Thursday 14 February 1991

Reform Party of Canada

Edward C. Carter

Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada, Huronia Branch

Eric Gerhard Bucholz

William Gearing

Colleen Cooney

Bonnie Ainsworth

William Cooney

Keith Evans

Carmen Agius

Sheila Slusarek

Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute

Afternoon sitting

Ronald Emo

Don Alexander

Donald R. MacDonald

John Elliot

Clayton Long

Rebecca Marshall

Gordon Tranter

Joe Hart

Terrence Rodgers

Margaret Dawson

Shauna Kendry

Betty Smith

Evening sitting

Elroy Belbeck

Harry Richardson

Owen Sound and District Labour Council

Dave and Debbie Kilpatrick

Norman Seabrook

Emest Moreau

Brian Dymond

Grant Drury



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)


Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie NDP) for M Harrington
McLean, Allan K. (Simcoe East PC) for Mr Eves
Waters, Daniel (Muskoka-Georgian Bay NDP) for Mr Wilson
Mahoney, Steven W. (Mississauga West L) for Mrs O'Neill

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 0936 in the Orillia Opera House, Orillia.

The Chair: I call the meeting to order. I want to say, first of all, to the people here in the audience that we are of course the members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. We are pleased to be here in Orillia this morning to hear the views of the people in this area about the many issues that face us as a province and as a country in the constitutional framework, and to hear what people have to say about what we as a government and as a Legislature should be doing on those issues.

This is an all-party committee and we have representatives from the three political parties at Queen's Park. I want to take a moment to introduce the members of the committee. From the NDP caucus, in addition to myself, we have Gary Malkowski, Marilyn Churley, Gilles Bisson, who is also the Vice-Chair of the committee, David Winninger, Tony Martin and Dan Waters. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer and Steven Offer, and Steven Mahoney will also be joining us shortly, we hope. From the Conservative caucus we have Allan McLean, who is the local member for Simcoe East, this riding, and Charles Harnick.

For the benefit of members of the committee, I have been told that the system here is a little bit different. You need to press the button before you start to speak when you are recognized to ask questions or comment.

Because there is a matinee performance here at the opera house scheduled for 1 o'clock, they have asked us, if possible, to try to complete our session this morning by quarter to one, and we will try to accommodate that. The only way we can do that, given the list of speakers, is twofold: first, we will not be able to add to the list as we have tried to do in other places, and second, I would ask people speaking to us, if they are speaking as individuals, to try to keep their comments within the 10- or 12-minute mark and, as groups, to try to maintain it between 20 and 25 minutes. That will allow us to get through the list within that time.


The Chair: With that, I would call the first speaker this morning: Murray Martin from the Reform Party of Canada, North Simcoe constituency. Again, just press the button there on the microphone, sir.

Mr M. J. Martin: Good morning, Mr Chairman, members of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Murray Martin. I am an executive member of the Simcoe North constituency of the Reform Party of Canada. I am the media and publicity chairman as well as the constituency co-ordinator for the Medonte and Matchedash townships.

May I wish you success in gathering the information you seek to make this a better Canada for all of us to live in. Equally I wish you Godspeed in delivering this information to the federal government as well as the determination to see your recommendations through.

First, I would like to speak on the fairness of the private sector versus the political sector. There is a widening gap between the Canadian taxpayer and the Canadian politician as to the way they live, the way they receive their pay as well as their pay increases, and how they retire versus that in the private sector.

There is nowhere in the private sector where a person at the age of 38 could have worked for a company for only six years, be fired for incompetence and immediately start collecting a $40,000-a-year pension indexed to the cost of living, mainly paid by the taxpayers' money. I suggest to this committee that the person would receive an estimated pension payout at age 75 of $1,602,440. If a 38-year-old person who had only worked six years for a company in the private sector was fired for incompetence, he or she would be lucky if they received a handshake.

This type of pension is out of character and out of line with the private sector. I suggest to you that the people in the private sector must take their chances in the workplace, and we can see no reason why people in the political sector should be treated any different, or should be exempt from laws, general rules or policies that the governing party makes for the people of Canada or in fact for any province within this country.

Therefore, we feel as taxpayers of this country that this commission should investigate the pensions of the average person in the private sector as well as the pensions federal politicians have set up for themselves and pressure the federal government to bring their pensions and the qualifying for such in direct line with the private sector.

Mr Chairman, I suggest to you that the federal government must clean its own house before it indulges itself any further into the tax pockets of the private sector of this country. "Suffer unto me" was a phrase for God to speak, not for federal politicians. Federal politicians were appointed and not anointed, a fact that some apparently have forgotten.

If all the federal politicians in Ontario alone were thrown out of office at the time of the next federal election, it would cost the taxpayers in federal pensions more than $65 million. If all the politicians from Quebec, some of whom are presently being paid by our tax dollars to take that province out of this country, were defeated or that province separated from Canada, it would cost this country more than $60 million in pensions. If all the federal politicians except one were defeated in the next election, and that is clearly possible, their pensions, which incidentally would start immediately after they were rejected, would cost this country more than $210 million.

The federal politician in this area who was sent to Ottawa 11 years ago would collect, if defeated in the next election, $1,699,257 by the time he reached 75. A factory that closed in this city last year after a hard fight gave its employees who worked there for 11 years $5,000 and that is all. This is a shame.

If there is to be equality for all in this country, then we would ask this commission to put pressure on the government and all the politicians to revoke this elaborate pension system of the federal government and to bring it in line with that of the private sector. If the private sector must wait until age 60 or 65, there is no reason why the political sector should not do the same.

Democracy was once described, and I remind you of this, as, if we are equal on one count, we are equal absolutely. Therefore, we ask this commission to seek equality and fairness between the political and private sectors, and in doing so, pressure for the restructuring of the elaborate federal political pensions with qualifying ages of at least 60 years of age, as with the private sector federal retirement pensions.

I would now like to address this committee on the matter of the Senate. This country has just gone through the most deplorable exhibition of political abuse this country has ever known at the hands of 110 unelected senators and the Prime Minister of this country.

The past political parties in power have through political favouritism for political advantage appointed people to the Canadian Senate. Canada became the laughingstock when the unelected Senate took on an unwanted GST bill. To gain advantage, the Prime Minister called upon the Queen of England, who is also unelected, to give him permission to further appoint more unelected people to the Senate for nothing more than political advantage.

This, I suggest to this commission, should alone point out the need for constitutional amendment to the reformed Senate of Canada. The Reform Party of Canada makes it very clear that in this country we need an elected Senate and that Senate be a triple E Senate, a Senate that is elected by the people with equal representation from each of the provinces and territories and fully effective in safeguarding regional interests.

The Reform Party of Canada feels a reformed Senate, if properly constituted, could properly perform the role originally intended for it and alleviate feelings of alienation and remoteness towards national affairs which exist particularly in the less populous regions of Canada and among the minority groups.

We suggest that the Upper House be made up of a total of 108 senators and that each of the provinces being entitled be represented by 10 elected senators and the Yukon and Northwest Territories be represented by four senators. Any province which may be created after this has become law would be represented by its own 10 senators.

We further suggest that the Legislature of the province or territory shall divide the province or territory into senatorial electoral districts, having special regard to geographical considerations, and determine the number of senators to be chosen from each district.

We further suggest that the Legislature of the province or territory should make laws in relation to procedures for the elections of senators within the province or territory, the financing of elections, the funding of election campaigns and the nominations of candidates.

We suggest that should a vacancy occur in the Senate not more than two years from the date of the election, then such a vacancy be filled through a by-election. The term of a senator elected at a by-election shall be for the unexpired term of the senator whose seat was vacated.

The Reform Party of Canada feel that the defeat of a government bill, motion or resolution in the Senate shall not constitute a vote of non-confidence in the government so as to require the government to resign.

I turn now to the subject of the accountability of members of Parliament to the constituency.

The Reform Party of Canada supports the amendment of the Canada Elections Act to eliminate clauses which place members of Parliament in the position of being beholden to the national party executive or leader rather than to their constituents, such as in the provisions for signing of nomination papers.

The Reform Party supports amendments to the MPs' oath of office such that they swear or affirm fundamental allegiance to their constituencies as well as to the Queen.

The Reform Party supports the principle of allowing constituents a recall procedure against an MP they feel has violated his or her oath of office. To this we ask this commission to bring pressure on the federal government to amend such election clauses so that MPs will be more responsible to those who have elected them.

Our final submission deals with direct democracy. The Reform Party of Canada supports the mechanism of binding referenda on the current government of Canada by a simple majority vote of the electorate, including a simple majority in at least two thirds of the provinces including the territories.

The Reform Party supports voters' initiatives by way of a plebiscite. If 3% or more of the eligible voters of Canada sign a petition to the chief electoral officer requesting that the questions of legislative proposals be put before the people, such questions or legislative proposals should be placed on the ballot at the next general election.

At this time we ask for support on these issues to help make this a better Canada, and we wish you success in the determination in following this through.


Mr Beer: Thank you, Mr Martin, for your presentation and proposals on a number of areas to reform our system. I think it is fair to say that one of the concerns that has been raised as we have been going around the province has been the question of the credibility of governments and indeed of all elected members and how do we make that system more accountable.

I guess one of the questions around how far in a sense to take this concept of referenda and direct democracy is to what extent, when individual members are elected -- and I guess it goes back to Edmund Burke -- and what it is as an elected member you owe to your constituents which is certainly to listen to them, to try to serve their needs, but also to use your own talents and ability to deal with issues, some of which can be quite complex.

Is there not a concern here that in a system such as you propose, in effect, we could go the other way where we are sort of burdened in a way by all kinds of referenda that would have to be held and where in fact parliaments or legislatures could be just as frozen into inaction because they could not move for all the different kinds of referenda?

Where do we find a balance between the number of times that between an election we would be going back and asking for people's opinions through this system and where members of the Legislature should be taking that decision because they were elected to do that? Would you see that just certain kinds of issues could go out to referendum or would you think that any issue at all, as long as there was this 3%, could go out?

Mr M. J. Martin: Knowing your past history in Parliament, sir, I know you will well recognize that you are elected by the people, for the people and answerable to the people. Unfortunately in this country there are some politicians who have forgotten this.

There are main issues: the GST the most recent, the hanging bill, abortion. People want a say in this where we do not feel our politicians have been doing so. They tell us we know how they feel but we really do not. If 3% of the total people across this nation should want a plebiscite, we can see no reason why that cannot be placed at the next general election and give the people their say.

You, as an MPP, are responsible to the people who elected you and this is what we want to bring back in, the old style of politics. If you say you were going to vote that way publicly and the people have told you to vote that way, then you are compelled to vote that way. I do not think you should vote on your own. You were put there by the people. I think you will agree with that.

Mr Beer: But as an elected member, I may be part of a group or of a party which has put forward certain proposals. We say, "Look, if elected, we will try to enact certain policies." If that group or party is elected, is there not as well the sense that there is a mandate to proceed to try to enact that? One has the sense that you could reach the point where there is no need for any elected member; we just simply have a series of referenda and pushbuttons. It is the balance there that I am after.

Mr M. J. Martin: I agree with you to one point. You are there to negotiate for the people. But bills like the GST and the hanging bill, the firearm legislation, abortion, I think the people should have a say in that, because it was more than 3% of the people across this country. When you get 3% of the people of this country angry enough to sign a petition, I think you would know the country in general is angry. But I do believe you should negotiate naturally. That is why you were put there.

Mr Bisson: First of all, what I would like to talk about is the principle of recall of a member. We have had this raised before and I understand where you are coming from because many people out there have a perception, sometimes based on a lot of fact, that politicians are not answering the needs or carrying out the will of the people.

I am a new member. This is the first time I have been elected to the Legislature, and one of the things that I am finding is that often some of the things that are looked at as being clear-cut are sometimes as not as clear-cut as I think they are. Sometimes I have to moderate my position somewhat because of facts that I find out.

In your presentation, you said we need to have a mechanism by which, if members are seen by their constituents as not carrying out what their oath was when they first went into the Legislature, they can be recalled out of the Legislature.

The problem I have with that is that if I, as a politician -- let's say you were a politician trying to do the best job possible based on the facts and what is happening -- feel that, "Jeez, I can't take a position on this because I know there is a lot of division on this issue. If I say I agree with this particular thing I'm going to have this group mad at me so therefore they may recall me, and if I take the opposite position I am going to have that group mad at me, so therefore I may be recalled," do you not think that in the long run what you are going to end up with are politicians who are hamstrung and not able to do the job they were elected for? That was for making decisions in the best interests of the population based on the needs of the people balanced against the needs of the state and the needs of business.

I further would say that I believe in free enterprise, and I try to imagine seeing that system work within the industrial sector where the employees would turn around and say, "Well, we're going to have a referendum to get rid of the boss." I come out of the industrial sector. I would have loved to have got rid of my boss on many occasions. Do you not see that as a hamstringing procedure?

Mr M. J. Martin: You are correct you would like to get rid of your boss. Our boss is Mr Mulroney. I would like to get rid of him. There must be a procedure whereby to do this. If a politician is responsible to the people -- Allan McLean is a very good example of this. He keeps us well-informed in this constituency, well-informed, and he asks the people how things are going. He always has. But when a politician stops doing that -- we had two politicians who had to resign out west because they could not agree with the government. Either you agree with them or you are out. Well, they agreed with the people, what the people wanted. That is what we are after.

Mr Bisson: But at the end of the day you do have the choice. You have a member who does the job and informs the people. Obviously he or she is re-elected. That, in a sense, is your referendum, your mechanism.

Mr M. J. Martin: The majority rules, and if the majority wants something, that is what the politician should speak for. He should not be afraid.

The Chair: Mr Martin, I may have missed it in your presentation, but I do not think you mentioned, with respect to the Senate, what you envision as being the term of office of the newly elected Senate.

Mr M. J. Martin: Our party is looking at this. We are looking at a six-year and a three-year. But there are some feelings, and we will not know until April, until the election, our meeting out in Alberta, to come up with an exact policy on that. Right now it sits at six years; elected as three and then the remainder at six.

Mr Offer: On your presentation, specifically with respect to the issue of direct democracy, I think you are the first person, if I recall correctly, who has used the two words, not only referendum but plebiscite. You will know that a plebiscitary type of democracy is one where there is a question put and the answer is merely advisory to the person, whereas a referendum is more of a directive. Basically, my question is: Is there a distinction, as far as you are concerned? Are you in favour of the referendum type of format or a plebiscitary type of democracy, which is advisory?

Second, do you see any difficulties that might arise where there is a piece of legislation which, under your particular scenario, is put towards either a referendum or a plebiscite and deals with minority interests?

Mr M. J. Martin: To answer your first question, referenda, I do favour that. There is no doubt on this. I think you are asking if it could get out of control by small minority groups.

Mr Offer: No. That is not what I am asking. If there is a question in the form of a referendum which is a directive, and the question deals with an aspect of minority interests or minority rights, which just on the basis of numbers might have some difficulty, do you see any difficulties there may be through the use of referenda or plebiscites, a possibility of an obstacle to the advancement of minority interests?

Mr M. J. Martin: No. Really, I do not. They are the people. They need their say. They have to be represented. I see no problem with it. Of course, who knows, down the line? But personally, right now my answer is no.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Martin.



The Chair: I call next Edward Carter.

Mr Carter: We welcome the opportunity to address you today as we share your concern for the future of Canada. It is not my intention to take a great deal of your time to explore the finer details of the fragile structure that currently binds this country together. I would rather speak to a more fundamental philosophy which, in my view, is being neglected by the politicians and citizens of this land.

The dictionary definition of "country" is somewhat constrained in that it speaks of "an extent of territory of common interest." To me, the word "country" goes far beyond that cold dictionary definition and embraces also a state of mind or attitude. If we are to have a country from sea to sea to sea then we must foster a common attitude towards that country which is universal throughout the land.

I accept that this great country is occupied by peoples of differing ethnic origins, languages, cultural and economic outlooks and other differences, but if we are to have the stability, prosperity and freedom that come from great nationhood then we must all submerge our differences in deference to the common bond that unites us.

The concept of equality and universality is also fundamental to nationhood. We cannot have a nation in which some are more equal than others. We cannot have a nation where some of its citizens do not feel welcome in some regions. We cannot have a nation where some of its regions do not have the same opportunities as other regions. We cannot have a nation unless the concept of country is integral with a man's soul.

With all due respect, our nation's leaders have gone a long way in creating an ideal country, where we enjoy many fundamental rights and freedoms identical from one end of the country to the other. I recognize that much has yet to be done.

During the past few years, it seems that our politicians are being overwhelmed by various pressure groups, each seeking its own narrow self-interest without reference to its neighbours. Some politicians appear to be succumbing to this pressure without a clear idea of the needs of this nation.

A classic example is included in your own publication, Changing for the Better, on page 2, where the phrase "celebrate our differences" is used. It would be my submission that in recent history we have been celebrating our differences to such an extent that we are now suffering a hangover. It would be my further submission that the continual discussion of differences has created a mindset in this country which virtually excludes the notion of nationhood.

It is my view that the continuation of this mindset will set the stage for the balkanization of Canada together with all the perils we now observe in that part of the world and other parts where a consensus of purpose has not been developed. Canada as a country will be replaced by a loose federation of independent states, each with its own destiny, primarily determined by that much greater population to the south and by the strong community now developing in Europe.

Canada has the potential to become one of the great nations of history, a growing nation of opportunity for our youth, a place of refuge for the persecuted, a golden land of national wealth, a great land of freedom, a source of justice for all, an inspiration to the world, and a fount of pride and security for our elderly, but most of all, it can be a country from one end to the other that we can all call, with justifiable pride, home.

If we continue on with the rancour and divisive political scene of recent years, we are never going to live up to Canada's potential. We are going to squander our birthright.

Now is the time for our politicians to act like leaders of a nation and to teach and demonstrate to their electorate the value of one nation in which we are all equal. Give up this divisive notion that Canada is a coalition of special groups. Act with candour and vigour and put country ahead of self. Recognize that the citizens of this country are educated and can comprehend the consequences of failure to come together. Communicate. Get people stirred up and talking and thinking and believing in this great future we can have working together.

Your committee is but one valuable step in the process.

Above all, our politicians must have the courage to lead, and leadership means getting all the regions of this land going in the same direction. No fundamental change to the structure of this nation can be countenanced until a strong consensus exists all across this land. Do not allow us to be stampeded into unwise and uncertain directions or confusion will destroy the fragile bonds we currently have.

In conclusion, Mr Chairman, we wish to thank you and your committee for the opportunity to appear and to leave with you, in summary, four words: Canada First-Canada Now.

The Chair: I think I echo the feelings of the committee members in saying that we too realize that our process and this committee's existence is but one step in a continuing process.

Mr Beer: Thank you for your presentation. Again, I think one of the things that has come forward during our hearings is that a number of people have spoken about the need to have a strong national identity, a strong sense of our country, a strong central government. But at the same time, we have also had people saying, "We want to have more control in our communities, however defined, over many of the things that happen to us." I suppose the previous speaker, in talking about some of the changes he saw in terms of the way the Senate worked, in terms of direct democracy, was also speaking about something of a conflict, where people want to have more direct control and yet want to have a strong centre.

I do not want to use Quebec as the example: let's use the west, Alberta, British Columbia. How do you see reflecting what I think would be strong, legitimate regional interests that have been with us through history and have been a part of Canada, or do you see those as being able to be represented none the less within a strong Canada? How do we allow for that expression within the sort of vision you have put forward?

Mr Carter: I understand what you are saying. The example from out west is actually one that was in my mind when I wrote this, because I was out there during the last oil crisis, went out to ski, and it was rather disturbing to see bumper stickers saying, "Let those eastern bastards freeze in the dark." I have relatives in the west. I know a bit about the attitude out there.

I think the problem is that we have talked so much about differences. You, again, are talking about differences and you are trying to give some credibility to the fact that there should be differences. I recognize there are differences, but they should be submerged. We need to change our attitude towards the way we look at this. We need to take pride in this country and from the fisherman in Newfoundland to the fisherman on the west coast and the Inuit in the north we should all be thinking: "Look, we're Canadians. We're not from the west. We're not from the east. We're Canadians." Just because they have the oil and the man in the east has the fish, let's all sit down. We can sit down and talk about it, just like we are sitting down and talking now. We need to talk, and then I think that things would come together much better.

But the politicians need to change their attitude towards the way they are talking. In your own document, as I pointed out, you use this term "celebrate our differences." We should not be celebrating our differences. We should be celebrating our sameness and work together. If you change your attitude, change your approach and the way you speak about it, then I would think you would come much more together. Let's start from where we can work together. Sure, everybody is a little different. You and I are different. We can all sort out our various things, but do not make a big deal about it.

Mr Bisson: To me it seems that the strength of a democracy is the difference within that democracy so people can look at options from different ways. One of the strengths I see in Canada, quite frankly, is that we do have differences. I agree with the paper, I do celebrate the differences. I guess that is where we part company.

I think it is important for a democracy to grow that we do look at things in a different way. Frankly, it scares me a little if we are saying we all have to be walking down the same road and we all have to be looking at things in the same way. Do you not think that is somewhat dangerous, not allowing change to happen in a much more open way? Do you not see that affecting change in any way?

Mr Carter: No. I do not. When you talked about everybody being different, Canada is no different than a hockey team or a baseball team. We are all players but we are all players on the same team. Let's talk about the team, let's not talk about the individuals.

Mr Bisson: The point is that there is a league when you play hockey and there are different teams.

Mr Carter: Well, the politicians are supposed to be the league here.

Mr Bisson: That is the country.

The Chair: I guess the trick is where we find that balance between respecting each other's differences and all being on that same course which I think you call Canada, which is what brings us together as Canadians. That is partly what this process is also aimed at, to try to help us get a deeper understanding of it.

Mr Carter: I think people can respect their differences without celebrating them.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you.



The Chair: I call next Wallace Reid from the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada.

Mr Reid: I welcome you to the Sunshine City. Just do not look outside today. May I apologize -- it is not my duty to do so -- for having you meet in these rather cosy but cramped quarters? I am sure there could have been something larger provided in Orillia, knowing the intense interest in our area and what is going on in our country. We could have met in Al McLean's office. It is maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but we would have almost had as much room.

It is a privilege for me to represent the Huronia branch of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada in coming before you to present some of our views regarding the future of our province and of our great country, Canada.

We agree with the Premier of Ontario in his preface or open letter in the discussion paper that our country faces a tremendous challenge that we believe we can, together, find a way to solve our problems. They are not insurmountable.

We come faced with some sobering difficulties, but we do not come in abject fearfulness or sorrow, but with positive thoughts and knowledge that Canada can and will continue to be a great country, and we hope to be part of that process.

We come, if I may say so, in a spirit of vindication and some pride, as we no longer hear the media and some politicians making a hue and cry about those doddering old people, some of whom are racists and rednecked bigots who do not represent the majority view of English-speaking Canadians. Now the media has changed its tune and speaks about the majority of Canadians who demand change and are no longer satisfied with what is taking place in our country. A provincial election has taken place and what changes have come about? Just ask a former Premier.

I trust you will forgive us for that little departure from positive suggestions for Canadian unity, but it does tie in with present reality. APEC's main concern has been and still is the language issue: official bilingualism and what it is doing to Canada's unity, the unfairness of application and the horrendous cost, on a federal level $1.6 million per day. We know that programs in Ontario have cost billions of dollars but the government to date has never given out an overall figure.

Further, the former Liberal government of Ontario in varying ways brought in measures that almost made Ontario officially bilingual. In fact, the former Premier expressed the personal opinion that he would at some time like to see Ontario officially bilingual.

The same government brought in Bill 8 and drew up the designated bilingual areas of Ontario, all this with less than 50% of the members of the Legislature's approval, only 55 members there.

Now we are faced with the demands of the province of Quebec for a distinct society recognition or even sovereignty-association or perhaps separation. Do you, as political leaders, really believe that if any of these situations come about the rest of Canada will still blithely go along with official bilingualism? Not likely.

The government of Canada has already given Quebec some rights the other provinces do not have. In the latest round of negotiations, immigration rights were approved. I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, is it right for members of Parliament from Quebec to sit in on discussions affecting the same rights which would affect other provinces in Canada, or should they absent themselves from such discussions?

APEC does not oppose unofficial bilingualism and the use of French by the francophone community or the learning of other languages; we encourage it. It is not a political organization but an organized group of different political persuasions endeavouring to make political parties realize that official bilingualism is divisive and discriminatory. We believe the majority of English-speaking Canadians are of the same mind and will support efforts to do away with it.

This is not an exercise in hate against the francophone people of Ontario and Canada, simply a belief and knowledge that official bilingualism is dividing rather than uniting Canada.

Having had the privilege of associating with francophones over many years, from local friends to serving alongside them in the army in the Second World War, as an employee of the post office and working with them, and through union participation at conventions in various parts of Canada, I have always found them, as individuals, like most other Canadians, personable, friendly, doing their best to do their jobs and get along with others. I believe they have always had a strong sense of their ties and culture, and because of that were much more inclined to act together in contrast to the looseness among English-speaking Canadians.

When the federal government began promoting official bilingualism, beginning with the Pearson era, we witnessed that fact in Quebec and throughout Canada. It has led in some measure to some of the problems we have today.

Five years ago, when I retired from the post office, there was a problem in the Penetanguishene area of this county with regard to education. I asked a friend there, a francophone who held a position of public trust in that community, what the problem was. He responded, "Wally, instigators were brought in to arouse discontent among the francophone population and demand a separate French high school despite the fact that previously they had got along just fine." These were his words and his thoughts.

Later, a television documentary by Hana Gartner from the Fifth Estate outlined the divisions that developed in the community, indeed dividing the families. These were francophone families. It was a very revealing look at the problem and they are still having problems.

Some provincial governments such as Ontario with the previous Liberal government, have aggravated the process by bringing in measures to support the cause to the point of alarm among English-speaking communities. For instance, in Ontario we find that provincial licences, documents, maps, departmental letterheads, even this discussion paper that we have that we are presently discussing, are all produced in a bilingual format. Has there not been any public input from English-speaking Ontarians? Of course not. This is in contrast to Quebec where it is still all in French -- who wants bilingualism?

Perhaps the government should take a close look at what has happened in the field of letter appeals by charitable organizations for funds. A year or so ago most of these letters of appeal were coming in a bilingual format, perhaps aided and pushed by government help in printing costs. The net result was a rejection by the public and a drop in funds received.

Today one receives very few bilingual letters. Most have reverted to English for English-speaking persons, perhaps with a notation in French to check the proper square if one wishes to receive the correspondence in French. The organizations have learned very quickly indeed. In fact yesterday I received one from one of my favourite charities. Whereas last year it was a bilingual mishmash, it is English this year for English-speaking people with the notation, "If you want it in French, just mark the square."

One wonders why these steps were taken in a province with only a 5.4% francophone population. That is the figure given on page 16 of the discussion paper. The cost of all these steps must be enormous. We are not given facts. Translation alone runs from 30 to 50 cents a word; $2,000 for basic translation at a conference. These figures were from a newspaper report just out last week. Our riding MPP, Allan McLean, once reported on what it cost him to have a letter translated, and I believe that was around $70.

The same report from the newspaper I have just quoted also stated that some provincial government ministries have produced thousands of pamphlets in French and then stuck them in a warehouse when there was no demand for them. Again, I am just calling on what the report said. Would it not at least be more sensible to produce these articles in a bilingual form, or French if necessary, in the percentages required, 5.4%, instead of 100%? Oh well, it is only money. Who cares?

One could go on at length to give examples to back up our position for the discontinuance of official bilingualism as a method of bringing Canada together. They would be factual findings on what is taking place.

One such program is French immersion schooling, a very costly, contentious program with some very serious flaws. Parents for English and/or core French report that one in every five children who are enrolled drop out before grade 8. In high school, 77% do not complete the program. The stress factor on some children and parents becomes very high. Again, that is from their report. May I ask what happens to French immersion if indeed Quebec separates from Canada?


I should hope too that Ontario politicians and government leaders are keeping a close watch on what is taking place at the present time. The federal government recently contributed $20 million to assist in the building of a glass plant in Quebec, while they tell us two glass plants in Ontario are having difficulties staying open. Also, tenders are being called for the architectural work on a new National Archives building to be built in Quebec, not far from Ottawa. Should a halt be called to this type of thing or at least until Quebec makes up its mind on what it wants to do?

Another very divisive program by federal and provincial governments is the multiculturalism policy. While this has not been a program actively opposed by APEC, we the executive of Huronia branch strongly voice our opposition to it. It does absolutely nothing to unite Canadians. Rather, it places them in groups seeking to retain their former language and culture. Do we want immigrants to come to Canada to become Canadians or simply to come and establish themselves as overseas branches of various nationalities?

Canadians need no policy to remind us of our ethnic backgrounds. Those of us who served in the Second World War quickly learned of the Canadian mosaic, but we were just proud to be called Canadians and it mattered not where your ancestors came from.

It seems governments have developed a type of mentality that when people come to Canada as immigrants, we should change our heritage to suit theirs, instead of allowing them to adapt to our customs. Not only does officialdom ignore Canadian heritage; it encourages new immigrants to preserve their culture and language and assists them with grants to do this, again, a very costly and unnecessary and divisive program.

We suggest that if you feel a majority of the people in Ontario support official bilingualism and multiculturalism, then have a referendum on these subjects and see how they respond. The suggestion has been made before and never acted on. It must be that the results are foreseeable. In this area, a number of townships and Coldwater village asked that question on a municipal ballot dealing with a question, are you in favour of the municipality conducting its business only in English? The results were overwhelmingly in favour.

There are many issues to consider in seeking to change Canada for the better. Solving the problems of dealing with aboriginal rights has to be one of them and the most foremost. Economics, interprovincial trade, closer co-operation between the provinces, help for those affected by the recession and free trade, these are Canada-wide problems. I am sure that there are lots of provincial problems to tackle as well. Education and health care are but two that come to mind.

However, important as these matters are, Canada cannot go forward until the decision by Quebec to remain or depart is reached and settled by all concerned. Perhaps you might take insight from a bit of humour wherein a lady decided to go cross-country skiing. Upon reaching the area she decided she needed to limber up a bit before hitting the trail, so she placed her hands on the top of the car trunk, raised her leg in order to flex her muscles and a man and a young girl passed by just then and she heard the girl say, "Daddy, aren't you going to help her push?"

