Monday 25 February 1991

Jack Pickersgill

Students' Forum on Canadian Unity

Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario


New Federation

Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises de l'Ontario

Fédération des élèves du Secondaire franco-ontarien

Canadian Ethnocultural Council

Coalition for the Preservation of Aboriginal Language for Urban Natives

Faculté de droit l'Université d'Ottawa

Conseil de planification sociale d'Ottawa-Carleton, Social Planning Council of Ottawa-Carleton

L'Union culturelle des franco-ontariennes

Afternoon sitting

Citizens Council of Canada

Association française de municipality de l'Ontario

City of Ottawa's Advisory Council on Visible Minorities

Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens

Fédération des associations de parents francophones de l'Ontario

Mary Jackson

Mouvement des caisses populaires de l'Ontario

Corporation de la ville de Hawkesbury

Ottawa-Carleton Board of Trade

Fédération des aînés de l'Ontario

Chambre économique de l'Ontario

Evening sitting

Northern Foundation

Arthur Milner

Harry Bateman

Earl McKeen

Stuart Ross

Lucien Saumur

Council of Women of Ottawa and Area

Robert Edmonds

Civic Forum

Marianne McLean

Philip Capobianco

Michael Hahn

Tom Sloan

Terry Olsen

Charlene Leblanc, Deanna Milne

Monica Hylton

Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario

Mike Rygus

Marvin Jason

K. Jean Cottam

Tony Sylvestro

Kenneth D. McRae

Paul McRae



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

Wilson, Gary (Kingston and The Islands NDP) for Ms Harrington

Also taking part:

Chiarelli, Robert (Ottawa West L)
McGuinty, Dalton (Ottawa South L)

Manikel, Tannis

Clerk pro tem:
Brown, Harold


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


The committee met at 1016 in the council chambers, regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, Ottawa, Ontario.

The Chair: If I can call the meeting to order, first of all, good morning. My name is Tony Silipo. I am the Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. On behalf of the committee I would like to welcome all of those people who are here with us this morning in Ottawa at the council chambers of the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. We are pleased to be here as a committee, continuing our meetings and hearings across the province on Ontario in Confederation.

We have heard in the three weeks of hearings to date a number of useful and interesting suggestions to us about many issues that we need to be conscious of and no doubt we will hear equally as many useful and interesting suggestions here in Ottawa today, and in the rest of the week at the various other locations we will be visiting.

This is our last week of hearings in our swing across the eastern part of the province and before calling on the first speaker, I would like to introduce the members of the committee. This is of course an all-party committee of the Legislature of Ontario and we have representatives from the three political parties that are represented at Queen's Park. From the NDP caucus, in addition to myself, we have Gilles Bisson, the Vice-Chair of the committee, who will be joining us shortly; Marilyn Churley; David Winninger; Fred Wilson; Gary Wilson, and Gary Malkowski. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill, Steven Offer. From the Conservative caucus we have Charles Harnick, and also joining us today are two of the Liberal members from the Ottawa area, Dalton McGuinty and Bob Chiarelli. Welcome.

I know that people have been told this, but because of the number of groups and individuals who want to speak to us, what we have done is set up the schedule so that we will be hearing from representatives of organizations this morning and this afternoon, and then in the evening session we will be hearing primarily from individuals. We have also had to trim the times to about 15 minutes per organization for this morning and this afternoon, as a way to try to get through as many people as we could. We also would like to try within that time to see if there can be some time to have some questions from the members of the committee.

The surrounding is quite beautiful here in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. It obviously is set up for a much larger body than we are, so there seems to be a bit of distance between us and the audience and we are sorry about that, but we will continue and do our best to overcome the sort of physical space.


The Chair: Could I start then by calling on Jack Pickersgill to come forward. Mr Pickersgill of course is a former MP and former cabinet minister. We are pleased that you could be with us this morning, Mr Pickersgill.

Hon Mr Pickersgill: Mr Chairman, honourable members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and other ladies and gentlemen present, I feel that I have a kind of non-partisan approach to the Ontario Legislature. I was born in June 1905, six months after the Tory party won an election for the first time in the history of Ontario. Before I was born, my political career began. I was named by my father who said to my mother, six months before I was born, "We are going to call that boy Whitney for the Tory Premier." I have known the Peterson family for a long time and David Peterson is a close friend. I have known the present Premier since his birth, so I think you can say that I have a rather broad perspective here.

At the same time I am sure that the rest of you, like me, find it rather hard to concentrate on Canadian problems when there is fierce warfare going on in which our country is involved, but I am going to try to concentrate on this fortunate country of ours. I think it is a good time for us to reflect that 105 years ago the last shot was fired in combat in Canada.

In the 230 years that French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians -- including my mother's ancestors, all of them -- have lived side by side in the lake country and the valley of the St Lawrence there has been only one attempt in that 230 years to change our system by armed force. That was a century and a half ago and it was a rather pitiful affair at that.

We Canadians, either as colonials or as a nation -- perhaps I should say "country" and avoid the word "nation" because everybody has his own interpretation of it and some of them are rather silly. As a country, we seem to have a strong preference for ballots over bullets, and I am sure it will continue. We have a preference for honourable compromise over hostile confrontation. I commend that, not merely to this committee but to all Canadians everywhere.

Now we read in the press, we hear on the streets and above all hear on the other media, the broadcasters, how this country is in the greatest crisis in its history. For me, that indicates one thing. Most of these voices who are saying Canada has no tomorrow seem to be people who do not realize that we had a yesterday, and that that yesterday goes beyond two centuries.

I made an honest living teaching history in college and the University of Manitoba for eight years before I became a bureaucrat and later a politician here in Ottawa. It is mainly as a historian that I am going to speak to you today, because I do not think that particularly people who are trusted by their fellow citizens to deal with the problems of our country can ever know too much about the past of the country or about its geography.

I think many of these people who are talking about the greatest crisis in our history are the kind of people who tend to speak before they think. I have a strong preference for thinking before one speaks and often not speaking at all.

Let me go back to my own earliest memories of public affairs. I remember at our dining table on a homestead in the bush in Manitoba, 100 miles north of Winnipeg, when we got the newspaper, which was not the day it happened, and my father read about the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914, which was of course the beginning of the First World War, my father, who had never gone to high school but who had a tremendous interest in public affairs all his life, and it was not a very long life, turned to my mother and said, "There's going to be a war."

I do not think there were many farmers in Canada who paid much attention to that incident at that time, but it produced a real crisis in Canada, that war, and it left a deep division on racial lines over the question of conscription. It also produced a government in 1917 which was called the union government. It was a coalition of Tories and most of the English-speaking Liberals in Parliament. It did not have one French Canadian minister and there was not one French Canadian supporter of the government. That was what was called the union government. Well, we have never repeated that kind of union, I am happy to say. It was the only one in our history and we are never going to do it again, I am confident.

That was not the only crisis. Indeed, the history of Canada is the history of what everybody is pleased to call crises. After the war, in 1919, we had a revolt of the farmers. It was called the Progressive Party or the United Farmers of Ontario and it ended forever the two-party system, in federal Canada at least.

Never since 1921 have there been only two parties in the House of Commons except that disastrous year -- I hope the Conservative representative here will not think I am wrong in saying that -- 1958, when there 208, I think it was, Conservatives on one side of the House and 49 Liberals on the other, but even then there were eight members of the CCF, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, so that there has never been a Parliament since 1921 which has had a straight two-party system, though we still talk about it as though that is the way our institution is operated.

A lot of people thought these farmers were going to devastate urban Canada. Well, they did not. They did contribute to giving us Prohibition for a while, but even that did not last.


Then of course we had a terrible social crisis, if you want to call it a crisis, a terrible period in the history of Canada, from 1930 to 1935 or 1936 or even 1937, when a few Canadians actually died because they did not have enough to live on; not many, because even then there was a lot of compassion, but there was not much welfare and what there was a miserable pittance. No Canadian province at that time got quite as far down as Newfoundland did, where the welfare was six cents a day, but it was not very much better in other parts of Canada. It is still a memory for older people like me of one of those things that divided the country deeply and that we have been trying never to have recur, and it has not recurred.

Then we had the Second World War and there again we had nothing like as deep a division as there was in 1917, but we had a deep division, again over the question of conscription. Fortunately it did not provoke the same kind of ill feeling that the first one did.

Then the next great disturbance was what is called the Quiet Revolution. Luckily it was a quiet revolution. It was another case where we Canadians preferred ballots to bullets, but in the rest of the country there were a great many people who thought the Quiet Revolution was the first stage in splitting up Canada. Well, it was not. It certainly did change the whole complexion of one province and it began to change the complexion of Canadians, even in British Columbia and Alberta which are not very favourable to change.

Then we had the Parti québécois government in Quebec and that looked like the beginning of the end to a lot of Canadians. I remember a very wise friend of mine, a woman diplomat, saying to me about three months before the PQ won the election of 1976, "You know, I think the sooner we get these people in office so they see what the problems are, the better for the country." I do not say it was an unmixed blessing to the country -- do not misunderstand me -- but I say that it did, as subsequent events proved, show that it was not easy to split this country up. What happened, of course, was that that government did some good things and some silly things, but it did not doom Canada.

