Wednesday 20 February 1991

London Intercommunity Health Centre

Bob Wood

Hillary Edward

Cross Cultural Learner Centre

Susan Smith

Errol Mendes

London Cultural Interpretation Service

Todd Buttenham

Andreas Papadopoulos

Connor McDonough

Laurent Proulx

Dianne Haskett

Joanne Goure

N'Amerind Friendship Centre

Janet Collins

Afternoon sitting

John Russell

Harry Rudolfs

London Native Rights Support Group

Pauline Faubert-McCabe

University of Western Ontario Society of Graduate Students

Femmes du Sud de l'Ontario, section du comié de Middlesex et London

Darlene Cliche-Parker

Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario

London and District Labour Council

Dennis Hudecki

Evening sitting

Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo

Conseil scolaire des écoles séparées de Wellington

Alvin Smith

Mark Whaley

Terrance Steven Carter

Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-oritariens

Fred Hutter

Robert London

Martha Willis

Shawn Hamill

Gisèle Latour

Paul Latour

William Giverin

Annabel Cathrall

Paul Johnson

Rodney Pinkney

Claude Charpentier

Ernie Anderson

Junius Lockhart

Joanne Cripps

University of Waterloo Federation of Students

South Western Region Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario)

John Sparks

Mark Bremner



Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)

Vice-Chair: 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)


Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC) for Mr Harnick

Cunningham, Dianne E. (London North PC) for Mr Eves

Ferguson, Will (Kitchener NDP) for Mr F. Wilson

MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton NDP) for Ms Harrington

Witmer, Elizabeth (Waterloo North PC) for Mr Eves

Also taking part: Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford NDP)

Clerk: Manikel, Tannis


Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

Murray, Paul, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

The committee met at 0931 at the Western Fair Paddock, London.

The Chair: If I could call this meeting to order, we are, of course, the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, and there is a resounding echo here. We are happy to be here in London, Ontario, this morning at the Western Fair Paddock. This is our third week of hearings across the province. Earlier this week, we were in Toronto, yesterday we were in Windsor and later today we will be in Kitchener and tomorrow in Brantford and Hamilton, on a schedule that takes us throughout the various regions of the province in the four weeks of February.

We heard up until now a number of useful and fascinating ideas about the future of the country and the future of Ontario within Confederation, and no doubt we will hear today in London a number of interesting and useful presentations.

This is a committee made up of representatives of the three political parties which have people elected at Queen's Park, and I want to introduce at this point the members of the committee. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill, Steven Offer; from the Conservative caucus we have Ted Arnott and we expect Dianne Cunningham to be joining us shortly; 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. Will Ferguson joins us today, and Ellen MacKinnon and Kimble Sutherland join us.

As we found in a number of other locations, we have in addition to the printed list a number of people who have asked to be added to the list, and we will do our best to accommodate those requests. Given the tight time lines that we have and the number of speakers that we have, we can only do that with the co-operation of all of the speakers.

I would ask you, if you are speaking as an individual, to try to keep your comments within the 10-minute mark, and within 20 minutes if you are speaking on behalf of an organization. If you could keep them within or below that amount of time, it would also give us a little bit of time to have some questions and discussion back and forth with the members of the committee. We also find that to be, quite frankly, a very useful process. If you leave us that time, we would appreciate that. If we do not have that time, we just will not be able to do it and we will have to move on to the following speaker.


The Chair: With that, I will ask Dr Bhooma Bhayana to come forward, our first speaker. While we are waiting for Dr Bhayana to come to the table, I will just indicate to any of the subsequent speakers who have written presentations, if they wish to provide them to the clerk during the proceedings, even before they come to the table, that will again save us some time and we can have the papers distributed before you begin speaking. Dr Bhayana, go ahead.

Dr Bhayana: Just to give you a little bit of perspective on where I am coming from, I am a family physician working at the London InterCommunity Health Centre. The InterCommunity Health Centre is a community health centre funded by the Ministry of Health, with various programs that are also funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services. We service the needs of both the multicultural population and the population in our immediate geographical area.

The people we represent, therefore, our patients and our clients, are immigrants and refugees from a number of communities, including Latin America, Poland, Iran, Ethiopia, Cambodia and the Sudan. We also represent the people in our immediate geographical area, which is -- for those of you from London -- Dundas and Adelaide. So we represent socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, including sole-support mothers and families, ex-psychiatric patients, the homeless in the area and others.

Our programs include: medical programs, or primary care; social work; a multicultural women's support group in various languages; a seniors' independence project; an art therapy program working with multicultural youth, seniors and other groups; a health promotion program; community outreach workers, and a variety of affiliated programming, including English as a second language for our refugees and immigrants.

The scope of problems that our patients and clients face is quite broad. The new refugees are facing the stresses of migration. They are also facing the turmoils that they have just left behind in their country, including often being victimized in situations of torture or incarceration. They also face the stresses of settlement that are involved in coming to a new culture, a new country.

Their settlement is often not completed by the year-long period that is sort of deemed as the magical time that they are allowed to have settlement workers. The period of settlement varies depending on their country of origin and the problems that they faced in coming, so often the period of settlement continues long after that magical one-year period. The problem is that after that one year, they no longer have the settlement worker, they no longer have funding for settlement work and their access to services in the community is very limited by the language barrier, so their settlement is hampered.

New refugees interface with Canadians at a number of levels, and at each of those levels they have an opportunity to see our Constitution in action. Our Constitution -- and this is out of the public discussion paper -- prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, ethnic origin, race or colour and asserts that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be interpreted in a manner consistent with Canada's multicultural heritage.

For the most part, their experiences have been good, but there is a big gap in the document and its day-to-day interpretation by the peoples of Canada. The problem is not so much the document; it is the interpretation and its implementation. Beyond revision of the document, its implementation in terms of raising sensitivities to the issues faced by new refugees is imperative, both in the service sector and by people in the communities where the refugees are living.

Immigrants have chosen to migrate, so it might be presumed that they face fewer stresses than the refugees in terms of political exile or persecution that they have left behind. For the most part that is true, but they have often chosen to leave a socioeconomically oppressive situation and less overt forms of oppression than refugees. It is necessary that that also be recognized in our helping them to settle. Of course, they also experience the same gap in the interpretation of the Charter of Rights by the Canadians with whom they interact.

The stressors of integration faced by new refugees and immigrants are: migration and its stress; stresses of political exile and the victimization that they have left behind; a strong sense of toss of homeland, sense of heritage and extended or nuclear family; a loss of value for their education and experience -- there is a wall of Canadian experience that they have to surmount before they are able to seek employment; barriers of language and access; socioeconomic stressors, especially when compounded by the wall of Canadian experience.

They also experience quite a bit of discrimination based on ethnic origin, race or colour as outlined in the Charter of Rights, but also by country of origin in terms of the political situation and lack of understanding of their orientation by Canadians. For visible minorities, the sense of discrimination is more acute because they have a sense that even by the third or fourth generation, their children may not be able to fully integrate into the country.

I certainly have no justification to be presenting any implementation strategies or policy changes. I am basically a service provider, so I can tell you what we see, but my feeling is that beyond constitutional revisions, there needs to be a need to implement the Constitution as it is. There needs to be a bridging of the gap between the document and the words and the actual service provision and the raising of sensitivities of Canadians.


Education to raise the sensitivities of Canadians is important. I do not think most Canadians know what the difference between a refugee and an immigrant is or what sort of problems refugees face in coming here.

Programs to help refugees and immigrants have their skills recognized and thus integrate into the workforce at a level in keeping with their own training would be beneficial. We can talk about equality, but until it is put into action, it means very little.

Programs to assess the special needs of certain groups of newcomers so that their settlement period can be tailored to the needs rather than a blanket period of time of one year for all newcomers would also be beneficial to their assimilation or to their integration.

In a broader term, assertion of the richness that newcomers bring to the fabric of Canada in terms that are visible not only to Canadians but also to the newcomers, to raise their sense of self-esteem as they come here, would be beneficial.

Finally, we need actualization in practice of policies to show our welcoming stance in a very real fashion, because we can open the doors to people who seek refuge, but until we really implement it and show them that we are implementing it, it is not more than words on paper.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Dr Bhayana, for bringing to our attention some particular perspective that I think we need to be conscious of about newcomers to the country. There is time for some questions. Mr Malkowski to start.

Mr Malkowski: I was quite impressed with your presentation and I agree with you wholeheartedly that cultural sensitivity is very important in the educational process and that we have to give education regarding the Constitution to immigrants as well.

My question pertains to the Constitution and what you see as the most important value that people see as Canadians. Could you expand on that if possible, the value people from outside of Canada view as Canada's primary value?

Dr Bhayana: I think for our new refugees the value that they see as the most important is freedom. They have escaped an oppressive regime or escaped an oppressive economy, so the freedom to be able to express themselves, the freedom to be able to achieve their goals for their children to be educated is the value that most of our new refugees see in Canada.

For Canadians, in terms of how they interact with newcomers, I think there is a real dichotomy. We have a value for integration and for living in harmony and a value for the mosaic, but on the other hand, in the communities where refugees are living, we are finding that people also have a strong feeling that people should assimilate. There is not a clarification on how those two values really interact. I think a lot of people would like to see an American-style melting pot, whereas they are cognizant of a Canadian-style mosaic.

The Chair: Just very briefly, we have one more question. Mr Offer.

Mr Offer: Dr Bhayana, thank you for your presentation. My question is really as a result of the end part of your last response, when you talk about a dichotomy of sorts within the country. That is something that this committee has heard earlier. Do you feel that one way in which we can promote the multicultural aspect not only of the province but indeed throughout the country is to look towards a so-called Canada clause which not only reflects the founding nations, anglophone, francophone and native people, but also the multicultural aspect of the country? I would like you to share with us your thoughts as to whether this type of clause, enveloping and embracing that which Canada is now, is one which might work towards reducing this type of dichotomy of attitude.

Dr Bhayana: I think it certainly would. I think a lot of what we used to call mainstream Canadians think of a mainstream and a peripheral stream, and there needs to be a recognition that the peripheral is now part of the main. We receive education on the Constitution right from grade 1, so a change in the Constitution would mean a change in education. A Canada clause would be valuable in bringing the peripheral stream into the mainstream and recognizing the multiplicity of Canada as it is now.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Dr Bhayana.

Dr Bhayana: Thank you.


The Chair: I call next Bob Wood. Mr Wood, go ahead.

Mr Wood: Mr Chair, members of the committee, the issue that you are studying is quickly reaching a critical stage, and I suggest three concrete steps which should be taken immediately.

The first is a clear and immediate response to Quebec's Allaire report, which is to be considered by that province's Liberal Party next month. The draft that has been made public amounts to the almost complete dismantling of the federal government and the creation of a "federal" system in which no sensible Ontarian could want our province to participate. This report or anything similar to it could never be the basis for any constitutional arrangement that Ontario would agree to, and we owe it to all Canadians, including Quebeckers, to make that clear now.

The Quebec Liberal Party and all Quebeckers should understand that if their goal is massive decentralization or, failing that, separation, they may as well seek separation right now. It will do no one any good to have constitutional negotiations drag on for a year or more and then have all concerned realize that the whole process was a farce because the parties' respective positions were irreconcilable from day one. Such a course is a recipe for prolonged economic uncertainty and regional acrimony.

Premier Rae's response to the Allaire report has been an abdication of leadership. His comments were evasive on the issues at stake and politically incoherent. The Premier seems to be saying that every constitutional issue is open to discussion except unilateral Quebec separation. He risks becoming the Hamlet of Ontario politics, unable to decide what to do. Commentators point out that if he continues on his current course, he will make himself irrelevant to this crucial debate, and that is bad for this province.

It is time for Ontario to stand up for what we believe in and do it publicly. We can no longer rely on the Premier of Newfoundland to tell Quebec what Ontario really thinks, although he did do so again a few days ago. We must lay it on the line now that Ontario will have nothing to do with proposals like the Allaire report. It is time to stop the happy talk and start the plain speaking with Quebec. We as a people must start to stand up and advocate what we believe in and stop hiding our own convictions because they might offend somebody.

This committee should recommend to the Premier that he make it clear immediately that the Allaire report cannot form the basis of any constitutional changes to which Ontario would agree. This will inject a needed note of realism and candour into the constitutional debate and will move it on to a useful next stage.

The second step is to recommend a freeze on any further extension of bilingual services in this province until the future relationship of Quebec to the rest of Canada is clear. If the current Canadian situation of having a 25% minority francophone population becomes having a 5% francophone minority, Ontario and all the other provinces and the federal government will have to assess very carefully what French-language services should be provided. The reality is that a nine-province Canada will be an English-speaking country with a small but significant French-speaking minority. Such a Canada will not in any real sense be a bilingual country.

If Quebec separates, Ontario should continue to provide French-language services to its francophone minority, but their nature and scope should be determined after separation. Such a determination will have to take into account how Ontario can promote the things we have in common. A province or country must promote and sustain certain core values or ideas or it risks fragmentation. Any attempt by the government to extend French-language services now will show that it is totally out of touch with the thinking of the people of Ontario on this issue.


The third step is to call for the creation of an Ontario commission on constitutional options. This should be a commission of non-partisan experts who will tell us the advantages and disadvantages, the feasibility and the likely form of our options. Its function should be only to define the options, not to comment on their merits. A decision on which option to take must be made ultimately by the voters themselves.

The commission should study the full gamut of options, from best case to worst case. The options are: Canada with 10 provinces; Canada with nine provinces; Ontario as an independent country, and Ontario as a state of the United States. There is, of course, the option of a Canada with fewer than nine provinces, but it need not be studied as a separate option as its merits will become apparent from study of the four options proposed.

My first preference is a 10-province Canada and my last is to see Ontario as an American state, but in a situation as serious and as uncertain as the current one, it is vital that we understand the ins and outs of all our options now. Some would say that statehood is such an unlikely -- and to me unpalatable -- possibility that it should not even be analysed, but I believe it should be included in the study if for no purpose other than as a comparison to other options. There is a strong possibility that Quebec will be leaving Canada, and there is no guarantee that we can successfully resolve to mutual satisfaction the real and long-standing grievances that western Canada has with us. For those reasons, we must look at all the possibilities now, unpleasant though some of them are.

The commission would provide answers to the following: Is there a politically realistic basis on which the 10 provinces can be reconciled, and what is that basis? Can the nine English-speaking provinces be reconciled, and on what basis? Is Ontario viable as an independent country, and what political and economic relationships would a viable independence require us to have with others? On what terms, if any, might we become part of the United States, and what would be the economic, social and cultural effects of statehood?

We owe it to ourselves and all Canadians to get all the facts and possibilities on the table so that all of us can start making some sensible decisions. Quebec has spent much time and effort in defining the ins and outs of its options and we must do the same.

The fundamental problem Canada faces as a nation is that most French Quebeckers, who have always considered themselves Quebeckers rather than Canadians, have now concluded that it is both feasible and desirable to be politically independent. The Allaire report is further evidence that there is little possibility of finding common constitutional ground between Quebec and the other provinces. This problem is compounded by the fact that economic patterns in the west are much more north-south than they are east-west. As a number of insightful commentators have pointed out, no amount of constitutional tinkering is going to alter these basic facts.

The blunt truth is that we are on the edge of fundamental changes in the political relationships that our province has, but have done no serious analysis of the options and have not considered which of the choices are best for us.

In the past, we have tended to mute our voice for fear of offending public opinion in Quebec. That strategy has not worked and it is politically bankrupt. Now is the time for us to consider what is best for us and for all Canadians in these circumstances, and then vigorously advocate that position.

Ontario is the biggest and richest of Canada's provinces and our position or lack of one in this debate will have a major impact on its outcome. We can take the initiative and be the moulders of events or we can continue to be passive and become the victims of what happens. Nothing of lasting value or significance was ever achieved by doing nothing. The time for hesitation is through. The time for action is now.

The Chair: There are a number of people who want to ask questions. We will have time for probably just one. Mrs Cunningham.

Mr Wood: I hope this is an easy question, Dianne.

Mrs Cunningham: Actually, it is probably one that would mean a lot to the citizens of London, because the leadership, certainly in the 1960s, for the Canadian unity question probably came from John Robarts; the task force on Canadian unity was co-chaired, as your document reminds us, by our former Premier. At that time, he obviously had high hopes and expectations for Canadian unity, or I do not think he and Pepin would have worked so hard. Now I sense, certainly in your presentation today -- and many of my colleagues here have spent a lot of time travelling Ontario -- not the same kind of hope and aspiration. Given your excellent presentation today and ideas that, although they may be tough, we have to consider, I wonder what you see as being the main difference. As someone coming from London who has been involved politically, I find your presentation somewhat -- I guess the best word would be disappointing -- not from you, because I think a lot of people feel the way you do and are looking at a different question now. What is the difference?

Mr Wood: I think the circumstances have changed. It is not pleasant to have to confront the facts that we do have to confront. I am a strong believer in Canada and what we have stood for, and the fact is we have accomplished a lot over the 124 years we have been together.

The other aspect of this, however, is that we have an unpleasant fact to confront: The people of Quebec -- if you look at the polling, it is 65% to 70% -- no longer want to be part of Canada. John Robarts, who was indeed a great nation-builder, was prepared to face facts and deal with them. His position shifted significantly from the time he was Premier until the time the Robarts-Pepin report came out, and that was because he saw that realities had changed. I would suggest that there has been a greater shift in the last 10 years, and if John Robarts were alive today, I think he would be the first to say, "Take a look at what you've got and make the best of it."

Having been negative about the prospects of reconciliation with Quebec, no one is more positive than I am about the future of this province and the other parts of Canada, indeed including Quebec. However, I think we have to face the fact that we are going to have to make major changes. We have to look at our options objectively and decide what is best for ourselves as Ontarians and for all Canadians. I do not think it is in any way negative to take what we have and try and make it better, and that is really what we have to do.

One thing I would urge all of us not to do, and it is not easy: Let's not be ostriches about this. We cannot pretend that things are okay, that a few adjustments are going to fix this problem. There is a fundamental problem we have to address and come to the right conclusions, and that indeed is what the Fathers of Confederation did in 1867. They had a political system that did not work, they found one that did work and implemented it, and that is what we have to do now.

Mr Winninger: I know, Mr Wood, that you have come in your personal capacity.

Mr Wood: I hope, Dave, this is an easier question than Dianne's.

Mr Winninger: I am sure it will be. I know you are speaking in your own personal capacity and not as a representative of the Conservative Party here. When you characterize Premier Rae as the Hamlet of Ontario polities, I would ask you this: Is it not better for the Premier to keep his options open while he is hearing the wishes of the people than to take an intransigent and inflexible stand like the premiers did during the Meech Lake process? We have all seen that that kind of executive federalism failed. Is it not better to take the flexible approach Premier Rae is taking now than to take a strong position from which he may want to change later?

Mr Wood: I do not think you are ever wrong in taking a strong stand on a question of principle right up front. I think the Premier is quite wrong in saying that everything is open to discussion. The Allaire report, as far as I am concerned and as far as the people of Ontario are concerned, is not open to discussion. We would never participate in such a proposal.

Mr Winninger: I know the Premier said that Canada is not up for negotiation.


The Chair: I was actually going to comment on that. I was going to wait until the end of the questions. I think the Premier, as I have heard him speak, has made it quite clear that he is certainly open to various kinds of discussions around the restructuring of federal-provincial powers, but I think he has also been quite clear in saying that as far as he is concerned, Canada is not up for discussion itself as a country. I think he has been trying to allow the process of consultation to evolve and in fact shape the kinds of decisions that he and the government of Ontario will take. I hear what you are saying in terms of where your position is on that; that is fair.

Mr Wood: I do hope this committee will, despite the fact that it sounds partisan -- David and I love to get into partisan discussions, which are lots of fun, but I am also making a serious point. I think the Premier is seriously wrong in being as flexible as he is. I think we have to put some of our positions on the table now. We have to stand up for what we believe in. We have to make that crystal clear.

The Chair: I think we hear that, Mr Wood, and I think that is something the committee is going to have to grapple with as well. I suspect, in fact, that we are going to be ready to come to at least some general kinds of directions we might want to put forward, but that obviously is up to the committee in the end, that the end of the process of discussion, all consultation --

Mr Wood: Tell the Premier to stand up for Ontario now.

The Chair: I think he has been doing that. Anyhow, there is not much point in belabouring that between the two of us. We will carry on. Thank you very much.

Mr Wood: My pleasure.


The Chair: I will go on to the next speaker, Hillary Edward. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Edward: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the committee. You have my name, and, just as a matter of interest, I am a native son of Brantford, just down the highway. I hope I can get through what I have to say in the time allotted, which seems rather an inadequate time in which to develop such a profound subject as Ontario's future in Confederation, including such topics as bilingualism, abortion, capital punishment, immigration, the Quebec problem, our aboriginals, the Supreme Court, the Bank of Canada, Parliament and others. Unfortunately, therefore, I am able to discuss only one of these, which I regard as vital. In any event, thank you for the opportunity to make these few remarks.

One would assume from the title of your body that its mandate and function would be one of inquiry, that is, ascertaining the political feelings of the populace. Contrary to that expectation, however, from all media reports you have become an instrument of advocacy and intervention. In your Sault Ste Marie meeting, the Chairman said the council chambers had been made a symbol of intolerance for many French Canadians, and that by the medium of that meeting, "You were sending out your own signal."

I would like to remind you that prior to the Sault council and many others declaring for English in the conduct of their affairs, which they were entitled to do, the Quebec government passed Bills 101 and 178 which effectively made Quebec unilingually French, with harsh penalties for non-compliance -- a clear symbol of intolerance to the rest of Canada. I remind you, too, that our Bill 8 was railroaded through the Ontario Legislature with only 55 of the 130 members present. This has been represented as being passed "unanimously," which is a complete fraud.

I remind you that only 4.6% of Ontario's population claims to be French, half of which are estimated to use English in daily life. Of course, they do have the rights available to all of us, but why the 95.4% should turn handsprings for them defies the imagination. A long list of expenditures by the last government includes the item for $1 million to help francophones celebrate the coming into force of Bill 8, $4 million to study -- another study -- the needs of francophones for day care, as if they are some exotic people whose needs are any different from ours, and $70 million for little old TV La chaine.

The "me first" demands of Quebec have been a pain in the Canadian neck for many years and have spilled over into Ontario. Small cadres of French come into an area, quickly demanding duplicate services in French, which the rest of us are expected to pay for. They now have their schools, radio and TV stations, all duplicating what is already available, and who is doing most of the paying for all that? If the 4.6% had to pay for everything they are demanding, it would not be there. In driving to Montreal, passing along Highway 401 at the eastern end of Ontario, as probably many of you know, it has many French signs. Once the border is crossed there is not a sign in English to be seen.

To digress for a moment, I happened to live for 20 years in the Orillia area. During that time, the ruckus in Penetang was taking place. A group of activists came in there from Hull, Quebec, and started stirring up the population of Penetang, which was about half French and half English. The French community became divided down the middle through this. The high school there was a joint English-French high school and a very successful one. These people did not rest until they had fouled up that situation of racial harmony, and they obtained their own high school, with all the accoutrements of a high school, at a cost to us taxpayers of between $8 million and $10 million for about 150 pupils, which economically just does not make any sense at all.

Getting back to my script, the 95.4% of us have had enough. If your neophyte government is thinking official bilingualism, it would be well advised to think again. It is a disaster in Canada outside Quebec, which of course is not bothered with two languages. Polls continually show 70% to 80% opposed to this official bilingualism, which is forced bilingualism -- racist, divisive and very costly. The federal government alone spent $1.4 billion on official bilingualism last year, trying to push this at people who do not want it. No government has a mandate to dictate to the populace what language it may or must speak. Otherwise, we have lost our freedom of choice. It is predictable that if the climate of official bilingualism persists, the bastardization of languages will result in all of us becoming illiterate in both official languages, as hapless New Brunswick has become. If you do not believe me, ask anybody who has lived in New Brunswick.

Finally, some clarification for the record on the Brockville flag incident, so-called, when the fleur-de-lis was walked on. Thanks to the CBC, it was revealed that the perpetrators of the act were two former Québécois disenchanted by the dictatorial regime existing there, who, wanting to register their disgust, unfortunately infiltrated a meeting of a decent, upfront organization which had no responsibility for the incident whatever. Predictably, the uproar in Quebec was something to behold. The film clip was run almost non-stop and distributed abroad. All of this was in spite of the fact that the Canadian flag had, on several occasions previously, been burned and otherwise desecrated in Quebec. This, of course, received little publicity, reflecting the clash of two differing mentalities, which are probably irreconcilable.

Great changes in our political landscape are in the offing. A strong movement is afoot towards a demand for binding referendums on questions of national interest, plus recall of MPs and MPPs who do not reflect the majority views of their constituents. You can be here today and gone tomorrow.


Just as a postscript to that, I want to tell you that I am not anti-French and I am not anti-Quebec. I happen to have family in Quebec still. I had a sister in Quebec, from a very prominent family there, until about a year ago when unfortunately we lost her. But she had no time at all for the politics and the stance and the infighting in her own home province, and she was French Canadian.

The Chair: There is time for one question. Before I turn to Mr Beer, let me just say in response to your opening comment about the committee having become an instrument of advocacy that I think we have made a decision consciously as a committee that we would be as honest as we could be with the public, the people who were appearing before us, in those areas where we had some views. I think we felt it was better to be clear about that, to be upfront with that, because that, in our view, would not only be more direct but more honest. Certainly that does not detract from our great interest in hearing the views of people on a variety of issues, and in fact allowing our own positions to be shaped also by the kinds of things we will be hearing.

As I said, we were very clear that in some areas we did have some positions and we thought it was best to be honest and clear about that as opposed to pretending that we were simply blank slates to be filled as we went along. You may or may not agree with that, but that has been our approach to date and I suspect will continue to be. Mr Beer?

Mr Beer: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I simply want to put to Mr Edward that the views you express -- that is why we are going around the province, to hear what people think, but there are other visions, and I, for one, would have a different vision regarding the place of the two languages.

Mr Edward: Naturally.

Mr Beer: And I think we, in our own way, go out and talk about this with people in our ridings; we go through elections and the like, and that is where these are debated. But when we look at the history of our country, when we look certainly at the history of this province, we have always had within this area of Ontario English- and French-speaking Canadians. That has been very much a part of our history. The fact that there may be injustices committed in different parts of the country against one or other of those two linguistic groups, it seems to me, does not mean we then do not have a vision where we are trying to say that we believe in a certain basic respect for linguistic rights. I would merely suggest that that is a perfectly legitimate vision, and that if this country is to continue we need to have some kind of basic respect for the two national languages of our country.

Mr Edward: That is all very well, Mr Beer, and I agree completely that there should be respect for both languages, but the problem is the imposition of "official" languages. People feel it has been forced on them. It is terribly expensive, it is divisive, as I say, and racist, and it is creating a lot of trouble countrywide. As I see it, and I am sure a lot of people would agree, it is one of the great divisive forces in this country, and God only knows we have all kinds of them. This country is just fighting mad from coast to coast. That is one of the chief bones of contention among the populace, in my opinion, from what I can see, from what I can learn.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Edward. I think there might be some disagreement about whether bilingualism has been imposed in various parts of the province, but rather than get into a debate about that I think we will say we understand the point you are making and we realize that is an area we need to address in some fashion or other; at least in the perception of it, if not in the substance of what you have suggested. But thank you for your views.

Mr Edward: Thank you.


The Chair: Could I call next Kathleen Kevany from the Cross Cultural Learner Centre?

Ms Kevany: Although the questions recommended in the framework are fuel for much contemplation, discussion and action, I will be focusing on the two which correspond with the mandate of the Cross Cultural Learner Centre. The Cross Cultural Learner Centre exists to bring together people and resources in an environment in which individuals and groups from across the country can understand the issues of international development, particularly in the Third World, together with cross-cultural issues in Canada, and can act together to create a more just community both globally and locally.

In light of this area of expertise, I will address questions 1 and 3: What are the values we share in Canada and what roles should the federal, provincial and municipal governments play? I will review the values supported and the priorities actualized by Canadians historically, at present, and some recommendations regarding an approach for the future, looking at an ideal possibly.

I would like to first recommend that we not assert that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms be interpreted in a manner consistent with Canada's multicultural heritage. Historically, the reception, acceptance and integration of diverse newcomers was not welcoming, was not positive nor supportive. Canada began as a segmented society where non-whites were considered inferior outsiders. Immigration practices in Canada have been discriminatory and ethnocentric. We supported this drive to remain homogeneous by arguing that others were unsuited for the adverse climatic conditions of the harsh Canadian winters.

The values exposed at this time were to work hard, develop dominion over the environment, raise a family to be respectful of traditions and populate and develop, ever so selectively, the vast lands of Canada. In order to fulfil these, priority was given to members of the founding cultures. Their passages were paid and acres of land given to them for cultivation. Scant efforts were made to invite non-traditional Europeans, but not much effort was made to attract other new inhabitants from other areas. Europeans were invited but others were less so.

The early Chinese labourers brought over to build the railways were charged a head tax if they wanted to remain in Canada. Any family member brought in was charged a sum most families were unable to afford, thereby effectively eliminating this population. Members from the Far Eastern areas who were received into Canada were only those who had booked a through passage from the Far East, and at that time there were very few through passages; again, another clever method of eliminating members of that part of the world.

We did invite and bring in Ukrainian and Jewish settlers, but they were destined for the untamed Prairies. In the text None is Too Many, Harold Troper and Irving Abella review some of the injustices evident in our immigration practices and dispel the myth that Canada was humanitarian in its policies and practices.

At this point in our development, we could say that people shared similar values, held on to similar dreams. But as the population grew and diversified, consensus became more difficult. The absence of technology complicated the sharing of information. News from regions was not quickly shared; visions were more regional than national.

The ability to reach consensus on values and visions has been greatly reduced, but we realize that if Canada is to endure it must change. A successful society develops from a shared understanding of what is acceptable, not by chasing after an unachievable consensus. Today, Canada boasts of a culturally pluralistic society, one in which the dominant group tolerates or accepts the existence of others. However, says Jean Burnet, "less effort was expended by the Canadian governments to maintain the mosaic than was spent by governments in the United States to keep the melting pot bubbling."

Our definition of Canadian culture cannot be given statically, that is, in terms of what exists at a given point in time, without reference to the changes occurring in response to new environmental demands. An individual today is born into a particular cultural group and interacts with it, engages in a process of integrating, modifying or rejecting the established problem-solving processes. The individual, therefore, is not only shaped by, but also shapes his or her culture.


The previous Canadian practice of preferring and selecting charter culture members has been modified by implementing a selection system based on points. This impartial measure gives people credit for their language skills, their education, their employability and family relations in Canada. This does not prohibit the entrance of members from any part of the world. There are imposed maximum numbers from parts of the world, but no one is told blatantly that there will be no entrance for that community.

With the increased mobility and enhanced information systems, news of other areas travels more readily. We are now able to link with family, friends and members of our own cultural groups miles away. Our present-day societal values are materialism, wealth, security, power, international peacemaker -- more or less -- international environmental concerns and winning over others to one's way of thinking. Values, like culture, are dynamic and have changed from those adhered to by the previous generation and will be modified yet again and again by upcoming generations.

The governments also must respond to the changing needs of the people. The policies, programs and laws must be in accordance with the needs of all members of the society, not only those most articulate. Introducing multiculturalism was a step towards ensuring the dignity of each culture, whether individual or collective dignity. In terms of an individual, this dignity would be manifest in seeing some consistency between their private identities and the "symbolic contents upheld by public authorities, embedded in the societal institutions and celebrated in public events."

The current age is one of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is more than celebrating cultural festivities. It is ensuring equal access to opportunities, equal representation in positions of power. This means diversity is not only encouraged and welcomed, it is government policy.

All levels of government must play an active role in ensuring responsible Canadian citizenry. The federal government must provide the necessary resources and direction to facilitate the wide education of rights and responsibilities as a Canadian citizen. The provincial governments must ensure that services be available to enable members to actualize their role. The municipal government also plays a crucial role in facilitating the effective development of the community and the groups within it. The benefits of an organized, educated and integrated community are far-reaching. Maintaining an openness to diversity is crucial for sustained community development. "To label someone as essentially like oneself is to activate a label of solidarity, to recruit someone as a potential ally and simultaneously to rebuff others." All levels of government need to share the responsibility of engendering positive community relations and responsible community action.

In our ideal, sophisticated, democratic community, all members should be offered meaningful participation based on the right and duty of every citizen to scrutinize and assess things for himself or herself, to have doubts and to challenge authority. We would be proud of our diversity, one of the defining characteristics of our society. We would not be striving for one dominant philosophy nor one way of viewing the world. We would be teaching our children that together we are better, not one better than another but all valued in different ways for different things. All individuals would be trained to be responsible citizens and be actively involved in the evolution of the social environment.

It is our premise that multiculturalism needs to become everyone's business. We need to put genuine effort into the mainstreaming of the diverse cultural groups in Canada. Perhaps the question now is whether the governments are capable of fulfilling the needs of the diverse public. The composition of government bodies has not been culturally nor economically diverse. A study done by University of British Columbia researchers indicated that over the 20-year period of 1967-87, federal politicians have come increasingly from the highest socioeconomic status circles.

John Porter articulates his stance as:

"If we accept Mannheim's persuasive argument that a person's beliefs about social reality are shaped by the social milieu to which he (or she) has been exposed, we can see that the definitions of reality which provide the framework for making political decisions depend much on the social background and life experiences of politicians. The predominance of some occupational groups and people of one class background means that limited perspectives are brought to bear on public issues."

Integration is a two-way process, a mutual relationship. This does not mean that ethnicity will become homogenized like technology and bureaucracy. Distinctive qualities will become admirable and prideworthy. All children would be able to see themselves and be seen as real Canadians.

As we relate to the rest of the world, we have within our country the cultural understandings necessary to relate to other countries politically, culturally, economically and socially. We have hardly tapped this aspect of our nation's resources in the social and cultural spheres, much less in the area of economics. In these latter areas, we have failed to use our understanding of people, their ways of life and their languages. Perhaps these deficiencies will be lessened as we increasingly see diversity as a positive resource.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Kevany. There are a number of questions. We will start with Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: In your presentation, basically you are saying you recognize that the diversity in the country is something we should be looking at as a strength and building on. I took a note at the beginning, where you were saying, on page 1 of your presentation -- it confused me somewhat. Are you saying you would like to "recommend that we not assert that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms be interpreted in a manner consistent with Canada's multicultural heritage"? Is that a contradiction?

Ms Kevany: I think not. I am saying that if we maintain our charter in light of the previous practices of our multicultural heritage, it would be Anglo dominated, and that is not what we wish to see continued. This multicultural heritage practice historically has not been positive to diverse populations. I do not want it to fit into that vein and then be modified for current situations; I want it to be modified presently, not using historical practices.

Mr Bisson: So you are saying practise what is preached. Okay.

Ms Kevany: Certainly the law sounds good.

The Chair: I am glad that point was clarified, because it did pose some questions in my mind as well.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much for your presentation. You have spoken so much about the whole question of the multicultural aspect of the country and the diversity, that in many ways the strength of the country lies in its diversity. As you know, there is at this point ongoing discussion between the federal government and Quebec dealing with the whole question of redistribution of powers. We do not know what the outcome of that may be, but there are certain scenarios which are placed which results potentially in a separation of Quebec. In the event that there is a separation or a distancing of Quebec from the rest of Canada, do you see this impacting on the multicultural fabric of not only this province but the country?

Ms Kevany: Adversely affecting, definitely. I think there would be some sense that one culture and one language was given more legitimacy than another, and if we are trying to emphasize in Canada that differences are valued but that one is not greater than another, it is inconsistent if we are allowing Quebec other areas of opportunity. I did not address so much the Quebec issue in this presentation, in that our focus is not that. Personally I could speak from another perspective, but as the representative of the Cross Cultural Learner Centre, our stance is that we would support a united Canada; much further than that I cannot really comment.

Mr Ferguson: I would like to thank you very much for your presentation. Obviously, it was well thought out. You outlined not only the strengths but the limitations we presently face. The last comment in your brief stated that we should be seeing diversity as a positive resource. Of course, I look back at my younger days when I was constantly reminded what a wonderful thing it is that we are all different and how boring it would be if everybody was the same and everybody thought individually the way all of us do. Could you just share with the committee what your vision would be in order to encourage that diversity and to help people experience that diversity we have as a country?


Ms Kevany: One of my particular comments in here was that children should be allowed to see themselves as Canadian. Studies show that kids who are not white do not feel like real Canadians. They are not received. They do not perceive themselves as being Canadian.

I would visualize a Canada that is truly accepting of its diversity and welcoming of diversity, one where every member feels eager and satisfied and delighted to say that he is Canadian. When they are overseas they would pronounce Canadian status first and they would not be asked by others who are living in the same city, where are you from and when are you going home?

There is a visitor status that is given to people who are not of the chartered cultures. My vision would be that people would be given an opportunity through teachers, through all members who are institutionally powerful in our society, to strengthen and give credence to members of other cultures and recognize those people as being equal members of Canadian society.

Mr Sutherland: My question is related to multiculturalism, but factored in against the basic background of French and English. What I would like to know from you is your perspective in terms of how you balance off the two, because there certainly seems to be a perception out there that if you are promoting multiculturalism, then somehow that is taking away from the two founding areas or supposedly founding areas of French and English. I wonder how you feel you can still promote the rights of francophone-speaking people within this province and within the country and allow for recognition of the aspirations of those people, combined with the aspirations of a very growing multicultural society.

Ms Kevany: I do not know what we can recommend in terms of legislation, but what I certainly would recommend in terms of personal acceptance is that people should be encouraged to be bilingual in Canada, to say the least; that is, French and English.

I spent the weekend in Quebec and found that everyone around me was speaking French. I have competence in French, but I find that for others who do not, it is a culture where you need to speak the language in order to appreciate it, as you would for any cultural integration.

I think it is necessary that Canada encourage bilingualism. I think it should be put into the school system. I think it should be required that people study French at all levels. Francophones in Ontario are at a disadvantage because it is not just language they are asking for; they are asking for cultural support. There is a big need, not only for teachers being sent from Quebec to teach in Ontario, because the teachers are very adamant that the parents should also be French-speaking and the parents who send their kids to French schools in Ontario have a difficulty with the teacher relationship.