We think province and country really do need a push in the right direction and we hope Ontarians and all Canadians persevere in pushing Ontario and Canada ahead, and we are certain they will.

Thank you very much, members of the committee. It certainly must be a trial for you to go around the province hearing all these people, various people speak, especially someone like me.

The Chair: It is all, Mr Reid, part of the process that I think we have embarked upon, to try to hear the views of as many people as possible, as different as those views might be. There are a few questions.

Mr Harnick: I appreciate where your group stands and I am not agreeing necessarily with the positions you take. I am pleased to see that on page 2 of your brief you have specifically stated that you do not oppose unofficial bilingualism and the use of French by the francophone community. I think that is certainly an indication of a level of tolerance by your organization.

What I am interested in is the idea when you talk about a community like Coldwater, which I understand is a primarily anglophone community, so they decide that they really do not need French services and we can accept that. Penetanguishene, on the other hand, is primarily a francophone community, and do not tell me it is not because I have been a long-time resident of the area, a part-time resident but I have been there for a long time. You will never convince me it is not a francophone community so do not try. The fact of the matter is that if I take your statement on page 2 in terms of that community being a francophone community, you do not disagree that French services should be available there?

Mr Reid: Pardon me? I do not agree that French services should be available?

Mr Harnick: No, you do not disagree.

Mr Reid: No.

Mr Harnick: Of course, and in a sense because of that this admission you have just made to me, really Bill 8 is not a bill that is totally unsatisfactory to your organization in that it stands for the use and provision of French-language services where the numbers warrant. Is that correct?

Mr Reid: I would say so. I have read Bill 8 and reread it and reread it again and it comes down to me as rather a very high-handed effort to make that the rule.

Mr Harnick: It may need some fine-tuning.

Mr Reid: I would say so.

Mr Harnick: It may need some fine-tuning. I am not going to comment on that one way or the other, but basically we have an understanding in this little discussion we are having now that APEC does not dispute the philosophy espoused in Bill 8 that French-language services should be available where the numbers warrant.

Mr Reid: No, I think their major concern is that in doing so you make it discriminatory for others to seek those positions. I think that is their main concern.

Mr Harnick: But then, just for the record, you do not have a problem with the bill providing the services are where the numbers warrant.

Mr Reid: I would not think so.

Ms Churley: I am a bit concerned, to say the least. On page 2 you quote a francophone telling you that instigators were brought in to raise discontent. We have certainly heard over the past week and a couple of days from a lot of francophones in northern and northwestern and northeastern Ontario, and we have heard a lot of pain and a lot of hurt and a lot of humiliation. I am sure you have heard about it too. We have certainly heard that there is a sense out there that people are looking at this too economically, that we have to think about how humans feel and how their culture and they are valued in this society.

Certainly it is my belief that there is a misconception, that we are considered to be getting along as long as nobody in a minority position rocks the boat. I can speak about that from a female perspective in trying to make it in a man's world and struggling with that fight. I think it is the same for francophones and many other minorities. I would like to know how you feel or why you feel that majorities rule. Do you not think that if we have a country where we do referendums, and where the majority rules because actually it is mostly male and white -- white males still have the majority rule in many ways -- that we are going to have a kind of country that is going to make us even more divisive, because so many minorities will be left out of the process, so to speak, and that in the long run it will cost us even a whole lot more money to try and constantly deal with the kinds of problems that arise from that?

Mr Reid: No, I do not think that is entirely true. As I have said, over the years I have dealt with francophones in many ways and I too have grieved with them when there were outside delegates from Quebec. We were at conventions in other areas and they could not make themselves understood in some circumstances. I have had the same problems in Quebec.

But to go on to the question, if you are asking me about referendums and treading down the minorities, I do not believe that would be true at all. I think we can still deal in a fair and square manner with all Canadians as Canadians, and if you had a referendum, surely the ladies, the women, would have a voice in that referendum too.


Mr Offer: Mr Reid, in your response to a question posed by Mr Harnick you indicated that you do not disagree with the philosophy of Bill 8, which is French-language services in areas where numbers warrant. I think it is no surprise that the organization you are representing has espoused absolutely the opposite view, that it is opposed to the philosophy of Bill 8. I am wondering, Mr Reid, if you could tell us which position it is. Is it the APEC position which you are espousing or the position in terms of the response to Mr Harnick's question that you are stating?

Mr Reid: I thought I gave a personal opinion to Mr Harnick on that. I know that APEC, as an organization, opposes it strongly and I thought I said to Mr Harnick that I believe it is because of discrimination they perceive in job positions particularly. Again, if you are speaking about where services are warranted, that brings in a whole new kettle of fish. For instance, in the new high school in Penetang, they are serving the whole county of Simcoe, I believe, at the moment. Again, is that warranted, for a whole county to be served by one -- I am just throwing that out to you, but I do not believe that -- I think APEC's main concern with Bill 8 especially was setting up a bureaucracy and a position where discrimination becomes very effective. That is just my personal opinion.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for sharing your views with us this morning, Mr Reid. I am sure you would agree and support the importance of equality of services for those who speak English in Quebec. I am sure you would agree that those people have rights there and I am sure you then must extrapolate that to Ontario and agree that francophones in Ontario must also have that same right.

It would seem clear to me that this is the position your organization should take, that if you care about the anglophone minority within Quebec, then you must also care about the francophone community in Ontario. I would like to know what you think about that.

Mr Reid: Again, I am perhaps answering more on my own personal views. I agree that francophones in Ontario should and must have some rights, but how far do you carry those rights then, Mr Malkowski? I do not know. At the moment it does not seem that there is going to be any compromise between Quebec's position and what is going to take place in the future. I believe in francophone rights, but you would have to interpret what you mean by francophone rights. If they were like what we have been viewing in the past or something a little better, I would certainly go along with that.

The Chair: I just want to say one other comment, Mr Reid, and that is that you referred in your presentation to people from different countries coming here and setting up -- I think you used the phrase -- overseas branches of various nationalities. I just ask you and your organization to think about that because certainly, as an Italian Canadian, my experience is that people who have come to this country from various countries do think of themselves as Canadians and are very different from people in whatever native country they may have come from. I think that there is a lot of discussion and thinking that needs to go on between people of all backgrounds along those questions as well.

Mr Reid: I appreciate what you have said, sir, and I go along with you 100%. You know, for instance, it bothers me that Toronto has been designated as a bilingual centre and you have 500,000 Italians and only 38,000 francophones. I have nothing that I would argue against what you have said at all and I hope I have not presented a different view in my presentation as far as -- all I am saying is that you do not single out little groups and say, "Do you want to be Italian Canadians? Do you want to be German Canadians," and so on. We all want to be Canadians. You know very well that you are an Italian Canadian and proud of it.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call next Eric Gerhard Bucholz. Please come to the table. Go ahead.

Mr Bucholz: As you have probably noticed, I am a person who is underage and therefore cannot vote, yet I have taken a great interest in politics and in this particular situation I am very concerned about the direction in which this country is going. I am very pleased, Mr Chairman, to have the opportunity today to talk to you about where I think Canada should go.

Canada, for me, is the best country in the whole world. It was built on the dream of John Macdonald, a dream of diversity and uniting different people from sea to sea. And part of this reasoning is that when we look for common values, perhaps the value we all share is the tolerance for different people in the country. But unfortunately in recent years, there has been an awful lot of division. In Quebec there has been an awful lot of division. The French want to be accepted there. The British institutions seem somewhat in jeopardy, they say. The aboriginal people are pushing for self-government and the foreign people are concerned about racial discrimination.

Therefore, what you must do in Canada to maintain the diversity, you need a strong federal government. You must control and keep the interest groups on track in Ottawa because they are our reason for remaining Canadian. If you look back in history you will note that that is the reason why people were Canadian, because they could preserve their identity. The aboriginal, the native people were Canadian because they were well-respected by the British. The British wanted to be Canadian because they wanted to have ties with the motherland. The French wanted to be Canadian because they could speak French. And many Europeans and people of different races wanted to be Canadian because in Canada they were able to maintain their cultural identity.

So they are our best interests too, and each group of people that is different is another reason for remaining Canadian. I enjoy that diversity, but unchecked they can get off track and let their economic interests get in the way of the preservation of their identity. Therefore, Mr Rae's role as the Premier of Ontario, a very influential province, is to avoid the extremities and keep -- even in Ontario there is a lot of diversity and he must therefore keep the people on track and avoid the extremities and employ moderation so that we may all work for the betterment.

It has been said that Quebec should be allowed to go its own way, and I think Mr Rae has an obligation to the people of this province that if Quebec wants to leave he should let them leave. But at the same time, it is up to Quebec to decide. If they can share in our aspirations and our reasoning that the French fact in Quebec is for the betterment of Canada -- but they must not let their economic interest take precedence over the preservation of their identity -- then they can stay. But if they cannot share that dream, then they should leave, and any other interest group should either leave or simply not become Canadian.


We would probably be more united in that case without them, for the people who do share that tolerance and reasoning for being Canadian. And constitutional talks should probably simmer down or should not be concluded until the citizens in Canada have gotten a chance to employ forums such as this to exercise their views and to employ more reasoning and less emotion, so they will be able to understand the betterment of the other parties involved in Canada.

Mr Rae's role, therefore, should be ensuring that the people do not resort to extremity and employ moderation and tolerance. In Canada, we build our values on peace, liberty and justice, but we should also build them on the historical facts too, and find the reasoning why we are Canadian, like tolerance and diversity. British, French, aboriginal and foreign institutions all have a role to play in the Canadian identity and makeup, and equality cannot be overstressed. None the less, the majority of Canadians must keep their identity, and when the government resorts to such things as taking the Lord's Prayer out of the public schools, that is not what I call in the best interests of tolerance for the majority of Canadians.

We must also recognize other things of Canadian identity -- the snow, the forests, the hockey, the fur trade -- and understand them as well as the fundamental historical component.

In summary, if we are to find out the common values, it should be in Canada's best interest to look at the history and find out why these interest groups wanted to become Canadian.

I am very appreciative of the opportunity I had today to speak. I understand that my opinion is one of many that Canadians share, and some disagree with, but I can now feel some satisfaction that I helped shape a new Canada for future generations to come. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much. I appreciate your presentation.

Mr Bisson: First, I want to thank you on behalf of the committee, because I think it is awfully important that we as adults and we as a committee and we as a government in the community hear what our young people are saying, because in the end you have the trust of picking up the pieces or carrying on whatever we are doing. I want to demonstrate something. When we say we need to be all the same, we need to be marching down the same road -- Gary is a member of our Legislature. As you understand, Gary is not able to speak, and speaks a very different language, American sign language. ASL, for the information of people out there, is actually not English. It is a language of its own. So when Gary was elected, we decided we would recognize within our own little community, which is the Legislature, another language, which is ASL.

Can I ask the interpreter to stop, please? He is now excluded. We are not able to gather his thoughts, we are not able to allow him to proceed. I am getting emotional obviously, but I really value what this man has to bring to this Legislature. When we talk about excluding people, what we are saying is: "We don't value your opinion. We don't want you to share. We don't want you to participate in this country." And that hurts me and it hurts many Canadians. Can you restart, please?

So I think it is important that we recognize our minorities. Yes, Canada is different. We started this country by saying we did not want to be the melting pot. We wanted to gather, we wanted to share, we wanted to interchange with other people in this country to make it a better place. By recognizing our differences and allowing people such as Gary, whom I value, to be able to contribute to our Legislature and to our province, I think makes us a much better place. I just ask you to think about that.

Mr Bucholz: That is precisely what I am saying.

Mr Bisson: I realize that.

Mr Harnick: Eric, you made a statement I would like you to try to clarify for us. You said Quebec should stay if they share our aspirations. I do not know what you mean by "our" aspirations, but what I put to you is this. Should we not, as provinces outside of Quebec, also be prepared to share and respect some of their aspirations as well? I say that to you in the spirit of the tolerance to which you referred during the course of your presentation. If you could clarify those statements for us, I would appreciate that.

Mr Bucholz: I do share the tolerance of Quebec or I do share in the aspirations of Quebec, because the French fact is one of the components of Canadian survival, it is one of the many, and I share in their identity. But if you take a look at the whole structure of Quebec, you will notice that there are underprivileged areas, like the Maritimes and the native people, that are not getting that needed assistance, but I do notice an awful lot of economic benefits going to Quebec. Perhaps they are taking more of a look at their economic aspirations and confusing them with preservation of their identity. They are confusing the two, I strongly believe, and if they are going to let their economic interests prevail over the preservation of their identity, then they are going to put the Atlantic provinces and the native people at a disadvantage, I feel, and that is why we must have equality. I share in Quebec's aspirations, but I think that if they let their economic preservations prevail, they have enough weight that they could deny the Atlantic and the native people and various foreign groups the opportunity to have these needed economic benefits.

Mr Beer: Thank you very much for your presentation. It seems to me that the root of what you have been saying is the key value that we share as Canadians and need to continue to share, this one of tolerance. I wonder if you might share with us what your sense, in terms of your own generation, is regarding the future of the country and, in particular, how we go about finding within our country the ability to recognize and to respect linguistic rights, respect aboriginal rights, all the while within the context of being Canadians. Are you optimistic in terms of your own personal vision in the discussions with your fellow students? Do you think this is something we are going to be able to achieve? What do you see as you look from your position right now at those of us who are in positions of leadership? Is this something we are going to be able to do?

Mr Bucholz: First, the main centre in the debate here is about Quebec. That is a major issue. And my generation follows the average English Canadian, and I think the average politician has leaned on a general consensus, Trudeau's bilingualism type of thing. Federally, at least, I do not find very many Tory politicians who can deny that Canada is bilingual. I think that is a slap in the face of tolerance to say that Alberta is bilingual when the franco minority there is very minute. My generation is saying that maybe on a provincial level there is -- the general consensus might be better, but they look very sceptically at politicians and think that they are too much on the general consensus. There are not too many people who stand up for the lost cause, that Canada is not bilingual and they have lost faith in very many politicians in that respect.

That is not uncommon for this present generation of Canadians. I think they feel the same way. They feel there are too few politicians who can make their stance against some such things as the Meech Lake accord or something like that, and they have kind of lost faith because they are always following the partisan interests. Another thing, too, is that they follow the general consensus. You do not find many politicians, for instance, opposing abolishing the Lord's Prayer in the schools, yet these people are perhaps from the same group of people ethnically that is quite opposed to abolishing the Lord's Prayer in the public schools. So they view sceptically, let's just say that. It is a very sceptical view.

The Chair: We will end there. Thanks very much.



The Chair: William Gearing, go ahead.

Mr Gearing: I have only a few minutes, so I will restrict my comments to just three of the questions you raised about Canada's future.

First, I must say I hesitated about coming before this committee. By the way, I hope you have my remarks in front of you; I gave you copies. The reason for my hesitation is that I wondered if you really intend to listen to Canadians who come before you and to those who cannot, and what you will recommend if a majority disagree with your views.

I go on to give you a few reasons why I think that, but I am going to pass on because I can see there is a time problem here.

I will say that I am encouraged by your questions and your comments, and perhaps the scepticism I express here about the committee may not be justified. However, I would like to go on to actual topics you have raised.

One of your topics has to do with the west, the north and the Atlantic region. I congratulate you for that, because constitutional talks have virtually ignored the needs of these regions while most attention has focused on Quebec. It is essential that we recognize that national unity requires fairness to all regions. The most important means of achieving fairness is through a triple E Senate, which means elected, effective and equal, and which is demanded by more and more people living in the outer regions.

At this point I must tell you that I am on the executive of the local Reform Party, which you have already heard from. I am speaking for myself now, but I want to make clear my position.

Those who are bothered by the equality concept must learn to understand the viewpoint and needs of the smaller provinces. They must realize that we are more than a majority rule democracy. Because of our vastness we are also a federation, and we must never forget that. We must remember that keeping this country together depends on successful federalism, which in turn requires fairness to all regions. We must remember that to secure fair treatment the less populous provinces need equal representation in the Senate. We should remember that Ontario will continue to be well-protected by our large representation in the House of Commons.

We need to remember, also, that other democratic federations, such as Australia and the United States, have an upper chamber based on equal representation. This arrangement works well for them and will for us. Therefore, one of the greatest contributions the Ontario government could make towards a more united Canada would be to endorse the principle of the triple E Senate.

A second topic we were invited to comment on is the role of the English- and French-language communities in Canada. My response is that we must restore harmony between these communities, but to do so we will have to travel a different road from the one we have been on. I believe government language policies should be based on the following principles.

We must stop defining Canada as being based on two founding races, English and French. This definition offends aboriginals and people of other ethnic origins, especially in the west, where over 70% of the population is of neither French nor English origin. Instead, we must think of ourselves as unhyphenated Canadians who should be treated alike regardless of race, language or culture.

We must trash the myth that Canada is a bilingual country. The 1982 Constitution recognizes an official status for English and French in some respects, but it does not state that Canada is bilingual. To do so would be absurd when over 80% of the population continues to speak one language.

Language is the lifeblood of a nation. Like the Québécois, Canadians in English-speaking Canada have an emotional need to live exclusively in our own language, if we so choose, while still being eligible for all positions in government, except translator. We do not wish to be governed by an exclusive, bilingual elite. Nor do we intend to submit meekly to ridicule hurled at us for holding sentiments that are natural, legitimate and universal.

It is not the majority of Canadians who should become bilingual. It is the anglophone minority in Quebec and the francophone minority elsewhere who have an obligation to become bilingual and function in the majority language, except for communications among themselves. This is expected of second-generation immigrants and should be a responsibility expected of francophones and anglophones as well.

Language policies must be fair to the majority as well as the minority. It is unjust that many Canadians are being denied jobs or promotions because they are not bilingual. Fluency in both official languages and other languages should be encouraged, but most Canadians are fluent in only one language and should not be penalized for it. The determining factor should be merit, not language ability, and especially not the mother tongue of the applicant.

There would be less tension about language if we were to devise more imaginative programs to solve the problem of being fair to the minority and the majority. For example -- and I am referring here more to the federal government, where there are large numbers of both language groups -- essential federal services could be offered by separate parallel units in which English-speaking employees serve the public in English while French-speaking employees serve francophones in French. Members of each group could work in their own language and be promoted to higher positions. Bilingual ability would be required only of translators and members of the minority group who aspire to senior positions. The obligation to become bilingual would be on the minority, where it belongs, not on the majority.

Goodwill is a two-way street and is not encouraged by charges of bigotry against those who express concern about language problems. Bigotry exists, certainly, in all groups, but many supporters of official bilingualism are all too willing to engage in pious posturing about tolerance while avoiding the issues of excessive costs and unfair treatment of Canadians who are not bilingual. They are all too fond of alleging bigotry in an attempt to intimidate people who raise these questions. Those who profess tolerance are often most intolerant and abusive towards fellow citizens with different views.

One final remark about language. I believe no provincial government has the right to declare a province to be officially bilingual unless it has been mandated to do so by the voters in a referendum.

Turning to the questions about Quebec, I hope we can keep this country together and I include Quebec in this aspiration. However, Quebec may not stay. Emotionally, I have not yet accepted this possibility, but events unfolding in Quebec may force me and all Canadians to come to terms with the political reality of separation.

Over the years we have asked, what does Quebec want?, and we have tried to make amends for past injustices. Unfortunately, we have fallen into the habit of letting Quebec politicians take the initiative while we react by trying to appease them as they demand more and more. Instead, we should work towards the building of a new and better Canada, with or without Quebec.

The futility of attempting to appease Quebec has been demonstrated by the Meech Lake scheming and the Allaire report, which spells out where the Quebec government would have taken us in order to uphold Quebec's distinctiveness. The only difference is that the Allaire report wants Quebec to seize these powers now rather than through a gradual process of wearing Canadians down.


The proposals currently coming out of Quebec would trivialize the Canadian government and establish Quebec as an autonomous state having the financial and economic benefits of an association with Canada. Meanwhile, Quebec MPs would continue to sit in the Canadian Parliament, where they would still have a powerful influence on decisions affecting Canada.

This is rather like a marriage separation in which the two partners continue living in separate rooms in the same house, but one gets the keys, a separate entrance and a veto over the behaviour of the other partner, who gets to pay the mortgage and the bills.

The time has come to ask instead, "What kind of Canada do we want?" We should establish our own vision of Canada, and then place the onus on Quebec to decide if the two visions are compatible.

Who speaks for Canada? We cannot trust Brian Mulroney to speak for us because he is from Quebec, as is much of his caucus. Both he and Jean Chrétien have a conflict of interest. Now, I am saying that I realize that Brian Mulroney does speak for Canada, or says he does, but he is negotiating with Quebec on a lot of things and he is also speaking for Quebec. He cannot help but do so. Nor can we trust the NDP, which is inclined to sell Canada short in an effort to win votes in Quebec. All three old-line parties participated in the effort to blackmail and bamboozle us into accepting Meech Lake. Most Canadians were opposed, but the attempt to impose the deal from the top down almost succeeded.

We must do two things to secure genuine participation by the people in Constitution-making. First, we need to hold regional conventions at which elected delegates will draw up proposals for a new Constitution. This should be followed by a national constitutional convention. Second, the new Constitution, or amendments to the old one, should be voted on by the people in a referendum.

In conclusion, I believe Canadians have had enough of government from the top down. Who speaks for Canada? We should speak for ourselves and let the people decide.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Gearing. I think just on some of the comments in the opening part of your presentation about how we as a committee are going to deal with the wide range of views that we have been hearing, and no doubt will continue to hear, that obviously is probably going to be the most difficult part of our work in the end.

Obviously we do come as individuals and as members of political parties to this process with some views and some positions, but I think we are also trying very hard as a committee to continue to build consensus among ourselves but also to try to broaden that consensus out by listening to what people have to say and incorporating the kind of things that we are hearing into the kind of reports and general areas of recommendations that we might put forward to the Legislature and the government. We recognize that a lot more discussion needs to go on to allow that process to give us an even clearer picture of the views of the public in Ontario on those important issues.

Mr Gearing: I appreciate that and that is why I left out a paragraph after hearing some of the preceding comments.

The Chair: All right. We have time for just the one question. Mr Winninger.

Mr Winninger: Just following on what Mr Chairman has said, we just completed two weeks travelling around the north and what we have heard is a very distinct and repeated theme, and that is that we have three founding nations: the French, the English and our first nations, the natives of Canada.

You said earlier in your paper that you had some difficulty with defining the nation in terms of two founding nations, French and English, because that would exclude native people, and then you went on to suggest that first-generation Canadians have an obligation to learn English, which is the majority language, and gradually you focused more and more on the English as a pre-eminent nation of Canada. It would seem to me -- and I was a second-generation Canadian -- that learning English seemed a very natural thing, and learning French seemed a natural thing to want to do, and perhaps ultimately learning native languages is a natural thing to do, and all of these predilections can exist in harmony and they do not have to be to the exclusion one of the other.

So I would ask you, in taking this position that English-speaking Canadians have a right to elect to only want to speak English and only want to deal with the public in English and that official bilingualism somehow denies that inalienable right, are you not taking a very narrow view that could also be extended to our first nations, our native people, and say, "Well, they are a very small minority and why should we extend services to them in their own native languages?" notwithstanding the fact that they were here before the English?

Mr Gearing: First of all, I would extend it to them in their own language, if that is what they wished.

Mr Bisson: But you would not to French?

Mr Gearing: Oh, yes, I would to the French too. I did not say that. In fact, I suggested how it might be done better than it is being done right now.

First of all, I want to go back to what you said at the beginning. I think it is a mistake, though, to be thinking in terms of English and French as the founding nations, and even if you add the aboriginals, then you get all the multicultural groups that are right now demanding the same sort of thing. It is beginning to balkanize us. I think we have to think of ourselves as Canadians, unhyphenated Canadians. For many of us in a major part of the country, the predominant language or the official language, if you like, will be English. That does not make it, though, an English culture, not England in the sense of England overseas or anything like that. As with the Americans, their language is English. Sometimes they say, "Speak American," but it is English.

Mr Winninger: So what you are suggesting is, even native Canadians have to become unhyphenated Canadians.

Mr Gearing: I think we should all think of ourselves as Canadians first, and I find that some of the native peoples, only some, are starting to talk in terms of they are not even Canadians.

Mr Winninger: And that bothers you, does it not?

Mr Gearing: Yes. I think we are all Canadians, Canadians first. Then within that we may have various divisions, if you like, but I would certainly agree that, having been here first, the native Canadians perhaps have a priority more than anybody else. But the problem with that is you may be extending it to more and more groups. I would say that is as far as I would go.

But you do not understand. I did not say we should not have French services. I got the impression you thought at one point I was against French services.

Mr Winninger: I just had the impression that you did not feel that English Canadians should be obliged to provide services in French.

Mr Gearing: No. I felt that an English Canadian or English-speaking Canadian should be able to speak in his own language and function right up to the top levels of government, which is not true now in the federal government, and if you wish, I can give you personal examples, not just some that I have read, but people I know who are discriminated against.

The Chair: I think we will have to end there. Thank you very much, Mr Gearing.


The Chair: I call next Colleen Cooney.

Mrs Cooney: Aniin, bonjour, greetings, Mr Chairman, members of the committee.

First, I wish to express my appreciation for having been given the opportunity to address this committee. It is important that many voices be heard. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney two days ago stated that Ottawa does not always know best. I think we could probably get quick consensus on that.

I welcome this committee to Orillia. I come to speak to you as a fourth-generation descendant of boat people who travelled from Ireland in the middle of the last century. I am grateful for the reception into this country and I appreciate the sacrifices of our gracious hosts who shared this land with all the peoples who arrived on these shores.

We have at this present time the opportunity to reflect, to put into words our thoughts on who we are, to look at the Canada we have become. This is a time to find out if our actions are an accurate reflection of our vision of Canada and now is the time to dream of the Canada we want to become. We must dream the dream of Canada. As we express our individual dreams, we must begin to share with each other to form a common dream. We are Canada. Our actions reflect who we are. It is vital to make sure that our actions match our dream.


We must look at our story as it unfolds in the story of the universe. We have become fragmented. Our story now is inadequate for meeting the survival demands of this present situation. In this age of instant communication we have a tremendous opportunity to have a common dream. As we share our dreams with each other, we will begin to visualize the Canada we wish to become.

I have a dream of Canada. I dream of a Canada that is compassionate. I dream of the people of Canada who look at each other with the eyes of compassion, of people who will listen to each other with the mind and the heart, who will respect each other and learn to be compassionate in actions. I dream of a people in Canada who are compassionate with all the animals, insects, plants in the ecosystem of this great land. I dream of a Canada which will be an example to the rest of the world on how to live together, respecting differences and finding solutions to our problems.

I am grateful for many programs we already have. I am proud that I live in a country which cares enough to have a health program. It would be very difficult for me personally to live in a country where a person could die from a simple health problem simply because he or she could not afford to pay. Canada is already compassionate.

As we look at the story of Canada, the first nation people welcoming the Europeans, we see pure tragedy on one side, unmeasured gain on the other, but our story has not yet been completed. It is up to us now to dream. We boat people have been the cause of much suffering. We have taken over much land, have been the cause of much pollution. First nation people were one of the freest of peoples on earth and now they have become one of the most confined in more than one way. We have broken the rhythm of their development. We must now step aside to let the deeper qualities of first nation tradition develop from within. Thomas Berry, a well-respected man of wisdom says that: "Our first duty is to see that the Indians dwelling here have land, the resources and the independence they need to be themselves. This involves radical abandonment of the policy of assimilation." Now is the time for all of us to dream, to develop attitudes which will make the next few centuries of our life together a creative period for first nation people.

As we learn to share our dreams with each other, I think that we need to look at the environment and the format we choose for this activity. The very structure of our technological civilization prevents us from communicating in depth with first nation people. Keith Spicer, chairman of the Citizens' Forum on Canada's Future, has stated in a letter released one month ago to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney that the forum could not provide a thorough review of aboriginal issues and does not have the capacity to listen to and reflect aboriginal concerns adequately. This concern needs to be listened to and addressed. As we begin to be more sensitive to others and to listen to the message with compassion, we will grow in understanding and respect. Our dream of Canada will evolve as we listen to each other's dreams.

I cannot speak for first nation people. But I have heard them speak of being caretakers of Mother Earth. I have heard my Chippewa friends say that Mother Earth is very sick; she is bleeding. As Europeans, we seem to have the philosophy that we are lords with dominion over all other living beings. First nation people have a sense of communion with nature. There are a great many lessons for us to be learned. We see evidence every day of the destruction we have caused. Our industries have failed to create a better world. We need now to listen to those who have a sense of oneness with all things. We need to walk in the moccasins of first nation people. Their moccasins have soft soles, and you can feel the ground under every step.

Let us look at the recent clashes involving first nation people:

(1) The Haida of British Columbia standing in the path of logging machines which were intending to clear-cut ancient forests;

(2) The Lubicon of northern Alberta and the TemeAugama Anishnabai of northern Ontario trying to protect ancient lands;

(3) The Mohawks of Akwasasne trying to protect lands. It is interesting to note that it was reported in the Toronto Globe and Mail that the federal government, after promising to buy the disputed land to give to the Mohawks, bought the wrong land -- it bought swamp land;

(4) The Mi'kmaq and the Malaseet of Nova Scotia trying to protect their hunting and fishing rights; and

(5) The Innu of Labrador battling the low-level flights by jet fighters over their formerly quiet and peaceful land.

What are first people trying to tell us? Let's try listening with our minds and our hearts. Let's dream together of a Canada which is compassionate. Let us never again summon the army to settle our differences.

I want my first nation sisters and brothers to know that there are many, many of us boat people who strongly disapprove of the way we are acting. We share your dream.

A recent study by the Canadian centre of international PEN, in co-operation with the faculty of law at the University of Toronto, reports that Canada is failing to meet its obligations to first nation people under international law. The federal government announced in February 1990 cuts in funding to native communications programs. This must be addressed.

I dream of a Canada in which there is compassion, dialogue, friendship, tolerance, justice and equality for all. I dream of a Canada which will have first nation people well represented in Parliament and in the Senate.