Then, of course, we had what I think is one of the sad things. We took control for the first time of our own Constitution here in Canada and we did it and changed the Constitution of the province of Quebec in defiance of an almost unanimous vote of the Quebec Legislature. I was in favour of patriation, but I felt it was a terrible thing. I think I would have had to vote for it, because I thought we could never have self-respect until we ran our own affairs in every respect, but I certainly did not approve of changing the Constitution of a province without its consent. That really was a deep wound. The federalist party, which was the Liberal Party, voted against it in the Legislature of Quebec just as much as the PQ did. It is at the root of the problem you people are considering today.

We hear a lot of talk about how Quebec is always wanting concessions. The fact is that the present Premier of Quebec came to Meech Lake after meeting with all the other premiers in Edmonton and he made a tremendous concession to the rest of Canada in the most moderate reasonable proposals that could have been imagined. It is greatly to the credit of the rest of Canada that all the premiers, all but two of the legislatures and all three political leaders in the Parliament of Canada all realized what a healing thing this would be and they all agree with it and accepted it. Unfortunately, two provinces, where they had premiers who had not taken part in the original Meech Lake arrangements, frustrated this healing process.

It is still there and has to be healed, Meech Lake and all its consequences, plus one other thing; plus the very, in my opinion, ill-advised and insulting provision in Bill 178 in Quebec that people could not put up signs on their own property in the English language. The predominance of French I think most Canadians consider reasonable, but to say that you cannot use your language -- they do not say you cannot use it with your voice, but you cannot write it down, or at least you are supposed not to; fortunately they do not seem to enforce the law very well, and I trust it will not be too long before it disappears in another compromise.


I remember my younger son saying to me one time when he was in first or second year at university, "We Canadians have these disputes and we go to the brink but then we back off." That has happened, I think, in all these occasions I have referred to, and it will happen again. If wise people like you take a broad view and remember that you were elected primarily to look after the affairs of this province -- this province is the richest, the best educated and, one hopes, the most broad-minded part of Canada. I think it depends more on Ontario than it does on any other part of this country to solve this problem today, because it is in this part of Canada that Canada really began.

I know there are a lot of people, including some people like you, Mr Chairman -- I do not say you share this view, but a great many people who were latecomers to Canada like my father's family. My grandfather was born in England and he did not come to Canada until 1841 when he was six years old, so you can see that I am a descendant on one side of immigrants from across the Atlantic. But on the other side, every one of my mother's ancestors was in North America before 1800 and all but one family took part in what my grandmother called "the war," and the war was the American Revolution.

In 1763, after 100 years of conflict in North America, it ended in this part of North America, in what is now Canada, with a British victory. Twenty years later, the American colonies, helped by the French, defeated the British, and my ancestors came across the Niagara River, across the Detroit River, into what was the province of Quebec at that time, so you could say that in this part of the world, in what were called Upper and Lower Canada after they were divided in 1791, we were losers. The French were losers in 1763 and the English were losers in 1783. So we are a country of losers. As the refugees show in recent times, an awful lot of the immigrants to Canada were losers too, and that is why they came here. I think we ought to think about that a little, about these losers and what we have accomplished as losers.

But the main point I want to make is that the original Canada was a partnership, maybe an uneasy one, of British and French, and these others who object to that are not paying attention to history. After the rebellions in 1837 the British government paid attention to a report from Lord Durham, who said that the rebellion in Lower Canada was two nations warring in the bosom of a state. Well, that was a completely false interpretation of what happened. There was a rebellion in Upper Canada as well, and it is an extraordinary thing that the reformers in Upper Canada were in alliance with the reformers in Lower Canada, and the reformers in Lower Canada were by no means all French speaking.

But the British government's idea of solving this problem is the same kind of idea as you sometimes get in letters to the newspapers and sometimes get in misguided places like the city council of Thunder Bay and Sault Ste Marie, that you should extinguish one of the languages, and that is what the Act of Union did. It united the two provinces of Canada into the province of Canada in which English was the only official language, and the French were supposed to fade away. Well, they did not exactly fade away, as we know, and they are not fading away now either, and they are not going to.

But what happened -- and this is one of the proudest things, I think, in the whole of our Canadian history -- was that the Parliament of the province of Canada, with an English-speaking majority, restored French as an official language. We do not celebrate that nearly enough. Most Canadians, I do not think, even know about it.

What is more, the leaders of the reform party in the two former provinces in the province of Canada gained what is the most important of all the elements of our Constitution, responsible government. You cannot find it written out in any Constitution, but it is far more important than anything in the Constitution because it is the very foundation of government. Nobody knows better than members of the Legislature of Ontario that responsible government enables voters to kick out a government not by force but by ballot when they do not like it any more, or even sometimes when they have no particular objection to it but think somebody else would be better. But it is this whole -


The Chair: Mr Pickersgill, I really am sorry to have to interrupt you, but if you could sum up. We are a bit pressed for time, and we have gone beyond -

Hon Mr Pickersgill: I see. Well, I could perhaps sum up by giving you an idea, as I see it, of how Canada looks today, not to us but to the rest of the world. In the last 45 years we have had peace, our population has doubled, we have the second highest standard of living in the world and there are few countries anywhere in the world with less poverty than we have in Canada. There are hordes -- read your Globe today -- at our gates waiting to come in, and hordes who have got in waiting to be allowed to stay.

Observers worldwide ask why these lucky people -- that is us -- why we Canadians think we have a crisis. Well, we have, but it is not a great crisis. I think at the brink of our present constitutional and other difficulties we will find a compromise. It will take time and wisdom, not counting noses, and I think Ontario has the heaviest responsibility to find ways to heal the deep wounds of francophone Quebec, to relieve the restiveness -- and it is quite serious -- of the west and to reduce the isolation and relative poverty of Atlantic Canada. How can Ontario save Canada? That is your task, not mine at 85, though I have a few ideas. If I had not taken so much time, Mr Chairman, I would have been willing to answer questions.

The Chair: Well, we could probably allow one question.

Mr Beer: Thank you, Mr Pickersgill, for giving us that review of our history and a sense of perspective. I think that often we forget about our history, and, as you say, it is awfully hard to understand our present and where we are likely to go if we do not really understand what has happened in the past. I think you have reminded us of a number of periods in our history and particularly that period of the union of the two Canadas when English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians acted in a way that sought to bring people together.

I am wondering if you might comment on one issue that has come before this committee and indeed has been before the country, that people say we need to make some basic changes to our institutions, whether we are talking about the need for referendums and that we should have referendums on constitutional change, major changes to institutions like the Senate. Do you believe that in order for us to come out of the present problems we are going to have to in part address those problems by making some major changes to our political institutions and our political processes?

Hon Mr Pickersgill: On the question of a referendum, which I referred to perhaps disparagingly as a counting of noses, I think all the referendum will do is divide whatever area in which it is held. It cannot settle anything. There is no legal way. You can settle a provincial problem within provincial jurisdiction by a referendum if you want to, but the legislature of Quebec could not legally enact a provision for a referendum which would split up Canada. It is not within their power. All it would do it is create further division. Neither could the Parliament of Canada have a referendum which would have any legal force if it interfered with provincial rights.

We divided jurisdiction at Confederation, and it is divided still. The Parliament of Canada cannot make laws within the provincial sphere and the legislatures cannot within a federal sphere, so there is no legal way, either by referendum or by the enactment of either parliament, federal or provincial, of bringing about a separation. That is why I think it is going to be so much more difficult to divide the country than to improve it that we should concentrate on improving it.

In Le Devoir of this morning, there is an item on the Premier of Quebec which every one of you should read, because it is the real key. The Allaire report did not say there should be a referendum on sovereignty. What it said was that there should be a referendum on a new deal between Canada and the provinces, particularly Quebec, of course, because it was writing about Quebec, but it did not exclude the other provinces, if you read it carefully. It is a very federalist document. But Mr Bourassa said the other day that it was not the Bible. All it is is a negotiating position. It is very important to realize that Quebec is no more monolithic than the rest of Canada. We need to look at it that way and support the people who want to keep Canada going, not those who want to break it up. I am taking too much of your time.

The Chair: That is fine. Thank you very much, Mr Pickersgill, for your perspectives on this issue. Thank you.


The Chair: Could I call next the Students' Forum on Canadian Unity: Paul Huston, Stuart Hoegner, Wendy Paynter, Brad LeDrew and Christine Fontaine.

Mr Huston: Ladies and gentlemen, members of the select committee and citizens of Ontario, my name is Paul Huston. We are the Students' Forum on Canadian Unity. Sitting to my left is Christine Fontaine. In the background are Stuart Hoegner and Wendy Paynter. Brad LeDrew unfortunately could not be with us this morning.