My sister and a number of my friends have kids in schools where there are not competent French-speakers and they have difficulty conversing with the teacher. So there are basic problems with making it integrated within Ontario. I think it is necessary to spend more time and effort on making it a more integrated system of francophone culture within Ontario. It is not just the language issue. I think bilingualism is a necessary component of Canada and I think it should be maintained.

Mrs Cunningham: I have changed my question after hearing the last response. First of all, the Cross Cultural Learner Centre has done much, I think, in the way of educating the London community and has a strong history for certainly this area of Southwest Ontario, and I thank you for that, and certainly in the schools.

On your last comment, one of the, I think, challenges in Ontario has been the implementation of our perceived opportunity with regard to Bill 8, for the francophone community to have the services that they need and are necessary. With your experience, there have been some persons before the committee, even one today, who is not particularly happy with that aspect of our legislation, not happy with probably the implementation of it more than anything. But that is a personal point of view. I am just wondering if that has come into your deliberations and your centre, given the statements you have made today with regard to the need for bilingualism.

Ms Kevany: Just as I would say that it is more than a language issue; it is a cultural issue. We support the development of communities whatever language they speak and what we encourage is the maintenance of the first language, as we would encourage the maintenance of French in Ontario, not only funds supporting the language but also supporting culture because, again, it is much more complicated than retaining the language. So within the context of Cross Cultural Learner Centre we would support cultural diversity and maintenance of language skills.

Mrs Cunningham: The question may have been a bit technical because for those of us who have been involved in the implementation of that piece of legislation, there has been criticism within our own city, and certainly where I represent London. I just wondered if you had any positive or negative things to say about that. That may have been a tough question because it is not --

Ms Kevany: It is not my domain really.

Mrs Cunningham: All right. Thank you. Sorry.


The Chair: Can I call next Susan Smith.

Mme Smith: Bonjour, soyez les bienvenus à London.

J'aimerais faire une réponse personnelle comme mémoire personnel. J'ai tout juste quelques points à spécifier. J'aimerais débuter avec les gens qui sont peut-être un peu les technolophobes. Il y a la technologie qui nous aide beaucoup et je vous encourage à vous en servir.

Je vais débuter avec l'économie, les aspirations des travailleurs et travailleuses ici en Ontario. Avec l'élection d'un gouvernement que beaucoup de monde attend pour répondre fondamentalement aux aspirations des travailleuses, il y a plusieurs points qui touchent à toute la discussion de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération. Pour répondre a quelques points : je critique la proposition d'une économie qui globalise. Si je la critique sur l'échelle globale, il s'agit de mon choix ici en Ontario d'avoir un gouvernement qui j'aimerais voir répondre aux besoins fondamentaux au lieu de répondre aux marchés capitaux.

Si je demeure protectionniste pour réaliser les buts, je vois que les valeurs qui sont partagées ici en Ontario et peut-être partout au Canada sont celles-ci : les bénéfices d'un programme national socialisé de santé ; l'application dans le domaine de notions de calcul ; l'alphabétisation ; le bilinguisme sinon trilinguisme, si on n'a pas encore un système d'éducation qui crée des polyglottes. Je me demande pourquoi accepter l'idée d'une économie globale sans représentation directe aux programmes, au gouvernement mondial. Une autre valeur que je pense est partagée au sein des citoyens d'Ontario ces jours-ci, ce sont les droits et la participation des autochtones. Il y a un défi énorme : prévenir les besoins humains qui sont très profonds chez nos homologues autochtones ici en Ontario. Les doléances légitimes des personnes autochtones méritent qu'on se charge de la question de réformes de nos institutions politiques même ici en Ontario. Je suis prête à poser des questions difficiles faisant face aux situations où nos peuples autochtones ne sont pas autorisés. Je prends, par exemple, les 60 000 autochtones à Toronto, une grande population qui ne se trouve pas représentée comme telle, ni au niveau de «representation by population », ni présentement au niveau de notre système législatif à Queen's Park. J'aimerais que vous vous posiez ces questions.


Le rapport Allaire venant des libéraux au Québec signifie un acte politique de mon point de vue prévisible. Ils ont changé de place avec les conservateurs au Québec. Ils avaient siégé comme conservateurs dans la Chambre des communes et présentement changent de places, changent de vêtements ; ce sont de vrais caméléons peut-être.

Nos buts, nos aspirations économiques devraient être encadrés, devraient se trouver sous rubrique prioritaire de l'écologie. Nous avons un impératif écologique avec lequel tout programme, toute valeur sociale de ces jours-ci doivent se réévaluer. Ce que je cherche auprès du gouvernement provincial ici en Ontario, au niveau des aspirations des travailleuses, est de présenter des points de vue économiques, disons, sur le plan faillites, par exemple, les faillites fédérales. Les travailleuses ou les travailleurs auxquels les compagnies doivent les paiements, les salaires, j'aimerais qu'on change les lois pour que les gens deviennent les créanciers prioritaires.

Enfin, je suis enchantée de notre système ces jours-ci qui est en train de développer le bilinguisme ici en Ontario. Nous en avons grand besoin, il n'y a pas beaucoup de pays et de cantons ici ou à l'étranger qui considèrent une éducation bien développée si elle est unilingue. Nous voulons les notions de calculs, l'alphabétisme, et bien sûr des compétences en technologie pour qu'on continue, comme on en a eu la capacité aussi, grâce aux ressources naturelles qu'on trouve ici. Merci beaucoup.

M. Winninger: Madelle Smith, vous avez beaucoup parlé des droits des autochtones. On a suggéré qu'on pourrait créer une place dans la législature de l'Ontario pour les autochtones. Qu'est-ce que vous pensez de cette proposition ?

Mme Smith : Je suis bien d'accord avec cette proposition. La population autochtone est éparpillée partout au nord du Canada mais ce qu'on trouve au sud de l'Ontario, c'est une assez grande population qui mérite une représentation au sein de la structure politique ici en Ontario et je serais bien d'accord.


The Chair: Could I call next Errol Mendes.

Mr Mendes: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. The brief which is going around is the brief I sent in to Tannis Manikel, but I am not sure whether you have all received it as yet, so I am sending it around again.

The title of the brief is called A "Push-Pull" Plan For A Flexible Canadian Federalism. I should mention that this brief has already been received by the governments of Quebec, the federal government and the joint committee of the House and Senate on amending the Constitution of Canada, the amending procedures.

To begin then, to paraphrase Mikhail Gorbachev, fate will deal very cruelly with those who are unprepared for an era of change. Canada will soon have to restructure its Confederation bargain. Events and mass psychology in Quebec will be the catalyst for the restructuring.

The Quebec Liberal Party constitutional committee has already recommended a radical restructuring of the Canadian federal system, which will leave it much more decentralized than the European community. Attached to this recommendation is the threat of a referendum on sovereignty late in 1992, if Quebec does not get substantially what it is demanding. The Bélanger-Campeau commission will, in all likelihood, recommend the same sort of sovereignty for Quebec in March 1991.

These recommendations are, and will in large part be driven by the large consensus in Quebec, at least among the francophone majority, that the time has come for some sort of sovereignty. The mass psychology of the Québécois demands a push away from Canada as a reaction to the sense of rejection and humiliation arising from the Meech Lake accord.

For those in Quebec, and elsewhere, who believe in a Canadian Confederation which includes Quebec, the Herculean task is to devise a restructured constitutional framework to allow the Québécois to push away from Canada at this time, but then to devise institutional structures which will entice the people of Quebec to pull towards Canada in the future.

I want to emphasise the next point. At the same time English-speaking Canada will only become interested in such an enterprise if the institutional reforms are also beneficial to the various regional aspirations in the rest of the country. If a new Confederation is ever to arise from the ruins of the present one, there must be a coincidence of interests between Quebec and the various other regions of the country.

Ontario must take a leadership role in this enterprise because no one else is. The federal government has perhaps vested interests which may blind it to the realities of what is necessary or what is indeed possible. Ontario also has the most to lose in a disruptive disintegration of the country, given that the vast majority of our interprovincial trade is with Quebec and given that we have long-standing ties with that province. I will leave it to, perhaps, your questions to discuss the possible disruption to the Canadian economy in general from such a disintegration.

With these goals in mind, I have suggested to the various governments mentioned in my introduction the following crisis planning and reforms that I am putting forward here to the government of Ontario.

First, the federal government should begin to enumerate all the federal powers that it considers essential for the country to be regarded as one, although decentralized political unit, with national standards in various areas of jurisdiction. The present section 91 of the Constitution Act should not be regarded as such a list because we exist in a different political reality today. I suggest that the essential powers of the federal government may be those which have been used to give Canada a distinct identity and personality. I will be happy to answer questions on what I mean by that in particular, heads of power, at the end of my presentation.

Second, the provinces and the federal government should attempt to agree that all provinces have what I call "sovereign capacity," not "sovereignty" but "sovereign capacity." This means that any province should have the capacity to repatriate any or all of the essential federal powers described above. This will guarantee equality of treatment between Quebec and the other provinces. This, hopefully, will address the main reason why Meech Lake failed, and that is the feeling that Quebec was getting special status and that the other provinces were not. I will be happy to deal with questions on that point too after the presentation.


Third, provinces should be able to repatriate such powers through popular referendum. Depending on the percentage of powers that are repatriated, transfer payments from the federal government should also be cut to the same percentage amount, and a proportionate amount of federal taxing room will be moved over to such repatriating provinces. The western provincial governments have already demanded such an arrangement in the areas of health and post-secondary education. I suspect that the people of these provinces would reject such a move in a popular referendum.

The reason I am suggesting popular referendums for repatriation is because I believe, despite regional alienation, that there is a large consensus among English-speaking Canada to have a strong federal government, and I think the people of English Canada will show that their politicians are not representative of their views, that they would want to maintain a strong federal government, even though Bill Vander Zalm may want to separate with any other province that will want to do so. I would suggest that among his other problems he would find that the people of British Columbia would fundamentally reject any such decentralization move.

Fourth, federal seats in the House of Commons should also be cut according to the percentage of essential powers repatriated by a province. Referendums held to determine repatriation of federal powers should be done on a constituency basis. Those ridings with the highest vote for repatriation would lose their federal members until the requisite percentage is reached. I suggest in my brief that this is the only way to deal with the troubling problem of asymmetrical federalism, which I suggest will undermine any attempt by the federal government to devolve powers across the board to provinces. I think this is one area where the federal government may realize that it may not begin to speak for all of Canada, especially given that the current governing party in Ottawa depends so much for its power base in Quebec.

Fifth, if a repatriating province opts for complete separation, repayment of that province's share of the federal debt will be amortized over time. This may mean that payment of federal taxes would continue, let's say in Quebec, if it did opt for complete separation. But overall, I suggest that if a limited number of powers were repatriated, the appropriate federal taxing room could be shifted over to the province. I gather that the federal government is proposing such a scheme right now, with Bill C-69 dealing with federal transfer payments in the area of health. I oppose this legislation for reasons which I will be willing to explain after the presentation.

There would be a sizable financial incentive not to opt for complete sovereignty or to demand a huge repatriation of powers which are not necessary for the protection of the vital interest of a particular province. I want to emphasize that I do not think that the people outside Quebec would want repatriation of most the essential federal powers of the federal government. There again, you are letting the people speak over the heads of politicians.

Sixth, the Senate should be abolished and replaced by an economic council of Canada. There should be equal numbers of representatives on the council elected by the legislatures of each province including Quebec. Again, I am willing to discuss why I am not recommending direct elections after the presentation. The Yukon and the Northwest Territories should also have representatives. There should also be representatives of the first nations of Canada in this council. The council should have a suspensive veto over all legislation. If three quarters of the members of any of the six regions of Canada vote against any legislation, a Commons-council conference must take place, as is the procedure in the US Congress. If the disagreement is not resolved, the legislation would be vetoed. Representatives of a province in the council should be permitted to only vote on legislation the subject matter of which has not been repatriated.

I suggest the six regions for the purposes of the permanent veto should be as follows: (1) Pacific Canada, namely, British Columbia; (2) the western Prairies -- Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba; (3) Ontario; (4) Quebec; (5) Atlantic Canada -- Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island; (6) the Yukon and Northwest Territories, comprising northern Canada.

Any legislation which involves the vital interests of the first nations of Canada should have the consent of at least three quarters of the first nations' representatives. The council would vote to designate any legislation as being of vital interest to the first nations. The reason I am suggesting that Ontario may live with this arrangement, even though its representation in a reformed upper House would be considerably cut down, is because it would have the veto power anyway, and, second, it is in the interests of this province to show leadership, as I have said, to recognize that western Canada has legitimate claims, in particular in its desire to have a triple E Senate. Again, Ontario would be showing leadership if it proposed such a version of a triple E Senate which nevertheless safeguarded Ontario's interest in the upper House.

The seventh point I am making is that the council should have responsibility to recommend to the Commons measures to dismantle trade, investment, and services barriers within the economic union of Canada. The representatives of the six regions of Canada should also have responsibility for proposing regional industrial policies and economic development. Similarly, the council should be able to propose national industrial policies to promote Canadian global competitiveness. A secretariat called the Canadian economic commission should be attached to the council.

The reason I am suggesting this point is because much of constitutional debate and reform means very little to the average person on the street. What they are concerned about is losing their jobs. They are concerned about whether the free trade agreement will mean factories closing down and going to Mexico. I suggest that any constitutional reform agenda should include how to factor their economic fears into building up a new Canada which is capable of being globally competitive. I am factoring in, perhaps, the number one concern of Ontarians, and Canadians in general, that is, the economic competitiveness of their companies and their employers.

Finally, any province should be able to reverse a decision to repatriate powers by popular referendum and become fully integrated back into Canadian Confederation, with full restoration of Commons representation and federal transfer payments. I suggest this because if Quebec does decide to take back substantively most of the powers from the federal government, demographics change, and you may have a demographically completely different Quebec in 50 years time. Again, I am willing to answer questions on that after the presentation.

This, in essence, is a blueprint for implementing what I call a push-pull restructuring of Canadian federation, which gives Quebec the sense of and the potential for sovereignty while giving it every incentive to remain in Canada voluntarily and become involved in the superstructures of a new Canadian Confederation. At the same time, the above restructuring will draw all the regions and the first nations into a framework for economic and political co-operation, based on mutual interest and benefit. It is only if we turn the shields of self-interest into enduring bonds of mutual interest that we will have a nation which lasts for a thousand years. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you for giving us an insight into an area that I do not think we had spent a great deal of time on, in the kind of detail you had. Other people have pointed to this kind of direction as a possibility, but you have certainly taken the time to flesh things out a little more. There are a number of questions, and we will try to get through as many as we can.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you, Professor Mendes. You have given us much food for thought. I would let you have one of my ideas as food for thought. I have difficulty with presenters that talk about English Canada.

Mr Mendes: I said English-speaking Canada.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Well, English-speaking Canada even, because I would presume that includes the province of New Brunswick, which is our only officially bilingual province.

Mr Mendes: Point taken. I accept that.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think we have to be very careful when we use those terminologies.

I have been very interested from day one of these hearings about the economic spinoffs, effects, considerations that surround this whole issue. You seem to have done a lot of thinking about that. Could you tell us a bit about ways in which we can direct our recommendations to that kind of thought, and things that would be helpful in economic development, as you see it, surrounding the crisis we are in politically?

Mr Mendes: Let me suggest a conceptual framework before I get to the details. Many people say we now live in a global business environment. Yes, we do, but we also live in global villages, and in some respects we do not have just a global village, we have a globe of villages. The villages, so to speak, which will be globally competitive are the ones which trade on their comparative advantage locally. I suggest, for example, that the Maritimes have to get together to figure out what their local comparative advantage will be. They will have to factor virtually everything into that analysis, such as pensions, for example. Quebec showed the way. Their pension restructuring system led to a way of financing small- and medium-sized businesses, which have created employment for people.


There is a good example where the Quebec government took back powers with the agreement of the federal government, in the area of pensions, and expanded it not just to the subject matter of pensions but created a pool of capital which then could finance small- and medium-sized local business which would create globally competitive businesses in Quebec. It is about time Ontario started thinking on the same lines. We have the potential to create as big a pension pool in this province, perhaps even bigger, and trade on a comparative advantage on that basis; create employment by creating new small- and medium-sized businesses. Likewise, the west may want to do the same thing, trading on its comparative advantages. It is about time we looked at the whole problem holistically, so to speak.

Ms Churley: I am particularly interested in what you had to say about the Senate. A number of people have brought up the triple E Senate as a possible reform. Could you just speak for a moment on why you advocate abolishing the Senate?

Mr Mendes: I believe in abolishing this Senate, and I think most people in this country would agree with that. I am suggesting an upper house which has as its primary concern -- and I think it is the primary concern of Canadians -- the economic situation in this country. Bob Rae has said it is his primary concern too. With that in mind, you would then have co-operation. As I said, you should turn the shields of self-interest into the bonds of mutual interest. If provinces could get together on that basis and understand they are in this fight together -- there are jobs being lost every day in this province and in this country, and if they could get together on that basis the shields of self-interest would fall.

I am suggesting that we in Ontario could live with a triple E Senate in an amended version if we had that as the basis of an upper house. We would still have our veto, as I am suggesting, but we would have as the basis mutual interest.

Mrs Cunningham: It is good to see you. One of the advantages is that we will be able to chat again, and that is a good thing because there are so many interesting questions in your brief. You caught my interest when you said Ontario must take the leadership role. I have said it before, that we have done it in the past and we have the most to lose. I agree with you, but I do not think most Ontarians would. Having travelled this province in the last year, I was very discouraged at the attitudes I saw. I also think we saw some of the reasons for them that we could deal with at the provincial level. But I would like you to expand upon just how we can take that leadership role.

The Chair: Mr Mendes, if I could interject and perhaps ask you as you are answering that you also comment further on how it is that we would have the most to lose.

Mrs Cunningham: That would have been my next question, so that is fine.

Mr Mendes: First, we have the most interprovincial business with Quebec; I think the latest figures are something like $30 billion. That is a sizable amount for any country, let alone province. I am not suggesting that that would go immediately upon separation, but there would be considerable disruption to that interprovincial flow.

Second, this province is a manufacturing province, and it is a borrowing and lending province. It relies to a large extent on the perceived stability of this economy to international investors. I am not sure whether you are aware of something, but the Japanese started pulling out investment money from Canada during the Oka crisis. Consider what will happen if the crisis of Quebec separating occurred. Consider what the Japanese would do then to the vital financial and investment sectors of Ontario. That is something people should keep in mind when they say "Let them go."

The Chair: Very, very briefly, Mrs Cunningham.

Mrs Cunningham: Well, the same question, Mr Chairman, yours and mine. How do we show this kind of leadership? What are the kinds of things we are going to have to do? We are obviously trying to do something here, but you must know that here in London the representation we had hoped to get before the committee from many of the groups that I personally asked to come -- there were other things for them to do, and these are traditionally groups that would be well represented at a forum such as this.

Mr Mendes: In terms of the leadership question, which I think is what you are asking me, it is a spinoff from what happened at Meech Lake and it is a spinoff from the total disenchantment with politicians, in particular the federal bunch of politicians we have, and in particular one person I need not mention.

I think Ontario should start exercising a new moral leadership by saying: "We can step into the breach. We can exercise that moral leadership. We can recognize the interests of the west, the interests of the first nations, the interests of Quebec, the interests of Atlantic Canada and we'll put it all together in the package and this is what it looks like." We are recognizing that our interest may be to have a form of the status quo, but in light of our moral leadership we are saying: "No, the status quo is not acceptable. We are proposing something different and this is what the package may look like."

It may look like something I am presenting, but I am suggesting that you could present that to the rest of the country in the form of leadership. I suggest to you that the federal government is totally incapable of doing that because of its vested interest and because, unfortunately, of the total lack of credibility the leader of the federal government has in the country at the moment.

The Chair: Thank you, Professor Mendes. We extended the time for questions because of the vast interest shown by the members, but we will have to move on at this point. Thank you very much.

Mr Mendes: Thank you.


The Chair: Could I invite next Nathan Garber from the London Cultural Interpretation Service?

Mr Garber: Thank you very much. I should preface my remarks by saying that I am yet another one who will be speaking to you on the issues related to immigrants and the adaptation of immigrants to Canada and to where that fits into public policy. Why you are hearing so much of that from London is because, as you may or may not know, London is the third-largest recipient of refugees in Ontario, and we have in London a very well-established and quite sophisticated network of services for the settlement and integration of refugees and immigrants. Consequently we have looked at these issues quite a lot, and that is why you are hearing from at least three different groups today from this city.

As a nation, we have come to think that our belief in the value of our ethnic and cultural diversity is one of the features that differentiates us from other countries. We have developed the concept of multiculturalism to conceptualize this belief and we have created programs and services with the aim of enabling our immigrant communities and their children to attain full participation in Canadian society without giving up those aspects of their heritage which are important to their own cultural identity. In my presentation I want to discuss the notion of multiculturalism as a public policy; how it has changed since it was originally conceived and how it might be recognized in the future in Canada and in Ontario.

When the notion of multiculturalism was introduced in the 1960s, immigrants had been arriving mostly from Europe. Their settlement here was facilitated by well-established ethnocultural groups and by a commonality among European cultures. Federal and provincial programs that were invented and classed as multicultural were largely designed to enable these immigrants to preserve certain aspects of their European heritage, and these programs took the form of federal funding for heritage language training, festivals and folk arts groups.

With the arrival of the first wave of Vietnamese boat people in 1978, the situation began to change, and changed very quickly. Since 1978, most of our immigrants have come from southeast Asia, from the Caribbean, from central America, the Middle East and more recently from Africa. Many are refugees and they come from countries where the climate, the economy, the political and social conditions are radically different from those of Canada. These people have enormous barriers to overcome before they can become integrated into the broader community. Adaptation and language acquisition may be a long and difficult process for them. In addition, refugees are less concerned with heritage preservation than with settlement and survival.

Since this notion of multiculturalism first began to be implemented in government programs, we have had not only this major shift in the ethnocultural makeup of our communities -- especially in Ontario -- and a very different set of needs of our immigrant population, we have also acquired a new Constitution, a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, we have moved towards the implementation of employment equity and towards the elimination of discrimination against the physically disabled. All of these issues and the public debate over them has profoundly affected our understanding of the meaning of multiculturalism.


For those of us who work with immigrants, multiculturalism in the context of public policy has come to represent the idea that all public services should recognize and respond to the multicultural nature of the communities they serve. This new notion of multiculturalism embraces the idea that in public policy it no longer makes sense to think of mainstream as something different from multicultural, but rather that the mainstream is multicultural.

Most important, multiculturalism has come to mean that in areas of public policy, everyone should have the same right of access to government programs and services, that everyone should have the same opportunity and the same access as are enjoyed by those of us who speak the dominant official language of the community.

Given the resistance across the country and the resistance we have heard here to providing services in both official languages, it is not surprising that this notion of multiculturalism might be rejected out of hand by some people. So I want to just take a moment to address their concerns.

If this new notion of multiculturalism is adopted in Canada and in Ontario, it does not mean that every public service must become multilingual. Nor am I suggesting that immigrants did not need to learn English or French. In fact, most immigrants and refugees are incredibly resourceful people. They adjust very quickly in Canada. They learn the language they need to participate in the community and they can begin very quickly to contribute to the economic and social development of Canada.

But when a crisis such as unemployment, illness or family violence occurs, it is then that they are prevented by language and cultural barriers from obtaining the help that is available to others in the community. In the future Canada, programs, policies and services must be formulated to eliminate these barriers, just as we are trying to eliminate the barriers to full participation of deaf persons, women and other disadvantaged groups.

Second, I want to suggest that a new meaning for multiculturalism does not have to result in a major increase in public expenditures. The London Cultural Interpretation Service, my own agency, is an example of a service which provides access to existing services for non-English speakers. We provide interpreters, trained to bridge both cultural and language barriers, to government offices, social agencies, institutions and professionals throughout the area. This allows them to serve clients and patients in many languages without having to hire and train bilingual employees. Our agency is non-profit and supported by a combination of funding and fees for service.

One of the main reasons that we have been successful is the recognition that overcoming language and cultural barriers enables public and private organizations to provide their services in a more sensitive, a more cost-effective, a more timely and efficient manner. It frequently results in cost saving to the service provider, and by enabling early intervention, it can reduce the cost to the public.

To conclude, multiculturalism is a notion that has served us well in Canada and in Ontario. It has been instrumental in creating the cultural diversity that we enjoy when we attend multicultural festivals and when we participate in programs which strengthen our own cultural identities. But it is time for the notion of multiculturalism to be reformulated in light of the changes to our province and our country and to the changes in our attitudes since the 1960s.

We must recognize that culture and language present formidable obstacles to full participation in our economic, social and political institutions, not only in Toronto where it is obvious, but in most communities in Ontario and indeed throughout the rest of the country.

Our commitment to multiculturalism as a public policy must now go beyond programs to preserve cultural heritage and begin to treat multiculturalism as an issue of equality of access. Here in Ontario, I would like to see the day when every ministry and every federal department ensures as a matter of policy that the barriers to access to service are removed for all citizens. That is not the case now, and I would like it to happen in the future.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Garber, for putting so clearly before us the concept that the mainstream is or should be multicultural. I think that is a useful addition to our hearings. There is time for some questions. I will start with Mr Malkowski.

Mr Malkowski: I have been very impressed by your presentation on multiculturalism. I have great respect for that. You mentioned values, that equality and accessibility were very important to individuals from different cultural backgrounds. It is very important that we increase the pool of interpreters so that people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds can access services in the public. The United Nations has a communications system whereby all different languages are provided for all members through headsets and interpretation, and that is a great vision. I would like to know if you agree with that vision for Canada.

Mr Garber: Well, I am not sure. The notion of interpretation that we deal with is something we call cultural interpretation, and it is used in face-to-face interpretation between two parties. The purpose is not only to provide language interpretation but to bridge cultural barriers. That is something that cannot be done in simultaneous translation. It involves helping both parties to understand what the expectations are of the other party.

For example, people who come from a country where they have never seen a doctor in their life have no idea what to expect when they visit a doctor. Even if they have seen a doctor, the way health care is provided in other countries is so very different than it is here that often some cultural bridging is needed in order that a proper interview can take place. I see that as very important in light of the recent immigration that we have had to this country.

Mr Malkowski: I would like to briefly add something to that, please. I understand that you said that a cultural training program probably needs to be set up in Ontario in the universities to provide the appropriate training for interpreters who are going to be involved in those situations.

Mr Garber: I believe that such programs do need to be established. Whether they should be university or college based, I do not know.

Mr Beer: I found a great deal of what you had to say placing the context of our discussion around multiculturalism, because I suppose after the English-French discussion, people get very concerned at times about what we mean by multiculturalism. In a sense, if we could find another word, it would probably help us, because we always seem to end up in those discussions. I think your emphasis on that cultural interpretation is a very appropriate one, especially in terms of where the immigrants in particular now are coming and in many cases may speak English or French, but there are other kinds of barriers to full access.

Mr Garber: Exactly.


Mr Beer: What I wanted to ask you then was, the federal government has recently proclaimed that the bill could create a federal department of multiculturalism. Do we need to approach this issue in Ontario as well in a structural sense, or do you think that could be self-defeating and rather we should be trying to have a policy that goes over all of the various departments and is enacted in that way?

Even within many involved in the ethnocultural communities, I know there is quite a debate as to whether in fact you want something structural; whether that helps or just creates more problems. What is your sense? How would that federal department, for example, or a provincial one, help you in the kind of work that you and your colleagues are doing?

Mr Garber: Well, this has been a difficult question to deal with. Right now, at the Ontario level, most of the work in this area is being done through the Ministry of Citizenship. But many other ministries do have some recognition of the need to change their policies to adapt to the multicultural communities that now exist. To tell you the truth, I do not really have a good answer. I think it does need some centre of focus to take the leadership in this, but a policy of multiculturalism must be something that is spread across the government and that all ministries take in to consideration when developing programs and policies.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Garber. We will end there.


The Chair: Next is Todd Buttenham.

Mr Buttenham: I would like to thank the committee for letting me make a presentation this morning. I had intended to begin my presentation to you today by saying something clichéd about Canada once more being faced with a crisis of enormous proportions, one that is again pulling the country apart. While this is no doubt true, it implies we will again be mired in a deluge of backroom negotiations, finger pointing, constitutional wrangling and regional provincial self-interest.

It has become painfully obvious that what is lacking among our provincial and federal politicians is a renewed vision of Canada. There seems to be no lack of opinion among premiers wanting greater powers for their provinces or federal leaders fighting to maintain jurisdiction over their piece of the pie. I and many other Canadians have become cynical about the current process. How can we not feel that way when the Prime Minister of Canada attempted to reach an agreement on the Meech Lake accord by simply rolling the dice?

It is the same man who is taking us through the next step in the process. I strongly doubt his government's abilities to develop a creative solution which begs the questions: Who will represent the aspirations of Canada for all Canadians? Who has the vision to face the inevitable changes that must be made for Canada to continue to establish itself on the world stage? Who will supply the glue that binds this country, not in spite of its differences but because of them?

In large part, we must rely on ourselves for these answers and also on our elected politicians, which is why I am here today. I am here to strongly urge this panel that, while I believe it is important for the federal government to maintain many of its powers, it is time to discuss fundamental changes in its sharing of powers with the provinces. We have asked what Quebec want for decades. They now have made it abundantly clear. The Allaire report may or may not simply be a negotiating position, but regardless of this, it is time for all Canadians to decide in what kind of nation they wish to be.

It may be that the Quebec Liberal Party's Allaire report has forced upon us something that was inevitable. I say this not because I believe that Quebec should be given the sweeping powers that the report discusses. No province should be allowed to become, in essence, a province state. However, the federal government's ability to assess the needs of each region is being diminished because, one, provincial jurisdictions are becoming more complex and diverse in areas such as culture and socially and economically and, two, the federal government, because of a recession with deficit reduction, has less latitude for distributing wealth.

In relative terms, Canada is a young country. The institutions and methods inherent in building this country have in good part remained unchanged. The means by which we established Confederation were useful at a time when we were a much looser affiliation of regions, each groping to establish its economic viability, while seeing that Confederation was useful in further advancing its economic needs. However, many of these conditions no longer hold true, and in fact it has become more vital on an economic basis for Canada to strengthen its position.

With the development of the European Community, the Pacific Rim countries, and the overall move toward globalization of trade, it will be imperative that Canada speaks and is seen as a strong trading partner. As well, and more important, Canadians' sense of what makes their country one, what binds it together, must be re-explored, if for no other reason than the fact that our sense of who we are comes from our ability as a nation to live together.

Perhaps, like a parent afraid to let his child leave the nest, the way we view ourselves now has blinded our perception. The strain between Ottawa and the provinces, French and English, central Canada versus the Maritimes and the Prairies, has created a sense of us and them. We must re-examine this diversity and hopefully make some of the differences more equitable by a form of power redistribution. That brings me to the role Ontario must play in the future of Confederation. For profound changes to come about for this country, this province must be concerned with more than maintaining the status quo, aware of more than its own self-interest.

Ontario premiers have in many ways played pivotal roles in constitutional negotiations. Premier Rae must continue this tradition, but he must also broaden it. As leader of the most populous and economically diverse and powerful province, Bob Rae must in large part carry the message into federal-provincial negotiations that Ontario will put the good of the country ahead of the good of the province. If altering the power sharing between Ottawa and the provinces is to work, it must work in a way that is beneficial for all Canadians. Although other provinces may maintain that they would put the interest of the entire country ahead of provincial self-interest, Ontario has the political and economic clout to influence the direction of future negotiations.

As I mentioned earlier, Canada's future as a nation may lie in a form of power sharing with the provinces. All provinces would participate, because to give Quebec alone a greater share of powers would be politically impossible. It will hopefully be enough to appease Quebec with a greater share of powers along with all of the other provinces. However, whether Quebec remains within Confederation or not, these changes could be viable.

Many of the changes and redistribution could be carried out without constitutional talks. This would avoid much of the wrangling involved regarding the complex issues and negotiating constitutional change, and also the amending formula. Too much ill will or talks that were bogged down would not be productive in such an urgent time

Perhaps the answer lies in allowing for agreements outside the constitutional format. Bilateral or multilateral arrangements and ad hoc accords between federal and provincial governments could work for two reasons: one, it would allow individual provinces to share power, leave jurisdiction to the federal government or, in some cases, negotiate for complete power over certain ministries; two, as a means of giving Quebec the ability to consolidate its special status. Because it would be difficult to obtain special status for Quebec within the Constitution, the solution may be to allow the province to obtain more power that is also being offered to other provinces.

This plan would allow each province to decide whether it would like to obtain certain powers or avoid weakening ties with the federal government because it was unable or unwilling to take responsibilities for certain ministries. The federal government, however, must remain vital. Quebec cannot be given jurisdiction over the number of ministries it wishes to obtain, if for no other reason than to maintain Ottawa's ability to set national standards.


The federal government must maintain power over areas I have listed here in my presentation. I will list some of them briefly. They include: external affairs, international trade, defence, the environment, research and development, customs and tariffs, equalization payments, justice and public security. Some of the areas that I feel could be shared or taken over by the provinces if national standards can be maintained include: unemployment insurance, natural resources, education, culture, fisheries, labour and family policy, urban and social affairs, and possibly immigration and native affairs as well. Much of what I have listed is contingent upon the ability to maintain national standards for these areas. If that cannot be guaranteed and in some way policed, then they should stay in federal hands.

With an increase in provincial responsibilities, an acceptable amount of money will have to be put into place. This could possibly be done with an increase in transfer payments to those provinces participating, or a shift in taxation responsibilities.

I must, at this point, make specific reference to native affairs. Despite what happened at Oka this past summer and in other places across the country, I am willing to see the provincial and federal governments share this responsibility. However, I think it is important that Canada's aboriginal peoples have the opportunity to develop some form of self-government. They may do so either by gaining municipal autonomy or by taking much broader powers equivalent to a type of provincial status.

If I may make one further reference to the Allaire report, it is that I agree with the submission that all barriers to free mobility of goods, people and capital should be dropped across Canada. While I find this statement contradictory of Quebec's sovereigntist aspirations, it makes sense in terms of Canada's economic competitiveness.

While my presentation has only allowed me time to present what I feel are guidelines, I felt strongly that I should be here today. What Canada as a nation is facing is a challenge to its very existence. We have been challenged in this way in the past and we have grown. I must stress the importance of not giving in to the small-mindedness of a few people, or the tunnel vision of some provincial politicians more concerned with their own jurisdiction. Some of the suggestions I have made today may possibly be worthwhile, but we must all be a part of this process. Fair, open negotiations must take place this time. We all have a right to speak for, and must all take responsibility for, the country's future.

We must do our utmost to keep Quebec within Confederation, but we must appeal to it and all Canadians on a level not dominated by balance sheets and economic forecasts. In a country this vast, we are linked more in our hearts and minds. Take away one of these links and Canadians' sense of who they are will be diminished, the whole being only as great as the sum of its parts.

It is these ideas I ask you to consider clearly and thoughtfully. We are giving you responsibility to establish the Canada of the future after the commission closes. Please handle the next step of the process with care. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Buttenham. I think we are quite conscious of your last point, that the process from here on in needs to be dealt with very carefully, and we will do our best to keep your heeding in mind. We will have time probably for one question.

Mrs Cunningham: Todd, it is refreshing and great to see you here this morning. Can I ask you a personal question? Are you a student?

Mr Buttenham: Not any more.

Mrs Cunningham: The reason I ask the question is that the last time we did go through this process, young people were very much involved; in fact, there were task forces all over Ontario and Quebec at that point in time, with the council for Canadian unity. Actually, it was across Canada, but I was involved in those too, and young people were very involved. It was basically a three-year public education process we went through.

I have not, certainly in my political career, seen anybody willing to think of a long-term process for long-term gains, and I wondered if you would talk to us a little about what you see. I know your problem with the "who," because we all have a problem in today's society, crossing party lines. Who the "who" will be, none of us knows. I understand that. Given your statement about the economy not being as important perhaps, given other statements today that the economy is very important, how do we educate ourselves to realize the importance of the future of this country and how it can best be achieved?

Mr Buttenham: I tried to make it clear in my report that the process in a sense be non-partisan, because what we are talking about here is the future of the country. What is happening here is that push has come to shove and we are being made to make some decisions right now. I think one of the most important steps has been taken right here. You have opened up the political process to the people. You have given everyone an opportunity or a number of people an opportunity to come and speak their mind.

I think that is important in some form, and that is one of the reasons I talked about the possibilities of a sharing of powers between the provinces and the federal government. That process, I believe, does not necessarily have to mean that provinces have jurisdiction over a certain area but that they are allowed to comment on the way certain ministries are going to be carried out.

I think that on some level it is important to continue to have that kind of process work with the public as well. I am not sure exactly how it will work, but there should continue to be some type of public forum, perhaps, a road show, if you will, of this sort, possibly on a three- to four-year basis, where people have the opportunity to come and speak in a forum or possibly a town hall type of function. That could be carried out in individual constituencies so that individual MPs or MPPs or even civic politicians can ask, "What is wrong with the process or how do you think we could improve it?"

Mrs Cunningham: I thank you for that. The long term is of interest to myself. Although we have been given some deadlines, I think they can be negotiated. I do not mean we have, but Quebec has given us some. I think that is the kind of thing that has to be discussed. It is a very short time frame to do what I think needs to be done.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Has Andreas Papadopoulos arrived? We are actually moving a little ahead of schedule in an attempt to accommodate additional speakers. Go ahead.

Mr Papadopoulos: I would like to thank all the members for allowing me the opportunity to speak today.

I would like to begin my comments by saying that I make no apology for the fact that I am proud of this country, and I am proud to be one of its citizens. I make no apology for the fact that I support a bilingual nation from coast to coast, or a Constitution that guarantees each and every citizen equality under the law. Nor do I apologize for the fact that I am a supporter of a strong federal government that is able to speak on behalf of all Canadians regardless of the language they speak or the area in which they live.

