up.

Mr Mantis: Once again, in summation, what I would like to do is pass out to you a bit of information about one of the initiatives that we are taking here in Thunder Bay. We have developed a proposal for a resource centre for injured workers, a place where people get information and find out where they are in the system, what is happening to them, where they get information about the resources that are available in the community and where they can have peer counselling, where they can talk to other people who have been through the same process and know what they are experiencing. The result of this is that people, instead of being beaten down by the system, begin to take more control. They get back on their feet. They get back to work, which is what they want. They want to get back to work, back into the mainstream, so that in a situation like this, everyone benefits.

I respectfully ask for your support when the stuff comes before you.


M. Robitaille : Je suis ici à titre personnel et je désire par la présente adresse émettre quelques réflexions relatives à la tenue de ce comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario an sein de la Confédération.

La mise sur pied du comité dans le but d'émettre des recommandations sur les intérêts et les aspirations sociales et économiques de toute la population ontarienne au sein de la Confédération, ainsi que sur le genre de confédération qui pourrait répondre aux aspirations sociales et économiques de la population ontarienne m'a semblé, à prime abord, une entreprise louable.

Cependant, permettez-moi de mettre en doute la crédibilité du processus entrepris ainsi que la crédibilité du rapport final que vous serez appelé à remettre vers la fin mars, et ce pour une raison majeure, le manque d'information.

J'ai été avisé de la tenue et des buts de ce comité le lundi 4 février par une circulaire émanant des bureaux de Nadeau, Beaulieu et associés. J'ai entendu, ce même lundi au CBON, un poste de Radio-Canada à la radio, qu'un comité Silipo siégeait à Kenora. J'ai vu et entendu à la télévision de Radio-Canada que ledit comité avait reçu les doléances et la volonté de la population amérindienne et des Ontariens anglophones. J'ai également appris par l'entremise de ces médias que le comité siégerait ce mercredi 6 février à Thunder Bay. J'en ai été sidéré. J'avais 48 heures pour me préparer à affronter ce comité et, toujours le lundi, 24 jours pour méditer, discuter, exprimer mes opinions sur des sujets d'envergure nationale tels que les valeurs partagées par les Canadiens, ou, quel est l'avenir du Québec an sein du Canada, ou encore, les volontés de la population ontarienne. Il me fallait réfléchir sur huit sujets primordiaux, sur des mots essentiels tels que « valeur, avenir, rôle, justice, place, province, autochtone », sur des thèmes politiques, sociaux, économiques, culturels.


La vie m'a permis de faire des études et je pratique une profession qui incite constamment à la recherche et à la remise en question, et je me suis senti étrangement dépourvu devant les buts que vous visez. Je manque d'informations et j'ai l'impression de participer à course à la montre pour des sujets d'intérêt nationaux qui invitent et suscitent la discussion, des sujets d'intérêt nationaux, je le répète, primordiaux, en ces temps où la Confédération semble ébranlée au plus profond d'elle-même.

Non, non, j'ai mentionné déjà et je le répète, votre entreprise m'a semblé louable. Votre comité aurait pu me pourvoir; mais pourquoi avoir attendu si longtemps pour mettre sur pied ce comité, pourquoi tout à coup avoir organisé un rallye, un sondage peut-être ? Comment fut formé ce comité et pourquoi ? Nous manquons d'informations, rien n'est clairement défini, tout semble à la fois épidermiquement simple et profondément complexe. Quelle est la raison d'être de votre comité ? Pourquoi ne pas étudier les rapports des autres commissions pour ensuite les amalgamer ?

Non, votre comité n'est pas crédible à mes yeux et la crédibilité du rapport que vous serez invités à remettre l'est encore moins si on songe à d'autres commissions et comités qui elles/eux procèdent ou ont procédé pendant 12, 18, 24 mois. Et vous avez la prétention en deux, trois mois de recueillir auprès de la population ontarienne des renseignements sur des sujets primordiaux d'ordre national sans que celle-ci en fut très préalablement informée.

Le journal régional Le Nord a informé sa population de la tenue de votre comité dans l'édition du 30 janvier. Pourquoi n'avoir pas publicisé la tenue de votre comité ? La population aurait été beaucoup plus en mesure de répondre à vos attentes. Croyez-vous que la masse populaire soit en mesure de paraître devant vous en sachant qu'elle a 48 heures pour se préparer ? Croyez-vous que la masse populaire soit en mesure en 24 jours, 22 jours aujourd'hui, de préparer, de remettre des mémoires en 24 jours sans qu'elle n'ait reçu aucune information pertinente ? Enfin, ne croyez-vous pas que la population du Nord-Ouest ontarien risque de paraître indifférente aux yeux du reste de la province ? Et qui paiera la note ? Compte fait : l'Ontarien du Nord-Ouest.

Je vous remercie de m'avoir écouté. Si vous désirez que j'apporte des précisions, je suis à votre disposition.

M. le Président : Merci, Monsieur Robitaille. Je voudrais simplement dire que le rapport que vous avez mentionné et qu'on doit préparer pour le 21 mars n'est qu'un rapport provisoire. Ce n'est pas notre rapport final et aussi, comme je l'ai mentionné auparavant, nous voyons cette première partie de notre travail comme simplement la première partie d'une discussion qui doit continuer. Donc, nous sommes très conscients des points que vous soulevez devant nous aujourd'hui, du fait qu'il faut tenir encore beaucoup de discussions entre nous, politiciens, et évidemment les gens de l'Ontario.

M. Robitaille : Je vous remercie beaucoup.

M. le Président : IL y a une question, si vous voulez attendre.

M. Beer : Je me demande si quand même, avec les explications du Président, ça peut être utile pour nous d'entendre quelques réflexions sur les problèmes, disons, auxquels la minorité francophone, auxquels les francophones du Nord-Ouest devraient faire face. Et selon vous, qu'est-ce que nous devons ou pourrions présenter comme recommandations pour améliorer la situation des minorités, que ce soit des francophones ici ou des anglophones au Québec ? On a eu depuis quelques années des développements dans le domaine d'éducation, des services gouvernementaux, des services judiciaires ; qu'est-ce que vous pensez que nous devons faire comme province pour aider l'épanouissement du fait français dans ce coin de la province ?

M. Robitaille : Voilà, j'ai précisé au tout début que j'étais ici à titre personnel. Je ne représente aucune organisation, je ne représente rien du tout, et vous me posez cette question-là à brûle-pourpoint, vous comprenez ? Et puis, je dois avouer que vous m'embêtez grandement parce que comme je l'ai dit tout à l'heure, si vous m'aviez posé cette question-là et si vous m'aviez donné le temps d'y réfléchir et d'essayer d'y apporter des solutions ou de vous en suggérer, j'aurais été très en mesure de répondre à cette question. Mais comme ça, à brûle-pourpoint, sans y avoir réfléchi, je préfère m'abstenir de répondre.

The Chair: I would like to ask the members of the committee if they would prefer to break for a few minutes. We still have a number of speakers to hear, and it might be useful if we take a five-minute break before we proceed.

The committee recessed at 1638.


The Chair: Okay, we are now ready to go. I will go through the remaining list I call first André Cloutier.


M. Cloutier : Honorables membres du comité de l'Ontario dans la Constitution, c'est avec beaucoup de bonheur que je prends cette occasion pour vous faire connaître quelques-unes des préoccupations qui m'animent en ce moment face à cette crise, puisqu'il semble convenir de l'appeler ainsi, dans laquelle notre pays et en particulier notre province se trouvent.

Je suis ici à titre personnel. Bien que j'ai oeuvré dans le passé dans des organisations franco-ontariennes, je n'y suis pas directement rattaché en ce moment. Par ailleurs, professionnellement je travaille ici à l'Université Lakehead en capacité de professeur de littérature et de culture québécoises et canadiennes-françaises.

Comme Franco-Ontarien, parce que c'est ainsi que je m'identifie, j'apprécie beaucoup l'attitude du gouvernement actuel de même que du précédent gouvernement face aux droits franco-ontariens. Je crois qu'au-delà de ce qui grouille et ce qui fribouille, comme le disait de Gaulle jadis, les gouvernements récents se sont montrés forts et ont indiqué clairement et fermement la route qu'il faut suivre. Je pense qu'un des messages qui se dégagera de ma présentation c'est que cette attitude constitue la voie à suivre dans l'avenir également.

Il me paraît fort ironique toutefois qu'au moment où l'Ontario assume présentement ses responsabilités dans les domaines des droits linguistiques et des minorités, le gouvernement fédéral montre une inquiétante tiédeur ou en tout cas, maintient un silence relativement beaucoup trop grand. Les problèmes linguistiques actuels que nous avons connus ici à Thunder Bay, par exemple -- et dont on rappelait tristement le souvenir ce matin parce que ça constitue maintenant l'anniversaire d'une année -- me paraissent avoir été engendrés, entre autres, largement par ce silence trop grand d'Ottawa sur une vision qui, il y a à peine 20 on 30 ans, donnait naissance à une nouvelle vision harmonieuse de ce pays.

Faute de cette vision aujourd'hui, il me semble que nous sommes entrés dans un vide de leadership qui fait que tous les désirs de révision et de reprises deviennent possibles. C'est là un vide que l'Ontario s'est apprêté à combler et qu'il me semble l'Ontario, dans l'avenir, devra encore beaucoup plus fortement combler.

Je parlerai dans cette présentation surtout de la place qui me paraît devoir revenir au Québec dans une future Confédération, ajournée cette fois non pas seulement dans les mots, mais dans la réalité. Le présupposé de ma presentation en tant que Franco-Ontarien c'est que les Franco-Ontariens se porteront beaucoup mieux lorsqu'ils vivront à côté d'un Québec qui sera sur ses deux pieds et sera heureux de l'être au sein de la Confédération canadienne.

Ma présentation comprendra quatre points principaux. Je les affirme en partant et je les rappellerai à l'occasion.

1. Il me semble que, compte tenu des événements actuels au Québec et des nouvelles demandes, des demandes que le Québec a formulées, il ne faut pas dramatiser -- j'insiste sur ce mot -- les conséquences d'une décentralisation requise des pouvoirs du gouvernement fédéral.

2. Il me semble qu'il faut écouter le Québec et tâcher de l'accommoder par-delà toute tentation que nous pourrions avoir de mesquinerie, de jalousie, d'envie ou de rancoeur que malheureusement on sent trop souvent chez certains de nos concitoyens.

3. Ce point en comprendra trois petits sous-points:

Le gouvernement ontarien, me semble-t-il, doit assumer on rôle de leadership fort dans l'édification d'un nouveau Canada. Pourquoi ? Parce qu'il me semble que le leadership éclairé et fort est le seul élément qui puisse élever les peuples et les individus au-delà d'eux-mêmes et de la tentation de mesquinerie, justement.

Aussi, parce que le rôle passé, historique de l'Ontario dans la facture où la fabrication du Canada tel que nous le connaissons a sans aucun doute été déterminant, le rôle de l'Ontario restera déterminant.

Le nouveau pays à naître doit commencer dans nos têtes. Et c'est là, je pense, le rôle du leadership, de créer un pays dans nos idées, et c'est dans la tête de nos chefs que ce pays doit d'abord s'élaborer.

4. Les valeurs qui ont édifié notre pays et l'ont maintenu ensemble depuis quelques années et en fait, depuis ce siècle que nous venons de vivre, me paraissent aujourd'hui largement oubliées. Ces valeurs doivent être de nouveau formulées dans une vision cohérente et véhiculées avec force.

C'était le résumé de ma présentation. J'en reviens an premier point.

Le nouveau Canada, tel que je le vois, me paraît nécessiter une décentralisation beaucoup plus grande que ce que nous avons connu jusqu'à maintenant. Je rappelle la position que je formulais. Il ne faut pas dramatiser les conséquences d'une décentralisation des pouvoirs du gouvernement fédéral. Et dans ce sens je m'inscris en faux, contre certains témoignages que j'ai entendus hier soir, entre autres venant de certaines gens de Dryden qui sembleraient scandalisés à penser que le gouvernement actuel à Ottawa puisse changer.

À cela je vais répondre que, en 1867, il y avait plus d'une recette pour consumer cette Confédération que nous connaissons. En fait, à l'époque la recette principale, celle qui a prévalue, jusqu'à un certain point, a été la recette proposée venant du Haut-Canada, du Canada de l'Ouest donc, de ce qui était l'Ontario, proposée par Sir John A. Macdonald, lequel voulait un pays extrêmement centralisé comme on sait, tellement centralisé que les Québécois de l'époque n'en voulaient pas.

Cette première recette de John A. Macdonald a dû être amendée. Ce n'est pas un pays absolument centralisé que nous avons eu avec des sortes de comités, de sous-comités provinciaux. Nous nous sommes retrouvés en présence d'un gouvernement central mais dont l'autorité était partagée par les législatures telles que nous les connaissons. Après 1867 nous savons, par ailleurs, que dans son évolution historique le gouvernement à Ottawa a continuellement évolué vers la centralisation, un peu comme l'avait désiré, sans doute, John A. Macdonald au point de départ.

Cette centralisation, je le rappelle, a été appréhendée, crainte par Québec à l'époque. Cette centralisation, maintes fois le Québec l'a perçue comme négative, l'a dénoncée, l'a combattue. Ce n'est pas ces récentes années ; cela remonte à la fin du siècle dernier. Très tôt les Québécois se sont rendus compte qu'ils perdaient à faire partie du Canada.

Est-il nécessaire de rappeler les grandes crises à travers lesquelles le Canada est passées : les conscriptions, les guerres dans lesquelles le Québec a été invité à participer parce que le Canada a exercé un pouvoir centralisateur que d'aucuns peuvent juger excessif ? Cette centralisation, par ailleurs, qui a été négative souvent pour le Québec, n'a pas nécessairement été tellement favorable pour les francophones hors Québec.