This is a decisive moment in our story. We need to recognize our failure, bemoan the past, and move on to new healings -- healing of our relationships, healing of Mother Earth.

Recently, as we were climbing an icy slope on the sand dunes of Lake Michigan, a friend of mine, who is an Oneida Indian, climbed ahead of me and held out his hand to help me so I would not slip. I was struck at that moment at how symbolic an act that was. I reached out to take his hand, and we both arrived at the top of the hill. Thank you. Meegwetch. Merci beaucoup.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Cooney. We have time for one, possibly two questions.

Mr Beer: Thank you for your presentation, which was not only full of interesting thoughts but the way you expressed it was at times particularly poetic. On the last page you talk about dreaming of a Canada "which will have first nation people well represented in Parliament and in the Senate." There was a suggestion, I believe out of Nova Scotia recently during the leadership for the Conservative Party, that perhaps they should consider designating a seat or two seats for the native people who live in Nova Scotia. Do you think we are going to have to look at some of those kinds of changes to institutions in order for us to better understand and better work with the first nations, in terms of Parliament?

Mrs C. Cooney: I am not a politician and I do not have any answers, but I think we need to sit down with first nation people and listen. I think we have to take time to listen, and listen with the mind and the heart. They will know.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Seeing no other questions, we will end there.



The Chair: I call next Bonnie Ainsworth.

Mrs Ainsworth: I appreciate the opportunity of being able to be here this morning, and I would like to try and answer some of your questions. I would like to say that I believe the values we share as Canadians are that Canadians have always shared pride and prided ourselves in our individual freedoms and founded our institutions on the principle of equal opportunity and justice for all. We believe in democracy, we believe in personal heritage, and we believe in honesty and fiscal responsibility.

I find it very interesting that, with few exceptions, it would appear that Premier Robert Bourassa has adopted the Confederation of Regions platform. It might interest you to know that the Reform Party, headed by Preston Manning, in fact separated from the Confederation of Regions party, taking with it almost all viewpoints of the COR constitution and therefore has an almost identical platform.

I am not here today representing the Confederation of Regions platform. I do not say it is perfect, but I sincerely feel that the COR vision of Canada could save our country. This land was settled by regions over a period of 400 years. Each region is different in many ways. Therefore, each region must be allowed to build and develop on the basis of its own strengths, aspirations, differences and regional characteristics. After each region has determined its own objectives and direction, then, at that time, a confederation of regions may be entered into. Each region must decide and agree to what political power each region will have and also agree what areas of responsibility they will allow the federal government.

I know when I first was introduced to this concept, it seemed pretty off the wall to me. I have always been an ardent Canadian and a strong federalist, but Canada is not working, and we are going to lose it. The triple E Senate comes from the COR constitution, equal representation by regions, elected from the people of each region and effective with defined constitutional powers. Canada's first nation people should have equal representation in this House and elect their own representatives.

COR is also committed to the use of referendum on major public issues -- federally, some would be abortion, capital punishment, free trade, constitutional matters, etc -- because it is the people who have to live with, and under, these laws. Provincially, it might be Sunday shopping, no-fault insurance, Bill 8, young offenders acts and so on. Referendum and representative recall are also part of the COR policy.

I do not want to spend any more time on COR, because there are a few more points I would like to make, but I would suggest that your committee investigate this concept. I am sure that in this time of crisis in our country the Confederation of Regions party founder, Elmer Knutson of Edmonton, will come and speak to you. You will find any such interview a very positive and productive experience. He is truly a person of common sense and vision.

I will leave a copy of an article I brought with the clerk. I would just like to read little parts of it, if you do not mind. The article was in the Globe and Mail, 5 August 1988. Before I read this, I would like you just to think how many times you have heard people say: "Bilingualism works. Look at Belgium."

The article is headed "Belgium Law Aims to Cool Dutch-French Power Tussles." It says: "Belgium's National Assembly adopted a law and devolution yesterday intended to end historical tensions between Dutch- and French-language groups that have caused chronic political instability. Tensions between the communities have repeatedly paralysed the central government and brought down numerous coalitions. The law approved by the Senate will transfer full or limited responsibility for education, public works, economic policy, external trade and scientific research to regions and communities. The devolution process is planned to take effect in three phases. When the process is completed, about 45% of all public funds will be under the control of the three administrative regions: Dutch-speaking Flanders, francophone Wallonia and bilingual Brussels."

We are not the first country to have lived through this.

Canadians are, for the most part, very proud people. And David Peterson said we are getting cranky. If our country and our province as an integral part are to prosper as they should, then we must ensure a truly democratic form of government as a right of all citizens with all levels of government being responsive to the needs and the desires of the people all across the nation. The main cause of indifference by elected representatives is excessive adherence to party and caucus solidarity.

You have asked me what the roles of English and French languages should be in Canada. Personally, I would not expect to work and live in Quebec without speaking French, but I have very serious problems with the language legislation, Bills 101 and 178, in that province. I do, however, feel they will be relaxed in a new Confederation.

In Ontario, Canadians have been labelled, offended, degraded, slandered and otherwise ignored. I find it totally unacceptable to be labelled an anglophone, if that is what I am. The label, as far as I know, has never been given any clear definition. The only thing I have been able to find out is that there is another group of Canadians called allophones. I think this is degrading and disgusting, and I resent it even more because I know the only reason I wear this label is that so you can identify francophones.

I think we have heard just about all we want to hear in this province about francophones. They are nice people, and I am truly sorry that they are afraid they will not feel comfortable. But they are a 5% minority in this province. How can they expect to live and work here and not expect to speak English?

I think Bill 8 is totally ridiculous, and its implementation procedure is enough to boggle your mind. It is, in my opinion, nothing less than backdoor official bilingualism for Ontario, disguised for the moment as French-language services. I find it upsetting that this bill was passed into law in this province while only 44% of our elected representatives were present, and no recorded vote was taken. You call that democracy?

God bless Mr Shymko for pointing out to the Speaker that several of the MPPs who were absent understood absolutely no French, and who asked, in recognition of the historic nature of this bill, if it would be possible to make an exception in the procedures they normally followed. Normally, there would be no English translation of remarks made in the House. These remarks in French were made exclusively by the members who participated in the debates during the second and third readings. Could we have the debates of the time of the second and third readings of Bill 8 translated into English for anglophone citizens of the province and for the members who do not understand French and who, being absent, did not have the opportunity to hear the translation? If I had time, I would read you the whole Hansard report from that day. It is just incredible.

I am not going to go on about this any more. But because of the remarks Mr Beer has made to another person bemoaning Hill 8, and because I spent hours and hours and dollar after dollar trying to inform the population of this province of the unfair legislation that was being foisted upon them, I feel I have a right to quote one of your colleagues in Queen's Park. The gentleman's name is Bob Runciman. His comment, when asked about Bill 8: "There was no meaningful debate, no reference to standing committee to take place, what the implementations of the legislation might mean in Ontario, and no recorded vote was taken. I think there has been too much effort and attempt by this government to cover up this issue to have any meaningful public discussion about what is happening in terms of language services in the province, the cost implications, social implications." Mr Runciman says, "Bill 8 as the wholesale extension of the French language service in Ontario represents a horrendous waste of tax dollars, whose passage in 1986 marked one of the blackest days in the history of the Canadian Legislature."

No wonder we are cranky. How can we be expected to have any confidence in this Canadian style of democracy?


However, in closing I would like to say that the Constitution of a country is for the future, not the past. I would also like to recommend to Premier Rae that unless he plans on following the same path of extinction travelled by Bill Davis and his Tories and David Peterson and his Liberals, he had better start listening to the people of Ontario. I would like to remind him that there is a municipal election in this province in November. I think it would be more than appropriate and even cost-effective, and it would certainly stop a lot of -- I just feel that as a Canadian, if I could have a say in what is happening -- I feel that as a Canadian Canadian I am being disenfranchised in my own country. I feel I do not have any status because I do not have a culture. Now they tell me my heritage is being moved to Quebec. I wish they would wait until my heritage is moved to Quebec before Quebec decides if it is going to separate or not.

I think it is really unfair that the people have been put in the place of having to somehow sound like they do not like French people or that they do not like people from other countries. Canadian Canadians are wonderful and we are very tolerant and we feel there is room for everybody, but you cannot have special status, distinct people in this country. It just will not work. Canadians have to pull together and operate as an equal entity. Thank you.

The Chair: I know a number of people would like to ask questions, but time, unfortunately, is pressing. We will be able to allow one.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for sharing your important views with us on the committee. I would just like to follow up. You mentioned briefly the importance of values. I think somewhere, if I got this right, that you are talking about unequal opportunity and democracy. Do you believe in those two things? If this is true, the COR party -- you were talking about COR -- may be an example for Canada in terms of Confederation. You want to have a referendum on language rights. I do not know what the COR position is on that. I am getting confused whose values you are representing, COR's or yourself as an individual or as a Canadian. If you could just clarify that?

Mrs Ainsworth: I think I made it clear that I was not here today to represent COR policies. Because of the close coalition on what the Allaire report is coming out with and the position that Quebec seems to be taking, I can clearly see, knowing so much about the Confederation of Regions party platform, that it would be a productive vehicle to enter into some sort of communication with that province.

I really think regional development is necessary. I think it would be feasible and I think it would strongly support a better Canada.

The Chair: If we had more time we would be able to get into some of the other issues you raised, particularly the -- you kept repeating the words ``Canadian Canadian" which, if I understood correctly, seemed to imply to me that you were suggesting that there is one group of Canadians that is more Canadian than others.

Mrs Ainsworth: Yes, I think those past, maybe, seventh generation. I do not think they know what they are any more. My great-grandmother was a French-Canadian Indian. Where do I fit into your culture? You all have your dances and your dresses, but I would like to let you know that it is my plate you are dancing around on.

The Chair: I think it is all of our plate, and that is what we are trying to evolve into.

Mrs Ainsworth: Yes, it is.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next Bill Cooney, please?

Mr Cooney: I am very grateful for this opportunity. Regardless of who first discovered it, Canada is a very large country, first inhabited by the aboriginal people, then colonized by two European tribes, the English and the French. Later, numbers arrived from almost every nook and cranny of the globe. This presents a set of problems, but also opportunities.

The first European tribes that came here, the English and the French, were themselves from states that are tribal in composition. England has its Irish, Scots, Welsh and Anglo tribes, France has its Breton, Normans, the tribes of Alsace and a host of others. This fact is evident throughout Europe. Spain has several tribes of great ethnic and linguistic differences; Belgium, Switzerland, Yugoslavia are cases in point. The German tribe is found in several national states, and I will not even try to describe the Balkans. Historically, these tribal differences have led to tension. Some are resolved; others seem to have a life of their own and continue over centuries.

There are many tensions in Canada, often described in general as east-west. Regionalism is a Canadian fact of life; so is the English-French tension. This is perceived as a problem or series of problems. Now, what one normally does with a problem is to answer it. "Answer" is a strong Germanic word and implies an end to the problem; for example, two plus two and you get four. I do not see any definitive end to many of Canada's problems. However, the discussion guide speaks of a celebration of differences, and I like that.

Fortunately, in English, there is another word that addresses "problem." It is the word "solution," a softer, Latin-based word that implies a solvent. If you have a blocked drain, you apply a solvent, the water moves. The drain may at some future time become clogged again, but at least for the present the problem is solved and life goes on. It is along this line that I see Canada's future evolving. I feel some confidence that with work of commissions like this, political will and a generous spirit among all citizens, a peaceful evolution of our affairs can be moved forward.

If you will permit me two short anecdotes, I will leave the language tensions to more capable hands and move on to a proposal of solution. At the time of the Korean war, I was trained as an infantry officer. A significant part of the training took place at la Citadelle in Quebec City. Almost all of the French-speaking young men were bilingual. In spite of high school French courses, very few from Ontario were. However, as the weeks rolled on, many of us could at least read the papers and menus, enjoy the movies and converse with the men from Quebec with animation and pleasure. Many lasting friendships were formed. When a contingent of British soldiers arrived, we from Ontario understood them quite well, but the men from Quebec were baffled by the Scottish burr and this, we found, was a source of amusement for all of us.

Years later, I spent several years in South America. From time to time I would meet someone from Quebec. We felt happy in a strange land to meet someone from home, yet aside from introductions and a few stock phrases, we were, more often than not, saddened to find that any serious conversation had to be conducted in Spanish.

Now for a modest proposal. It is a very observable fact that some politicians in the world, usually dictator types, will seize upon, for example, a border incident. This draws attention away from their own domestic problems and diverts it elsewhere. Somewhat along this line, I feel that if we could focus on a larger and more important problem, present tensions might be reduced to size. A common effort to meet the larger problem could produce a willingness to work together towards a rather inspiring goal.

The first element of this larger problem is the environment. Our air, our land, our water are in danger. Words like "greenhouse effect," "ozone depletion," "acid rain," are all well-known and worrisome. Since the Second World War, rampant consumerism has produced horror stories centred around issues such as chemical spraying, forestry monoculture, and the disposal of many items that we will not, or in any case, do not use. This last item will be very familiar to all of you who know well the problems facing the greater Toronto area and the efforts being made to meet them.


The second element of the larger problem is that of the aboriginal land claims and-self-government. There is a lot of unfinished business here for all Canadians. The principle is simple: Only Indian people can design systems for Indians. Anything other than that is assimilation. I do not think assimilation is desirable nor practical. The alembic -- the melting pot theory -- has not worked in other countries, so why should it work here? We rather promote multiculturalism. Are native North Americans capable of such an enterprise? Recent developments among the Navajo in the United States say yes. In Canada, the example of Chief Billy Diamond in dealing with phase 1, the James Bay hydroelectric project, indicates to me the answer is yes.

It has been proposed that at some point, first nation people would make ideal environmental police. The two elements of the larger problem, as I see it, the environment and native rights, are interconnected. Given the native respect for air, land, water, their emphasis on human dignity and freedom, they are natural for the job. Indian contributions to the world are enormous. An Indian food, the potato, revolutionized the world's cuisine. Countries like Ireland, Germany, Russia were able to grow and prosper, free from the periodic famines that had beset their history. And what would Italy be without the tomato? The story of corn, beans, tobacco, cotton, tapioca, each in itself merits a book; and this is the short list. Indians discovered and utilized rubber -- another story. In medicine, the discovery of quinine and a battery of heart-healing substances is well known. As travellers, they cut out the most efficient routes across the continent. They invented the canoe, a most efficient means of transport and a vital element, particularly, in the history of Canada. They were able, where necessary, to construct buildings that are earthquake-proof. The solid base can still be seen, where the European-built structures are in ruins.

In politics, they had enormous influence on our North American style of democracy. The debt the framers of the US Constitution owed to the Iroquois band councils is acknowledged and well known. European nobility did not hand to us on a platter democracy as we know it. The native American council, with its insistence on freedom, individual dignity, respect for individual opinion and the need for consensus provided an immediate and practical model on to which rather aristocratic and intellectual ideas were grafted. This list could go on at great length.

So that is my proposal. In the course of your hearings and from the mass of information you will have at your disposal, public awareness can be fostered and concrete political steps taken to find solutions. Our daily actions and attitudes can change where this is indicated.

May I close with a story? One month ago I heard that next year, 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America, a group of North American natives are planning an expedition to Europe to discover Spain. If I were made an honorary band member, I have volunteered to go and act as interpreter.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Cooney. Are there any questions? All right.


The Chair: I call next Keith Evans.

Mr Evans: I appreciate this opportunity to present opinions relative to the persistent degradation and decay of my country and my province.

The adoption of the melting pot theory for Canada's growth is one of our prime problems. Our traditional values have been eroded to virtually zero in order not to offend, and utopian socialism combined with the negative worship of tolerance to the point of abject stupidity has sapped the marrow of our backbone. Canada has become a near beer, neither one thing nor another, a spice, or Spicer, gone bland.

Your panel has continually asked speakers: "How can we implement this? How do we know what to do?," etc. Apparently, after the euphoria of your election to the status of an MPP wore off, you forgot where you got your support. You now toe the party line in order to get appointments, to obtain your perks, to ensure you maintain party backing. Listen to your constituents. Do not just use the various associations, groups and voters as free labour or voting centres. Take their views back to the party caucus and ensure these views are carefully considered and acted upon. Please do not use forums such as this one to philosophize, moralize and expound on your own party platforms. You are elected and well paid to do a job, not your service groups nor your local associations nor the multitude of free voluntary groups to fulfil your job.

Mr Rae stated on page 1 of your booklet, "This is a time for politicians to rise above partisan interests," and "We'll be good listeners." Sounds good, but is it fact or fiction? Many of us who had worked voluntarily for years in federal, provincial and municipal politics have become deadened to hollow phrases, the hypocrisy, the deceitful assumption of virtue, and are now prepared to divest ourselves of our old political ties and work even harder for those who will return to the basics and values we cherish.

The British North America Act was designed to create a strong union, to shape a federal government with wide authority and local governments with limited powers. It also expounded that the unwritten concepts of the act would be developed in Parliament to meet changing requirements -- not a written, stilted Constitution subject to devious self-interest, legal interpretations or the Supreme Court.

Since 1867, Canada has served with pride and honour in two world wars and other conflicts, despite the bunglings of our politicians and their fear of defeat at the polls if they enacted conscription. If you wish to enjoy all the benefits of Canada, then you are obligated to protect and honour these traditions.

I am proud to relate that my grandfather volunteered 6 December 1915 to serve with the 142nd Battalion, London's Own, Canadian Expeditionary Force, and served at Vimy Ridge, was wounded and medically discharged 21 July 1918. My father volunteered 24 January 1940 to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force and transferred to the Royal Canadian Artillery, discharged 9 July, 1946. Our daughter and son-in-law volunteered for our air force. Both are warrant officers. The latter is currently flying on the Hercules transport planes from Lahr, Germany, to the Persian Gulf. As an aside, today is his birthday. Our hearts are with him.

Our family is not founded on war-mongering, but it has been and is prepared to accept its responsibilities. We do not suffer pacifism lightly. We are painfully aware of the divisive atmosphere created by self-seeking interests within our Dominion and within the superstructure of our forces.

I sincerely trust that the current Ontario government does not share nor intend to promote the unacceptable, pacifistic approach to Canada's participation in the Gulf war as its NDP federal counterparts have expounded. I am confident our current government is aware of the great number of Canadians who are prepared and proud to defend the principles of freedom as required by our historical heritage and membership in the United Nations.


I do not want a new Canada. Your booklet prompts a multitude of thoughts which open many in-depth discussion areas, which require a myriad of supporting facts in order to provide realistic, logical and supportable answers. I repeat: I do not want a new Canada. I want a return to the values that created and held us together, with possible surgery to cure current ills.

Ontario can become a model of honesty by:

(1) Restricting socialist giveaways which pander to the look-after-me syndrome which is creating a modern-day Roman mob at massive expense. I draw this to your attention: our town here, Orillia, population 24,000 people; social services alone cost $200 million a year. The social services employ over 2,000 people, almost 10% of our population.

(2) Restricting massive expenditures on non-essentials such as the implementation of the French Language Services Act. This is a prime area of divisiveness in Ontario and great expense that our taxpayers cannot afford.

(3) Restricting payoffs to party hacks and defeated politicians. The latest example is David Peterson, to be paid $61,000 per year pension, plus severance pay of $43,374. He was fired because of incompetence. Also, his staff will receive approximately $700,000 in severance benefits.

(4) Eliminate the hypocrisy and grandstand posturing re environmental concerns. It appears the only areas where rules are enforced are against the small fry. We are taxed, but funds have to be obtained through a lottery, and I understand not one tree has been planted yet. Take a look at Hagersville after the fire.

(5) Eliminate government intervention in the automotive insurance business. Free enterprise should be retained. The concept of government insurance is not only ludicrous but also self-contradictory. The government cannot run an efficient, cost-conscious government, let alone a low-cost, efficient, complex business. I do not want to subsidize poor, accident-prone and/or devil-can-pay drivers. Driving is not a mandatory birthright, but earned by an intelligent and responsible driver. If a vehicle owner is refused insurance due to his driving record, under the free enterprise system his rights to drive legally will be removed. I have lost another freedom, freedom of choice, not only re the carrier, but also my coverages with one carrier. Your plan has already resulted in Safeco Insurance closing, with a loss of 300 jobs. Do we now turn it over to Co-operators insurance?

(6) Eliminate the hypocrisy of allowing Ontario Hydro to squander multimillion of dollars through non-efficient, ecologically dangerous energy-powered generators which fail. Metro Toronto today is forced into paying $2 million for a consultant's report to give to Ontario Hydro to show where Ontario Hydro is failing Toronto. Fantastic. With Ontario's vast water resources, cheap hydro can be generated and be pollution-free. If Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador can do it, surely the bright lights in Ontario should be able to utilize our natural resources to the benefit of Ontario. Our Orillia Water, Light and Power Commission is self-sufficient to 40% of our needs.

Meech Lake was correctly defeated. Thank God for Premier Wells and Elijah Harper.

Now we face a regurgitation of appeasement demands and spoiled-child ideology via the ravings of the Parti québécois and the Liberals headed by Robert Bourassa.

Confederation was not developed to pander to local whims or tantrums. Quebec was guaranteed its rights of religion and language, among other things, but not the ultimate subjugation of the rest of Canada via the enforcement of artificial devices of the bi-bi commission and its successors. Now that these seeds of discontent have been sown and appeasement rather than discipline is the vogue, Quebeckers are being led to the doors of separation by self-seeking opportunists.

Sovereignty association is not acceptable. Quebec is either in or out. If Quebec is in, then it will abide by the rulings of a strong central government, as long as that government is truly representative of the majority and not represented by a bunch of flunkies who are afraid for their jobs and cater to blackmail. If Quebec is out, then out it goes. All amenities cease. Outstanding bills are paid, including their portion of the national debt, federal assets returned and any other gifts that were showered on Quebec returned to Canada. The federal government et al will then repatriate to Quebec all disciples of discontent to allow them to create their own nation and negotiate with Canada on an equal basis.

Ontario does not need Bill 8. Ontario does not need implementation of enforced improvements or extension of French-language services. An open mind is required, not that shown by Gilles Pouliot, "I can assure they will not be weakened."

Ontario cannot afford either the financial extravagance or the social costs of Premier Rae's advocacy of an officially bilingual Ontario.

I strongly suggest that the Ontario government, both current and immediate future, because this may have just been a burp, learn from the disaster heaped on Peterson due to his support of Bourassa, Meech Lake and his implementation of many facets of Bill 8. Do not play games with the silent majority. Do not play the Quebec game against the federal government in order to advance or obtain questionable benefits for Ontario.

The recession is an unfortunate economic cycle with no real fast fixes, and added fuels should not be thrown on. Ontario's problems have been compounded by a staggering bureaucracy -- Mr McLean will advise you of his thoughts on that -- staggering education costs, decrease in federal grants and a multitude of frivolous handouts in social services.

To partially negate the recession you must balance the budget -- which I understand now is not going to be so in the next budget coming up -- stop providing public funds to destructive associations via the office of francophone affairs; completely revise Ontario's education system and save multimillions of taxpayers' dollars -- expert advice can be obtained from Dr Bette Stephenson and Dianne Cunningham -- amalgamate all boards into one system; control expenses on a businesslike basis, not on the current unaccountable spending programs we experienced here in Simcoe county as if there was a bottomless pit of money; reassess the school bus system and either revamp it or disband it; completely abandon imposed French classes, French immersion, etc -- this one area will save multi-millions, case in point, Orillia alone would save $5 million if we were not having to build an imposed French school for a minuscule portion of our society --

The Chair: Mr Evans, if you would like to sum up, we are at the end of the time.

Mr Evans: Ontario should prepare a point-by-point counterproposal to that raised by Mr Bourassa's Liberal Party, the Allaire committee, the Parti québécois and the Bloc québécois and reassert the fundamental principles of Confederation and a return of the Dominion of Canada, one nation from sea to sea.

Ontario can and will survive and grow within a Canada that contains or does not contain Quebec. We will not become Americans. Our leaders, both provincial and federal, must be fully aware of and sensitive to the deep-seated values of the silent majority, reasonable equality to all and special status to none.

Unfortunately, I did not have time to read two pages regarding aboriginal rights and the Senate.

The Chair: Perhaps you would like to give us or send us a copy of the entire brief

Mr Evans: I will prepare one for Mr McLean.

The Chair: We will move on to a group of people from the Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute: Sheila Healey, Greg Rusnell, Dean Maltby and Sarah Wilton. Are they here? They are scheduled later. We will go on and come back to them.

Mr McLean: Mr Chairman, on a point of order: I had a Joan Lavery in my office to see me. She did not want to make a presentation. However, she prepared one and I would like to ask our clerk to pass it around to all members.

The Chair: That is fine, Mr McLean. The clerk will do that.



Ms Agius: I represent a group that is not here yet. I guess we are a little ahead of schedule but I will go ahead because I am prepared.

My name is Carmen Agius and I represent a group of 18 adult students from Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orillia. Our group consists mainly of single moms. We are on low or fixed incomes and we have returned to school in the hopes of bettering our lifestyle.

The rallying point for our address is the GST. As we reviewed its passage into law, we drew the conclusion that the province of Ontario must actively work first for Senate reform and second for a revised constitutional arrangement with the rest of Canada.

Each one of us wants the committee to understand that the goods and services tax is an additional financial burden for low-income families. To us it represents a form of double taxation, an immediate upfront cost, an unknown factor when trying to work out an already tight family budget. Tax credits and cost savings from the previous manufacturers' tax are promises of the future. It is the immediate effect of the tax which has aroused our interest in the future role of Ontario in Confederation.

We understand that Ontario was not a strong supporter of the installation of the GST. We are also aware that members of the Canadian Senate fought long and hard to block the GST. What we do not understand is how Ontario, the other actively opposed provinces and the Senate, all acting together, could not prevent the GST from being passed. What we do see and what this country cannot afford is the image of a Prime Minister who can manipulate his way around both our Senate and our provincial legislators.

If Ontario would commit itself to Senate reform, it is our feeling that we would be providing leadership for the benefit of all Canadian people. For example, if Ontario committed itself to the concept of a triple E Senate then we would be giving the people of Canada a proper check against the almost unilateral power now resting solely in the House of Commons today.

By constitutional law, the Senate still has nearly all the powers of the House of Commons. It can initiate bills. It can amend or reject. It would seem it has all the power to be an effective check system, but the point is the Senate had not voted down a bill since 1939.

Why? Because the senators are appointed by the Prime Minister and will follow the party line rather than fulfilling their duty as the House of sober second thought. Perhaps if senators were elected, they would be better able to deal at arm's length with the Commons and the Prime Minister.

At the first appearance of the GST in the Senate, the chamber standings were 54 Liberals, 34 Conservatives, 4 independents, one independent Liberal and 11 empty seats. Five senators were ready to retire. The GST issue quickly became a power struggle between the Senate leader, Allan MacEachen, and our Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. Mulroney of course settled the power game by filling the empty seats, appointing an additional eight senators to boot, as was his power under section 26 of the Constitution.

What does Mulroney's action prove to the people of Canada? It simply reinforces the concept that the Senate is a tool of the Commons, nothing more than a rubber stamp for the convenience of Mr Mulroney.

Very recently, the Senate has shown additional signs of performing its proper duties, with reference to the protection of UIC benefits and to its defeat of Bill C-43 regarding abortion.

Our group feels that the Senate is a valuable and worthy tradition and has the potential of becoming a real power check in federal politics. We also feel Ontario should be a leader in restoring the Senate to its proper place in federal power politics.

The Meech Lake accord addressed Senate reform. It did not go far enough. Ontario, in our opinion, should at least insist on an elected Senate with enough powers to make it an effective voice of the regions.

In fact, Meech Lake brings into focus the second issue which our group wishes to address. That is a revised constitutional arrangement with the rest of Canada. Meech was to have a healing effect by bringing Quebec fully under the Constitution, uniting the country of Canada while at the same time giving the provinces more power and identity. Meech Lake did not sail. Perhaps its boat was too full.

Neither did Quebec give up its quest for a distinct society. We agree that Quebec should have its heritage protected by law, but we also believe that Ontario should adopt some state powers.

Ontario should follow the lead of Quebec and institute provincially directed programs funded with federal money. Such programs could include day care initiatives, subsidized housing, more hospital funding, supplementary pensions, adult education, job equity, and family counselling including violence and drug addictions. Ontario politicians, you would be well advised to negotiate more strongly with Ottawa for greater federal subsidy funding.

Perhaps the Allaire committee report was meant to be shocking to English Canada. We did not find it so. We believe that Meech Lake was on the correct path when it allowed power to be shifted towards the provinces, and that Quebec is reflecting the mood of all Canadians when it advocates lesser federalism. Ontario too should be advocating lesser federalism but reinforcing Canadian unity.

We love this country of ours. We liken it to our own families. Within the family of Canada we have got to realize that the provincial children are quickly growing up. Like children, they each have their own distinct personalities. Just think of this: Ontario the stockbroker; Quebec the lawyer; British Columbia the young businesswoman; Alberta the mining engineer; Saskatchewan and Manitoba the farmers; and the Maritimes the fishermen.

Quebec, as the lawyer, has always talked the most and therefore has been given the most consideration. We are proud of BC, of Alberta, with its handsome wild streak, the others are steady and true, but Ontario can always be depended upon to come up with the ready cash.

As Canadian parents, we have the right to be proud. As we watch our family maturing, we must realize each of us has earned more responsibilities. As wise parents, we should grant those freedoms, knowing that the family will stand strong. As every mother knows, if we were to lose one we would be devastated.

I would like to thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for allowing us to express our opinions today. I am sorry that the rest of the group could not be here because I think you might have had some questions for them.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation. If you would like to wait, we will be able to have at least one question.

Mr Offer: In our travels that type of theme has recurred. I think it is somewhat founded on the fact that people seem to feel separate or distanced from the central government in terms of their needs and their requirements.

The issues you brought forward dealing with Senate reform and a new Constitutional rearrangement all seem to be interrelated in that they are founded on a need -- basically it might be regional or it might right now be within the purview of the federal government -- but there is a sense that there just is no way to get closer to the federal government to have that need realized.