Unfortunately, these fundamentals of Canadian federalism seem to be out of vogue right now. I am not quite sure why this is, but if these fundamentals are to be disregarded in any future constitutional negotiations, I fear for the continued survival of Canada as we know it. Sure, we may get some federation that is still called Canada, but the name would be the only similarity.

Essentially, my aim here today is to urge members of this committee to take into consideration the fragile bonds that have held Canada together for the past 123 years. These bonds have been heavily strained over the last few years, and because of these new strains Canada is on the brink of falling apart. And make no mistake about it, a Canada without Quebec would not be Canada.


Having said that, I feel there should be certain minimum conditions that we as Canadians should adhere to when entering any future constitutional negotiations. At this point I would like to talk about the Quebec question and how the rest of Canada should respond to the latest demands from that province. Although it is important that Quebec become a member of the constitutional family, I do not think we should be selling our soul in order to get an agreement. If we are to take the Allaire report as the minimum demands of any future Quebec negotiating position, then I do genuinely fear for the future of this country. However, rather than succumb to these new political forces that favour the decentralization of Canada, I believe the time has come to fight back and fight hard.

For the longest time, many political leaders in Canada have been accepting as gospel the idea that Canada must undergo a period of decentralization if it is to survive in the next century. In my mind, the contrary is true. If Canada is to survive economically in the next century, the federal government will need the responsibilities it already has in order to foster a national vision that can make Canada competitive in the world.

The most frustrating thing about the proposals coming out of Quebec is that they do not resolve the central problem in Canada today, that is: Does Quebec wish to remain part of Canada? Until this question is resolved one way or the other, it would seem pointless to sit down and negotiate a constitutional arrangement with Quebec while the threat of separation is being used as a bargaining chip. That is one added pressure that is not required. I believe there exists in Quebec a majority of people who wish to remain part of Canada. It is time that the rest of Canada began fighting those forces in Quebec that are promising the moon to the people of Quebec should they opt for independence.

As I stated earlier, we in the rest of Canada, and especially in Ontario, must resist the temptation of appeasing the decentralist forces both inside and outside Quebec. We must discourage the "keep Canada together at any cost" mentality that is developing across this nation. I further believe that there will always exist a minority of people inside Quebec who favour outright independence for that province. I do not believe we should be bending over backwards trying to accommodate that group of people who just wish Canada would go away. Canada has been bullied for far too long by these independentist forces in Quebec. At every turn, Canada has been kicked in the pants by these people, and we just sit here and take it. The time has arrived for us to take the initiative and start playing hardball with these people who wish to dismantle Canada. We in the rest of Canada and even some people in Quebec have become so frightened of stepping on the toes of the separatists in Quebec that when worthless documents like the Allaire report are released, some of our spineless leaders applaud it as a basis for negotiation. This is utter nonsense. This report puts a gun to our head and we say, "Thank you." If this country is to survive, this type of pandering has to stop. Let it be made clear that the onus is on those wishing to rip Canada apart to prove why.

I have always found it ironic that the separatists claim that Canada is a dead weight that is not allowing Quebec to realize its full potential. If that is the case, why do they wish to maintain an economic union, with a common currency? I see, this is all being done for our benefit, out of the goodness of their heart? This is just plain rubbish. We in the rest of Canada, along with Quebeckers, should be wary of the half truths and double standards being advocated by the separatist forces. Let's acknowledge them for what they really are. They are pedlars of an inferior product, no more and no less.

It is easy to say that Canada needs change. It is, however, difficult to stand up and speak on behalf of a strong, united Canada. Essentially, the separation of Quebec from Canada would be the easy way out of solving our problems. There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water, as the old saying goes. Let us all keep in mind that for 123 years, on the northern half of this continent, we have been working together to build a strong, vibrant nation respected the world over. What will we have contributed to the human spirit if we let Canada die? This is a question that we should all be asking ourselves in the days and months ahead. In the final analysis, we could allow Canada to be a footnote in history or an enduring example of the human spirit. The choice is up to us. Let us not squander the opportunity. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Papadopoulos. There are a couple of questions.

Mr Bisson: I hear what you are saying, and I think I hear what the committee says. There is no question that no one should succumb to anybody else's wishes or needs. I think everybody hears that. The problem I have, though, is that there is a lot of strong rhetoric used on both sides of the issue. I hate to use analogies, because too many people sometimes use analogies and tend to distort what the facts are. The reality is that within and outside of Quebec there are problems with the federalist system we have presently that need to be addressed, and if we as individuals within this country use a lot of strong rhetoric such as you utilize in this, what does that do to the building of goodwill with respect to being able to negotiate a half-decent settlement? I wish that would happen, but do you not think there is maybe more to be gained by trying to sit down and talk about the real issues in a sensible manner in which we are not getting our dander up at every opportunity.

Mr Papadopoulos: I agree totally with you. I think we should sit down and rationally discuss the issues that confront this nation today. But I do not think it is being flexible on the part of Quebec, to take an example, to propose deadlines for separation if we do not agree with its demands. That is not rational discussion.

I understand what you are saying by rational discussion. We have to sit down and look at the issues. That is fine, but I also believe there are certain fundamentals we have to adhere to. I do not think the Allaire report was a serious form of negotiation. It is an ultimatum, and ultimatums do not contribute; they detract from this national discussion we are having. You cannot give an ultimatum and expect the person to whom you are giving it to sit back and say, "Sure, I'll take that ultimatum." I do not think that will work at all.

The Chair: Unfortunately, there is not enough time to deal with it, but I would like to pursue that further.

Mr Offer: In your presentation a number of things have been stated. I make two observations on your presentation. The first is that the Allaire report is not the basis for negotiation, and the second is that you are, and you have been very clear, a supporter of a strong federal government.

On whether we in Ontario or the federal government, the rest of Canada, should be accommodating towards any of the aspirations espoused by Quebec, is it your position that Allaire is not only a non-starter but indeed any accommodation towards some of the aspirations of Quebec is a non-starter?

Mr Papadopoulos: Yes, I think we should accommodate. There are legitimate concerns on the part of Quebeckers and natives and other groups in Canada and I understand that. However, I cannot see that document as a place we can start to negotiate with, because it has imposed so many conditions it ceases to be flexible. Is that a document that is negotiable or are those the minimum demands? We are constantly confronted with minimum demands. I do not understand that. How can we be accommodating when they do not want to be accommodated? They want to be appeased, and there is a difference there. If I ask you for something and say, "If I don't get it, that's it," that is not being flexible.

Yes, we need a dialogue, we have to be flexible, but that document is not flexible. Even the leader of the Parti québécois said Canada would be committing hara-kiri if it were to accept that document, and that is coming from a separatist. Furthermore, I find it ironic that recently the leaders of Quebec have been asking for those responsibilities that would enable it to be a nation, so to speak. Let's ask ourselves this question: Why should the federal government give away those powers which would allow it to function as a national government? Why does Canada not need those powers to survive in the 21st century? I just do not understand it. There are so many double standards coming from Quebec that I just cannot sit down and say that those positions are proper positions to take.

The Chair: One last quick question.


Mr Sutherland: You mentioned in your presentation about being opposed to decentralization and you made special reference to Quebec and its demands, but there seems to be a growing sense outside of Quebec in other regions of this country that maybe a centralized form of government is not the way to go. What would you say to the unemployed fisherman in Newfoundland or the logger in British Columbia about that sense that we have to have a strong centralized government in order for the country to work as a whole? You stated in the opening that you are proud to be a Canadian and of the things that Canada stands for. Is your position against decentralization overriding that fact? If the evidence came in and said maybe a more decentralized form of government is better, would you accept that?

Mr Papadopoulos: Well, if I were to see this proof, then maybe I would change my mind. I have yet to see the proof. I do not see how Canada could survive as a nation, and what I mean as a nation is one entity, if we keep on giving new powers, new responsibilities to the provinces. The argument being put forth nowadays economically is that the federal government is so saddled with debt that there is no way that they can give the services that Canadians require and that therefore the provinces should take over the responsibilities.

Well, hold on one second. You name me one province in this country that is not saddled with debt either. How could the provinces take care of these responsibilities? I mean, this is stuff that is thrown out in desperation, and we are supposed to accept these as answers, "Oh my God, yes, that is right, the provinces should take it over." That is nonsense. If you sit down and think about it, you will come to the same conclusion.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Papadopoulos.

Mr Papadopoulos: Thank you.


The Chair: I invite next Connor McDonough.

Mr McDonough: Good morning, Mr Chairman, fellow committee members. I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you and your committee. My co-author is regrettably unavailable to be here today and sends his apologies.

Over the past year, Canadians have begun to examine and question the institutions, values and ties that bind us all together. In the wake of the failure of the Meech Lake accord, no one person is articulating a truly national vision. Provincial politicians are putting forward their own agendas and Ottawa has shown absolutely no leadership. Canadians are looking for someone to take a lead in formulating a national outlook and vision that corresponds to the realities of the 1990s.

We hope that this committee will be able to provide that leadership. It was approximately three years ago today that I appeared before the Ontario select committee on constitutional reform. During this process I was one of the few students to appear before the committee. I am glad to see that this is changing and more people of my relative age group are participating in this debate that will affect the future of this country. Irrevocably, the conclusions that are reached from the meetings of these committees and what you decide and what the people of Canada decide over the next two years will determine the future of Canada.

When I first appeared before this committee three years ago, I was opposed to the Meech Lake accord. I believed it was a poorly written document and I believed it had not properly addressed the needs of all Canadians. In the time since then, I have realized that that document was not designed to address the needs, first of all, of all Canadians. I came to realize that that document was in fact a product of the Quebec round, a document designed to bring Quebec into the constitutional family, to bring Quebec into the Canadian fold once again in so far as it would become a full partner in Confederation.

It was with great sorrow that I saw the demise of the Meech Lake accord. There were many people, including many respected members of the academia in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada, who said that we would wake up on 24 June and there would be no problem, and indeed when 24 June did arrive, they said, "We are still here, the world is still here, Canada is still here." I feel that they are very naïve, that they were not being responsible to themselves or to Canadians, because I do not believe that anyone expected Canada to be facing the crisis that it will face immediately after the demise of Meech. As we all know, it is a process that is going to take some time, but it is going to be very acrimonious and there will be a lot of tension and also a lot of dissension between provinces and between peoples in provinces.

The Allaire report, which has been discussed by many people here today, is something that we as Canadians have to address. While it has been stated that the report is a minimum set of conditions, I feel that Mr Bourassa has put it forward for two reasons.

First, I believe the report effectively gives him room to negotiate. He is now in control of the political agenda in Quebec, which is essential for him if he is to negotiate effectively with Canada. Second, I believe the Allaire report does not make the mistake that the Meech Lake accord did. The Meech Lake accord was a seamless web. It could not be altered afterwards and it was non-negotiable, for political as well as constitutional reasons.

The Allaire report does not have this problem in so far as to many people it is such an outrageous set of demands -- and to Quebeckers it is a realistic set of demands -- that when compromise is achieved, it will be seen as fair, the Quebec government will be seen as flexible and everyone involved will hopefully agree that we have received an equitable agreement that is in the best interests of all Canadians. For this round will not be the Quebec round; this round will have to be the Canada round once and for all.

The dice are still rolling from the Meech Lake process. The dice will continue to roll until Quebec is brought into the constitutional fold. What can we do? What can we do as Ontarians and what can we do as Canadians to facilitate the bringing of Quebec into the Constitution and the ending of this acrimony between the provinces and between Canadians?

I believe that we must come to some sort of compromise, that there must be a certain devolution of powers from the federal government to the provincial government. I also believe that as we renegotiate Confederation, this would be the opportunity from which provincial powers could also be given to the federal government.

When the Fathers of Confederation framed the British North America Act, they did so in 1867. They were not able to foresee the problems and demands and strains that would be placed upon Confederation and the Constitution 123 or 124 years later. What we have to do in 1991 and 1992 is bring forward a renewed Constitution, a renewed Confederation, that can address the demands that we will face in the next century.

There are many different areas where powers could be given to the provinces. First of all, look at section 91 of the BNA Act. The fisheries control could be given to the provinces. Why is it that Newfoundland has no control over fish, which is a natural resource in its eyes, whereas Alberta does have the power to control its natural resources?

Provincial provinces should also have the right to use indirect taxation. The framers of our Constitution cannot envisage the financial demands or the financial and resource base that would have to supply the financing for their programs and legislation. There will have to be a serious realignment and discussion of the federal and provincial relationship in terms of economic and financial matters.

With regard to health care, we feel that the provinces should regain their exclusive right in this field, except that the federal government must maintain a role to ensure the portability of health insurance schemes between provinces, and that certain minimum standards are kept to in every province.


With regard to education, we feel that the power of the federal government to impose remedial legislation should be eliminated, yet the federal government should also gain jurisdiction over post-secondary education, presumably at a level appropriate for world-class institutions. In an era of global economies where competition and skills training are necessary for economic survival, we feel that only the federal government can design the national strategies that we will need.

Provincial governments should regain exclusive control over funding and setting standards for primary and secondary schooling. As in health care, the federal government would provide transfers to the poorer provinces to spend within the educational system in a manner that these provinces see fit.

I will make some of the recommendations that I and my co-author have come up with. We feel that the government of Ontario should wholeheartedly endorse Canada and the role of the federal government as the leading institution in our country. We also feel that the government of Ontario should emphasize not only the economic importance of Canada, but also the cultural, social and political benefits. We do not see any documents that come forward in only an economic light and we feel that it would be dangerous to do so if we look at a document and determine that it is non-negotiable simply because of the negative economic consequences on Ontario.

We further believe that a willingness to address the concerns of Premier Bourassa should be shown without, however, endorsing the reasoning of the Allaire report. If necessary, as I have said, devolution of some powers to the provinces should be made, but also some powers should be given to the federal government. We believe in a renewal of Confederation.

The government of Ontario must preserve the ability of the federal government to govern nationally and to speak for Canada with one strong voice internationally. The duality of language and culture upon which Canada was built must be preserved. We believe this is essential to Canada. It is one of those intrinsic, intangible elements that makes Canada what it is.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms must not be diluted in any way, shape or form. In the event of the dissolution of Canada, God forbid, as we know it, all possible options for further associations must be examined, and finally, the government of Ontario must ensure that we of my generation will be able to offer the same opportunities to our children as our parents have been able to offer us.

We feel that Canada is the greatest nation on earth and we are proud to say that we are Canadians. We are prepared to defend our country in its entirety from this threat of dissolution by misunderstanding and intemperate acts. We must build bridges of trust and understanding. It is for this reason that we would prepare this brief and commit the time and energy needed to present it. It is not with heavy hearts that we have approached this task; rather, it is with a strong conviction that we can contribute in a positive manner to the debate that rages around us.

Before this debate escalates into crisis, Ontario must take a proactive stance and lead the way to a better Canada. We must become aware of those nebulous characteristics that make Canada Canada. We must translate them into a vision and articulate it to Canadians. The benefits of continued Confederation must be demonstrated to all Canadians.

Canada must address long-standing grievances between provinces and at the same time strengthen the bonds that unite us. As a former Premier of Quebec once said, "We firmly believe that through mutual respect, good faith and frank negotiations, there exists a real possibility of creating the conditions leading to a better future." We believe that Mr Levesque had a lot of foresight.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Yours is not an easy task and we wish you the patience and fortitude necessary to complete it.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr McDonough. We appreciate your presentation. We will move on at this point. We have exhausted the time at our disposal.


The Chair: I invite next Laurent Proulx.

M. Proulx : « O Canada, terre de nos aïeux ». Mes aïeux étaient ici depuis trois cents ans au moins, bien avant ceux de la plupart des Canadiens. Mes ancêtres, selon cette étude généalogique, étaient ici dans ce pays en 1673 et 1690. «Ô Canada, our home and native land. »

Je suis né ici dans la province même de l'Ontario en 1936 et j'accepte votre invitation de parler d'un nouveau Canada, mais ça me blesse beaucoup de voir et d'entendre une invitation comme ça devenue toute une autre chose pour les gens qui disent qu'il n'y a pas de place pour quelqu'un comme moi, un francophone hors Québec dans ce nouveau Canada, les gens comme les types à Orillia l'autre jour et les autres endroits, les gens qui disent : « II n'y a pas de place pour moi-même », les gens qui ne sont pas capables de penser sauf en anglais, les gens de l'APEC, souvent les vieux, pas les jeunes gens. Impossible d'avoir une autre manière de vivre, de parler, de manifester les pensées, les sentiments sauf en anglais. Ils ont peur, il me semble, de choses différentes. Ils voulaient avoir un seul pays, une seule langue et quoi d'autre ? Une seule culture, une seule religion, rien d'autre de différent ? Imaginez en réalité un Sault-Sainte-Marie unilingue. C'est possible. Bravo, c'est bien bête, même comme concept. Les gens qui pensent qu'une seule bataille sur les plaines d'Abraham of days of yore, advocates of the might-is-right diplomacy, an accident in history, a happenstance, should determine who and what shall be le Canada today. C'est tellement bon pour bâtir un pays, n'est-ce pas? 0 Canada, true north strong and free, glorious and free.

Comment est-ce que je peux vivre librement sans gêne comme francophone canadien dans un pays unilingue ? En effet, j'ai deux questions fondamentales à vous poser. Premièrement, qu'est-ce que l'Ontario a fait pour moi comme francophone, quelqu'un d'une minorité linguistique jusqu'à date ? J'ai 54 ans maintenant et chaque jour de ma vie en Ontario et au Canada était presqu'une lutte, un effort de garder quelque chose de français, de vivre en français.

« Protégera nos foyers et nos droits » ; nos droits ? Je ne parle pas des grands événements comme la cause célèbre, Regulation 17, 1912, the law forbidding the use of French as language of instruction in Ontario schools. Not even such faraway matters as Alberta's Bill 60 removing constitutional rights to francophones in recent years. No, I speak of my childhood experiences in northern Ontario: Schumacher-Porcupine to be exact. I am a product of the Ontario public education system. I was educated in the only, albeit large, school in an gold-mining community, une école anglaise publique, a good school. I learned all about Canada's story; the British English version. I sang British songs: God Save the King, Rule Britannia, There'll Always Be an England, The Maple Leaf Forever. Remember that one?

In days of yore, from Britain's shore,

Wolfe, the dauntless hero, came,

And planted firm Britannia's flag

On Canada's fair domain.

No mention was made really of the French contribution to exploration and nation-building, nor did our native people -- les indigènes, les autochtones du Canada -- receive much treatment, save for some little romantic stereotypical treatment at most. I wore a navy blue beret, an SPSCC sweatshirt, short pants and a wooden rifle in our school cadet corps. I was told to "speak white" many times, even as a sensitive teenager by a school administrator.

Jusqu'à un certain age, je trouvais ça assez normal. Imaginez ça. I soon learned that if your name was not identifiably Waspish, social mobility was only a dream. I could go on and on.

Il y a des francophones partout avec les mêmes expériences, j'en suis sûr. Tell me that I had the same opportunities as my Canadian counterparts in la belle province de Québec in educational, cultural, social, business affairs. Pas du tout.

For a while in those heady days of Canada's centennial celebrations, for once I felt good about being Canadian and francophone; no second-class citizenry feelings. But of late, with the linguistic hate that the public media seems to highlight and promote, letters to the editors abound, anti-French, anti-Quebec; editorials like the Toronto Sun, which I do not read any more, blatantly bigoted; talk shows and phone-ins and Canadians are very good at that -- are we not? -- misinformed half-truths, une haine viscérale. Je me sens mal, mal à l'aise, malheur, une peine, franchement.

I find some solace, though, in l'Express de Toronto, un hebdomadaire, une fois par semaine, l'Actualité, the French Maclean's magazine, une fois par mois, le poste de radio CJBC à Toronto. Je peux faire ça n'importe quel jour. I used to be able to get French television from Toronto, CBLFT, but you know what the CBC did there, Dieu merci. TVOntario still serves me with some émissions françaises.

Of course I have ma famille, mon fils David ici.

I feel at times like a victim of some deliberate plan for linguistic and cultural genocide: people, groups, agencies, waging a special campaign to remove things French, anything French. Shades of the early days in Ontario, Upper Canada when the wholesale changes took place on the map when Governor Colonel John Graves Simcoe changed all those Indian and French names into English names, la plupart.


Ma deuxième question : qu'est-ce que l'Ontario va faire pour mon fils David ? Un autre assimilated French Canadian parmi des milliers et des milliers de francophones déjà assimilés ; j'espère que non. Mille mercis.

M. le Président: Merci à vous. II y a quelques questions, si vous voulez répondre.

M. Proulx: Ça prend un effort d'être ici et je ne suis pas capable de répondre.

M. le Président: C'est à vous de decider. Je voudrais vous remercier au nom du comité pour votre présentation.

M. Proulx: Ça vient du coeur. Merci.

M. Bisson: Mon concitoyen de Cochrane-Sud, bonjour et bienvenue. We will revert to English because I think people need to understand what you are basically saying, and as a francophone I hear what you are saying is that -- are you going to allow me a couple of seconds longer than normal? Okay. That is an inside joke.

The question is really that. The question that I think --

The Chair: I am not sure I have managed to stop you so far, Mr Bisson. Why would I start now?

Mr Bisson: You have to keep on pushing. First of all I want to thank you for bringing a personal presentation of what assimilation means to you living in southwestern Ontario, because really that is what you are talking about. You come from the northern part of the province where in such ridings as where I come from there is a strong, vibrant francophone community that is able to live in co-existence with anglophone and other multicultural people within our community, because we understand there are no bugaboos. We are people just like everybody else here. We all have good, we all have bad, and we have something to learn from each other.

But the question is that of recognition and I want to thank you for putting that in an eloquent way. Really the whole question here is recognition of us as a people. We are people, we do have rights and it is not a question that we are asking for any more rights. We are just asking for recognition.

This is the question that I am coming to and I want you to give your personal view with regard to the question of assimilation because I understand. What you were saying is that what happens in an area such as mine at one time, just recently we got French-language education over the past 20 years up in our riding, which at the time was about 60% francophone. Communities such as Hearst which are 95% francophone still have English high schools, not able to access the francophones who are unilingual, who have to go into grade 9, having not only to learn grade 9 to 12 subjects, but learn a second language.

The thing is the question of assimilation, being here in southwestern Ontario, with regard to the services that you need as a francophone so that yourself and your son and the rest of your family are able to live what it is to be a francophone. Can you put in personal terms your personal thing in regard to what assimilation is all about and what needs to be done and what people need to understand with regard to services that need to be provided to make that happen?

Mr Proulx: What are we going to say? A lot of things have happened that give me pleasure. I am speaking now of the Ontario government. My decision to come south, to live in the south, that is my decision and I should not expect people to say, "You can bring all of your large French influence with you and expect to find the same services here." No. I live in Huron county and I have to be careful. I do not want to condemn the fine people there. They have a good educational system. The closest immersion school is in Goderich, so that is out of the question, école St Marys. So any education, which is the right of the parent first and foremost, is going to have to come from home for my son, so I shall not be depending upon the Ontario government or municipal affairs or my local community to provide that.

It would be very nice to be able to live day by day without feeling this. Maybe I am becoming paranoid. Maybe I am uttering words that have no validity, but that is my perception. I picked up the Kitchener-Waterloo Record last night again. I cannot even read the newspaper without having -- and I do not react. To come here is really something.

Mr Bisson: I realize that.

M. Proulx: Ça prend plus d'une heure, the telephone calls I made to be on this agenda.

Mr Bisson: A lot of courage.

Mr Proulx: I hope I have not made a mistake.

Mr Bisson: Not at all.

Mr Proulx: I appreciate being here. I am not here to condemn; I am here to speak from the heart, du coeur. I really cannot answer that question other than to say it is a personal perspective of what you expect. I expect no more than what is already available, and you work with what is there. I am not expecting a province bilingue. It would be nice, un rêve. No.

M. Bisson : Votre fils, est-ce qu'il parle français?

M.Proulx : Non, ça arrive assez souvent. Non. Deutsch, non, allemand, mais ça marche ensemble. On peut vivre ensemble.

Mr Bisson: Okay. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Monsieur Proulx. We understand the difficulty you are talking about in terms of your being here this morning and we appreciate even more so the fact that you are here.

I want to also thank all of the previous speakers for accommodating the shortened time lines because it has allowed us to have some time to use for the number of other people in groups that still want to speak to us. There are, for the members of the committee, at least five or six different groups that we still will try to get through before the morning session concludes.

I will invite next a group of students from Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School to come forward. I know they were here earlier. I hope they have not left. Are there some students from Banting secondary school still here? No? Okay, we will try later.


The Chair: Could I invite next Dianne Haskett to come forward?

Ms Haskett: Good morning, members of the select committee, members of the audience. I must say it is a great privilege to be able to address this committee.

I want to divert from my prepared text for a moment to express something from my heart which is that I have a three-year-old daughter -- she is almost three; she will be in April -- and I cannot get it out of my mind that there may come a time in the future when she may come to me and she may say, "Mommy, what was Canada?" I will tell her what Canada was and how wonderful it was, and I will tell her how it fell apart. Then she will say to me, "Mommy, what did you do?" That is why I am here today.

I am here because of my fervent love for Canada. From the time I was a child I have known our country was special, distinctive among the nations of the world. I can still remember being only seven or eight years of age when it occurred to me that it was amazing, an incredible privilege, that I was born in Canada. I might have found myself in some desert country where there was a shortage of water, or in a war-torn country, or under a fearful, repressive regime, but no, it was Canada, the beautiful land in which I was born and raised.


On the international scene, Canada has always been respected, almost ahead of any other nation, in its reputation of goodwill and tolerance. It is a country of immigrants, a safe and beautiful haven from what is often a world of turmoil, and an often ugly world. I have never been ashamed to be a Canadian. I have held my head high in my travels around the globe, when I thought of my country and of what it means to the world.

But now I am ashamed of my country, and I am ashamed of my fellow citizens. I am ashamed of the growth and expression of an attitude of gross indifference, of resignation and defeat. It is beyond excuse to treat this precious country with such carelessness and disdain. And I single out my fellow anglophones for much of my shame.

Yes, I know they may feel that Quebec has often been treated more specially and that bilingualism is forced upon us, but in fact, as has been mentioned several times this morning, there is only one entirely bilingual province in the country, and that is New Brunswick. No other province has imposed upon its citizens bilingualism in government affairs. Only federal services are provided in two official languages across the country, services such as Canada Post, immigration, the RCMP, etc.

Do not my fellow citizens understand that it is our former tolerance, our acceptance of bilingualism and our fostering of many cultures that has caused to make us be admired among the nations? We are not a part of the USA, and for all its many attributes I pray that we will never be part of the USA.

Those things which make us distinct should be celebrated and not resented. Canada has a separate destiny among the nations. It has a distinct role to play. What is it that sets us apart from the Americans? For one, we have been neither revolutionaries nor conquerors. We chose to negotiate our independence from Britain and to enter into treaties with our native peoples. We are peacemakers wherever possible, and not combatants.

This is our tradition, our reputation. We must hold fast to this tradition if we are to fulfil our destiny as a nation.

Our word is our bond, and we must not now become an untrustworthy nation that cannot honour its commitments and its treaties with its aboriginal peoples. The respect for other peoples which we have always extolled must first be granted to those who came before us. Without our native people standing side by side with our predecessors in the war of 1812, we would most likely at that time have become an unwilling part of the United States. They, the Indian tribes, fought with the British soldiers and the Canadian farmers to preserve something in which they all believed. That was a separate land with a separate history to unfold.

I want to just divert again for one, brief second to say that I know there is a group of native people who want to make an address today, and I hope that every accommodation will be made to hear them.

I have never thought of myself as an Ontarian. I am first and always a Canadian. In my travels through the province of Quebec, when my poor grasp of the French language may have brought exasperation, and yes, even rudeness to me, I have never received it as from a stranger, but as from a brother or a sister. We may not understand each other fully and we may not communicate fully, but the Québécois are my brothers and sisters. We belong to the same family and as in family squabbles, hurts run very deep.

Before any constitutional changes are considered or recommended, we must first seek a healing of the hearts and minds of people, not with a torrent of government newspeak but straight from the hearts of regular people an expression of how they feel about this country.

We must get the message to Quebec and to our native peoples that we care, that we are sorry that they have been hurt, but that the rest of Canada is hurting too, and that we would like to sit down together and work out our differences. I know some may say I am naïve to believe that a common denominator to the difficulties we face is emotional distress. But Benoît Bouchard recently stated that, "Emotionally, Quebeckers have already left." If we fail to deal first with the heart and soul of the nation, we will never meet with success by any other means.

A grave problem facing Canadians is their weariness with it all. Pope Pius once said in an Easter message, "The danger of today is the weariness that afflicts the good." Canadians are weary. They are weary of criticism, of brow- beating, of self-interest and of egotism, and many are becoming resigned to a sense of hopelessness and despair.

Those of us who care and are not prepared to give in to this weariness must energize the others around us. We have been going through what H. G. Wells, in his Outline of History, called a "fatigue phase." He wrote, "A lack of fresh initiative is characteristic of a fatigue phase; everyone, for sheer inability to change, drifts on for a time along the lines of mental habit and precedent." We need to break out of that mould. We need to pay heed to the words of the Hebrew prophet, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." The late Lester B. Pearson, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that in seeking after solutions for the future, "patience, strength, prudence and vision are the four qualities" to guide our way.

Our problem is not a language barrier and transfer payments. It is not regional disparity or land claims, or even the GST. It is the approaching death of a vision for all that Canada can be. Professor Arnold Toynbee stated that society is never defeated by outside pressures of attack unless it first defeats itself by a disintegration from within. Some of the members of this audience who remember the old Pogo comic strip might remember the sequence where Pogo said, "We have found the enemy, and the enemy is us." If this is true, then the real struggle is not to work out the intricate details of a compartmentalized and fractured Canada, but to come back first, face to face, with what we are, with what we have become, and with what we want to be.

This is not a time for grasping, for selfishness. This is only self-destructive. It is rather a time for compromise and for understanding. The push for major constitutional revision is premature. It will stay premature until such time as enough good faith can be mustered across this land, in all its regions, until Canadians en masse can come to some point where they realize what they truly cherish.

We need fresh vision, fresh hope, fresh courage to approach the days ahead. To approach the ominous future with nothing but a sense of foreboding, is to bring sure destruction.

In these times, many say, "Where is our leadership?" and they lay all of the blame on our Prime Minister for our lack of vision. But that is the biggest copout there is. The responsibility rests on more shoulders than one. We all bear the responsibility, but particularly the people in leadership positions like yourselves, and the Premiers, and the judges, and the MPs and the senators of our land, and the heads of labour, and of industry and of religion.

Where is our leadership to lead us through these times? You all have a responsibility at your various levels to help us raise the standard of conduct of Canadians, to inspire us to be better than ourselves, to help us rise above the pettiness and seek the common good, to once again believe in the sublime and that it is worth attaining.


I believe in the future of Canada, and I believe enough in Canadians to rally to the occasion, to forgive old grudges, to let heal the wounds of the past, to cast off cynicism and to stand up for this beautiful land. But it will take the whole country to seize the vision. It must be separate and apart from party politics, or cultural or religious differences, or barriers of language or race. It must be felt as one, and it can be so. But it will require those Canadians who now do care but have in the past been willing to be armchair Canadians to rouse themselves and come forth into their neighbourhoods and communities and waken their fellow citizens to the challenge. We need to mobilize as we never have, we need to cast off our personal cares and stand up for the common good. If we all do this, we will be the recipients of the reward -- for the reward is the future of Canada itself. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Haskett. We will have one brief question.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Your daughter will not be disappointed in you. I am so happy that you have put in historical perspective, accurate historical perspective, the noble values and sometimes the suffering that we as Canadians have had to come together with over the last 123 years. Some people hark back for the good old days. You have described the good old days with their struggles and with the input of all these people that make up the Canadian nation. I think right now that with our visions and our hopes, we tend to be in park rather than in drive, and I really feel you have given us the challenge. I would like you to say a little more about how you think this committee can help in the efforts you so well described.

Ms Haskett: When John Donne said no man is an island, I think he was addressing something like what we are facing in Canada now, in that the loss of one province will be the death of the country. When I put whatever deep thought I can into what would be solutions, and how we can mobilize the citizenry to really do something, to really heal the wounds, not only of the past but the tremendous wounds of the present -- as Mr Proulx mentioned, every day he picks up the newspaper there is another wound -- I think what we need to do is to reduce it right down to our own villages and cities and communities. What the Ontario government could do is to help mobilize citizen groups in their own communities to be able to have a greater expression of goodwill between themselves and other communities.

For example, I come from London -- my ancestors helped to settle the city. Our sister city is Quebec City, and I think a lot more could be made of that. I would like to see whole family exchanges, not just teenagers going from one family to the other in the opposite provinces, but whole family exchanges, with all the publicity of the local government and the provincial government. All of the goodwill that goes with friendship, that you can never get out of a lot of government propaganda, I think could begin to be fostered from one city to another to another around the province and maybe around the country. There is not enough understanding because people have never really stepped into the shoes of the other people they disdain, so I think it has to be on a more personal level.

It does not need to be done with great government budgets. I would not want a lot of people appointed with large salaries, but rather people who would be willing to serve voluntarily to co-ordinate efforts of goodwill. I really believe there is so much goodwill out there, which maybe this committee is not hearing; you hear people from interest groups. I have been ashamed to hear even some of the things said here today. I can tell you there is a whole populace out there who care very deeply but do not have the courage to come forward, and we need to mobilize that populace.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you for helping us make our opportunity for choice.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Haskett.


The Chair: Joanne Goure?

Ms Goure: My name is Joanne Goure. I am a resident of London, and I am honoured to be here to present to you this afternoon.

What I would like to talk about is our cultural identity here in Canada. I am going to focus on mutual respect, whether it be aboriginal language, French language or whatever. One thing you have not focused on is the language and culture of the deaf community, and this is what we would like; we would like respect from you as well. We would like respect for American Sign Language as our first language. As we grew up, if we came from deaf families, we used American Sign Language as our first language.

We have different roles, hearing and deaf people. We are looked down upon by the hearing community here in Canada. Most deaf people wish hearing people could understand us more in depth, because we have the same feelings and emotions as you do.

Colleges here in Canada, for example: Recently a deaf woman was fortunate enough to be accepted into Fanshawe College as opposed to going to the United States to take courses down there. We do not want to have our opportunities looked down upon, in terms of us taking courses here in Canada that would help us gain future employment. We wish to be looked upon as peers within the colleges. We need governmental support for the colleges so that deaf men and women are able to take courses at the community college level or at the university level as opposed to being forced to go to the United States to take these courses. Of course, we need trained teachers of the deaf who are aware and familiar with deaf culture.

Across Canada, interpreters also are an issue. We would like to see a government grant given to the Canadian Hearing Society here in Ontario. The reason is that we need a 24-hour interpreting service for emergencies. We are very frustrated over that issue. This is something in great demand: a 24-hour emergency interpreting service. We also need more staff to provide interpreting services for a variety of different circumstances. Right now the interpreting services are limited but we need them for whatever, for emergencies, various appointments such as employment-related, etc.

In terms of employment here in Canada, we require employers to hire deaf individuals as workers and we require devices to assist us, for example, telephones that are accessible, safety devices, things of that nature.

We also need changes to the testing given, say, at Canada Post. We need a test that would be given to deaf potential employees as opposed to the regular test. For example, we need more time to do the test. In my example of the post office, or government ministries, whatever, deaf people may wish to apply for these jobs and are given a test to complete, but they find it is extremely difficult and do not have equal access to that as their hearing counterparts. They need to have the questions given to them in a different fashion and they need more time to complete the test and have it made clearer to them what is expected on the test. We need more time, because the interpreter is going to be interpreting the test and we would have to watch the interpreter interpret the question and then look down at our paper and answer the question, which takes more time; we cannot listen to a question being read out loud and write at the same time. We are using two mediums: We are watching the interpreter and then we are focusing on written English to respond to the question.

Deaf people have requirements in terms of their background, education or whatever, but governments and agencies continue to look down upon them when they are in an employment situation and not allow them the same opportunity for promotions as their hearing counterparts. We need funding put into the educational system to educate people more in depth in terms of deafness so that employers will be able to see what deaf people can do. Gary Malkowski is a perfect example of that. Deaf people feel we need to be looked upon equally as our hearing counterparts, and we need to educate people to that.

That is what I wanted to say to you this afternoon. Thank you for the opportunity.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Goure. Are there other questions? Thank you very much.



The Chair: Could I call next Ron Mercier and Donna Phillips from the N'Amerind Friendship Centre.

Mr Mercier: There has been a change here. This is Roslynn McCoy. She is the executive director for the N'Amerind centre. I am Ron Mercier.

Before we start, I would like to tell you a couple of stories. They are short stories, but I think they are very significant.

Perhaps the committee would close their eyes just for a moment to see the darkness of the night. It is a clear cool night in northern Ontario, with the moon coming up from the east and the stars of the Milky Way shining brightly. Count the number of stars. It cannot be done. There are millions of them. That is how long creation has been.

The second thing I would like you to think of is how long the white man has been here on this land. A couple of hundred years. And this is how long it has taken to bring our lands to ruin. Something to think about.

Another story I would like to tell is the story of an elder, sitting on a log near a meadow in the bush in northern Ontario, or anywhere in Canada for that matter. The old man is enjoying his pipe. He is enjoying the peace and the quiet of the wilderness. A white man comes along and says to the elder, "Could you please push over so I could sit beside you?" The elder says, "Yes, I will," and he accommodates the white man. As the old man is enjoying his pipe, the white man is a little uncomfortable, so again he says to the elder, "Could you please push over a bit so that I may sit a little more comfortably?" And the elder smoking gently on his pipe enjoying the wilderness accommodated the white man and he moved over a little more. A little more time went by, and again, the white man, feeling uncomfortable, asked the elder, "Could you please move over a little more so I may be a little more comfortable?" At this the elder accommodated him and fell off the log he was sitting on. Not knowing what to do, the elder picked his pipe and stood in front of the white man and said, "Could you please let me sit on the log?" The white man said: "No, I'm sorry. There's no room for you on this log." Another story you must think about.

Ros is going to make a short presentation on behalf of the N'Amerind centre.