The Students' Forum on Canadian Unity began as a group of 12 University of Ottawa and Carleton University students united pretty much only by a common concern for the country we have today and the direction the current constitutional crisis is taking us. We represent various regions of the country, a variety of political values and various visions on what kind of Canada we would like to see.


Since the initial days of founding, we have become a very close-knit group. At this moment, even as we speak, we have two delegations crossing the country, one travelling across the western provinces and one travelling across the Atlantic provinces, visiting schools and talking with students of all ages. In the future, we are also planning extensive tours of Ontario and Quebec.

Regarding the reason we were originally formed, there are two primary focus reasons we created this group.

First, we wanted to hear the views of students on various issues that were on their minds and, second, upon gathering these views, we wanted to communicate them to government and to the public at large. Elaborating on collecting their views, with the exception of focused issues relating to academics, such as tuition fees and the like, students have never really had a direct voice in the direction their nation is taking. This I and other members find shocking, considering that this is the nation we are going to be inheriting. Students lack a coherent voice in these discussions, and thus we formed the students' forum in order to act as a vehicle to relay these youth views.

Second, upon gathering these views, we are writing a comprehensive final report which we will be making public, which will relay the ideas students have and the concerns they have about this country.

Regarding exactly what we are doing, we are sitting down with a variety of sizes of student groups, various ages, various academic backgrounds, and encouraging discussion and dialogue on the various crucial Canadian issues we face. So far, we have heard from students on a variety of issues, like regional isolation, native affairs, Quebec, bilingualism, multiculturalism and the women's issues.

We are going to the raw source of information in order to get this primary data, an unedited input. We are creating an environment that is far less intimidating to students than any sort of commission or forum could create. After all, we are their peers. We are also allowing students to educate themselves, allowing their various regional and cultural differences and backgrounds to be a source of this education.

Ms Fontaine: What we have found to date in our initial study is that students are extremely interested in the current national and regional issues. The students are aware of the issues and are eager to contribute their views to all of Canada. To date, there has not been a group that has taken the initiative and made a concerted effort to speak to the youth and hear the ideas and the concerns. We would like to make that voice heard.

As we have stated, students feel very passionately about the issues facing Canadians today. It is important that students have a voice and not be overlooked, as they are very insightful and are able to bring a wealth of information into the discussion that is currently facing all Canadians today.

We must also recognize that each generation has different ideas and different visions. The views of the younger generation must be thoroughly explored; hence the reason for our existence.

On behalf of the students' forum, we would like to thank you for your attention.

Mr Huston: Are there any questions some of the members have?

The Chair: I am sure there are. Let me say to you first of all that as a group we have been very interested in our hearings to date to hear the views of young people, students and other young people. We found, as you said, that they in fact have some of the most insightful observations to make on this issue. I am sure other members will have more specific questions.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you very much for your presentation and for collecting the perspectives of students throughout Canada. From your perceptions, what seems to be the priority or primary value for Canadians and their vision of Canada?

Mr Huston: The primary concern?

Mr Malkowski: Yes, or the values; the priority of values or primary value.

Mr Huston: We have held four discussions so far, one at the University of Ottawa, one at Carleton University and two at southern Ontario high schools.

The reactions students had were somewhat different, but there was a genuine concern over the national unity question. There is a great deal of frustration and anger towards Quebec, and many individuals were either indifferent towards Quebec separation or were somewhat enthusiastic over the prospect. In terms of economics, surprisingly, high school students did express a large concern over pensions and the pension fund and the challenge they would be facing over the next 10, 20 years as the pension fund depletes and as our population gets older. They will, of course, have to bear the burden, and there is a large concern over that.

In addition, there is a large concern over the bilingualism question, a lot of criticism of the current education system which, in the words of one student, felt like French is being rammed down their throats rather than encouraged. Also, of course, the multicultural issue, the encouraging of the cultural mosaic by the federal and various provincial governments; some individuals were very enthusiastic towards the whole idea of having a multicultural society in which everyone is a small individual piece of a grander whole, whereas other individuals were expressing a bias or more of an interest towards the American melting-pot system. Christine, did you have anything to add?

Ms Fontaine: One more point would be the lack of commonality Canadians hold. The question was raised that Canadians have a lot of differences. We recognize all the differences we hold. However, the common elements that do tie us all together were a main concern -- or the lack of a common element was one of the issues brought up.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you very much for your presentation. Are you using a document or a set of questions when you are staging these forums?

Ms Fontaine: Yes, we have a set of questions. During the discussion as such, when we get together with these people and hold these forums, we have approximately 10 questions we try to use in order to keep the discussions structured, to not take off on different tangents. We have 10 main issues that are found in these questions; examples of those are Canadian unity as such, Quebec sovereignty, native issues, and several other questions to encourage discussion.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Have you got our document, Changing for the Better?

Mr Huston: Yes, we do have that.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Could you say a little about the other side of the coin? You are talking about similar things going on in the west and the Maritimes. They have some connection with you?

Mr Huston: Yes. We have, as I said, 12 members in total. We have a delegation from those 12 travelling across the western provinces as we speak, and a second group travelling around the Atlantic provinces.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: And they will all come together in the one document with yours, then.

Mr Huston: That is correct.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I hope you will send our committee a copy. Thank you very much for taking the interest to come.

Mr Huston: If you would like a copy, we will send you one.

The Chair: We would appreciate that.

Mr Offer: I guess that last comment is the first point I wanted to make, that when you do finish your document all of us would very much appreciate receiving a copy of your findings, but I understand from your presentation that that is going to be in the fall or summer.

Mr Huston: No, we are hoping to have it done by the end of March, because of exams coming up in April, as we are students, after all, and also because we would like to get most of this work out of the way for the summer so we can pursue our other interests.

Mr Offer: And your discussions which are taking place in Quebec will be incorporated into the March document?

Mr Huston: Yes, they will.

Mr Offer: Can you give us a little more information about what your forum is doing in terms of the discussions that are taking place with the students in Quebec? I think that as a committee we would be very interested to hear the perspectives not only from Ontario but indeed from other provinces such as Quebec.

Mr Huston: I am afraid we do not have any final date set up in Quebec as yet, as up until now we have been concentrating on the western provinces and Atlantic Canada, mainly because of the logistics problems involved in that. We have had a chance to talk with some Quebec students at the university level in this region and the overall impression I had received from those students is that the province mainly wants to preserve its present culture and its present language. Some of the members had said that this was the overall reason behind, for example, some of the requests made in the Allaire report, and that seems to be a general thrust. In terms of the sovereignty-federalism option, that was not really brought up in the discussions by these students.

Mr Offer: I will just close by indicating that certainly we as a committee do appreciate and wish you well as you have embarked on a process not only within one province but indeed throughout the country. I think that your findings will be very important. Please share those with our committee by forwarding us a copy of your findings. Thank you.



M. le Président : Je voudrais maintenant appeler Marielle Beaulieu de l'Association canadienne-française d'Ottawa-Carleton.

Mme Beaulieu : Messieurs, mesdames, Monsieur le Président du comité, l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, Conseil régional d'Ottawa-Carleton, est heureuse de pouvoir présenter aujourd'hui son point de vue sur les aspirations et les intérêts sociaux et économiques de tous les résidents de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération, ainsi que la forme de Confédération qui est la plus apte à satisfaire les aspirations sociales et économiques des résidents de l'Ontario.

L'ACFO, Conseil régional d'Ottawa-Carleton, à pour objectif principal la promotion des intérêts des francophones de la région. Elle est une des 22 associations régionales qui, avec 21 organismes provinciaux affiliés, constitue l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, ACFO provinciale, qui est reconnue comme la principale porte-parole des Franco-Ontariens.

C'est une redéfinition toute entière du pays qui nous amène aujourd'hui à venir discuter avec vous de notre vision de l'Ontario dans la constitution de demain.

Nous, Canadiens français vivant en Ontario, avons réussi au cours des ans à mettre sur pied et à développer de solides institutions florissantes qui nous sont propres. Nous avons des racines dans cette province qui remontent au tout début de la présence française en Amérique du Nord. De génération en génération, nous avons su doter l'Ontario d'un patrimoine culturel que l'Assemblée législative a reconnu et a déclaré vouloir sauvegarder pour les générations futures, comme en fait foi le préambule de la Loi de 1986 sur les services en français : «Attendu que la langue française a joué en Ontario un rôle historique et honorable, et que la Constitution lui reconnaît le statut de langue officielle au Canada ; attendu que cette langue jouit, en Ontario, du statut de langue officielle devant les tribunaux et dans l'éducation ; attendu que l'Assemblée législative reconnaît l'apport du patrimoine culturel de la population francophone et désire le sauvegarder pour les générations à venir ; et attendu qu'il est souhaitable de garantir l'emploi de la langue française dans les institutions de la Législature et du gouvernement de l'Ontario, comme le prévoit la présente Loi.. .>

Le patriotisme franco-ontarien est fort. Il l'est autant aujourd'hui qu'il l'était au début du siècle, lors de la lutte farouche menée contre l'infâme Règlement 17 qui prohibait l'enseignement du français dans les écoles de l'Ontario. Ce patriotisme, ce sens de l'appartenance, s'exprime aujourd'hui de différentes façons dont, en termes économiques, des institutions tels le mouvement des caisses populaires, la Fondation franco-ontarienne dont le mandat est d'appuyer financièrement tout ce qui peut assurer le fait français, et le Regroupement des gens d'affaires de l'Outaouais, pour n'en nommer que quelques-unes.