Donc, d'une part, le Québec semblait avoir perdu d'autre part, cette centralisation qui était sensé protéger les francophones hors Québec n'a pas été tellement profitable non plus. Une des raisons, c'est qu'un des pouvoirs du gouvernement central, le seul pouvoir qui aurait pu aider les minorités, ce droit de désaveu que le gouvernement fédéral avait, il ne l'a jamais exercé lorsque les crises linguistiques se sont posées an Nouveau-Brunswick. Lorsqu'elles se sont posées au Manitoba, le gouvernement fédéral a préféré ne pas agir.

Plus récemment, un geste excessif de centralisation me paraît avoir été posé par l'adoption de la Charte des droits et libertés. Je sais que c'est un peu une vache sacrée que de s'en prendre à la charte, cependant il faut reconnaître qu'à l'article de la « clause Canada », cette charte a eu comme effet de contraindre le Québec de façon à l'exaspérer et de façon peut-être à avoir suscité largement la crise actuelle.

M. le Président : Monsieur Cloutier, je m'excuse de vous interrompre, mais je dois vous dire que le temps à votre disposition est terminé. Je sais que vous avez encore beaucoup de choses à nous dire et que la présentation serait sans doute utile pour nous. Si vous voulez nous en donner une copie, c'est certainement possible. Si vous voulez bien maintenant conclure.

M. Cloutier : Oui, merci. Je m'en vais conclure rapidement, peut-être résumer brièvement ce que j'allais dire. Est-ce que j'ai le temps de prendre peut-être deux minutes, une minute, 30 secondes?

M. le Président : Oui.

M. Cloutier: Après avoir parlé de cette recette qu'on a appliquée en 1867, et j'allais brièvement évoquer la recette nécessaire pour cette nouvelle Confédération de 1992 qui elle devra être faite de décentralisation, je pose la question : est-ce que c'est vrai que la décentralisation est de nature à affaiblir le gouvernement central ? Est-ce que la force du gouvernement central ne vient pas tout aussi bien de provinces qui sont fortes ? Je pense que l'exemple du pays voisin nous donne raison dans ce sens-là, de penser que ce n'est pas parce que les États sont forts que le gouvernement central est nécessairement plus faible.

J'allais aussi parler de la nécessité de faire place au Québec, de prendre au sérieux au fond ce malaise qu'exprime le Québec. Il me semble qu'au Canada, en général, on comprend mal ce qui se passe au Québec et je suis toujours, en tant que francophone, extrêmement étonné de voir qu'on puisse comprendre si mal le Québec.

Je pourrais peut-être dire que je ne suis pas né au Québec ; je suis né dans le Nord de l'Ontario mais j'ai vécu au Québec, j'ai étudié au Québec. Je crois comprendre les Québécois par l'intérieur, ayant vécu avec eux pendant plusieurs étés, pendant quelques années d'université, ayant lu leurs oeuvres aussi. Il me semble que beaucoup d'intentions qu'on leur prête ne sont pas justifiées. Il me semble par ailleurs que lorsqu'on ne tolère pas qu'on fasse à la minorité québécoise ce qu'on tolère tellement facilement que l'on fasse à la minorité française hors Québec, ces deux poids, deux mesures, j'avoue, me dépassent sans cesse. Même si j'essaie de comprendre mes concitoyens anglophones que j'aime bien, j'avoue que je suis dépassé par cette réalité-là et je pense qu'on touche là peut-être le problème majeur de la situation dans laquelle nous sommes, une sorte de fatigue émotive qui fait que le temps de comprendre semble être passé. Cela, j'avoue, m'inquiète profondément.

J'ai mentionné, et je vais terminer là-dessus, l'importance pour le gouvernement ontarien d'exercer un leadership. Je rappelle ce que j'ai dit au point de départ : je pense que les leaderships, depuis quelques années, se sont un peu attiédis. On semble penser que c'est passé de mode que d'exercer une force d'attirance vers quelque chose.

Je vais rappeler l'exemple de la guerre dans le Golfe en ce moment, qui a été malheureusement le résultat de l'exercice d'un leadership non pas pour la paix mais un leadership pour la guerre.

Une chose absurde dans un sens, même si une chose absurde est formulée, on voit que les gens ont emboîté le pas. Ce que je veux dire parallèlement, ce qui est très important, je pense, c'est que le gouvernement en place affiche ses couleurs, affiche ses convictions, et que ceci soit lié au travail de votre comité. Il serait fort regrettable que votre comité se limite, ce qui est un risque, à consulter et à faire voir à tout le monde que l'Ontario consulte.

Il est très important qu'après cette consultation les politiciens s'alimentent des réflexions que ce comité fera et que cette alimentation devienne une vision qui s'exprimera avec force et qui sera de nature à tirer les masses vers un but.

Je crois qu'il est illusoire de penser que les masses d'elles-mêmes vont trouver ce but, à moins qu'on ne leur montre un but qui est censé être un but qui est intelligent.

Je pense que je pourrais m'arrêter là-dessus.

M. le Président : S'il vous est possible de nous donner une copie de votre présentation maintenant ou après, ce serait, comme j'ai dit, certainement utile pour le comité.

M. Cloutier : Je peux peut-être mentionner que j'ai parle à partir de notes et je m'en vais rédiger ces notes et soumettre une version définitive au comité. Je vous ai fait remettre une copie déjà dans l'état assez embryonnaire où se trouve le texte en ce moment.

Je vous remercie beaucoup.


The Chair: I call next Ann Fisher. Go ahead.

Ms Fisher: I am perhaps before the wrong committee. That may be the case, but your resolution here says "the social and economic interests and aspirations of all people in Ontario within Confederation." I wish to speak about the aspirations of the Ontario people in wanting to believe and in knowing that Ontario as a province has guaranteed its adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, albeit that it is outside of Confederation.

This province of Ontario has not guaranteed adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. I come before this committee in order to let you know that the Ontario government, as did the previous Ontario government and the previous government before that, has abrogated its responsibility. The product that they abrogated responsibility on is a little, unknown quantity called tritium.

Tritium is used for all nuclear warheads. You cannot have a hydrogen bomb without tritium. Only the first-generation atom bomb, which was used in Hiroshima, did not contain tritium. Tritium, however, decomposes at a rate of 5.5% a year and must be replenished. All nuclear weapons contain tritium. Ontario Hydro produces tritium at the tritium removal facility. That tritium, instead of being placed into containers and being held, is being sold. You can sell it for $29,000 a gram, and Ontario Hydro is selling it.

Premier Peterson in 1988 said, "The export of tritium is a federal responsibility." Albeit it is, but it is the provincial responsibility to decide whether it will be sold or not, and the Ontario government decided to sell it.

The select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs in 1980 said, "Although Ontario Hydro and Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd have programs ongoing to consider ways of further reducing tritium and carbon-14 releases, there is no national or regulatory framework for guiding their implementation." Further, Canadian Environmental Law Association, "There is virtually no provincial or federal regulation to ensure that exports and even domestic sales not be diverted to weapon use." Further, "Existing regulations fail to provide adequate environmental, occupation and public health."

The Ontario government is responsible for the sales of tritium ultimately. The Ontario government has allowed a monopolistic crown corporation to override the guarantee of Canada's adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty purely for the profit motive. If the province of Ontario would be willing to pressure Ontario Hydro, it could initiate a storage policy. After 20 years of holding and containing tritium, you can release hydrogen into the air because tritium decomposes.

I am no doubt before the wrong committee. This is a committee on unity within Canada. But if the Ontario government can abrogate such a responsibility, how can you have trust of the citizens to the government?

The Chair: Thank you. No questions.



The Chair: I will go then to Erica Rebernik from the Multicultural Association of North West Ontario.

Ms Rebernik: Good afternoon. On behalf of Peter Monks, the president of MANWO, I am making this presentation. Because of fog, he was unable to make it to Thunder Bay. I will be unable to answer any questions, but if you do have any, I will gladly take them back to Mr Monks.

Ontario is 1,068,580 square kilometres. Northwestern Ontario covers 50% of the land mass. While approximately 9,114,000 people live in Ontario, only 250,000 live in this area. Thunder Bay has the largest section of that population at 115,000. The area has about 34,000 native people.

MANWO is the regional umbrella organization serving the needs of the ethnocultural groups of the region. It has been doing so for over 10 years. The main objectives of the association are as follows:

To promote the concept of multiculturalism throughout northwestern Ontario; To facilitate for the cultural integration of immigrants and newcomers; to sensitize communities of cultural differences and work for cultural equality; to encourage cultural awareness, appreciation and co-operation among all citizens; to act as the chief advocate on behalf of multicultural groups in the region; to preserve cultural freedom, heritage and cultural identity for all Canadians.

MANWO serves as the regional resource centre for compilation and development of resource materials, disseminates information, promotes multiculturalism, organizes workshops and cross-cultural conferences and assists in the delivery of multicultural services to the ethnic community of the region. We have the following associations: Dryden, Manitouwadge, Kenora, Fort Frances, Rainy River, Red Lake, Terrace Bay and Thunder Bay. We are actively working in the following communities: Marathon, Atikokan, Geraldton, Longlac and Sioux Lookout.

What are the values we share as Canadians?

First and foremost, I believe we should never lose sight of the fact that we are all Canadians, no ifs, buts or notwithstandings.

Ethnic groups developed this great land. Lack of education, communication and sheer hard work forced closed communities. The world is ever changing and new immigrants are arriving. The population mix is in constant motion. New solutions, new opportunities are required to bring a harmonious expanding country into the 21st century.

Regional differences are as important to the peoples in them as the countries of origin. Very little credit or understanding is given to the urban areas of Canada; power appears to reside mainly in Ottawa and the various provincial capitals and governments.

What binds us?

If we lose sight of the fact that every person in Canada should be a Canadian, no amount of freedom and democracy, diversity, monarchy or Charter of Rights and Freedoms will correct this. We are obsessed with the differences rather than the common aspects of good. This appears to be fostered by the government and the media.

How can we secure our future in the international economy?

Ontario contributes nearly 40% of the gross national product. People, we are informed, are the country's greatest asset. We continue to raise taxes at all levels of government, forcing every company, store and business to increase its costs and wages while negotiating free trade agreements that have forced too many companies into bankruptcy.

Many good people stand for public office but would appear to be corrupted by the political system. The rich seem to gel richer and the poor get poorer, and the same analogy applies to the have provinces versus the have-nots. Northwestern Ontario provides the major portion of this province is wealth, yet a very small portion is returned to the area.

Is there ever such a thing as full employment? Tax burdens are ever increasing; takeovers, leveraged buyouts, all are out of the control of most people. Cheaper labour in the global market will also force many changes.

What roles should the federal and provincial governments play?

Fiscal responsibility is expected from our elected leaders. It is time that the ministers are held accountable for their policies and actions. If a company can be fined for non-compliance with the law or indeed an individual of the company may be sent to prison, why not the same accountability for the government?

The wealth of each province must be shared. However, this must be seen to benefit the community at large and not the lifestyle of the federal, provincial and municipal bodies. How can the federal government provide funding for a period of time and then arbitrarily cut the funding when it suits it?

How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples? Meaningful discussions with the first nations' leaders. They have governed themselves in the past; they are capable of doing so again. Grant them dignity and respect as awarded to other heads of state. Settle just land claims promptly and as a priority. Provide education and training. Allow them control over hunting and fishing rights. Help them to develop and control the mineral rights and other resources.

What are the roles of the English and French languages in Canada?

MANWO has lobbied on behalf of the francophone community at the English-only resolutions in Thunder Bay. It also lobbies on behalf of all linguistic minorities to support the introduction of heritage language instruction in schools and to promote heritage language retention.

By promoting all heritage languages, the tension between the two official languages lessens. The first nations people are losing several irreplaceable languages and dialects. Rather than fighting the two language issues, we must preserve the priceless heritage of all languages.

Canada is officially bilingual; it is our duty to support that position. Thunder Bay has one of the largest Finnish populations outside of Finland, yet little is done for these hardworking people or for the Ukrainian, German, Polish etc.

What is Quebec's future in Canada? Six items are listed as distinct features of Quebec society. Many others could likewise list distinctive claims. Newfoundland was settled 910 AD to 1090 AD, mostly as a fishing base led by the Viking, Lief Erikson. John Cabot from Bristol discovered it in 1497 and Sir Humphrey Gilbert landed there in 1583. Newfoundland was a major influence in creating the Confederation of Canada in 1865, while itself not becoming a member for another 84 years.

The aspirations and goals of Quebec are to be respected and discussed. Meech Lake died because of the stringent deadlines imposed. Quebec is indeed a distinct society, as indeed are our native peoples. The latter have an older and much stronger claim to that recognition. Every province and people have similar claims; in pandering to one against another, further disharmony will result.

What is the place of the west, the north and the Atlantic region? Some regions have long been neglected and have not been adequately represented. Lipservice from the elected leaders has been painful to many areas of the country. Canada without Quebec is no longer a country. The natural choice for the Atlantic provinces would then be to join the United States. That way they could at least benefit from the richer neighbour.

The west may well separate to the US as well, leaving only Ontario and perhaps Manitoba as Canada. The north would remain unwanted, undeveloped and unused unless there were minerals and oil in plentiful quantities -- then the north would be claimed and wanted by all parties.


Ontario's trading relationships: Free trade is inevitable. The European common market, the American-Canadian free trade agreement, the Pacific Rim trading groups -- we have to be part of the world trade. There are significant barriers between provinces that are greater stumbling blocks than the trade agreements. The access to trades investigation revealed that people cannot practise their professions across Canada, only in selected provinces. Universal acceptance of qualifications and training is a necessity.