Ms McCoy: First, N'Amerind would like to share much dissatisfaction with the committee and its organizers for the lack of consideration given to native people of this community and area. Our dissatisfaction is specific to the notice given. These hearings were made known to us on 18 February, by a phone call made to myself. This did not allow appropriate time for preparation of what you absolutely need to hear from us. There is something drastically amiss when I had to contact David Winninger last night in order for us to voice our concern over a refusal received yesterday to be placed on the agenda for today. This refusal came from a schedule co-ordinator, telling us that all time slots were filled and we would have to present at Kitchener.

At this point, it was made known to me that there were no native presentations scheduled and obviously no room for any. London, seated in the heart of southwestern Ontario, is home to five native organizations and is central to nine surrounding first nation communities, yet we are the only native organization coming here this morning to be scheduled so far. Supporters are not to be misinterpreted as native organizations, nor do they speak on our behalf. Also, our organization will not speak for other native communities and organizations in this area, and you must understand this.

The short notice is unfair and counterproductive to the purpose of these hearings. Your committee will not totally benefit due to the lack of native representation based on the lack of consideration afforded us. Obviously, someone needs to pull up his socks and take a serious look at the slight that has been extended to us, and maybe a look at how serious this new government is about establishing and nurturing a strengthful relationship with the aboriginal people of this province. Is this going to be an issue?

We would like to share the following. Ontario and Canada must recognize that aboriginal people are the first inhabitants of this land and must be recognized as such, as opposed to the English and French who stumbled upon us. Ontario must exercise a broadened vision with respect to aboriginal people. Ontario must establish a strengthful and productive relationship with urban native people. Ontario must provide assurances that an effective consultation process with urban native people is established as a result of consultation with us. Ontario must also facilitate mechanisms to ensure that the needs of urban native people are addressed, again as a result of consultation with us. Government must take an inventory of its services and existing bodies within ministerial departments to afford recognition of urban native involvement. An example might be the role of the Indian Commissioner of Ontario. Ontario must continue its supportive leader role in any constitutional discussions concerning aboriginal people as well.


As a conclusionary statement, because of what we just expressed to you and the time to prepare, it is our mutual responsibility, all of us, to ensure that all concerns, issues and needs are addressed. Governments must listen. You must listen. You must hear what we are saying and act upon all human and environmental needs to allow all healing and all fixing that has to take place.

I am going to share some personal information with you. I spoke to a group of London regional parole and probation workers last week. I was their keynote speaker here in London and I shared with them what our role has been, what my generation and some generations before me and the generations after me are being and will be.

I told them a little bit about myself and said that I was a university student in the late 1960s in the United States, and all of the social consciousness and change that was happening at that time I participated in, the thinking that was going on with my generation, everything that was happening then. Some of you may remember that. Some of you committee members I know remember that.

At one time I went home from university, and a lot of native people in the United States were becoming highly visible. A lot of things started happening. I said to my parents: "Why didn't you fight? Why didn't my grandparents fight?" I laid blame on them, on their generations, and I had to take a long look and learn that they did fight. They fought for survival against all odds historically.

My mother was forced to learn English at age five in Buffalo, New York. She was born on the Six Nations reserve outside of Brantford. She spoke fluent Mohawk but she no longer can speak her language because of the assimilation and genocidal policies of governments on both sides of the border. They grew up through times when it was illegal for Indians to speak our own languages. There were laws in the United States and there were various acts here as well that prohibited that.

They grew up in a time when it was illegal for our peoples to practise our own religions, and when it was illegal for groups of Indians of three or more to gather in public. They grew up during the time back in the 1920s when the United States decided that American Indians were citizens. They saw that. They experienced all of the social injustices that accompanied that thinking, that attitude and those laws. I told the group last week here in London that they did fight. They fought a battle that I have not experienced, not to that extent. I said, "They fought so hard for survival, it allowed me the opportunity to sit here and express it now."

I told the group what we are continually trying to do is fix it, do the healing. We are trying to enhance the healing of those who were raised in boarding schools from kindergarten till the time that they graduated from high school and were forced to be taken away from their families by Indian agents in all of North America. They lost their language; their language was taken away from the children. Their hair was cut, their clothes were changed, they were denied their religion. Who promoted that but government?

Now we are trying to fix it. Ron is trying to fix it. Ros is trying to fix it. Don is trying to fix it. Dave hopefully will help us fix it. All of N'Amerind and native communities, in and around London and everywhere, are trying to fix it. But in order to do that, you must listen to what we have to say. It cannot be your way. It has to be our way because we are the people who know who we are. We are Indian people. We have our own culture, our own languages, and we will continue to have our own identity. Our culture will live long, and we will see that that is never taken away.

Thank you very much. That is all I have to share. We will be submitting a complaint paper, forwarding it to the committee. We were not sure until you called us that we were going to absolutely be placed on the agenda. Dave said we would be, and others were trying to place us and we felt a slight. I asked the questions: Were other chiefs called? Were notes sent, or memos? Was there a schedule? There was none.

We felt that we needed to express our dissatisfaction and some key points to you today, if anything. Obviously, if you look around, you are not going to see chiefs walking through the door today. You are not going to see other organizations here. I am not sure if other organizations are aware. Unfortunately, this will not help your efforts. Anyway, we thank you for allowing us the time finally. And thanks, Dave.

The Chair: Let me just say on behalf of the committee, first of all, we apologize for the inconvenience and particularly for the slight that you have pointed out. I want to assure you that the moment I became aware of your interest in speaking to us, I said that we would accommodate your speaking to us. I will check to see what happened in both the outreach and the scheduling, and I have taken note of the comments that you made. We have made some efforts to try to reach out to the various constituencies of the province in our outreach, and I do not know what happened in this particular community. I just want you to understand that I am very conscious, as the Chair of the committee, of the comments that you have made, and we will do whatever we can to rectify that.

I also want to assure you that we have heard throughout the province from a number of native groups and native bands, so that the issues that you have put before us are issues that are becoming clearer and clearer to us. I think the last comment that you made that we need to listen to what you have to say to us about the way in which we are going to fix some of these problems is something that has been registered very clearly with us as a committee and has struck a very positive response within the members of our committee.

We understand very clearly that that is the only way in which the solutions are going to be found. We do not expect that through this process we are going to find all the answers. What we do expect and hope is that we can begin that process of reconciliation that needs to happen with discussions that need to be ongoing until we come up with solutions that are acceptable to all of us. I just wanted to say that to you in concluding.


Mr Mercier: I wonder if I could say one last thing.

The Chair: Sure.

Mr Mercier: I look around the table and I see reasonably young people. In our native communities, we honour our elders and respect our elders very much. Without our elders, we would not have the traditions and the cultures that we have. We would not have the clean lands that we are trying to keep and we would not have any of our traditions. I am wondering and hoping that perhaps the white society would have a look at its elders and go to them for some direction on which way you should go, because they are some of the most important people. They know. They have been there. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I am going to call the final speaker for this session, Janet Collins. Ms Collins, come forward.

Ms Collins: This is somewhat of a pleasant surprise. I had not expected to have the opportunity to address you. I am delighted.

First, I would like to add my comments to those of others who might have commented on the time frame within which we have been invited to volunteer our participation. I realize that this committee has constraints imposed on it which have forced it into the actions it has taken, but it is those very constraints which I feel are somewhat counterproductive to the exercise in which we are all engaged. While obviously we must recognize the deadlines which have been imposed, I would urge that those deadlines be made part of the discussion, to bring some rational consideration to bear upon what it is we are actually engaged upon.

I would also like to preface my remarks by commenting on some of the earlier speakers' comments today. I am proud to join in this process as a Canadian and I am proud of my fellow Canadians who have participated today. Whatever sentiments people have expressed, it is the participation which is important here. The feelings we all share are what is important. It is not so much the intellectual exercise. We could all do that by writing papers and sending them around. It is the fact that we felt sufficiently strongly about this event to come forward and say our two words, that is what makes me proud of all of us who have come here today.

When I was four or five years old, one day a really frightening thing happened to me. I discovered that one of my teeth was loose. I did not know what to do, so I went to my older brother and I said, "Look here, look at this," and he said: "Relax, don't worry about it. If you just keep wiggling it with your tongue or your finger, it will fall out, or maybe one day it will fall out in your dinner. You'll get another tooth in its place." I continued to do as my brother recommended, see if it was still there, wiggle it around and so on. You know what happened.

Let's move the clock, the calendar many, many years forward. In 1968, I arrived in Canada as an immigrant from Jamaica. Since my arrival, there has seldom been a time when there has not been some rumbling, some ferment, some public discussion about the need to change relations in Canada, mostly the need to change relations between Quebec and other parts of Canada.

As one who has chosen to be a Canadian and been given the opportunity to exercise that choice, this unrest has been at times stimulating, other times challenging, but currently profoundly disturbing. More so because I am on the verge of feeling that it will never, ever go away. Now this is a terrible situation in which to live. Many have used the analogy of the family and the prospect of divorce and it has its uses, particularly because it is in the realm of emotions and the hopelessness that one can experience if it is anticipated that this discussion will never reach a culmination, a resolution and we move on to other things.

That loose tooth is still there, difficult to ignore, irritating to the mouth and still not yet quite ready to fall out. The question is, will the new tooth have to erupt and push the loose tooth out or will the tooth fall freely, leaving a gap behind? No doubt in time, one assumes, a new tooth will grow.

I would like to say something about my personal view. This is why I am here. I am not a political scientist, I am nobody. I am just a citizen who wants to tell you that I feel it is important for each and every Canadian to react and interact in this process. I did not want anybody on this committee to think that I did not care and therefore here I am.

During the debate on the Meech Lake accord, I felt a sense of hopelessness until somebody who could articulate my views of what the country I chose to live in came forward. There were many people who disagreed with that view. There are many epithets attached to that spokesman, but at the end of the day, it was my feeling that it was to the credit of those responsible that the Meech Lake Accord met its demise. The reason I felt that way is that it seemed to me that that accord was flawed, not only because of what it stood for, its substance, but more so because of the manner in which the accord had been accomplished.

At the end of the day I felt that people objected to the accord because it was intended to bring about fundamental changes in my country, our country, without our having had any meaningful opportunity to understand or agree upon those changes. Those of us who understood it to mean that it would accord special status to the province of Quebec had grave misgivings because we could not understand how the preservation of the language and culture of one set of people required that the fundamental freedom of another set of people to communicate in the language of their choice had to be suppressed.


We could not agree to a country in which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not apply to one part of the country. Some of us could not understand why a culture that could proudly withstand any threat of submersion from the United States of America next door could nevertheless require suppressive measures against other Canadians whose language of choice happened to be something else.

Some of us could not understand why, so long after Confederation, the issues most vital to the survival and wellbeing of Canada's native peoples are still being avoided at gunpoint in places like Oka. With these thoughts in my mind, some of us applauded Clyde Wells and Elijah Harper, for we felt that, thanks to their efforts, people like me would now have an opportunity to speak to this committee, or committees like it, across the country as to our views and feelings on our Constitution. One thing that I hope this committee understands today is the very deep feeling that people have for this country and about the attempts, or the perceived attempts, to dismantle it.

What this committee needs to be concerned with is the shape of our country, whether or not the worst happens and the people of Quebec choose to separate. For, in the end, I am convinced that the choice will be made by the people of Quebec, and that is something we must confront.

It is my view that in an organized and democratic society such as we have here, there is an underlying assumption that we consent to be governed by the rules by which we are governed. It is a function and a consequence of our education in this society that each of us, at some stage believes, that we have some choice in the matter of our governments. I want to have a choice in the decision as to how my Constitution is going to be altered and my country is going to be governed.

If my consent to be governed is to have any meaning, I want it first understood that no government which I have elected or which my society has elected to decide upon the price of cheese should have, or take unto itself, the power to restructure my country without asking me about it. No Premier of this province has the right to negotiate behind closed doors to make fundamental changes to my country without my knowledge or participation.

The debate over the constitutional change has been fuelled, as it seems to me, by two separate forces. On the one hand, there has been the drive by the province of Quebec to accrete more and special powers to itself as a province within Confederation. That drive now appears to be culminating in a drive to withdraw from the federation altogether. On the other hand, there has been a chorus of demands to restructure the federation so that provincial governments will end up with additional powers at the expense of a vastly weaker central government. This, it seems to me, was at the heart of the Meech Lake fiasco.

I believe that the lesson of Meech Lake, in regard to the substance of the proposed changes, is that there is no unanimous conviction that the central government ought to be weakened. A strong central government is essential to maintain a sense of one country and of national unity. The Prime Minister has said that he intends to restructure Canada. Some of the symbols of a united country have already been cut down by this government, and I fear that the result of this restructuring will be a country in which there will be no common values, no common standards, and very little that binds us together.

I believe that there has been altogether too much concentration on power and too little on responsibilities. Giving more power to provincial governments will not necessarily improve the lot of the residents of those provinces, for such improvement will depend on how the provincial government responds to the needs of the people.

To take an example in the field of health, we have seen the use of the federal power to control women's choices regarding the termination of pregnancies. We have seen the Supreme Court of Canada decree that the use of such powers must be limited. Following the decisions of the court in the Morgentaler and the Daigle cases, it begins to seem clear that provincial governments have the power and the responsibility to allow women to make those choices equally available across this country. But clearly while having the power to do so, some provinces have chosen not to make this difficult choice available to its citizens. Happily, Ontario is not among those provinces.

The Chair: Ms Collins, if you could sum up, we are beyond the time allowed.

Ms Collins: Okay. As far as the means of change is concerned, I think other people have spoken to details of the process much more eloquently than I could. What I would like this committee to recall, however, is that much of the debate has focused on the notion of the founding peoples, and the reason I felt it important that I should be here today is to say, "I'm not from the founding peoples," but when I was singing with my mother "Rule Britannia," we enjoyed it enormously because the lines, "Britons never, never shall be slaves," applied to us. We were British. I was born British. My great grandfather was a slave, ha, ha, ha. Well, here I am.

I chose Canada because this country has a future. An earlier speaker addressed the issue of multiculturalism. If that is to have any meaning, please include me in it. When the notion that we must have Quebec because of the diversity it contributes to Canada is considered, please remember that with or without Quebec, the diversity is here and we are not going to go away. So please factor us into your considerations. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Collins. I think if one thing has become clear to us as a committee is that we need to factor in all of those realities of Canada today. Thank you very much for your presentation.

We will end this morning or early afternoon session at this point.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Why so early?

The Chair: Why so early, someone asks. We will try to come back as close to 2 o'clock as we can to resume with the list and end our session here in London. Thank you very much to all the speakers so far.

The committee recessed at 1319.


The committee resumed at 1420.

The Chair: If the members of the committee could take their seats we will resume.

On behalf of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, I want to welcome those who are here in the audience today. "Here," of course, for those people following us over the parliamentary channel, is London, Ontario, at the Western Fair Paddock, where we have had since 9:30 this morning a number of interesting and fascinating presentations made to us. We have heard from about 15 different people, individuals and organizations, and we have a number of other speakers on our list this afternoon.

As I did this morning, I will ask those people presenting to bear with us and try to be as brief as they can in their comments. We would like to ask individuals to try to keep their comments to under 10 minutes and organizations under 20 minutes. That will allow a little time for some questions, and it will also allow us the opportunity to try to add some of the other organizations and individuals that have asked to speak.

We have some deadlines and some cut-off times this afternoon because of the need to move on to Kitchener this evening. We will try our best to accommodate the speakers but, as I said, we will also need people's co-operation in doing that. We appreciated having that this morning; that made it possible for us to add some speakers to the list.

I would like to call at this point Harold Koehler and June MacLaurin from the London Native Rights Support Group.


The Chair: If there is a chance they will come back, we can come back to them.


The Chair: John Russell?

Mr Russell: I have copies I wanted to give out.

The Chair: If you would bring them up to the clerk, we will get them distributed while you are speaking. While Mr Russell is doing that, I would make the same comment for any of the other presenters who are here. If you have briefs, if you provide them to the clerk we will have them distributed to the members of the committee.

Mr Russell: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.

I hope this committee does not treat this exercise as one in which the people can have their beefs aired and forgotten. I hope the views expressed by myself and my fellow citizens are given as much weight in your decision-making process as the views of our far too numerous constitutional experts. I imagine some of you wonder sometimes why we, as elected officials, put so much faith in the experts and rely so little on the common sense God has given us. Personally, I have made a serious effort as a councillor to rely more on my ratepayers' and my own judgement than the sweet-sounding songs of specialists.

Leadership and democracy fail when the views of the people are ignored. We must not repeat the mistakes of the past when constitutional change has been attempted in kitchens and behind closed doors. The people must have some good judgement because they elected you. Think about that and give them a chance.

Canada is at a crossroads and I am sure many of us do not know why it is there. It is obvious that the impasse reached by the federal government and the provinces after the collapse of Meech Lake must be broken. We cannot survive as a viable federation much longer if we do not deal with our constitutional problems.

But we are also faced with a flawed free trade agreement with the United States that restricts efforts to strengthen federal standards, programs or cultural strengths. We wonder how our leaders could have done such a good job of making one hell of a mess in such a fine country in so short a time. But it is done and it is time to set it right.

During my adult life and for many years before, our nation has been trying to set in place a constitutional framework. Most of the time has been spent trying to deal with the issue of Quebec and its uniqueness. I have supported the national policy of bilingualism. I still do, but the time has come to say enough. We can and must make a special place for Quebec in our Confederation. We must support their efforts to preserve their cultural and linguistic heritage, but we must draw the line when it comes to giving these powers to the other provinces, we must draw the line when it is suggested that the other powers desired by Quebec should be given to all the provinces. It is a recipe for disaster. The process of balkanization envisioned by the critics of Meech Lake would begin sooner or later. All efforts to keep us from finalizing our economic union with the United States would fall on deaf, powerful provincial premiers' ears. We would lose the reason to exist as a country.

I suppose that the potential for disaster and the threat of a referendum in Quebec makes for good political poker. I suggest that we call the bluff and let the referendum begin. The cost of independence is an issue that the people of la belle province can decide themselves.

We should prepare ourselves for a potential declaration of independence by strengthening our ties to the rest of the country and our definition of nationhood. We could, and many will, fight the good federalist battle one more time in Quebec. We can extol the benefits of staying in a strong Confederation, which are obvious, but we must also prepare a list of the costs of exiting. The share of the national deficit, the need to redefine the legal borders and the virtues of having a Third World currency and economy in a cultural haven must be outlined. And when the coercion is over with and the referendum has decided our fate, we must be ready.

Ontario is the only hope for keeping Canada together with Quebec or in a new arrangement without them. We have derived the lion's share of benefits from this Confederation and we have shared with our fellow provinces the benefits through equalization payments. But it is not enough. We are too large, seen by some as too protective of our power, and are very good at controlling federal agendas for our province's benefit. We must make the effort to share more of this power, and we have the means. We can agree to a second-tier federal elected assembly that reflects equality for the regions, an assembly that has the power to subdue excesses of representative democracy. We must assure our native people that there will be a place for them at the table at any and all discussions. And that place will lead to a form of self-government that is municipal in nature yet enshrined in a federal Constitution. We must be unafraid to change the amending formula to allow constitutional reform to take place.

Ontario needs to lead the way. We must forcefully reaffirm our belief in a strong federal system. We need to stop talking about dividing the pie of government power and start designing a new way. We need to ignore the power seekers, the power brokers and the entrenched bureaucrats and start to listen to the people. We need to define our nation's goals and put in place a government structure that can meet these challenges. We do not need to be timid or tied to a definition of democracy that has its roots in British parliamentary traditions. We should explore all forms of representative government and make a model that is ours and ours alone, one that is responsive to all the people, efficient and effective in its distribution of responsibilities among the three levels of government and preserves its integrity by a series of checks and balances. If we are going to talk about a new Canada, a new Confederation and a new deal, then let us do the job right.

I challenge this committee to show the leadership this province and this country needs. Do not use this committee's hearings and its report as a public relations exercise, a way of placating the masses. Stand up for a strong Canada that is not afraid of rebirth. Prepare the agenda for a renewed federalism that the people who elected you can participate in. Ignore your experts and look to your hearts. It may surprise you, but the passion is there. The question is: Will you use it? I hope so.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Russell. I think the challenge you pose to us in your concluding comments is one we all recognize. I hope we can meet it.

Mr Bisson: A very quick question with regard to how we in Ontario feel towards federalism. It is something I am starting to grasp because of the presentations we have been getting. One of the things we say here in Ontario is that we believe strongly in federalism, but we hear in different regions of the country that people put less belief in federalism than we do. Is that maybe a reflection that we have done fairly well by federalism here in Ontario, and some of the other regions of the country, the western part, the north, Quebec, etc, have not felt equally as benefited? Can you respond to that?


Mr Russell: What is your question?

Mr Bisson: I am saying that basically we have done fairly well in Ontario under the federalist system we have now, yet we hear other places in the country, the western provinces, the far north, Quebec, the Maritimes, speak about problems they have with federalism. I am just wondering if you can comment on that, and then I can come to the second part.

Mr Russell: The only thing I can say about that is that I have lived my whole life in Ontario. Two of my sisters left 15 years ago and live in the west. One of the things that irritates me about having any family reunions now is this anti-Ontario thing. I believe I am a Canadian first. I can never remember saying I am an Ontarian. My sisters, the one who lives in BC and the one who lives in Alberta, consider themselves Albertans and British Columbians, which to me are strange, hybrid beasts in a national country. But they have that attitude, I think, because of the disparity of Confederation. Historically, it has been proven -- I cannot use the term "rape," but I think Ontario has done well by Confederation because we are the engine that runs things, and we started it all. So I do not know --

Mr Bisson: But do not --

The Chair: Sorry, Mr Bisson, I am going to move on to the next questioner.

Mr Offer: Thank you, Mr Russell. Running through your brief is the faith in the necessity for a strong central government, but at the same time -- I hope I am not misreading -- the necessity for a redefined form of federalism, be that in a change in some powers and the responsibilities between the province and the federal government.

My question is about something which is not contained in your brief, but I would like to get your opinion on this. We have had a number of people from all parts of the province come before us and talk to us about the usefulness of referendums or plebiscites in reaching out to the population at large in this province. You have spoken about referendums in Quebec, and I am wondering if you might have an opinion about whether there is or is not a place for referendums or plebiscites in Ontario.

Mr Russell: I think there is. When I suggest in my last part of the brief that we rethink Canada, I think we should clean the slate. I think there are too many vested interests. You are elected officials: You have vested interests in your seats, the next election. We have MPs who are in the same position and we have senators who are in the same position. Behind those people we have large federal as well as provincial bureaucracies. They all have vested interests.

I think we should have a referendum to ask the people of Canada: Do we want a country any more, and what form of country should that be? Because whenever I have had a discussion with anybody who has any political background and then I go and compare that to somebody with no political background, it is amazing the difference in their view of it. A person who has no political background will always talk about service and value for the dollar. In other words, what is government to them? It is a vehicle. At the lower level, at the municipal level where I operate, it is something where we get water services or garbage pick-up, or whatever. At the larger level, they look at it as, "You take my income tax," and you people are in between. But it is on that level.

The political -- you always get the obscure answer, you always get the condescending comments, but they are protecting their buns, as far as I am concerned. We have had this Confederation for a long time; it has served us well. I do not think the model is right any more and I do not believe we should be having discussions about changing the shape of federalism without asking the people: Do we want a federal form of government? Do we want a provincial form that is secondary to it? Do we want checks and balances? Do we want a British parliamentary system? I think we have to put the cart in its rightful spot -- put the horse ahead of it. Ask the people what they want.

I understand that Mr Mulroney, as recently as a week ago, suggested that a referendum was out of the question when it comes to the idea of an amending formula. My feeling on that is that we waited three years to get Meech passed. We had how many provincial elections which changed governments, people like you? And we ended up not even getting to that point, because it was not quite right. I think people should have the say before we allow you people to continue with your work.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Russell. We will end there.


The Chair: Could I call next Harry Rudolfs?

Mr Rudolfs: My name is Harry Rudolfs. I am a producer of a public affairs program for a cable station in St Thomas, and I have a videotape to present. This is the covering letter from the videotape.

What is the future of Canada? In response to the troubling issues surrounding the future of our community, Allview Cable of St Thomas made its studio facilities available to those individuals wishing to comment on the problems facing modern Canada. Advertisements were run on the cable channel and a local journalist made mention of this opportunity in the St Thomas Times-Journal. As well, input was sought from the youth of the community, and St Thomas's three public high schools were approached and asked to send representatives. Participants were asked to gather at the station on 7 February 1991 and were each given five minutes before the camera to record their views and to offer constructive solutions.

The resulting one-hour video is a distillation of the opinions of 14 members of the community. Although not a completely scientific survey, we believe this product is a fairly accurate cross-section of the concerns of our region.

A second hour was devoted to a panel discussion with four invited guests. The panelists were chosen because of their expertise on various aspects of the Constitution. The members of the panel were as follows: Wayne Paddon, historian and author of many books on regional history; William Johnson, a well-respected defence counsel and expert in constitutional law; Jennie Jack, a Tlingit Indian, a third-year law student at the University of British Columbia and a native land claims consultant; and John Atkin, an educator and long-time resident of Quebec.

Questions for this group were chosen from the discussion points taken from the Citizens' Forum on Canada's Future and from the discussion paper distributed by the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. The questions dealt with the values of Canadians, what role Quebec has to play in Confederation, bilingualism, the restructuring of the present federalist system and native land claims and aspirations.

It is hoped that by providing a videotape, this committee will be saved time and that the information contained in these tapes is of an efficient and precise nature. Instead of having 18 people making submissions in different packages, our representation can be more easily be tasted as a whole fruit rather than a piece of rind.

As I served as moderator for both these sessions, I feel qualified to briefly summarize some recurring themes. There was a surprising amount of interest in bilingualism. Many people stated that bilingualism and more education could close the gap between the English and French families. As Janet Medlyn said, "Quebec has to accept English Canada and Canada has to accept bilingualism."

At the same time, the rest of Canada cannot be "held hostage," an often-repeated term, by Quebec. Michael Harrison stated, "Canada needs to define the breadth of its expectations," and that if the provinces want a new realignment of power sharing, they have to expect to give up something as well. If rights are extended to one province or region, they have to be applied to them all.

Most people felt that the present federal system is not working. The problem seems to lie in the fact that there is no leadership to define a new Canadian vision, that the people to bring about that change are nowhere on the horizon. There appeared to be a perception that what is needed is regional representation within a strong federalist system. More than one person said that Meech Lake should not be considered an utter failure, but that we should try again with everyone at the table -- without prioritization, I may add. Wayne Paddon mentioned that our present system was put together at a time when we were in a hurry to form a country because of the threat of the US and that it does not work any more and is based on a 17th-century model.

There was much concern that native aspirations have not been addressed. Bill Johnson said in regard to land claims, "The question begs to be asked, why not?"

If there was optimism anywhere, it was with the high school students who felt that the present impasse can be overcome and that Canada will remain one country but that there is a pressing urgency to solve the problems immediately.

On behalf of the citizens of St Thomas-Elgin and Allview Cable, it is hoped that this committee's work will lead to a speedy resolution of Canada's present growing pains. We hope that these recorded video images will be part of that healing process. We would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to us.

I hope one of your researchers gets hold of that tape or you can watch it in your hotel rooms or something.


The Chair: Thank you very much, first of all, Mr Rudolfs, to you and to Allview Cable for taking this initiative. I think on behalf of the committee that we appreciate that. The fact that a service like a cable company would take on this kind of initiative, I think warrants well for all of us. I do not know if there are any questions on anything you have said. We will provide an opportunity for members of the committee to view the tape.

Mr Malkowski: Just a brief question.

The Chair: Sorry, there is a brief question.

Mr Malkowski: I am just wondering, does that video happen to be closed-captioned?

Mr Rudolfs: No, it is not; sorry. We never even thought of that, you know. That is one of those things that bears thinking about certainly, though, if Canada is going to stay together.

Mr Malkowski: Yes, the possibility for future consideration.


The Chair: Okay, I understand that the London Native Rights Support Group is now here -- Harold Koehler and June MacLaurin, and Dan Smoke, I guess, is also joining them.

Mr Koehler: I would like to first congratulate the commission for its perseverance in its treks across the province. I am sure you are weary with this process, but we beg you to give us your attention.

We are ashamed of the shabby treatment that has been accorded the first nations in Canada. The situation in Ontario is perhaps not as heinous as in some other jurisdictions. Nevertheless we welcome the opportunity to offer some suggestions for according justice to the people of Ontario's first nations.

Because there will be continuing discussions on Canada's Constitution arising from the demise of the Meech Lake accord, we call on the government of Ontario to demand in the strongest possible terms that due recognition be given to the first nations in the Canadian Constitution, and that they be accorded the courtesy and respect which is due to the gracious hosts to the guests who sojourn in their land.

You may wonder what the London Native Rights Support Group is. We are a group of citizens in London who probably, like myself, were very interested in native rights for a number of years, but as a result of the Oka events of 1990 we were inflamed and motivated to get together. We formed an organization in co-operation with the N'Amerind (London) Friendship Centre.

With these events as a mobilizer, we have had a number of meetings and the goals of our group are cross-cultural and educational awareness. With regard to the goal for education, it is to promote in the non-native community better understanding and co-operation with the native peoples. The goal of cross-cultural awareness is to unify the skills and resources of native and non-native people to assist the first nations in their pursuit of self-determination.

Now we know you have heard many submissions about the French and English languages and the condition about Quebec and the condition about the west, but we would like to focus on the native people of America and Canada.

The 20th century has a long and bitter history of annexation. Japan in Manchuria in 1932, Germany in the Saarland in 1935, Italy in Ethiopia in 1936, Germany in Austria in March 1938, Germany in Czechoslovakia in September 1938, the USSR in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in 1940, China in Tibet in 1959, the USA in South Vietnam in 1965, Israel in Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt in 1967, Indonesia in East Timor in 1975, the USSR in Afghanistan in 1979 and Iraq in Kuwait in 1990.

These are all considered to be international crimes and only in the last has the United Nations decided to evict the aggressor, and George Bush, the President of the United States, is the hero of the piece.

Should we cast our glance back five centuries we would find that annexation was the most popular European parlour sport. This annexation was not limited to tiny states but extended to subcontinents and even many continents. There was no League of Nations or United Nations to protest. Divine right of kings ruled and European nations were too busy with their feet in the trough to protest.

Four continents were annexed and the invaders have not been driven out to this day. In most cases the aboriginal peoples were subjected to atrocities of various dimensions. Other escapades have resulted in inestimable human suffering in China, India, Indochina, the Philippines, Palestine, many parts of Africa and perhaps worst of all in South Africa. While the hero of the Gulf war chastises Saddam Hussein for his intransigence and brutality, the western movies glorify the massacre of the first nations. Meanwhile America's aboriginal people suffer under the yoke from Cape Horn to James Bay and Alaska, and everywhere in between.

We regret the injustices of the past. We cite them only in some way to explain our indignation. It is impudent to demand that the Europeans get out of America and leave the administration of those beautiful lands to the first nations who lived here in an unpolluted Garden of Eden until they were civilized and assimilated. It is time that the annexing nations repent and begin to pay the reparations. Our rent is due and we would like to offer some constructive suggestions to pay the bill.

Recommendation: "Two founding nations" is inappropriate language for Canada's Constitution. Use instead "first nations, French and English."

Recommendation: The first nations should be fully involved in the process of revising the Constitution, and fully consulted and involved in any programs which affect native peoples.

With regard to sovereignty and self-government, the first nations inhabited America for thousands of years before the Europeans came to these shores. These nations maintained their government without aid and hence were sovereign and self-governing.

The first legislation I have any record of was the royal proclamation of 1763. Bruce Clark, in his book, quotes:

"The right of a race to govern itself is bound up with the territory over which they have control. Historically that territory was identified as a residual category of land, being, `such parts of our dominions and territories as, not having been ceded to them or purchased by us, are reserved to them, or any of them, as their hunting grounds.' The proclamation further enacted that the natives `should not be molested or disturbed' upon `their hunting grounds,' until they sold `their' lands to the crown."

That was the legislation. That is what the King said in 1763. I am not sure what jurisdiction the King had to deal with the lands of America, but at least these proclamations were made to guide his governors and the governments that had been set up in what we now know as Canada.

In the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 25:

"The guarantee in this charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal people of Canada including (a) any rights or freedoms that have been" proclaimed "by the royal proclamation of October 7, 1763; and (b) any rights or freedoms that may be acquired by the aboriginal peoples of Canada by way of land claims settlement."

Also in the Constitution Act, section 35:

"Rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada:

"(1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed."

We have a clear statement from the earliest acts of the British in the northern part of North America pertaining to the rights and freedoms of the native people.

It is indeed unfortunate that the existence of legislation does not of itself ensure that justice will be done. If unclear language is used for political reasons to ensure its adoption, so that vested interests will have leverage to exploit and control, justice is not done. Administration by incompetent or corrupt officials is regrettable, and should be punished and adjusted. Unwise policies of assimilation and enfranchisement have not served our first nations well and should be discontinued. It may be true that such miscarriage of justice can be righted by the courts, but the lack of funds to pay legal fees makes this road unacceptable to first nations. Their unfamiliarity with English ways and laws are a further hazard. We are quick to charge other administrations with running kangaroo courts and we should be wary that our jurisprudence does not fall into that category."


Recommendation: The Constitution of Canada should be written in clear language without dependence on complex references or legal precedents to give the first nations their sovereign rights and the self-government with which they were privileged at the time of annexation; that is, in 1492.

Recommendation: Competent legal assistance should be made available as a matter of right to native peoples whenever governments, corporations or individuals oppress them. The rule of innocence until guilt is proven should be extended to the provision of legal assistance for the protection of that innocence.

Recommendation: The federal government should increase the responsibility and autonomy of native nations to full sovereignty so that the incentives for economic development and efficient fiscal management may be realized. The responsibility for making equalization payments in exchange for the privilege of Canada sharing the use of these lands and resources of the first nations should be acknowledged and implemented.

Native nations were sought out as military allies early in our history and they supported the British cause in the American War of Independence and in the War of 1812. European scourges of smallpox, firearms, alcohol, industrialization, commercialization, pollution and depletion of resources have weighed heavily on the native peoples. They are fighting back on all fronts. The present condition is proof that our ways have not worked. We call on you to get used to doing things their way. A reversal of roles is long overdue.

Much has been said recently in the present international struggles about human rights. The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes, "Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law."

Further at article 17: "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."

Article 23(1): "Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment."

Recommendation: Since some of the cited articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have not been extended to Canada's native people, either now or in the past, we recommend that in future these rights as well as others covered by the declaration be fully accorded to the native people in Canada.

I would now like to introduce June MacLaurin who will continue our presentation.

Ms MacLaurin: Thank you, Harold. I am going to be covering education next.

Band-operated schools which represent an educational system run by aboriginal people seem to serve aboriginal children better. Where aboriginal people have been able to assume responsibility for the education of their children, the results are positive with higher attendance levels, increased high school graduates and success rates.

The public school system still tries to socialize aboriginal students into believing that in order to succeed in this world Indian students have to surrender their Indianness, that their culture is an interesting historical curiosity but has little vitality and no relevance in today's world.

The lack of appropriate aboriginal educational materials in public school systems in Canada has resulted in an appalling level of ignorance on the part of non-aboriginal people about the past and current state of affairs of aboriginal people in Canada. Ignorance leads to misunderstanding which in turn leads almost inevitably to intolerance, prejudice and racism.

For aboriginal students to succeed and become full members of society, they must have an identity firmly anchored in the cultural world of their own people, while at the same time gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the larger one.

There are three recommendations here that we make.

Recommendation: Ensure the right of native nations to establish and control their own schools and educational programs.

Recommendation: Develop and provide educational materials that accurately depict aboriginal culture, history and reality. Educators must demand such materials and require that they be used in both native and public schools, instead of having the same old history books tell us about -- they do not go into the beautiful native culture that is there. It is the same thing, I guess, with the black culture. There has to be more input into the schools about native history.

Recommendation -- which I think is really a good one: Promote a program on native issues in your universities and community colleges in many disciplines including education, anthropology, economics, health, sociology, law, religion and especially environmental studies, as we all know native people have the very land base and closeness to the earth and they could teach us a lot about how to help with the environment.

The second part I am going to deal with is health care. Health and social service programs for native nations are more effective if provided and administered by native people. The importance of health care is apparent from the poor health of native peoples. The high death rates, infant mortality and rates of admission to hospitals are indicative of this need.

Recommendation: Native nations should have the right to design and administer their own health and social service programs. Traditional native healers should be encouraged to work together with western medicine where they are appropriate and effective, and native nations could subcontract out to hospitals. Native people really do have a wonderful holistic approach to medicine and they could definitely benefit by using this with their own people.

The third part I am going to deal with is short. It is official languages. Although much has been said about the availability of English and French, it is just as frustrating for native people to attempt to make their needs known in a language which is not their own. There are over 50 native languages in Canada and a solution is not easy. They say only three of them will probably survive: Cree, Inuit and Ojibway. This is perhaps one of the most cogent reasons for providing for self-government for the native nations. In that way most of the regulations with government can be conducted in the local language.

Recommendation: Selected items of government information should be made available in native languages of Cree, Inuit and Ojibway.

Recommendation: Policing and administration of justice should be a responsibility of native nations with the possible exception of trials for the most severe offences.

I am next going to pass it over to Dan Smoke.

Mr Smoke: Good afternoon.

[Remarks in native language]

I am Snipe Clan, Seneca Nation, First Nation, Six Nations Grand River, presently living here in London. I am going to be talking on spirituality and culture and I will be talking to hunting and fishing rights and Ontario initiatives.

Spirituality and culture: From sea to sea the nations of the aboriginal peoples have a heritage of kinship with the Creator, a respect for the Mother Earth who gives them life, food and shelter. Their prophets include the Peacemaker who brought the Five Nations together in peace and harmony. He gave them the great law of peace which includes 114 Wampums, which means it must exceed the 10 Commandments in length because it includes not only a moral code but also a code for the internal self government of the nation and for peaceful inter-nation negotiations.

Just as the land is expansive, so the customs and traditions are varied. The Great Spirit has many forms based on the teachings that are passed down by the elders from generation to generation. These depend on the very needs for food and shelter from the frozen north to the mountain valleys to the great plains, the forests and the sea coasts, and revelation has not yet ceased.