I am wondering if you can share with us your thoughts, as we go through this process, whether when we hear the activities being taken on in the province of Quebec in terms of the requirement or asking for more powers, the role of Ontario should be to look upon the activities of Quebec and to see if there is anything that we should be negotiating with the federal government, whether we should as a province be looking at acquiring further powers and responsibilities so that those, such as groups you represent, will be able to have a closer contact in order to realize those needs.


Ms Agius: I think that is basically what I said. If you take the family analogy a little further, there comes a time when the teenagers want to strike out on their own, and they need to; they cannot always be relying on mom and dad, the federal government, to take care of them.

I believe that in our Constitution there are provisions that if we do not want to participate in federally funded programs, as long as Ontario provides similar programs for the citizens of Ontario we are still entitled to that federal funding. Because Ontario is probably the richest province right now, a lot of the money is going from Ontario to Quebec.

I do not have any problems with that. I think Quebec is smart. They had it figured out. They know what they need and they just keep asking for it. They demand it, they threaten, they whine, they have a temper tantrum if need be. They get what they need for the citizens of Quebec. I think it is time for us to start thinking about the citizens of Ontario, what they really need, and let us put some of that federal money back into Ontario because we certainly need it here.


The Chair: We have one addition to the list, somebody who apparently had been told that she would be heard but I guess does not appear on our list, Sheila Slusarek.

Mrs Slusarek: What are the values we share as Canadians? Not so many years ago I would have read that question and simply replied, "We Canadians value our beautiful country, its freedoms and equal opportunity for all people regardless of race, colour or religion." Today I could not and would not make that same statement.

Our government, through a program called the equity program, has done the exact opposite to the aforementioned value. People are hired based on their ethnic background under a government-regulated quota system. Another alarming fact of the equity program is its representation covers every possible group in Canada. Everyone is identified with one shocking omission: the white English-speaking male. He is conspicuously absent. On questioning this exclusion, I was informed the government's response was, "The white English-speaking male has had enough representation in the past and this is catch-up time." Please tell me this is an error.

I understand what the government thinks it is doing, but no matter how I try to absorb this philosophy I see it as discriminatory. Hiring people to fill an ethnic quota is an offence not only to the person who got hired, but to all other Canadians who do not qualify due to race or language.

During the Second World War my mother's brother, Donald Gordon, was killed and buried in France. He was 19 years old. My mother hopes to visit his grave some day before she dies. I cannot help but wonder what he would think if he were with us today. His parents were English and French. He was a Canadian, nothing more and nothing less. Now in this country that he so proudly fought for, he would have no voice, no representation at all. You see, Donald Gordon could not speak French and he did not come from anywhere else. He died a white English-speaking male and today he would not even be considered for the government's equity program.

Another disturbing thought enters my head when you ask me about my values. I value people in this country as Canadians. I hate this francophone-anglophone nonsense. I know what a francophone is. A francophone is a mother tongue French-speaking person. He is also supposed to be the other founding nation, along with the ever-elusive anglophone.

Who and what are anglophones? I am guessing when I say an anglophone must be British. I only think that because of the government's insistence on the two founding nations theory: the French and the British. Anyway, my point here is, how come there is an Office for Francophone Affairs but not one for anglophones, or Britiphones actually. If they are supposed to be equal, where is the British representation? The bottom line, of course, to all of this is, where do I and several other English-speaking Canadians fit in? We are not francophone, British, allophone or aboriginal.

How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples? You can begin by dropping the two founding nations story. How can a country be founded when it was already inhabited? If you insist on having the British and French being top dogs over here, then call it that. The two fighting invaders might be more realistic. If we get into invaders' rights, I do believe the English defeated the French. Therefore, with all due respect to our forefathers allowing the French to keep their language and culture, however noble at the time and correct, and it truly was, now the French not only want to keep their language and culture in Quebec, they are demanding it be promoted and protected all across the country. Anything less and we are accused of being anti-French.

Give the original people of this beautiful country all their land claims back. Give them their rights to govern themselves in their own language and culture. I believe the aboriginal people of this country still love Canada and Canadians. They will work with us, maybe even teach us a few things. God knows, they have been patient.

I do believe in a strong federal government. I think we need the federal government to do basically what it does now with one very strong exception: no more favouritism or talk of special status for anyone. I would like Canada to stay together. I do not reject Quebec, its culture or its people. I just do not believe it should be favoured.

The federal government special grant for babies born in Quebec to preserve their culture is elitist. All babies born in Canada are equally important. This is aggravating and insulting to all Canadians, and I think the intolerance by the rest of Canada is beginning to show.

Quebec keeps threatening to separate and blaming all the rest of Canada for not wanting it. The federal government should step in and support the rest of Canada in demanding that this kind of rhetoric be stopped and not encouraging it.

Provincially, I think each province should be able to be more reflective of its people. In several provinces there are more Italians, Polish, etc. I believe providing services to suit the needs of the province is far more acceptable and understandable than mandatorily providing and enforcing French.

I believe in referenda. Quebec has them and they represent what the people in that province want. The rest of us should have the same opportunity.

One last point that I would like to leave with you is my particular sense of loss when the Lord's Prayer was removed from our schools in Ontario, because two new Canadians found it offensive. As I said before, do not crumble when attacked by a minority. Stand up for us and our heritage. God cannot possibly be non-offensive in the separate school system and offensive in the public. Do not take away the rights of the majority and a way of Canadian lifestyle because of a pressure group. Give us a chance to speak before you take anything else we value.


Ms Churley: I have a question for you. Your comment about, I guess it is about, majority rule and that your public officials should listen to majority rule, I wonder what you think would happen to minorities. I believe that governments are elected to protect minorities as well, because if governments do not, who the hell else is going to do it for minorities, particularly if we are in a system where we govern by referendum and whichever race has a majority would rule the day? I fear that if governments are not there to also protect minorities, we will go back to the Dark Ages where as you know, minorities, including women, suffered all kinds of atrocities.

My question is around that as well. You are a woman; I am a woman. There are still very few, women in politics and in other areas; in fact it has been partly affirmative action that has allowed us to get where we are. How are we going to do it? We know that women once were not allowed to be doctors. They were literally not allowed to vote. There were all kinds of things that we were shut out of, just because we were women. How do we protect our rights if we do not have governments which are willing to listen to minorities?

Mrs Slusarek: I understand your question, but I think more highly of the Canadian people. I believe women may at one time and possibly still are not offered as much of an equal opportunity, but I have three daughters and I have taught all three of them that, "This is your world too, and there really isn't going to be a lot of problem if you work hard and study." There is nothing blocking women now, I do not believe. Maybe in my generation if you could type that was satisfactory, but not any longer. We do not see women that way any more, and I really do not believe most men see women that way any more.

I do not think we need to go on with what it was, because I do not think it is like that any more. I think we have equality and I think most Canadians are not racist. I think most Canadians are very tolerant. I think most Canadians are very proud to be Canadians. I think minority groups would be protected by the majority of Canadians. I know, personally, if I thought a minority group was being mistreated, I and many fellow Canadians would stand up on its behalf.

But I think when you sacrifice the wishes of the majority, for example, when the Lord's Prayer was removed because of a minority, you have chaos. It is like in a family structure. There are two parents and maybe three children, and if you say everybody has equal rights in that home -- you have to have some sort of consensus as to what the rules are and there has to be a leadership. Therefore, I say the federal government, which oversees, and the children all have to be treated equally and fairly. You cannot worry about the past or the way it used to be; you can only deal with the present.

An answer to your question is I do not feel minorities in this country are going to be badly treated. The only minority that I feel is very badly treated right now in this country is the minority of English-speaking Quebeckers who are not allowed to put up English-speaking signs. They have been there for as long as the French, and I do not see why no one in Canada is helping that minority. I really do not understand that. But I also believe, "Well, you are in Quebec, so learn French." It is much easier to learn it if you are among it. So I really do not feel that badly, but I do think it is wrong, because there are so many in Montreal.

Ms Churley: So you do think then that governments should protect minority rights, as in Quebec for instance.

Mrs Slusarek: But they are not. In Quebec they are not.

Ms Churley: Hut I am asking you that question. For instance, in Quebec you feel that it is the government's responsibility to protect English-minority rights.

Mrs Slusarek: But not at the expense of the majority. Yes, I think minorities must be protected. Yes, I do. But I also think it must never be at the expense of the majority. If the majority of people are saying, "It's wrong to remove the Lord's Prayer," then why could two people overrule it? Because they are a minority. If they find God is offensive, then that is their right. I am not going to put them in prison.

Ms Churley: Okay, I understand what you are saying. Thank you.


The Chair: I will call our final group of presenters from the Orillia District Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Greg Rusnell and Dean Maltby. Just for our records, if you could identify yourselves, we would appreciate that.

Mr Maltby: Chairperson and honourable members, my name is Dean Maltby, I am 18 years old and for the past five years I have attended ODCVI, where I am president in my last year. I was born and raised in Orillia, but was fortunate enough to have my fling in the Big Smoke as a legislative page in 1985. I plan on going back to Toronto to finish my education but now, as a citizen and youth of Canada, I have a few concerns about our future.

I believe the goal of this country should be a progressive goal that builds on a unified country. That means 10 provinces and two territories. However, this cannot be achieved with sporadic debates or meetings. Canada is ever-changing and fluctuating. Our Constitution should change to fit the needs of the country. This requires regular interprovincial meetings to accommodate these changes.

Second, as the second-largest country in the world with an abundance of natural resources, we should be utilizing them to their maximum potential. Natural resources are our biggest asset, next to our younger generation. If Canada is to become a major power in the world, we must get rid of free trade and begin to handle our own resources. Our export dollars must exceed our import dollars. In order to be able to handle these resources, Canada's technology must also be developed and this takes money. We must go into debt before we can get out of debt.

With these resources and technology, one last ingredient is needed and that is people. We must keep the youth of Canada in Canada. Invest in our abilities as future leaders, because we are the future. We realize it will take money, people, technology and resources to achieve one common goal for a unified Canada. This goal is a wealthier Canada with a higher standard of living that cares for the sick and the old and develops our youth to perpetuate this goal with generosity to share with the rest of the world. Invest in our youth.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Are there any comments that you want to add?

Mr Rusnell: Yes, my name is Greg Rusnell. We are here today to discuss Canada's future. There are many problems to be addressed.

First and foremost, I believe, is Quebec's role in Canada. I personally would like to see Quebec separate. I believe that the government of Quebec is demanding more than it deserves from the government of Canada. It should be no more than one province in Canada, not the province of Canada. I am afraid, however, that if Quebec were to separate, Mr Mulroney would squander many of this country's resources in aid to Quebec as a new nation. I feel that if it is to separate, it should be treated as a foreign nation. It should be given no aid, financial or otherwise, and it should attempt to construct its own foreign policy.

My next concern deals with the political representation of this government. I do not believe that the federal government represents the people or their interests any longer. I believe, and this belief saddens me, that the democratic process has become only symbolic in this country. The major political parties provide leaders who promise to gain the most for the party. I recall watching the Liberal leadership race on the occasion of Mr Trudeau's retirement. John Turner was elected to lead that party solely because he promised to advance the party. What kind of political system do we have when voters are thinking not, "Whom do I like the most?" but "Which one do I dislike the least?" I believe that for this reason our system is in a shambles and needs some kind of help.

Another thing that worries me is the backwardness of government funding. It is almost comically easy to defraud such services as the unemployment benefit, yet it is almost impossible for students to receive adequate funding for school. I am familiar with several cases where someone has been receiving unemployment insurance and has been working under the table, so to speak. The people responsible for sanding and clearing our city streets are just one example. Whoever is in charge of that service pays the employees in cash and keeps little or no records of their payments so that these people can defraud the government of money that could be better spent elsewhere, perhaps in funding for students attending college or university.

I do not understand the OSAP process at all. First applications for funding are refused and second ones are examined. Why? It is not like the government is giving the money away. All loans are to be repaid. Unemployment insurance is not repaid. Perhaps spending should be shifted from those who are not working to those who are attempting to continue their education.


My final concern relates to the recycling in this country. I do not know if this is a municipal, a provincial or a federal concern, but I believe it should be dealt with by all three. I have an unstructured suggestion, but one that, with some development, I believe could work. Why not adopt the pay-for-disposal plan in effect in Peterborough and transfer it to a nationwide plan? Take the money from this and, along with some federal and provincial funding, build between one and five sorting plants in each province, depending on the population of each province. It would be the responsibility of these plants to sort the garbage. The reusable material could be sold to the proper industries and the remaining, hopefully minor, material, could be shipped to landfill sites until a more suitable, environmentally friendly plan can be found. Just as a sub-suggestion, people who are receiving unemployment benefits could be the workforce in these factories. That would probably reduce the number of claims for that benefit.

In closing, I would just like to say, on a very informal note, what this committee represents is very important. You are people who can do something with the suggestions we have. I just hope that you actually consider these suggestions. I do not want to believe that this committee is just a token of the Ontario government to make people of this province think we are being listened to. Thank you very much for your time and thank you for listening.

Mr McLean: I want to congratulate both of you for your briefs presented here today. It is nice to see the younger generation taking part in it. But I also want the record to show, when Dean sends the Hansard to his grandfather whom I sat with in the Ontario Legislature, that he was a representative from Guelph, Harry Worton. Harry sat for some 20 years in the Ontario Legislature, and I know that Dean will be sending the record to his grandfather. I just wanted his name to be in there.

Mr T. Martin: I too am very happy to see you young people participate in this exercise of discussion about our future as a country and Ontario's role in Confederation, because really we, as the leaders today, establish a foundation upon which you will build and reach out into the world. I guess I just challenge you to think about a couple of things -- and maybe offer some comment -- that concern me as we in Canada struggle with what we really value and what role we will play in the world today.

I look at that from two perspectives. One, I think we as Canadians see ourselves as peacekeepers, as a country that can not only go out there and facilitate peace, but also show to the world a country that is able to make peace within its own boundaries.

The other question is, as we launch into the global economy and we want to participate with other countries in economic endeavours, does it not behoove us on both of those counts to be a country that is very tolerant and supportive of the various cultures and linguistic groups that live in our country, so that we might set an example? Not only that, but our understanding of the peoples who live within our boundaries re their way of thinking and what they value and how they communicate with each other might help us to be a leader in the global economy in so many ways economically as we move into the future and as we develop a country that will be a foundation for you to build on, for you and your children.

Mr Maltby: I am not really sure I understand the entire question.

Mr T. Martin: I guess I just wanted to challenge you and to ask you if you have given that any thought and if that would have any impact on how you might think in front of the question of how we live as different people in this country.

Mr Maltby: If we are talking about the free trade issue here, where you believe that if we share our resources and everything, we will become more of a world leader, is that what your -- sorry, I do not quite understand.

Mr T. Martin: Okay, yes, if I might just maybe --

The Chair: Perhaps if you could rephrase the question, Mr Martin, it would be easier for the deputants to answer.

Mr T. Martin: Okay. I think that we, as Canadians, want to be leaders on the world stage both as peacekeepers and in an economic sense. Does it not behoove us as a people within our own boundaries to be understanding of the various cultures and linguistic groups and ways of thinking that are out there in the world and that we have within our own boundaries, to be able to set up structures that enhance that and therefore put us in a better place, give us an edge actually, as we go out into the larger world community to operate? I think those are some of the basic questions we are asking as we look at ourselves under Confederation.

Mr Maltby: Yes. I think the diverse cultures in Canada are an asset to our country and we should use them to perpetuate the goal that we would like to become a world leader in the future.

Mr T. Martin: I just challenge you to think about that a little bit too, and perhaps if there is something else that comes forward, you might want to share it with us, particularly you as young people. It is your country that we are building.

Mr Rusnell: I believe that if we are to have an understanding between all the cultures that we have in Canada, the understanding should work both ways. It should not just be one group that is understanding of the needs and the culture of all the other ones. If we are to present any kind of a united face or front to the rest of the world where we become a country that is admirable, we should be trying to perpetuate the idea of multiculturalism where everybody has the right and one group is not recognized as above and beyond.

Mr Bisson: Part of the thing is, and I think it was raised in some of the deliberations that we have had up to now, how much of that is based on truth and how much of it is perception. But that is not what I want to get on to.

One of the things that you talked about inside your presentation was that we need to better direct our funds to where we can utilize them better, and you used OSAP as an example. I agree with you. I think, as most people in this Legislature do, that we wish that we did have a pot full of money that we can reach into to fund education the way that it needs. We recognize that.

But I have a bit of a problem in that what happens in this country, and what we are going through right now, is that we are looking for some short-term solutions and quick fixes to fix our problem. We are going to say, "Well, we can fix the problem by not providing any bilingualism services, so we'll generate billions of dollars and we'll be able to do everything." Or we say, "We're going to do this thing or that thing or the other," and what we end up doing is really not addressing the problem.

What I want to ask you is that, first of all, you said that we would need to direct money from the UI funds into education. I agree with what your premise is, but the problem I have with it is this: The unemployed worker did not ask to be unemployed. He has rights; she has rights. The injured worker who got injured in the mine or the factory or wherever did not ask to be injured. He or she has rights. Where do we balance these rights off?

Do we say we are going to give to just a group of people within our society because we do not want to recognize that there are other things out there? Because if that is what you are purporting, I am really at a loss because I was always thinking that in this country we are developing a much more caring society and I want you to share with us and try to tell us how we get to that. How do we get people to work together, recognizing that there is diversity in this country on many issues, not just on language, but on philosophies, on needs, on what is happening within society? How do we balance that off?

What we are hearing is that there is frustration out there, and we understand it and are trying to come to grips with how we can go on from here. But how can you say that we are going to protect somebody's rights by taking -- well, I will get back to what I was saying. In regard to the UI thing, you said that we have to take funds out of there to put them into another one. How do you balance that off when those people have rights as well?

Mr Rusnell: I admit that it is too sweeping to say that we should take money from UI and put it in OSAP. My concern stems more from the fact that the people who are able to work and are actually working but just are not claiming are the ones who are defrauding UI.

Mr Bisson: But it is a very sweeping statement that you are making. The illusion is that people --

The Chair: Sorry, we cannot just keep going back and forth. You have made a point, you have asked a question, let's just let the people answer the question.

Mr Rusnell: The problem of deciding where the fine line is is not an easy decision. It would almost have to come down to individual cases, which it seems to me it does now anyway. I have had some experience with unemployment benefits. I have friends and family members who have experienced that, and in some cases it is a very good service. It is very admirable what this country does, providing money for people who cannot work so that they can support themselves. But at the same time, there are people who can support themselves, can work, are working and just are not saying that they are working, and that is the concern that I have --

Mr Bisson: So do we penalize the group? That is the problem.

Mr Rusnell: -- that it seems so easy to defraud that system. I would suggest harder restrictions on receiving the benefit and perhaps a tighter watch on the people who are receiving unemployment. People who are injured obviously cannot work, but there are people who are healthy and have no physical or mental disabilities, who can work and just do not seem to. People who go 36 or 42 weeks, or whatever it is that UI provides, and then suddenly magically have a job again. That is the concern I have with UI.

Mr Bisson: The problem is right now there is no job. That is the problem.

Mr Maltby: May I make a point on that? Concerning unemployment insurance, it seems that the highest total money that you can collect is higher than the average income of this city. Maybe we can take some of that money and invest it in creating jobs or creating something that these people can do instead of just collecting insurance for not working.

The Chair: Are there any other questions? All right. Thanks very much.

We did have other people who had indicated that they would like to be heard. Unfortunately, because of the time constraints this morning and having to vacate the room in two or three minutes, we are not able to do that, as we normally would have extended the time to do that. We apologize. We invite those of you who did not get a chance to speak to us to send us your written comments if you so wish. Please do not worry about how polished a document it is. We will accept and appreciate any comments that come, in whatever form they may be.

I want to thank you once again for being here. I thank those people who made presentations. It is clear that we received a number of additional perspectives this morning that perhaps we had not to this point heard in quite the same vein. That too is part of the process for us as a committee, to go through and sort that out, and I thank you for that.

We will continue our hearings this afternoon in Collingwood as we proceed across the province, and invite you to follow our proceedings through the parliamentary channel if you are interested. We are adjourned until this afternoon.

The committee recessed at 1243.


The committee resumed at 1604 at the Cranberry Inn, Collingwood.

The Chair: I would like to call this meeting of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation to order. I want to say to those people who are here in the audience that we are pleased to be here in Collingwood this afternoon and this evening at the Cranberry Inn. This is the 8th day of our trips across the province in various locations and I guess the 10th community we have been in. We were earlier today in Orillia, and we will be continuing over the next two weeks in various other locations in the southwest and in the eastern part of the province. We have been already to the northern and the north-central part of the province. It is a process of allowing people from different parts of the province to talk to us and with us about their feelings and aspirations about the future of our province and our country at this important time in our Confederation.

I want to introduce the members of the committee who are here. This is an all-party select committee made up of representatives from the three political parties that have representatives at Queen's Park. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, Steven Mahoney and Steven Offer; from the Conservative Party we have Allan McLean and Charles Harnick; and from the NDP caucus, in addition to myself, Tony Silipo, Chair of the committee, we have Gary Malkowski, Marilyn Churley, David Winninger, Tony Martin and Dan Waters.

As it happens from time to time in our hearings, we have, in addition to the printed list that may be circulating, a number of other people who have indicated they would be interested in talking to us. What we will try to do, in an attempt to accommodate those people as well, is ask those people who are speaking to please try to limit your comments to about 10 minutes if you are presenting as an individual and about 20 minutes if you are presenting as a group. In that way we will have, hopefully, a little time we can then use to add those people to the list at the end of that session.


The Chair: I ask Ronald Emo to come up and begin this afternoon.

Mr Emo: I guess I am really not sure why I am here. Our young provincial member suggested I do a presentation, and I think it was probably a good idea. I have put together a few random thoughts as to what I think are some of the problems facing Canada and perhaps some solutions. I doubt if anything you will hear from me is particularly new or innovative, as that certainly would not be Canadian, eh? Anyway, here goes.

Like many other Canadians, I was disappointed that the Meech Lake accord collapsed. As with most negotiated deals, it was not perfect, but rightly or wrongly it had been agreed to by all premiers and at least it offered a foundation for improvement over the years. But that was then and this is now.

In my opinion we, as Canadians, have to put aside our usual selfish and regional interests. We need Quebec in our Confederation and Quebec needs the rest of Canada. The sum of the parts is much less than the whole. If Quebec were to leave, whatever that really means, we will either quickly degenerate into a Northern Ireland scenario if we decide to try to stop them or else we will be even more rapidly assimilated by the United States which, given the Americanization of our culture and legal system via the charter as well as the emerging North American trading bloc, may in fact be inevitable, and perhaps under some conditions even desirable. But I do not think that is the issue today.

I do believe that if we are going to reinvent Canada it must be done as efficiently as possible. We need to set out clear responsibilities and duties for each level of government. Do we really need three and a half levels of government to look after us? Because they always seem to be overlapping jurisdictions, so that one level can have a ready-made scapegoat and blame the other for not providing funds, leadership or whatever.

Why not, through some sort of constitutional conference, decide what the federal government should look after? Obviously defence, foreign affairs, currency, the environment come to mind. What should the province do? And what should the local municipalities do?

Clearly, in my opinion, as a former councillor and mayor, the closer the responsibility and service is to the electorate, who are, after all, paying the bills, the better will be the democratic results. People can and should have a greater responsibility in deciding their future. If one community wants to spend its taxes on an art gallery while another values health care, so be it. Let's give each level of government clearly defined responsibilities in areas of taxation. Why not try the interesting democratic concepts of fixed and maximum terms of office, recall, referenda and local initiative? It sounds American, but it is probably more like the Greek city-states in which our democracy had its origins. There may well be problems, but as the presence of so many of you as newly elected provincial members of Parliament clearly demonstrates, people are looking for new and more accountable government, simpler government and above all more efficient government.

I think we need to be open to innovative change and not be protective of existing power structures. I personally have no problem with Quebec and the other provinces gaining greater powers and in turn relinquishing some of those responsibilities that are better administered to the local level to be administered by meaningful-sized municipalities. Perhaps if the local municipalities are large enough we would not need county or regional governments. Some provinces may have to band together to be able to efficiently provide some of these delegated services, but that is all right, in my opinion. The territories should become separate provinces or be added on to adjacent provinces. Our native people should, like the rest of us, do their best to be Canadian -- not Inuit, Mohawks or whatever.


And that leads to my next sacred cow: multiculturalism. Why, in a nation of 25 million people spread across 3,000 miles, do we have so many of our people who not only respect and venerate their origins -- and that is all right -- but seek and obtain government funding to keep their ancestral cultures and languages alive? In my opinion, we have little chance of surviving as a nation if we are really a series of tribes, whether they be Ojibwa, Dene, Irish or Vietnamese. We need to be Canadians, not Sikhs, Italians or Ukrainians. We need to remember that a Canadian can be either French-speaking or English-speaking, because that is the way it is. Other languages are interesting, advantageous and helpful, but not necessary. We should encourage our young people to learn both of our official languages, but we gain nothing and lose much if we dictate that all of us have to be bilingual.

To sum up these disjointed ramblings, may I end by saying we have a good country. I think most of us would rather live in an improved and more efficient Canada than join the United States, but we need to give all our provinces and our local municipalities much more clearly defined responsibility, with the bottom line being that power goes to the lowest level of government that can do the job.

Mr Chairman, I thank you for hearing my views. One of my volunteer jobs is vice-chair of the Ontario Winter Games, which will be in Collingwood three weeks from today. Perhaps, if you like, we could add Constitution dickering to that. It might be a blood sport; I am not sure.

Mr Beer: That would be an interesting addition to the games, I am sure.

One of the things that has been interesting to all of us as we have gone through these first couple of weeks -- I am not sure if I would say it has been so much of a surprise, but it has been consistent, where people have really said, "Look, we think you're going to have to see more powers at the provincial and the local level." You note that you have been mayor and councillor. My sense is that if we had been doing this 20 or 25 years ago, that would perhaps not have been a direction we would hear. I wonder if you could share with us a little more why your sense is that we have to do it, as we clarify various responsibilities and powers, more in terms of what the province and the regional, however you want to define it in terms of local government -- is this something you yourself would say you have changed as time has gone on? Because it is a consistent theme that is running through a lot of what we are hearing.

Mr Emo: I am not sure where you are coming from, but I would say that over the last 20 or 30 years the local municipalities have been called upon to do more and more things. We have gotten involved with the environment and housing and a great amount of social services, things like that, that a generation ago really were not too much. Council of the day, as long as you kept the roads ploughed and the weeds cut and the dogs from running loose too much, that really was about the extent. But as you know, the local municipality is called upon to do more and more things and to pay a greater amount of the costs. In local government, every decision you make on Monday night you have to defend in the coffee shop on Tuesday, and sometimes local municipal councillors get a bit upset when they are carrying the tax burden for things they have had really no input into. The BNA Act says the municipalities are creatures of the province. They should not be their handmaidens. It should be more of a partnership.

Ms Churley: In our travels to date we have heard a lot from aboriginal people. Something you mention in your brief is that we should all become Canadians. Of course, we could get into a long discussion of what that means, to be a Canadian, and we do not have time for it now. But what I would like to ask you is how you suggest we deal with this. The aboriginal people are, I believe, a perfect example of what happens when we try to assimilate people, try to turn them into our European definition of Canadian. Look what happened. We took away their values, their culture, their language, all sorts of things, and look what happened to them as a people and look at the mess we are in now as a result of doing that; all the things we are just starting to realize we could have learned from them -- the environment you just mentioned is a good example -- but we thought we knew better and did it our way.

Do you not think that is a very good example of why we need to accept, of all people, the aboriginal people, but also other cultures, that it makes us richer and we learn from each other, that it is bad, it is wrong and gets us into a lot of trouble to try to turn people into this melting pot?

Mr Emo: Did we do that to the native people or did they accept our culture and our way of life without having proper training, perhaps, in it? But I believe very much we should have the melting pot and out of that, at the end, will come a Canadian.

Ms Churley: But it did not work. That is what I am saying.

Mr Emo: It will. My parents came from Northern Ireland, and many of the people here, I am sure, are first-generation Canadians, whatever that means, and we have somehow assimilated. I am not an Irish Canadian; I regard myself as Canadian. Granted, I am a traditional WASP, I guess, but I just think that if we do not somehow bring ourselves together these divisions will go on and on, where we have little reserves all over the countryside. We will have a special native province -- maybe that is a solution -- with little municipal jurisdictions wherever there are reserves. I do not know.

Mr Harnick: We have had differing views presented to us about the kind of central or federal government we should have. Some people have said we have to reduce the powers of the federal government and put more power in the hands of the provincial governments. Other people have said there is a danger in doing that, the danger being that without a strong central government, we have no government setting basic minimum standards in areas such as health care or education or social services, and because of that provinces that are wealthier than their neighbours may have better levels of health care or education because they can afford it. What is your view of the need to have a federal government that sets national standards?

Mr Emo: I think in some situations, those that are clearly national, really, I should say, almost international, I think that is where the federal government should be. But in many ways we in Canada have government we cannot afford. It sounds right-wing business person, which I guess I am, but we cannot be all things to all people. We cannot keep on going towards some great nirvana. Health care is a choice case. I am chairman of our hospital board and we are squeezing budgets all the time, and it is going to be even tighter, I am sure, as the year comes up. We have to make do more with less. I guess, if you keep things closer to the level that is paying, the level of government, then maybe you are going to get more efficiencies; and, as I said in my brief, if some area decides it wants an art gallery rather than a hospital -- I think that is pretty farfetched, but if that were the case, then I suspect those are the people who have to live with it.

You hear in the United States where a school district has run out of money and all of a sudden the schools are closed for a while. I do not think that is a great idea, but on the other hand that does get the message across, that the people paying said, "Hey, we don't have any money for this."

Just to pick up on that, we are faced with a situation in which Quebec is saying very strongly that it wants more powers and I guess we have to have a good look at that, because I think we need Quebec in our Confederation or otherwise we will have a far worse scenario than you are suggesting there.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next Don Alexander.

Mr Alexander: I live in Owen Sound, about 40 kilometres along Georgian Bay from here. Very often when we begin to look at our future we are criticized for seeing it only in economic terms. I would like to plant a few ideas that begin by looking at it from the role of the artist, the performing artist, the visual artist. Perhaps a new approach to the problems that confront us is that it has always been worthwhile to look to the artist for new guidelines to where we were going, some hints about our future.