Il y a en outre les jeunes qui de plus en plus sont conscients de leur appartenance à la collectivité francophone et à qui on doit des initiatives remarquables, comme la création et la mise en onde de radios communautaires. Toute une nouvelle génération est en voie de formation qui donnera à l'Ontario français des travailleurs compétents. La création cette année du premier collège de langue française d'arts appliques et de technologie et la création prochaine de deux autres de ces collèges, un pour le Nord, l'autre pour la région de Toronto et le sud de la province, ces collèges nous garantiront de la formation adéquate en français pour ces jeunes et aussi pour les adultes en quête de recyclage.

La mise sur pied éventuelle de nombreux conseils scolaires homogènes contribuera aussi à accroître le nombre de francophones dans des écoles qui leur appartiennent. Tout ce mouvement de prise en charge des mécanismes éducatifs et de formation a été acquis peu à peu et souvent après de longues batailles. Nous sommes fiers de ces institutions qui nous ressemblent. Nous pourrions parler longuement aussi de mécanismes culturels, artistiques qui eux aussi contribuent grandement à la vie franco-ontarienne.

Il n'est pas inutile de rappeler, au risque d'être accusé d'énoncer une évidence, qu'il s'impose que les Canadiens français, à cette période critique dans l'histoire du pays, oublient leurs frontières et s'appliquent à examiner ensemble ce qui les unit : la langue, leurs origines communes, l'immense territoire que constitue le Canada qu'ils ont exploré et des liens culturels indissolubles. Nous sommes présents partout au Canada, dans toutes les provinces et territoires, regroupés dans les grandes villes, les petits villages ou dans des communautés isolées. Nous formons une part entière de ce pays.

L'Ontario a un rôle de leadership à jouer dans la redéfinition d'un Canada de demain, et en premier la constitution doit reconnaître les trois communautés nationales qui ont bâti le Canada, soit les communautés autochtones, francophone et anglophone.

La constitution doit reconnaître, évidemment, l'apport historique et culturel de notre communauté qui, avec la communauté anglophone, a particulièrement contribue à bâtir ce pays. Le rôle historique et honorable que nos communautés ont joué leur confère un statut égal. Il s'impose enfin de rappeler le rôle prépondérant de la communauté francophone dans la découverte et le développement de l'Ontario, rôle qui remonte à plus de trois siècles. Cette même constitution doit également reconnaître l'apport des générations successives de néo-Canadiens au développement de l'une ou de l'autre de ces communautés nationales.

Il est essentiel que les structures canadiennes maintiennent leur bilinguisme dans les institutions gouvernementales. En Ontario, il est essentiel que la province déclare le français langue officielle comme le Nouveau-Brunswick l'a fait. De plus, il est essentiel que les textes portant sur le droit à l'éducation soient suffisamment clairs pour éviter d'avoir recours aux tribunaux pour le faire respecter.

La constitution canadienne doit reconnaître l'égalité des chances des trois communautés et leur droit au bien-être et à une vie de qualité. Elles seraient aussi assurées de recevoir les services publics essentiels dans leur langue maternelle. Sans restreindre la généralité de ce qui précède pour la communauté francophone, ces services sont, outre le secteur scolaire, les secteurs suivants : le juridique, les services sociaux et communautaires et de la santé, les services municipaux, le culturel et la communication.

Ce droit à l'égalité des chances doit par ailleurs être assorti de dispositions constitutionnelles concernant l'engagement des gouvernements fédéral et provincial de promouvoir cette égalité par des politiques et des programmes appropriés.

Lors de la présentation de l'ACFO devant la commission Bélanger-Campeau au Québec, il avait été suggéré qu'un partenariat avec le Québec soit établi. Il a aussi été mentionné que peu importe le statut que choisira ce dernier, autant l'Ontario français a besoin d'un Québec fort, autant celui-ci a-t-il besoin d'un Ontario français fort et prospère. Car le Québec est en pleine effervescence économique et, à l'instar de ses pionniers, grands voyageurs et explorateurs, s'est tourné résolument vers l'extérieur, en outre, le Canada anglais et ses marches lucratifs dont celui évidemment de l'Ontario.

Or, qui pourrait mieux appuyer cette expansion que les intermédiaires précieux que constituent les Canadiens français déjà établis de vieille date en Ontario, province à l'échelle d'un pays dont ils possèdent la langue et connaissent bien les mentalités, surtout celles des milieux professionnels et d'affaires ? Leur expérience et leurs connaissances sont des atouts inestimables, comme semble l'avoir découvert le mouvement des caisses populaires qui travaille maintenant en étroite collaboration avec la Fédération des caisses populaires de l'Ontario. Par ailleurs, ces Canadiens français de l'Ontario sont des alliés naturels et sympathiques au départ et n'ont pas, précieux avantage, à être éduqués sur la véritable nature du Québec et de sa population.

L'Ontario constitue un marché de choix pour le Québec, que ce soit pour les produits manufacturés ou pour les produits culturels. Par exemple, en ce qui concerne ces derniers, il ne se passe pas une semaine sans que des localités ou des écoles françaises ou d'immersion en Ontario et ailleurs au Canada n'accueillent des troupes et artistes québécois, pour qui ces tournées représentent un excellent apprentissage et une source de revenus appréciables. La popularité de programmes d'immersion prouve bien que le bilinguisme ou l'apprentissage de la langue française n'est pas une imposition mais un enrichissement culturel.


Le bon sens voudrait qu'on tire le meilleur parti de la présente situation créée autant par L'histoire que par la géographie. Pourquoi alors ne pas transformer notre voisinage en un partenariat fondé sur le respect mutuel, en une synergie féconde susceptible de réaliser notre destin de grand peuple axe sur le succès ?

Comment établir ce partenariat ? Les possibilités sont multiples et l'on pourrait au départ prévoir sans même devoir créer de nouvelles structures : des échanges institutionnels en français au niveau des entreprises et des regroupements professionnels du secteur non gouvernemental ; l'accès pour les membres de la collectivité française de l'Ontario aux programmes québécois d'enseignement supérieur et autres -- et ce ne sont que des exemples.

Les francophones de l'Ontario sont toujours vivants et font sentir leur présence partout dans la province, en application de la devise de l'ACFO : «Nous sommes, nous serons». Fait non négligeable, nous constituerons toujours pour le Québec un partenaire et un marché de premier ordre, d'autant plus accessible qu'il est facilement identifiable et que ses éléments possèdent, il va sans dire, un préjugé favorable à son égard sans pour autant renier l'allégeance a l'Ontario, notre patrie. Nous sommes Ontariens et nous le resterons, quoiqu'il advienne.

Dans le Canada de demain, les changements constitutionnels qui y seront apportés devront refléter la dynamique de la société canadienne et son évolution. Les Canadiens doivent avoir la possibilité de gérer les structures politiques et administratives des services pertinents à leur épanouissement. Le statut égal de la communauté francophone doit nécessairement se refléter dans l'organisation des pouvoirs tant au palier fédéral, provincial que municipal. La province de l'Ontario est stratégiquement en mesure de jouer un rôle très important sinon primordial dans la redéfinition canadienne. L'Ontario peut exercer une influence importante entre les partisans de changements importants et ceux qui désirent le statu quo. Les enjeux sociaux, politiques et économiques de la décennie que nous venons de débuter doivent amener des changements qui sont, à notre avis, nécessaires à notre société en grande mutation.

À cet effet, nous reconnaissons à notre province la capacité, de même que l'ouverture d'esprit, pour originer des changements si nécessaires au mieux-être collectif et particulièrement au mieux-être de la communauté francophone canadienne et ontarienne.

Dans cette redéfinition de demain, il faudra revoir les fondements de notre fédéralisme. L'Ontario se devra de jouer un rôle de leader car c'est le Haut- et le Bas-Canada qui depuis la fondation de notre pays sont les acteurs principaux et c'est à l'Ontario d'y prendre sa place dans cette redéfinition.

M. Bisson : Une question : vous avez mentionné dans votre présentation que l'Ontario et le Québec devraient former une manière de partnership. Pourriez-vous élaborer un peu ? Je n'ai pas tellement compris exactement à quel point vous parlez.

Mme Beaulieu : Nous, on voit la très grande importance d'un partenariat entre le Québec et l'Ontario, partenariat dont on mentionnait particulièrement aux niveaux de l'éducation, d'échanges et aussi économique. À notre avis, l'Ontario est jusqu'à présent devenu, je pense, un partenaire commercial très important au Québec, et vice versa. Et ce lien se doit d'être renforcé. De plus, les Canadiens français qui vivent en Ontario représentent des gens qui peuvent très facilement transiger avec les Québécois de souche.