The eagle feather, a symbol of honour to note the communion with the Great Spirit for ages came into the ken of the nation with TV coverage of the demise of Meech Lake in the Manitoba Legislature when Elijah Harper held it during his historical no.


The native spirituality way is the tradition of brotherhood, community, peace with mankind, yea, even with the European explorers, and peace with the environment. That is the native way: not the message of a savage, but the message of a saviour. Shame on the errors of your forefathers who outlawed the native spiritual practices, banned the powwow and the potlatch, while at the same time they stole their land, their livelihood and their self-esteem. Culture is not static. It does not stop growing simply because it encounters another culture. It grows and adapts itself to the changing environment.

We are unable in this scenario to give full credit to the warmth and power of the native spirituality. The poems, stories and documentaries in The Phoenix, which you have before you, give a better sample. Better still, obtain a videotape of Drums or The Spirit Within, and view them. The story, the song, the music, the spiritual message and the determination to overcome the social obstacles that confront our first nations are powerfully portrayed.

Hunting and fishing rights: Since many aboriginal people obtain their livelihood from hunting and fishing, it is essential that their right to do so be continued. Rivers and lakes need to be protected from mining and industrial pollutants so that the fish will be edible without harming the health of those who live off of them. The habitat of the animals must not be destroyed by deforestation or flooding by hydroelectric projects. Tourist operations which tend to deplete the stocks of fish and game must be carefully monitored to ensure that the benefits of the tourist trade to the native peoples outweigh the damage.

Recommendation: The right of aboriginal people to hunt, fish, trap and harvest without interference must be protected. Regulations to prevent unacceptable depletion must be under the control of the first nations affected, by the administration vehicles of their self-government.

Ontario initiatives: It may be a long time before we see new constitutional improvements. Ontario is to be congratulated on the conclusion of joint native, provincial and federal agreements in southeastern Ontario. We would encourage Ontario to give high priority to the negotiation of arrangements like this or like what the governments have with Sechelt, the Cree-Naskapi models and Ontario's first nations.

Mr Koehler to my right, one of the members of our committee, met with Gordon Peters of the Chiefs of Ontario on 15 January 1981 regarding possible provincial initiatives. Chief Peters indicated that the native nations are ready and, as a concrete witness, he supplied copies of a protocol ratified by the Ontario chiefs in assembly as follows:

Adoption of statement of relationship. Statement of relationship: Principles to guide discussions between the first nations in Ontario and the Crown in right of Ontario, 1990. These documents are appended for your information.

The first nations council report to the 16th annual all-Ontario chiefs' conference, held 23-27 July 1990, contains aspirations and recommendations on nationhood, language, leadership, traditional territories, community development and internal and external relationships.

The Six Nations elders tell a story that underlies the background of the treaty represented by the two-row wampum. It is a string of two rows of equal beads, running side by side like two vessels travelling together down the river of life. One of the strings represents the European culture, the other the Iroquois culture. The two-row wampum is endless, meaning that new beads can be woven on, representing new generations that will live together in harmony. The treaty intended that the two cultures be respected and honoured, each in its own way, without assimilation. Anyone trying to straddle the two ways of life, that is, one foot on each vessel, will fall into the river. The assimilation policy of the federal Department of Indian affairs has resulted in our native brothers and sisters being lost between these two vessels.

Epilogue: The existence of your commission attests to the wide diversity in opinions in Canada: French and English, urban and rural, east and west. The first nations in Canada similarly have a wide range of views, and to deal with them will require patience and perseverance. We ask you not to despair. With faith, hope and charity and a modicum of the brotherhood and desire for peace espoused by the Iroquois great law of peace, we are convinced that a new renaissance dawns.

Thank you. Any questions?

The Chair: Thank you very much. We actually are beyond the time that we had allocated, so we are not going to be able to deal with questions. But I do appreciate, and I think I speak on behalf of the committee, the presentation you have given us, an extensive array of concerns that we need to address. I thank you for the detail to which you have gone in providing us with some of these suggestions.


The Chair: Next is Pauline McCabe. Come forward, please. If you would just give these to the clerk, we will get them distributed while you are speaking to us. Go ahead.

Mrs Faubert-McCabe: Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs et membres du comité consultatif.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen and members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. My name is Pauline Faubert-McCabe. I am the wife of Philip McCabe, mother of Benjamin, Nicholas and Rory McCabe, and a French consultant with the London and Middlesex County Roman Catholic School Board.

I wish to thank the members of this committee for the opportunity to present my point of view on issues that have affected me as a Canadian citizen and that will no doubt further impact on me and my family in the very near future.

The events of this past summer marked me in a very disturbing way. The failure of the Meech Lake accord left me feeling betrayed by my leaders and the subsequent events at Oka in Quebec left me feeling ashamed. Now the province of Quebec is issuing an ultimatum: either we agree to its wish list or it will set out to leave Confederation.

What has happened to us as a people, that we should act in such a self-centred way? I view my country as I view my family. The federal government, my parents, has the responsibility of seeing that certain values and principles are maintained and that the provinces, like children, have to accept that we as a family have common goals. Just as in a family we cannot be focusing entirely on individual needs, so will the provinces have to accept that compromises will be necessary to ensure the collective good. The federal government has to set the tone and clearly articulate those things that we value and accept as Canadians. It must identify those elements that we as a people and a nation stand for in Confederation.


Examples of these principles might include: that consideration be given to the needs of all Canadians from British Columbia to Newfoundland, to the Yukon, to Quebec; that bilingualism is a cornerstone of our society and it must continue to be supported; that our system of social programs remain intact; that such traditions as the monarchy be relegated to our past and that we concentrate on celebrating Canada in the future; that the aboriginal people be invited to participate more fully in our country and take on a more positive and active role as Canadians; that Quebec stop looking to the rest of Canada to understand it and begin by trying to appreciate where the rest of Canada is coming from; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms be accepted by all Canadians as the law of the land.

Who will be our hero or heroine? Who will inspire us to focus less on individual rights and more on our obligations? Who will be able to speak to and for the whole country? Who will have the courage to use tough love with Quebec and not be held for ransom? Who will help Quebec see the rest of Canada's point of view? Who will have the honour of protecting Quebec's linguistic and cultural heritage? Who will draw us together again as one? Who will sincerely commit to leading our Canadian family?

Perhaps the time has come to look for the hero in all of us. We as Canadians have remained complacent for too long. Ontario, because of its close ties with Quebec, is best positioned to take the lead. Historically, geographically and economically we have enjoyed a close relationship with Quebec. Because of this advantage Ontario must now relate Quebec's needs to the rest of Canada. Ontario must also devote time to developing a stronger, more positive relationship with the western and eastern provinces. We have recently overlooked their concerns. They too feel isolated and misunderstood. They too are speaking of separation.

Ontario must review with all parties those values that we stand for as Canadians. If necessary, Ontario may have to go the extra mile and declare our province bilingual, but having done that, Quebec has to understand that enough is enough. They must not be allowed to put their provincial needs before the country's collective needs. They must not be allowed to dictate their needs at our expense. We are in this together and, if necessary, strong measures must be used to remind Quebeckers of their responsibilities to their fellow Canadians. Quebec must never think that for one moment we would ever allow them to leave. Separation is simply not an acceptable alternative.

D'après la légende, mes ancêtres ont quitté la France au dix-septième siècle pour le Canada à la recherche d'une meilleure vie. Arrivés au Québec, ils cherchèrent des terres fertiles. Malheureusement, les belles terres étaient déjà prises. Découragés, ils rencontrèrent le père Bréboeuf qui les invita à le suivre jusqu'au Grands Lacs et encore un peu plus au sud vers la région de Chatham, le long de la rivière Thames. Mes ancêtres ont passé leur premier hiver parmi les autochtones déjà établis là. Au printemps, ces premiers pionniers français se sont oeuvrés à la tâche d'établir une petite communauté française qui serait reconnue plus tard sous le nom de Paincourt. Aujourd'hui, la paroisse de Paincourt existe toujours. Mon père et mes frères travaillent toujours sur la terre.

How is it that such a small French community has managed to survive after so many years in southwestern Ontario and maintain its linguistic and cultural identity? I believe that reason prevailed long ago, just as it will today. The two groups restated those basic principles that made them different, yet the same. Out of respect and a sense of fairness it was determined that each would maintain its identity and work together in harmony. Today the community continues to flourish. Can we not as a country learn something here?

C'est le temps d'agir ; carpe diem. Let us seize the day, for we are rich and resourceful as a people and a nation. Thank you. Merci.

The Chair: Merci à vous, Madame. Are there questions of the speaker? All I have to do is ask. Mr Offer.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much and thank you for your presentation. You have spoken about the need to build a relationship, a spirit, a harmony, between Ontario and Quebec, and that in itself may be the link or the bridge to keep the country together. Recognizing that there are currently discussions going on between Quebec and the federal government, I am wondering whether you feel -- and it was not in the presentation -- that there is the latitude within this province and in the rest of the country to redefine the federalism of the country, to redefine some of the roles and the responsibilities between the federal and the provincial governments.

Mrs Faubert-McCabe: Could you give me an example? I am not sure I quite understand.

Mr Offer: I will give you an example. Basically there are certain responsibilities which are provincial in nature, others which are federal. Right now there is discussion between Quebec and Ottawa that says that the province of Quebec should have a larger responsibility, deal with some of those powers provincially which are now federal. Do you see that as something which we in Ontario should be looking at, to accommodate some of the needs and desires of Quebec or something else? How else do we help bridge Ontario to Quebec and the rest of the provinces?

Mrs Faubert-McCabe: I guess I feel that Ontario and Quebec are very favoured in that they have already established many of these bridges in a very strong relationship. Upon reflecting a little bit, and I have to concede that I am not totally familiar with the division of powers between federal and provincial, it occurred to me that elements that would have to do with culture, with education, should really be given completely to the provinces so that they can fully maintain their identity and their outlook, whereas certain things that would pertain specifically to all Canadians, such as a health care system, I firmly believe should remain more in the hands of the federal government.

I feel that as Ontarians we really should assume more of a leadership role in trying to pull everyone together. We are situated very favourably to do that and we have been working very hard, I feel, with Quebec to bring about an understanding. But there are other people in this country, other provinces that perhaps might take offence to our being so preoccupied at times with Quebec. Quebec is obviously the squeaky wheel right now and it is getting a lot of attention, and rightly so in some ways, but I have to feel that we must not forget about the other provinces. I think we have to bring them on line as well, to try to appreciate those things that Quebec values and feels very strongly about, yet at the same time Quebec must appreciate those things that we as Canadians value and are not prepared to compromise either.

I really feel that as Ontarians perhaps we can be Quebec's spokesperson. If nothing else, they have a good ally in us that way. On the other hand, they must really stop this extremely aggressive rhetoric and this constant ultimatum-setting they are always doing. They are in this with us. We started out together. We are going to finish that way, I hope. We just have to make them as well appreciate where we are coming from.


The Chair: Thank you very much. We will end there.

Mrs Faubert-McCabe: Did you have a question?

The Chair: They did, but we are not going to be able to carry on with all their questions, otherwise we will not get through all the speakers.


The Chair: Could I invite next from the University of Western Ontario Society of Graduate Students, Astrid Heyer.

Ms Heyer: Bonjour mesdames, messieurs, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Astrid Heyer. I would like to like to talk to you about international student issues and their relevance to the Confederation question. The international student issue is a multi-faceted one and this brief presentation will focus on the need for a national policy for international students.

I myself am an international graduate student at the University of Western Ontario. My country of origin is West Germany, where I studied French and English at the Free University of West Berlin. I am currently pursuing a doctoral degree in French in London, and this year I am also serving as the president of the society of graduate students.

When I was invited to appear before your committee the question arose: In what way are international students linked to questions of Confederation? In 1981 I had the opportunity to spend a year as an exchange student at Laval University in Quebec City. Immersing myself in Canadian culture, I read Hugh MacLennan's Two Solitudes, a title which more than ever today seems to reflect Canada's dilemma.

In a way, international students are also caught between two solitudes, which are, however, neither cultural nor linguistic. I am talking about two other solitudes, the federal and provincial governments. Let me explain. Policy towards the education of international students involves a typically Canadian predicament: Constitutional responsibility for education lies in the hands of provincial governments; foreign aid, as well as employment and immigration, are federal functions. This is very confusing for international students as they depend on two different jurisdictions.

To the international community, Canada has the reputation of being one country with two official languages being fluently spoken in all parts of the country. I guess I do not have to tell you that the reality is rather different. Once an international student passes the federal requirements to obtain a student visa, he or she will find a peculiar financial arrangement that differs from one province to another. Seven out of 10 provinces charge differential tuition fees and these differ quite dramatically from province to province.

Before I give you some background on the history of differential fees, there is the legitimate question of why Canada should strive to educate international students. Do we really need them or does Canada really need them? Among those who have researched the issues are the Ontario Federation of Students, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Canadian Bureau for International Education, only to name a few. Among these groups there is no doubt that Canada benefits enormously, both inside and outside the educational community, through the presence of visa students at all levels of education. Though many of these benefits are of a long-term or intangible nature, it is clear that international students are valuable educational, political and economic resources for Canada. By the same token, the approximately 20,000 Canadians studying abroad increase the international status of Canada in political, cultural, educational and economic terms.

Visa students must be regarded as an integral part of any balanced system of education. Fostering international exchange is essential for maintaining Canada's role in the research and development of the global marketplace. According to the Ontario Federation of Students, Canada cannot afford to project a climate of educational protectionism at a time when the world is becoming increasingly interdependent. In the area of post-secondary education there should be nothing more irrelevant than national boundaries, especially when the right mix of domestic and visa students is essential for maintaining the integrity and standards of Canada's post-secondary education system. As a country, as a Confederation, Canada must examine the issues affecting international students within the context of foreign policy concerns as well as the long-term development of education policy. In my opinion the provincial and federal governments must co-operate in forming a long-term national policy on international students in Canada.

If we quickly look at the development of enrolment of international students, you will notice that during the last decade there was a dramatic decline in numbers. Going back to the late 1950s and mid-1960s the growth in post-secondary institutions was based on the notion that the Canadian and Ontario governments as well as the general public supported the philosophy of increased accessibility to higher education. The ideal was that all academically qualified students should have the right to post-secondary education. Canadians as well as visa students wishing to study in Canada did in fact benefit from this expansion. Until the mid-1960s there were more Canadians who studied and received degrees abroad than visa students in Canada. However, by the late 1960s Canada became a net beneficiary of the international exchange in post-secondary education. This upward trend continued throughout the 1970s, and then, as you may well remember, in the late 1970s differential fees were introduced by the provincial governments. In Ontario, even with the introduction of differential fees in 1977 for universities, the visa student enrolment continued to climb, reaching the highwater mark of 18,747 students in 1982-83.

However, and I will quote from a study done by the OFS research department:

"In the early 1980s, Canada experienced a precipitous 23% drop in the number of international students at the post-secondary level, with the most dramatic decrease of 18% occurring at the university level. Ontario, the largest net importer of visa students, with its massive 40% increase in differential fees in 1982-83, experienced the most dramatic decline in visa student enrolment. At the same time those provinces which have refrained from charging differential fees" -- and those are Manitoba and Newfoundland and Saskatchewan -- "registered significant increases in visa student enrolment between 1983-85. Ontario's differential fee increase was imposed at a time when Canada was experiencing an economic recession" -- and many international students fear right now that another big increase may come our way -- "and the user-pay philosophy for post-secondary education had gained considerable support from many sectors of the population. Canada's post-secondary institutions were losing the essential services battle, and within this context visa students became an easy scapegoat."

For every year between 1983-84 and 1987-88, total international student enrolment in Canada declined each year. This decline has been most marked in undergraduate university enrolment. It appears that this very disturbing trend has been halted in 1988-89, although there was still significant concern about the levels of international student enrolment in Canada. There is a continuing need to focus attention on the numbers of international students here, because despite the increase in 1989, there are now 40% fewer international students at the undergraduate level than there were 10 years ago. This means that international students now make up only 3.2% of the total Canadian undergraduate population, the lowest level ever. Similarly at the graduate level, master's enrolment levels are only now returning to levels which existed in the early 1970s.


Although it is difficult to attribute the downward trend in visa student enrolment exclusively to escalating differential fees, statistics clearly indicate that such fees are the largest contributing factor. At present, international students have to pay anywhere from 1.5 to 13 times the tuition that domestic students pay. I can give you an example. Until May 1989 the University of Western Ontario here in London charged differential fees for a full-time international student amounting to $9,168 compared to $1,793 a Canadian student has to pay.

In May of that year, the university announced for the first time a widely appreciated discount for the third-term fee, which is now reduced to $1,300. This, however -- it should be noted -- only applies to international graduate students, not to students in undergraduate programs.

One positive step was taken in Ontario to stop the decline of international students. In 1987 the Ministry of Colleges and Universities provided $5 million province-wide to waive differential tuition fees for 1,000 highly qualified graduate students. That means these students now pay the same amount as Canadians. At the University of Western Ontario, among the 321 currently enrolled international graduate students, 100 were chosen to receive the fee waiver.

Related to the differential fee issue is the lack of a coherent policy at the federal and provincial levels on international students. The result of such a -- let's call it -- policy vacuum is, for example, the wide variance of differential fees charged in the different provinces. With regard to Canadian and provincial policies on visa students, they can be described at best as ambivalent. The Canadian Council of Ministers of Education stated in 1986 that the lack of a coherent policy is confusing "and harmful to foreign students, wasteful of resources and ultimately detrimental to Canada."

Unfortunately, yes, on the international scale Canada fares rather poorly. In a 1989 report which analyses levels of support for international students in France, Germany, Britain, Australia, Japan and Canada, Canada ranks last in terms of support for international education. France, at the top, charges international students the equivalent of only $90 and spends approximately $1.4 billion each year. Germany does not charge tuition fees at all and spends $630 million. In comparison, Canada spends $60 million.

The Chair: Ms Heyer, could you sum up? We are getting towards the end of the time.

Ms Heyer: Clearly this absence of an active long-term national policy on visa students has opened the doors to the levying of excessive differential fees at the provincial level. Visa student policies seem to be contingent year in and year out on the various funding situations facing Canada's provincially run post-secondary institutions. Provincial governments have complained for years, and I think this government will be no exception, that they are not receiving sufficient funds from Ottawa to pay for the costs of educating visa students, forcing them in effect to charge differential fees. International students are being caught between Ottawa and the provinces and the result of this catch-22 is that very many international students go to other countries rather than Canada to pursue their education.

I would like, to briefly sum up, to ask this government to try to come to an arrangement with the federal government to develop this national policy and also make sure you have international accessibility so that you get academically qualified students and not financially attractive ones. International students often feel they do not have the right to voice their concerns. They are very shy and they are also very grateful to be here and have the opportunity to study in this country.

Just on a personal note, I would like to add that I hope you will be successful in your efforts to maintain and create a Canada which could have a model character for the rest of the world in which values such as tolerance, co-existence and acceptance can be realized. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Heyer. We are going to move on, given the number of speakers we still have to hear from.

On that note, I want to say we have less than an hour left because we need to vacate these premises for other events and also because we need to move to our next location in Kitchener. We have five, possibly six, presentations still to go. Quite frankly, the only way we are going to accommodate those is with a combination of no questions or very short questions, and also, from the presenters, very short presentations. We will go through a few more and see if we need to go to our last-resort measure of maximum times. We may have to do that.


The Chair: Could I call next Pauline Cousineau of Femmes du Sud de l'Ontario, section du comité de Middlesex et London.

Mme Cousineau : Messieurs, mesdames, au nom du comité de London, du réseau des Femmes du Sud de l'Ontario, nous voulons remercier le comité Silipo de nous avoir donné l'occasion d'ajouter nos commentaires sur le sujet du rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération.

Le réseau a pour but d'établir une liste de personnel francophone travaillant pour des agences sociocommunautaires pour aider les femmes qui sont victimes de la violence familiale. Un autre objectif est de faire des démarches auprès des conseils scolaires catholique et public afin de vérifier l'existence de programmes préventifs pour nos enfants. Étant un nouveau groupe dans la région de London, nous sommes déçues du manque de services offerts dans les deux langues officielles du Canada. Nos appels à beaucoup d'agences dont la femme qui est victime de violences a besoin nous ont aidées à découvrir qu'il n'y avait presque personne pour nous parler en français. Lorsqu'une personne francophone est prise d'une crise, c'est très difficile de s'exprimer en sa langue et presque impossible en anglais.

Comme membres du comité, nous croyons que l'Ontario devrait devenir une province bilingue afin de pouvoir offrir tous ses services en français et en anglais. Les francophones de London ne demeurent pas dans une ville déclarée bilingue, alors nous n'avons pas la chance de faire nos entreprises commerciales en français. Ce sont nos droits comme citoyens fondateurs du Canada de recevoir ces services en français.

À London, nous demandons le pouvoir de nous réunir dans un centre où l'on peut jaser en français, où l'on peut se sentir chez soi, où l'on peut être reconnu comme un organisme qui existe et non seulement comme un numéro de téléphone. Lorsque nous regardons London, on s'aperçoit que cette ville représente le Canada sans la province du Québec. Les francophones sont répandus à travers la ville, n'ayant aucune concentration dans un quartier, alors nous n'avons pas de centre où l'on peut se réunir pour développer notre sens de communauté. Nous sommes comme un peuple sans pays. Nous avons des droits, mais depuis longtemps nous n'osons pas les demander à cause de peur d'affronter les Anglais. Nous ne voulons pas perdre notre identité francophone, alors depuis une dizaine d'années nous luttons pour être reconnues comme des personnes qui ont autant de droits que les communautés anglophone et autochtones.

C'est avec plus d'éducation de nos jeunes gens, avec plus de réunions et d'ateliers que nous pouvons continuer à lutter pour nos droits, pour notre héritage. Nous savons que la plupart des environnements de travail ont comme langue officielle l'anglais. Mais si beaucoup plus de personnes hors du Québec sont encouragées à parler français, peut-être que bientôt le français deviendrait aussi utilisé que l'anglais.

En conclusion, nous voulons vous demander de continuer à travailler avec le reste du Canada afin que le Québec ne se sépare pas. Le Canada est rendu à une époque très sensible. Il faut se rappeler que la richesse qu'offre le Québec est immense, non seulement monétairement mais aussi en talents. En gardant le Québec dans la Confédération, nous pouvons demeurer un pays uni devant les autres pays. Nous devons continuer à bâtir notre pays dont nous sommes très fiers. Merci.


The Chair: Darlene Cliche-Parker.

Ms Cliche-Parker: For those of you who would like to put your translating devices on, my preamble is in French.

Monsieur le Président, membres du comité, mesdames et messieurs, je tiens premièrement à vous remercier de cette occasion de venir me prononcer sur l'avenir de mon pays, de ma province et celui de mon peuple. J'avais le choix entre la commission Silipo, la commission Spicer ou la commission Tréva Cousineau. Je comprends très bien l'importance de mes paroles et j'ai choisi de me prononcer devant cette commission avec des députés élus et non nommés, puisque tous et chacun ont une influence sur les autres députés et le pouvoir d'exécuter des changements à la loi.

Vous êtes un nouveau gouvernement qui s'est déjà prononcé dans plusieurs domaines, très favorablement, si je peux faire le commentaire. Je n'ai cependant pas de discours à donner aux francophones car c'est prêcher aux convertis. Je dois vous informer que la minorité linguistique, qu'elle soit francophone et située en Ontario ou au Saskatchewan, qu'elle soit anglophone et vit au lac Saint-Jean ou dans la ville de Montréal, ses membres se comprennent très bien entre eux et c'est exactement ce qu'il leur faut pour assurer leur survie. Alors, comme l'autochtone fait son discours dans la langue de la majorité pour que rien ne se perde dans la traduction, je vais faire la même chose, puisque c'est à la majorité anglophone que je vais adresser ces paroles.


I am Darlene Cliche-Parker, a 13th-generation Canadian of Irish and French heritage and a francophone. I am a former president of the Association française de London. I was the spokesperson for the French-speaking ratepayers in this city with regard to the first public French-language school, and Dianne Cunningham can attest to this. I was a member of the committee to establish the first French separate elementary school. When it came time to make the legal request for the first French secondary school, I was the spokesperson. I was chair of the French-language advisory committee at the London Board of Education and have also been involved with the community at large and with my co-workers in my workplace, having been involved with my union.

What is Ontario's role in Confederation? What are the values that we share? What are the roles of our federal and provincial governments? How do French and English play a part in Canada? How can Ontario improve its contribution to the economy? These are questions I am going to address.

We have to look at our country in its reality, look at the makeup of the province and see how we can improve our way of life and our contribution to the society in which we live. The multicultural aspect of Canada is not one to be questioned. This is a fact that we must accept as reality. Each culture brings to the country a richness that cannot be found elsewhere, and our policy of multiculturalism demonstrates that we as Canadians appreciate that diversity. It may also help to offset the blandness and conservatism of which we Canadians are so often accused. This ethnic diversity is absorbed into either of our two official language groups, depending on which province it chooses to live in.

I have, however, become very concerned with the events which have taken place at these hearings with speakers trying to demolish the liberties we enjoy as Canadians, instead of elaborating on improvements we might envisage to our present arrangement. I watch the news at night and feel great anxiety when I hear that many speakers are objecting to the very richness of our country and our province and are proposing a complete reversal of the values upon which our country was built. They seem to have forgotten that without the co-operation of both linguistic groups and the native peoples, our ancestors would not have survived the harshness of this country.

Upper Canada and Lower Canada had a basic understanding that both language groups had a right to coexist and enjoy an equal number of services. As we expanded and increased the number of provinces, the balance of linguistic groups changed and unfortunately so did the thinking of the linguistic majority. As we increased our immigration without ensuring that the new arrivals were sensitized to our unique history and alliance, some of these linguistic rights were crushed.

The survival of the linguistic minority is dependent upon three vital areas: access to education, to media and to social services. We need not dwell on when and how linguistic rights have been legislated out of existence throughout our country, but only on how in recent years positive changes have come about. In 1969 the Official Languages Act came into being, giving Canadians the right to be served in the official language of their choice in federal government offices from coast to coast.

In Ontario in 1969 we gained the right to secondary school education in French. This enabled communities throughout Ontario to approach their local school boards to implore them to enable our children to continue their education in their mother tongue. In some areas this was very difficult to achieve, and in southwestern Ontario one community waited 10 years until the provincial government finally intervened.

The area of community development which I chose to involve myself with is education, because I feel it is the cornerstone of our survival. We are presently looking at the feasibility of a secondary French-language community school. However, to enable French-speaking Ontarians to fully contribute to the maximum of their potential, one must look at the necessity of the establishment of French-language community colleges and a French university, with perhaps satellite campuses throughout the province. One cannot expect a French-speaking person to be a fully participating member of our Ontario society when French post-secondary education is not available.

In addition, to ensure harmony and prevent confrontations, when the needs of the community are not understood by the English-speaking majority, the whole decision-making process must be put under the control of French-speaking ratepayers through the establishment of French-language school boards. This is a right the English-speaking minority in Quebec enjoys. Is it too much to ask?

The largest source of information and entertainment today is television. We in London petitioned for the French TV channel and were refused until the CRTC imposed Radio-Canada on a majority who, according to the cable company, preferred American television. All we had requested was one channel. Now that we have Radio-Canada Toronto and a portion of TVOntario, we must have been spoiled, because we were equally cut when the CBC cutbacks were announced. It is now more important than ever to expand TVOntario, so that we have our own separate French channel. It would free up the present TVOntario channel for the English-speaking population and provide the linguistic minority in this province with a means to ensure its survival. Is it too much to ask?

I feel I can understand --

The Chair: Ms Cliche-Parker, could you sum up, please? We are --

Ms Cliche-Parker: I timed this at 14.5 minutes exactly.

The Chair: You do not have 14.5 minutes exactly. You have less than 10 minutes, and you have about a minute and a half left. I apologize for that, but it is the only way we are going to give as many people as possible an opportunity to talk to us. We have your written brief and obviously we can get the details that way. So if you would just highlight the remaining points.

Ms Cliche-Parker: I will. I have left a copy with the secretary.

There are two very important paragraphs I want to mention, one to do with federal and provincial jurisdiction and the other -- I feel I can understand full well the French-speaking population in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the English-speaking population in Quebec concerned with its demographics and our native people. We all feel threatened and have a desperate need to be in control of own affairs. Of the three groups, the English-speaking minority of Quebec has the most autonomy. There is not one francophone here present who would not sacrifice the right to post signs in French to obtain in exchange the rich cultural climate the English-speaking population in Quebec enjoys: control of its schools, universities, hospitals, social services, magazines, libraries and umpteen TV channels.


Things that you might consider: In view of the fact that the number of women elected to this Ontario government is the maximum ever elected and we have the most women cabinet ministers ever -- and this is 1991; we have our daughters and granddaughters to think of -- it might be time to think of gender parity. That would mean enlarging our present constituencies so that we end up with the same numbers of elected representatives, but electing the best man and the best woman for the job in each of these constituencies. This might be one way of ensuring that 51% of the population has its representation in Parliament so that family issues such as day care and spousal abuse finally get the attention they deserve.

We can also look at a new division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. If provinces have total jurisdiction over education and the federal government has control of the National Training Act, provinces might want this power realigned so that its training needs, which differ from province to province, are met. We can still proportionately pay for certain programs through our federal taxes, but the implementation of what has previously been federal jurisdiction might better serve Canadians by being administered by each individual province, regional development, for instance, while the environment would be better served by federal standards.

I am sure that, as members of the provincial Parliament, you have your own opinions on what you might want to change in federal-provincial areas of responsibility. However, I cannot stress enough the necessity of a strong national Constitution or bill of rights that guarantees our rights, male and female, wherever we might choose to live.

Ontario has the opportunity to take a stand for Canada as it should be at these crossroads. At the present time we have only one officially bilingual province and that is New Brunswick. The other nine provinces are unilingual. Quebec has French and the eight other provinces have English. If Ontario makes itself bilingual, it would make 500,000 francophones and their friends delirious. It would also cause some consternation within certain segments of our Ontario society, but let me ask you, who would object to having minority language rights the same in every province?

If Ontario tries to equal or to even catch up to the official language minority rights provided by our neighbour province of Quebec, not only would we be aligning ourselves with our great trading partner, but we would be engendering the feeling of equality between the provinces and their peoples. In addition, it would put Ontario at the forefront of the entrenchment of official language rights throughout the English provinces.

The latest poll from Quebec states that nearly 70% of Quebeckers would prefer to remain in Canada -- if. If, after the dust has settled, the only place in Canada that the French-speaking population can live and die in French is in Quebec, we have destroyed what could have been a great country. However, if we can foster an openness of spirit and build a country based on equality, we might end up with a much better country than even our forefathers and foremothers would have hoped for. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

My sense from the number of speakers that we have left is that we can probably deal with three more in the time that we have left, again on the understanding that those groups can keep their comments to under 10 minutes each. That would leave about two or three other groups that we may not reach, and that is assuming that everyone who is on this list is here. I do not know if that is the case. Unless I hear otherwise from the committee, I will proceed on that basis.


The Chair: I invite Diane Dubois and Marie-Lena Del Santo.

Mme Dubois : L'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, l'ACFO régionale de London-Sarnia, est heureuse d'avoir l'occasion de s'exprimer auprès de la commission Silipo sur un sujet tellement important pour toute la population, tant ontarienne que canadienne.

L'ACFO est l'organisme porte-parole de la collectivité franco-ontarienne, et depuis sa fondation en 1910 poursuit avec vigueur sa mission de protection et d'avancement des droits de la minorité de langue française en Ontario.

Nous reconnaissons les efforts du gouvernement de l'Ontario pour que les francophones d'ici se sentent chez eux. Les gouvernements fédéral et provincial, ayant déjà réaffirmé leur engagement à respecter, protéger et promouvoir les minorités de langues officielles, ont la responsabilité morale d'assumer le leadership.

Le gouvernement de l'Ontario a joué un rôle de chef de file incontestable dans la réalisation de l'unité canadienne par son appui a l'accord du Lac Meech et a la dualité linguistique. Les francophones en Ontario doivent être reconnus pour leur rôle historique dans cette province. Il y a présentement 500 000 francophones en Ontario, plusieurs étant établis dans cette province depuis plus de 350 années.

C'est ici dans le sud-ouest de la province que fut fondée la première paroisse en Ontario en 1767. La première école en Ontario, établie en 1786, était une école française et catholique. Ici dans la région de London nous avons 8500 francophones environ et ces francophones n'ont pas la même qualité de vie que les anglophones dans la région à plusieurs points de vue: éducation, juridique, santé, civique.

Comment pouvons-nous mieux répondre aux besoins et aux aspirations de nos minorités linguistiques ? La constitution doit reconnaître les communautés autochtones, anglophone et francophone. Le préambule de la Loi 8 sur les services en français cite bien le rôle historique que la langue française a joué en Ontario et la reconnaissance par la constitution comme langue officielle au Canada. Il est donc essentiel de maintenir le bilinguisme au niveau fédéral et l'Ontario devrait déclarer le français comme langue officielle partout et non seulement devant les tribunaux et dans l'éducation. Et pour éviter d'être obligés d'avoir recours aux tribunaux pour faire respecter nos droits, il est essentiel que les textes législatifs soient clairs et précis. Dans ce préambule il est dit aussi que l'Assemblée législative reconnaît le part du patrimoine culturel de la population francophone et désire le sauvegarder pour les générations à venir. Il nous sera presque impossible de sauvegarder quoi que ce soit si la gestion scolaire de la maternelle au niveau universitaire ne nous est pas accordée.

L'éducation est primordiale à la survie des francophones. Pour appuyer ce point vital voici quelques statistiques effrayantes pour tout francophone vivant dans le sud-ouest de l'Ontario ou désirant y venir: 31,2% d'analphabètes chez les francophones comparé à 16,8% chez les anglophones ; et 2 sur 3 francophones dans la région du sud-ouest de l'Ontario perdent leur langue à l'assimilation.

Mme Del Santo : Comment atténuer les tensions entre les francophones et anglophones du Canada? D'abord, par l'information.

Les Anglo-Ontariens ne voient que la Loi 101 qui empêche l'affichage mais ne voient pas tous les avantages dont jouit la communauté anglophone au Québec, qui est la minorité ayant le plus de droits dans tout le Canada. Il est urgent d'unir nos efforts pour dénoncer les propos haineux véhiculés par les groupes antifrancophones, tels que l'APEC. Les Ontariens ne réalisent pas que le bilinguisme ne veut pas dire que l'autre groupe doit apprendre l'autre langue officielle, mais c'est plutôt le moyen pour garantir l'épanouissement personnel des membres de la minorité quelle qu'elle soit.

Le succès évident des écoles d'immersion en Ontario démontre l'intérêt et la volonté d'apprendre l'autre langue. Il faut faire comprendre aux anglophones que les francophones hors Québec ne sont pas des Québécois et n'ont aucune intention de déménager au Québec.

Nous regrettons l'échec du Lac Meech, qui aurait permis au Québec de se joindre a la constitution canadienne. Nous suivons attentivement la situation politique dans le pays car nous craignons pour notre avenir. Quoiqu'il advienne au Québec et dans le reste du pays, nous espérons que nos droits acquis seront respectés par le gouvernement de l'Ontario. Un autre moyen aussi d'atténuer les tensions entre les francophones et les anglophones -- je pense que chacun d'entre vous a un répertoire communautaire de la ville de London ; il n'y a pas un seul organisme francophone communautaire social cité dans ce répertoire.

C'est juste pour dire que l'unité du Canada commence chez nous et la volonté politique doit être là pour reconnaître le bilinguisme.


M. le Président: Merci pour votre présentation.

Could I invite next --

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, could I just for the record? I want to say something about this. It is a community directory. It was put together by students from all the secondary schools and the University of Western Ontario. It has been out for three years. The very front of it says, "If there is anyone that has been omitted." It started out as a very small booklet and now it is growing, so I would invite you to call my office immediately. We have no other way, with the resources that were provided, to get people to put their names in that book.

If you find out that there are very few services, which I think you will, then I think you should come to my office and we can talk about it. That is the only way we can make more, at least from my job, in my position. So the others probably have not seen the book. Some people like it. Most people in north London like it very much, but I should advise you that right now there is a great degree of concern about even that book, written in English. They think it is a waste of money and it comes to my office.

I do not put out a newsletter. I try to put out things that are useful to the community, and all of us as elected people are facing the same criticism, even today, as we give a lot of our time and effort and are sincerely trying to find a solution to the problems. We are all in the same boat. We feel the same way you do about where you start. But we will start with that one, if you will get in touch with me. Do not go away without telling me or I cannot fix it.

Ms Del Santo: Sure, we will. Thank you.


The Chair: Can I invite next Gil Warren from the London and District Labour Council.

Mr Warren: I have some copies of my presentation which I would be happy to give to the MPPs. I was prepared to do a 20-minute presentation, so I will shorten it down to about seven minutes and see how we can do.

Just in terms of background, I am speaking on behalf of the London and District Labour Council and as a member of the machinists union. I am also on the housing co-op board. I have been a municipal candidate three times. I am a full-time metal worker, for 15 years, and I have also studied politics at the University of Western Ontario.

The first point I would like to make is that it seems that it is the fate of Canadians to discuss eternally the imminent breakup of Canada. We have been doing this now for hundreds of years, but still we are together, sort of. The rules and agenda of this discussion have been controlled by our political élites. These élites have usually talked behind closed doors to themselves.

Premier Bob Rae, a new and unorthodox member of the power élite, has had a novel idea: Why not ask the people of Ontario what they want? Well, here we are. I represent 25,000 members of the London and District Labour Council.

Power is what this whole debate is about. Who has power? Who does not have power? How is power shared and for whose benefit? We need to go back to a couple of historical events in order to set this debate in its proper context. These events have been deliberately overlooked and downplayed by the gatekeepers of the post. We also have to see clearly the international context within which today's debate takes place.

The first historical event is the British conquest of New France in 1759. Canada and our national problem were not founded on peaceful evolution. Canada was started because of a series of violent and deadly wars that were raging in Europe. The wars spilled over into the New World when one colonial power captured lands and the other was not very keen to get them back.