Glenn Gould produced a radio documentary about 20 years ago called The Idea of North, and I would like to pick up on that theme. He was interested at that time in the very creative juices that the north provided for him. Initially, it was simply up north at the cottage in Muskoka or Haliburton, but later it came to mean the more arctic parts of our country.


I think that seeing something special in the idea of north is a way of uncovering many of the things that have pulled us together in this northern part of North America. We can use the idea of north to expand our understanding of a shared future as well, so looking at the past and the future. And if our ideas of north were given more prominence, we could unearth a wealth of economic and cultural opportunities not only among the parts of Canada but also internationally.

I am not talking about a north that is somewhere else, where you were the first part of this week. I am talking about Canada as a northern political entity, Ontario as a northern political entity, as a northern place; Quebec, indeed, all of Canada. These are northern places. No matter what kind of realignment politically happens in this northern part of North America in the future, we will continue to share that common heritage of north.

I am suggesting that Ontario should undertake a pan-northern awareness and development of those ties. They would embrace Quebec and other Canadian provinces and territories and then go international with Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the northern republics of the Soviet Union, as they too are beginning to decide new ways of where the power will lie. We will not call it separation there.

A pan-northern component then in provincial policy, in cultural and economic fields, I think, will reveal some shared interests that we have to the particular point at issue here with Quebec and will also counterbalance some of the dominating influences that come from the United States. As we see Mexican free trade talks on the horizon, we may have more interest in creating this pan-northern identity to counterbalance that.

Looking at the artists again, I have been interested in this idea of north for about 20 years. Robertson Davies has spoken of a peculiar Canadian individuality and he pointed out that our spirit is far more comparable to the Scandinavians and to the Russians than to the United States or to Great Britain.

The northern psyche: You may remember at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto a show of paintings that showed that there was a landscape school evolving in Scandinavia in the first part of this century very similar to our Group of Seven and to our Canadian landscape painting. That psyche of north is very strong and I think political boundaries are well-knit when they are knit around a feeling of commonality.

While not an artist, but in the art of polities, I would mention that Stephen Lewis, when he was ambassador to the United Nations, mentioned that the ambassador to the UN from Norway came to be his closest friend. He said jokingly at a conference in Toronto that at first he thought this was an accident, but he came to believe that it was "geographically genetic." There may be something there.

The idea of north has several determinants, I think, that are common to all of us. North, I think, means great weather variables, from heat wave to snowstorm and cold weather. That is the first determinant.

The second one would be that north means that in some parts of that country there are relatively low population densities, and for significant numbers of people there is the problem of isolation and great distance, and that is a political problem. I think all parts of Canada, certainly Ontario and Quebec, have that problem politically.

The third determinant would mean that there is a shared experience of those great varieties of the length of day: the winter solstice, the short days, and then in the summer the enchantment, if you will, of those long evenings and those long days. In Leningrad, they celebrate the solstice. Perhaps the Legislature could think of another holiday. We could have Quebec do it too and we could have a summer solstice holiday. The tourist industry, which is important in this area, would appreciate that we get a jump-start on summer and maybe lengthen that. We are always talking of shoulder seasons.

The people who are shaped by those three determinants I think have a lot in common, and I think that we hide those commonalities very often as we look to the United States for direction, or to more southern places. Some of the examples: I think that the native nations in the northern part of North America have some shared experiences and tribal structures that have helped them come together in the Assembly of First Nations right across this northern part of North America. I was in Milwaukee at a powwow and was really surprised at the difference of the tribes and the native peoples in the US Midwest, in the more southern climates, in their dwellings and in their tribal structure.

Our severe weather and our isolation of winter, with our heritage of settlement created a tradition of mutual support and co-operation that is evidenced in our support systems that we are more partial to than our neighbours to the south. And I think if we look in the Scandinavian countries, they too have felt this common care for other people and I think that can go back to situations where because of isolation in winter, and I speak of Norwegian valleys that were isolated for three or four months, you had to get along together and share in problem-solving.

Newcomers, even, to this part of North America, I think they share the experience of having learned to wear long underwear or cope with winter and also the shared experience. You will know this from people who have immigrated here from a small country like the Netherlands, the idea that a friend can live 500 and 600 kilometres away, that it is a day's trip, not just a short trip to see a friend. That is just one of the adjustments they have made and I think we all share that in Canada.

Inuit groups, by the way, from Canada, the USSR, from Alaska and from Greenland have for several years now been getting together biannually and they are creating some kind of pan-northern organization. So I believe there are many trade opportunities -- to get away from the artists -- business opportunities that are made visible if we think of this idea of north.

Ontario and Quebec and other northern governments would share an interest, for example, in the architecture of northern cities. There have been conferences on those, but one conference is not enough. That is an ongoing thing and the housing policies that Ontario will be developing, I think, can be particularly geared to the idea of north.

We have some special needs. In Owen Sound there is a not-for-profit housing development to be built this year. It is being sponsored by the legion. The tendency is for older people, but it has a centre hall plan. It is a single floor, so there are no elevators, but this wide hall allows a person, if he or she cannot cope with those slippery streets, to walk a good city block and walk around and visit. I know people who use these large, brightly lit centre halls in this architecture to overcome the isolation of winter.

We share an interest in resource management. Certainly timber resource management is something we have in front of us and the Scandinavians are reported in the media to be doing things differently, sometimes with success, sometimes not, but I think that shared interest could be developed.


The weather and daylight variables in northern places indicate some special considerations for energy and environment, and I think this is very important to us, that we look to this pan-northern community, because our problems of energy, whether heating our houses or the great distances, are going to continue to be very great and may create an additional cost on production, however you measure it. The degradation of things that get into the environment is speeded up in a hotter climate. In a colder climate, those bad things hang around for ever. So we have a common interest with these other northern countries in environmental issues, and if we have an industrial strategy, let us say, that intends to make use of environmental technologies, we have a lot to share in a pan-northern community.

The links that we could look for: I think social democratic governments exist in the Scandinavian countries. There is an international or something that gets together, and I think perhaps a link could be initiated at those meetings with the Scandinavian governments.

Our doorway to the European community: While Quebec I think can have a doorway through its relations with France, I think that Norway and Sweden are likely to join the European community soon, and I think maybe Norway and Sweden would find that despite their membership in the European community, their interests in north are not of interest to the rest of that community. So we may have a relationship there.

So in business, social arrangements and government institutions, we have a lot in common with other areas of Canada because of our idea of north. I think we often hide our northern realities. We get sucked into agendas of more southerly countries, and if as a province Ontario promotes a pan-northern affinity, I think it will expose many of the shared realities between Ontario, Quebec and other regions of Canada and, at the same time, it would provide us with some international opportunities, both culturally and in business.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Alexander, for that fascinating and different approach to some of the issues we are grappling with. I know that your presentation has sparked a lot of interest. We will not be able to go through all of the questions, but we will try to get through at least one or two.

Mr Mahoney: I will be brief. It was almost three dimensional as we were feeling the draft from the open door. It was making us think of the idea of north in real terms.

We are having some difficulty I guess as a people thinking in terms of pan-Canadian and that is a little bit of what this committee is about and what many of our deputations are about. Your presentation takes us on to a much broader plane, a broader scale of ideas, and I appreciate that. But I have to ask you realistically how we talk in terms of pan-north when we cannot seem to get our act together to come to some pretty fundamental agreements about our own country. How do we make that quantum leap with any kind of credibility in the world with these other nations, going to them as a divided country?

Mr Alexander: What I am saying is, with the problem in front of us with relationships among the parts of Canada, to be specific Quebec and Ontario, that we ignore this commonality of north. Let us take the architecture of north, if you will. We have a great deal in common with Quebec, Montreal and Toronto as northern cities, that vast tunnel network underneath them. The architectural institute that has opened in Montreal, I think that is a shared interest in northern architecture that we have never exploited or exposed or even talked about.

So I am not here to decide what the future of Canada is, but I am here to say that there are some links that have never been made because of our northern psyche, and I would like to expose that.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Alexander.


The Chair: I call next Donald MacDonald.

Mr MacDonald: Thank you, Mr Chair and committee members.

Idealism or realism: Confederation is defined as an alliance of political units. This committee in reality should be called the select committee on Ontario in a configuration called Canada, where the people have been divided for political gain by a power hungry, uncaring federal Conservative dictatorship. These federal idiots keep the whole scenario so complex and sidetracked with issues that almost no one, not even themselves, can figure out the whole picture because the people are unable to perceive what is occurring overall in Canada.

In Ontario's Human Rights Code the aim is to create at a community level a climate of understanding and mutual respect, in which all our people will be made to feel that all are equal in dignity and rights, that each is part of the whole Canadian community and that each has a rich contribution to make to the development and wellbeing of our province and nation. Few will disagree that this is a prerequisite for building a truly health Canadianism.

The federal ruling government pretends to be leading the nation for the good of the Canadian people, when in reality it is not. One glaring example of this reality occurs in a most essential area of Canadian life -- agriculture, food processing and retailing. I as an Ontario farmer am expected to grow a crop of winter wheat that in March of this year will sell for a price of $107 per metric tonne. The consumer purchases Shredded Wheat, a 450-gram box, by Nabisco in the grocery store at a price of from $4,000 to over $6,000 for the same basic tonne. I will emphasize that with this plain writing.

The processing and retailing companies have a markup price percentage of from 3,700% to 5,600% for themselves. Under free trade the price to the farmer went from $7.10 a bushel in 1980 to $2.90 a bushel in March 1991 or 41% of the 1980 price. This is a prime example of unethical consumerism robbery of the Canadian people by a multinational allowed by the government of Canada, which says it represents Canadians and their interests.

Canada mainly exports primary products from the soil, the forests, the water, the mines and some technology. The goods and services tax is to do away with the deficit. However, the deficit cannot be cleared away by allowing multinationals to profit by importing low-cost goods produced elsewhere. This is like treating the symptoms of our Canadian malaise without removing the cause of it.

We have priced ourselves out of our own market for manufactured goods allowing greed to rule. This greed for profit has allowed speculators to price our industrial, commercial, agricultural and housing lands at a far greater value than their real worth to society. Some wages and salaries are too much, as are interest and loan limit rates. Federal politicians increase their pay and pensions to astronomical levels while expecting the common person to accept less while living and operating costs increase. Jobs are being lost in Canada, and especially Ontario, for the sake of multinational profits. The Canadian government is a Robin Hood in reverse, taking from the common people to give to the foreign imperialists. The definition of a balanced budget is enough votes to be re-elected to power.


Living close to the Rama reserve, I am somewhat familiar with life there. Our two daughters attended the day care on the reserve. The people on the reserve in only 150 years changed from the traditional native style of life to that of today, with neither their past or our present lifestyle values dominant, but rather a mix of lost souls, sometimes resenting past indignities. They struggle to find themselves and to learn to work the political system to acquire from it, in the greed-for-oneself style of today.

My family and I had to breathe the smoke from the reserve dump burning in 1989 at varying rates for up to almost two weeks. At that time, Doug Lewis was Minister of Justice for Canada. His secretary seemed to think that the smoke was all right for us to breathe. Indian Affairs minister Pierre Cadieux replied to my letter telling me no more than the local newspaper did the next day after the initial fire.

The reason for the fire was negligence of maintenance at the dump. Ideally the country should be returned to the original natives. However, realistically they are a people who should be standing on their own feet with the same treatment as any other Canadian, earning and paying a fair share of incomes to society. Human rights must prevail, whether it be Indian reserve or non-reserve lands involved, or people.

Ideally we should all speak at least three languages: English and French and one of either native, Gaelic, Italian, Chinese, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese or Japanese. Realistically French and English are official where numbers warrant. A true indication of the need for French in areas of Ontario is the number of requests received for it by this and other recent past committees of the present government. My father-in-law is French from Quebec and my nephew took French immersion in Toronto. Both have abandoned French. It is a great ideology to speak French and English, but Canada cannot support the cost of forcing English-speaking people to speak French or vice versa. These costs include printing, education and the resentment cost to society.

Native was proposed in the public school and my daughters requested to study it. However, it did not occur. Linguistic minorities should not receive government funding.

In summation, we in Ontario and Canada cannot have our cake and eat it too. Ontario people as well as the people of Canada cannot have any real prosperity allowing multinationals to import low-cost imported goods produced elsewhere and have excessive consumerism profits. The whole federal Conservative game is to keep the scenario so complex and sidetracked with issues that almost no one can figure out the whole picture, because the people are unable to perceive what is really talking place overall.

Clearly the immoral actions of the federal government allowing the multinationals to profit while others in society starve financially has to end. Yes, to quote Mulroney from Tuesday, "You can't have it both ways," but get on the right financial track, Mr Mulroney.

This crime of treasonous, inhumane treatment on the agricultural and working sectors of society in Canada by the federal Conservatives must stop. If Ottawa will not act, then Ontario must provide leadership and take action. The last resort we have is to create Ontario as an independent nation.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much, Mr MacDonald, for your presentation and for providing to us a very clear example of some of the concerns that you have. The interesting point which you bring forward has been brought forward on a number of occasions, not zeroed in on the agricultural sector but certainly bringing forward the underlying principle that there are certain responsibilities now being looked at or handled by the federal government which are in many cases not being met.

You have brought forward one particular aspect and you have used the winter wheat and the processing of that as an example. I guess my question to you is, we recognize that in Quebec there is activity to gain further provincial powers which are now held by the federal government. Are you suggesting that in the area of agriculture in the province of Ontario, one possible role for the government of is to look at the agricultural interests to see whether they are in fact being addressed through interests such as yours, and if not, to make such a request to the federal government for protection or for responsibility in that area which is now in many ways provincial?

Mr MacDonald: Yes.

Mr Winninger: Mr MacDonald, we have covered a lot of territory in the last couple of weeks and we have heard a lot of delegations. Most of the delegations have directed their minds towards whether Quebec should stay in Confederation or not and should it assert its independence or sovereignty or various scenarios. You are one of the first that I can recall to suggest that the last resort is to create Ontario as an independent nation. Obviously you have probably given some thought to that scenario and I am just wondering what kind of broader picture you would have of an independent Ontario, how it would relate to the other provinces of Canada and the federal government and other countries. Have you thought about that at all?

Mr MacDonald: To some degree. I could see it as just an independent country, independent from the eastern part of Canada, independent from the western part, independent from Quebec, independent from the United States, functioning within itself, rather than in this configuration we have.

Mr Winninger: Would it still have economic and cultural relations with the other parts of Canada? Have you thought about that?

Mr MacDonald: Oh, I think we cannot get away, that we are all part of Canada in a way, and no question about it, we would have economic and cultural considerations, just like Canada has with the United States and other countries at the present time. You cannot get away from that completely. But the problem is, my feeling is they are not running Canada for Canadians, for Canada.

Mr Winninger: So you would run an Ontario for Ontarians?

Mr MacDonald: Yes.

The Chair: We will stop there.


The Chair: I call next John Elliott. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Elliott: I was not sure if I was going to make it today. Our regional radio has been forecasting terrible blizzards, which suggested to me this morning that I might better stay home and off the road, but it has not really hit too hard yet and probably will not hit until tonight, so I am here. We just live about an hour from here over on the other side of Beaver Valley, right in ski country.

Good afternoon. My name is John Elliott. I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to speak to your group, and I would like to congratulate you on the work you are doing. I am here as a concerned Canadian, facing what appears to be the imminent dissolution of our great country. I am not prepared to let this happen.

Who am I? I am a third-generation Canadian. My great-grandfather came over from Ireland in the mid-1800s, before Confederation, and settled in the Ottawa Valley. My grandfather moved to Sudbury with the railroad construction in 1883, which as we all know was the great Canadian dream of those days, and which as we all know led to the discovery of the nickel ore body which developed into one of the greatest in the world and put Canada on the map, so to speak. That location developed from nothing to the modern city that it is today, the capital of northern Ontario.


My father, a First World War veteran, died last month at the age of 95 and I was fortunate to talk to him a week or so before he passed away. One question he asked me was, "Where are we going?" and I really could not answer him. I said, "I think it's up to you to decide where we are going."

I was born in the Depression in 1934. My mother held the maiden name of Lefebvre. Her parents had moved to Quebec via Hawkesbury to a place called Markstay outside of Sudbury. I am not sure how many generations on her side of the family, but if you go to Quebec City today and look in the phone book it is about 50% Lefebvres. So with this background I think I am probably as Canadian as anybody is today.

I am a father of five and a grandfather of four. I have been an independent businessman for the last 22 years. I am currently actively involved with the Life Underwriters Association of Canada in Owen Sound. I am their president and I had the occasion of going to the annual general meeting last year in Montreal and this year in Toronto.

It is a pretty impressive organization, but I came away from the first meeting feeling very sad because the province of Quebec had virtually kicked them out of Quebec and had legislated under certain constitutional powers, which they devised were accurate, that the Life Underwriters Association of Canada no longer had any authority in the area of education for our industry. They legislated a new organization which is completely government controlled. The sad part of it was that this organization, I think, was glad to see it happen because they had had such difficulty over eight or 10 years or more in communication and in getting along and in trying to solve their problems. That is the sad part.

Why am I here today? Because I believe in Canada and I believe in the Canadian dream. Without the vision of our forefathers we would not be what we are today. I see it as a challenge. I believe that Quebec is an integral part of Canada and should not leave. We must continue to struggle and build on the strong foundation that we have. Canada is a great Dominion from sea to sea to sea, but it is more than just a land. It is a spirit of freedom, love and integrity, of industry, peace and goodwill, values and principles which we must protect and cultivate.

As part of my legacy, I discovered in some of the things that my mother left behind a copy of the Globe, 1 July 1867, Confederation day, a fascinating piece of newspaper, only four pages, only $6 per annum. But let me just note something here. They comment on our history, on the discovery of Canada generally attributed to Jacques Cartier. He discovered America in 1534. We have all learned that in our history classes, I am sure.

The derivation of the term "Canada," according to the Globe on 1 July 1867, came from an Indian phrase, Aca Nada, meaning, "Here is nothing." It was otherwise interpreted as meaning in the Iroquois language "village or collection of houses" which Cartier believed to be applied to the village of Stadacona, which is situated on the site where Quebec City now stands. So Canada is nothing, right from the beginning.

This past summer, just after the failure of Meech Lake and the Oka crisis, I suffered a minor disability and had time to do some reading and reflection on these major events and the significance of our political and economic history which brought us to this point of time.

Of course to have an idea of where we are going, we have to understand where we have been. Referring to some of the statistics that are quoted in this issue of the Globe, they are rather interesting. Four provinces formed the original Confederation: Upper Canada, Lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In terms of population, Ontario was almost equally in balance with Quebec, which is pretty well true today.

They went on to do a little further analysis and they broke the population down in terms of religious affiliation and in terms of their native land, where they were born, about three million people. The breakdown of religious affiliation puts the Church of Rome well at the top with 44.4%; Presbyterians come in behind with 15%; the Church of England had 15%, and then the rest of them just go down the scale -- Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Congregationalists and all others. That was pretty important stuff in those days.

The breakdown, the classification by occupation, was revealing stuff: farmers, right at the top, 320,000; labourers, including lumbermen, next; and the rest of them get smaller -- mechanics, trade and commerce, professional, a very small number of professional people. But farmers are right up there at the top. Most of the people are farming in 1867.

Fascinating comments on Ontario, referred to as Upper Canada: "In respect of climate and soil there is perhaps no country in the world better adapted than Upper Canada for the pursuits of husbandry. Already it takes a high rank among the countries which are distinguished as producers of the great staples of human food and as its population increases and more of its soil is brought under a thorough cultivation, the amount of agricultural produce it will raise for home consumption and for export will doubtless be vastly augmented. Probably for many years to come, the chief source of wealth and of employment to its population in this section of the Dominion will be found, as at present, in the pursuits of agriculture."

Am I running out of time?

The Chair: Yes. You are actually at the end now. I will give you a minute to sum up, if you will.

Mr Elliott: Okay. Prime Minister Mulroney said quite simply, as quoted in the Globe and Mail 13 February, "Canada is too valuable to be thrown away and the federal government will fight to save it."

On the concept of nationhood, we seem to have evolved to a point where the Québécois, the Quebeckers, think of themselves as a nation, not as Canadians but Québécois. Can you imagine Louis St Laurent as anything but a great Canadian? How about Jean Beliveau or Rocket Richard? These are great Canadians.


How has this situation evolved on the political front? Self-serving politicians and pliable media anxious to project anything violent, exciting and new -- René Lévesque. Why does this brand of politics have to continue? It is the reason many Canadians are saying now: "We are fed up with this bickering. Let them go." A very bad attitude. Just as in a family quarrel, this can lead to dire consequences in the heat of an argument. We need, once again, understanding, patience, a renewal of commitment to a worthy goal. We are not finished building a great country. Let's get on with the job.

What about Ontario? One must adhere to those principles. We must adhere to those principles and play a leadership role, ie, we must protect Confederation.

Briefly, under political factors, again we have to look at history vis-à-vis federal Liberal power and Ontario provincial Conservative power. Deals and tradeoffs to maintain power and the status quo have no doubt been carried out for many years. The change began about 23 years ago with the entry of the Trudeau Liberals. Seven years ago the balance of power changed federally to the Conservatives, and the key was Quebec. It has always been Quebec. At the same time as the Liberals took power, the Ontario Conservatives lost out. Who really knows the intricacies of this power shift, but you can be sure that religion and culture played a major role.

The Chair: Mr Elliott, I am sorry, I am going to have to ask you to stop at that point.

Mr Elliott: Can I have 10 more seconds? That is all I have.

The Chair: Okay.

Mr Elliott: The Prime Minister himself has said that we are grossly overgoverned. This is very expensive. I am talking here on the economic side. We have now reached a crisis point where our debt level is crippling our ability to support our level of social programs. We have to address this problem and solve it very soon, and it may well be linked to whatever restructuring of government results from this current situation. Indeed, it is imperative for us to survive in the emerging global economy. We must adapt and change. We must negotiate to protect our values. Thank you.

The Chair: If you would like to leave us a copy of your written presentation or if you want to send it to us, we would appreciate receiving it.

Mr Elliott: Would it be all right if I sent it to you? I was a little short of time preparing it and it is just a little rough around the edges.

The Chair: That is fine. Please do send it to us. Thank you.


The Chair: I call next Clayton Long.

Mr Long: The lights are pretty bright. I did not expect all of this. I left a copy with the chap at the front entrance, so I assume that somewhere along the line you will receive a copy of what I am about to say.

I am Clayton Long. I am proprietor of a small business in this general area and pleased to take part in this forum of collecting information and ideas. I think the average Canadian, whether from east, west or north, wants about the same things, that is, family, good-paying jobs, plenty to eat, good housing and good recreation. When this goal is reached we become pretty complacent and thus, I think, in this country become the silent majority.

When this pattern is disturbed by family crisis, job loss or possibly aroused by politicians, we can be led to believe that things should be changed. One such situation has caused the people from Quebec and the rest of Canada to be polarized by self-serving and egotistical politicians on both sides who seem to put their careers and a chance to get into a history book ahead of the wishes of the people who elected them.

From the little I understand of the 20 years before the American Civil War, if the people on both sides had realized the manipulation by political forces and the pain they were about to inflict on themselves and the country as a whole, I believe there would never have been an American Civil War. I recognize that change was needed then and also needed now, but please do not let us be led to the brink by our leaders with the issues that have been placed in front of us.

Through my adult life I have read and heard about the francophone-Canada issues, including the strife of 1970, and still to this day I hope there will be a way to keep this country together. I have worked and associated with many different nationalities in Canada and have friends of French Canadian background who have never caused me anxiety because they spoke to each other in their native tongue or taught their children their native language and customs within Canada. And I hope most French Canadian people can say the same thing. I think they should practise the same laws and have the same privileges in French Quebec as we do in English Canada, and where our safety is concerned, like road signs, etc, in both languages, which is to say I think we should maintain the status quo.

I believe that shots taken by all sides in the constitutional issue do not serve Canada well. Therefore, I suggest that the federal and provincial politicians should not push further negotiations in the near future and, if it is possible at this time, to turn away from this issue and focus on many other important issues facing Canadians. In my opinion, if this Quebec issue is pushed by the present political powers on both sides, we could actually destroy this country as we now know it for ever.

It seems to me that when this Constitution is finally settled it will require all provincial parties working much more co-operatively towards the common goal than we have seen this past year.

I consider myself very average when it comes to listening to two or three platforms about a single issue and then making a decision. I say to you it is not easy being an elector when subjected to campaigns by politicians and Rhodes scholars, and I do admit that I have been swayed one way then another.

It is curious to me that at a time when Canada and Quebec seem to be growing apart, our mother countries, that is, England, France, Germany, ltaly, etc, seem to be growing together on some of these very issues. May I suggest that we in Ontario pursue some other important issues like government spending, deficits, energy policies and energy conservation, the environment, North American trade, world trade, housing and agriculture, and if these issues can be dealt with while a cooling-out period takes place on the Constitution then maybe a better time will present itself to renew negotiations.

I did say that I consider myself very average as a citizen. Therefore, I do not have clear answers to all the aforementioned subjects, but I will comment briefly.

If we are going to have economic recovery and inflation below 5%, why does government spending continue to grow at a higher rate? There must be a strategy developed to lower the deficit in Ontario and also in Canada, and I do not believe a good strategy exists.

An energy policy should be established quickly, if it is possible. Oil prices could fall to new lows on world markets. This policy should be a federal policy, but Ontario could show some leadership, possibly suggesting a floor price for crude to protect the bit of drilling and exploration that remains in North America.

Energy conservation to date has been given lipservice but could be a huge factor in our long-term hydro development. Such things as energy-efficient construction, heat pumps, fluorescent lights, efficient appliances, to date need further promotion and could be done within existing establishments like Ontario Hydro, the Ministry of Energy and the private sector.

Recycling and waste management has been introduced to most areas but much more can be done to encourage further development for waste products, and also education to reduce initial volumes and reuse some of our products. I wonder if the waste that must be put in landfill could be put in one place in this province so that it could be a future coal mine, oil well, whatever you would call it. I suspect our waste will have some potential somewhere down the road.

Whether or not free trade suits the government of Ontario, I think the floodgates were opened two years ago, and this is the time to be constructive rather than taint the process with negative comments and actions.


Rent control in Ontario has turned out to be a pretty long-term policy for such a short-term fix. I think the government of Ontario could do a lot to improve the situation for both the landlord and tenant. If it is true that rent increases are being denied for work that was in progress or contracted and then frozen by retroactive legislation, then I say this government has been very unfair to some landlords and should move quickly to right this situation.

A strong policy to encourage first-time home ownership could alleviate pressure to create more rental housing. Also, encourage municipalities to rezone to allow granny flats in some of the huge homes that have been built in the last 10 years.

Streamline the planning and development process to allow land to reach markets when it is needed to offset spiralling prices when supply has become short. I realize this last statement is dreaming, but every government has talked about a shorter process and then made the process longer. Maybe this government could reverse this.

I do not have any suggestions to improve agriculture; but some major changes need to be made to keep the poor farming community on the land. There must be several ways to improve their standing in our economy.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for your very insightful presentation. You brought up many issues. You are saying we should maybe hold on the Constitution and focus on some other issues. You mentioned energy, the environment, housing and a variety of other topics. As politicians, with what is happening in Quebec right now and with the pressures that are on us by the population, how could we possibly postpone discussions on the Constitution? For example, this committee is a reaction to what the citizens want, and that is what we are here to gather. I would like to know why and how you would suggest we put off looking at the Constitution.

Mr Long: From my point of view, I see the politicians on really three fronts who dominate the media right now, and I would say they are the Bloc québécois, also the Bourassa Liberals and our Conservative federal government. They all seem to be at odds with each other and the more issues that are introduced into the discussion seem to create further widening apart on agreement. It may be impossible to walk away from it at this time or to slow it down, but it seems to me that agreement cannot be achieved by the parties in power at this time. Therefore, I suggest that if there is a way we can cool it down, maybe in an unspecified period of time, whether it be two, three, four years, maybe it can be reintroduced by people who are able to win the confidence of the people.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Long.


Ms Marshall: Ladies and gentlemen of the committee and ladies and gentlemen of the audience, good evening, happy Valentine's Day. I am Rebecca Marshall. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to make this presentation before you. My brief is longer than 10 minutes, so I am going to highlight the main concepts. Please feel free to read the entire brief at your leisure. I wish there had been more time, but here goes.

This meeting is for Canadian citizens to express their opinions, hopes and desires on Confederation. In doing so, the rest of Canada must earnestly listen to these voices. I fear for the continued existence of Canada without a true Constitution of and by the people of Canada.

The confederation of many people must be a strong desire to be united for many reasons, a desire to reflect common values and common rights and common freedoms that all of society wants, needs and demands. Canada, besides being a vast land mass, is also made up of people, ordinary and extraordinary people, who wish to call this land home. In my home I want fairness and justice, equality, honesty. What I do not want is one part of the family getting special treatment. This is unfair. It makes me angry and it makes me feel less important than the favoured one.

I belong to a group of people who have the same values, the same desires, the same hunger for a free and democratic nation that allows a person to work hard towards making a better life, and I believe that Canada is losing this. We must have less complicated ways of government which would lessen the bureaucracy. We cannot afford this any more. We must get our house in order, especially our finances. I suggest more weight be given the Auditor General's recommendations.

We have multiculturalism and we have bilingualism. How do you achieve unity by these two concepts? They are in total opposition to the idea of uniting many parts into a nation. They in reality splinter and divide a nation. We are all individuals. A nation is a group of individuals who wish to live together for common reasons. Is our government so blinded by bowing to the demands of minority groups that it cannot see that what we have in common is so much more important than what it is that separates and divides us?

If we want Canada to remain then it is up to us, the people who must put forth ideas and demands and show the government how. I think the government, in its expensive ivory tower, has forgotten the basic concept of democracy.

A new Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees rights to own property and to be able to protect that property -- I want to see ancient democratic right of trial before courts of law that are independent of government interference. I suggest elected judges.

Women, who happen to make up over 50% of Canada's present population, demand equality before the law in government, based on majority alone.