In closing, I would like to state that I am an immigrant. I came to this country 16 years ago, worked in Newfoundland for five years and have lived and worked in northwestern Ontario for 11 years. This country is one of the best in the world. We must stand and proclaim this fact. Together, we can make it a much better place to live in.

I have learned much in terms of racial tolerance and appreciation in the eight years I have been serving as a volunteer with MANWO. To combat separatism and negative comments, one has to stand and be counted. For this reason, I appear before the board.

Lack of notice and presentation time have made this presentation brief. I received details only last night.

This concludes Mr Monks's report.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Please extend our thanks to Mr Monks. The presentation may have been brief, but I think it covered a number of the issues that were raised in the discussion paper and then some, so pass our thanks to him for that. If he or your association wishes to send us any additional comments on any of those areas, we would be happy to receive them. If there is a copy of the presentation that you could leave with us, we would appreciate that. Thank you.

Is Rita Ubriaco here? I am going to go back through the list one last time and give people an opportunity if they are here to come forward: Brian Webster, Don Hudsel, Mark Powers, Brenda Reimer, Evelina Pan, Dave Pugh, Rita Ubriaco. Seeing that none of the individuals are here, I think we can recess and come back at 7 o'clock sharp. Oh, we are getting a few others.

I think, with the forbearance of the committee, if there are two other people, we can deal with them briefly. It is easier perhaps to do that now than it will be later on because our evening time slot is going to be very tight between 7 and 9 and we will not be able to add to that because of our schedule leaving out of here to get us to Sault Ste Marie.


The Chair: Bud Garrett. Go ahead.

Mr Garrett: I am originally from Quebec and this French-English business does not seem right for some reason here in Ontario. I hear talk about how good the English have it in Quebec and how much better it is down there than here for the French, and it does not seem right.

Down there, if you want to know what is on your driver's licence, unless you speak French you have to get somebody to translate it for you. Up here, you can tell what it says on your driver's licence in French by looking at it. The schools down there have to operate in French. The road signs are all in French. There are a lot of things down there. The English do not have it as good down there, I think, as the French have it here.

But I do not think having laws to destroy the French language here is the way to go either. I think there should be laws throughout the country for both languages, and not only French and English; I think there should be laws for the natives languages too. I have got a son who speaks Ojibway not too bad, but since coming to Thunder Bay there is no school for him to learn his Ojibway so he is going to lose it, and I do not think that is right.

Another thing that bothers me, getting away from the French-English thing, is logbooks for truck drivers. It is okay for you to go to work for 16 hours and then drive home from work, and it does not matter how far away you are from work. You can work 16 hours, 20 hours, whatever, and then you can drive home. A truck driver can only drive 12 hours a day, and he is a professional driver. It just does not make sense to me.

Another thing that really bothers me are these fuel taxes we pay. The price of fuel here in Ontario is probably one of the most expensive in Canada. Not too long ago I heard on the radio that $2 billion or $3 billion in fuel taxes have been collected over the last couple of years and only a small amount was put back into the highways. I do not think that is fair, either. That is what I had to say.

Ms Harrington: I just want to thank you for having the courage to come up and join us for a moment.

You mentioned that your son would be losing his Ojibway language because there are no facilities here. I just want to comment that that does show very clearly how precious language is and how very easily it is lost, both the native language and the French language. I think it points out that is how the people in Quebec are feeling, that unless there are barriers to protect their language, the language is lost.

Mr Garrett: I do not think anything should actually he protected. I think it should be fair. I think what we need is a fair system in which everything is protected, not just one thing. It should be that everything is protected. When you start saying, "We'll have a school here where we can learn Chinese," you are taking away from another language, or if you say, "Okay, we can only teach French here," you are taking away from the Chinese. It is quite a big thing altogether.

Ms Harrington: Language is important. Thank you for bringing that up.

Mr Bisson: I first have to commend you, as Margaret did. The wisdom we can sometimes get from listening to people who come forward and give their raw experiences with regards to what they see as failings within the system I think is something that we, as politicians, have to be exposed to more and more, because then we can be reflective of what society is all about.

I take it in what you were saying, though, what you are advocating -- I am not quite sure, and this is why I want some clarification -- is that what we need constitutionally is a system in which regulations and laws are the same in all provinces. You talked about transportation, you talked about language, you talked about a number of things. Is that basically where you are coming from?


Mr Garrett: I think we need laws that are not always taking from something, for instance, logbooks. A guy cannot drive now. He can only drive for 12 or 13 hours, yet a guy can drive home after working 16 or 20 hours in a factory, and he can drive 100 or 200 miles and there is nothing wrong with it. I do not think that is right. It is definitely not fair.

Mr Bisson: So what you are saying is standard regulation across the country?

Mr Garrett: Yes, there should be something standard across the country, and there should be standard wages. A lot of people do not realize it, but truck drivers are still out there running for 22 cents a mile, a lot of company drivers. I have done it before, and it works out to about $6.50 or $7 an hour. That is it. People cannot feed their families on that.

Mr Bisson: I would like to thank you very much on behalf of the committee.


The Chair: I call Ken Kooper.

Mr Kooper: I was reading the discussion paper, and it starts off: "A free society rests ultimately on the will of its citizens to stay together." Well, in this country I guess that is more of a challenge than a goal. I think the past couple of years is not really the only time this country has faced this same challenge. In the early 1860s we had this challenge. We have had provinces attempt to repeal their participation in the country. The problem is that we have now had 120 or 130 years in which we have stayed together, and with that have come certain attitudes that have developed in, I might add, a regional context, because I do not think this country has developed an attitude that is on a national scale.

In Ontario you hear the common attitude right now being, "Quebec has to become a part of Canada." What is Canada? It is a question we are still asking and we still have not got the answer for. It is almost like asking the question, "What is God?" We do not have an answer. In a sense, that is what we are getting here.

The problem in Quebec: You hear a lot of people say:

"Well, Quebec. They want this, they want that." There are many separatists who believe that Quebec is a nation that can stand on its own and that it should get special status, that it has special status, that it is different. I am pulling out a book I use in my classes. There is an article by a noted professor, Craig Brown. He notes the words of John Stuart Mill, I think it is, in which he describes a common historical tradition for a national context. He is saying a historical tradition must exist for a people to feel that they are nation. He quotes: "The possession of a national history and consequent community of recollections, collective pride and humiliation, pleasure and regret, connected with the same incidents in the past."

A few minutes later, he writes: "Many nations have manifested their nationalism through great public acts. Canada has asserted its nationalism by looking for it." I assert that Quebec is not looking for it. They know who they are. If we look at the context of our collective heritage, our collective memories, what do we have? We have the Plains of Abraham. That sticks in our heads. What are the Plains of Abraham? The British defeated the French. Wolfe won a victory on a little battlefield and suddenly Quebec -- or New France, because Quebec did not exist at that time -- New France became a part of Canada. That is a very wonderful collective memory. I am glad we all feel that way. But somebody does not, somebody does not feel the same way about it.

A second collective memory: How about Louis Riel? Where does he figure in Canadian history? On the one hand, he is considered a traitor, and someone who was hanged because of it, with a great deal of opposition from the other side, which was Quebec. Whether the issues Louis Riel was fighting for were issues that French and English could feel, I do not want to get into. But the fact is that our collective memory of Riel is different in one part of the country from another. That is because in one part of the country we do not see the way the other part of the country looks at things. It is kind of difficult, because we never felt what the other side of the country feels.

Right now, with all the feelings that are being aroused on one side or the other -- English-only bylaws, I think, soured any emotions we have of bringing the country together on the one hand, and Quebec's language law, or its assertion that English signs can only be done in French, on the other hand, I think has soured our opportunities of bringing the country together.

In the next two years we have to step over that, and that is going to be very hard. I do not know if we are going to be able to do it. It scares me, because, personally, when Meech Lake was going on I never really supported it that much. I still do not. I supported the idea that we need to give Quebec a better place in Confederation so it protects its culture, its heritage, because otherwise, they will go on and do it themselves. They have a collective memory that is all its own. They have a feeling about the Plains of Abraham and Louis Riel and conscription and every major crisis we have had; they have had one that has united them. We have not. I would argue that we are on the verge of never coming back together. I do not think we will. But we all have to be optimists. We all have to hope that this process will somehow manage to help bring it together, to heal the wounds.

For those people who believe we just can get rid of Quebec, that if Quebec leaves that is fine and dandy, they are dreaming. I do not think you could have a central government if one of the partners in the original Confederation left. It is a precedent. One of the things that, unfortunately, British law has brought with it is the idea of precedents. In the past 10 years, the first great precedent was that Quebec was leftout of the Constitutional process in 1982. They did not sign the Constitution, and because they did not sign, that was a precedent. It is a precedent, but it is a precedent we all have to live with and one that every province can use. If Quebec manages to go on its own in the next two years, any other province can attempt the same thing, basically.

The Chair: Mr Kooper, could you sum up, please? We are at the end of the time.

Mr Kooper: Certainly. There are a number of things I wished to mention. First, I think that in this country what we have to do is try to change the tune, which is we just assimilate, assimilate, assimilate, and forget, forget, forget. We are different that way. We are really, in a sense, a bunch of little countries, regions, and it will be very difficult for us to assimilate, assimilate, assimilate one province into the country.

I wanted to make some proposals that I think could be useful. One thing is about the north. I believe the north should be granted provincial status within the next five years. That would be a good idea, and I think Ontario should be the one that pushes it in any future constitutional negotiations. Why? Because I think it is something that has been left up in the air in Canadian history. We have never really come to terms with it, and I think Meech Lake especially did not come to terms with it. And if we do not come to terms with it now, we could have more problems on the horizon up north.

The Chair: Mr Kooper, you are going to have to end. I am sorry. We just do not have the time to go through the remaining points you have.

Mr Kooper: There is only one point left. There are a lot of people saying, "We should get rid of the Senate" or "We should keep the Senate." I think we should have an elected Senate, not based on the three diatribes from the west -- the free, equal, whatever. I think it should be an elected Senate, voted two years after every federal election, like in the United States. That would give a balance, especially when you have a majority party in power. That would allow for people to have a second opportunity to make their feelings felt about the government in office at the time. That, I think, might create a balance and might bring about what would be a truly elected body of sober second thought.

To conclude, I hope that something does come out. I am scared, personally. I am torn, because I do not, in one sense, want to see Quebec separate, yet there are some things the Allaire report has come out with which I do not think we should accept either. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time to go through them. But whatever comes out, I hope Ontario will make a substantial position felt and that it will be an honest position, and that whatever Ontario does in the next couple of months to a year will bring the country back together.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Kooper. That concludes the session for us at this point. We will recess until 7 o'clock. We will try to get back here so we can start at 7 o'clock sharp, because, as I indicated, our time lines this evening are very light. Thank you very much.

The committee recessed at 1754.

The committee resumed at 1913 at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay.

The Chair: I call this meeting to order and welcome those of you who are here in the audience. For the benefit of those people who are watching our proceedings over the parliamentary network, we are at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. This is the third day of our hearings, the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. We heard from a number of people this afternoon in a long session that went, I guess, for about four and a half hours or five hours, and we will continue our hearings now.

I want to say to the people who are here that, again, we are conscious of the fact that there are a number of other people who either were hoping or thought they were going to be on the list to speak. Because we are under some more severe time constraints this evening than we were earlier this afternoon when we were able to extend the time, we are going to ask those groups that are on our list to be, hopefully, briefer than the time they were given.

I am going to be as scrupulous as I need to be on that. I apologize for that, but it is the only way we are going to give as many people an opportunity to be heard as possible. So I would like to ask groups that are presenting, if possible, to keep their presentation to within 15 to 20 minutes and individuals to absolutely below 10 minutes. We are happy to receive any additional information you want to send to us following that, but it is the only way we are going to be able to give as many people as possible an opportunity to talk to us this evening, and because of the technical arrangements we need to end not much later than 9 o'clock.


The Chair: I will start then by calling Tony Pucci and John Potestio from the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association. Go ahead.

Mr Pucci: Mr Chairman and distinguished members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, on behalf of the board of directors of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, welcome to Thunder Bay.

At this historic moment when the destiny of Canada is at a crossroads, we recognize the extreme importance of our collective mission. Please appreciate that our brief that we will be presenting this evening has been prepared under extreme time constraints and without the benefit of the document A Public Discussion Paper, Changing for the Better. My colleague and past president John Potestio, in consultation with the executive committee of TBMA, has articulated our collective thoughts which Mr Potestio, sitting to my left here, will present to this committee this evening.

Allow me this opportunity to briefly outline the history of our association. The TBMA was formed in 1972 and has been a positive force since then. We have over the years taken countless initiatives, ranging from essential services to newcomers to the publication of a newspaper called Northern Mosaic, conferences, etc. In recent years we have even established a centre in a refurbished historical building which is becoming more and more a focal meeting place for this community. In addition, for the last 18 years we have staged a yearly folklore festival which continues to attract and bring together thousands of Canadians to appreciate the richness of cultures which exist in this community.

We have a board of directors composed of 32 members and we represent, I would say, almost every ethnocultural group in Thunder Bay.

In summary, multiculturalism in Thunder Bay has been, and is, very strong. To put it mildly, we certainly would like to see a greater commitment to multiculturalism at the federal, provincial and local levels. A manifestation to this effect is imperative at this historic time when we are poised to enter a new era.

I would like to turn the mike now to my colleague here and past president of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, John Potestio.

Mr Potestio: Thank you, Mr Pucci. Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you for the opportunity of giving us, TBMA, an opportunity to present our views on some very important issues.

As the umbrella organization of the ethnocultural groups in our community, TBMA is concerned about the constitutional impasse in our country and all its ramifications. We are now at the crossroads of redefining not only the way the various parts of our country relate to each other, but of charting a new social and political order that could serve as a blueprint for the future.