The foundation of our nation is therefore fundamentally flawed. We, the English, stole New France from the French, who had in turn stolen it from the aboriginal peoples. The great task before us is to try to build a nation on such a poor foundation. How do we redress the wrongs without destroying the nation?

The answer lies in another brief flash of Canadian history. One hundred and fifty-four years ago the rebellions of 1837 and 1838 broke out in both Upper and Lower Canada. As in all wars, to the victor goes the spoils and the historical record. The result is that there has been a very earnest attempt to rewrite the popular history of these rebellions.

The rebellions of 1837 and 1838 were serious social upheavals that came very close to success. Thousands of rebels participated, hundreds were jailed and exiled, scores were killed or executed. Why is this important? Two reasons stand out. The first is that these rebellions so terrified the British that they realized that the only way to keep Canada was to allow democracy. People died to lay the foundation of today's democracy, a democracy that most Canadians take for granted and treat with apathy.

The second reason the rebellions are important is because it was one of the few times the ordinary people of Quebec and Ontario were united against a common enemy. The enemy was British colonialism and even worse, the Family Compact and the Château Clique. The unity of French and English did not last long as the authorities brutally regained control but the historical precedent was set.

So now we move to the present. Things have not changed so much since 1837. The descendants of the Family Compact and of the Château Clique are still alive and well and still in charge. The descendants of the rebels are still here but we have abandoned the call for armed rebellion now that we have democracy. We see the election of the NDP government in Ontario as the rebels finally capturing the Legislative Assembly. It took a long time, but we did it.

Perhaps now with the input of the working people of Ontario we can work toward solving some of our basic problems. The Ontario government could assist us by taking the cultural lead in promoting a more popular and working-class history of Canada that unites rather than divides Canadians.

So what about the constitutional division of powers? The problem that most working people have is that they do not have the faintest idea of who has what constitutional power. Too many powers are divided between too many jurisdictions. The confusion allows people to become cynical and apathetic; all the better for the power élites. The system must be simplified, streamlined and overlapping jurisdictions eliminated.

The other day someone told me that Bob Rae should straighten out unemployment insurance. That is the sort of thing we have.

We do not accept the idea of the Allaire report that all these new powers go to Quebec in the form of sovereignty-association. Either Quebec accepts the strong centralist government or it separates. If we allow sovereignty-association in Quebec, the stage will be set for power-grabbing by the other provinces. National standards must be maintained and equalization payments continued. The implementation of the national agenda could still be done in a decentralized manner by the provinces, cities or local initiatives. The co-operative housing program in Ontario is a good example of this type of decentralized local economic development that meets a national need.

One of the things I want to ask is, are the provinces the problem? London has twice the population of Prince Edward Island. The boundaries for the provinces were done on an ad hoc basis over an historical period of time and they have led to big population imbalances from province to province. Maybe what we need is a constituent assembly and a referendum to try to sort out that problem. We must have a strong federal state, but maybe the problem is the provinces, their size and their boundaries.

Real power should also be developed by the aboriginal peoples. Their demand for self-government is just and long overdue. The poverty and economic dependence of most native people is due to their lack of control over their own resources: pulp, timber, oil, agriculture. A sound economic base with proper training and capital would allow the scattered native culture, government and social services to be rebuilt. The native peoples are also the founding nations of Canada.

The Canadian Senate is one place that should not receive more power. The Senate should be abolished. Regional interests in Ottawa should continue to be carried out by federal-provincial conferences. An elected Senate would just create another expensive level of government. A lot more national unity could be achieved by giving the savings to the CBC.

The Allaire report complains about Canada's national debt and implies that it is caused by strong federalism. The point missed is the tremendous debt of Quebec Hydro which is almost equal to the national debt.

Is the breakup of Canada and the control of Quebec through massive foreign debt a plan by the United States and multinational corporations to secure cheap power? The aboriginal people who live on the James Bay hydro sites have a far stronger claim to this land than does Quebec or foreign powers. Ontario should also take note that there is a parallel here with Ontario Hydro and more massive debt. Energy conservation is also good for the constitutional process, federalism and local economic control and development.

As labour leaders we would like to turn our attention to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The results of the charter process have been disappointing. The attempt to define our rights on paper has lead to weakened rights with many people excluded. Defining rights through the court process is time-consuming, expensive and unpredictable. Working people cannot afford to participate in this middle-class game.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is also flawed because all the rights are middle-class, individual rights. The process has denied group rights or collective rights. Groups such as trade unions, women, ethnic minorities, consumers all had legislative rights prior to the charter which are now under attack. I, as an individual, have a right to join groups which collectively do a far better job of protecting my individual rights than I can do as an individual. Freedom of speech and the right to strike for trade unions and other groups is being constantly eroded.

A great irony of being a working person is that we can have great individual freedoms while sitting at home watching TV, but when we walk through the factory gate we enter a police state. Working people must have economic democracy and control over our future.


Recognizing the ethnic diversity of Ontario and Canada is also very important to the labour movement. London, with over 300,000 people, has a large number of ethnic communities, especially among working people. Our labour council meetings look a lot more like the United Nations than corporate board meetings. When we discuss issues such as war and peace, all sides have their spokespeople. The ethnic diversity of Canada should be maintained and encouraged.

The northern territories are also an area of Canada that needs more power. The territories should become provinces. Steps should be taken immediately to develop a viable economic base for the north. The populations should be increased dramatically to secure our claim on this territory.

What are some of the national institutions that bind Canada together? The mass media are probably the most important. The CBC, TVOntario and other public media play a vital unifying role. A better job should be done to promote working-class culture and history, including theatre, music and art, again to promote our similarities. The problem is that Brian Mulroney is systematically destroying the public media as part of the worldwide corporate agenda. Public media should not be expected to make a profit. They should be expected to hold the country together. The CBC should return to offering ideas instead of the current mindless Yankee spectator sports and Ed Sullivan reruns.

Other unifying forces in Canada are national, universal social services. Education and health must be protected from the corporate agenda of creating a parallel system for the rich. When the rich can continue to send their children to Upper Canada College, they will have no interest in paying for or supporting a public system. Even the long-term interests of the rich are harmed by this attitude because they cannot get hard-working, well-trained and quality-conscious workers. The problem is that short-term greed wins out.

The Chair: Mr Warren, if you could sum up, please.

Mr Warren: I would also comment that Quebec is a distinct society. This society has suffered repression and discrimination in the past but we must work out these problems within the national context or else we will see the rest of the country destroyed.

I also make comments on the current international economic situation. The main point there is that you cannot give away powers to the provinces at the same time that you give away national economic power to the Americans. There will be no power left in Ottawa when the next election happens. This is part of someone's agenda.

Finally, I would like to say that the 1980s decade of greed must be replaced by the 1990s decade of need. Can we take care of all these problems in the short time that remains? The answer is that we have no alternative. We must all work together. As we said at the beginning of our presentation, power is what this debate is about and it must be returned to ordinary people.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Warren. We will take a look at your entire presentation.


The Chair: I now invite Dr Dennis Hudecki from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr Hudecki: I will keep this as short as possible. I have already edited quite a bit as I was sitting back there.

If I bring any expertise here today, it is the expertise that I bring as a philosopher that helps develop the ability to arrive at some conceptual clarity. I am here to make a thesis and a proposal. My thesis is that it is possible to give special powers to Quebec in order to preserve and promote Quebec nationalist aspirations without disturbing the symmetry of equality between the provinces. Quebec nationalism can be maintained and encouraged, I am arguing, without granting special status to Quebec.

Let me explain my thesis further. I suggest that the Ontario government recognize that in Canada today there are three dominant forces or tendencies or philosophies that are attempting to form the Canada of tomorrow, and that it is conceptually impossible to combine all three. The three tendencies in Canada are: one, the Pierre Trudeau-Clyde Wells brand of federalism; two, the provincialism or the compact theory of Canada, the view that Canada is essentially a union of provinces, a view that is traditionally pushed by Alberta and several provinces, including Quebec; three, Quebec nationalism.

I suggest that it is impossible to combine all three into a happy synthesis, because provincialism and federalism run in exactly the opposite direction to one another. If you are supportive of one, you are logically against the other. Quebec nationalism I argue is compatible with either federalism or provincialism. I am here today to argue that the Ontario government should embrace and welcome Quebec nationalism, but that it also combine the support of nationalism with a strong support for the Wells-Trudeau style of federalism.

Again my thesis is that federalism and Quebec nationalism can make a wonderful marriage. The synthesis of provincialism and Quebec nationalism, which the provincial NDP and Liberals supported in the Meech Lake process, was an intellectual and political disaster. I am saying that we ought to embrace Quebec and its aspirations but do so in a federalist, not a provincialist framework. That is where the NDP and Liberals went wrong provincially the last time.

Let me say just a very little bit about each of the three tendencies. Federalism as defined by Trudeau says, first, that Canada is a land; second, that on this land citizens enjoy full and equal human rights; third, that this country has two official languages, French and English, both equally important; fourth, that there are many cultures; fifth, and least important, that this country is made up of 10 provinces and two territories.

This view of Canada stresses togetherness, not division; it stresses bilingualism, an expansion of consciousness versus duality, Mulroney's favourite word, which connotes separateness and division. Trudeau's view of Canada is of a bilingual, multicultural country held together by human and economic rights. This is a grand vision and Ontario should support it wholeheartedly.

Provincialism, on the contrary, sees Canada as a collection of provinces, each being headed by a Premier; each Premier being a head of his or her little fiefdom. There are many things the matter with this view of Canada, but I will only mention that it will lead to a weak, exploitable country. Provincialism results in provinces all going in different directions and the country as a whole going around in circles. The Ontario government should oppose provincialism, embrace federalism and Quebec nationalism.

Let me now explain why I see Quebec nationalism as not only being compatible with Trudeau-Wells federalism but an essential part of it. Premier Wells of Newfoundland defines Canada as three equalities: equality of citizenship under the Charter of Rights; equality of French and English languages, and equality of the provinces. The problem facing Canada today can be expressed most accurately using Wells's categories.

The equality of the provinces clashes with the principle concerning the equality of languages. Why? Most French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec. Many of the cultural and economic institutions that maintain the French language are provincial in character or should be. But it appears that if we grant the power to Quebec to promote and maintain the French language, we will be making Quebec a province different from all the others. We will be making it a province that has special status.

Some people, for example, the philosopher Will Kymlicka in yesterday's Globe and Mail, argue that if special powers go to Quebec, the idea of a symmetrical federalism, that is, 10 equal provinces, goes out the window. But we do not have to look at it that way. We should distinguish between Quebec as a constitutional province the same as all the rest and Quebec as a place where the French fact in Canada is centred. We should give special powers to Quebec, not in the name of special status to Quebec but in the name of preserving one of Canada's fundamental equalities, the equality of the French language to the English.

That Quebec will, as a byproduct, end up receiving unique powers is not a cut against the principle of provincial equality any more than is the fact that some people collect unemployment insurance while others do not is a cut against equality of citizenship before the government. The government gives unemployment insurance to some and not to others not because some people have special status, but rather to further the right of equal opportunity for all. That some rights clash with others is true. This happens in every constitutional democracy. Decisions have to be made sometimes between conflicting sets of rights, but such decisions do not imply an overall lack of equality.

To conclude -- and I really appreciate the time you have given me here -- I am proposing that the Ontario government wholeheartedly embrace Quebec nationalism as part of a wider federalist thrust and that it does so not in the name of special status for Quebec, but rather in the name of protecting one of our fundamental equalities, namely, the equality between French and English.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Dr Hudecki. We will end there, and I apologize to the groups that we did not manage to reach. We just did not have the time. To the London North New Democratic Party Riding Association, I do note that we have your brief and we have distributed that to members of the committee. To the others that we could not hear, again our apologies.

We have certainly heard in the six hours that we have spent here in London here today in hearings a great number of interesting and useful presentations. I think that it was clear throughout the morning and this afternoon that a lot of thought has gone into the presentations. There was a healthy mixture of rationale and passion in the presentations, and I think that Londoners certainly have given us a number of useful insights into the things that we need to address as a province and as a country.

We thank you for that and we invite you to continue following our proceedings if you are interested, as all of our hearings will continue to be broadcast over the parliamentary channel. We will be moving this evening to Kitchener and proceeding tomorrow to Brantford and Hamilton. Thank you very much. We are adjourned.

The committee recessed at 1624.


The committee resumed at 1929 at the Rockway Gardens Senior Citizens' Centre, Kitchener.

The Chair: On behalf of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, I want to say we are pleased to be here this evening in Kitchener to hear the views of the people of this community on Ontario in Confederation and on the various aspects dealing with the future of our country and our province.

We have heard in the days till now a number of interesting and useful suggestions in the various locations we visited. Earlier today we were in London and heard from a number of people there. The day before that, we were in Windsor, and tomorrow we will be proceeding to Brantford and then to Hamilton. We then have another week of travel next week in the eastern part of the province before we conclude our hearings. Then we will be putting together an interim report by 21 March.

This is an all-party committee made up of representatives of the three political parties represented at Queen's Park. I want to introduce the members of the committee who are here. From the NDP caucus we have Gary Malkowski, Gilles Bisson, who is also Vice-Chair of the committee, Marilyn Churley, Will Ferguson, Ellen MacKinnon and David Winninger. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer. From the Conservative Caucus we have Elizabeth Witmer and Ted Arnott. With that introduction, I will proceed.

Some names have already been given to me, so I will begin with those and then we will carry through. We will try to alternate between organizations and individuals. Obviously, given the number of individuals, we will deal with more individuals than organizations.

I should explain, because the proceedings are also being televised over the parliamentary network and there may be people watching the proceedings outside of the Kitchener area, that we are in Kitchener, as I said before, and we are proceeding this evening in a less formal way than we have done in the past. We have a number of people who have indicated that they wish to speak to the committee. We have agreed that we would ask groups and organizations to limit their comments to up to 10 minutes and individuals to up to five minutes, and we will see if the time allows some questions from members of the committee.


The Chair: Could I begin with the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo?

Mr Robinson: Mr Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Paul Robinson and I am the president of the Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo. With me is Ernie Ginsler, the executive director of the council.

The Social Planning Council of Kitchener-Waterloo is a non-profit, community-based organization committed to the betterment of the community in its broadest sense. We appreciate the opportunity to speak to you tonight in your opening phase of deliberations. We have chosen not to speak directly to your questions as outlined in your discussion document. Rather, we want to share with you our perception of the ideals which bind us together as Canadians.

As I am sure you are aware, Canada is a signatory to the United Nations' Declaration on Human Rights. What most Canadians do not realize is that there is a covenant to that document dealing with social and cultural rights which Canada has also signed. This latter document requires that all Canadians have access to adequate food, housing, health services, clothing and other necessities of life.

Canada, we believe, is unique among countries in that it has made an honest attempt to live up to much of what this undertaking requires, and it has had to overcome its Constitution to do so. However, although much has been done much still needs to be accomplished.

One of the traditions that sets us apart among the nations is our system of national standards and national incentives for many human services. Health care is the most obvious example. The Canada Health Act requires that access to health care be free, universal, equally accessible and be administered on a non-profit basis. The net effect is that at least in theory one should not be at a disadvantage in obtaining health care whether one lives in Blind River or in Toronto, in a Newfoundland outport or in Montreal.

Canada's vast distances play an intervening role, but beyond physical access the other standards hold true throughout the nation. The Canada assistance plan ensures that even the poorest province in Canada can provide welfare and support services to its residents by contributing 50% of the cost of those programs. Although social assistance levels vary, and no one would claim they are adequate, federal governments have made a commitment to lessen the effects of regional disparity on Canadians' ability to survive.

Similarly, the established programs financing act provides a mechanism to ensure that all provinces can afford a high level of health and post-secondary education appropriate to their population. The recent statement by the Economic Council of Canada once again points out the importance of education and training to Canada's future. Without federal assistance, some regions of Canada would become educational and therefore economic backwaters. What is perhaps unique about these agreements is that they provide a mechanism to circumvent the federal and provincial roles established in the British North America Act. All of these areas were originally exclusively within the jurisdiction of the provinces. Canada's reality, however, required that we find a mechanism to hold us together, and established programs financing and the Canada assistance plan along with equalization grants were among the most important.

This pragmatic federalism, our desire to ensure that none among us suffers simply because of geography, and our willingness to share our resources to guarantee this ideal, is one of the key identifying traits of the Canadian character. We are aware that the current federal government is backing away from its commitments under both established programs financing and the Canada assistance plan. We cannot help but fear that this move will do nothing but accentuate the differences among provinces and give us less reason to stay together as a nation.

Similar to Canada's support for regional and economic diversity is our support and encouragement of ethnocultural diversity. Unlike the melting-pot philosophy of our neighbours to the south, Canada has chosen to promote a philosophy supporting a mosaic of cultures. Both nationally and provincially we have policies and programs supporting multiculturalism. Again, this illustrates our national penchant for tying the country together through supports to all our constituent parts.

Many countries promote the right of all their citizens to be equal. Canada is perhaps unique among these countries in supporting just as strongly its citizens' right to be different. The social planning council believes that Canada is more than the sum of its parts. We believe strongly that there is a benefit to all Canadians to stay together as a country. We believe that one of the keys to that togetherness is the contribution of our national government to standards and funding, and we believe that the central government must be potent in relation to the provinces to accomplish this.

We would urge you in the strongest possible manner to insist on this in any future negotiations.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We could probably allow one quick question.

Mr Beer: Thank you very much for your presentation. There has been a lot of discussion in the newspapers in the last week or so that the federal government may be cutting back even further. We know the federal budget is coming up next week. Particularly in this whole social, health and education area, do you have any understanding in terms of the council here of whether those cutbacks are going to continue? As you underlined, for the province to continue to provide and indeed expand support for programs in those areas, the Canada assistance plan, the established programs financing, all of those are critical and we are talking about 50-cent dollars. What is your sense of the direction? Frankly, from what I have been reading I am very worried that there is almost a kind of de facto shift going on in terms of placing the financial responsibility increasingly on the province, which also means there is a heavier weight on local government, and we get into all of the problems of trying to fund those programs.

Mr Robinson: I would like Ernie Ginsler to respond to that. He is a little more in tune with the details than I am.

Mr Ginsler: We have no more direct access to what the federal government is intending to do in its upcoming budget than anybody else, and probably less than many.

The trend for the last five or six years has been to diminish the federal role in supporting national programs through CAP, through established programs financing. There has been nothing to indicate that there is going to be a change in direction. Our fear is that a continuation of the weakening of the federal contribution continues to weaken the links among the provinces, it continues to weaken what holds us together, and that is our ability to support regions, to support sectors of the province, through a strong central mechanism. Without that, for many parts of this country there is no reason to belong.

The Chair: Thank you very much.



The Chair: Could I call next Pierrette Servos.

Mme Servos : Je représente la section de langue française du Conseil scolaire des écoles séparées de Wellington. Monsieur le Président, mesdames et messieurs, Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, la section de langue française vous remercie de l'occasion qui lui est donnée de s'exprimer quant au futur des francophones de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération canadienne. La section de langue française du Conseil scolaire se compose de trois membres élus par les francophones du Conseil de Wellington. La communauté de langue française de notre région s'est regroupée autour de son école élémentaire de langue française, l'école Saint-René-Goupil, dès sa fondation il y a 17 ans.

Les parents francophones qui désirent que leurs enfants continuent leur éducation dans leur langue maternelle, n'ayant pas accès à une école secondaire dans ce comté, doivent présentement les acheminer vers l'école secondaire George-P-Vanier de Hamilton. C'est grâce aux efforts que notre communauté et ainsi le gouvernement de l'Ontario ont fournis et continueront de fournir, que nos enfants en arriveront un jour à faire leurs études du jardin à l'université dans leur langue maternelle, le français. Il nous semble tout à fait juste que les citoyens de langue française de cette province puissent faire ce choix, le français étant une des deux langues officielles du Canada. En retour, l'instruction qu'ils auront reçue dans les deux langues officielles de leur pays les aidera à mieux servir cette province qui les aura traités d'une façon équitable.

J'aimerais signaler que plus de 30% de la population du Canada réside en Ontario. De ce fait, celle-ci se trouve dans une situation privilégiée pour aller de l'avant et démontrer son initiative et sa vision à l'ensemble du Canada en faisant la promotion des deux langues officielles du pays. Elle devrait faire ce geste avec conviction et fierté en tenant compte des avantages que cette démarche pourrait apporter dans les domaines politique, économique et culturel à l'intérieur du pays aussi bien qu'à l'extérieur.

Nous recommandons au gouvernement de l'Ontario que les efforts suivants soient poursuivis et intensifiés. Les services fournis dans le cadre de la Loi 8 ; l'amélioration du processus pour fournir l'éducation élémentaire et secondaire en français à travers la province, certains éléments de ce processus étant le recensement, le financement et la gestion authentiques de nos institutions ; la mise en oeuvre des recommandations de la commission Bourdeau pour l'établissement de collèges communautaires, que le gouvernement de l'Ontario se mette à l'écoute des Franco-Ontariens quant à la fondation d'une université de langue française ; que l'Ontario soit finalement déclaré officiellement bilingue ; et finalement, que le gouvernement de l'Ontario continue à être compréhensif et sympathique aux aspirations légitimes de tous les groupes minoritaires.

C'est avec respect et de bonne foi que je suis venue au nom de la section de langue française de Wellington vous présenter notre vision de l'Ontario de l'an 2000, une province dans laquelle tous les Ontariens de langue française pourraient se sentir chez eux et participer aux progrès et à la prospérité de cette belle et unique province. Je vous remercie.

The Chair: Merci, madame. Are there questions? [Interruption]

The Chair: No. Let's just be clear about something. Our proceedings are in English or French as the speakers choose. There are, I believe, some --


The Chair: Sir. We are going to do our best to run the meeting as smoothly as we can. We want the co-operation of the audience to do that, please. Our proceedings as a committee of the Legislature allow us to proceed in English or French. We are going to continue to do that. If people in the audience need translation devices, there are some available at the back of the room. They can work to go in either direction, from English to French or French to English, because there is simultaneous translation. I invite people who want to make use of those to sign those out at the back of the room and make use of those.

I think there were some questions.

Ms Servos: I can take the question in English. I can speak English.

The Chair: Well, that will happen. Members of the committee will speak in either language.

Madame, vous pouvez répondre en français ou en anglais, comme vous voulez.

Ms Churley: Unfortunately, I am one of the ones who cannot speak French, which I regret and I am working on it very hard at the moment.

I am just wondering what your position is right now on the threat of Quebec possibly, of course if we cannot work things out, leaving Canada and how you feel that might affect French-speaking people in Ontario. Do you think it is important to your continuing rights to have Quebec in as part of the country?

Ms Servos: No. As much as I would not like to see Quebec separate, I think for the French Ontarians, you will have to know it is historical. Some people, some families have been here for 300 years. They are Canadians, French-speaking Canadians, and they are not Quebeckers. They do not come from Quebec. Some of them have never been to Quebec. It is a right, it is historical, it is a constitutional right, so I think that what we would like Ontario to do, and that is what I said, is we want Ontario to continue what it has been doing for bilingualism in this country and for the French Canadians. I am sure life will go on, and we hope so.


The Chair: Could I invite next Alvin Smith. While Mr Smith is coming forward, could I note the presence in the room this evening of a former MPP for Kitchener, David Cooke.

Go ahead, sir.

Mr Smith: Good evening, Mr Chairman and members of the select committee. I am a representative for the Waterloo regional deaf community.

To begin, I would like to give you a little bit of background on myself. I attended a provincial school for the deaf in Milton, Ontario, as well as Belleville. That was in the 1960s.

At that time sign language was not used in the classroom by our teachers. Rather than that, we were forced to try to understand our teachers by lipreading them. Now that is an individual talent. Some deaf individuals can while others cannot. So for those who could not lipread, I ask you to try to imagine what type of education they were exposed to.

Now that American sign language is starting to finally gain recognition I am quite happy about that. I am hoping that through that we will have more deaf people with white collar jobs.

I finished school in 1969, and around 1975 teletype telecommunication devices started to come into existence for deaf people. Then later, in the late 1970s or the early 1980s, interpreting services began to evolve, followed by closed-captioning devices. Into the 1980s, the Bell relay service came into existence for us, which is a message relay service through the telephone system. I think, technically speaking, accessibility is improving as well as services for the deaf.

Now that we are into the 1990s, I am hoping that we can gain the support of the Ontario government in ensuring that even greater access is given to us. An example of this would be to have any public telephone booth accessible for Ttys or telecommunication devices in transportation stations, be they bus depots or train stations, government buildings, restaurants, public stores, in addition to numerous others. Accessibility is of vital importance to us.


For those people who are not deaf, they are able to rent telephones as well as telephone services, and in the event they are in need of repair, a replacement is given while the unit is being repaired, free of charge.

For deaf people, we have to buy our telephone equipment, not the telephone itself but the equipment, and then if something needs to be repaired, it is a cost that we have to cover, in addition to having to rent the Tty. We would like to see some equity in the cost of having to repair our own units.

Another example is we all rent cable television services from cable companies, but for us to have access to this we have to buy a special piece of equipment which enables us to view the closed-captioning in addition to the cable cost. And we are paying the same rental fee per month that those people who are non-deaf do and they have access, whereas we have to incur an additional cost.

When deaf people want to purchase a telecommunication device for the deaf or a closed-captioning decoder and we want to claim this on our income tax, we have to go through the process of seeing a medical doctor to have the forms signed to verify that we are deaf, and believe it or not some doctors charge a $25 fee for this signature. On this issue we do not think that we should have to go through this because they do not believe that we are deaf.

My fifth issue I would like to bring up this evening deals with stores. If we purchase something from a store, the amount is not visually shown to us and we have to literally almost climb over the counter to be able to see what the amount we have to pay is. This visual information is not made available to us.

There are many handicapped people who have difficulty finding equity with employment. An example is that when handicapped people do go for job interviews, the tendency is that they are told, "We'll put your résumé on file and we'll be in touch," and that is as far as it goes. They do not hear another word from the potential employer, and in a lot of cases this is due to discrimination.

We want the Ontario government to introduce a law which is encouraging to employers to hire handicapped and disabled people, and as well to ensure that we have equity in promotional aspects of any job, because historically deaf people have been denied promotions.

The next issue I would like to bring up is the education level of many deaf Canadians. Due to this fact, their income is equivalent to their education. Many deaf people, or some, would like to attend colleges or university, but they need some kind of financial assistance to be able to enter into the post-secondary education.

Bill 82 is strongly opposed by the deaf community. We feel that the culture of deaf people, with this bill being passed, will diminish and in fact will die. I want you to remember that in North Bay, which you were visiting throughout your tour of Ontario, it was stated by a deaf person that he feels left out in a world of hearing people, that he feels left out in another world. It can be very isolating because we do not have access to auditory ability. I am very grateful to my parents in that they knew what was best for me and that the appropriate place for my education would be a provincial school for the deaf, because there I have an identity and am on par with other students, in comparison to the gentleman who spoke in North Bay whose situation was not similar to mine at all.

From generation to generation of deaf people, that can happen and because of Bill 82 future generations of deaf people can suffer and our culture can be adversely affected. Bill 82 is something that we are opposed to -- excuse me, possibly Bill 82 is appropriate to other handicapped people and their education process; I do not know. I would suggest that you sit down and discuss this with other disabled groups, but speaking from the deaf community's perspective, this is not a bill we are in agreement with.

You have to understand that our culture is something that we are very, very proud of and we do not, and I repeat do not, want anyone to take this away from us. Thank you from me personally and thank you from the deaf community for listening this evening.

Mr Bisson: Very quickly, for the benefit of those who do not know what Bill 82 is, I wonder if you can give a little summary of Bill 82 and the opposition.

Mr Smith: Sure. Bill 82 I think came about in 1985, or the process started around then, where plans were going to be implemented to close provincial schools and any school for the handicapped. Living in Kitchener, those deaf students would have to be mainstreamed into a public school, as well as being in a special class for handicapped students. It would be a small class, specifically speaking, for deaf students, but they would not be integrated within the mainstream program.

The Chair: We are going to have to move on. Thank you very much, Mr Smith.



The Chair: Could I invite next Mark Whaley. I also understand that Mike Cooper is here, one of our MPPs, and I invite him to join us at the table, if he wishes. I see him at the back.

Mr Cooper: I am fine here, thank you very much.

The Chair: Okay, as you wish. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Whaley: Good evening and welcome to the region of Waterloo. I am Mark Whaley. It is a safe bet that if you put all the available demographic information into one computer -- average age, average income, average family size and education -- you would come out with a picture of a fellow who was pretty much just like myself.

While being considered the average guy may sometimes not be too flattering, it does give me an interesting perspective on the state of our nation at the present time, and I hope you will agree that my ground-level vision will make a refreshing change from all the sermons sent down from our national and provincial capitals.

One of the things I have learned here with my nose to the ground is that a person's culture is much more important than his politics and this truism is substantiated with every passing day both here and around the world. In the past year, for example, the German people put their culture before their politics when the country reunified at enormous expense to its citizens that will impact on them for many years to come. The people believed that their culture was worth the price and the world cheered their efforts. Right now in Lithuania the people want to bring their culture to the forefront, even though the price that they are paying goes far beyond politics and economics and into the realm of bloodshed and imprisonment. Again the world cheers.

But here in Canada such a natural evolution has met with great resistance, particularly from some noted politicians, and it is wonderful to participate in a town hall meeting such as this to have the average person's viewpoint heard. Recent developments in Canada have given rise to two strong groups within our boundaries wanting to assert their culture before politics. Our native peoples are seeking some kind of self-determination and Quebec wants sovereignty.

The native question seems to require more deliberation, but in terms of Quebec, those who cannot see that Quebec is a separate culture from the rest of this Dominion, a very distinct society, need only spend some time there interacting with the people and the different way of life there, and I am sure that this is all that it will take for you to see for yourself. Vive la differénce.

Those who will not see that it is a culture apart will be the ones who will be most surprised when the inevitable happens, as in the other examples I have mentioned, and Quebec puts its significant culture ahead of its politics and finds its own way into nationhood. They seem prepared to pay the price in terms of order and economics to see their culture flourish, and the world will cheer.

There is a growing movement in the rest of Canada to see our neighbours fulfil a richer cultural identity. Yes, the fabric of our present nation will change, but who says it has to be a static thing? The federalist drum-thumpers are out of step with a great many average Canadians who wish Quebec au revoir et à bientôt. We will be the best of neighbours and still good friends.

Mr Offer: Mr Whaley, you have painted a picture that talks about how the inevitable will happen, either there is to be a federalism, a strong central government, or if there is not, then there is to be a separation. I wonder if you could share with us whether there is something in between, maybe a less strong central government, but not necessarily that which results in a separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada, whether there is some accommodation that we in the province of Ontario and other provinces should be looking at vis-à-vis our relations with the province of Quebec.

Mr Whaley: I heard a political scientist from Dalhousie University speak to the Spicer commission and she talked about having what is referred to as a double referendum; that is, ask Quebec if it wants sovereignty and then ask the rest of Canada if it wants sovereignty as well, and this double referendum would be a way whereby we could get Canada's true feeling. My opinion is the rest of Canada does not have a say in it. Quebec holds its own destiny in its own hands now because we have turned our backs on Quebec with the failure of Meech Lake.


The Chair: Could I call next Terrance Steven Carter. Mr Carter, go ahead.

Mr Carter: Mr Chair, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity of appearing before the committee tonight. My name is Terrance Carter and I am a lawyer practising in Orangeville. Although my home is now in Orangeville, I was born and raised in Montreal until 1975, when I left Quebec at the age of 22 to study law in Toronto.

My decision to leave Quebec was due more to pragmatic considerations than to politics or the threat of separation. In essence, my inability to master the French language made it impractical for me to practice law in Quebec. As such, I moved to Ontario along with a great many other English Quebeckers of my generation to build my home and career here. Ontario has been good to me and it is now my home by choice. But still there is a part of me that remains attached to Quebec. For me the uniqueness and the culture and the people of Quebec that extends beyond the simple differences in language constitutes a fundamental part of our Canadian experience. The history of Canada clearly reflects the ongoing resolution and evolution of the dichotomy of two of our founding peoples.

I suppose if anyone should be resentful concerning the rise of Quebec nationalism, it should be those of my generation who felt compelled for whatever reason to leave Quebec. That, however, has not been my experience. Instead, I feel I have been enriched by the opportunity of being raised in and influenced by a culture other than my own. Surely the country we want to build for our children should be broader than just a one-dimensional monolith. Instead, I believe we should be encouraging and enjoying the diversity of both of our cultures of French and English, and for that matter all other cultures that are a part of what has been called the Canadian mosaic.

I recently wondered, though, why this goal of diversity in language and cultures has been so difficult to accomplish. I believe the problem lies not necessarily with the limitations of our politicians or the official programs that have been implemented but rather with the attitudes and the opinions of the general population in both English and French Canada. On the one hand, English Canada feels it has done everything possible to accommodate Quebec. Quebec, on the other hand, feels it has gone the extra mile time and time again to remain a part of Canada. The result has been a serious and deeply inflicted wound in both English and French Canada, causing bitterness and distrust where once understanding and a mood of conciliation prevailed.

The decade of the 1980s has added a further dimension to the constitutional debate through the introduction of the all-too-pervasive attitude of the "me generation." As a result, people, politicians and even provinces have become accustomed to asking: "What's in it for me? What's in it for my province?" before asking, "What's good for Canada as a whole?" The purpose of my appearance before this select committee is to provide at least some general recommendations that may hopefully assist in overcoming the attitude of distrust and uncertainty that has developed.

First, if we are to rekindle an attitude of reconciliation between Quebec and the rest of Canada, we in English Canada should take the initiative to experience and appreciate the Quebec culture. Similarly, Quebec should attempt to do the same in relation to appreciating the strengths to be offered in English Canada. I believe there are practical and relatively easy ways in which the general population of Ontario and other provinces can make overtures to Quebec. For instance, our provincial government could institute a program whereby municipalities in both Ontario and Quebec could become twinned with each other and exchange ideas on matters as challenging as the treatment of minority languages to more basic issues such as similar problems to be encountered in running municipal governments. Another example would be to implement exchange programs among community groups such as local churches.

Second, we need to concentrate our attention more on the strengths that result from maintaining a viable Confederation than in allowing our attention to be diverted by those who are lobbying for the breakup of Canada. In this regard, I find as little that is attractive about the prospect of a geographically divided English Canada as I do in the claims of the Quebec nationalists that Quebec can function effectively independently outside of Confederation.

Third, the hurts and the wounds that have been festering concerning Quebec's future in Confederation need time to heal. Even though we are facing deadlines established by politicians at both the federal and the provincial level, we as the people of Ontario need to alleviate some of the tension that has developed by being both individually and collectively patient, slow to react and conciliatory in our attitudes.

Fourth, I believe the government of Ontario can play a key role in fostering a spirit of reconciliation for the country as a whole during the current process of nation building. In the past, Ontario has consistently chosen the high road in emphasizing the interests of Canada as a whole instead of limiting its scope to only provincial issues. I would encourage you as members of the committee during the upcoming constitutional debate to continue the tradition of choosing this higher ground. I believe there are enough participants in the current debate who are concerned only with the interests of their own immediate sphere. What we need are leaders and Canadians who are prepared to ask what they can give to Canada instead of what they can first receive in return.

Fifth and last, I believe it is time our country looked to God for help. I, for one, as a Christian, and I am not embarrassed to say that, believe Canadians need to pray for our country and our political leaders. If we put our trust in God during this crisis I believe He will not allow our country, so rich in heritage, to easily dissolve.

I trust that my comments before the committee will be of some assistance in the upcoming constitutional debate. I again thank you for the privilege of being allowed to appear before your committee on no less important an issue than the future of our nation.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Carter.



The Chair: Could I call next Therèse Bathnagar.


Ms Bathnagar: He told me he would not bug me.

M. le Président: Vous pouvez nous adresser en français ou en anglais, madame.

Mme Bathnagar: En français, c'est bien.

Nous tenons à remercier le comité Silipo de nous donner l'occasion de faire entendre notre opinion sur un sujet qui nous tient grandement à coeur, c'est-à-dire celui de l'avenir et du rôle de l'Ontario français au sein de la Confédération. Nous représentons le chapitre de Guelph de l'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens. L'école Saint-René-Goupil, où nous enseignons, existe depuis 17 ans et est la seule école française dans le comté de Wellington. Le fort désir que nous partageons tous est de donner à nos élèves un enseignement de qualité, de leur permettre de pouvoir poursuivre leurs études en français et de les voir devenir des adultes fiers de leurs origines franco-ontariennes et désirant prendre part à la croissance de leur pays et la raison principale qui nous pousse à nous adresser à ce comité.

Qui peut prétendre devenir bilingue et maîtriser la langue française s'il ne fréquente que d'écoles élémentaires en français ? Afin d'assurer une continuité, ne faudrait-il pas dispenser d'enseignement secondaire ainsi que postsecondaire en français aussi? Le Vice-Président du comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération déclarait à l'Express, et nous citons, «ça fait plus de 120 ans que l'on s'obstine sur la question linguistique. Si on veut se développer comme pays, il nous faut mettre cette affaire derrière nous une fois pour toutes et reconnaître que notre pays a été bâti par deux nations, française et anglaise, et par les autochtones. Il faut être capable de reconnaître nos différences».

Le Canada, peut-il évoluer comme pays dans d'autres domaines tels que l'économie et l'écologie sans avoir au préalable réglé la question linguistique ? Peut-on solutionner ce problème de plus de 120 ans si l'on n'assure pas aux francophones et aux autochtones une éducation et des services dispensés dans leur langue ? Ne faut-il pas aussi leur fournir l'occasion de se développer à tous points de vue dans leur langue ? N'est-il pas important que les richesses francophones et autochtones soient reconnues, voire publicisées en Ontario et à l'extérieur?