M. Beer : J'aimerais suivre un peu la question de M. Bisson et je pense que, parce que nous sommes ici dans la région de la capitale nationale, il est clair que vous aimeriez parler de partenariats entre les deux provinces. Est-ce que vous pensez que, à l'intérieur de cette perspective, on peut prévenir même par exemple la création d'une université qui puisse servir les deux côtés de la rivière mais où les deux provinces peut-être vont participer dans le financement ? On sait fort bien qu'à la Cité collégiale il y a des étudiants du Québec, à l'Université d'Ottawa, des étudiants du Québec. On parle ici peut-être de créer une université de langue française. Mais est-ce que ce serait une bonne idée de voir si les deux provinces pourraient coopérer d'une façon très étroite sur des projets comme ça ?

Mme Beaulieu : Soit explorer ce partenariat au niveau de l'éducation postsecondaire en particulier. Vous avez mentionné toute à l'heure l'Université d'Ottawa et la Cité collégiale, qui reçoivent des étudiants du Québec. Moi, je vous dirais que l'Université du Québec à Hull reçoit aussi beaucoup d'étudiants ontariens. Alors il y a déjà, évidemment, au niveau du Québec et de l'Ontario quand on parle d'Ottawa, tout un partenariat, il y a déjà tout un réseau, il y a aussi tout un échange qui se fait quand on regarde notamment les organismes, quand on regarde aussi les gens d'affaires. Le Regroupement des gens d'affaires, évidemment, c'est un grand nombre de gens d'affaires qui proviennent et du milieu ontarien et du milieu québécois. Et, évidemment, les échanges sont très riches pour ces gens. Alors, certainement, nous pensons qu'il faut aller de l'avant en ce sens-là et puis nous avons vu finalement, au cours des dernières années, une très grande ouverture d'esprit, puis au-delà de l'ouverture d'esprit un partage encore plus large. Nous croyons, comme nous le disons dans le mémoire, que l'Ontario a un rôle très grand à jouer présentement dans le Canada de demain, particulièrement au niveau du Québec.

Mr Harnick: We have been to various locations around Ontario and we have seen a number of presentations from people -- I am talking about people from the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada and from the Reform Party and from the Confederation of Regions party -- who are very much against the amount of French that the government now provides in Ontario. They are certainly very much against the idea of official bilingualism for Ontario, which I know is your position. Is Bill 8 a mechanism by which we can find some compromise among all of these divergent views?

Ms Beaulieu: That is a very specific question. I myself see Bill 8 as being a step towards bilingualism. As we mentioned earlier, we said that we are hoping that eventually Ontario will become a bilingual province, as New Brunswick did a while ago. That is our position, and we believe firmly that this is the only way that French Canadians living in this province will have a place in this province.

Mr Harnick: Is Bill 8 an effective enough tool as a method of compromise between, say, APEC and ACFO?

Ms Beaulieu: I do not like this idea of compromise, because to me it is not a compromise. Bill 8 is something that was -- I was going to say it was due to us, meaning something that acknowledges the fact that there are francophones all over the country and a fair amount of francophones in this province. So to me it is not a compromise. It is something that should have been done a long time ago. We are sure hoping that Bill 8 is a step towards an achievement greater than what it is right now.

The Chair: Merci pour votre présentation.



The Chair: We will proceed then to Lyne Michaud de Direction-Jeunesse.

Mme Michaud : Nous aimerions d'abord vous remercier très sincèrement de nous donner une occasion de vous présenter notre point de vue au sujet du rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération canadienne.

Puisque Direction-Jeunesse représente quelque 104 000 jeunes Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes âgés entre 15 et 30 ans, notre mémoire portera surtout sur la question 5 posée par votre comité. Par contre, certains éléments de notre mémoire touchent directement aux questions 1, 2, 3 et 6.

Direction-Jeunesse vous présente les aspirations et intérêts d'un segment de la population ontarienne qui apportera une contribution indéniable

à l'évolution de la province. En effet, les jeunes Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes ne demandent rien de moins que de pouvoir participer pleinement à la vie socioéconomique de l'Ontario en respectant leur spécificité culturelle et linguistique.

«Au service des jeunes de l'Ontario français depuis 20 ans, Direction-Jeunesse se veut un organisme de représentation, d'information et de revendication au nom de la jeunesse. De fait, Direction-Jeunesse est un outil d'intervention et de développement social en plus d'être un lieu de formation et une voix provinciale». Notre action s'effectue à l'échelle locale, régionale et provinciale et ce au sein des secteurs suivants : éducation, travail-emploi et communauté.

Nous avons comme principe de base que le français fait partie intégrante du développement du potentiel des quelque 104 000 jeunes Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes que nous représentons.

Les Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes ici depuis longtemps et pour toujours. Les francophones ont toujours été présents à l'Ontario et le seront toujours. Il ne reste qu'à s'assurer de leur plein épanouissement pour régler plusieurs problèmes d'ordre politique ou linguistique. Nous voulons notre place ici car c'est chez nous.

Notre présence et notre contribution à cette province. Depuis 350 ans, des gens d'expression française vivent et travaillent en Ontario. Des centaines de milliers de Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes ont continué à l'essor de cette province. Mais notre apport est loin d'être purement historique. Aujourd'hui, notre communauté possède des acquis bien à elle, à partir desquels nous bâtissons notre avenir. À titre d'organisme provincial, nous travaillons à partir de certains acquis qui témoignent de notre présence et de notre contribution à la province de l'Ontario et j'en cite quelques exemples.

Au niveau des entreprises : nous avons 8000 entreprises en Ontario qui sont appartenus par des francophones. Au niveau des médias, par exemple, des journaux, nous avons le journal Le Nord, de Hearst ; Le Goût de vivre, de Penetanguishene ; La Boite à nouvelles ; Le Droit et j'en passe et j'en passe.

Au niveau des centres culturels : on a un centre culturel à Hawkesbury, à Timmins, à Windsor, à Sudbury et j'en passe. Bref, comme vous pouvez constater, la francophonie ontarienne est bien ancrée et possède déjà un grand nombre d'institutions bien à elle. Mais les objectifs de notre communauté ne s'arrêtent pas là. Nous voulons nous épanouir et gérer toutes les institutions nécessaires à cet épanouissement.

Nous avons le droit, et je répète, le droit d'être et d'évoluer en Ontario français. Le gouvernement provincial est engagé par la création de la Loi 8 à desservir les francophones dans leur langue lorsque ces derniers font appel aux services gouvernementaux. La Loi comporte certaines lacunes, notamment le principe de la désignation de la région, où par exemple les 4500 francophones de London ne peuvent souscrire à la Loi et l'exclusion des institutions universitaires et des municipalités et agences et autres.

Ce qu'il nous faut pour nous épanouir. Bien que la communauté soit une force vivante et que le français soit bel et bien présent en Ontario, il ne faut pas ignorer le danger réel que l'assimilation linguistique et culturelle porte à notre population. Un consensus évident se dresse quant aux moyens qu'il faut mettre en place afin d'enrayer l'assimilation chez la population franco-ontarienne. Je vous donne quelques recommandations et quelques exemples.

Il faut créer des milieux majoritaires francophones, par exemple : des institutions d'éducation, des centres culturels, des médias, des activités économiques. Et il faut réaffirmer la volonté politique des dirigeants et dirigeantes gouvernementaux à l'égard de la survie et de la promotion du français, surtout lors de cette période d'incertitude face à l'avenir de notre pays.

Au secteur d'éducation, j'en cite quelques exemples. Il faut mettre sur pied des institutions postsecondaires francophones, dont une université de langue française et un réseau complet de collèges francophones.

Il faut créer des structures gouvernementales francophones, par exemple, le ministère des Collèges et Universités, le ministère de l'Éducation, le Conseil des régents et des régentes avec des comités consultatifs régionaux.

Il faut intensifier le nombre de programmes d'études complets offerts en français aux collèges et à l'université. Il faut augmenter l'aide financière offerte aux étudiants francophones. Il faut rendre la vie étudiante attrayante et diversifiée. Il faut valoriser l'implication communautaire des étudiants et étudiantes. Il faut aussi sensibiliser les professeurs des collèges et universités à notre réalité franco-ontarienne.

Au secteur communautaire, j'en cite deux exemples. Il faut mettre sur pied des centres et des regroupements de jeunes partout où le besoin est manifesté par les jeunes. Il faut persuader des conseils scolaires à embaucher des animateurs et animatrices culturels.

Au secteur communication, il faut mettre sur pied tous les médias qui nous manquent selon la région. Il faut rendre disponible pour chaque foyer francophone la chaîne française de TVOntario. Il nous faut sensibiliser particulièrement le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications du Canada, soit le CRTC, à l'importance pour les Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes de recevoir des services de base dans notre langue. Nous croyons qu'une communauté en évolution doit nécessairement compter sur un éventail complet de projets. Ceux-ci sont un témoignage de la force vivante et de la volonté d'exiler des francophones en Ontario.