TBMA is well aware that the people of Ontario, as well as other Canadians, are engaged in a debate, often bitter and divisive, about the very nature of our country. Last year, about this time, the council of the city of Thunder Bay precipitated an acrimonious debate on bilingualism that set back relations between anglophones and francophones for a long time to come. TBMA entered the debate and subsequently made a plea to the council members to rescind that motion. I urge the committee to read the appendix at your own leisure that is included in the package.

TBMA has tried its best to bring people in this community together to work for a more tolerant and equitable society. We of course realize our limitations, and we also understand that the national mood is such today that conciliation and compromise are difficult to achieve, perhaps because Canadians do not understand what is happening. We can see the results of a country that is out of joint. The list is long: Meech Lake, Oka, crippling parochialism, language intolerance, racism, discrimination and economic hardship. But we do not know the source of our malaise.

It is time, therefore, that we stop relying solely on our political leaders for answers -- not that they should be excluded from the process of nation building -- and examine our own consciences and engage in intelligent discussion. For a start we should attempt to appreciate the fact that most of our problems stem from a historical tug of war between anglophones and francophones, each trying to define Canada in their own image to the total exclusion of native and other ethnocultural groups.


In a brilliant analysis of this problem, one of Canada's most eminent historians, Ramsay Cook, put it this way:

"Canada suffers from divergent concepts of the nation and the state. Whereas English Canada has traditionally acted on the principle that `Canada ought to be a culturally homogeneous country,' and has used the state machinery to effect this perception, French Canada thought of itself as already being culturally homogeneous, that is, they were already a nation, and that in the words of their great leader, Papineau, `One nation ought not to govern another nation."'

We in the multicultural movement believe that Canadians should embark on another course by abandoning the concept of the two founding races and adopt a policy of cultural plurality that is the essence of multiculturalism. Canadians should not define the nation state in terms of the cultural aspirations of one group or the other. Instead they should use the state to promote the equality of all ethnocultural groups.

In other words, we may have to give up the 19th-century definitions of nationalism and adopt a more progressive, relevant and uniquely Canadian concept of the nation state as the embodiment of those values and traditions that have evolved historically as people from the four corners of the earth have attempted to improve their lot in this land of promise. The state should use its considerable resources to foster a sense of Canadianism that is defined by geography and a common destiny, by political and social institutions and by a value system that is consistent with the aspirations of all human beings, regardless of cultural background.

If we strengthen institutions that serve people and empower all Canadians to exercise some control over their lives, nationalist aspirations of the English or French variety would become unnecessary. Indeed, Ontario as the most populous and perhaps the most economically influential province, has the obligation to remind the two so-called founding people, the French and the English, that neither one is culturally homogeneous and that for the sake of national unity they must cease their attempt to establish a cultural hegemony over this land by using the tyranny of the majority, to use a hackneyed phrase.

Ladies and gentlemen, THMA recommends the following:

1. As the most culturally diverse province, Ontario should take a stronger stand in the promotion of multiculturalism as the only real alternative to anglo or franco conformity.

2. The government of Ontario should make more effective use of the constitutional powers that can effect desirable changes in the structure of our society. For example, education should be used as a more effective tool to eliminate interethnic, intercultural and interracial strife by the creation of support and accountability systems which would ensure the full equality of all citizens of this province. The vertical mosaic must become the horizontal mosaic.

3. By using the educational system, the government of Ontario must promote the concept that all cultures and languages have intrinsic value and implement programs which will enhance our linguistic and cultural heritage; for example, mainstreaming heritage languages and greater commitment to collectors of archival resources and publications of ethnic and multicultural materials.

4. Finally, ladies and gentlemen, the government of Ontario should strengthen the institutions that promote equality for all citizens, such as the Human Rights Commission, for example, to create a democracy of talent and merit rather than one which relies to a certain extent on patronage and historical and cultural pedigree.

Thank you for your time.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Questions on the part of the committee members.

Mr Beer: It's nice to see you again in perhaps calmer times. In the recommendations that you make, I wonder if you might talk a bit about the work of your council, both in terms of interracial issues, because I believe you have been looking at a number of issues, and in terms of one of the ones that of course is raised with us, the aboriginal question, as to what your sense is of where we are there and the kinds of steps that we should be taking and also a community such as Thunder Bay has been taking to bring about better harmony and dialogue.

Mr Potestio: If you would not mind, Mr Beer, I think maybe Mr Pucci, as the current president, would be in a better position to answer that than I would.

Mr Pucci: I think that the feeling of the multicultural association on this question has been in essence to encourage a speedy resolution of outstanding issues with the native community. I do not think that we have any easy answers to that, but we would encourage the two levels of government to get moving with that big job. I think that is what we have been advocating.

Mr Beer: Just briefly, do you sense there is a climate there that would allow that to happen, would permit that to happen, that people have the sense that now is the time when perhaps we can resolve some of those issues?

Mr Pucci: I believe that is the perception I have of our communities, that there is a genuine interest in seeing these issues resolved with the native people. There is a genuine feeling of that, I would say.

Mr Potestio: I certainly would concur, though I would offer another comment, and that is that perhaps the board members are -- I am going to be perfectly frank -- more concerned with the relations between the English and the French in this country and issues on bilingualism as opposed to native issues. That is not to say our board does not discuss, talk about native issues and the way these issues should be resolved. I think the board is very sympathetic to the problems that the native people of Canada face today.

Mr Malkowski: I was very impressed with your presentation, but there is one point I would like to clarify. The establishment of the Human Rights Commission, you say -- do you feel there should be more representation from the multicultural community and do you see that there needs to be a reform of the Ontario Human Rights Commission structure?

Mr Potestio: I guess the point I was trying to make is that instead of identifying ourselves with nationalist issues as we have been all along, whether we are pro-French or pro-English, I think it is time to think about strengthening the institutions that make us Canadians. You know, what are we proud about? I think that in this country we are proud of the fact that we believe in freedom and equality, the equality of ethnocultural people, equality of race and equality of the sexes.

I am not sure about the structure of the commission, but I would imagine there would be room for more representation in ethnocultural committees, although I do not have the list in front of me, but I have a hunch that there should be more representation as well as perhaps more women. But the point, to go back to what I said earlier, is to strengthen our institutions that make this society work.

Ms Harrington: You were discussing just recently the values that we share and I think that is the first question we had in our discussion paper, that we as Canadians have to look at the values we share. Also, the last speaker we heard before our supper break was dealing with the experiences that we share in a common history and how we value our experiences together as a nation.

The point I wanted to note was the fourth topic you brought up about strengthening the institutions that promote equality, such as the Human Rights Commission, and changing things so that our democracy does not rely, as you say, to a certain extent on patronage and historical and cultural pedigree. I just want to let you know that this is something our government is very committed to, as you may know, that we want to change the perception that in the past it has relied on maybe who you are or where you are from, that we want to bring everyone together into sharing power, not concentrating power but bringing it to everyone.

Mr Potestio: I guess our hope is that whatever the next book, it will not look at Canadian society or Ontario society in the ilk of Porter, that the next book will say that Canada is not a vertical mosaic with the two so-called founding races at the top, but is a horizontal mosaic where we share equally in the mechanisms that make this province work. As a multicultural society, we need more appointments to boards. We need more representation to, let's say, university boards, for example, trusteeship. I think we have done a sufficient amount, but not enough, and I think that is the basic point we are making.


Ms Harrington: We cannot change everything overnight.

Mr Potestio: Of course.

Ms Harrington: But we are totally committed to that.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. It has been useful to the committee.

Mr. Potestio: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman.


The Chair: Could I call next Aime Bouchard, grand chief in the Lake Superior area, to come forward. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Bouchard: Good evening, Mr Chairman. I am not used to calling anybody "Mr Chairman." I have about nine pages that I would like to read. I did not have a long time. I did not know that I was coming up here until maybe a couple of days ago, so I just wrote this out today.

The Chair: Before you start, if you prefer to do that, then go ahead and do that. Again, just because of the time constraints that we are under, if you are able to --

Mr Bouchard: I will read fast.

The Chair: Well, the other option would be, we have the brief, and if you want to pick out from it things that you want to highlight for us, that would be also helpful.

Mr Bouchard: Okay, so we have only what, about 20 minutes? Okay, maybe I will -- oh, I will read it.

To go deep into the history of native and non-native relationships will not serve the purpose of this presentation, yet it is the most important part of why we are here today, and I truly believe that it should be taught more in depth to students in the school systems if Canadians are to truly understand the full fabric of this country.

At present our country is in the Middle East, as allied forces are trying to drive Iraq out of Kuwait with the excuse that we are helping to enforce a new world order which has come about by the United Nations agreement, and we are enforcing a resolution to that effect. Yet Canada is a signatory to the convention of indigenous people and many of their resolutions within the United Nations. Where is the new world order?

Many people in this country and within the government say we have given the aboriginal people of this country too much; it is time they pay their own way. "We pay their education, their health, their housing. That's enough," they say.

Why is it then that we have the poorest education, the highest death rate due to poor health, not to mention that we have the poorest housing in Canada? Why must the native people have to live in these Third World conditions while the rest of the Canadian society lives in luxury and makes huge profits off land that belongs to the aboriginal people of this country and indeed all of North America?

I am not saying that all of the people of this country live in luxury and profit from our land. We recognize that there are poor and desolate non-natives who are very much in the same position as we are. But the negligence of their government to provide for them is not why we are here today. That is another issue that will change with a more socialistic, a more caring society and a more educated and helping society.

It is true that Canada is changing. The government is finally recognizing that consultation with its people must be made, that respect of the environment is essential for the development of this country, that poor people deserve the respect and dignity also, that people when properly consulted can lead to better government as opposed to a handful of politicians taking it upon themselves to decide what is right for us.

Government in this country is starting to learn what we have been telling it for the last 200 years. Their philosophy of governing is starting to come in line with how native people have governed themselves, with respect to their land and resources.

We know that business plays a major role in Canadian society, to create employment and pay for various government functions, but it must be done with respect to the environment, the people and the resources. This too is beginning to happen, although in my opinion it is not happening fast enough.

Is it wrong and does it make us unable to govern ourselves because we believe in respecting our environment? Because we do not believe our people should have to pay to be healthy, to be educated, to be assured of adequate housing. Ensuring these are basic human rights. These are rights everyone in this country and in the world should be assured of. These rights should be the government's main function.

I cannot explain within the time allocated all of the topics that should be discussed in this forum, but instead will try to generalize my thoughts and not get into specifics.

Indian nations within Canada made agreements with the government of this country. These agreements, which are known as treaties, must be guaranteed and entrenched within the Canadian Constitution.

The education process must take place showing the true history of this country, not the romanticized cowboy and western version where the Indians were savages and the non-natives were saints trying to civilize the aboriginal people.

This education process must start in the elementary schools and continue on through the post-secondary school level if the average person is to understand and accept the changes that will have to take place. This process will also eliminate the ignorance on the part of the dominant society about native people, to their role in the rich history of our country.

Self-government is a right that all people in this world have and it must be recognized and acted upon as the United Nations Convention on Aboriginal Rights has agreed upon, to which Canada is a signatory.

We are not asking that Canada give us self-government in a legislative form which will dictate our ways to govern. We are asking that you recognize that we are a self-governing people now. We have always been self-governing, because if we were not, we would have been assimilated a long time ago. Your policies, your programs have only been roadblocks that have hampered our development in exercising our self-governing rights. The only reason that native people have maintained what language and heritage and culture we have is because we knew that when government wanted to extinguish our race, we exercise our self-governing bodies, and we are here today to prove it.

I would also like to say that although we are Ojibway or Cree or whatever, we do want to be part of Canada. We just want to be Ojibway or Cree first, to have the sovereignty to maintain our language, our culture and our heritage.

When we speak of land and resources, we speak of enough land under our control to maintain our way of life for the people whom we have who want to continue to live in the traditional ways, so that they would be able to hunt, fish, trap and gather, and maintain sacred burial and ceremonial lands. This is land that may see no development, or only be developed at such a time as when technology can assure that there will be no environmental damage.

We also look at co-management of other lands that must take place for the economy to develop and prosper. But this must be done with respect for the environment and with respect to the people who are immediately affected by the development, whether they be natives or non-natives. Co-management of hunting and fishing and in conservation must be achieved, because the way it is now with the Ministry of Natural Resources doing it, exact and clear data cannot be achieved without the native people's participation.

It is our belief that our treaties guarantee us the right to hunt and fish. If those guaranteed rights are to be kept, then there must be greater control in those policies by native people.

Native people must be directly involved in developing policy that affects them, if not developing those policies themselves. We cannot depend and rely on government-appointed committees to do this for us; with the processes that have taken place in the past, nothing significant has happened.

In September 1850 a treaty was signed by the Ojibways of Lake Superior and William Robinson on behalf of the crown which conveyed certain lands to the crown and retained certain lands. The lands that we had retained, we have never surrendered. This must be recognized by the government, and through bilateral discussions, a resolve of this issue must take place and happen, aside from any policy on land claims. The government must recognize that the treaty with the Ojibways of Lake Superior, more commonly known as the Robinson-Superior area, dealt with us as a nation in 1850 and it must also deal with us as a nation today.

We cannot be forced because of policy and restraints by your government to have to belong and depend on a political organization in southern Ontario to represent our interests. The Ojibways of Lake Superior must be dealt with in the same scope as other political territorial organizations with respect to education, health transfer, economic development, policing, child welfare and all other issues that affect us.

We must have direct control of our affairs so that our regional governments can become a reality, to resolve the mess that the Canadian governments have created on our people and in our communities.


While I am here, I must say something about social services. We have over the past five years been developing unique child and family services for our bands in the Robinson-Superior area. It is called Dilico.