Forced bilingualism is within the present charter. I ask that it be removed from the charter, thereby eliminating it from the new Constitution. Language and the policing of language are in alienation to the freedom of expression. Let it be understood, only by the fact that the majority of Canadians speak and operate in English, that English be the present working language within the courts and the jurisdiction of the federal government, and within those provinces by majority use. It is not to be included in the Constitution of this country.

The rights and freedoms and the importance of the individual have been lost. We must create a Parliament where those rights and freedoms again become the cornerstone of our nation. If the rights and freedoms of the individual are protected by our laws, by our government and by our Parliament, then society as a group of individuals will be protected and allowed to flourish.

Things I suggest are:

That the elected Speaker of the House have more power to reform legislative timetables;

The constituency offices elect their candidate, who does not require the signature of the party leader in order to run an election;

Recall of an elected member, if that elected member goes against the wishes and demands of the majority of his or her constituency. The only exception would be the Prime Minister.

The Senate is to be elected, equal and effective, so that all provinces and regions have an even regional distribution of power;

Party whips would have less power to mete out punishment to those party representatives who seek the constituency's betterment over their party's policies. The people of Canada must have responsible peers from all walks of life elected to Parliament to govern them, not just professionals.

When the Constitution of the people of Canada is written, that it be written in a language for the people and the understanding of the average Canadian -- it must be written so the average Canadian can read and understand and grasp the concepts for which it was written; that it is a declaration of who the Canadian people are, what are the common desires they all share, especially those of personal freedoms and rights; and that it explains to all citizens democracy and how democracy controls and limits government.

I suggest that all constitutional briefs and presentations be sent to a non-partisan constitutional assembly, where a draft be created, and to be redrafted until ratified by 70% of the eligible Canadian voters.


I have not spoken on provincial relationships to the federal government, nor the power struggle that this entails. Canada will naturally develop into regions. These provinces or regions must realize that executive-centred governments are irresponsible, inefficient, self-serving and that they do an injustice to the people they serve and represent. Please decentralize your power and controls. Return some of the provincial power to the municipalities.

Next, as far as that goes, I go to the postscript to the presentation because I am running out of time. This is with regard to the Quebec separation or the possibility thereof. I wish to thank Quebec for having the courage to finally display its desires and demands. If Canada only had such fortitude. It is now up to the rest of Canada, which is not just the federal government, to answer these demands in a clear, sober manner that states exactly how we are to handle Quebec.

Let us be perfectly honest with the people of Canada, especially Quebec, by laying our cards on the table. Just what is involved in a separate Quebec? And I insist on a separate Quebec, no sovereignty-association. Borders, defence immigration, currency; the whole mixture of creating a new country must be adopted by Quebec. What of Quebec's borders? Labrador is not in the equation. Neither is the northern section, nor possibly the centre section since both were deeded to the Dominion of Canada.

So what do we have left? A small portion of Quebec which with its share of the national debt plus payment of the assets of the federal buildings and properties which will be owed to the rest of Canada, leaves little for its GNP. Do not forget the loss of revenue from a federal employer. A lot of Quebeckers will be out of work.

Speaking of finances, Quebec has tourism. They also have a good manufacturing base at present which will eventually flow east, west and particularly south. Their natural resources will be diminished as Canada appropriates the two sections of land owing to Canada. Realizing that, what can Quebec sell and exactly who to? Quebec will be enclosed in a North American continent which speaks predominantly English. All or most goods and services will be in English, but what of imports? Do you really think the rest of the North American people will worry about double-labelling or the expense of that on products to sell to six million people in relation to 400 million? I hardly think so. I suppose Quebec could import mainly from France and other French-speaking countries.

I truly feel sorry for average Quebeckers. They hare been led down the proverbial garden path by a few fanatical, insecure, sometimes irrational, elite leaders who will lessen their quality of life. The bluff has finally been called and the spoilt child runs away. I suggest 5 to 10 years before Quebec asks to rejoin Canada, if not the United States of America, but it will be on the larger and stronger's conditions and terms.

If Quebec somehow succeeds as an independent country, then I wish it continued success and happiness, and I truly mean that. At least Canada and those who desire a contented, united country based on equality can become closer and develop a stabilizing, happy relationship. This will allow Canada to focus on more important issues which have previously been shelved.

Thank you for hearing me.

Ms Churley: I do not have much time so I cannot ask you questions I would like. I would like to focus in particular on your last statement on Quebec.

There are other provinces that we tend to forget about because the focus is on Quebec right now, which are having, particularly the west, extreme problems with the central government and the rest of Canada and not only with Quebec. Why do you think that if Quebec separates completely all our problems will go away and we will be able to solve them? Do you not think the west will see what Quebec is doing and then start chipping away and making more and more demands? Do you not think we are going to have to all work on this together or we will continue to have similar problems from other provinces?

Ms Marshall: I really think, since Quebec right at this point is the dividing part of this country, it is either going to be Quebec or the west. You choose. Somebody is going to leave and for my money I would rather it be Quebec than someone else who has more of our common basis for sharing. I am sorry, but that is my opinion.

Mr Mahoney: Just an interesting twist of a comment that was made to the committee of our Legislature following the death of Meech: Professor John Crispo came before our committee and his answer to the question of why Quebec is acting this way, which I guess is a question many English Canadians have asked, was, "Picture yourself one of six million English-speaking people on a continent of 400 million French-speaking people."

Ms Marshall: Would you say the same thing to --

Mr Mahoney: Let me finish.

Ms Marshall: Sorry.

Mr Mahoney: I am not being argumentative. I am trying to point out something that you have said in almost a reverse sense. He said, "Picture yourself as one of six million anglophones among 400 million francophones. Might you be nervous about losing your identity?" Your comment in your postscript is, "Do you really think the rest of North America will worry about the expense of double-labelling products to sell to six million people out of 400 million?" It is exactly the same point Crispo was making and the answer is no, they would not worry about it. I think you have hit on a point in almost a perverse way, that that is exactly what Quebec is worried about.

My question to you would be, do we have any responsibility as a country, assuming Quebec is today part of Canada and has been all along, to try to understand why French Canadians have that fear that was expressed in one sense by Crispo and in another sense by your statement?

Ms Marshall: My point is that the rest of Canada has been preoccupied with worrying about what Quebec feels. Do you imagine that the Italian group or the Chinatown syndrome down in Toronto really experiences that problem? They are not a founding nation. They were defeated and this is the basic problem, I think. They cannot face defeat. I am sorry. I think we have gone too far over backwards to please them.

Mr Mahoney: You do not accept that the French people are one of the two founding cultures?

Ms Marshall: No, I do not. Sorry.

Mr Mahoney: All right. Thank you.

The Chair: Very briefly, Mr Harnick.

Mr Harnick: I have asked this question to other people who have said essentially what you have said. What is going to happen when you have now removed Quebec in the unequivocal way in which you have removed it? What is going to happen to the $30 billion of trade between Ontario and Quebec? What is going to happen to all the jobs of people who live in Ontario, maybe in Ottawa and Collingwood, when that $30 billion worth of trade goes south, as you describe? What are you going to say to all these people who no longer have jobs?

Ms Marshall: This problem that you are talking about has nothing to do with Quebec. Actually, it has to do with the federal government as well as provincial governments when they set up the free trade. They never worked on the equation of how come we are 30% higher in taxes --

Mr Harnick: No.

Ms Marshall: Yes, it is.

Mr Harnick: That is not what I am asking you though. What I am asking you is this. At this present moment, Ontario and Quebec do $30 billion in business with one another. If we accept your plan and Quebec leaves this country in the unequivocal way in which you set out, it may decide to take its business elsewhere. We are now going to lose a portion of a $30 billion trade.

Ms Marshall: And I am saying we are not.

Mr Harnick: Where are you going to get it back?

Ms Marshall: Where is Quebec going to sell? If you take away two thirds --

Mr Harnick: They will sell what they are selling now to New York state.

Ms Marshall: No, they will not.

Mr Harnick: Why not?

Ms Marshall: Because you are taking away two thirds of the land mass. Where are they going to get these natural resources, especially the ones dealing with Labrador, which belongs to Newfoundland?

Mr Harnick: So you are going to strip them clean and then kick them out.

Ms Marshall: That is the choice. It is not kicking them out. It is their decision.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Marshall.

Could I just check again to see if Brenda Anstey or anyone else from the Lovesick Lake Native Women's Association is here. I gather they are not. Okay. Then what I am going to suggest we do is, I could ask if they do arrive if someone would let me know. In the meantime, I am going to suggest we proceed with the list of people that were added to the list of speakers, but with the proviso that in order to get through those people, people try to keep their comments to about five minutes, and with the understanding as well that if the other group does arrive, we will then go to them at that point in time.



The Chair: I invite Gordon Tranter to come forward.

Mr Tranter: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the select committee on Confederation, my name is Gordon Stanley Tranter and I am a Canadian from Ontario. What I am about to say will deal with the federal and provincial governments.

I would like to see our country stay together from sea to sea but only under the following condition: each and every province and territory is equal in the Constitution with no special status for any one province or territory. I will now discuss several main topics and possible solutions.

1. Governments: It is obvious that our system of government is not working. It does not represent the majority. We are being ruled by a minority. Let me give a simplistic example. Take 10 voters and three candidates. Candidate A receives four votes, candidate B receives three votes and candidate C receives three votes. Obviously the winner is the one that got the four votes, or 40% of the population, but in reality 60% of the people have not voted for him. What we need are runoff elections for true representation by majority which is costly, I realize, but a true indication of who we want to represent us.

2. Referenda: Why not make use of referenda on, say, 5 or 10 major issues every five years? For example, capital punishment, abortion, the environment, 51% Canadian ownership, state-run education, law and order, health systems, free trade, gun legislation, immigration, bilingualism, etc.

Articles could be run in major newspapers by leading experts in the field as to the pros and cons of the proposed topics for a year before the vote to enable voters to make a wise decision. Let us say 60% gives the government power to enact legislation, between 40% and 59% puts legislation over for five years and with 39% the topic is defeated. These are merely arbitrary percentages.

3. The Senate: Let us abolish the Senate completely. It is unnecessary and merely serves as patronage plums for losing politicians and party faithfuls. It is no longer relevant.

4. Language: This is a tough one. I am offering a solution at this point. Leave Quebec as a major French-language province with English as a second language. Leave all the other provinces using English as a major language with French as a second language. But make it mandatory for every child from kindergarten to university to study and be fluent in both these languages, even if they require remedial classes. At the end of 25 or 30 years allow these students their own referendum: (a) keep the status quo, Quebec French and other provinces English, (b) Canada becomes completely bilingual or (c) cancel the whole program.

Now bear me out. I realize this is putting off our language dispute, but by this time many of our older citizens with language prejudice will have passed on and a new generation will have a better understanding of the situation.

5. Biculturalism: Scrap the legislation. It is divisive. People that come to Canada want to be Canadians. We should reinforce that we are Canadians with a different heritage: Canadians with Italian background, not Italian Canadians; Canadians with an English background, not English Canadians; Canadians with a French background, not French Canadians; Canadians with a Japanese background, not Japanese Canadians. If people want to retain their heritage and language, it should be done, but at their own time and at their own expense.

6. Law and order: A society is a group of people bound together by laws for the common good, and 85% to 90% of the population obey the laws of this land, but we are being held ransom by 15% of the population. It is called the tyranny of the minority. The courts, the judges, the penal systems, the parole system and legislative lawmakers have failed the people of this country and are not protecting the citizens of the land.

How can anyone respect a legal system when Supreme Court judges rule that people charged with a crime are being set free because it contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms? Does not the charter also protect the victims by giving them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the right to have criminals prosecuted? Why can a man, a woman or a child not walk free at any time of the day or night without the fear of being attacked, robbed, raped, assaulted and killed in this country? I know this is not going on all the time, but it certainly is becoming much stronger. How can we respect the Supreme Court when the members rule that if you are over 65 you must retire but they can remain until they are 75 years of age?

The Young Offenders Act: When young people are 12 years or older, they know right from wrong, particularly if they are 16 and can obtain a driver's licence. Why are they given special privileges when they commit a crime? If we do not want them in with hardened criminals, put them in juvenile prisons, teach them a trade, but make them serve terms to fit the crime. Let us enact legislation for law and order and make this country safe to live in.

7. Taxes: Money collected as taxes should only be on income with no deductions whatsoever. The higher the income, of course, the higher the percentage, and this would simplify and reduce the cost of collecting taxes.

8. Religion: There should be a public-funded school system only. We are wasting all kinds of tax dollars operating dual systems and building separate educational centres of administration. Religion should be taught in churches and homes. Perhaps the tax dollars could be sent to the health care system.

9. Native Canadians: Why do we continually send money to underdeveloped countries and ignore the plight of our aboriginal people? Is it because underdeveloped countries purchase our industrial products? Why not find out what the native people would like to do to become self-sufficient? Native Canadians were and are the first real environmentalists. Could they not be educated for jobs in natural resources, reforestation and parks? Would they not be perfect in this type of work? We must help them to become self-sufficient. Can we give them trades training in the reserve to build their homes, etc?

I would like to thank this committee for the opportunity of appearing here today to express my concerns regarding the direction in which my country is going, and yours too, and the apparent lack of concerned leadership.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. We will make sure that members of the committee get copies of the entire brief.


The Chair: I call Joe Hart.

Mr Hart: I did not bring with me a prepared text but I will attempt to keep it brief. I came with some thoughts on what I feel we should have for a country, not something divided.

The question is asked: What is a Canadian? When I was a young fellow going to school, we did not seem to have such a thing. I can recall when I was asked, "What are you?" and I said "I am a Canadian," they would say, "No, where does your father come from?" Well, five generations ago he came from Ireland, so that made me some person of Irish descent. Thankfully we have moved along a long way since those days.

Some of the things that really bother me about us as Canadians is that we seem to be taking a real negative attitude. We have heard negative approaches, some this afternoon, some that I have listened to and watched on Ontario television, some from the national debate that is going on. I think that until we can get back to a positive approach on what we want as Canadians and get away from what we have lost in the Meech Lake accord -- we keep hearing it brought up. Believe me, it is dead, it is gone, it will not come back, so that is something we have lost and should not dwell on.

We should build on what we really have. What are these? Confederation. The building of the rail from coast to coast. There are a couple of the things we do not like to consider as having built our country, but really did, and they are the First World War and the Second World War, which made us a strong nation. There is our role worldwide as a peacekeeping nation.


One of the things I feel we are getting with that is very negative. I am hearing it more and more, all the time, that if you are from anywhere in Canada except Quebec, you are called English or an English Canadian. References to people from Quebec are either Québécois or federalist. But in the last two months I do not think I have heard anybody refer to them or themselves as Canadians, when in fact the people of Quebec are Canadians.

I know a great many of them who consider themselves to be Canadians, but constantly in the media the word is dropped. I live in Collingwood. I like the town. I live in Ontario. I like the province. I am not even sure if I were trying to define myself as a person of Ontario if I would be an Ontarian, Ontoronian or what it would be. I am a Canadian.

Another thing that kind of bothers me is that we have heard just lately of the report that has just been issued from the Quebec standpoint, that we should be relinquishing 22 of the federal strengths to Quebec. Maybe it is possible that Quebec needs something stronger to put us together as a nation, but if Quebec's shopping list is 22 items, how long is Ontario's, Manitoba's, Alberta's, Prince Edward Island's? Every region of the country will find it needs something different. How can we possibly have a strong Canada without a strong federal government?

I know some things need to be changed. Exactly what they are, I do not know, but I cannot see tearing the federal government apart to the point that every province runs its own little state. Alberta is afraid of Ontario; they keep telling us so. But what are they afraid of? They are afraid of mighty Toronto. They do not seem to be bothered and you never hear them talk about the other parts of the province. "It's Toronto we're afraid of." As a matter of fact they even tell us it is Bay Street. This, from coast to coast, seems to be a problem.

I would hope that we will start working together to drop this regionalistic approach to being Canadians and come together more as a nation. What that entails, that is what we elect you fellows to do.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you very much, Mr Hart.


The Chair: I invite next Terrence Rodgers.

Mr Rodgers: Thank you for inviting me. Briefly, and I will be quick about this, we have had a busy day but I bought the committee a Valentine's Day present today. This is for you. It is chocolates for coming and also to let you know that in spite of the bashing of Quebec and politicians, I happen to be someone who loves Quebec. I love politicians for all the baloney you people have to put up with from people like us, but nevertheless it is your job and I know you enjoy doing it.

I am a businessman. I am a tourist operator here in Collingwood. I run something called the Scenic Caves and Caverns next to Blue Mountain. Interestingly enough, in 1631 the man who discovered Quebec spent two months up at the scenic caves. His name was Samuel de Champlain. Interestingly enough, this whole Collingwood area, also known as the Georgian Triangle Tourist Association and Convention Bureau -- Meaford, Stayner, Wasaga, Collingwood, the Creemore area -- really originally was populated by French settlers from the province of Quebec. But we have had enough discussion, I think, today on Quebec. Let's talk about Ontario's role in Canada, and why you are here.

I am disappointed, I might say, in the citizens of this area today for not having supported your wonderful committee and not turned out in larger numbers. At the same time I am somewhat disappointed in your own committee for not having spent enough money to advertise the fact that this meeting is on today. A lot of people never knew about it. I picked it up in the Globe and Mail this morning. I would like you, over the next few weeks, to put a few more dollars into your communications budget so that more citizens of Ontario can at least listen or have a chance to say what they want.

My background is that I was a former -- I sound like a sinful fellow -- vice-president of a liquor company, a vice-president of a pharmaceutical company, assistant general manager of the Canadian National Exhibition and an entrepreneur and promoter.

Think of the western part of this country. In my bag here I have a booklet, which I have read, called the Reform Party of Canada. It goes back there where I think it belongs, as far as I am concerned; very strong in western Canada, but I do not think it is going to help keep Canada together. We have to grow on what we have had over the last 125 years. We have some problems. We have some bilingual problems, but the only way we are going to work together is improving what we have.

We do not want Quebec to separate, no way. We do not want to be different from Quebec, but having been born in Quebec and educated in Quebec and je parle français un peu, we have to realize that Quebec is somewhat different from the rest of Canada through its linguistic nature, and also that 30% of the people in Quebec are not of French-Canadian background.

How do we solve it? I am going to give you one idea today. I would like to see, either through some department or through the Lions Club or the Rotary, or someone across Ontario, set up something called échange de familles, exchange of families. Here in Ontario -- eight million people, probably three million households -- let's get every household in Ontario to write a letter to people in Quebec, invite them to stay for four or five days in Collingwood, Sarnia, London, or someone to enjoy our hospitality, to enjoy the fact that we are brothers and we love each other and can get along. Then maybe a year later they will invite us back to Quebec to enjoy the beautiful Laurentians and the beautiful Gaspé and the wonderful city of Montreal and Quebec City.

I am going to do my damnedest to keep it together, because I think Canada is well worth saving. It has a lot going for it. We have to think of our future, of our children and our grandchildren. You people are not going to be politicians in a number of years and I want to say this, that we have to carry on and hand our children a legacy of a united Canada in spite of all the problems.

There are no problems in Canada. When you look at the rest of the world, they are all getting together, in Germany and the Balkans and overseas. In the Middle East they are trying to solve their problems. We in Canada, I tell you, should get up every morning, be thankful and pray to God that we have the country we have, and especially on Valentine's Day, love your country.

Any questions?

The Chair: No, I think that was quite clear.

Mr Winninger: When do we get to open the valentine?

Mr Mahoney: Do you want to run for office?

Mr Rodgers: Just in passing, I would like you to know that I have had the pleasure to spend an hour in one-to-one conversations with some great politicians in Canada and I respect you for your honesty, integrity and hard work. I have sat down with some great Prime Ministers in this country, like Pearson, Diefenbaker, Trudeau and even Mulroney. I have sat with some great Premiers in Ontario, like Bill Davis and lately with Bob Rae, and I want to tell you that every time I sit down with any of them for an hour and have a man-to-man talk, I would vote for all of them.


The Chair: I invite next Margaret Dawson.

Ms Dawson: Good afternoon. My brief is probably the shortest. I was not aware that you were going to be here either, so there are only a couple of points that I have touched on.

My feeling for Canada was that of great pride. Canada was a place where all nationalities could live together and care about each other. I thought it was great that all people of all nations could come here and be respected for their backgrounds and beliefs.

It is with a lot of sorrow and apprehension that I find Canada changing to a country that I no longer understand. We as Canadians, because of our tolerance, are losing our own identity. The very few traditions that were Canadian are and have been changed. Because of minority rights, we the English-speaking majority, whether you realize it or not, are becoming the ones discriminated against. I feel that the majority no longer has a say in what their future might entail for fear that a minority group would take offence.


I would like to speak briefly on language. I know that French and English are the official languages of Canada. I do not think all the provinces should be made bilingual. My thoughts on this are mostly due to the fact that we do have many different nationalities living here. To me, it would make more sense and less resistance if a second or third language was to be learned because of want and not demand.

An example of this would be if I lived in northern Ontario where the Indian population is greater. I think it would be great to maybe learn their language. I think our education system could without great difficulty teach other languages. In most areas this could make better, if not stronger ties in the community. This should not be forced on people, but given as an alternative.

Because I did not know until yesterday that you would be here, I have just had time to note a couple of my thoughts. I would like to close in saying you cannot have people respect and love one another on demand. I would say that this would only bring the opposite result and therefore defeat your purposes. Please have a referendum about these most important issues facing Canada.


The Chair: I invite next Shauna Kendry.

Ms Kendry: Good evening to the committee members. My name is Shauna Kendry and I work for Break Down the Barriers, which is an organization for disabled people in integrating them into the community.

I moved or relocated here from Hamilton and when I moved here I saw that services in the community were not that accessible, especially or more so for deaf people. As I have looked around I have noticed we have a lack of interpreting services available. We have to get interpreters in from the Huronia hearing-impaired program, and that only staffs one person, and it is too great an area for them, as well as from the Canadian Hearing Society and the Ontario Interpreting Services. We have great difficulty in getting interpreters, and deaf people have great frustrations in accessing interpreters in this area, as well as in other areas of Ontario.

Also, here in the community, many people are not aware of the bus service and access to that. We have lack of access to communication. Regarding telephone access, we need more telecommunications devices for the deaf, and we need more closed-captioning services and programs, as well as communication and basic literacy skills among our population.

In talks with the deaf community, we need to have more information available regarding the tax system, such as GST, as well as the provincial tax system. We need explanations that would actually clarify a lot of this information to the deaf community.

The next issue is human rights. Many deaf people have difficulty in this area, in that they are employed by people who are not deaf and communication does not occur. We need to encourage the employers, as well as colleagues of deaf people, to enter into sign language classes and evening programs so that deaf people can have access to work.

The next issue is regarding education and we need to have some acknowledgement of American sign language as well as the culture of deaf people, and to have teachers who themselves are deaf, as well as guidance counsellors, because they can provide the communication to deaf children, as well as be role models. Those hearing people who are going to be involved in this profession need to be able to speak the language that we use, not an artificial demonstration of English. Children need to have access to the communication, and to receive an artificial mode does not access education to them. So we need to increase this representation.

My next point, again with the deaf community, is with regard to employment. Many deaf people are concerned with regard to their limited education and their employment. Police stations need to have accessibility, as well as hospitals, by implementing or installing TDDs. Mountain skiing, as well as other resorts that people have access to, need to install TDDs. We need to have weather stations with TDDs so we can have access to weather reports.

We have two specific points here. The building code, such as that for hotels, needs to have TDDs installed, as well as closed-captioning devices, as well as alarm systems that are visible to deaf people, such as flashing lights, in the event of a fire, while staying in hotels.

As well, we need to have some kind of visual representation of any noise that demonstrates someone at the door or a message or whatever access is provided to the hearing people. We need this in a visual form. As well, general hospitals need to have the flashing alarm system for emergencies, as well as closed-captioning or something. Whereas hearing people are able to provide information to each other on what the exact emergency is, this needs to be represented in a visual form, be it a print readout or what have you. Also, for deaf people who are in the hospital, they need to have some kind of closed captioning so that information can be provided to them and they have access to it.

Recently I have moved into a new apartment. In my negotiations with the landlord, I mentioned that the flashing doorbell needed to be installed or a peephole, so I know who is at the door. In our negotiations the landlord's response was, "Well, I'm sorry, this is something you're going to have to incur the expense for." When I mentioned that to him, he said, "Well, it does have a safety latch on it," but I need the visual form in a flashing light to know that someone is at the door. I do not like having to have the safety latch on, to open it only a certain distance to try to recognize who is there. In even trying to get this peephole, I was denied. Also, if I do have to move, any installation I have paid to have put in I have to leave.

When we move on to the deaf community, as I have talked with some other members of the community, we have noticed that other disabled people have access to workshops or in providing information to the public, yet for deaf people, we are not allowed to provide this kind of public education. Seventy-five per cent have brought up the issue of TDDs, and I have congratulated them on this, yet we still are lacking access to closed captioning. When you look at business, people do advertising and we think they need to have access with closed captioning for us.

Also, we would like to suggest that deaf people, as well as those who are not deaf, develop common relationships in the community and, please, have respect for us and we need you to just listen to us. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: The next, and final, speaker, is Betty Smith.

Ms Smith: Like the last few speakers, I had not heard about this until this afternoon, so I have put some notes together as I arrived. I do believe I bring a different perspective from some of the ones that have been presented here, so I welcome the chance to share some of my thoughts with you.


I am very proud to be a Canadian, but throughout my life I have been frustrated by the fact that I do not believe as a country we have ever reached our potential. I believe part of that has to do with our complacency, the fact that we have had so much going for us and the apathy has been present. Unlike a previous speaker, I think this is a golden opportunity to do something differently and to really bring about some significant change in this country, particularly because more people are, in my language, emotionally hooked by the issue. This is the time when we have some potentially creative energy which we can focus and turn to dealing with the very gutsy, crunchy issue we have, which involves, in my opinion, major revision of the Constitution. I was one who was initially upset that Meech Lake did not pass, but now I am very grateful that it did not pass because it was just tinkering with the Constitution, in my opinion.

I speak as someone who grew up in Winnipeg, grew up in the west, and learned what it was like to be helpless and powerless in the national scheme. I do not carry any anger around, but that is a reality that I want to make sure people in Ontario understand. Ontario has been my home for many years, my home of choice. It has been good to me. I like it. Toronto originally, Collingwood recently. I also had the opportunity to work in Montreal, at least to get my education in Montreal, so I lived with the French Canadians both in Montreal and in the hills around Montreal and had a chance to get to know that culture and something about it.

I have also had the chance from 1976 through 1987 to build a national organization which was known as the Trust Companies Institute. There were 26,000 people with 44 different companies from right across the country, with head offices from Victoria to St John's, Newfoundland. And we lived with diversity and we built on diversity and out of it came real strength.

I think one of our major problems as Canadians is that we have not realized a major, critical resource right on our doorstep, and that is different from some of the opinions I have heard expressed here today. Toronto, we know, is the most multicultural city in the world. It is a microcosm of the global village where we as Canadians have an opportunity to get to learn something, really learn how we can build on this diversity rather than walk away from it. Homogeneity is really very dull. I find dealing with different opinions and different points of view and different cultures awkward and kind of threatening, but when I expose myself to that I find the richness of that experience is overpowering. I have a dream, and my dream is that we in this country, particularly close to the Metropolitan Toronto area, will take on the task of trying to learn how to appreciate those differences, respect those differences, and then I believe we could really become the potential country in the world which many of us have dreamed about. We could share with some of the other neighbours we have -- or they will become neighbours very soon in the global village.

How are the various countries going to get along across the world? I have had the opportunity to travel in the Soviet Union, so I have some ideas there too. But what I would like to say in terms of the Canadian situation is that I believe we need a constitutional conference. I believe what we want, what we did in the Trust Companies Institute which I built, was to have national standards with tremendous freedom for people to achieve those standards as they chose. Our role as a national organization was to provide resources, provide consultation, to share experiences across the country and give people the opportunity to learn from one another if they chose to learn from one another, as long as they met the national standards and the national requirements. That was the only restriction. I think much of what we learned and much of that thinking has application on the Canadian scene, whether we end up with 10 regions, whether we end up with 11 provinces, five regions and some kind of central government.

One of the points I would like to make before closing is that one of the things we frequently say is that we need a strong central government. I agree with that, but my definition of a strong central government is different from the one we generally envision. As far as I am concerned, when we think of a strong central government we think of what we have known in the organizations in which we have all grown up, that is, the schools, the churches and most anything else you can name in our society. The organizational forum is not unlike the dictatorship in the way it operates. We have said we want that kind of central control, yet when we experience it we do not like it; we find it does not meet our needs and we find it does not work.

A government, in my opinion, can be very strong by providing a vision, by exercising leadership, by encouraging people to really work through their differences, by providing them with resources and by helping to work out those differences and sharing that information across the country. In other words, be catalytic leaders, the kind our modern organizations, the ones that are going to survive in this global world, are finding they have to move towards: team leadership, partnership and consensus-building, name it what you will. I think if we as Canadians could begin to go down that road we would get very energized, very excited and be able to find a place. I hope we will, at least before I leave this one. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much. With that presentation, we will conclude our afternoon session here in Collingwood. We will now recess for an hour until 7 o'clock.

The committee recessed at 1807.


The committee resumed at 1922.

The Chair: I will call the meeting to order while Mr Beer finishes the distribution of the chocolates that we received earlier today from one of the presenters. Let me welcome those of you who are here. This is of course the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. We are resuming our hearings here in Collingwood this evening. We had a hearing earlier today. We had a number of people speak to us and we have a number of people on the list this evening.

I should take a minute at the beginning to wish everyone happy Valentine's, not only the people who are here but people across the province, and I guess our own families of the members of the committee, who may or may not be pleased with our being here as opposed to being home this evening.

Be that as it may, today also happens to be another occasion, which is Equality Eve. One of our members, Ms Churley, is going to say a couple of words about that.

Ms Churley: Thank you, Mr Chair. I do not know if everybody here is aware of what Equality Eve means, but 10 years ago today 1,400 women converged on Ottawa to form the, I think by now, infamous ad hoc conference on women in the Constitution after they had had an official meeting with the then government cancelled because the government thought these women coming might embarrass it. The women decided to take a chance and have an informal meeting anyway and were quite surprised and gratified when about 1,400 women showed up. They continued to lobby successfully in getting equality for women enshrined in the Charter of Rights.