Les Franco-Ontariennes et Franco-Ontariens et la redéfinition du Canada. Quoi que le Québec décide sur son avenir, une chose est centaine : il y aura toujours une présence française vivante en Ontario et ailleurs au Canada, et les dirigeants et dirigeantes politiques devront tenir compte de cette réalité dans leur redéfinition du Canada. Nous ne sommes pas un pion dans le jeu politique du Canada et nous n'accepterons jamais d'être sacrifiés pour la paix linguistique au Canada. Qui refuse d'accepter l'existence et les droits d'un peuple le fait à son péril. Ce que les jeunes Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes veulent, ce n'est pas d'imposer leur langue mais tout simplement pouvoir exister en français et s'épanouir tout en contribuant au mieux-être de leur province et de leur pays.

Nous sommes ici depuis longtemps et nous sommes aussi Ontariens et Ontariennes, Canadiens et Canadiennes que n'importe qui en Ontario ou au Canada. Cette réalité doit être reconnue par ceux et celles qui s'imaginent que si le Québec se sépare, il n'y aura plus de francophones au Canada. Au contraire, il en restera un million, près de deux millions si on compte les néo-Canadiens et néo-Canadiennes d'expression française et les gens qui peuvent parler le français. Cette présence dans chaque province continuera et le nouveau Canada se doit de continuer d'accorder une juste place à la francophonie canadienne.

La constitution doit reconnaître les trois communautés nationales qui ont bâti le Canada, soit les communautés autochtones, francophone et anglophone. La constitution doit également reconnaître l'apport des générations successives de néo-Canadiens et néo-Canadiennes au développement de l'une ou l'autre de ces communautés autochtones, francophone et anglophone.

Pour conclure : en cette période d'incertitude, les Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes jeunes, adultes et âmes répondent massivement à l'appel du gouvernement de l'Ontario. Un grand nombre d'entre eux se présentent devant votre comité pour témoigner de la force de la communauté francophone en Ontario, de son enracinement dans cette province, de leur besoin d'épanouissement. Ils et elles tiennent à ce que le gouvernement ontarien les appuie et à ce que la communauté canadienne respecte leurs droits.

Leurs témoignages et présentations affirment leur présence et leur vitalité. Les Franco-Ontariennes et Franco-Ontariens, peuple en plein droit, tiennent à prendre leur place dans un nouveau Canada qui respectera la diversité linguistique et culturelle de ses citoyens et citoyennes.

M. le Président : Il y a des questions. Mr Malkowski.

Mr Malkowski: I am certainly very impressed with your presentation. You mentioned at one point about the three communities having to be recognized -- francophones, Anglophones and the native communities. Do you see the recognition of other cultures and other groups, such as women's rights and the rights of disabled people? Should they be formally recognized as well in the Constitution, in your opinion?


Mme Michaud : Je pense qu'on doit reconnaître qu'il y a trois peuples fondateurs, autochtones, anglophone et francophone. Concernant les autres minorités, je pense que ça va de soi au niveau des handicapés, des femmes, tout ce qui fait part de minorités, mais c'est ça notre rôle, et quand on arrive aux minorités, c'est de les protéger tout droit. C'est ce qui en fait la richesse de notre province au niveau du Canada aussi, c'est tout l'aspect de la richesse multiculturelle et la richesse des différents groupes minoritaires en Ontario.

Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. You have spoken in your presentation about the continuing progress of francophone interest in dealing with schools, community centres, businesses, communications and the like, and you have carried on by talking about how those aspects and others must continue to advance within the province of Ontario and that that is the role, responsibility and in fact challenge of the government of Ontario.

My question to you is that your presentation has been directed to those rights within the province of Ontario and I would like to hear your opinion as to whether -- not so much a decreasing of these rights, but whether you feel that the advancement of these rights will be threatened in the event that Quebec separates or distances itself from the rest of Canada, and second, what role you see Ontario playing, not only in advancing the rights of francophones in Ontario, but rather advancing the rights of all within the country of Canada?

Mme Michaud : En ce qui concerne le rôle du Québec par rapport à sa définition, comment ça va nous affecter chez nous, je dois répondre par le fait que chez nous on vit un processus. Qu'est-ce que le Québec fait chez lui ? C'est de ses affaires. Qu'est-ce qui se passe chez nous ? C'est de mes affaires. Ce que mes grands-parents avaient au niveau de services en français, au niveau de l'éducation, par exemple, les écoles secondaires existent au moins depuis les années 70 en Ontario français. Ça va continuer. Maintenant on a nos écoles élémentaires, secondaires, nos premiers collèges francophones. Notre université, on l'espère bien pour l'année 1995. C'est le processus. On va toujours continuer a faire du chemin et toujours continuer à bâtir. Donc, peu importe ce qui se passe au niveau du Québec, eux vont continuer de grandir peu importe les réformes sur lesquelles ils se décideront. Nous aussi on veut continuer à vivre en Ontario.

Au sujet de l'unité canadienne, quel est le rôle de l'Ontario par rapport à la place du Québec, je crois qu'on doit respecter leurs demandes et de ce dont ils ont besoin. Au sujet de ce que le Québec fait et ce que le Québec demande, c'est à eux-mêmes de s'autodéterminer, c'est à eux-mêmes de décider ce qu'ils veulent. C'est à nous de les respecter, c'est à nous de travailler avec eux. Ce n'est pas à nous en tant que population ou en tant que province de discuter de la place des autres. Je crois que chaque province doit se respecter et que les provinces ensemble, on doit travailler à l'épanouissement du Canada.


The Chair: Could I call next Jean Chevrier of the New Federation magazine?

Mr Chevrier: If I may, I would speak in English, Mr Chairman, since the article which I wrote in the New Federation magazine, in the January-February issue -- our special issue on constitutional reform -- is in English. I would like to thank members of the committee for this opportunity and your invitation to talk about a new Canada. I would like to focus, if I may, not on the whole article but on some key proposals for reform for this new Canada. I would like to do so on the basis of the global picture, if I may, and based also on what other past commissions, past studies, have proposed for this country over the years.

The first proposal, which I believe is necessary in Canada today, is a new institution which would bring the provinces and the federal government together at the centre to better co-ordinate and harmonize their policies in the economic sector. The latest politician to request that has been Premier Bourassa when he has called for a new superstructure, but he was merely saying things that many others have said before in this country. A number of bodies, including the Economic Council of Canada in its latest report, have called for more provincial input into national economic decision-making.

In 1965 Quebec's Faribault and Ontario's Fowler proposed a fiscal commission in the Confederation wager. In 1971 the Ontario government of Bill Davis proposed a joint economic council to review and determine on a continuing basis national economic goals of a strategic order. For its part, the Macdonald commission recommended the establishment of three central ministerial councils: one devoted to finance and treasury matters, one to economic development and another to social policy. So when Premier Bourassa refers to a new political structure to oversee the monetary, fiscal and economic interests of both nations, he is speaking the same language as many others, and I believe resurrecting an idea whose time has come.

I see this special institution possibly as a fourth institution in the country, possibly equal to the Senate, the Supreme Court and Parliament. It would be up to the provinces and the federal government, through their representatives, to establish the working relationship. The decisions could be binding on the federal government under certain conditions on it could only have an advisory stature, something akin to the economic and social committee which is tied to the European Community in Europe.


I would like to go now to the second proposal for reform, if I may, and that is, of course -- everybody is talking about it now; the premiers, the Prime Minister -- a new division of powers basically with one key objective, to reduce and eliminate, if possible, the amount of overlapping and duplication which has arisen in our system ever since the provinces themselves have developed into full-fledged modern governments.

In order to arrive at a structure which would in a way pave the way to a more equitable, more equal partnership, with each province having more or less the same powers, I think we would have to look at the concept of regions, because I believe only then will we avoid giving Quebec a special status and only then would reunited provinces in the west and in the Maritimes be able to capture a larger field of the domestic field in Canada. These provinces would not need to unite politically, necessarily, but as Premier McKenna and the Maritimes have said, they could certainly speak with one voice on the national level and possibly the interprovincial level as well. So this would make possible the fact that each regional administration could then exercise jurisdiction over a larger field of domestic matters such as employment, education, culture, regional development, health and family policy.

Ottawa's base will then become more clearly identified with the management and direction of the economy, the fiscal and monetary issues. If it has those powers on the economy, then it has the key power in Canada. In addition, of course, it would continue to exercise jurisdiction over a wide range of international activities, foreign policy, international trade, customs and excise, citizenship, defence, aid, space, fisheries and oceans, agriculture to some extent, immigration also to some extent. Everything that has an international component, as I see it, should belong to the federal government.

I might also add on the distribution of power that there would be nothing preventing the federal government from exercising some jurisdiction even in provincial areas under a modified version of the power to legislate for peace, order and government. It could have the power to establish studies, look at these questions and make recommendations afterwards to the provinces. It would be up to the provinces, however, to decide if they would accept the federal advisory power or recommendations in these areas.