Dilico's philosophy is quite simple and concentrates its efforts on preventive services. We believe that many of the child welfare problems that exist can be overcome by preventing the situations before they happen. We also use counsellors, psychologists and a variety of professional people in our programs.

At present there is the integrated services for northern children program that we have been trying to access. This program provides professional services to northern Ontario children who experience a wide range of problems. ISNC was developed by the ministries of Community and Social Services, Education, Health, Northern Development and Mines. Comsoc, which co-ordinates this program, refuses to go on to reserves and so the Indian children must go to other communities to receive these services. It is my understanding that because educational services are included in this program and education is perceived to be a federal responsibility, these services cannot be brought on to reserves. I do not see this as a jurisdictional problem but one of discrimination against first nation people. It is situations like this that cannot be allowed to happen if this country is to function effectively. If the problem is one of policy, then change the policy.

I will close by saying that I hope through this process a better understanding of governments and first nations will occur and substantial change will take place. I have much faith in this New Democratic Party that is now in power in Ontario to assist and help first nations in their long struggle for justice. We can make Canada a place for all people, be they native, French, English or any other minority, but there has to be dialogue.

With that, I would like to say thank you for your time, but I would also stress that this process must continue and not stop here. More specifics must be presented. Meegwetch.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Bouchard. Certainly I think, on behalf of the committee, I would agree with you that the process needs to continue and we will be looking for ways to ensure that does in fact happen. There is one question from Mr Winninger.

Mr Winninger: You certainly presented the issues very clearly and persuasively, Mr Bouchard. I just have one question regarding a paragraph that appears on page 6, in the middle, where you have recorded the fact that certain lands were never surrendered. "This must be recognized by the government, and through bilateral discussions, a resolve of this issue must take place." Are you talking about discussions between the first nations and the federal government or the provincial government, or did you mean to suggest both?

Mr Bouchard: Well, it would be nice if both could agree to it. It does not matter to me. If Ontario owns the land and it is willing to recognize that it got that land illegally or through some fraudulent process, then I will deal with the province. But the fact is that the first nations in this area need land.

Mr Winninger: Thank you for answering that.

The Chair: Mr Eves.

Mr Eves: I do not really have a question, but rather a comment. I want to thank you very much for the presentation that you have made before the committee this evening. I think that you have helped to educate a lot of people in Ontario by participating in this process this evening. I make reference specifically to your points about mutual understanding and respect, and I think that the points you make on page 4 and the bottom of 6 and top of 7 of your brief -- I think Canadian politicians, regardless if it be at the federal or provincial level, often fail to understand that we cannot dictate to native people in a government process and system that is ours and only we understand, and we do not appreciate yours and that of other native people. I think if we were all educated better to that process and we had that mutual understanding and mutual respect, we could make not only the province of Ontario but indeed the country of Canada a lot better place to live.

Mr Bouchard: I think you are right.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Bouchard.


The Chair: I call Margaret Wanlin.

Ms Wanlin: Good evening. An important part of my concept of Canada came in 1967, our centennial year. I was a youngster then, perhaps naïve and impressionable, but none the less inspired. Here are some of the messages I got then about our country: Canada is the most wonderful country in the world. We are a mosaic of different people living happily together. Our country was born out of compromise and conciliation, not violence and war, because after all, we had decided that we could come here and live comfortably together. We are different, dare I say better, than the United States and we are beginning to cut the ties with our British parent, getting ready to stand on our own adolescent legs.

Adolescence -- maybe that is where we are now as a country. I am sure we all remember examples of our own obnoxious adolescent behaviour. I have a friend who says that he wishes the science of cryogenics, freezing people, had been farther along, because he would have taken his 13-year-old daughter and put her away and brought her back when she was 20. She was a much nicer person then.

Adolescent behaviour can often include questioning almost everything, trying to find the edge on how far we can really go, being egotistical and self-centred, being disrespectful and inconsiderate of others and not expressing to those around us that we really do care after all.

It sounds too familiar in a national sense, does it not? Well, how do we grow up and what kind of adult country do we want to be? Here is my six-step solution.

First, we must develop mechanisms which can cope with change and can change themselves. Clearly our brand of federalism does not work any more. Witness the recent childish episodes in the Senate and the gamesmanship we have come to expect at question period. We need political forums for sharing ideas and building solutions, not ones where every idea, whether good or bad, will just naturally be criticized by the opposition because that is its job.

The Yukon is developing such a non-partisan forum and we need more of those in Canada. We need to look at examples of other places where that is being made to work. The European Parliament is an interesting example. If countries as diverse as Portugal and Britain can solve problems and develop new institutions, surely British Columbia and Quebec could join in such a process. The Scandinavian countries too have elected to co-operate where co-operation is necessary and to preserve their uniqueness where uniqueness matters.

Second, we must walk a mile in the other man's moccasins. I mean that regarding native people, but also Quebec, the east, the west. In some ways, in this part of Ontario we are almost in the west. Kenora, for example, is closer to three other provincial capitals than it is to its own in Toronto. We feel too that sometimes -- hopefully not too much -- we are not understood by central government either. It is so important that government ministries and crown corporations are aware and engage in meaningful dialogue with people in various regions.

In the last few years, decentralization of Ontario services has brought many government agencies to the north. It is a great step and we are glad to have them, and keep them coming. So this dialogue that must happen must consist not only of what we want out of the system but must also include emphasis on what each community contributes and what its aspirations are. Meaningful problem-solving can happen best when the groundwork of real understanding is in place.

Third, we must see our country in a global, not in a national, context. The world is changing rapidly. We must try to understand what is happening and react accordingly. The evidence is becoming stronger and stronger that we cannot maintain our standard of living by relying on extracting and primary processing of our natural resources. Some of that work will likely continue, but not enough to sustain us. We need to understand the global context. We need to train our people for technological change and for information work. As a middle power, Canada has an important role to play on the global scene. As a non-aligned peacekeeper, we can make important contributions. I think we are slipping a bit on that score lately.

Fourth, we must face the facts. Does it make sense that Canadian iron ore and coal can be mined, shipped to Japan, made into steel, shipped back to Canada and sold here cheaper than we can make it? No, it does not make sense, but it seems to be happening, and not only is their price better, but also their quality. We must take a hard look at our international competitiveness. We must reduce our debts. The cost of servicing the debt is causing governments to be hamstrung. Canadians feel they are paying high taxes and yet governments have almost no money for discretionary activities which can help us to cope with these massive changes. Likely that means culling services -- unfortunate but necessary.

Fifth, economic co-operation among the provinces must be strengthened. Economic glue is probably the most powerful kind that there is, yet Canada has not ensured that there is a maximized amount of it. Imagine the illogic of setting up a free trade agreement with the United States while leaving up many interprovincial trade barriers. That seems highly destructive of east-west ties and reinforces the value of north-south ones. It is essential that in a variety of ways provinces collaborate and co-operate, and economic co-operation must be high on the list.


Sixth, we must develop a new sense of national purpose. The old one -- "We are not the US; we are different" -- is wearing thin. Exercises such as this are part of that process. We must sift through until we find what that purpose is and then celebrate it. Ford did it. They said, "Quality is job one." That concentrated their attention. So did Hertz. They said, "We try harder." I mean more than an advertising slogan; I mean something that strikes a responsive chord in our people. Peace, order and good government used to mean a lot, but it needs updating now.

You have asked some specific questions, and I will respond to those.

1. What are the values we share? The new answer to that question must be divined through a purpose-setting process as defined, For me, the key values are that we are a variety of people who have come here, mostly voluntarily, to start a new life, along with the aboriginal people who have been here for centuries. We are a peace-loving people who choose to either ignore or understand our differences, but in either case we collaborate rather than fight in solving our problems and addressing our opportunities. It may be a bit of wishful thinking there, but none the less -- John Kennedy was right in his famous line when he said: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." It is time we started considering the common good and our part in creating it, not the individual or small-group good and how to get the best share of it.

2. I have spoken to question 2 on the international context already.

3. What role should the federal and provincial governments play? I believe you need to rewrite the question: What role should the federal, provincial and municipal governments play?

Municipal governments are closest to the people, and they are therefore the most accessible and accountable of all governments. Municipal governments should be set up in the Constitution so that they have a real set of powers including some way of raising funds other than property tax. Responsive government is the whole key. Municipal government is the best form of grass-roots democracy.

I believe in a louse form of federalism, where communities and provinces have the ability and the responsibility to develop their uniqueness while national standards are in place in key areas. National standards are required regarding health care, education and possibly now, in these days, also the environment. But after that, the provinces and regions can implement programs in their own way.

Canadians should have a comparable level of public service, but I do not know how to get Alberta, for example, off its kick about sending out billions more than it gets back in federal services. I am sure there are no perfect formulas, but valiant efforts should be put into finding near-perfect ones to look at how to pay the federal bills.

I am sure we could benefit from studying other federal systems: Australia, the US, Switzerland. Let's learn from the experience of others as well as our own. Argentina might be an interesting study. It is an example of how a country went from a First World country to a Third World country. Let's not choose to follow their lead.

4. How do we achieve justice for aboriginal peoples? It is time to allow aboriginal people decision-making powers over their own destiny. Clearly, our paternalistic method has not worked well enough. Two issues are of the utmost importance: first is developing a workable form of self-government on the right-sized tracts of land; second, placing major emphasis on education of both adults and children. This is absolutely necessary so that native people can participate meaningfully in our economy.

5. What are the roles of English and French languages in Canada? I believe there is room in Canada for two languages. It works in many other countries; it can work here. While bilingualism should be encouraged and state-supported, it should not be shoved down people's throats. A one-size-fits-all policy just does not work. That is especially true in the parts of the country where the percentage of other languages is low. Northeastern Ontario, for example, with 28% French-speaking people, needs much more attention in the bilingualism sense than northwestern Ontario with 5%.

Language is a very sensitive subject. Sensitivity and respect are particularly necessary. Inflamed rhetoric does not help on this already emotional issue. I support the idea of Canada being officially bilingual. I am less sure if that official status is beneficial for Ontario, but definitely in French-speaking areas provincial services should be available in French.

6. What is Quebec's future in Canada? Clearly, Quebec is a distinct society in the Canadian context. While BC and Alberta and all other provinces are special, they are not as distinct. Distinct societies should allow for provision of a unique culture. It should not mean a way of getting a disproportionate share of the economic resources. I believe that such a distinction as I have just made should be hammered out and officially recognized in our Constitution. We have to work at this. I believe that real recognition of a unique culture would be very meaningful to Quebec, and I believe that this could be done in such a way that it is not done at the expense of the rest of the country.

7. What is the place of the west, the north and the Atlantic? I believe the west has some legitimate concerns about its place in Confederation. They are right: Senate reform is needed, and Quebec should not be allowed to veto it. Stronger alliances in the west and the Atlantic provinces may make their voices stronger and their political clout more convincing. Clearly, "Ontario first," or Ontario arrogance, have got to go. I do not mean that we should roll over and play dead, but I do mean that we need to listen, to learn and to problem-solve.

8. What does Ontario want? I would add to that: What can Ontario contribute? It is essential that people talk to people in the process of developing common goals. Ontario should be a catalyst for that process here and in the country at large. While this forum is useful, it is not people talking to people. In the days of the Liberal minority government, the Liberals and the New Democrats worked together to draw attention to northern Ontario issues in a way that had not been done recently. The Premier's conference on business and entrepreneurship involved 1,000 northern Ontario citizens in the process of determining their own future in a series of 14 regional workshops and a conference. It was grass-roots participation, people talking to people, people finding their own solutions to problems they share in common. That model could apply on Canadian constitutional issues as well.

There is a principle in organizational behaviour that leadership flows to those with the competence to exercise it. Ontario has an opportunity to provide leadership, not because we are the most populous or the most powerful, but if, and only if, our leaders can develop a vision of the country which can capture the imagination of Canadians, in Ontario as well as beyond our borders.

Ontario should put in place a system so that citizens are more meaningfully involved and feel more connected to the economy. Foreign and absentee ownership and control are rampant, particularly in northern Ontario. Quebec has developed a very interesting model for involving its citizens and stimulating the economy by making share purchases tax deductible. A system such as this could be useful in Ontario in helping us understand the realities of the economy and the costs of government.

In conclusion, we face a very serious but not hopeless situation. I believe that there is a bit of a renaissance happening in Canada, and if that rebirth is encouraged, stimulated and fostered it can be part of developing a new sense of national purpose and some common denominators and rallying points for our citizens. It will not be easy, but most truly worthwhile efforts are not. It is important. Let's give this wonderful country our best shot for all of our grandchildren.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Members are asking whether there is a copy of the brief that you can leave with us.

Ms Wanlin: Not here, but I will send you one.

The Chair: Okay. We will also have it available through Hansard for members of the committee. Thank you very much.



The Chair: I will call now Lise Bibeau.

Mme Bibeau : Je suis ici aujourd'hui pour parler de la place des francophones dans la province de l'Ontario et au Canada. Les francophones ont leur place non seulement dans la province de Québec mais partout au Canada. Trop souvent, les francophones canadiens sont traités d'immigrants indésirables d'un autre pays. J'aimerais préciser que le Québec n'a jamais été souverain. Il faut souligner qu'il y a beaucoup d'entre nous, des Canadiens français hors Québec, qui ne sommes pas nés dans la province de Québec. En fait, ça fait des générations que nous sommes ici en Ontario et dans les autres provinces. Notre place n'est pas dans le Québec mais ici ou n'importe où que nous désirons vivre dans ce vaste pays qu'est le Canada.