Tonight, thousands of women are meeting again in dinner parties all across the country to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this victory for women. I was invited to some of those dinner parties in Toronto and I am very sorry that I am not there tonight. But I am also at the same time happy to be here at least doing something that I think is important and a continuation of the work that began for women 10 years ago, and for all us, because it is a funny coincidence actually, in a way, that it is Valentine's Day and we are here talking about the Constitution.

So I just want to wish, on behalf of all of us, the women who are of course watching us on television right now while they are eating dinner together, a happy Valentine's Day and I hope they will continue the discussions on the Constitution and how women will continue to have a role, and hopefully a much greater role than in the past.

To end, I would just like to say that the latest report worked on by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women has been very disheartening. I do not know if people saw it in the paper today, but the reality is that in many ways women's lives are getting harder. As the poor are getting poorer, the findings are that women's lives are getting harder. So it is clear that we have a lot of work to do, and I encourage women to come out and speak to us as we continue to cross this province, because we would really like to hear your views on how we can make sure that you are involved throughout this process.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Churley.

Could I just say to the people who are on the list to speak to us this evening, because we have a number of other people who have indicated an interest to speak to us, we would appreciate it if we could have the presentations by individuals limited to 10 minutes and those by organizations or groups limited to 20 minutes. That would allow us to be able to add a bit of time to deal with the additional speakers.


The Chair: With that, let me call Elroy Belbeck to come forward.

Mr Belbeck: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I was allotted 15 minutes in my agreement so I am afraid I am going to have to stick to that, but I will try not to go over.

The Chair: We would appreciate it if you could trim it down, sir. We realize that you were given the 15 minutes, but as I say we are trying to accommodate other people as well.

Mr Belbeck: I have chosen to read my comments as a means of keeping within my time limit. Mr Rae claims that your committee has been created by elected representatives who want you to operate in a spirit of openness and participation. He says that it is time to rise above partisan interests. That sounds good. Whether it is an exercise in window dressing by politicians who will return to their caucuses behind closed doors and ignore the wishes of the majority remains to be seen.

Thank you for the opportunity to address some major issues at a crucial time, when resentment against government policies from Ottawa and from Toronto are running high and when about 20% of government funds in Ontario and around one third of the federal government income goes to pay interest on provincial or national debt.

Under "Canada at the Crossroads," page 4, your discussion paper states that "We need a consensus on issues ... also on values." True. "Governments in free, diverse and democratic societies need to return to the people for guidance." That last word in the last paragraph should be "decisions." Governments need to turn to the people for decisions. Please allow me to explain with reference to the Canadian Constitution, as I will in a moment.

When David Peterson decided to kowtow to Mr Bourassa and the Quebec politicians in Ottawa by supporting the Meech Lake deal and by insulting the vast majority of Ontarians by imposing Bill 8 upon us, he did so not in response to the wishes of the people of Ontario but in spite of them.

Mulroney and Peterson have demonstrated themselves to be the kind of dictators that have too often wielded tower over us, carrying on discussions, making decisions behind closed doors, with no reference to the wishes of the majority. We all know what happened to Meech and to Peterson, thanks to Elijah Harper, Clyde Wells and the Ontario voters.

The development of representative government in the English-speaking world was rooted in the British practice of the maximum decentralization of power, with checks and balances, and the individual's rights guaranteed by the English common law, which was a reflection of the traditional Christian view of the uniqueness and value of every individual.

But now we have become perverted by the highly regimented party system to the point where voters are told that they have given the go-ahead to the successful party to impose unwanted policies. When frustrated voters reluctantly say they are voting for the least of a number of evils or do not vote at all, they are helping to tighten further the shackles of tyranny. Putting a mark on a piece of paper does not ensure democracy. People of Lithuania and of the Soviet Union vote, but that does not mean they are able to control their rulers.

The traditional system of representative democracy has broken down. Centralized government bureaucracies wielding power through their own regulations undermine responsible government. We have ended up with an elected dictatorship, elections, polls and panels notwithstanding.

I shall attempt to deal briefly with each of the questions for discussion.

1. "What are the values we share as Canadians?" We cherish our heritage of freedom drawn up by the Fathers of Confederation in 1867.

We take pride in being able to welcome people of diverse origins and languages, given that we can encourage them to learn English and become self-sufficient as soon as possible and also to maintain their culture and language and religion, but in their own associations and at their own expense.


We have the privilege of developing and protecting our beautiful and diverse environment and resources, even though we must now fight against government intrusion into private property rights, either by omitting them from the despicable Charter of Rights and Freedoms or by plundering them through agencies such as the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

Can we build bridges between our views as Ontario residents and those of other regions? Yes, except for Quebec. I shall address this later. Do we pay too little attention to what we have in common? Yes, especially to our heritage of freedom that we had under the British North America Act and the common law.

The Fathers of Confederation, meeting in 1867, stated clearly that they wanted to be federally united with a Constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom, not a written Constitution. Under the British North America Act, every citizen is free to do anything that is not prohibited by the ordinary law of the land, the common law, which was an evolving framework of social order, and everyone, high or low, was subject to it. Individual freedom was an inherent right.

Now, under Pierre Trudeau's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, modelled after the written constitution of France, individual freedom is considered not an inherent right but a privilege conferred upon citizens by the state. We have slipped from having freedom as our birthright to having it conferred by the state, which may therefore impose limitations on our freedom or withdraw it altogether. In the English system, Parliament was supreme; now, under the French system, the written charter is controlled by unelected judges.

We have deteriorated from a society that once was composed of law-abiding people taking personal responsibility for their actions to a collection of people taught that we have charter rights to claim against others. We have slipped from a people ruled by an elected Parliament to a country ruled by appointed judges. Thus we have moved from the English system of having government power reside in the people, to the French model in which power and our cultural choices are exercised and controlled by elites, people not elected.

There are clear indications of the contempt that the Ottawa-Hull and Toronto governments have for the widely expressed desire of citizens. Some examples:

Open-door immigration at the same time as widespread recession, unemployment and the destruction of our native-born citizens at the rate in Canada of over 200 a day by abortion;

Abolishing and refusing to reinstate capital punishment for the crime of premeditated murder;

Continuing application of the ridiculous Young Offenders Act in spite of the epidemic of robberies and armed plundering by youth gangs in places like Toronto;

Financing United Nations projects, including dishing out our tax dollars to various Third World Marxists, dictators and terrorists;

Imposing compulsory bilingualism in every province at great cost to the taxpayers and with very unfair treatment of those who are not fluent in French -- for example, this discussion booklet, published by our Ontario government for a population of which fewer than 1% of the French citizens cannot speak English; you could mail the English portion for 86 cents, but the whole book would cost $1.38 to mail, including GST;

Imposing unwanted measures in contempt of the wishes of the majority of the people: immigration powers to Quebec, GST, removal of government offices to "punish" places like Sault Ste Marie that chose to declare themselves English only, when even the French Canadian mayor of Petrolia declared, and I heard him personally, on TV, "Why should we go to the expense of publishing things in a language that we are not using?";

Manipulation of education for political and social change, excluding British history, grammar, phonetics and spelling to a great extent, while promoting a secular humanist philosophy including sexual perversion under the guise of fighting AIDS.

2. "How can we secure our future in the international economy?" That is the next question asked. We should withdraw from the United Nations, honour our friends and pay off our huge international debts. The day that the new United States of Europe dictates our policies, we are finished as an independent state.

We have unrealistically high economic goals, considering our provincial and national debt and our small population. Our goods and services in some industries have been priced beyond what the world market will bear.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land in Ontario are idle. Farmers have been unable to obtain capital at sensible interest rates, property rights are being invaded and control of food production is heading for control by corporations and government. What is the answer? Stop spending money on programs foisted on the people, such as bilingualism, metrification, park land schemes and needless bureaucracies. Devote the money saved to funding at reasonable rates on long-term loans for small industry and farming.

3. "What roles should the federal and provincial governments play?" There are matters such as defence, immigration, international affairs and the payment of its debt to foreigners that should be handled by the federal government.

Among the things that provincial governments can handle are education, health and social assistance. Tax dollars for education should follow children to the school of the parents' choice. Payments for health and social assistance should be made only to those who can prove need.

By restructuring provincial boundaries, the territories could be allotted to the provinces. Postal service would operate better in private hands, and the reduced federal jurisdiction and responsibility would lower its share of taxes.

4. "How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples?" There is no quick solution. I conferred this week with a Blackfoot friend, Gayesdweena Bitoch-Guyou-Samee, and he pointed out that the problem started when the defeated native peoples were not absorbed, given full citizen rights and privileges and expected to be responsible. Special rights of property and tax-free status should not have been granted.

As things stand, we should proceed to wipe out the crippling and unfair reservation system. A very few aboriginals, who have become wealthy at the expense of their own people, would be very angry, but that would pass. From then on, we should honour and respect them as we would any other Canadian.

5. "What are the roles of the English and French languages in Canada?" The present Official Languages Act is costly and unnecessary and destructive of the purposes intended for us by the Fathers of Confederation in 1867. Callers to government departments are answered by bilingual receptionists and often in French first. This discussion booklet was printed in both languages for use across Ontario. Copies in French could have been provided for those who required them. This is an example of how money could be saved.

Abolish Bill 8. The Swiss example would be helpful. This is very interesting for us. In 1874, they were at an impasse as bad as ours, or worse. German, French and Italian groups were vying for first place. By common consent, they set up a constitutional system which gives the people freedom to initiate legislation, to veto undesired proposed legislation by referendum and to recall an MP who is not performing satisfactorily. Let's try it.

6. "What is Quebec's future in Canada?" The majority of the people in Quebec want French only. They now control their own immigration, have their own legal code, their own pension plan and levy their own income tax. They are in effect a separate nation already, except for the English-speaking minority, which has been ignored. Let Quebec become a separate nation, with no farewell party, no concessions, no hard feelings. The sooner it happens, the better.

7. "What is the place of the west, the north and the Atlantic region?" There should be full co-operation among all regions, with special favours to none.

8. "What does Ontario want?" Your paper says that we are getting more numerous. Good. We need more people. We are an empty land compared with the Netherlands or Israel. Stop abortion, restrict the federal government to its proper roles, reward the producers of food and basic needs, restore property rights and respect them -- then watch Ontario grow.

Since a lot of our population is in cities, a bigger share of revenues should go to city governments and less for things like Peterson's permanent $61,000 pension and the implementation of his infamous Bill 8.

It is not encouraging to see on page 23 of the discussion paper that the time is short; that is, for the study. It is encouraging to see that your government understands that solutions to our problems cannot be left to politicians alone. Note that we do not want decisions made by non-elected bureaucrats and judges.

Move to promote the election of senators, the same number for every province. Demand that judges be elected, not appointed. We want to see an end to policies that demonstrate that all languages and people are to be treated equally, except French. Most people of French descent in Ontario speak English and are willing to be part of a representative democracy. It is the politicians, particularly those who depend on Quebec for power, who have created most of our problems in the matters of language and special privileges for French, not the French people themselves. And please remind Mr. Rae that we do want a referendum on all major proposed policies and changes.

Thank you for your time.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. I can appreciate your attempt to be brief.



The Chair: We will move on. Harry Richardson. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Richardson: Mr Chairman, members of the panel, I think really we could all spend a lot more time with the previous speaker exploring some of the ideas that he offered. I am going to be much briefer. The main point of my presentation is that in looking at Ontario, as I think the mandate of this group was, my view is that you cannot separate Ontario from the rest of Canada or you cannot put it into pockets and deal with it that way.

You will find in looking at the material that I have to present to you that I have looked at it in a totality, and beginning with that, it is my view that we have too much government. Given a population of 26 million people, roughly the same population as the state of California, we have villages, towns, municipalities, counties, regional governments, provincial governments, federal of course, all with committees. When you consider what it costs us in Canada to maintain government, I think that for the size of our population, we should certainly reconsider the whole structure.

I was reading in a magazine that a Conservative MP from Quebec, Pierrette Venne, came up with a suggestion of five, in her language, autonomous regions. I am not so sure that we would want to necessarily head for the same kind of autonomy. But looking at boundaries and considering that geographically Canada, even as late as 1949, had a change in boundaries and that over the course of the 100 years that we are looking back, the 100 or so years in our history, our boundaries have been changing constantly, I think if we take a look at it from a geographic standpoint, it would be reasonable to assume that British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with a combined population of roughly seven million, would make one geographic unit. If you take a look at Ontario, with about eight million people, again you have got a geographic unit. You have got a geographic unit in Quebec of about six million people, and the Maritimes, of course, would need to be considered as one unit of slightly over two million.

But given that, we have got an estrangement in the country. We have got westerners saying that the easterners are getting the best advantage. We have got people from the Maritimes who say that they do not feel right about Confederation. So I think, in looking at government stretched across the country and where we have been trying to please sections of the country through government, that if we put it together in larger groups, we could, one, bring the cost down and, two, give a much better representation on the country as a whole.

I would not want to overlook the Northwest Territories, Keewatin and so on. Perhaps if the boundaries, the 60th parallel -- there is nothing sacred that I am aware of about that geographic area -- if the Northwest Territories' boundaries were brought down a little further into southern Canada, maybe they would feel more at home as well.

In looking at the cost of government -- I have got as a second item in there a thought of mine; I was not prepared to make a presentation to a group like this on television -- I had a thought that we spend about six months of the year, I understand, earning an income so that we can pay our taxes. And banged on the first point that we have got too much government, maybe that is why the taxes are high. But if we could cut that cost by even 10%, that is, about 18 days' salary, it puts a lot more spending money back in an individual's pockets.

Just as an example of that, when you think of the 10 governments that we have, I ask you seriously, do we really need 10 Lieutenant Governors plus a Governor General? Do they have a function in the 21st century that we are heading into, when communication and transportation are far different than they were when our boundaries were drawn up?

Looking at a form of government, again this was national:

1. Two Houses, Commons and Senate, both elected.

2. Elected members, responsible to their ridings, could be removed under certain circumstances. I believe the previous speaker alluded to that type of a point.

3. Referendum required on matters that substantially alter the status quo.

4. Regional meetings mandatory with elected representatives, town hall type, something along this order where it is a dialogue both ways. I assume that your function tonight is to listen. Hopefully, if this idea were to generate further, it would be a two-way means of communication so that the electorate would have a much more informed basis on which to decide and to help government decide on issues.

5. Develop means whereby the public become participants in government. The Swiss style here might be a reasonable model, and of course the federal government would represent in all international affairs.

6. Internally -- and I have not taken them as exhaustive at all -- but it seems to me in looking at Canada, we have 10 different education systems that produce 10 different results. We are coming into an area where we are highly technical, highly competitive, yet our education systems across the country are not giving us this kind of results. I would suggest that this be put under one administrative group to produce the kind of results that a growing and industrial country such as Canada needs.

The same thing in health: whether it can be argued as a provincial right or not, I think we as Canadians look at it as a Canadian right, put it strongly in the vestige of a national government. Family benefits is another example, and taxation, under one system. It is a shame to me that some provinces have sales taxes as high as 12%, plus this goods and services business bringing their cost seen at the counter of goods as high as that, whereas other provinces have had no sales tax and govern on a much different basis. I think we need to look at much more equity that way.

Looking lastly at Quebec, this question has been with us for decades. It is not likely to go away easily, as long as the political balance of power appears to rest with the province of Quebec. The province, as we all know, does not represent a majority of the national population or wealth, and things of that sort. It is one geographical location interdependent on the rest of Canada for its present state. Should the people of that province, for any reason or by any means, decide on independence, secession or whatever, it should be understood beforehand that such separation would be total.

Some thoughts to ponder here are that: they create their own monetary system; they assume for repayment a portion of the national debt; their boundaries be as they were in 1867; all interprovincial agreements be renegotiated -- that would give Newfoundland another whack at the power deal that they felt quite badly about; all loans, grants, etc, outstanding to business, government of the old province, be called; and the French-speaking people outside of the new country enjoy the rights of the English-speaking majority.

These are some of the kinds of things that I think we need to get up front and say: "If you decide that you are going to leave this country, which has been good to you, you should know that there are some conditions attached to it. It isn't simply a matter of walking out the door with all of the goods and whatever you had accumulated in the meantime."

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent of my brief to you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Richardson.


The Chair: I call Greg Cooper next, on behalf of the Owen Sound and District Labour Council.

Mr Cooper: Mr Chairman, members of the panel, my name is Greg Cooper and I am president of the Owen Sound and District Labour Council. I want to thank you for this opportunity to speak with you on this constitutional crisis that we face, while we have had to stand by helplessly while our future and that of our children is being sold out from under us, with job loss to free trade, the use of our troops against our own people in Oka and the first-ever made-in-Canada recession.

The problems we face in this country run much deeper than the failure of Meech Lake. Our problems are complex, and another attempt at the Constitution that only addresses part of the problem will leave our nation divided. We need a Constitution that protects all of our basic rights. It must make our country strong and, above all, economically independent. We must control our own economy to be strong: educational equality, equality for women, equality for our first nations, equality of basic affordable health care, equality in our tax system.

Further, where does our constitutional right to be gainfully employed lie? Canadians who are less fortunate should be able to live above the poverty line in dignity. All of these rights should be the most basic under the Constitution as well as educational rights. We are seeing the trickle-down effect of years of irresponsible government which does not keep the people's best interests at heart. Our social programs, once the envy of the world, have undergone drastic cuts. Now less fortunate Canadians must live below the poverty line, and some are without the basic shelter they and their families need.


All this before the cost of the Gulf war is assessed. How many more cuts do we face? Our Prime Minister talked of rebuilding the Middle East after the war. I bring to you a message in the strongest possible manner that it is Canada and the pride and morale of our working people that needs to be rebuilt. This cannot be done by selling our jobs to Mexico for $3.28 a day.

In Canada our workers have to buy their jobs with government grants and subsidies paid for by our own tax dollars. How ironic to see these jobs cross the border, laughing all the way. Canadian workers and their families should have the constitutional right to be employed gainfully. If our jobs are protected, then our economy and our future is safe. If jobs are lost, then we should have the right to retraining. Where is the training we were promised in the trade deal? We must have the constitutional right to have labour with equal representation on the boards that allocate the retraining funds, and not one cent of this money should go anywhere except to displaced workers and their families. They all should get equal treatment regardless of age group.

Do not ever confuse these presentations with consultation; they are not. Consultation can only come with equal representation at the decision-making process. Where is our right to a national health and safety policy for the Canadian workplace? Canadian workers are still exposed to unsafe conditions, and in the fight to keep our jobs safe from an unfair trade deal, we will see conditions get worse. All this in the name of competition and production. Where also is our right to fair compensation for workplace accidents?

The problem of poverty in this country should sicken us all. It is one thing to say that you know their plight, but it is another to show the leadership and foresight to build a Constitution that ensures their dignity. It must ensure that our less fortunates and their families can live in dignity and not in the streets. It must help them to become productive members of the workforce. These people, through no fault of their own, are down on their luck.

Women's rights too must be addressed. If the new Constitution is to be considered complete, women must be treated with equality. They are valuable, productive people of our community.

First nation rights must be in the new Constitution. To further ignore their needs is one of the biggest oversights this country has ever seen. We must settle outstanding land claims swiftly and fairly, seeing that our nation within a nation is treated again with dignity, not with the contempt showed by the Quebec and Canadian governments. The solution of force does not solve the problem.

All Canadians should have the constitutional right to good, affordable health care. Transfer payments being cut by the federal government worsens an underfunded system. We must never let our system fall to one equal to a US system, where only the well-off get health care. Our senior citizens and our children must be protected.

The basic right to an equal education system should be in the new Constitution. Making this commitment to our children secures our future for generations to come. Again, we have seen transfer payments cut, hurting our educational system and our youth.

Our Constitution should secure our environment. Why do we have to phase in controls with vague and indistinct legislation such as the green paper? It must be an economic right to have a clean environment.

Finally, we need a constitutional right to a fair tax system. The current system treats us, the working people, the same as the wealthy. This kind of equality is not what this country needs. We need to generate more revenue from sources that can afford it. As the government policies force unemployment through the roof, who will pay the taxes then? A new and fair tax system with no GST should be a constitutional right.

In conclusion, let me say that my theme has obviously been dignity and quality of life. Equality does not build pedestals; it tears them down. Let me again caution you, do not confuse these presentations with consultation; they are not. Consultation can only come through equal representation. A complete Constitution will ensure our economy and our future. Meech Lake failed because it was incomplete. We must not let this country be hijacked or held for ransom. We must build a Constitution that works and keeps Canadians working. Then, with glowing hearts, we will see a true north strong and free.

Thank you for your time.

Mr Offer: Mr Cooper, thank you very much for your presentation. You have comprehensively gone through and listed a number of not only values but issues, and how they can be addressed. I think this type of presentation will be very helpful to the committee in our deliberation as we move into our second stage. So, first, I thank you for that.

On the basis of your presentation, so much of it was directed, if I might say, on an economic bent. If you could briefly maybe share with the committee some of the economic conditions in this area, I think that would be helpful to us. You might be able to share some of your views and thoughts on what is happening in Collingwood at this time.

Mr Cooper: You do not have to look any farther than Collingwood to see the effects of free trade. No matter how much employers choose to deny it, there is no denying the fact that when Harding Carpets first moved out -- it was a profitable organization that made money here for years -- they moved somewhere where they thought they could make more. It was not the case of losing money in Collingwood. I think the same can be said for almost all companies that are closing down with a marginal few exceptions.

We are seeing the same effects now in Owen Sound and all around this district. My personal plant is closing down. They will not admit it. They have got everybody on temporary layoffs right now. Unfortunately, that is not against the law. He can do that; however, we all know what his outright intentions are. Certainly it is ironic that this committee would meet in Collingwood with as many problems as Collingwood has. The attention that is being given to Collingwood right now is well deserved.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much for sharing that with us, and once more thank you for your presentation, and certainly your views on the impact that you say the free trade agreement has had on this particular area.

Mr Harnick: I would like to reiterate what Mr Offer said. Your brief contained all or certainly many of the elements that should be in a new Constitution. You referred throughout your brief to standards of health care, standards of education and standards of quality of life. What I would like to know is, in the new Constitution that you would like to see, who would be responsible for setting those standards, and should those standards be set in a way that would provide equality from one province to another?

Mr Cooper: Exactly. When we are dealing with a Constitution, of course, we are dealing with the basic Charter of Rights and Freedoms that all Canadians should enjoy equally. I think we can stress that, especially since through the economic system that we now have, the educational rights of our first nation peoples are not being completely recognized. They are not having the equal right to opportunity to education at a post-secondary level that others do. As well as other economically depressed provinces, I think this would help bring them to a standard. As I said, the new Constitution should not build pedestals for anyone; it should take the pedestals that now exist and knock them down.

Mr Harnick: Are you saying you believe that the federal government, the central government, should be setting those standards?

Mr Cooper: Unless we want 10 different constitutions in Canada, I would say that would have to be the way it is.

Mr Waters: In your brief you talked quite a bit about the economic impact on the area and how you felt it is affecting that. Most of the groups that have talked to us have talked about basically changing the boundaries in Canada and whether Quebec should stay in or go. I was wondering if you had any feelings on that.

Mr Cooper: I try not to have feelings about whether Quebec should go or stay because I do not think I would like to get involved in Quebec-bashing. I would like to see Canada remain strong. I would like to see all Canadians treated equally. I would like to see the pedestals that now exist, and certainly Meech Lake was a pedestal. Let's just say I did not lose any sleep over its failure.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Cooper. I think that is the end of the questions we have. Thank you very much for your presentation.



The Chair: Dave Kilpatrick and Debbie Kilpatrick.

Mrs Kilpatrick: Because we are short of time I will go through my brief, because it is basically expressing the feelings of both of us.

I would like, first of all, to thank the committee and the Chairman for allowing us this time. Because we did not receive any information on this, I just did this in a topic-issue thing, in no particular order of importance.

On Quebec issues: Quebec is a distinct society. We have no argument with this. Quebec, however, is a province in Canada and they deserve no rights or powers over any other province -- special rights, that is. It is time to stop catering to and spending on one minority. Even after years of the governments' efforts, they still do not want to be part of Canada. We feel Quebec should not be allowed to tear this country apart. If Quebec does not want the role of a working province, then maybe we should look at east coast provinces annexing them. This could possibly bring greater prosperity to a region of Canada that relies heavily on unemployment insurance and welfare benefits.

Time and time again, our government shows no direction or leadership concerning the language issue. Provinces, regions and citizens of Canada are forced at a great expense to this country to accept French as an official language, while at the same time, Quebec is allowed to freely prohibit and restrict the usage of our other official language, English. It may work better if Canadians could vote on this same issue at federal and provincial levels, as well as at regional levels. Only in this way do we believe that the French language will be accepted by all Canadians. Making French an option in our schools exemplifies the right of choice in this issue.

The issue of free trade: We believe Canadians should have been allowed to vote on this issue. This was something of great importance to every single Canadian citizen and for Canada as a country. Our Prime Minister took our rights away and forced free trade through. Those who benefited most were large companies to make larger profits. For the hardships he has caused to the Canadian people and the destruction of our country in his uncaring manner of handling of the free trade agreement, Prime Minister Mulroney should be asked to resign.

The issue of goods and services tax: This extra strain on Canadian purses should be collected and paid directly to the deficit. There should be no rebates to anyone and there should be no exemptions to anyone except low-income Canadians. When this debt is paid, then this unfair tax should be eliminated.

Native issues: Oka and the situation in Iraq prove once more the mismanagement of our government. How can they justify sending our young men and women to war in Iraq to defend the borders and rights of those, because negotiations seemingly failed, while in Oka just this past summer our native Canadians who had been negotiating for their land claims and rights had the army turned upon them? They were called criminals for defending what they believed in. We support our troops 100% for what they are doing in the Gulf and feel very proud of them. At the same time, we feel ashamed for the mistreatment and neglect given to our founding people.

We believe it is time to let an independent handle these claims. It is obvious that as long as it is left to the government it will never be completely or fairly settled. Until then, Canadians will bear this shame.

Government responsibility: Our government has a responsibility to represent and to protect each and every Canadian. During Meech Lake, our elected Prime Minister chose not to do this. He also chose tactics that were criminal; any ordinary citizen doing the same thing would have been charged with blackmail. Though his actions on this matter were disgusting, some good did come from this. We learned that there is a chance that there are politicians in Canada who really care what Canadians think. Clyde Wells left us that glimmer of hope. He stood up, under the most degrading pressure put upon one man, in front of a whole nation and fought for what he thought the majority of Canadians believed in too.

As for other politicians who mislead Canadians, mismanage Canadian tax dollars, who are found to be corrupt and deceitful, they must be accountable for their actions. It is not enough to merely have them resign.

Our Prime Minister is guilty of causing a division between our people that may take generations to heal. He has taken it upon himself to ignore the wishes of the majority of Canadians on every important issue in this country. His decisions have had and will have a negative effect on Canadians and the future of this country for generations. We feel Mr Mulroney has sold the Canadians and our country and will continue to do so as long as he is in power. He shows no remorse in destroying a country that was so prosperous and had such a wonderful future. For these reasons, which we see as crimes against Canada, we believe Mr Mulroney should be charged with treason.

My final remarks: We as Canadians, who have always been proud to say so, now feel ashamed. We have lost all faith and all hope of any future for our children. We feel fear and frustration because we see our country disintegrating before our eyes and feel helpless to stop what is happening. We feel government has been bought and paid for by big businesses. They do not carry the burden of heavy taxes, and now those savings are buying jobs for the Americans and possibly the Mexican people.

There is something terribly wrong when our government is allowed by virtue of its own power to continue such destruction. When our courts allow criminals to go free, when big business and unions have more power than our government and when profit-making is more important than our children's education and our country, we have a problem. Before we can mend our Constitution, it would be wise to mend our country. Thank you.

Mr Beer: I think what I really wanted was just to try to meet you and your husband as other human beings who happen at this point in time to be elected members of a provincial Legislature. I do not think anybody could listen to you without feeling a very deep sense of alienation from our democratic institutions. I think all of us who are elected have families. We come from communities, like you, which were not perfect, but somehow the goals we seek, as you would seek for yourselves, for your children, for the future of the country, are things we seek, and it is a democratic system. It is an imperfect system. Many things happen that we might not like, yet we struggle, we try to come to grips with those issues.

Without saying that I necessarily agree with every point you make, one of the things that has struck us as members of this committee is that sense of feeling cut off from what is happening, feeling cut off from having power over a lot of what is going on. We are hearing that and I hope we can, in our way, try to bring that to play on the kinds of things the Ontario government would do. I just felt it important to say that to you.


As imperfect, as I say, as our system is, I think it is critically important that people feel free to be able to come forward and to express those views and those concerns, because otherwise we ain't going to make it. As you say at the end of your presentation, I think before we can mend our Constitution it would be wise to mend our country. In a sense what we are all going through in many different parts of this country right now, in terms of committees like this and so on, is to try to listen and to find again a sense of consensus that can bring us all together from whatever region.

I leave that with you. As I say, I hope we have heard what you have said. While you may not always agree with anything governments or individual elected members do, we are trying in our own way to deal with the concerns you have raised, as intelligently and compassionately as we can.

Mrs Kilpatrick: I appreciate that you got my message, because I think you did get my message clearly. For all of Canada's sake -- besides being a mother and an owner of a small business -- I hope you can do something with the message I am trying to get through, for the sake of all of Canada.

The Chair: Mr Kilpatrick, you wanted to say something?

Mr Kilpatrick: How are we doing for time?

The Chair: We are beyond the time, but if you would like to make a couple of comments --

Mr Kilpatrick: The Constitution. Everybody is talking about separation. You go to somebody's house and you are across the table. I ask them, "What do you think of the Constitution?" They say, "Let them go, let them do what they want to do," but that is wrong. Quebec is part of Canada, it should stay part of Canada. We need leadership in our government, somebody to stand up there and say, "Listen, this is the way it's going to be." Anybody else talks separation, they should be kicked out of government. Start the bells ringing by a kick in the pants.