I would like to go now to a third proposal, that of Senate reform. If we give the provinces more power at the front end of the system, that is, in a new economic body at the centre, and if we give them extra powers also, then it becomes less important that they have additional powers at the tail end of the system, that is, in a reformed Senate. I would much rather that the Senate of Canada be used as a completely new body, something which would get us away from partisan politics, if possible, and into a more innovative proposal.

We could, for instance, try to see where Canada differentiates itself from the Americans. The Canadian mosaic certainly is one way that could be considered. For instance, the Senate could be made up of an equal portion of French, English and people of other origins. I believe 50% should be female in a new Senate; after all, we are looking towards the future, towards the year 2000. As far as the appointments or proposals for nominations of those new senators are concerned, they could come from countless organizations that exist in the country at the cultural level. A modified version also of that Senate could be that the new senators could come from different backgrounds: education, science, environment, labour. There is a whole network of these organizations, human resources which have not been tapped in this country. These organizations could themselves propose names of new senators and the final selection could belong to the Prime Minister or to a select committee of both houses in Ottawa.

In concluding, I go to a fourth proposal. I think what would be needed is a sort of bold and spirited declaration at the beginning of our new Constitution, something which could serve for all Canadians as a modern mission statement for the 21st century. What is Canada? What are its goals, its objectives? What are the shared values? I think it would be important from an educational perspective to make sure that everybody has something in hand they could point to as far as the respect we should have for each other's values is concerned. I am not going to go into these specific values, but I am sure that others have recommended some of those, and I think I have used my time. I will stop at this point.

Ms Churley: Thank you for your presentation. I wish we had more time to hear some of your views, but certainly we can read more about it later.

You mentioned something that I think the majority of people are saying, that we need some kind of change, and there are varying degrees of that. You talk about some of your ideas of which jurisdictional functions can be divided between provinces and Ottawa. I think that is where we get into difficulties, of what should go where. I would just like to know, for instance, what you think about the environment, which you did not mention specifically. But as you may be aware, that is becoming an issue, with the Oldman River dam case going on. Of course the environment knows no boundaries. It is an international as well as federal responsibility, in a sense. At the same time, I think provinces are trying to hang on to it.

I am just wondering how you would propose, first, to deal with the environment, and, second, how you would propose to deal with some of the other issues, for instance, social programs and a fear that they could be watered down from province to province.

Mr Chevrier: So far as the environment is concerned, as I mentioned in the article, I would see it as a joint responsibility, because, after all, it has, as you were saying, very much some international dimensions. I would see it as a joint responsibility.

As far as the overall distribution of powers is concerned, there is one key sector which I believe could belong more to the provinces or to regrouped regions, the whole area of social policy. As matters stand now, for instance, you have some parts which are under provincial control and others under federal control, and that makes it very hard for provincial governments be establish priorities and to have a good look into the overall sector.

For instance, the provinces established the minimum wage. They also give supplementary benefits in terms of old age pensions; they also deal with workers' compensation. Then you have the federal government, which has unemployment insurance, family allowance, which is a family matter. If this whole sector of social affairs belonged to Ontario, to Quebec, to a much stronger Maritimes, if they did put their act together, the same thing with the western premiers, then I think you would have a shift, naturally, towards the regions and the provinces.

But we should not think that would dismember Canada or bring it apart. I do not think so. There are so many more activities now in the 20th century that were not there in 1867, such as the environment. The international sector has exploded as far as that is concerned, so that is giving Ottawa a lot more powers than it had before. And if they have command over the economy, then they have jurisdiction over the key sector, naturally, which they should have. I believe you could find a very equitable balance this way, and one which would go a long way to meet Quebec's demands in particular.

Now the question remains whether the other provinces would want to have access to exactly the overall social field in Canada. I think Ontario could certainly handle its own there, individual Maritime provinces perhaps not, but if they did come together into one regional unit, then I think they could certainly do it, and the same thing with the western provinces.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Chevrier. Merci.



M. le Président : Je vais maintenant inviter Fleurette Millette, de la Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises de l'Ontario.

Mme Millette : Monsieur Silipo, mesdames, messieurs, la Fédération apprécie l'occasion qui lui est donnée de présenter ce mémoire au comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération. La Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises de l'Ontario est un organisme voué à sensibiliser les femmes, à susciter tout changement permettant l'expansion de la culture et de la langue française et à promouvoir l'égalité des femmes afin d'édifier une société plus juste.

Notre organisme, fondé à Ottawa en 1914, n'est reconnu toutefois comme association provinciale que depuis 1987. Si la Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises de l'Ontario se prononce sur la question du rôle de l'Ontario dans la Confédération, c'est que nous voulons, en tant que femmes et en tant que femmes francophones de l'Ontario, en profiter pour faire connaître le but de notre travail. Cela nous apparaît d'autant plus important étant donné qu'aucune femme francophone ne siège sur le comité spécial.

Il faut se rappeler le rôle important qu'a joué la communauté francophone dans la découverte et le développement de l'Ontario, rôle qui remonte à plus de trois siècles.

Les femmes francophones ontariennes se sont impliquées en grand nombre dans la lutte pour la reconnaissance des droits des francophones afin d'obtenir des écoles et des services en français dans les communautés, exemple : la lutte contre le Règlement 17 en 1916.

«L'héritage francophone est un flambeau difficile à porter au Canada malgré notre conscientisation. La transmission de la culture est une responsabilité partagée avec le conjoint, la famille, la communauté» et je pourrai dire la province et le pays.

Une véritable égalité entre hommes et femmes. Dans plusieurs secteurs, les femmes sont encore cantonnées à des ghettos d'emplois et sont souvent sous-représentées dans des métiers ou des postes traditionnellement réservés aux hommes. Même si les femmes représentent -- on dit que c'est plus de 70% de la main-d'oeuvre salariée -- elles sont sous-représentées aux nivaux supérieurs dans l'administration et dans la majorité des postes. Par exemple, en septembre 1985 on comptait 39 directeurs d'école mais seulement quatre directrices.

La représentation aux différents paliers gouvernementaux ne reflète pas le statut égal de la communauté francophone, encore moins celui de la femme francophone, par exemple : l'attribution des postes clés. Les initiatives du gouvernement de l'Ontario ont eu des impacts positifs en matière de condition féminine. Nous notons la récente nomination de onze femmes au Cabinet provincial, aucune femme francophone, malheureusement.

Une femme qui revendique ses droits sait qu'elle doit non seulement convaincre ses consoeurs, mais qu'elle hérite aussi de la responsabilité de sensibiliser les hommes à la nécessité d'un changement de mentalité.

Au cours des années 1980-81 les femmes, en tant que citoyennes, ont participé au débat qui a entouré l'élaboration de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. L'article 28 assure l'égalité entre femmes et hommes. Rappelons que ces droits sont sujets à une interprétation judiciaire provenant des tribunaux provinciaux et fédéraux dont la Cour suprême.

Les dispositions de la Charte canadienne ont produit jusqu'ici peu de jurisprudence favorable aux femmes : interprétations souvent peu adaptées au concept d'égalité entre femmes et hommes.

Le débat sur l'avenir politique et constitutionnel de l'Ontario offre une occasion privilégiée de définir nos prises de position face aux changements anticipés.

Nous croyons que l'Ontario peut et doit jouer un rôle prépondérant :

Étant la province la mieux dotée au point de vue économique et politique, elle peut jouer un rôle de médiateur dans le rapprochement des différentes régions.

Grâce à la présence d'un demi-million de francophones et aux liens importants avec le Québec au plan géographique, linguistique et des affaires, l'Ontario est bien placé pour expliquer la réalité québécoise au reste du pays.

Étant la province la plus peuplée, au-delà de neuf millions et la mieux représentée à la 34e Législature -- on dit que 99 membres sont dans l'Ontario -- l'Ontario peut exercer son pouvoir afin de garantir et faire respecter les droits et libertés accordés aux femmes, afin d'assurer l'égalité entre hommes et femmes et d'implanter la dualité linguistique dans le pays.

Nous reconnaissons les efforts déployés par le gouvernement de l'Ontario et par nos communautés afin que les Franco-Ontariens se sentent impliqués.

Ces efforts doivent cependant être suivis. Par conséquent, nous recommandons : que l'Ontario reconnaisse et reflète la dualité linguistique de la province et du pays ; que lors de la création de nouvelles institutions politiques, juridiques ou autres, l'égalité de la représentation des femmes et des hommes francophones au palier décisionnel soit prévue. De plus, la province doit impliquer davantage ses régions dans l'élaboration de politiques sociale, économique et culturelle ; que l'Ontario joue un rôle primordial au niveau provincial en incorporant soit dans le code provincial (droits de la personne) ou par loi entièrement séparée, des droits parallèles à ceux garantis par la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés ; que lors de la formulation de politiques, l'Ontario tienne compte des acquis des femmes et étudie tout changement à la lumière de leur impact sur les droits des femmes.