Un des exemples les plus faciles que je peux noter est celui du Vieux Fort William. La langue du peuple la plus parlée parmi les blancs était le français et non l'anglais. Les coureurs de bois étaient francophones. C'étaient quasiment seulement les partenaires de la compagnie qui se parlaient en anglais ; les langues de choix étaient les langues autochtones et le français. Il est certain que si nous regardons les noms des premiers blancs qui sont passés dans la région, ce sont des noms français que nous voyons. Même les villages et les lacs ont des noms français, et je vous donne comme exemple Longlac, la ville et le lac, Pays Plat, une réserve à l'est de Thunder Bay, Lac Seul, un lac au nord de Dryden. Nous pouvons être certains d'une chose : ce ne sont certainement pas les Anglais qui les ont nommés ainsi.

Nous avons été traités de la même manière que les autochtones. Notre langue a été bannie dans les écoles, et si un enfant avait le malheur de s'exprimer en français, il était puni. Cela montre que les Canadiens français ont été parfois assimilés de force, comme les autochtones. Quand un enfant reçoit des coups parce qu'il parle sa langue, c'est grave. Je ne connais que deux groupes de personnes qui ont été traités ainsi au Canada : les francophones et les autochtones.

N'oubliez pas que si nous aurions eu nos écoles de langue française tout le long de notre histoire, nous n'aurions pas seulement un demi-million d'Ontariens et Ontariennes qui s'identifient comme Canadiens français mais probablement plus d'un million et demi.

Même aujourd'hui, l'éducation en français est rationnée. Je vous donne comme exemple la ville de Thunder Bay, où une personne doit s'identifier comme catholique et doit laisser faire éduquer son enfant dans la religion catholique même s'il n'est pas pratiquant, pour venir à bout de faire éduquer son enfant dans sa langue maternelle. Ce problème n'est pas unique à cette ville, je vous l'assure. Je sais que la discrimination basée sur la religion est contre la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. C'est malheureux que le gouvernement du passé et celui en pouvoir présentement n'ont pas vu clair pour mettre fin à cette honteuse forme de discrimination et également pour contrer le phénomène d'assimilation des francophones.

Si nous oserions suggérer que nous désirons assimiler un autre groupe de personnes aujourd'hui, il y aurait fureur terrible et tout le monde crierait que nous empiétons sur leurs droits, et c'est pour cela justement que nous nous demandons pourquoi il est toujours correct d'assimiler les francophones de cette région, de cette province et de ce pays.

Nous sommes citoyens de ce pays depuis le commencement de l'histoire des Européens sur ce continent. La plupart des Français qui sont venus s'établir ici n'avaient pas d'allégeance à la France, car les paysans de France comme ceux d'Angleterre n'avaient pas de grands droits. Si leurs parents avaient allégeance, les enfants en avaient rarement pour la simple raison que la France n'était qu'un nom pour eux et leur réalité était sous leurs pieds, la terre de leur naissance, et c'est cette terre qui leur tenait à coeur et c'est la même qui nous tient à coeur aujourd'hui, un pays parmi les plus grands du monde, qui s'étend d'un océan à l'autre. C'est pitoyable qu'il y ait des personnes qui ne voient que leurs petites régions sans tenir compte de l'histoire du pays entier qui fait de nous des Canadiens ; pas des Américains, pas des Anglais, pas des Français mais des Canadiens.

Comme Canadiens, nous avons le droit de nous identifier par nos souches en disant que nous sommes Canadiens français, Canadiens finlandais, Canadiens italiens etc. On ne devrait jamais avoir honte de ces racines, mais il ne faut pas oublier que nous sommes Canadiens avant tout. Si nous l'oublions, il manque vraiment quelque chose. Il manque peut-être l'esprit d'être Canadien, la fierté d'être Canadien. Il ne faut jamais oublier que nous avons presque 400 ans d'histoire. N'oubliez-le pas ; ne la tirons pas aux vidanges. Même s'il y a eu d'autres groupes de personnes de d'autres pays qui sont venus par après, nous ne pouvons pas changer notre histoire pour leur plaire et nous ne devrions pas changer notre histoire pour ce qui fut de nos contributions à ce pays. Il n'y a aucune raison pour laquelle nous éraillerions les droits des peuples qui étaient ici depuis si longtemps : les autochtones qui étaient les premiers, les Canadiens de souche française qui ont suivi et les Anglais qui ne sont venus qu'après être déplacés par nos voisins du sud.


The Chair: Next, Karen Lee.

Ms Lee: I would rather not sit. If it is all right I will stand. It is easier for me to sign. I am deaf, was raised deaf. I am a single mom. I am also native. I have grown up in the north and been a northerner all my life. I am here to talk about both interpreting and deaf group homes in the north.

I have been on a variety of committees. I am president of the Canadian Hearing Society board, and a member of the Thunder Bay Centre of the Deaf, on their board. I have sat on a variety of committees in a variety of capacities. I also sit on a barrier-free committee in this locale that deals with issues for various disabled people, and there are a lot of other things I have been very actively involved in.

I wanted to come here to talk about interpreters in the north. We have only one interpreter in the north and there are all kinds of interpreters in the south. I do not know how the MPP sitting here got six interpreters. It is a shock to me. I do not know where he found them all. I think that we in the north need to have support so that we can have access. It has to be in place in law so we are able to hold that law up and say we have a right to interpreters' services.

I also think we desperately need a deaf group home in the north. Down south there are all kinds of services. There are deaf group homes all over in various southern cities. In the north there is absolutely nothing, and we have continually fought for those services. We need to establish a group home for all of the people who live in the northern regions so they can come down to a place such as Thunder Bay. We need to have deaf professionals, and I notice that in the north all we ever get is grant money for contracts. In the south you get deaf professionals, but we cannot attract people up here because all we get is contract work. How can we possibly get any deaf people who are professionals to move up here to provide services such as deaf group homes if all we ever get is grant funding?

We do not match with the south. Our values are very different. We cannot go down there to get services. It is not where we belong. I am a part of the north and I want to stay up here.

I think that is all I really wanted to say. I know I only have a few minutes, and it was very last-minute when I was asked to come and speak. As you see, I do not have any papers. I do not use English, I do not write English very well. That is why I need an interpreter and that is why we need to set something up here. Interpreter services were only established in 1985. Before that, I would go to committees and there would be no interpreters. I would be completely left out. I had heard about interpreters, but none of them came up here, and there are a lot of deaf people up here. We have to have a law in place that will provide that service for us. I hope that all of you sitting here today can help support the issue of access in the north.


The Chair: If you wait a second, I think that there are some questions.

Mr Bisson: First of all, I wish that Gary did have six interpreters. Unfortunately he only has four. Gary has the same problem in trying to obtain interpreters. I just want to say something of a personal note, that I, like probably most people in this province, knew very little about the issues surrounding the deaf community because I was always isolated from being there. I have had the pleasure for the past number of months of working with Gary and finding out a lot more about deaf education in general, but a lot more about Gary.

I guess what I have to say to you in some hope is to realize, and I am sure you know that because you know Gary, you have one heck of an advocate here in the caucus. Gary has done a lot, I think, for all members of the Legislature in understanding this issue. I think that when you personalize an issue to the sense where you can really appreciate what needs to be done, maybe then we can start moving forward. To me, I think what I am trying to say personally in words is kind of difficult because it is somewhat emotional for me, because Gary is my buddy here, right Gary? He did acknowledge that; I was wondering.

I think the thing is that what happens is that you start to understand that there are differences within the society on a number of levels, on a number of different people that make up the society. I guess what I am trying to say is that by learning about other people and their differences, we get to really build their selves, and at the end of the day we become a much more tolerant society and feel a lot better about doing the type of things that need to be done and going on with building this nation of ours. So you have a good advocate here.

Ms Lee: Very nicely said.

The Chair: Thank you, ma'am.

Mr Malkowski: I want to thank you also, Karen.


The Chair: I am going to proceed to call some people who were added to the list on the understanding that we would get to them if there was time. I am going to ask them to be as brief as they possibly can because I know that there are probably other people in the audience who also would like to talk to us and we would like to leave some time as well for that.

If I could call him then, Paul Nadjiwon is from the Lakehead University Native Students' Association.

Mr Nadjiwon: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We were given rather short notice to come here, so I am not sure how well prepared I am to speak on some of the issues. I think one of the things I would like to do, first of all, and this will not take very much time, is to discuss the relationship of native people with governments.

To our understanding, it seems to be that we are still in this colonialistic relationship and we have been very hard pressed to maintain our sense of identity, our culture, our language, our heritage. But it seems that the native people themselves are not the only ones who understand these things. There have been researchers and various other forums where these things have been discussed previously.

To give an understanding of this relationship I would like to read a quote that somebody by the name of Milan Kundera wrote: "The first step in liquidating a to erase its memory.... Before long a nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget it even faster."

This is the feeling many native people have. We are not looking for a tolerant society; we are looking for a society that understands exactly where we are coming from.

Another individual, an anthropologist by the name of Diamond Jeness, in 1954 travelled across Canada studying various native communities and towards his conclusion of his book he wrote, "In every region I found a deep-rooted prejudice against them, a prejudice that was stronger in some places than in others, but one which was noticeable everywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific." This is something many native people feel is definitely a reality.

Going to a speech that Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau gave on 8 August 1969 in Vancouver, part of that speech goes as follows, "I think Canadians are not too proud about their past in the way in which they treated the Indian population of Canada and I don't think we have very great cause to be proud."

Last, from Justice Hartt, who sat on the northern commission on northern affairs for the White Dog and Grassy Narrows reserves, part of his statement went as follows:

"Their presentations gave me an unforgettable sense of their frustration with the inability of the federal and provincial governments to work together to ease their desperate situation." And another quote from the same individual: "The native people value their traditions. The land is not simply a place to live. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the people and the animals which cannot be wrenched apart without serious consequences."

Part of my reason for being here, I suppose, is because I do very strongly maintain a cultural identity, as you can see by some of the things I have on here, and I chose to wear these things this evening because I wanted that to be recognized. I am not ashamed to wear long hair. At one point I wanted to become an Ontario Provincial Police officer, but I was refused because of my hair. We know that is different today, but I am sure there would still be some difficulties in those situations.

One of the reasons we have maintained an identity is because of this isolationist social experiment that the government has imposed on native people by forcing them to reside on reservations, and because we still have a number of elders, especially in this part of Ontario, who have never been to school and have never been to church. They can only speak their native language. They have maintained a very high profile culturally. Their language is so sophisticated that we cannot even understand them sometimes because we have adopted English. So sometimes even we have a difficult time speaking with our elders.

There are about 27 issues that were listed on some papers I received regarding things that we may wish to comment on. I cannot stress the importance of some of the differences between native views and non-native views. First of all, I suppose, whenever we look at the way whites would describe words, for instance, their language, it is always information and facts. For every word that we look at, and when we translate these words, we have to look at our culture. That is the only way we can get an accurate reading.

Now, as far as the justice system is concerned, we feel that it is very difficult to be treated fairly in a system which we feel already kind of has us earmarked the first moment we step into a courthouse. I have worked as a court worker and I have visited very many penal institutions for the purposes of support and various other things. But when I look at some of these issues that are listed here, many of these things are very important, and it all comes down to money.


From my perceptions as an academic and as a native person who is part of the system, both the Canadian and native society, my perception is that Indian people are big business and big money. They are big money to the legal system, they are big money to the administration and bureaucracy of this country and they are big money due to the resources that are tied up in the Canadian Shield and in other locations across Canada. We have not had access to the development of some of those lands, nor have we had much of the benefit of the moneys that have been secured through those resources by large corporations and companies. So when we look at our education and some of the money we receive to attend post-secondary education, we feel that is a very small price to pay.

There is also a lot of difficulty in getting money at the right time. Our grants usually come in at the beginning of a month, and meanwhile the landlord is making phone calls and various other things. I think the government has a pretty good idea how many students are in school. At least for those students who are in school, they should not have to worry about getting money on time. It is hard to build up credit or respectability with landlords and other bill collectors when you are not getting your money on time.

The Chair: Mr Nadjiwon, perhaps you would conclude. It is getting to the end of the time.

Mr Nadjiwon: All right. In conclusion, I hope that some of these issues will be considered and kept in mind when dealing with native people.


The Chair: I would call Mike McMenemy now.

Mr McMenemy: I would like to start off by saying that my legal name is Marvin McMenemy and I have a nickname Mike. I would kind of like it specified, because I would not want my father getting in any trouble on one side or my nephew getting in any trouble on the other side for my views.

Actually I would have preferred if you had brought out something on insurance, for their no-fault insurance in the province rather than this, but we will have to live with what is here. Because our no-fault is a mess; you are just a victim if you get hit.

I would like to start off by talking about Meech. It is something that when Meech was in, we were operating by two sets of rules. The people in Quebec were acting like the alcoholic or abusive father in a family situation, where he operated by one set of rules, could dish out anything he wanted and the other side was supposed to make like the abused wife and kids.

If you spoke up and complained about some of the weaknesses in the way it was being treated, you were called a racist, a bigot, a redneck, that you hated the French. I cannot see why one group is allowed to speak out and dish anything they want and the other group is not allowed to speak up for itself. It is something, I think, that with the battle on the Plains of Abraham, when the French lost, their first threats started arriving then. It was either give us our language and our culture or we are headed south. That is when they started and they have kept continuing.

A lot of stuff to do with history is not taught in schools and some of it tends to be rather biased in the way it is taught, but very little of it is taught. In the First World War, conscription was a problem with Quebec. In the Second World War, conscription was a problem again with Quebec. The French almost brought the government down at the time. They had ghost squads running ahead of the conscription people, you know, letting them know so they could run in the bush and hide more or less. The people who did from Quebec in most cases were zombies. I will admit the Vandykes and the Vandoos were a couple of groups that were there, and from what I hear there were natives and everybody else mixed in with them that were more or less French-speaking. You did not have to be of French descent to fight with either of those groups.