L'Ontario ne forme-t-il pas la collectivité francophone la plus nombreuse hors Québec ? Pourquoi s'assimile-t-il à un taux si alarmant ? Un demi-million d'Ontariens sont d'origine française, mais seulement 325 000 parlent encore le français tous les jours. Cet état de faits serait-il dû à l'absence d'universités et d'institutions postsecondaires francophones en Ontario ? Comment les 250 000 francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick s'y prennent-ils pour entretenir la plus grande université francophone avec ses 8000 étudiants en dehors du Québec ? L'économie du Nouveau-Brunswick va-t-elle mieux que la nôtre en Ontario ?

Notre système d'éducation se targue d'être le meilleur au Canada ; l'est-il seulement pour une des trois nations fondatrices du pays ?

Le Québec, que l'on aime à citer comme étant l'enfant rebelle du Canada, n'a-t-il pas trois universités anglophones?

L'Ontario, a-t-il raison d'être fier de sa politique face aux francophones et à leurs écoles secondaires et postsecondaires ? Qui gère celles-ci ? Qui dans notre comté protège la langue et la culture françaises à part l'école élémentaire francophone de Guelph ? Qu'y a-t-il en plus de cette école pour aider les francophones à conserver leur fierté ? Le temps n'est-il pas venu de nous doter d'une loi pour protéger les droits acquis ? Chaque pays de la Communauté économique européenne s'est engagé à faire la promotion de deux langues dans la communauté à tous les niveaux, outre la langue nationale.

Dans les universités de Strasbourg, siège du Parlement européen, tous les étudiants titulaires d'un diplôme universitaire du deuxième cycle devront pouvoir travailler dans trois langues, quel que soit l'enseignement poursuivi. Cette politique venant de pays plus vieux que le nôtre, pourrait-elle nous servir d'exemple de sagesse et de respect des autres nations ?

Ne serait-il pas le temps non seulement de laisser se développer un sentiment d'appartenance à une nation qui connaît le succès, mais justement d'encourager les gens à s'identifier à la nation francophone qui après tout est elle aussi une des trois nations fondatrices ? Ne faudrait-il pas qu'on cesse de considérer les francophones comme une menace, mais plutôt qu'on voit la richesse qu'ils peuvent apporter ?

Sur qui doit-on compter pour préserver cette richesse, sur Ottawa ou sur Toronto ? Qui doit être bilingue, le Canada ou l'Ontario ? Qui contrôle les écoles, les bibliothèques et les centres culturels, les provinces ou le pays ? L'Ontario essaie-t-il de reproduire avec les francophones le génocide culturel des autochtones d'il y a à peine deux siècles ?

Des six points énumérés dans le document de la commission Pépin-Robarts, cinq s'appliquent à la société franco-ontarienne. Les Québécois, à cause de ces points, réclament d'être connus comme société distincte. Quand l'Ontario reconnaîtra-t-il ses francophones comme une société?

Nous recommandons que le français soit reconnu langue officielle ; que l'on prône l'amélioration et la création d'écoles secondaires et postsecondaires francophones ; qu'en Ontario soit promue la richesse culturelle franco-ontarienne ; que l'Ontario reconnaisse les trois communautés nationales et le droit qu'ont celles-ci à l'éducation dans leur langue maternelle ; qu'il leur accorde également le droit de gérer leur propre système scolaire, éducatif et culturel ; qu'il fasse en sorte qu'Ottawa reconnaisse l'autodétermination de la province ; que l'Ontario fasse une chaude lutte à l'analphabétisme, surtout en milieux francophone et autochtone. Je vous remercie de m'avoir écouté.

M. Bisson : Une question un peu difficile dans cette situation : quand on entend les affaires vis-à-vis des francophones, les études des fois pas très sympathiques, disons, premièrement, qu'est-ce que ça vous fait personnellement ? Et deuxièmement, qu'est-ce que ça fait d'être capable de résoudre nos problèmes et d'être capable de continuer le processus de bâtir cette nation ?

Mme Bathnagar : La première question, qu'est-ce que ça me fait personnellement ? Ça me touche certainement et je deviens très émotive. J'ai justement eu l'expérience ce soir. Je me suis approchée de la personne et j'ai essayé de l'amadouer et de la calmer. Mais certes, j'ai travaillé très fort pour conserver ma langue et pour être bilingue. Les remarques désobligeantes me briment beaucoup. Est-ce que je réponds à votre première question ?

M. Bisson: Oui.

Mme Bathnagar: Et votre deuxième question ?

M. Bisson: Que pensez-vous que ça fait vers la possibilité d'être capable de réconcilier les différences et rebâtir ou continuer à bâtir cette nation, en venir finalement par dire : « Une fois pour toutes, après 123 ans, on va régler cette question-là et commencer à bâtir notre nation»?

Mme Bathnagar: Je crois qu'il y a beaucoup de possibilités pour qu'on puisse garder le Canada intact. Je crois que des comités comme ceci, ça peut aider à amener des gens ensemble et à concilier les gens. Je crois que c'est l'ouverture d'esprit et puis donner le temps, peut-être, au Québec de se calmer après l'échec du Lac Meech. Si le Canada semblait un peu plus sympathique au dilemme dans lequel le Québec se trouve présentement, je crois qu'il y aurait beaucoup de chance qu'on garde le Canada intact.



The Chair: Could I call next Fred Hutter.

Mr Hutter: Good evening. I believe all Canadians want Quebec to stay, but only as a province equal to the others. Clyde Wells enlightened us on the basic faults of Meech. Oka taught us of Quebec's disrespect for native land claims. And now the Allaire report refutes the Supreme Court of Canada and its jurisdiction over the justice system.

A Saddam Hussein negotiating style is what we have seen. Anti-English sign laws, a rejection of attending provincial conferences and refusal to acknowledge the Charter of Rights by invoking the infamous "notwithstanding" clause are ways of saying to Canada, "It's our way or no way."

There is an element in Quebec that is bordering on fascist state creation with its racist laws, new control of immigration and above-the-law attitude. Perhaps this new cockiness has roots in Bourassa's James Bay hydro project and his dream of making Quebec the richest province or state in North America by vast flooding of the Cree Indian lands to the north for cheap power and selling it to the northeast where nuclear plants have trouble being built.

I see Ontario's role via this committee as being that, when Quebec holds its next referendum, its citizens should know the facts of life this time. Instead of viewing the future with rose-coloured glasses, the voters of Quebec should go to the polls aware of a written document illustrating to them the bad-news scenario a yes vote will cause. They know what they want, but right now are not familiar with what they do not get. Part of Ontario's role in keeping the nation together is the duty to make the people of separatist nature aware of the strong conditions that will be imposed if they leave.

In effect, I am speaking of a type of divorce agreement. This would be an agreement stating what the terms of the separation would be; a negotiating tool. It would serve two purposes: to enlighten them on what they will lose if they leave, or we can call it a Plains of Abraham manifesto and scare them into leaving. The attitude the committee takes, that Ontario takes, will make that determination.

In any divorce, ugly decisions have to be made: who gets the kids, the pet, even the photo album. The negotiations will be no exception, and the time to show French Canada the details is now, before it votes. This will inspire deeper thought into what they are doing and could lose. I would like to mention some items that would be discussed in such a manifesto or agreement.

We have good treaty foundations for retaining most of northern Quebec, which are Cree and Inuit territories in history, not French. The 50th parallel and the Treaty of Paris border running from James Bay to Labrador will keep their interests intact via a land route across our north. Similarly, the St Lawrence River just west and south of Montreal Island and out to the Atlantic shall leave the Eastern Townships and Gaspé as a route to the Maritimes, thereby inspiring unity among the remaining provinces and providing a homeland for French, English and other Québécois who wish to stay part of Canada.

All land and buildings now federal will remain Canadian until those departments can be relocated. These lands can then be sold at a later date. Likewise, Quebec holdings and the lands retained by Canada south of the St Lawrence River and in the north can be retained by Quebec or sold later by the Quebec government. Because we keep or have the right to sell all real estate, it is not necessary to apportion Quebec's share of the national debt. Their share would be about $95 billion, not counting the national capital area of Hull, and the Hull situation must be addressed.

The Chair: Mr Hutter, if you could sum up, please.

Mr Hutter: Okay. Referenda on the occupied islands of Anticosti and Madeleine in the St Lawrence River should determine their loyalty, whereas the vacant lands go to the closest shore. Borders and fishing rights must be established to avert disputes later.

The population will demand across Canada that all French in the courts, forms and double labelling be extinguished. No longer a founding national population, the expense and social cost of French labelling, etc, will not be tolerated.

Ontario and Canadians will forgive politicians if French Canadians separate. We promoted the eastern bloc and now the Baltics to independence, so it is hypocritical to stop Quebec. What the voters will not forgive is giving them the silver tray when they go. The break, if it happens, must be a clean and fair one. Mr Mulroney cannot negotiate. He loses his parliamentary seat when they go. Maybe that is a good reason to do it sooner.

The above points are items for Québécois to consider before a referendum. Ontario can design and maybe change destiny. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call next Robert London. And just so people know, I will be calling afterwards Martha Willis. Mr London is coming forward.

Mr London: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you tonight. I had a few things I was going to talk about that everybody already said, so I will make this as brief as possible. I think as a nation we should not be divided by language, wealth or customs. We should try to achieve a more loyal way of thinking by putting the country first. All other issues should be secondary.

I know that during the Second World War all Canadians stood and we said we were Canadians. What I have been hearing on this committee is, "We're from Ontario" or "We're from Quebec, we're French Canadians." They do not say where they are born or stand up and say, "I'm a Canadian." The Americans can say, "We're Americans," and I am going to say I am a Canadian. I think our Charter of Rights pretty well puts everything in perspective for all of us, regardless of what our nationality or colour or whatever is.

As far as the aboriginal people go, I do not know enough about any of it to even make an opinion on it. Free trade I know a little bit about. I think the United States was our biggest buyer, and what we did was we allowed them to take over our country by moving out and taking our jobs with them, and of course we will be unemployed.


As for Ontario's role, I moved here a long time ago. I chose Ontario because it was the province of opportunity. Now we are becoming a province of not-so-much opportunity. I think we should all work for one unified country, instead of trying to pull it down and have four or five. I was listening to your programs and listened to other people suggest that we have Canadas. Well, my father, may he rest in peace, died for this country. I think if he saw this today and he could, he would probably roll over in his grave. He fought under the English flag and he cried when we got the Canadian flag that we have now. But because of progress, we do things that have to be done. What else can I say other than I am happy to be here.

Mr Ferguson: Mr London, you suggest that we should put the country first and that everything else should be a secondary consideration. We have heard everything from how we should assist Quebec in leaving as quickly as possible to how we should be doing everything we can to make sure Quebec remains in the family of Confederation. Can you tell the committee how far you would suggest the province of Ontario should go in trying to put the country first and putting everything else secondary? How much give should the province go to succeed in perhaps meeting the requests of the province of Quebec?

Mr London: We do not understand Quebec and I guess Quebec does not understand us, but we do know that in Ontario we ship a lot of stuff down to Quebec. I do not know just exactly what the turnabout is, but we do have a lot of trade with Quebec. I would say that Quebec is part of Canada regardless of whether they say we are separating tomorrow or not. They can say it and they are not going to go anywhere. What are they going to do? Cut it out and take it to France or wherever they want to go?

My suggestion to Ontario would be to work with them. Let's all get together. I know language can be an obstacle. I do not speak French. I am from New Brunswick and I still do not speak French. Most of my people who do speak French in New Brunswick do not know what they are talking about in Quebec anyway. Not all of them. Somebody said "Ah," but it is true. Acadian French is a lot different from Parisian French. That is what I would suggest anyway.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Martha Willis. Then I will call after that, Shawn Hamill.

Ms Willis: I am just an ordinary Canadian woman who feels very strongly about this country and the way it is heading. I speak both French and English and I am very fortunate to do so. I really strongly feel that if we lose Quebec, we have lost in essence Canada because this is what makes Canada unique.

I spent two summers in Quebec in a little town, La Pocatière, just a little place of about 6,000 people. It is just ordinary Quebeckers. They are just like ordinary Ontarians. We are the same. Their aspirations are the same as ours. I really feel that the media and the politicians are making mountains out of molehills. We all want the same thing.

Unfortunately, there are some people who do not understand that, so what we get are bigoted statements, biased statements. I feel that unfortunately the media are manipulating the ordinary Canadians and the ordinary Quebeckers into thinking that this is a great big issue. It is not. Canada is more important.

It reminds me of a family and how you have to compromise and give and take. Right now, we have growing pains. We have a province that reminds me of adolescence. It is throwing little tantrums at times. They want to be heard, they want to be understood, they want to be accepted, they want to be loved, just like in a family. In a family, the rest of the family must make compromises, must be conciliatory, but cannot give them everything for the good of the family. We cannot just let them go away like a runaway teenager.

I think Canada is too important, the family is too important. I would hate to see us come to the point where we just close our minds and say: "Leave. We don't care. We don't want to understand you." I think that is really sad. I would like to see this country stay together and not lose one quarter of the country and one quarter of the population. It is just too important a nation. If they do go, Canada in essence is gone. The family has become totally dysfunctional. I think there is hope and I think ordinary Canadians should be listened to.

The media should not manipulate us. For example, I will bet tomorrow on the news and in the newspapers what will make the news is the man or the gentleman, there could be more than one, in the back who are making statements about the women who are speaking in French. That will make the news, not the reactions of the others who were embarrassed, some of whom spoke back to them. I think ordinary Canadians need to stand up and see what we stand for. But let's not let the media manipulate us. That is all.


The Chair: I think you have had a reaction there, Ms Willis. Ms Witmer.

Mrs Witmer: Thank you very much. I appreciate your presentation. How would you, though, go about not letting the media manipulate us?

Ms Willis: That is a very good question. I find it difficult just watching CNN and watching the Gulf war and watching us being manipulated. I do not have an answer to that. I would just like to see balance on both sides, the truth, not that one person is making bigoted statements like tonight, but that the general populace here was supportive and understanding. She has the right to speak in French, because we have the right to speak in English. That is our country. But you see, if they do that, they are manipulating us. The editors of the newspapers, the producers of the news, they have to make sure it is balanced. That is about all.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Willis. Shawn Hamill?

Interjection: Excuse me, can I say a word?

The Chair: Well --

Interjection: If anybody was talking before, I do not think it is because of French. It was just that we could not understand what was said.

The Chair: Okay. All right, sir. That's fine. All right. We are doing fine. It is okay for people to express themselves. That is fine.


The Chair: Mr Hamill, go ahead. Just relax. Go ahead.

Mr Hamill: First of all, I would like to set up where I am coming from with what I want to say. In the past year I have taken a bus as far as Quebec City and I have also taken a bus from the west coast back to Toronto. Quite frankly, I do not think you can really get a feel for Canada unless you have been across the land. To begin with, I have realized that Canada is a very beautiful country. Although I was already proud to be a Canadian, I am damned proud to be a Canadian right now after I have seen what this country consists of. I have not seen the Atlantic provinces yet, but I hope I will soon.

On my bus rides, I have spoken with Canadians and I have detected not only on the bus but from being there, talking to people in bars and wherever you find your average little guy in Canada, that there is one attitude in Ontario that is pretty uniform and the attitude goes in opposite directions as you go west or as you go east. Out west, the western people cannot understand Quebeckers. Out east, Quebeckers cannot understand western concerns. Both people think that the other has it made in the shade, so to speak.


Myself, I am not a pro-Quebecker and I am not an anti-Quebecker. I always consider myself a mediator. But what I think we are dealing with here is not a language barrier or a cultural barrier or anything like that. I think what we are dealing with here is a matter of priorities. The way I perceive Canada's priorities right now is that it seems, oddly enough, to be the newest person in Canada first.

I hope I am not sounding racist by saying this, but it seems that many people right now feel that the immigrants to Canada are the best-treated people, then perhaps Ontarians are second-best, Anglo-Canadians. It seems a lot of people think that the natives and the Quebeckers are not getting what they deserve. The way I justify saying this is that if you look at who came here first, in my history books it said that the native people were here first and Quebeckers were here and English people came in and kicked them out, sending them to small areas.

The natives have their little reserves, not anything close to what they had when we came here, and Quebeckers only have Quebec, again not close to what they once had. While I think there is not much you can do about that now, the least I think that we can do, myself included as an English Canadian, is to recognize this fact and say, "Hey, all they're asking is to be compensated for all the things that they have lost." If we would have faced this a long time ago, we would not have had the Oka crisis and we also would not have the Quebec situation right now.

I think something that is a big breakdown in our system is the election system and the media system, as the previous speaker was talking of, where once a point a view is adopted by the media, that is the point of view that generally wins out. As soon as Meech Lake was considered a failure by the media and they started writing stories as such, politicians started jumping on the bandwagon and saying, "Hey, Meech Lake is not as great as it seemed to be." Yet a couple years before, all 10 provinces approved it.

Another example is Mulroney and the 1984 election. The election was a big question on who was going to win until the media jumped on Brian Mulroney's bandwagon, and suddenly he walked away with one of the largest majorities that Canada has ever witnessed. Bob Rae, in the most recent election, was the same thing. The media jumped on his bandwagon and manipulated the people into voting for that side. Perhaps he did deserve a lot of credit for it as well, but it is true that the media do manipulate the people.

Not to just offer problems and not solutions, I feel that the biggest way to overcome the manipulation from the media is through education. Being a marketing person, I know that people generally go to the easiest information to acquire and most usually believe that. The easiest information to acquire right now is the news media. They pick up a newspaper and read what it says and believe it is the truth. If we as Canadians work to educate people, then I think we can get a valid point across rather than being manipulated by the media.

Getting back to the --

The Chair: If you could sum up, Mr Hamill.

Mr Hamill: Okay, I just want to sum up then with the idea of who was here first. A lot of people cannot accept that. They say, "Well, Quebec may have been here first but we are the majority." Let's bring this home to your own living room. If you are sitting in your own living room watching the TV, and three people come home -- your wife, your husband or whatever, your two kids -- and tell you, "Change the channel, we want to watch something," do you say, "Okay, there are three of you and one of me," or do you say, "No, I was here first"? I do not think there is one person in this room who has never said, "No, I was here first."

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Hamill.


The Chair: I invite next Gisèle Latour. There is also Paul Latour on our list. I do not know if they are related and wish to make a presentation together or not. No? We will call them separately then.

Mlle Latour : Bonsoir. Monsieur le Président et les membres du comité, j'aimerais d'abord remercier le comité spécial sur l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération de m'avoir accordé ce temps pour exprimer mes rêves pour un meilleur avenir pour l'Ontario et pour le Canada. Cela me fait grand plaisir de voir un gouvernement qui cherche tant à écouter la voix du peuple et j'espère que ma voix vous aidera dans votre tâche.

Je dois en même temps toutefois exprimer mon regret du peu de temps accordé au peuple ontarien pour se préparer pour la venue du comité. Il y a sûrement des voix ontariennes qui désirent tant se faire entendre qui auront été exclues par cette approche.

Je m'appelle Gisèle Latour et je suis une étudiante en physique à l'Université de Waterloo. J'aimerais ce soir partager avec vous deux rêves en particulier que j'ai pour l'Ontario : un Ontario qui donne une reconnaissance égale aux deux langues officielles de notre pays et un Ontario où on pourra trouver une université francophone.

J'ai fait mes études primaires et secondaires en français. Quand j'étais au secondaire, j'espérais faire mes études postsecondaires en français aussi. Quand il est venu le temps de choisir l'université à laquelle je voulais aller, j'ai d'abord regardé les calendriers des universités bilingues de notre province, soit de l'Université d'Ottawa et l'Université Laurentienne. Malheureusement, en sciences, ces universités n'offrent pas grand-chose. Il est possible de faire sa première année en français, mais après ça toutes les études se font en anglais, seuls quelques cours à option sont offerts en français.

Alors, j'ai cherché dans les universités du Québec, mais même au Québec l'éducation en sciences en français est très limitée. De plus, je ne voulais pas entrer en exil. J'aime bien ma province et je ne désirais pas la quitter. Pourtant, je suis encore une étudiante en exil. Je suis en exil de la communauté francophone avec laquelle j'ai habité pendant 19 ans. Je me trouve maintenant dans une université anglophone où les seuls cours que je peux suivre en français sont des cours de français. Cela ne m'offre qu'une faible occasion de pratiquer ma langue maternelle.

Je réalise qu'une université francophone en Ontario n'est pas quelque chose qui peut se réaliser d'ici au lendemain et il est très peu probable que cela pourrait même se réaliser avant que j'ai terminé mes études universitaires. Mais je crois qu'il faut viser un tel avenir dès aujourd'hui, car c'est ce que nous bâtissons aujourd'hui qui affectera notre avenir.

Je crois qu'une université francophone en Ontario est une possibilité et je crois que c'est un droit, car les Franco-Ontariens ont des droits. Ils ont des droits tout comme les anglophones en Ontario. En forçant notre jeunesse en exil, soit dans les communautés anglophones ou dans les autres provinces, nous leur enseignons que le français n'est bon que pour la poésie et que la langue de la réussite, c'est l'anglais.

Je rêve d'un Ontario où il y a une université française et le rêve d'un Ontario où les deux langues officielles de notre pays auront une reconnaissance égale car notre pays est un pays bilingue et je crois que la meilleure façon de bâtir notre unité nationale, c'est si toutes les provinces acceptent la dualité, même les trois cultures qui ont fondé notre nation. Je crois que l'Ontario devrait être à la tête de cette fondation de notre avenir et devrait donc donner une reconnaisse égale aux deux langues officielles de notre pays. Merci pour votre temps.

M. Beer: J'aimerais dire que je pense qu'il faut continuer à rêver parce que si on jette un regard sur les 10 derniers ans ou même 20 ans, on peut vraiment voir des progrès. Je comprends très bien qu'à ce moment, vous voulez avoir votre propre université toute neuve, mais quand même on a fait beaucoup de progrès et c'est pourquoi les rêves sont si importants. Alors, bonne chance. Le fait français dans notre province va s'épanouir.


M. le Président: J'appelle Paul Latour.

M. Latour : Je vais me permettre d'abord de vous féliciter pour votre endurance à tous. Je reconnais que votre présence ici représente un effort énorme. Je ne sais pas combien de villes en quatre jours ; c'est pas mal.


Ms Churley: We do not either.

Mr Latour: You are not sure you are surviving, I can appreciate.

Je vous apporte d'une part une bonne nouvelle et peut-être d'autre part une mauvaise nouvelle. Je suis un Franco-Ontarion de choix. Je suis un vieux néo-Canadien. D'origine je suis Belge, devenu canadien en 1963 après mes cinq ans de résidence au pays.

Je vous parlerai dans les dernières minutes de ma présentation de ma vue du Canada. Mais comme j'observe la vie canadienne, la vie que j'ai faite de la mienne, la vie franco-ontarienne, ça me rappelle beaucoup ce que j'ai vécu en Belgique qui est aussi un pays bilingue. Et de fait, Jules César lui-même avait fait certains commentaires au point de vue des Gaules qui étaient plutôt des gens difficiles, qu'ils fussent Flamands ou Wallons. Mais après 2000 ans l'identité belge a survécu, et en me basant là-dessus je suis convaincu, comme Franco-Ontarien, comme Canadien, que le Canada va survivre. Il va y avoir des douleurs, il va y avoir des difficultés, mais ce ne sera pas facile. Ça c'est la bonne nouvelle.

La mauvaise nouvelle, c'est que tant qu'il y aura de différentes cultures, tant qu'il y aura de différents points de vue -- et on sait que si on devient politicien, la chose qui est garantie est qu'on va être critiqué pour ce qu'on fait ou qu'on essaie de faire -- les tensions ne nous quitteront jamais. Il y aura toujours des tensions. C'est le prix qu'on paie pour la richesse qu'on obtient. Et pour ceux et celles qui voudraient dire : « Ah, quand est-ce que le Canada va devenir un endroit calme» ? j'espère que le Canada ne deviendra jamais un endroit calme parce que chaque communauté est interpellée à inviter l'autre à devenir plus grande. C'est une des raisons pour lesquelles mes parents et moi avons choisi le Canada plutôt que les États-Unis, le fait que c'est un pays bilingue. Et je suis content que nous sommes venus au Canada parce que j'apprécie le fait que dans mon pays, la valeur essentielle est le respect de l'individu, le respect de la personne, le respect de ce que cette personne apporte à notre pays.

Il y a certaines mentions qui ont été faites au sujet de l'éducation. Si nous voulons réduire la tension au Canada, il est important que nous éduquions notre peuple. Ayant travaillé comme volontaire dans la francophonie ontarienne, ayant donné un atelier où on dit aux gens: « Écrivez quelques notes», et on remarque 50% des hommes franco-ontariens incapables d'écrire, comme Franco-Ontarien de choix, je dois vous dire que ça me fait vraiment mal au coeur. Et on se demande pourquoi. Pensons à l'éducation.

En un grand nombre d'années passées, plus de 20 ans passés dans l'éducation au système postsecondaire, j'ai remarqué qu'au courant des années le gouvernement fédéral a abdiqué ses responsabilités et au nom de la balance sheet, «the bottom line» comme on dit en anglais, on réduit ses contributions. Je réalise qu'au courant des années, et je peux penser à nos grands premiers ministres de l'Ontario -- je faisais une liste comme je pensais et j'écoutais les autres intervenants -- John Robarts, qui avait une vue de l'Ontario que je crois était splendide ; David Peterson, qui a eu le courage d'offrir, d'essayer de faire quelque chose pour le pays. Au plan politique c'était très dangereux, mais il a considéré le pays plus important. La problème c'est les finances, c'est l'économie.

Stephen Lewis, que vous connaissez très bien, était interviewé à la télévision après que le Lac Meech s'est effondré et je crois que ce grand Canadien probablement avait la meilleure compréhension de ce qui se passe au Canada, et la dame qui a parlé comme une Canadienne bilingue je crois a retouché ce que M. Lewis disait : « Le premier ministre a de bonnes idées. Il aime le Canada, il est dévoué au Canada, il veut un Canada en bonne santé mais il ne comprend pas que les politiques économiques démolissent la famille». Combien de foyers avons-nous vu se détruire, des gens qui se comprenaient et qui s'entendaient.

J'avais apporté un nombre de documents avec moi mais il n'est pas nécessaire de vous rappeler les statistiques, les pertes d'emploi, les cols bleus, le besoin de rééduquer et de réentraîner notre population. On parle d'éducation. J'entendais Mme Bathnagar qui parlait du fait que la communauté européenne pense maintenant à trois langues. Je pense que ceci ne passe pas en Europe parce que quand même l'Ontario pour eux est un peu loin, mais nous entendre nous disputer sur deux langues quand l'Europe reconnaît qu'il en faut trois...

En 1958, quand moi je suis venu au Canada, en Belgique, à partir de la troisième année, on devait apprendre l'autre langue jusqu'à la fin des études postsecondaires. On ne pouvait pas l'abandonner et on commençait à apprendre une troisième langue à partir de la huitième année. Je suis convaincu que nos jeunes Canadiens sont juste aussi intelligents. Alors, voilà quelques-unes de mes idées.

The Chair: Merci. We are going to carry on.


The Chair: Could I call next William Giverin.

Mr Giverin: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak before this committee.

My name is William Giverin. I have been a resident of this country for something like 37 years and a citizen for about 34. This country has been very good to me, and I hopefully have been useful and good to this country, my country, our country.

I would like to enforce that point, because all that we hear politically is a lot of things about Canada, and it comes over as though Canada is a place to be used, abused, some place out there that is to be exploited and also to be dissolved, if necessary. This concerns me very much, because I believe what we should have is some sort of council for national unity in Canada, and that Ontario should be the proponent of this general idea. I do not like the idea of a provincial governments partaking and taking the responsibility for the dissolution of Canada. I do not think it is their responsibility. They are elected to look after the province and not over the dissolution of the country. I would point that out to Bob Rae as being his idea of dealing with what is going on in the country at this particular moment.

Past governments here in Ontario are partly to blame for what is going on right now. As a matter of fact, the Robarts and Davis governments sat on their derrières and just looked benevolently at what was happening in Quebec, perhaps tolerated it without really saying anything about it. Previous governments are partly to blame, and it has come to this stage of the game where it has become extremely dangerous for the country.

Even with Quebec now, for instance, it is a provincial government, and the change is from the clerical élites to the entrepreneur élites that we have now in Quebec. I do not believe the average Quebec person wants to see this country fall apart. I am knowledgeable enough about the ordinary French Canadian, and the only problem there is that he lends to look to his élites to determine what the policy will be, and the basic agenda over these last 20 years or so of the Quebec élites is to milk the federal government for all it is worth. That is what has been going on. The federal government has been hijacked or any political party that forms the federal government has been basically hijacked by the idea of that block of French votes. That is really what has been going on.

I see this from a perspective perhaps a little different from the ordinary person. I have a background in political culture both here in Canada and abroad. I think it becomes very difficult to legislate anything to do with culture. As a matter of fact, I think here in Canada that anything in that line we have tried to legislate has really backfired, certainly in the case of Quebec, like Meech Lake; that backfired, the idea of bringing them in.

It is also the effect of the constitutional discussion that took place in the 1980s. We find out the agenda was basically set by the wise men of Quebec: Pelletier, Marchand and Trudeau, with their sidekicks, Lalonde and also Chrétien. I was over in Britain on a sabbatical year when this was going on, and I saw the British view of this, which was both serious and comic, about this whole discussion that was going on here in Canada -- the very idea of a patriated Constitution, which of course was a misnomer; the Constitution was not patriated at all. As a matter of fact, the whole discussion on the Statute of Westminster took exactly 23 minutes in Parliament, of which 20 minutes were a procedural wrangle and three minutes were to approve it. That is precisely what happened in England.


It was also true that at that time they were noting the discussions, especially by the Premier of Alberta and his cronies and some from BC who were talking about it before the Kershaw commission over there, which I listened to every night for about three weeks on Today in Parliament. It was very interesting to find out about all the different varieties of Canadas there could possibly be.

In summary, about early December the Sunday Observer printed a headline that suggested that Canada had become an association of banana republics. This, of course, gave me some concern. I immediately wrote to my MP and he delivered a big package about the whole constitutional matter. At the same time, among these things, who was representing the federal government of Canada but a senior civil servant from the Foreign Office who was more or less backstopping every suggestion that was made. Then also there was the bunch of Indians who were parading outside of Buckingham Palace. That was the impression of Canada and it was funny.

The Sunday Observer made some suggestions that were almost prophetic about what is going on now in the present discussion about the status quo, about the two-nation concept and about the condominium concept, which I think you have all heard about.

That is my presentation. It is just a recommendation that the provinces should back away from any sort of constitutional discussion. It is my suggestion to Bob Rae as the Ontario Premier, because all he says by getting into it is actually encouraging Quebec to separate. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Can I call in Annabel Cathrall next.

Ms Cathrall: Thank you. My name is Annabel Cathrall. I am a professional engineer and I live in Guelph. I gave Tannis Manikel a copy of the brief I brought, and I hope you have it. Because I am limited to five minutes, I will gallop through it rather fast.

Although the immediate crisis we face is the spectre of Quebec's separation, I submit that it cannot be dealt with effectively in isolation from the urgent needs to redress the grievances of the first nations and to restore popular trust in government as an institution.

The present mood of distrust and cynicism towards governments at all levels has taken decades to develop, but this federal government has accelerated the process by repeatedly using ultimatum, deadline and force to get a deal at any price. To restore people's trust in government will require more than just another election, a change of incumbents and policies; it will require a change in the relationship between the government and the governed, so that government becomes truly answerable to the people.

Preston Manning strikes a resonant note when he says that once elected, MPs abandon the task of representing their constituents' views in Ottawa and turn instead to selling Ottawa's agenda to the voters. This government has taken the process too far, and now Canadians need to exert some control over their elected representatives; we need to apply some limits to government power. It is not enough to cast ballots once every four or five years and have our views and interests trampled on between elections.

My first proposal is that we need amendments to the Constitution and the Canada Elections Act to provide a recall mechanism so voters in any riding could fire their MPP or their MP when he or she fails to represent their interests to the voters' satisfaction.

My second point is that Senate reform should give more power to people, not to provinces. I suggest that the Senate be elected with half the members equally divided among four regions -- the Maritimes, central Canada, the west, and the north -- and the other half divided equally among three groups of people: the first nations, French Canadians and the rest of us.

Third, the amending formula has received much attention from the Prime Minister because it worked for the people of Canada exactly as it was supposed to do and that did not suit his style of government by threat, ultimatum and the rolling of dice. Any proposed amendment to the fundamental law of this country should be subjected to close and careful scrutiny, not rushed through like a sale at auction. I urge the government of Ontario to block any attempt to alter the time allowed for ratification of amendments to the Constitution.

Fourth, after watching the Meech Lake fiasco I do not want to leave the Constitution in the hands of governments only. Perhaps an additional requirement for ratification of amendments should be a popular referendum, requiring two-thirds majority in each region.

Fifth, the Charter of Rights should be extended and renamed the Charter of Rights, Responsibilities and Duties. We have focused on rights for a decade to such an extent that it has created some distortions. For example, in the area of child welfare, severely disturbed children cannot be treated without their consent even if suicidal. Juggling with rights alone will not straighten out these anomalies. We need to balance our rights with our responsibilities and duties towards one another and the natural environment.

Turning to Quebec, in the run-up to the Meech Lake fiasco the Prime Minister told Quebeckers that rejection of Meech meant rejection of Quebec. They believed him and that is part of the problem that Canada faces today. But it was not true. Many, many of us opposed Meech Lake for reasons that had little or nothing to do with Quebec.

We opposed giving any province a veto over the creation of new provinces, over aboriginal self-government and changes to national institutions. We opposed the transfer of spending power to the provinces on such a massive scale as to effectively balkanize all of Canada. It seems necessary, though far from sufficient, that the government of Ontario articulate clearly to Quebeckers that they were lied to and that they were not rejected with Meech. Now the Prime Minister seems set to repackage the worst features of Meech and try again to ram them down our throats.

I do not believe this country can survive as a federation if its east-west ties are weakened further while its north-south ties are strengthened by yet another free trade deal. I am not even sure it can survive the first one for long if economic stresses got worse.

Transfers of power to provincial governments, which tend to haggle like horse traders as it is now, would only make it easier for the US and other outside investors to play one off against another, gradually reducing us all to the lowest common denominator.

I urge the government of Ontario to oppose transfers of power to provincial governments that would weaken our national programs such as medicare and regional industrial expansion and to oppose free trade with Mexico.

Please keep in mind that there is much more to a nation and its Constitution than optimizing arrangements for making money.

There are some other things that I would like to mention that have come out of the present crisis in the Gulf. According to Toronto lawyer Marlys Edwardh, Canadian law provides no protection from combat duty for conscientious objectors. In the US it is acceptable to argue that conscience can be awakened by the war the soldier is being asked to fight, so even in an all-volunteer army this protection may be required.

I urge the government of Ontario to press for protection from combat for conscientious objectors. The decision to commit Canadian troops to fight in the war without a formal declaration can be made, and in the case of the Gulf war was made, by the federal cabinet alone. No prior approval by Parliament was required. The federal government cannot spend money without the approval of Parliament but it can spend lives.

I think it is high time Canadians were asked if this situation is acceptable to them and if not how and by whom they would like a decision to go to war to be made. I thank you for listening to me.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Paul Johnson?

After Mr Johnson, I will call Rodney Pinkney next. Mr Johnson, go ahead.



Mr Johnson: I have been watching on TV. I saw Brian Dymond speak in Collingwood on the parliamentary channel and he was explaining about the Robarts school and the situation there and the mainstreaming that is going on in the school in Milton. I felt that was a very sad situation and I hope that this committee can do something about it.

Now talking about the interpreter situation, I live in the Waterloo region and I have lived here for many years. The problem here is that we have one interpreter for the whole region and we find that very frustrating. One interpreter: Can you imagine? We need interpreters. We need more than one person. In Toronto they have about five interpreters, but I hear that number is becoming smaller and smaller as well. There is something that needs to be done, and that is it.


Mr Pinkney: Just so that you will have an idea of my roots, although I am speaking for myself, I think there are a lot of people in this country who probably have similar roots to mine, especially in this area.

We have been in this country about 150 years. I was in the Second World War on a frigate. My father was in the trenches in the First World War. If anybody does not have the guts to stand up for their country, let them go somewhere else. That is enough of that.

We have some real problems in this country and everybody is kind of supportive of motherhood, but if you took at what has happened to our economic situation in this country today, what has happened in the last 20 or 25 years is that by any standard we are bankrupt. Why are we bankrupt? I think we have been just trying to be too good to too many people and we are really not able to afford to do it.

God knows, I came up through the Depression. I walked the railroads to get coal so that it would supplement the wood in the winter. I started work when I was 12 every night after school and weekends. I know what it is to work to get something and I am darn sure that I am not really very sympathetic for a lot of those people who get their daily dole one way or another and are really not prepared to work.

I am sympathetic and I help as many people as I can, but I want other people to hold a little bit of their own end up. I realize that as the country gets bigger, it is very, very difficult to arrange programs, but the bottom line is that we are in a real world, that we have to compete with the rest of the world in the goods we manufacture, that we have to have our costs at that same level no matter how you like it, that we have to have wages that are competitive, and I certainly think we have the talent to produce if we can get our costs in line.

Another thing: I sent my young boy to French school for a few years. I have worked for a short time in Quebec, I have a number of friends in Quebec. I sure as heck am a Canadian, but I think we have to face the fact of what is here today, not really what we would like to have here today because we would all like to have everything. I think we have to do the most we can for the most people we can, but it has to be within what we can afford or else we are all going down the drain, and that is what happened in Sweden.

As far as our association with Quebec is concerned, I think it is like a marriage. Most of us, I think, in this country would like to keep it. I think we might say the average person who lives in Quebec would like to keep it. But if you have a group that has control and it does not want to have it, well, it is not a very happy home. You probably would find that you are both better off to have some kind of an association, but a fairly distant association to start with.

I think you have more chance of bringing Quebec back on better terms, or working with it, if you get away from the haggling and the nitty and all the small little junk that goes on. If you are going to keep that you are just going to be continually fighting. Have some major cuts, let them look after all their own economics, their own cultures.