Mrs Kilpatrick: When you talked about people being able to come forward, I would like to point out that there is something happening. With the Oka crisis, for example, I put a sign on my front yard in support of our natives, and I had family and friends who were actually afraid of what might happen to me, maybe by politicians, for doing that. Friends and family and other people we spoke with who have small businesses in our community, again, when they found out what we were going to discuss here this evening, people actually said to me, "Aren't you afraid that you might just disappear six months down the road?" More than one person in the last few days brought this fear that I would be somehow punished in one way or another. I found that rather frightening. There is something stirring underneath that people do not realize is happening in this country. I think it has something to do with government and the type of power and the way it is using it, that Canadians, in a country like this, are actually afraid to give their honest opinion on something.

The Chair: I think it should trouble all of us that those feelings exist.

Mrs Kilpatrick: I would hope so.

The Chair: If there is one thing we have sensed and heard very clearly in the different places we have been in the last two weeks it is that there is a real cry for more serious ways to involve the general public, the people of the province, in the whole decision-making process, and that there is a great deal of cynicism and scepticism about the political process. We are hearing very clearly that we need to try to do something about it.

Mrs Kilpatrick: I think that is the only way our country is going to work, if we all work together -- citizens, big business, small business, just everybody as a people. But it is frightening if people are going to be afraid to come forward and try to do that. Maybe this panel could, six months down the road, check back and make sure there were no repercussions for anybody who sat before this committee. I find it rather frightening that in just a little area, of a few friends and business people I spoke with in the last few days, this came up so many times; and six months ago, when I put a sign on my front yard, I had the same reaction, "Aren't you afraid of doing this?" I find that frightening.

Mr Beer: Do not ever be afraid to speak your mind.

Mrs Kilpatrick: I am not.

Mr Beer: Clearly.

Mrs Kilpatrick: That is what is so wonderful about Canada. that we still are hopefully a free nation and never have to be afraid, but I find it frightening that other Canadians do not feel that way, and I wonder why.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call Norman Seabrook.

Mr Seabrook: I will be very brief. I did not have any opportunity to study your material; I did not realize this opportunity would be open to me until yesterday forenoon. So I apologize for my script and my very brief presentation, but I hope that by being brief the points I make will be better received. I do not intend to get into any lengthy detail on anything, but there are a few key issues that I feel are very important, certainly to me, and I will touch on those. I think I will just read my brief and maybe elaborate a little at the end.

I wish to express my appreciation for this opportunity to present my thoughts and concerns on the role Ontario should play in formulating Canada's future. Being the home of Canada's largest English-speaking population, it is proper that this province represent that majority. The language issue has been and still is a significant factor in this country. Attempts to force bilingual status on Canadians citizens has not worked, nor will it work. The universal working language today is English. One language unites, two divide.

The working language in Canada must be English. It is a serious affront to our native people to even consider French and English to be founding languages. A second language of choice is commendable and most desirable. I feel certain that if a referendum were held across this land my views would be supported by a good, large majority.

I greatly admire Quebec's efforts to control its own destiny. In general, they are correct in believing that a strong regional autonomy is the best base on which to build a country. The obvious variations in the Canadian regions make necessary strong regional governments, knowledgeable and akin to regional problems and requirements.


Federal co-ordination, federal standards, federal regulation on interprovincial matters are primarily the areas that should be handled by the government of Canada. In order to knit this great country together, some of these areas of federal jurisdiction could be defence, standards for education, interprovincial transportation, communication concerns and there are others. I emphasize standards. I do not believe that the federal government should mess around in education, nor the provincial governments. I feel as the first speaker said that per pupil support should be given to the school of their choice, but a standard should be there, a universal standard across the country.

The most important consideration would be the development of a fair system of taxation, having the interest of Canadians as a base rather than the existing competition by all political levels in this extortion process.

Special status for individuals or provinces must not be considered. A spoiled child can never be persuaded to be part of the family by catering to his temperamental whims. Strong regional autonomy is the proper base for future development of a viable nation of such diverse wealth.

As a private citizen of Ontario and Canada, I have grave concerns about the omission of property rights legislation at the federal level. This would encourage pride of ownership and it would discourage oppressive land use regulations and controls. It is imperative that any constitutional update include a property rights clause.

We as Canadian citizens find ourselves overtaxed, overgoverned, unduly burdened with expensive bureaucratic regulations and controls, harassed and completely discouraged by inept governments. It should be obvious that some reasonable changes be made to the existing system.

I suggest a serious look at the so-called Swiss system. The initiative referendum and recall should be considered for inclusion in the constitutional reform or update. This system reactivates democracy as we would wish it to be. Politicians and bureaucrats become accountable and major concerns would be decided by referendum. Sanity could return to a troubled nation.

The foregoing submission results from a lifetime of community participation coupled with observations of events in Canada over the past six decades. We are at a crossroads now. We can turn things around, can proceed in a desirable direction, or we may blow it.

Democracy is not a very good system, but it is the best thus far invented. Decisions for our future must be derived from grass-roots ideas and aspirations and considerations. A nation cannot be built by politicians exercising political power to their own ends at the expense of the people. And I suggest that is what is going on at the present time and has been for some time. We have Quebec playing games and we have the rest of the provinces catering to them for votes and political hanky-panky that you would not believe, and you wonder why the people become discouraged.

I thank you sincerely for this opportunity to make this personal contribution. I simply request your consideration of this input in your deliberations. Our future may well depend on you.

I have listed some of my activities at the bottom of the page. I do not intend to read them except to mention one fact, that in the past 10 years I have worked across this country in western Canada and throughout Ontario, and the grass-roots feeling is pretty much as I have described it to you. I do not think I am telling you anything that the rest of the people in this country would not tell you unless it is in Quebec and I even have reservations there. I feel the politicians are calling the shots and making the noise and the people are again left to suffer.

Ms Churley: Thank you for your presentation. I guess what you are saying, as a lot of people have said, is that you believe in majority rule and that therefore the minorities, particularly if you have a referendum on French language rights, will be ruled out. The English majority would rule the day. My concern is that I believe governments are elected to protect minorities as well.

The other thing I want to say, which I find interesting, is that I want to very briefly tell you about my election. I did a very unusual thing. I won every poll, literally every poll in my riding. The thing I did was to be very upfront and honest with people. I am a feminist and that is not always popular. I made it very clear to people that I do not tolerate intolerance, that I care about minority rights and care about equality for all. I am an environmentalist and some of my positions may not always he popular.

But I was very upfront with people and I won every poll, and that says something to me about why this New Democratic Party was elected. I do not think many of our stands would be agreed with by all. Surely you know about the NDP position on French language rights from before and what our Premier said. Yet I find it interesting that we have been very upfront as candidates and as a government, I believe. Certainly I believe our party does not represent, I have to say in particular, many of the views that people hold and that we heard today, yet people knew that and they voted for us.

Now I know in this particular riding, not so. But I am just wondering if you think this is a part of why people voted for me and why I won every poll and why other people voted for the New Democrats, that part of what they want at the very least is honesty and to know what the party they elect represents.

Mr Seabrook: I do not think the answer I will give you is the one you would like to hear. I believe that the people who voted for you were so damned sick of this charade they had had that they were welcoming you to the seat of government, and I am right with them. I hope that you in particular follow through on your proposals for social justice.

You spoke of the minority being put upon, if you will. There are many ways the minority can be put upon, and I think the referendum and recall idea protects the minority as well as the majority.

Let's take a look at Meech Lake. It should have gone to a referendum. Let's take a look at the GST. It should have gone to a referendum. All these problems which have further divided and have cost millions of dollars could have been avoided if a proper system of democratic government had been followed.

The Swiss system has worked well for 100 years. Surely to goodness we have enough brains in this country to look at something that works and give it a shot. I think any political party that will come out with that platform will be the next government of Canada. I honestly believe that. I hope they are. I do not care what party it is.

Mr Offer: Mr Seabrook, in your presentation you spoke of not only the use of referendums but also the whole issue of one language. I was just wondering if you would like to share with us, when you go back into the history of the country, you recognize that there were the native people, you recognize that there were French- and English-speaking people, you recognize that since then there has been a great multicultural fabric placed across the country.

As a result there are not only a great many generations of English-speaking people in this province but also many generations of French-speaking people in this province. Do you not think that apart from a referendum there is an obligation, if not a responsibility, if not a rightness on a provincial government to say that this is what this country is and that this is what this province is, and that we have a right, duty and obligation in a very real sense to make certain that this is protected?


Mr Seabrook: I see no reason why there should be two official languages in this country. I have no objections to Quebec speaking French, but I think they should also be taught English. After all, the shoe has been on the other foot for a long, long time. They have been trying to ram French down the rest of this country when the majority of the people in the country are English-speaking. Let them speak French if they will; they have that right and choice.

I think of England, Wales, Scotland and a lot of countries I have visited where their culture is still there and their language is still there, but there is no law that says, "Thou shalt speak two languages." It is totally unnecessary. It is divisive. It has done more to divide this country than if they had simply said we are going to teach English in all schools and a second language of choice.

If they want to use French in Quebec, let them use it. If they want to use Italian in Toronto, that is fine; they do anyway. It will not be lost. It is not lost in Wales. It is not lost in Scotland. Gaelic is still there.

This is nonsense. It is another catering to the spoiled child as far as I am concerned. I am sorry if I seem prejudiced; I am not.


The Chair: Ernest Moreau, come on up.

Mr Moreau: Whatever would drag a man out of his house on a night like this to drive 40 miles when he could be home with his kids watching Cosby? Simply a love of my country and a concern for its survival.

Now I will play my cards face up so that we will know where I am coming from. I am a French Canadian and very proud of it, although I was raised in English. I am the grandson of a Quebecker. I am married to the daughter of a Quebecker. My wife's mother tongue is French. She lived and worked in Quebec for several years. My daughters are being educated in the French language, and for good measure I am a passionate, lifelong fan of the Montreal Canadiens. So there is no way I can be neutral when my country is in danger of being torn apart.

We are going through a crisis right now, perhaps the greatest since Confederation. But as the ancient Chinese told us, "Crisis contains two elements: one is danger and the other is opportunity." We are all conscious of the danger, but let's focus tonight on the opportunity, the chance to rebuild this country, to give it a new birth, to make it an even better nation than it has been in the past.

In order to do that we need a framework, some kind of a reference point. What I use more than anything when I think about the country is family life. I am the father of three kids myself and happily married, and the ideal model for how this country should work is marriage and fatherhood and motherhood. I would like to use marriage as a metaphor for nationhood. English Canada is the husband and father; French Canada is the mother and wife. Now that will probably offend some of my macho French Canadian friends, but I cannot help that.

The reason I give them those two roles is the larger population in English Canada which for me is the symbolic equivalent of the man's advantage in physical strength. It does not imply in any way that English Canada should rule over French Canada or lord it over it by the weight of numbers, any more than a man should lord it over his wife through physical brutality. What is needed in both cases is mutual respect and co-operation.

This couple has been together for going on 125 years now, and there are 10 children. For good measure, there are a couple of nephews up in the attic who may eventually be adopted, but we will leave that for another time. As it happens in the human family, the kids resemble the parents to a greater or a lesser degree. I think what confuses the issue for a lot of us is that the eldest daughter bears such a striking resemblance to the mother that people often equate the two. People use the term French Canada and the term Quebec interchangeably, and that leads to a lot of the muddle we are in and a lot of the confusion.

You can see the basis of the misunderstanding. The fact that French Canada is concentrated so heavily in the one province leads to the easy assumption that they are one and the same. But French Canada is spread out in some measure from sea to sea, and English Canada has an important foothold in Quebec. To ignore those facts is to make orphans out of the anglophones in Quebec and the francophones in the rest of the nation, and that is unacceptable.

What we should also remember is that even if Quebec were as purely French and the rest of the country as purely English as people sometimes picture it to be, the Quebec people would still be speaking through two levels of government. And that is the other important point. It would be speaking through the National Assembly and through the federal Parliament. And the federal Parliament is and must remain senior to the National Assembly. In other words, the mother must remain senior to the child.

What we are seeing now, a lot of the voices out of Quebec are coming from the National Assembly. They came last year at Meech Lake, they came the other day in the Allaire report, and they will come soon in the Bélanger-Campeau commission. And they can all be characterized in one way. I would not want to use the term "spoiled child," the way Mr Seabrook did, but a child of a certain age feeling a little restless in the family home, feeling the need for more space, more decision-making power. Up to a point, that is quite well and good. Those of us who have raised teenagers know that at a certain point you have to give them a longer leash and a later curfew and a little more liberty than their younger brothers and sisters. Quebec, after all, is, along with Ontario, the oldest child in the union.

But as we also know if we have raised teenagers, there is a point at which you have to call a halt. The parental authority in the family or in the country has to call a halt at the point where the child is trying to have the comfort and the security of the family home but trying also to have complete and untrammelled liberty of movement. There are people foolish enough to grant that to teenagers, but I am not one of them, and the parental authority in this country should not do the same.

At a certain point, if the child needs that kind of liberty there is only one place to get it, and that is by establishing his or her own home. I do not want to see that happen, and the reason I do not want that to happen is because in the human family when a child leaves home it can be a bittersweet occasion: sweet because of the pride and the sense of achievement, but bitter because of the passage of time and the loss to the family. But when a child leaves the human family he or she does not usually take the mother along, and there is no way for the province of Quebec to leave Canada without taking French Canada almost entirely with her. So what we would be confronting is not only a child leaving home, which could be a good thing, but also a divorce, which is never good.

What is Ontario's role in all this? That is the mandate of this commission. As the oldest son of the marriage, Ontario has to walk a very delicate tightrope. We might be tempted, having the same degree of seniority as Quebec, to go for whatever level of liberty and autonomy it is seeking, and we would thereby co-operate in the dismantling of the family home and the divorce of the parents.


So, yeah, we are interested in getting some more powers for Ontario if we can within the legitimate framework of the country, but we have to play the role we always have played in this province, which is a strong defender of the parental authority in the country, a strong defender, that is, of the federal government. And we can do this in a tactful way, in a way not to offend Quebec's sensibilities, but we have to do it very firmly as well.

I do not want to get into the specifics. We are going to be hearing enough of that over the next few months. I will say just in passing, though, that one power I am very sympathetic to Quebec in her ambitions of attainment is some control over immigration. Speaking as a French Canadian myself, it is really galling that some of us have been in this country for 300 or 400 years and we get somebody in the country whose passport is not even dry yet and he is trying to dictate to the people who have been here all along. That is unacceptable, and I would like to see Quebec have a greater say in immigration in order to protect her language and culture.

Some of you will be getting a little restless at this point, because you are going to be saying -- I can hear you thinking it now: "Come on, Moreau, get real. You're speaking as if this is two different sets of people. In the family, the mother and the daughter are distinct individuals. Isn't this kind of artificial and contrived, to be talking as if there are two different people in this family, because it's the same people who send representatives to Ottawa and to Quebec City."

Well, yes, but answer me this: Why did Quebec at one and the same time send Pierre Trudeau's Liberal Party and René Lévesque's Parti québecois in those two different directions if not to play a balancing act between the two governments? It is a game they have played with great skill for ages, and I say that without any rancour. I appreciate their artistry in doing it. I am reminded of two things. One is the old saying that consistency is the refuge of small minds. The other is what Yvon Deschamps used to say in his comedy act, and I think it has a great deal of truth. He used to say: "I want what most Quebeckers want. I want an independent Quebec within a strong Canada."

So, yes, the provincial and federal voices of Quebec do come from the same throats, but what we are seeing right now is the provincial voice having pretty well the field to itself. At some point the senior voices, the maternal and paternal voice, of government in this country have to have their say. There was a time when that would let us relax, because there was a time when it would have been inconceivable for any federal member of Parliament to speak against the unity of the country.

I do not want to get partisan, but Mr Mulroney's dangerous strategy of courting PQ support, of fishing in separatist waters, has put that issue in a lot more doubt than I would like to see it. Come the next election, if Lucien Bouchard does as well as some people are forecasting, it will put it in even more danger. But unless and until that happens, what we have to appreciate right now is that we are listening to the daughter speaking and we can grant her a great deal of liberty, but we cannot have her cause the divorce of the parents.

I will just wrap up by saying that we have one of the world's finest countries here, and we should give the best efforts of our hearts and our minds and our wills to the hope that our grandchildren will never have occasion to look back, shake their heads and say we blew it. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Moreau. I will allow one question from Mr Harnick.

Mr Harnick: You have provided this session with a nice balance, and I am grateful for that. I would like to ask you, as far as you are concerned, what would happen to French Canadians outside of Quebec if Quebec were to separate?

Mr Moreau: We would be orphaned.

Mr Harnick: What would happen to your language and your culture? Could it survive?

Mr Moreau: Vestiges of it would survive. This is where I took exception with Mr Seabrook. If he is content with the nominal amount of Welsh that survives now and the nominal amount of Gaelic, that is one thing, but I want a vibrant and dynamic culture to survive in this country. Realistically, I do not see any chance of that happening if Quebec were to leave. I think it would throw the balance so heavily in favour of the anglophone majority that we would be left in a rearguard action.

Mr Harnick: As a member of a Franco-Ontarian community, do you attempt to force French on people? I keep hearing that. I do not speak French, which I regret, but no one has ever attempted to force me to speak French.

Mr Moreau: I am sick to death of that term, "ram" French down -- I have never seen it rammed down anyone's throat. We have a microcosm of the country in Penetang; that is where my daughters go to school. We have a situation that calls for the skill of a Stephen Leacock to do it justice, because there are so many schools and so many different ways to go. We do occasionally see overreaching by the francophones, so that they start to act like an arrogant majority. We also see the equally unseemly spectacle of paranoia on the part of the anglophone majority. There is no more secure language in the world than English, and for anyone to feel paranoid about its survival is just ludicrous.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Moreau.


The Chair: Brian Dymond.

Mr Dymond: Hello. I need to be up here, because I have a community, my community, behind me and I would like them to be able to see what I am saying.

The Chair: Sure, whatever you prefer.

Mr Dymond: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share with the select committee today. As a member of the deaf community, we have come to speak to you. Just last week we got information that there was going to be a travelling committee on the Constitution which would include Gary. Because communication was slow, we were able at the last minute to gather a group of deaf people to come with us tonight, so we are here tonight to represent our community, which is the deaf community.

I know you have received delegations from people in Thunder Bay, North Bay and Sudbury. I have been watching intently on the parliamentary channel. It is very interesting to watch this historical debate between the francophone Ontarians and the anglophone Ontarians, and this group blaming that group and that group blaming this group. What I want to say is that we are all Ontarians, and we too are a community and we have come to speak about that. We are very proud that we have a member of our community on your committee, and that is Gary. This is historic. He is the first deaf parliamentarian in the world and he is a credit to our community and a credit to Ontario. I just wanted to say that.

As a deaf person, of course we all went to the Milton school, which is a school for the deaf in Milton, where I grew up. There is a large percentage of students in that school who are deaf, but some are mainstreamed with hearing people and we mix. We used to play and communicate well between two cultures, deaf people and hearing people. I graduated around 1989. That was in Milton. When I go back to visit, I do not see that same kind of mingling. But it is interesting to see the traditions and the values of deaf people that are preserved in the school despite the numbers. When we had our rallies last spring to wake up hearing people to accept our legitimate claims as a community, we had Gary as our leader. It is interesting that some of those students from Milton went to that rally.

We do not want to be mainstreamed because we have a very vibrant culture and language, and you can be from a different culture and you can be from a different language and still succeed. Gary is proof of that. Children who suffer under the system of oppression, we need to think about those people and where they go and what happens to them. Sports and other social and recreational activities enhance a person's wellbeing and a sense of community, and these are places where people of different cultures can come together.


Historically speaking, deaf people have been left out of a lot of these things. We have always been left on the sidelines, being told, "No, you can't do this and you can't do that." That leaves us feeling very angry. We are being discriminated against, and it leaves one feeling very depressed. Now it is time for change, and since Ontario is talking about change, we are here to talk about the kind of place where we want to be in society. We do not want to be left out. We have had enough of being on the sidelines. We feel somewhat a kinship to the native people and to the francophone community, who have been mislabelled and shoved to the sidelines for far too long. There are enough small communities in this province which make up the whole province, and you need to look at all of them.

You talk about values. What kind of values do you espouse when you leave people out? I am talking about an Ontario that includes everyone, from hearing people to deaf people to francophones to anglophones. But when you have these proceedings, how much effort did you actually make to include deaf people? And why did we have to get our information at the last minute, because Gary is there? Again, this is an example of people being left out. But we do not want that.

When it comes to our school system, we see hearing people who run the show take us, isolate us in classrooms where we cannot communicate with the other kids. You would have teachers in there who do not know how to teach us. These kinds of things have got to stop. We are very happy that Gary is with us. He is our chance, and Gary has been very active and very important to our community. He has been our lifeline to the government and to the community.

The way he grew up and the way I grew up is very similar. We have very similar sentiments. I grew up close to Hamilton. He grew up in Hamilton, so we knew each other over the years. He went to Gallaudet university; I did not. He has been very frustrated; I have been very frustrated with the system. It has been interesting how we have corresponded over the years, the similarities in experiences, all at the hands of this so-called open-minded majority. I am here to tell you that there is a problem, that our pain has been made invisible, and when you refuse to acknowledge that, it leaves us hurt and it makes us feel left out.

Please, I want you to take a look at the school system. I want you to take a look at the policies and take a look at how people are left out. If you go to these schools, you will see people being left out. If you go into some of the mainstream classes, you will see students unable to speak American sign language because there is no one in there who can do that. We have mime. We have theatre. We have language. We have beautiful parts of our language. But when you see a hearing person trying to communicate with us, just finger spelling, it is deadpan. That is not our language. I come alive and our community comes alive when we see ASL, much the same as I look at the history of Ontario, how francophones and anglophones used to compete together and have fun. The same with the deaf community.

We used to compete against hearing people. And what has happened to this good warm-heartedness of Ontario? What is with all this negative talk? Why are people doing this? It is easy to communicate with people of different cultures and languages. What is your problem? You can gesticulate. I am very fascinated with the francophone community and other Latin communities because they gesture a lot. it is wonderful. It is wonderful to see people of different cultures communicate together. The Ontario Deaf Sports Association -- I used to be vice-president of that organization, and again, I try to include people from around the province when we have interprovincial competitions we bring teams, and it was wonderful to see the competition. We elect our president and we bring our teams together and it is wonderful.

We have applied for government funding, and we got turned down. The problem is that sometimes on boards and things you do not often get along, so I have had to disappear from my involvement with that organization, but it is still my culture and it is still my home. Again, you have negative things happening. I see this happening in the broader scope in terms of Ontario and I think we have had enough of quibbling and enough squabbling.

One of the things I would like you to take a look at are the values you espouse, which include us, deaf people. I want you to take a look at the whole picture, not just some people or some communities. I want you to take a look at where we are at and the language we have, which is American sign language. I think you would be fascinated to see that.

You need to hear the legitimate grievances of native people, of francophones, of deaf people and take a look and see how people live on a day-to-day basis and see the love that is in the communities. We are human beings and we all live here. What is with the paranoia? What is with the fear of, "Oh, a francophone; oh, a deaf person"? Enough talk like that. Enough of that. Let's fight and work together and build Ontario. Let's work together. We can elect new boards of organizations, including my own within the deaf community. We can work for the better.

The old ways of thinking have had their day. It is time to move ahead, just like with our sports organization. When we have interprovincial competitions, those kinds of things bring people together. And our deaf schools -- you need to look at those and what is happening in London, the John P. Robarts School. That is another place where we have a deaf school, where they have one building sort of far off, away from the main campus, and there is a hearing school where people are being mainstreamed, and that building stands empty. This was a place of culture. So what did you waste all your money building this for? Then hearing people come and they move in and they make it a high school. Again, this is a form of cultural imperialism, of how you isolate us as deaf people and the same kind of isolation you have seen happen to other communities and other cultures.

So check. Talk to us. Talk with people. Talk to Gary. We are very proud that Gary is there. There are ways to get around the so-called problems -- sports, social engagements, those kinds of things. You do not need to worry. You take one step forward, you take two steps forward. Gary is a first step for our community and he is a good example.

There is more to happen. I would like you to respect our language and our culture and to preserve our deaf schools. I do not want to see our schools emptied and have our children mainstreamed, and with Gary's help we will be successful, as tonight he told us about this Constitution committee. We have come out, as have anglophones and francophones and native people who have made presentations. We can work together. We have to respect each other, and if you can see a native person or a deaf person or a francophone or an anglophone or anyone, we all have things to share. We all have things to contribute. Whether someone is blind or someone is in a wheelchair, it should not matter.

I remember Shauna this afternoon, around 4 or 5 o'clock, when she presented. She talked about how she works in an organization that includes lots of disabled people and she talked about the frustration that people have. She is worried about the assimilation. She is worried about the isolation that happens to people, about what happens when a parent takes a child and puts it in an environment where there is no meaningful communication, where our beautiful sign language is in the schools for the deaf and that child is left out of that.

You can imagine the families in Windsor who have to send their child far away. That is true; they do. But if they are isolated back home in a mainstream class, this is not communication. Where is the progress? You are handed an FM system and tried to be made to speak, to talk, but you are a deaf person. You use your eyes to listen. This kind of oppression has got to stop.

We need to take a look at what is happening to the citizens of this province. You need to hear us. I do not know if you will hear me, but I hope you will, and hopefully with Gary there, you can ask him his opinion. Ask us our opinion. I have brought the community here to see. I want you to see. I want you to recognize us. It is important that you see us, that you feel our presence. I want you to understand that. Save our deaf schools. Enough of the schools closing in Saskatchewan. Enough with the mainstreaming. Enough of the cultural imperialism. Enough, enough. Please, people's esteem, people's pride are at stake here.

The world is a global village. The world is getting smaller. What once was a big place has brought people together because of technology. You take a look at what used to happen. Please, use your eyes. Wake up. Take a look at the real people, okay? Do not come with a paternalistic attitude and pity us. That is not what we want. Come and look with your own eyes and look to the co-operation in the community.

I think that is all I want to say to you. Thank you, Mr Chair. I hope that you will listen to what I have to say and that we could make Ontario a better place for deaf people, francophones, the native population, everyone. And let's stop with this closed-mindedness. Open your minds and open your hearts. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Dymond. I think we hear you loud and clear. There is one quick question. Ms Churley.

Ms Churley: I just have more of a comment than a question. I have to say that if I could speak like you, I think I would be very lucky. Gary wrote to me that was an excellent dramatic presentation, and I think we would all agree on that. I think it is the best dramatic speech we have heard all day. It was incredibly good, and I thank you for it.

You communicated to us; it is almost as though you are a mime artist. It was a very tingling, sensitive presentation. I also want to say that Gary is, I think, to the deaf community and politics as Agnes Macphail is to women in politics. Gary can explain to you some day or maybe even right now who Agnes Macphail is. She is a big heroine of his. But thank you very much.

Mr Dymond: You are more than welcome.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: Our final speaker this evening is Grant Drury.

Mr Drury: That is me. I have been unemployed. As a deaf person, if you get two candidates, a hearing person and a deaf person, applying for a job, you fill out the paper. The hearing person can talk; the deaf person cannot. But you present your qualifications on paper, and guess who gets the job? They take your papers in and you wait at home, and next week with anticipation you wait. You maybe get called back and you ask about your chance, and guess who got the job? The hearing person got the job.

Or maybe it is because they are able to speak French. But as a deaf person, I cannot get French. I can only read a little bit of English. Then people laugh and they think, you know, "Well, here is this deaf person," that I am stupid or something. But I am not. You have to think a little bit about how bilingualism impacts on people who do not have literacy skills.

One of my friends -- he is from Guelph -- was going on his way to move, to relocate to another place for professional reasons. He was looking for a job, and he wrote a letter to the newspaper and tried to get a job there. He sent it in. He got home and then later, about two or three weeks later, he was called back there. He went back to see about that job and again, the same kind of thing; a hearing person got the job. The deaf person did not. Why does this kind of discrimination happen? You know, we are citizens too. We work hard.

Another fellow wanted to look for a job working for CFB Borden. He went in to apply there, but again, they called in hearing people and they had to call in my daughter to interpret for me. She had to come from the school to interpret for me because I explained that I was deaf. Again, the same kind of thing happens. You go there and they say, "Sorry, no job for you." How come? It is tough.

Now, I am not looking for sympathy. I am looking for people who are going to give me meaningful work. This is the story of many deaf people. We are frustrated here. We are fed up. It is enough. I do not know, maybe you have the answers. Maybe you do not want deaf people to work. Maybe you do not want equality for everybody, something I would like to see.

Look at me. I have two hands. What is the problem? I can drive. I can work. I use my eyes. Hearing people, they yack away, they have the radio on, they are also a danger on the road.

So think about it. I can work hard. I cannot talk with my voice, but hey, my brain is not deaf; my brain is great. So I cannot talk the way you can talk. I am not a hearing person. I am not lazy. I am a bright person, happy to be deaf. I need a chance. Hearing people always get the chance because they can talk, and then we are sort of sidelined again and they say, "No, we need hearing people for this job." How come? That is all I have to say.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Drury.

Mr Drury: You are welcome.

The Chair: Are there any questions? Okay, thank you very much.

That concludes, ladies and gentlemen, the speakers for this evening and for our stop here in Collingwood. I want to again, on behalf of the committee, thank all of those who came out this evening. Apparently we have been told that there was a message that went out through the Enterprise-Bulletin that perhaps the evening session had been cancelled, and we do not know where that had come from, but that may have accounted for some of the people who did not appear. In any event we are happy to have had the people who were here and we did have an interesting evening, as we did an interesting afternoon today. As with the other locations at which we have stopped along our travels, we heard here in Collingwood a number of useful and interesting suggestions that we will have to ponder over and try to sift through. Again, as in a number of other places, the viewpoints that were expressed were many and varied and sometimes completely opposed to each other, but that too is part of the reality of Ontario that we are trying to also grapple with.

We will continue our hearings over the next two weeks. Next week we spend a day in Toronto and then proceed to Windsor and to some of the other communities in the southwestern part of the province; namely, London, Kitchener, Brantford and Hamilton. I invite those of you here and those people who are following the proceedings over the parliamentary network to continue to do so if you are interested, as all of our meetings will continue to be televised over the parliamentary channel.

Once again, thank you very much and have a good evening.

The committee adjourned at 2104.