Something that might sound kind of crude is when the French would not fight in the Second World War, the allies being counted the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. They fought to liberate France, fought to liberate Europe and I think everybody knows what happened with France. The Maginot Line went down in two days. After that went down, they lasted about four to six weeks.

it is something right now the way we are having English forced on us -- or French forced on us in this country. When you come to talking about language, there are different ways language can be brought on a people. Right now the people in France would be talking German if it were not for the allied countries that got together and liberated Europe. There is stuff like that that is not taken into consideration with the way things are going.

When it comes to environmental factors, there is James Bay hydro electricity. It is the same thing here; there are two sets of rules. The French people of Quebec are wanting to flood out all of northern Quebec, land that was not theirs originally, build hydro dams, flood the Inuit, the natives and everybody up north, just flood them out. They do not want environmental assessment hearings. Yet on the other hand, how do you think the French people of Quebec would feel if English-speaking Canada decided to dam off the St Lawrence, flood it out, and anybody that bobbed to the surface talking French or English with a French accent no longer lasted; it is something. It is two sets of rules again and it is not right.

When it comes to other environmental stuff, it ties in partly to Quebec where with their reform choice, the Allaire report, one of the things they want complete control of is environmental stuff. When it comes to environmental stuff, I saw a documentary on Country Canada the other day that tied into nuclear waste, tritium, being dumped on a regular basis from a hydro plant. They have an industrial park in the same area. With the industrial park, there are many toxic wastes in the area. This also happens to be in a farming area and there are many pesticides and fertilizers.

When it comes to the government of Quebec, it seems to think nothing is the matter. They are willing to put stuff like that on the people to line their pockets, kind of not worry about the people, "We will just line pockets." It seems of no concern to the government.

In a newspaper article I saw a while back, it came to -- you will have to pardon me, I am not very well organized. Anyhow, basically it is to do with toxic wastes in Mexico. Two companies got together. They wanted to get involved with toxic wastes in Mexico to clean up the mess. Part of the thing that tied into it is they wanted to build a disposal plant. If they build a disposal plant, it will be built somewhere here in Canada.

Part of the problem that arises with this is that the Minister of the Environment for the federal government is out of Hull, Quebec. Anything where there is money involved, somebody is willing to build something. They can go to all the provinces. Somebody can be funded with backing the same way they got these things. You know, the plant is put in somewhere.

By the way the hearings go, they have to be pre-notified and acknowledged and accepted before the waste can be brought in. So the federal government could more or less bring a toxic waste thing in, set it up in one of the poorer provinces and through Hull, Quebec, the federal government would be okaying anything that is brought into the country with nuclear waste.

It comes with all the industrialized countries. They refuse to bring in toxic waste from other countries and I cannot see how people will go through something like that; it is again money. It does not matter how they stoop or what they do, but they want their hand in.

There is other stuff tied into that. I am off topic here. When it comes to the federal government right now, the three major parties are willing to give Quebec anything it wants to get the bloc vote out of the country. With that bloc vote, they have kind of got control. With the other provinces now, with the added parties, the vote is being split.

It is just kind of terrible the way other people in Canada, in the majority of cases, in the Second World War, especially with the natives, who were the highest percentage who were out fighting for Canada, but when it came to the people from Quebec they would not fight. They basically stayed home and bred to increase the population to control the country by a vote. I do not think things like that are quite appropriate.


The Chair: Mr McMenemy, I think we are trying to be as open minded as possible about allowing people to express their opinions, but I think there is inherently something we need to do when comments like the one you just made are made, which, aside from anything else, are not even accurate, historically at least.

Mr McMenemy: Well, right now, they have something going on in Quebec -- I am getting off topic again -- where they are paying $3,000 for every child after the second one.

The Chair: In any event, I also wanted to tell you that your time is pretty much at an end, so if you would like to conclude.

Mr McMenemy: That was no 15 minutes.

The Chair: We trimmed the time to 10 minutes, unfortunately, in order to allow as many people as possible an opportunity to speak. I made that announcement before you came in, I guess.

Mr McMenemy: Are there many more people after me?

The Chair: Yes, there are a few other people after you.

Mr McMenemy: Because I was told my time was for 8:30 and that I had 15 minutes from there.

The Chair: I understand that you were told that. You were told that because you were on the original list. That is why I went back to your name once I knew you had come into the room. You can take a couple more minutes and conclude, and we will go from there.

Mr McMenemy: When it comes to multiculturalism and federal bilingualism, it is kind of a crock between the two. Multiculturalism is retaining your own language and culture. The way we have it here in Canada with federal bilingualism, it is having a language forced on you, basically the same way Russian was forced on the East Germans when it was a Communist-bloc country.

When it comes to free trade, we are supposed to be able to compete with the United States, yet when it comes to having all the books done in two languages, it is very expensive.

When it comes to some other stuff dealing with that Allaire report, there are things pumping money into the province where nothing is going out. Apparently, just after the fish plants got shut down, there was a very small -- about an inch by an inch and a half -- article in the paper, where a third of a billion dollars was given to Quebec fisheries after canning plants and other things were shutting down in the other provinces. The fishermen were complaining about quotas put on them. They are taking from the poorest parts of the country. The federal government is willing to give them anything.

It came up that there was a fishery investigated. The stuff that was happening there is not quite appropriate, when they are willing to take from the poorest parts of the country, when they get involved in something like that.

When it came to spending in this country, when you go back there is a 25-year balance sheet. In that time, Albertans sent Ottawa $100 billion more than the feds spent in the province. In the same period, Quebec received $91 billion more than what Ottawa got. When it comes to the other provinces, the west as a whole paid Ottawa $54.7 billion more than it received. Ontario took in $8 billion, while Quebec came out $100.5 billion ahead.

The federal government right now, to get the bloc vote out of Quebec, does not care: the rail repair contract out of Winnipeg, the aircraft maintenance out of Winnipeg. The country is virtually being ripped apart and given to the people of Quebec for the bloc vote.

I do not think it is appropriate and I think it is time English-speaking Canada started to decide it is not being treated fairly and speak up. I have spoken to a lot of older people in my lifetime. When it comes to people who fought in the Second World War, I enjoy talking to them and listening to them and listening to their complaints. They say stuff like I am talking about is the type of stuff they talk about at the local Legions. People who were willing to fight for this country, it meant something to them. My grandfather fought in both the First World War and the Second World War; too young for one and too old for the other.

The country means something to us. It should be something that is like a family situation: you cannot take one child and give him everything and cut back on what the others get and expect the family to be satisfied. It is the same thing as what happened in Oka this past summer. In the city involved, the people did not want the other nine holes of the golf course. In 1959 they said, "We are just going to build access roads on to the golf course." Along with building the access roads, by the time they were built the golf course was built. So the people at Oka this time decided, "We are going to block the entrance road on to the reserve." That is all that was blocked originally.

The mayor and the QPP decided they were going to use force to put the natives down. What happened there was that they found out how much power the natives had because they had fought in wars and stuff like that. Force was used when it should not have been. Like any good dictator, Mulroney sent in the army, then he went into hiding. I do not consider it appropriate, when there are people who were willing to fight for this country, as the natives were, who are treated like that, as if we are in a dictatorship.

I am sorry I have offended a few people here, but if anybody wants to knock any of my facts I am willing to listen.

Mr Harnick: Can I just ask one question?

The Chair: No, I am sorry. Mr McMenemy is at the end of his time.

Mr McMenemy: Okay. Well, thank you for your time. I am sorry about offending you, but there are two sides to every coin and every story.

The Chair: Our efforts are trying to find, in fact, what those common bridges might be so that we can deal with those --

Mr McMenemy: Well, there are times in marriage when there has to be divorce. The way Quebec is wanting from the rest of Canada, it would be the farm, the house, the car and everything, and the firing squad for hubby to make sure he did not steal anything on the way out.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Could I call Peter Vanderkam.

Mr Vanderkam: I have prepared something for you.

My understanding from this piece of paper is that this is a policy position and decisions that may affect quality of life in the province. Seeing that you are provincial, this is what I would like to address.

The point that has been stressed here tonight continuously is the need for a consensus on values. We are trying to make changes for the better, according to the pamphlet. "Look around you," says Bob Rae, "Your neighbour, different jobs, different backgrounds, different colour, different skin." So what do we share as Ontarians? That is the question. And the answer is values. Everybody has been talking about values, but nobody is addressing the question: Where do these values originate and how are they passed on?

I wonder if you people at the table would humour me and do something with me. Move your chairs back, please. I am going to demonstrate something with you. I am going to teach you something. I am going to teach you to stand up and to sit down. Just do exactly what I do and nothing else, please. Up, and down.

I could have sat here and spent about 20 minutes explaining the mechanics of standing up and sitting down. It is that simple. What we learned here is that kids learn by example, right? It is that pure and it is that simple.

What are the examples we are getting? We are getting, from television especially, that we are to go in there and kick ass. Ted Koppel had a father and a daughter on television last night. The daughter had signed up for the volunteer army. She had gone AWOL when her unit was called in. He brought them both together because they had not talked to one another since October.


The daughter made her point clear to the audience. Ted Koppel asked the father, "What do you want your daughter to do?" He said, "I want my daughter to go in there and kill the bastards." These are attitudes we have and that are being presented and being passed on from generation to generation.

We are now being prepared for nuclear war. It is being talked about as if nuclear war is acceptable. Better to nuke 25,000 of them than that we have 10,000 of ours killed in the sands of Arabia.

What is it we learn here in Canada? In Canada, is it materialism? Think of Christmas. What is Christmas all about? The good news? No, it is not. It is gift giving. It is the biggest time of the year that the merchants make the biggest buck. That is what Christmas is and has become. It is no longer what it was meant to be; it has become something totally different.

How can we combat racism? We have heard here the talk about racism and so forth. Where does racism come from? My own personal perspective is that racism comes from the fact that I do not understand where you come from. I do not understand what you eat. I do not understand what you believe. Therefore, you are different from myself and, therefore, you are less than myself.

To give you a very simple example, we are used to a pyramid of power. We have the boss man here at the top, and when he says jump we do not even get the chance to ask how high, we just jump. That is all there is to it.

My friend Paul Nadjiwon just spoke for the natives. It is interesting, because the way I taught you to stand up and sit down came from the instructor of a philosophy course in native philosophy. He says: "Our way of deciding things is around the table. We are like a spring. It wells up out of the ground and it feeds everybody that comes around it. There is no boss man." So here is one example of the difference of how people speak.

I do not have to tell you about the Oka incident. I only have to remind you of Ireland, where the Protestants are fighting the Roman Catholics. I only have to remind you of Palestine -- Muslim and Judaism. I only have to remind you of India, where Muslim and Hindu are fighting. And now Saddam Hussein is calling for a jihad, and Mr Bush is answering, "We are the preservers of the good and we have to fight evil." So what do we have? Muslim and Christian killing one another off.

If you are serious about wanting to change the world, then start here in Ontario, as far as I am concerned, and implement religious studies in the school. Implement it. Right at the present moment we have on the books laws that say two times a week for 30 minutes each you shall give religious education in the classes, in each class. That law is being broken left, right and centre. Nobody, but nobody, is doing it.

What you accomplish by that is that I get to know where you come from. I get to understand what your values are and so forth.

There is a simple example they teach us here in Psych 101. The point is this. They put a screen here, they put a person there that I cannot see, and then they give me a box where I can crank up the electric juice; of course, that is connected to his finger. My instructor tells me, "Crank it up, crank it up, crank it up," and I cannot see anything, so I crank it up because I do not see what the consequences are. And this is the same as the bombers. What do you see? You see a video game, for Pete's sake. You see Mr Schwarzkopf making a great big joke out of the fact that here is this bomber taking out this bridge and look at that squirrel there scurrying away and watching the bridge being blown up behind him in his rear mirror.

As long as I do not see you, I do not care about you, but the minute I look you in the eye, the minute I know your name, that is when I get to know you. That is when we become friends and that is when I can no longer hurt you, or far less easily so.

I have to get to know his dress, I have to get to know his food, I have to get to know especially his religion. I am just about finished, Mr Chairman. These then are from their sacred scriptures, and it is not being taught in the homes. If it is not being taught in the homes, then where do we teach it? I suggest we teach it in the schools.

I would like to remind you about the great big debate about sex education in the schools. The scream was deafening: "There is no way that you're going to teach my children sex education in the schools. I'll do that at home." Well, you know and I know it was not being done in the home, so where is it being done now? In the schools. The same argument I would put forward here: It is not being done in the homes, put it in the schools, and not in a fashion that you indoctrinate people, but in an open and aboveboard fashion, to disseminate knowledge of other people.

The other day I visited for the first time a Unitarian church and on the door there is a great big slogan, "The best inheritance you can give your children are roots and wings." My suggestion is: No roots, no wings. As far as I am concerned, we are not providing our kids with roots.

Mr Beer: Thank you very much for your presentation. I think you really have raised around the issue of values one that for a lot of us has been very troubling in terms of how we enable the religious experience, which is so much part of our lives for many of us, to be a regular part in some way of the school system. We keep wrestling with how you do it in a way that will not be offensive either between different groups of Christians or between Christians and Jews, Christians and Muslims or what have you.

Mr Vanderkam: Yes.

Mr Beer: I know in my own experience, going to a Quaker school, the things that I learned from that experience, which I did not feel were ones of force-feeding me or trying to make everybody in that particular school of one faith, were questions of values and ethics that were brought before us on a weekly and daily basis. I think there is a sense among many that we would like to be better able to have within our school system questions of values and ethics and religion. How do you see us being able to do that in a way that will not be offensive and being able to do it in a way that is meaningful and not just a kind of muted television hype?

Mr Vanderkam: Sir, my suggestion to you would be that you go to Germany and investigate the system that they have over there. Several of the European countries have systems like these in place; the German system is one that I am aware of. There is one place to go.