When I was a kid at school, half the community was Italian and the other half was farm families which were mostly of Nordic origination. We did not even know the difference between one another as far as the way we dealt with each other was concerned. It was never discussed. There was never a problem. There was never a fight over anything. As soon as you start saying, "You are this and somebody else is that," and, "Somebody else does this and somebody else does that," and, "I do not like your religion and all this nonsense," then that is where you get the fighting. If they had stopped all this ruddy multiculturalism and come over here to be Canadians like my people did, I think we would have been an awful lot better off.

If Quebec has to separate --

The Chair: Mr Pinkney, if you could sum up, please.

Mr Pinkney: Pardon?

The Chair: If you could sum up, please.

Mr Pinkney: Okay. The bottom line is we cannot afford to go on the way we are. We are going to have to, I think, cut the cord. I think we are going to have to let the French look after Quebec, and English speaking look after the rest of it, and try to work together in that fashion. We just cannot afford to go on the way we have been.


The Chair: Could I call next Claude Charpentier, and following that, Ernie Anderson.

M. Claude Charpentier: Monsieur le Président, j'aimerais m'adresser à vous en français.

Monsieur le Président, membres de la commission, je vous remercie pour cette occasion qui m'est offerte pour vous adresser la parole. Je viens vous parler à titre d'individuel. Je suis originaire du Québec mais depuis l'âge de six ans je demeure en Ontario. Je suis donc Franco-Ontarien. À l'exception de trois ans où j'ai demeuré à Vanier dans la banlieue d'Ottawa, Eastview à ce moment-là, c'est toujours dans le sud de l'Ontario que j'ai vécu.

J'ai donc appris à parler l'anglais lorsque j'étais très jeune et j'ai également appris qu'il fallait faire toutes sortes d'efforts pour ne pas perdre mon français. Cette lutte quotidienne pour survivre en tant que francophone se continue car j'estime très important de transmettre à mes enfants l'héritage de la langue et de la culture françaises héritées de mes parents.

La mise sur pied de cette commission est une preuve des plus tangibles de l'état critique dans laquelle se trouve notre pays. Je me demande en toute sincérité si d'ici quelques générations il sera encore possible pour ceux qui nous succéderont de fredonner le début de notre hymne national, « Ô Canada, terre do nos aïeux ».


Ceci m'amène à traiter de la question numéro 6 : quel est l'avenir du Québec au sein du Canada ? J'aurais peut-être aimé voir une question : «quel est le rôle de la francophonie hors Québec dans ce Canada » ? Trop de gens peu éclairés sont prêts à dire qu'ils s'en fichent si le Québec se sépare ou encore, qu'il est temps que le Québec se sépare. D'autres encore moins éclairés s'empressent d'ajouter qu'il n'y aura aucune raison pour continuer à offrir des services aux francophones hors Québec une fois que la séparation du Québec sera fait accompli. Monsieur le Président, ces conclusions simplistes ne font qu'accentuer la gravité du problème.

Si le Québec venait à se séparer, il n'y aurait pas d'espace vide entre l'Est et l'Ouest permettant un rapprochement physique avec l'Ontario, des Prairies d'une part et des Maritimes de l'autre. Des personnes pouvant s'exprimer dans les deux langues seraient encore nécessaires pour assurer une communication efficace avec le Québec et les autres pays aussi de notre monde global. Toutefois, je suis de l'avis que si le Québec se sépare du Canada -- et je ne le souhaite pas du tout -- c'est peut-être non seulement la fin du Canada comme nous le connaissons aujourd'hui, mais peut-être la fin du Canada, point. Il est impossible, selon moi, qu'une tranche si importante de notre population, de nos industries et de notre commerce se retire du Canada sans qu'il y ait des répercussions graves, surtout lorsque cette partie du Canada est située juste à côté de l'Ontario, isolant ainsi les provinces Maritimes. Je ne suis pas le premier à poser la question, à savoir si les Maritimes, déjà économiquement faibles, rejoindraient les États-Unis.

Plusieurs disent qu'il ne faut pas que le Québec mène le pays par le bout du nez. Par contre, j'aimerais bien que quelqu'un m'explique de quelle partie de l'anatomie humaine il s'agit lorsqu'une province ne représentant que 2,2% de la population et, par dessus le marché, étant située à une extrémité de notre pays, contribue au sabotage de la ratification de l'accord de Lac Meech. Si on est de l'avis qu'il s'agit bien de deux provinces qui n'ont pas ratifié l'accord, il s'agit d'environ 6,5% de la population totale du Canada, si on exclue bien sûr les deux Territoires, qui n'étaient pas représentées aux assises. Deux provinces représentant 6,5% de la population empêchent une province représentant un des deux peuples fondateurs et environ 25% de la population de faire partie de cette nouvelle constitution.

Si ce pourcentage est assez important, la population franco-ontarienne est assez importante pour être reconnue de façon officielle. Monsieur le Président, je crois que l'Ontario a un rôle majeur à jouer car l'Ontario a toujours su jouer un rôle d'une importance capitale. Il suffit de se rappeler la fameuse Conférence de demain qu'avait organisée il y a quelques années l'honorable John Robarts, ancien premier ministre de cette province. Il s'agissait alors du début d'une série de consultations qui par la suite ont réussi à rapprocher des provinces.

Je suggère que l'Ontario pourrait renouveler cette approche. Il est peut-être temps que les neuf autres provinces se concertent et s'entendent pour dire ce qu'elles veulent. Le Québec de son côté va se prononcer très prochainement par l'entremise de la commission Bélanger-Campeau.

Quant aux rôles du français ou de l'anglais au Canada, il y a un statut officiel, bien sûr. Par contre, le Commissaire aux langues officielles nous rappelle souvent les défaillances qui existent en réalité. On veut souvent en Ontario rattacher des droits des Franco-Ontariens à ceux de la minorité anglophone au Québec. Je serai très fier de jouir des droits dont jouissent les anglophones au Québec. Ils sont très bien desservis par Sir George Williams, Concordia, McGill ainsi que toute la gamme d'institutions. J'ajoute que d'énormes progrès ont été réalisés en Ontario. Je ne pense pas qu'il faille s'arrêter là. Je respecte énormément les groupes qui veulent conserver leur langue, leur culture, que ce soit des Italiens, des Ukrainiens et bien sûr les autochtones qui ont une place spéciale au Canada. Mais je pense qu'il ne faudrait pas mêler les cartes. On ne peut pas donner a tous avant de donner aux peuples fondateurs ce qui leur revient.

Je vais m'arrêter là. Il y a d'autres peut-être qui voudraient présenter.

M. le Président: Oui. Merci, Monsieur Charpentier.


The Chair: Could I call in next Ernie Anderson, and following that, I will call Junius Lockhart.

Mr Anderson: I am not too good at this, but I am very much concerned about Quebec and I think we should try and keep them within our Confederation. I know Quebec wants French and I do not blame them and I think we should let them have French inside and outside of the buildings or on their street signs or whatever, for the rest of us can learn to speak French, but if they go bilingual, what is the use of learning French if we can go through there and talk English and get by on it? So eventually the French would die out, of course.

I think if they would stay with us and we guarantee them to keep their language -- I do not want to buy them, though, and I do not want to try to shanghai them into being Canadian. If they insist on going their own way, I say let them go. The only thing is, we will pick up the national debt and count the noses or heads and then, for six million or whatever they have got and the rest of us have got 18 million, just divide it up and then let them go their own way if they insist on it. It is one of those things where I hope we can certainly settle this argument and get them back in there, but I do not want them to be for ever saying, "If I don't get this, I'm going to back out." I want them to come in, live with us and love us all and be co-operative.

I think the public school systems are educating people in French now, are they not? In my time, they were not teaching French. I often wish I had taken the French to understand them. I know one time I was in the Ford Hotel in Toronto and I sat down on the bench waiting for a bus and there was an old fellow who sat down beside me. He was a school inspector in, I guess, a French school. He said they used the French language on documents of peace or whatever, because the one word meant what it said and in English sometimes you get two meanings for the one word.

It is one of those things. It should be of benefit to us to learn both languages and use them both. I think if a person learns both his mother language and French in Ontario here, even if he is unemployed and on welfare, he should get one cent an hour more for being bilingual. If you want to take it a little further, if you have three languages, maybe two cents, and so on.

But it is one of those things. Why stop? I think, right now, we should start to learn Japanese and Chinese for that is where our next -- I am pretty seriously worrying about the future because Europe is getting kind of peaceful now, except for the squabble over in Arabia and Kuwait. If they all get too peaceful, what are we going to have for work? Who is going to have work? What are you going to work at? Up until now, it has always been making guns, you know. A lot of the things went into making guns. But after they got peace, what are they going to make? Everybody makes cars? Who is going to buy them? Like I told one guy, they have robots making parts for cars, but how many cars do the robots buy?

Everybody has got to live, that is the first thing we have got to do in this world. It does not matter who you are. We have got to have something to eat and a place to sleep. If you cannot get that, government cannot give it to you. Everybody has got to work for it. So I think we could try to get together, keep Quebec within the fold, but I do not want to buy them. I do not want to have to buy them, and every five or six years they want this or they are going to separate. I want them to stay with us.

I am 72, and I have been here and heard this Quebec business for quite a long time and I do not know too much. I have not been around this country as much as half of you have. But just for the little bit I have seen and the bit I see on TV, I love it and I think we had better try and keep it and make it function. If nothing else, if Quebec decided to go, we could go to the United States and that would make this big country one, but then what would happen to Quebec? She would be like the moon on the earth. There would be a big brown ball of light maybe, and craters and a few pinnacles, but there would not be much here. Her people would pack up and leave. They want to go where the work is and where the money is.

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

Mr Anderson: I would just say, it is one of those things. Try and keep it together. If nothing else, it will keep North America a little bit two societies, American and Canadian.

The Chair: Thank you very much, sir.



The Chair: I call Junius Lockhart and following that, I will call Joanne Cripps.

Mr Lockhart: Only one of you gentlemen knows me and I wish to tell you that I do not agree with anything that is going on tonight.

Let me tell you that a few years ago, in the university, we had a speaker come up from the States, from Washington, he was, and we had martial law here at one time. All of you know it, although you were just youngsters; you knew it when that happened. The joke of that was that I wormed out of him the fact that when we declared martial law, the United Slates threw brigades of the army around Quebec, on its side of Quebec, and was all ready for invasion. Nobody heard about it.

I wish you French-speaking people would get it through your heads that it is not just English Canada that --

The Chair: Sir, you are going to have to speak into the microphone, otherwise we are going to lose you over the air.

Mr Lockhart: I was speaking to them at that time.

The Chair: I understand that.

Mr Lockhart: I am sorry to say that all through the -- I want a strong Canada from beginning to end. I have been in Quebec. I had a very good friend who took me there and took me all through it and I found that they speak lovely English at the border in the summertime. That is when they have the American dollars coming in. They speak good English then, but in the wintertime, they forget it, they do not need it.

The lady had two daughters. She sent them both to Quebec to a convent school and they spoke French. That is where it came in. They learned French. Now, we could do that with our children too if we thought that it was needed. I do not think it is. As far as Quebec is concerned, it can go out of Canada whenever it wants. The law says that it can. There is no fuss or anything about that. They can go out and we cannot stop them, no matter what we do. The law is there.

We are in a bind here in Ontario. We are losing our industries left and right. We have no place in the west to go, because the west is having difficulties itself. We are now trapped and Bob Rae has got the whole mess in his hands, left by the former governments. We have no hope in that, unless we can come up with a solid foundation that will give the people work.

Existing on charity is absolutely useless. I have seen that. Since 1970, I have been able to go around the city and Toronto and talk to thousands of people. I have no trouble in talking to them. I find that they are all of a similar opinion. As far as Quebec is concerned, they do not want to hear about it. If they are going to go, they are going to go, and we cannot stop them. That is all I have to say, gentlemen.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Joanne Cripps.

Ms Cripps: Can you see me all right, Gary? Thank you.

Hello, everyone. My name, as you know, is Joanne Cripps and I was born deaf. I went through an oral program, even though I was profoundly deaf, and I was trained to basically use my speech, to use spoken English. These are the issues I want to speak to.

I think that the rights of deaf individuals, deaf culture, etc, need to be included in our Constitution. I think the problems that we have had in the past with the oral philosophy of educating deaf children, etc, need to be eliminated. I think that that is why we need to include the rights of deaf people and American sign language, ASL, and deaf culture in the Constitution. We have to have rights for deaf children. Our current laws are very weak.

I am not sure if you have heard of cochlear implants, but there was recently a child by the age of two who had a cochlear implant. The child did not make the decision to have the implant itself. That is an awful thing to subject them to. Where are the rights of that child? The parents often hear information which is not entirely accurate. They spend an awful lot of money. I think it was $3,000 for this child. What we need to do is improve education of parents so that they will know what they are getting themselves into. I feel really sorry for these parents and I also feel very sorry for the children.

I would like to see boards of education have the IPRC process. I think the parents need to be involved in that process. In fact, no deaf adults are involved in the IPRC process, and deaf children are put into mainstream programs without getting all the information that they really need. There is no exposure to deaf culture, no exposure to ASL. It is a terrible system. They have no authority to do that to our deaf children, to place them in these programs without consulting those who have the expertise. They need to get people who have experience in deafness to assist them when they are deciding on the placement of those children.

Currently the provincial schools for the deaf have very limited restrictions in terms of the degree of deafness that a child must have before being allowed to enter the schools for the deaf. It is a certain dB loss. But what happens to the children who are hard of hearing? They are looking at a medical model, and instead of thinking the child needs to be exposed to both spoken English and ASL and deaf culture, they are not giving these children the opportunity to be exposed to both avenues. These children are only being exposed to an oral method when they could benefit from both.

As a recent example, I had an ASL class, and there is an individual who teaches deaf children here and she is in my class. The kids are around six or seven years of age. It is an oral method and they are not allowed to sign at all. Their hands are slapped if they try to use gestures or signs, and I do not know how they can stand to do that. I think there is an inequality here. Children have a right to language. Just as our hearing children have a right to use spoken language, so do our deaf children -- how to write, to use sign language -- and that needs to be incorporated also.

Our schools should be more open to any deaf students who wish to attend. We need to open them up. They should not be limited to those individuals who live within the geographical boundaries. Often parents approach me and they say they are very frustrated because their child is hard of hearing but the child cannot attend a residential school for the deaf. Where are the parents' rights here?


In summary, my points are that ASL and deaf culture should be included in our Constitution. Cochlear implants should be outlawed. They should not be allowed. These things should not be allowed to happen without the parents having more information and more education. We need more deaf people involved in the administration of schools for the deaf. We need improved interpreting services.

As I need to really tell you, our experience is something that we need to give to you. We are tired of being put down by you and taken advantage of. Look at us. We are the same as you are. We need you to took at us as equals and we want you to learn from us and take your lead from us to improve the education of deaf children for our future so that they can be better deaf Canadians. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Ms Cripps.


The Chair: I call next Kim Speers and Stefan Fritz from the federation of students at Waterloo University. Are they here? We should mention that there are people who are following the proceedings in another room because of the overflow here. We are obviously pleased that so many people have chosen to come out this evening here in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Good evening.

Ms Speers: Good evening. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce those who will be speaking on behalf of the students at the University of Waterloo. To my right is Scott Murray, who is on the board of directors of the federation of students, and on my left Stefan Fritz. He is the president of the United Nations club within the federation of students at the University of Waterloo. My name is Kim Speers. I am vice-president of university affairs of the federation of students as well as women's commissioner for the Ontario Federation of Students.

We are going to try to speak on behalf of the students at University of Waterloo. As you can realize just after hearing everybody tonight, there are many diverse views on this but we will try our best. The presentation will be divided into two segments. First, we will be discussing the need for a strong central government in respect to post-secondary education. The second part of our presentation will concentrate on the issue of Canada's future in a broader context.

Throughout history, post-secondary education has not been given the importance and credence that it deserves by the federal and provincial governments. Post-secondary education is far more than the exercise of federal spending powers. It goes to the heart of the factors that bind Canada together as a country. In a country as vast and diverse as ours, nationhood is often a tenuous proposition. What better place to start nation-building than in our schools, our universities and colleges, and educational programs which take place outside of our institutions?

A strong central government must be the force to ensure that we are economically and socially a strong nation, at the same time respecting regional and cultural diversity. It was mentioned previously that post-secondary education is far more than the exercise of federal spending powers. However, the federation of students believes both the federal and provincial financial contributions to the educational sector have not kept pace with this often-stated commitment to the value of post-secondary education.

Students across the country continue to face at an increasingly disturbing rate an erosion of the quality of education at universities and colleges. Lecture halls remain overcrowded, libraries are stripped down, laboratories are woefully ill equipped and the student-faculty ratios continue to rise beyond already unacceptable levels. Chronic underfunding has produced a second-class university system in Canada, one that has fallen alarmingly behind international standards.

The possible effects of a further decentralized concept of Canada in respect to education is frightening. Already we experience an irregularity of each province's financial commitment to post-secondary education. There must exist a more centralized educational structure in order that the levels of funding to universities and colleges are dispersed on an equal basis. Because of the inconsistencies which exist in the funding policies of the provinces, it has placed post-secondary institutions in the position of having to offer a diminished quality of education to a greater number of students. How can one have a unified country if one does not have a unified system due to irregular funding patterns in the provinces?

Canada's ability to compete with other leading world economics can only happen if Canada realizes that investing in education is an investment in Canada's future. The changing global marketplace demands an increasingly significant role for Canada's post-secondary education system. Federal and provincial government alike have defined the major contribution that universities and colleges make in maintaining Canada's competitive position in today's global economy and the vital role they play in the development of highly skilled human resources. In respect to securing our future in the international economy, the answer is simple: Educate the population and provide funding to operate in an effective manner. Spending on education and research and development are investments in the future. They may require sacrifices now, but if we are not forward-looking the sacrifices which will come later will be more painful and less productive.

In the long run, a more highly educated populace, a training system which operates with efficiency, sensitivity and responsiveness to labour market needs, and increased research and development will only increase the wealth of our country and the opportunity for further social development. With respect to social development and to achieving a more receptive, caring and accessible society, Canada's commitment to eliminating all forms of discrimination should have its roots in the current education system. The citizens of Canada must unlearn racism, sexism, agism and the many other ill-found forms of discrimination which run rampant in Canadian society.

Truly equal accessibility is essential if every individual is to have full opportunity to participate in life and to develop her or his potential in Canadian society. This statement of belief must come forth from the federal government and must carry weight in every university and college in Canada. Funding of women's studies and native studies programs must increase in order to educate the public on these important issues, and more funding should go towards the grant and loan programs in order to make universities and colleges accessible to all Canadians.

Funding must increase and federal policies must be developed and acted upon immediately. How can we create a society which would give equal opportunity to all when the provincial government randomly provides funding to certain programs or fails to provide funding for programs to increase awareness and opportunity? To develop federal policies with respect to accessibility would benefit all Canadians, not just students. We must work together as a nation to combat the ills in society. What better place than our education system.

Canada is at a crossroads and we have to choose. The choice is between a rapidly deteriorating post-secondary education system due to a lack of funding and ineffective policies, and should we move to a more decentralized nation; or do we choose a stronger federal role in post-secondary education, ensuring an accessible and effective education for those who attend a university or college in Canada to ensure Canada's ability to compete with other nations in the world? Canada cannot afford to waste the potential of a great many of its citizens. The human needs of the population must take highest priority.

As stated previously, and I cannot emphasize this point enough, a strong central government must be the force to ensure that we are economically and socially a strong nation, at the same time respecting regional and cultural diversity. We must stay together in order for all of us to survive. Thank you. Now Stefan.

Mr Fritz: Good evening. I believe one of the most forgotten questions regarding Canada in forums like these is what this nation has overcome to arrive at where it is now. This question puts the hurdles we face today into a clearer perspective, because only then can we see how Canada has developed over time.

Most fundamentally, Canada and Canadians have overcome physiographic boundaries inconceivable to virtually all other nations. Immense distances have also been overcome, leading Canada to the forefront of global telecommunications. Strong cultural differences have also been addressed, to the point where Canada has for the most part developed an enviable system for meeting the needs of its citizens. This last point is perhaps Canada's greatest single strength, namely, its ability to conciliate, to juggle the needs and the wants of most of its citizens.

Now we possibly stand before the largest stepping stone which must be overcome before we as Canadians can move into a secure future. In this respect several questions must be answered. First, what underlying value has provided Canada's basis? This, I would argue, is its ability to conciliate between needs. Second, one must look at some of these needs, especially those central to the question of Canadian unity. Finally, it is important within the context of this forum to outline Ontario's role within Canada. In focusing on those points, I hope to briefly address those questions you asked in the committee booklet.


Canada is often criticized by its own citizens. It is labelled as a nation that waffles on important issues. However, I feel Canada has a tremendous ability to conciliate and mediate. In other words, its ability in general to meet the needs of its people is strong. This is seen foremost in our advanced health care system, relatively high average standard of living and Canada's international role as a reliable and well-respected middle power.

We now must develop a system which builds upon these strengths and answers those issues not completely answered to date, for example, the first nations and the Constitution, just to mention two. In order to address these issues we need, first of all, a strong central political structure in tune with all of Canada, which is able to promote Canada as a single nation; second, we need institutionalized participation by the first nations within the Canadian political system; and third, a strong voice within the federal structure for the provinces and the territories.

The provinces and territories have all contributed greatly to Canada's development and growth. At the same time, each province and territory has great needs and these needs vary from one to the next. In order to prevent the alienation of any one region, broaden regional participation must be encouraged at the federal level. It is our group's position that provincial and territorial participation must be institutionalized within a new federal structure, in, for example, a Senate that is elected and has equal representation from all provinces and territories. Naturally, the logistics of this would still have to be worked out.

This federal structure must also give Canada's first nations a special status. This status should be realized in giving these peoples clout within the Senate equal to that of a province. Special attention must also be given to the French language within Canada; most definitely this includes putting it on the same footing as English. This would entail that French, as one of Canada's official languages, must be accessible to the larger part of the Canadian population, especially through education. Certainly people cannot be legislated into learning another language, and that would be undesirable, but on the whole French must be recognized as a key component of Canada's character, its development and not least of all its competitiveness and strength within the international community. Special consideration must be given in this regard to the maintenance and preservation of French, especially in Quebec, as it is the institutionalized centre of Canada's francophone culture.

Within the context of this forum it is important also to briefly outline how Ontario fits into the Canadian picture. Ontario's role, which cannot be understated, should be to recognize and support the notion that all regions must be given equal economic and political opportunities. In recognizing that Ontario benefits from a single and strong Canada, it is therefore in our own interest as citizens of Ontario to enhance efforts promoting unity. In short, by sharing Ontario's economic and political strength, ultimately the commonwealth will be increased.

The Canada of the future must be a nation based on mutual respect between the provinces, territories and first nations. By relying on those underlying reasons which has made Canada what it is today, and by constructively addressing the hurdles that face us today, Canada will certainly grow and develop into a nation both strong within and internationally. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Fritz. We will move on.

I want to check, because time is getting close to 10 and I want to make sure we have given anyone who is here representing organizations or groups an opportunity to speak.


The Chair: I understand Paul Kellam is representing an organization. Mr Kellam, would you come forward?

Mr Kellam: Good evening. My name is Paul Kellam. I am president of the South Western Region of the Liberal Party of Canada (Ontario), the association of 32 federal riding associations from Niagara to Bruce to Windsor.

I am speaking here tonight because we are facing a constitutional crisis which may well result in the breakup of Canada. Although the political role I play is at a federal level, I am of the opinion that the actions of the Ontario government will be critical to the outcome of the national debate and negotiations that are likely to take place. It is my hope that co-operation can occur among the provincial parties to form a unified Ontario approach, so I direct my comments to all members of the committee regardless of their political affiliation.

I would like to discuss the political environment in which this crisis has developed, the difficulties facing some of the current players, the role of different levels of government in Canada and the outlook of Ontarians. At the outset, I will state my hope that all Canadians will co-operate in building a single country, but it would be irresponsible not to think and plan for the possibility that Quebec will decide to separate. Therefore, many of my comments will also be directed towards that possibility.

For the three years leading up to 23 June 1990, Brian Mulroney and other senior federal ministers consistently and repeatedly told Quebeckers that a rejection of the Meech Lake accord was a rejection of Quebec by the rest of Canada. It is my opinion that this is the primary reason we face as severe a crisis as we do today. Quebeckers feel rejected and now have little interest in trying to reform Canada to fit their dreams. To most English Canadians, Robert Bourassa looks like a separatist. The Allaire report proposes an emasculated federal government left primarily with the privilege of transferring money to Quebec and managing the debt. None of you should doubt that this is the harsh reality of how the Quebec government is viewed.

Quebec's sign law has not been forgotten. The thought that rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom can be taken away by a provincial government is unacceptable to many English Canadians. When they saw the Quebec government ban English signs in Quebec, they felt the English minority was being attacked. I would say to you that any package of changes to the Constitution must include the abolition of the "notwithstanding" clause, because rights are rights and must be upheld in every jurisdiction.

Meech Lake was described as meeting Quebec's five demands. Demands are not things made by people interested in co-operation or showing goodwill; they are made by extortionists. It is no wonder that English Canadians felt little regret at the defeat of the accord. It was not even clear that meeting the demands would permanently satisfy Quebec. That sense has been solidified by the appearance of more drastic demands in the Allaire report and the expected recommendations of the Bélanger-Campeau commission.

So far, I have concentrated on the problems based in Quebec, but they are not the only problems you will face. The accord died because aboriginal Canadians opposed it, the discontent in western Canada that is turning into support for Preston Manning's Reform Party is based on a feeling that western concerns are being ignored, and northern representatives feel that their future is being decided solely by southerners. They were left out of the Meech Lake negotiations. They must not be left out this time.

If no common understanding can be reached and we arrive at the point of negotiating the separation of Quebec, then the question of who negotiates for Canada must be answered. Clearly it cannot be a federal government that is in power because of seats won in Quebec, nor can a Quebecker lead negotiations on behalf of the rest of Canada. Our current federal government has both of these problems. If this continues to be the case, the other provincial governments may be the only elected bodies with sufficient electoral credibility to fill the gap. I urge you to keep this in mind as you help to form Ontario's position, for stands the provincial government takes early in the process will affect its ability to negotiate later. If a concession is offered in the first round, retracting it later will be almost impossible.

Canada is a relatively new country: Newfoundland joined in 1949; Alberta and Saskatchewan were created at the turn of the century. At the time of Confederation Quebec was considerably smatter than it is today. This country has been built by co-operating in a common effort to make a nation of tolerance and prosperity, with provinces created when appropriate, and boundaries redrawn to meet changing circumstances.


Our federal government has helped to develop remote areas with transportation and communication links, establishing the infrastructure of new communities. Social programs are provided across Canada, such as the Canada pension plan and unemployment insurance. There are obvious international roles for a federal government in areas such as defence, diplomacy, immigration and negotiations on trade, the environment, fishing and aviation.

Each area of government activity, in terms of standards, delivery and funding, will likely have to be put on the discussion table. It is time to take a fresh took at the responsibilities of each level of government and where appropriate, redistribute them. This does not inherently imply decentralization or centralization, and so should not be viewed as a threat to any level of government.

It is said that Ontarians are the only Canadians who think of themselves as Canadians first and residents of their particular province or region second. The reasons usually given centre on the economic power of Ontario and how much that determines what the country can afford to do. The effect is that Ontarians are willing to share that wealth and political power to help build a country where everyone has a fair living and equal opportunity.

Transfer payments to poorer provinces are funded by Ontarians, Albertans and British Columbians because of this spirit of generosity. But when those people feel they are being taken advantage of, the willingness disappears. This is exactly the reaction evoked by proposals like those in the Allaire report. One cannot take the advantages of Confederation without being willing to subscribe to common principles.

One third of Canadians reside in Ontario. Proposals of an elected Senate are bound to arise. The one point I would like to make on this is that a Senate with an equal number of seats from each province would be very hard for many Ontarians to accept. Ontarians are willing to share power, even willing to exercise less than their proportional share, but it is simply unreasonable for a province with fewer residents than Kitchener to have as much power as all of this province. A more acceptable solution right now may be equal representation for four or five regions, but whatever is proposed should recognize the possibility of significant changes in the distribution of population across the country and therefore provide a mechanism for the reallocation of seats or the updating of definitions of regions.

As the structure of government in our country is debated, I would urge you to use the following three criteria when considering an area of responsibility: standards, delivery and funding.

On standards: Will it seem reasonable to Canadians to have different standards for different provinces? I believe, for example, that environmental standards should be the sole jurisdiction of the federal government, for it will seem ridiculous to Canadians if air pollution standards were lower in Lloydminster, Alberta, than in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.

On delivery: Does provision of the service cross provincial boundaries or is it of a sufficiently local nature that a provincial or even municipal government may be able to provide it more efficiently? Clearly, services such as defence, diplomatic representation and coastal search and rescue are better suited to a national government than snow plowing and school construction.

On funding: Is a service sufficiently close to the core of our values that we feel all Canadians have a right to services independent of the financial ability of their province? Is the service of benefit to all of Canada but by chance located in one province? In both these cases, it is clear that funding should be provided by the federal government.

As elected politicians you all face the problem of a cynical electorate. When a provincial government goes to the negotiating table, the public suspects that it is after more power and very unlikely to act in the national interest. Canada needs representatives who will take a broader view, who will repudiate the approach of "give the government I run all the power," and instead seek a co-operative, constructive agreement that addresses all of the problems facing our country. When it is appropriate, have the courage to point out that a power currently in provincial hands belongs at the federal level, or that another region is facing problems because of actions taken for or in Ontario. It can only help your credibility.

Even if a consensus among politicians can be found, the whole process is not going to be effective unless a majority of Canadians supports the effort. Take the time during the negotiations to speak to Ontarians. Tell them what kind of Canada you want to see. Tell them how the changes being considered can help that to come about. You will have to convince them that the methods are correct and the goal is worth supporting. If you fail to get the people on side, all you will have done is write an irrelevant document.

However, in the end, if the approach and values of your constituents cannot be reconciled with the demands facing you, then I urge you to oppose a strategy of appeasement just to see a deal made. The label "Canada" could have been put on any geographical area. You will be serving no one well if you allow the principles that define Canadians to be lost.

Mr Ferguson: One very short question: Is this the view of the southwestern region of the Liberal Party or is this your personal view?

Mr Kellam: This is a summary of a series of policy meetings that have been held throughout the southwest region and private meetings I have held with numerous riding presidents in the region.

Mr Ferguson: So it is -- thank you. You have to be clear here.

The Chair: We have still a number of people who wish to speak. Given the hour, what I would like to suggest to the committee is that we go to about 10:15, which probably means two more speakers, and then conclude at that point, recognizing that there will still be a number of people who will not get reached. I think that that is probably the reasonable time to extend to in terms of what we can reasonably do. So just to continue in the same way that I have to date, if that is acceptable to the committee, I will call John Sparks.


Mr Sparks: I thank you for this opportunity. I go to university at McGill in Montreal and I live in Thunder Bay. I grew up in England for 10 years and I find Canada a wonderful place to live, the best place to live. My headmaster in England told my parents that I would probably be destined for unemployment, but I have come to Canada and I am going to university and I am doing fairly well.

My main point is that we as Canadians have never had a covenantal platform which has brought us together in an act of union right from the beginning. Basic unanimity about constitutional considerations that yields a high level of consensus and shared community of understanding must lie beneath the sometimes bitter contestation that goes on in election campaigns. It is this consensus, this recognition of our national purpose that all Canadians must share. We must pursue it, for surely a covenantal pact will live much longer than past compromises and weak agreements.

There was a spirit of Confederation shared by many Fathers of Confederation. It assumed a commitment to eliminate cultural conflict through the acceptance and the permanence of the French fact. This commitment was evident in the Manitoba Act of 1870, but English Canada's unforgiving attitudes towards French language and religious education have emphasized our lack of fundamental agreement on principles and values of Canadian nationhood.

Some of you will be familiar with regulation 17 in 1912, enacted by the Ontario government, making French education in Ontario illegal. These acts marked the beginning of a different covenant which has developed, and it finds a lot of strength today in its disunity. It is a compact of provinces and it has left us weak and fractured into regions and communities that share little in common.

There was an alternative covenant from the post-Confederation era. It was an alliance of peoples with two working languages and equal rights throughout the entire country. I think if we are to live together as Canadians, this is our only true hope for unifying ethnic tensions. A language for understanding one another is a precondition for a language of covenant, and ultimately for common political nationality.

Our province has been the lynchpin, the golden link in Confederation. We have benefited the most from this agreement. Now it is our time to give the most.

The Ontario government should require that all provincial services be given in either of Canada's two official languages. This legislation is both fitting for Ontario's sizeable francophone community of more than half a million people and the recognition that Quebeckers have a right to grow in the rest of Canada. Quebeckers need to be encouraged. This will not come here unless they can be provided with services to enable them to live as normal people. Encouragement is essential.

We have played a role in creating Fortress Quebec. By restricting the role of French outside of Quebec, French Canadians have had no choice but to fall back on one homeland where they know their protection and security is guaranteed. By giving French Canadians a future in Ontario, we in turn strip away Quebec's power to be the exclusive voice of French Canadians, their language and their culture. It is only then when we can develop a covenant of mutual understanding. Until that is done, constitutional negotiations will be futile.


Public opinion in Quebec has been fed dishonest generalizations and vivid imagery through the media and politicians in Quebec. The Brockville incident, Sault Ste Marie's resolution, Canada's supposed rejection of the Meech Lake accord are all good examples. It is no wonder that sovereignty in Quebec is so high in the polls. It is these polls that have created the Allaire report. Quebeckers are not indifferent. They have been told that they are disliked, and now they are packing their bags. By declaring French as an official language, you will give French Canadians a feeling that they are respected in the rest of Canada. What is the point of having a country where you cannot speak your own language outside of your provincial boundaries? It does not make much sense.

Actually I would like to remind you of that in reference to the referendum that Bourassa has proposed in 1992. By offering bilingualism you have a chance to affect public opinion in Quebec. As elected politicians you will be highly sensitive to the repercussions of such a move. But ironically, Quebec separatists intelligently want a unilingual Canada. Bilingualism strengthens national vision; it bridges communication gaps. Canada can only survive if it provides linguistic equality for all citizens, including French Canadians, who must feel they can live anywhere in Canada, not just in Quebec.

My second proposal urges Ontario to vigorously resist further demands for decentralization of the Canadian state. Scholars already agree that Canada is about as decentralized as you can get. Quebec's new demands will render the federal government useless as an expression of the Canadian people. A final step towards independence for Quebeckers will merely be a formality. Look at us now: We are 11 governments pursuing visions instead of one; 200 cabinet ministers building empires instead of 25 and so on.

Executive federalism has placed enormous power and essential provincial jurisdictions in the hands of one leader and his inner circle. Rigid party discipline creates absolute power packages for parties in four-year terms. Federal disallowance power and the role of the Lieutenant Governor are now nonfunctional. Canada resembles England at the time of King John, 10 private fiefdoms in which the provincial boundary is the most significant basis of political allegiance.

The Chair: Mr Sparks, perhaps you would sum up.

Mr Sparks: By establishing a covenant we bring people together; we ensure mutual understanding. There is no time now, but it is more critical to do this. I hope you will be sensitive to the special situation that we are in right now, and being a resident of Quebec, it is a highly precarious position because they are ready, they feel disliked and they are ready to go.


The Chair: I call last Mark Bremner.

Mr Bremner: Members of this committee, I would like to talk to you about employment equity.

I graduated from university and got my BSc. If we look at two candidates for a job who have the same qualifications, and look at the one person who after six months will get a promotion and then the deaf candidate stays for three years with no promotion, we still have the same educational levels but we are not given those promotions. People who go into work in financial institutions like a bank may not have qualifications but after a few years of experience become supervisors. But we do not have those opportunities. So there needs to be more employment equity.

There are other opportunities within a bank to allow deaf people to function. We do not necessarily have to deal on a daily basis with consumers. There are other jobs that we can do. We can go for example to a Visa centre, the bank centre, we can go into the credit department, we can go into the cheque centre. There are other opportunities for deaf people other than having to talk to customers or to be on the phone.

We have many other people, for example, East Indians or French or native people, who come in and who have been hired before me, but they have not received the same promotions, have not received equal promotion as well. They have been ignored. That is all I would like to say.

The Chair: I think with that we conclude our stop here in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Before I conclude, I would like to give an opportunity to the local members.

Mr Ferguson: I would just like to extend my sincere thanks to the number of individuals from Kitchener-Waterloo and the surrounding area who took time to come out this evening. I think it has just been an excellent turnout, evident by the overflow crowd that we had to put in the other room. I am hearing that this is the greatest number of people who have attended the committee hearings to date.

I think we heard a wide divergence of opinions from one side of the spectrum to the other. I think that is healthy and I think that is what the committee needs to hear. So I just want to extend my sincere thanks to all those individuals who took time out of their busy lives to come out this evening, and also to the committee members as well. I sat with the committee all day today and I recognize it gets very tiring after the 45th or 50th presentation. I want to thank you for making this one of the stops on the tour.

Mrs Witmer: I would like to echo some of the comments that Mr Ferguson has made. I certainly appreciate that this Kitchener stop was added at the last minute. I do regret that not all those who wanted to speak have had the opportunity to do so. I hope that if you do have something that you would like to share you will put your opinion on paper and send it to Mr Silipo. I know he would appreciate receiving that information.

I think the presentations have been excellent. I think there has been a good cross-representation of our community. However, I do regret that there are some voices we have not heard from. We did not hear from all that many students this evening and I do find that regrettable. We did not hear from the labour community and from the business community. Certainly there were not many minority groups here this evening, and I do regret that those people were not able to participate.

I am pleased with what I did hear. I think overall people were saying we need to keep Canada together and certainly that there is an important role that the province of Ontario can play. I am certainly prepared to work with the government in making sure that Canada remains united.

The Chair: Thank you. I just would like to say that we do appreciate the comments that we have heard from the many people who did speak to us today. We heard from 24 individuals or organizations this evening and many others, of course, throughout the day and throughout the time so far.

We will continue our hearings tomorrow in Brantford and Hamilton. I invite any of you here who are interested in following our proceedings that you can continue to do so over the parliamentary channel. With that, again I thank you and good night.

The committee adjourned at 2220.