For the rest, I am bothered by the fact that an awful lot of Christians are saying, "I want them to know this and nothing else." This is their right and I do not want to deny them that right, but that is being done in the home. What I teach them in the school is simply this: Christmas is this for the Christians. Surely, as a Hindu, you have no problem with that. You teach me, as a Christian, what Mohammed stands for. These are the festivities, these are the festival days and so forth. I, as a Christian, have no problem with that.

The only thing that would happen with me as a kid, hopefully, is that I go home and ask my parents, what is the difference? This is what ought to be happening, but it is not. Honestly, I look at the values that are loose in this country at the present moment and I shudder.

The Chair: Mr Vanderkam, thank you very much, One of our members, Ms Harrington, was reminding me that recently there have been new regulations announced by the Minister of Education which will facilitate school boards being able to have education about religion made available in our schools. That may be something that interests you.

Mr Vanderkam: Sir, I hope they can implement it. That is all I can say. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you very much for your comments.

Mr Vanderkam: Thank you for your attention.



The Chair: I call now Gina Rimanich, the president of the National Congress of Italian Canadians, Thunder Bay district.

Ms Rimanich: Unfortunately, due to the short time, I did not have a chance to consult with all my board of delegates, but the executive board and I put something together.

The National Congress of Italian Canadians is an umbrella organization, representing over one million Canadians of Italian background living across Canada. One of the major functions of the congress is to engage individuals, groups and associations in a dialogue and through a consultative process to arrive at the common solution dealing with the social, cultural, educational and economic aspirations and needs of people of Italian origin within the Canadian context.

It was founded in 1974 and the congress is made up of national executive committees whose headquarters are in the city of Ottawa. They are affiliated across the country, with districts and regions. All three levels of the congress are functionally autonomous, having their own individual boards of directors, share the common objectives and set out the constitutions, namely:

To foster the evolution of a better Canadian society by promoting mutual understanding, goodwill and co-operation between Canadians of Italian and other origins;

To act as linkage among various Italian Canadian communities and organizations which are dispersed across the country;

To provide, when required, a means of two-way consultation between the Italian Canadian community and Canada and various governments and organizations;

To promote activities among Italian Canadians;

To provide a means for expanding local and regional activities within the context of the organization concerned on to the national scale, so many more people may benefit from it;

To promote and encourage the involvement of Italian Canadians in public affairs;

To foster the retention among Italians in Canada of their rich cultural heritage;

To interpret the attributes of their heritage to fellow Canadians and to promote encounters and interchanges with other Canadians cultural groups;

To represent, promote and defend the interests and welfare of Italian Canadians.

As I said, I did not have too much time to consult with everybody, but I am a Canadian, although I came to Canada in 1967 and I was already married with a child. I feel that Canada is my country and I am very proud to be of Italian origin and very proud to have brought another culture in this country. But I feel that Canada is a pluralistic society, a country that has given haven to people of European, Asiatic, African, Caribbean and South American ancestry.

It is also a country where people of Indian ancestry first lived. We must never forget this. It is a country whose people have varied cultural and historical backgrounds, varied religious customs and habits. It is a country that has evolved into its present multicultural position and the structures of old are no longer viable and workable.

All provinces should be equal. They are provinces of Canada, each in its own way harbouring a diversity of ethnic groups that constitute this country, where dreams have come true, where all people, regardless of colour, race and creed have been accepted and are making their living according to their industry and imagination.

Canada in the 1990s, 200 years after the Plains of Abraham, must offer a new order to its nearly 30 million inhabitants of diverse origin. It is a patchwork quilt of Italians, Hungarians, Polish, Portuguese, East Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Jamaicans, and a host of other origins, living together in peace and harmony under provinces that are equal and a central government that is strong.

What I am suggesting here is, please, let's join hands together in trying to form a Constitution. Believe me, a Constitution is a mirror of our soul, and if we do not do that, we will never have peace in this country. Please, we want a Constitution that will stop labelling people. That is the wish of the district of Thunder Bay National Congress of Italian Canadians.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Rimanich. I extend to you the same invitation that we extended to others, which is that if in the days to come your organization wishes to put together a more formal position to send to us, we would be happy to receive that.

Ms Rimanich: We will do so.

The Chair: I think there was at least one question. Mrs O'Neill?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Yes, thank you so much for coming.

Ms Rimanich: You are welcome.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I was very fortunate to have a member of your congress open my constituency office when I first became am MPP and I have a very soft spot for the work of your congress and the work you do with the young children throughout this province, particularly through the heritage language programs.

You seem to have some very, very solid values about what it means to have come to Ontario and certainly to have come to Ontario with a child and a family. I wonder if you could tell us some of the ways you have built bridges or that you think we could incorporate into our recommendations how we can encourage people to build bridges. You talked about Hungarians, you talked about Polish people and you talked about Canadians. Can you give us any practical example of bridge-building?

Ms Rimanich: I will. I came here, and the only language I spoke was Italian. Actually, my first language was Furlan, because I come from a province close to the Austrian border where two tribes of people settled. One people settled in Friuli and the other tribe settled in Switzerland. They are called the Grisons and the first tribe was the Furlans and still, to this day, that language is recognized, and that was my first language.

My second language was learned in school and was Italian. My third language was French. My fourth language was English. I arrived here with a large background of education. I studied Latin for many, many years and I found it challenging learning a new language and I learned the language fast. Of course, I have an accent, but it does not matter what I do, I cannot correct that.

My experience here: I arrived in a friendly country, but I also arrived in a country where I was labelled as a wop and I did not know what a wop was. Another name I was given was a dago. I did not know what a dago was. I asked for explanations and they told me, "Well, a wop means a flat tire and a dago means a dirty person." I figured I am not a flat tire and I am not a dirty person. Anyhow, my personal experience was that perhaps I had so much love within myself that I figured, "Well, maybe these people do not understand that I come from a very rich culture and perhaps I have something to give to them." I carried on with my studies; I learned my language.

What really hurt me was when my oldest son first went to school and at the time when he went to school he spoke Italian. So the first day of school he came back home and he said, "Mom, I don't want to be a wop any more." I said, "No, son, you are a Canadian." I remember that. So I think that each and every one of us perhaps can embrace this country and love this country as much as I do, and if we have something to offer, please bring it to this country.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you so much for sharing your deep values with us.

Ms Rimanich: You are welcome.


The Chair: We have come to the end of the list of speakers that we had before us. Before closing the proceedings, we do have a few minutes, not very much time. We are supposed to end at about 9 o'clock, but I just wanted to give the opportunity, if there are people in the public who have not had a chance to speak to us and would like a couple minutes of our time, we would be happy to do that. So I offer that invitation now, if there are people out there, on the understanding that we need to basically just give everyone a couple of minutes each if there are a few people. Could we just do that? Then we can go for another 5 or 10 minutes and then end at that point.

So if you would like to come up, sir. Yes, just come up to the microphones. Sir, would you like to just come up and then we will go one at a time. We need to have your names for the record.


Mr Gibb: Thank you. My name is John Gibb. I am just quickly addressing question 2: How can we secure our future in the international economy?

I want to commend Premier Rae for his recent stand against the impending discussions involving free trade with Mexico. I, along with many other Canadians, believe that the present free trade agreement with the United States is bad for Canada. Let's remember that we as citizens of Ontario and Canada were not consulted. Our federal government did not have our consent to strike the deal with the US. Prime Minister Mulroney, along with President Bush, formed the agreement with full blessing of and under pressure from the most powerful multinational, or as we now call them, transnational corporations in the US.

Already we have heard of how many thousands of jobs have been lost due to the rationalization plans within US boardrooms. We were told by Mulroney and Crosbie and others that if we are against free trade, we are afraid to compete and not willing to take up the challenge of having access to the large US marketplace.

The question which was never answered was how the warehouses and branch plants of Ontario can compete with their parent companies in the United Slates. Listening to President Bush give his recent state of the union address, we heard him make it perfectly clear that the US goals of free trade have nothing to do with co-operation and are totally driven by greed and exploitation. President Bush said, in reference to the Mexico trade deal, he had no doubt that given a level playing field, US workers will outwork and outperform any competition. This signifies a win-lose proposition, with Canada on the losing side -- just another step to the US realizing the manifest destiny.

I ask the committee to recommend that the government of Ontario make full use of our strength within the country to do its utmost to help save it and keep Canada a viable nation.

Finally, I hope that Premier Rae will please continue to oppose Mr Mulroney's deliberate and continuous dismantling of this country. I would ask that Ontario play the leading role, which it must in fact play due to its size and strength, to assist the rest of the country in the following areas: for instance, support the CBC, our only real link and communication within this country for a free voice, an unbiased voice; support VIA Rail; oppose the present free trade deal with the US, such as reviewing control of outside purchase of Canadian businesses in Ontario; fight the involvement of Canada in Mexico trade talks; oppose the present involvement of Canada in the Gulf; tell the Prime Minister that Ontario does not support his assisting a big bully beating a smaller bully to a pulp until he finally says uncle; set an example for the rest of the country in other such areas as we will see coming up in Ontario's incorporation of an environmental bill of rights and other very positive acts such as this.

Simply, Ontario, act now to save Canada. That is my request.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Gibb.


Mr Tornblom: My name is Rolf Tornblom. As you might have noticed, I left any notes I had aside so that I can be as brief as possible.

First of all, I would lto say that I would like to see Canada remain as it is, whole, with Quebec in, but I am afraid the way things are going, especially since the Allaire report -- in the past I have had a lot of arguments because I have supported this stance, that we did owe Quebec something. Not really "owe them something," but our respect for their culture, their language, etc. But it seems to me that the way things are going, especially after the Allaire report that has come out -- and it is not policy for the Liberal Party yet in Quebec, but I do not doubt that it will be when it has a conference, because nobody is going to vote against it. They are going to say: "Hey, this is great. Go for it."

Even though there is speculation that it is just a starting point for negotiations, I do not see that at all, that we should even start talking at that level. Either they should come back with something a lot more reasonable as a starting point -- not a hard and fast situation like in Meech Lake, that they were not going to give an inch -- or there should be no discussion at all.

Once their citizens realize what the cost will be, like paying back Canada for all the federal assets, the share of the national debt, a corridor for transportation right-of-way through to the Maritimes and the return of Rupert's Land -- which really does not belong to Quebec; it just administers it -- their citizens may have second thoughts. If they do not, then they would have to prove through a plebiscite that they support their leaders, and then if they say that, "We don't wish to remain in Canada," then we must let them go.

Then it is up to the rest of us in Canada to get together, stop our petty, mean-spirited, selfish squabbling and get together to really make this country work the way it is supposed to work; a good, caring society where the people come first and do away with all the political finagling that has been going on just for the sake of appeasing some people so they can get their votes, etc. I think everybody understands what I am trying to get at.

I do not want to take any more time. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


Mr Enright: Mr Chair, my name is Owen Enright. I am a student here at Lakehead University. I was just walking through the agora. I knew this was on. I have classes later on, but there are just a couple of points I would like to make.

First of all, I agree with the two speakers from the open forum here who just walked up, who preceded me here. The first speaker, whenever he said that most Canadians are not consulted in any type of way whenever a major program or whatever you want to call it, the agenda, is put forward, I agree with him 100%. I was for free trade. I can understand his being against free trade, but it was never really a big issue put forward as one specific issue in the federal election.

The gentleman who was just ahead of me, I agree with him. I am Canadian, proud to be, but I do not see why anybody, any other Canadian, should have special privileges. They are Canadians. I accept the way that gentleman feels.

I know there are abuses or whatever, but I wish people would take the time and interest to step up and say something like this, here in front of the open forum, but I wish the government would also take the time to bring up maybe a resolution from each of the different parties and bring it out in a referendum-type approach in the election. Then whenever that government is elected and the issues are there, they can start developing programs to implement the issues there or whatever. It will give everybody a chance to put his point of view on a ballot, especially major issues dealing with the Constitution, free trade or anything else that is going to upset the tradition in this country. It has been a great tradition for quite a while, but for the last year or whatever, all we have heard is about the discontent in this country and about people not being able to get along.


Well, I have worked in Quebec. I am unilingual. I got along fine. I know French students from Quebec up here, they get along fine and they have been unilingual for most of their lives. But everybody has had a unique experience by movement from different parts of the country, and I for one just would like to see Canada together and not separate. But I cannot see giving any -- what is the word I am looking for? -- any concessions without being consulted on it. I cannot see why a bunch of people sitting around in small back rooms or whatever should be able to decide the future of this country without putting it in front of the people who are going to have to live with their decision. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. I think the time has come to an end. I want to thank all the people who are here and all the people who were with us earlier today. We heard throughout the course of the day from 33 individuals or groups and I think heard a number of useful suggestions to the committee on the issues that we will be meeting to discuss and make recommendations to the Legislature on.

It is quite clear in the day's events here today, as well as in the previous two days, that there is a great deal of interest in the issues that affect this country and the future of this country and Ontario's role in it and that those feelings are there in a very deep way. Notwithstanding the fact that we have other serious problems economically with the recession and obviously that our minds are also on what is happening in the Gulf, there are still people who are willing and eager to come forward and share those views with us. I think that helps very much our process as a committee in trying to come up with some recommendations that reflect the kind of thinking that exists across the province.

We heard certainly today, as we have been hearing all along, a number of concerns about the process and the time lines of the discussion, and I will say again that we are very conscious of that and of the need for the discussions to continue. And we, I think, are very clear as a committee on our wish to look for ways to ensure that the discussion continues beyond the filing of the interim report that we will do on 21 March.

So with that, I again want to thank you for being with us today. Our hearings continue from Sault Ste Marie tomorrow, and I invite you here, and those people who are following us across the province, to follow us on the parliamentary channel, which will continue to provide coverage of the proceedings. Thank you very much. Good evening. We are adjourned until tomorrow.

The committee adjourned at 2114.