Permettez-moi de conclure. «Il est plus que temps de revoir nos moeurs et de rechercher de nouveaux modèles de vie en société plus fondés sur la coopération que sur la concurrence, sur le respect des différences que sur l'uniformisation, sur le partage que sur la réussite personnelle».

Mrs Y. O'Neill: If you have been watching the proceedings you have seen many outstanding francophone women presenting to us: those young women, the woman this morning, the very intelligent young woman in Hamilton, and many of the artful presentations -- in fact, a presentation that was unique from the French-language principals of a certain region of the province, and one of them was a woman. But you bring a very strong point home, and I think you have done it very well. I would like to ask you whether you feel this process and this turning point is giving women the voice they need at this particular time.

Mme Millette : Je répondrais que c'est un bon commencement et nous espérons que nous aurons plus de chance dans l'avenir de pouvoir donner nos points de vue, que les décisions ne seront pas toujours prises seulement au niveau de la Législature mais que les décisions viendront aussi de l'opinion des personnes dans la communauté, et surtout des femmes quand il s'agit de l'égalité.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: My same hope.

M. Winninger : Il y a certains qui pensent que si le Québec est désigné comme une société distincte il y a des implications pour les femmes. Avez-vous pensé à ce sujet ?


Mme Millette : Disons que dans l'égalité pour les femmes, les Québécois sont un peu en avant de nous parce qu'eux n'ont pas à se battre pour avoir des droits en français. Nous dépensons beaucoup d'énergie pour faire reconnaître nos droits, premièrement notre langue, ce qui veut dire que parfois nous sommes un peu en retard sur nos revendications au point de vue l'égalité pour les femmes. Mais nous gardons toujours d'oeil ouvert sur ce qui se passe au Québec. Et puis on peut s'assurer que, peu importe la décision que le Québec prendra, nous allons continuer quand même à défendre nos droits comme femmes et comme femmes francophones.

M. Winninger : Alors, à votre avis il n'y a pas une opposition entre les droits de femmes et la société distincte.

Mme Millette : Disons qu'on ne s'est pas arrêté encore parce qu'on attend le moment où ils seront plus certains de ce qu'ils veulent exactement. Il y a aujourd'hui beaucoup de pourparlers, un groupe veut une chose, l'autre une autre chose, alors quand ils diront qu'ils auront pris leur décision nous verrons exactement ce qu'on devra faire. C'est à ce moment-là qu'on prendra une décision.

M. McGuinty : J'ai écouté votre présentation ce matin. Vous n'avez pas donné votre opinion sur le bilinguisme officiel ici en Ontario.

Mme Millette : Disons que nous l'avons donnée un peu voilée.

M. McGuinty : Est-ce que vous pourriez en discuter un peu plus, s'il vous plaît, en considérant le contexte du grand débat national sur notre constitution qui prend place maintenant ?

Mme Millette : Notre opinion serait que l'Ontario se déclare bilingue ; que les francophones aient autant de chance que les anglophones peu importe où ils sont dans la province, dans le pays. Quand nous portons le nom d'une association comme canadienne-française, c'est que nos aspirations vont plus loin que seulement notre communauté, plus loin que notre province. Pour nous c'est tout un pays quand nous parlons de francophones.

Aujourd'hui on a parlé surtout des femmes francophones en Ontario, mais disons qu'on est bien sensibilisé aux besoins de toutes les femmes du pays francophone. Et le bilinguisme c'est une chose importante aussi pour nous. Nous avons une optique qui est peut-être un peu voilée mais demande de bien reconnaître la dualité linguistique dans la province comme c'est reconnu au niveau du Canada. Je pense que ça veut dire le bilinguisme.

M. le Président : Merci, madame.


M. le Président : La Fédération des élèves du Secondaire franco-ontarien, FESFO.

M. Groulx : Bonjour, nous nous présentons, nous sommes la FESFO, un organisme qui se nomme la Fédération des élèves du Secondaire franco-ontarien. Nous sommes ici aujourd'hui en représentant nos 25 000 membres, soit près de 70 écoles secondaires françaises ou mixtes de la province de l'Ontario. Nous vous remercions pour l'occasion de nous présenter ici aujourd'hui et pour commencer nous aimerions vous présenter quelque chose qui est représentatif des 400 élèves qui ont contribué lors des participations de nos forums «Organisation» régionaux, soit quatre dans la province. Chacun a fait sa part, alors on présente ça immédiatement.

Mlle Bigras : Pour commencer, le gouvernement de l'Ontario doit donner un modèle exemplaire pour le reste du Canada. Comment ? En déclarant l'Ontario bilingue parce que le Canada est bilingue et les provinces devraient l'être également. Il faut absolument éviter qu'une autre situation semblable à celle de Sault-Sainte-Marie se répète et provoque à nouveau l'éclatement de la communauté. Yves Thériault, un élève de l'école secondaire Notre-Dame-des-Grands-Lacs à Sault-Sainte-Marie, nous fait part d'un témoignage. Il dit : «Je viens de Sault-Sainte-Marie. La résolution visant à proclamer la ville unilingue anglaise a beaucoup affecté notre ville. De plus en plus de gens quittent la ville pour s'établir ailleurs où des services en français sont offerts. Cette résolution a fait mal à notre ville». Le gouvernement de l'Ontario devrait donc corriger cette situation et poser des gestes concrets.

Le gouvernement de l'Ontario a reconnu l'apport des francophones comme peuple fondateur et doit démontrer de façon claire et non équivoque sa position face au bilinguisme officiel dans sa province. En déclarant l'Ontario bilingue, les francophones vont pouvoir avoir des privilèges et des droits comme les anglophones partout au pays. Il devrait avoir des services en français, des institutions homogènes de langue française, un réseau de communication qui répond aux besoins des francophones dans toutes les régions. La Loi sur les services ne doit pas seulement répondre aux besoins dans les endroits où le nombre le justifie. Il doit faire comprendre au Québec qu'il existe des francophones hors Québec et que l'Ontario constitue la deuxième province où le taux de francophones est le plus élevé après le Québec.

Au Nouveau-Brunswick, c'est dans l'esprit des gens que tout le monde est bilingue. II y a beaucoup moins d'animosité entre francophones et anglophones. Être bilingue, ça développe l'esprit intellectuel, parce que sur le plan économique, l'Ontario n'aura qu'à investir une somme minime par rapport à l'ensemble de son budget annuel global pour devenir bilingue ; parce que le bilinguisme est une question de changement d'attitude -- au début le changement fait peur mais après un bout de temps parler dans les deux Langues deviendra un geste naturel ; enfin, parce qu'en tant que communauté civilisée on devrait pouvoir se regarder dans les yeux et se parler.

Mlle Fortier : Une deuxième question qu'on se pose c'est le système d'éducation qui répond aux besoins des francophones. Premièrement, il nous faut des livres en français. Souvent nous avons soit des manuels mal traduits, soit des manuels qui nous proviennent du Québec, soit des manuels anglophones. Nous voulons des textes et des ressources pédagogiques qui viennent de chez nous au même coût de celles que nous avons déjà. Pourquoi ? Afin d'apprendre nos valeurs et nos intérêts culturels et de développent notre sentiment d'appartenance.

Par exemple, Marisha Ben-Tchavtchavadze de l'école secondaire Étienne-Brulé à Toronto nous dit : «Notre professeur de science de la société utilise des manuels écrits en anglais puisqu'ils sont récents et que les manuels français datent de dix ans». Kristine Lépine de l'école secondaire de London Central nous dit : «Pour avoir une bonne éducation en français, nous avons besoin des ressources supplémentaires». Enfin, Bernadette Dubreque de l'école secondaire Paincourt à Paincourt nous dit : «Pourriez-vous s'il vous plaît nous produire des textes en français, c'est pas très commode de toujours être obligé de se référer à des textes en anglais».

Deuxièmement, il nous faut des écoles. La situation aujourd'hui : nous partageons nos édifices scolaires avec les anglophones, nous préférerions avoir la cohabitation avec les francophones des conseils publics et catholiques. Pourquoi ? Ceci crée un milieu de vie francophone, développe l'homogénéité et encourage un esprit culturel. Par exemple, à l'école secondaire Marie-Rivier de Kingston, composée de six portatives jointes par un corridor, il n'y a pas de gymnase, il n'y pas de cafétéria, il n'y a pas de bibliothèque ni de salle de toilettes. Les élèves doivent se rendre à l'école secondaire anglophone au besoin. À Cochrane nous avons besoin d'une école. Cela fait des années que nous partageons l'école avec les anglophones.

Troisièmement, il nous faut nos propres conseils scolaires de langue française. Pourquoi ? Donnons aux francophones le pouvoir dans leurs écoles et ils/elles pourront alors répondre aux besoins des francophones.

Quatrièmement, il nous faut plus de cours d'intérêt et pas seulement les cours de base afin de permettre à l'élève de recevoir la même qualité d'enseignement que dans une grosse école anglaise.

Cinquièmement, il faut ajuster les critères du ministère en fonction du contenu des programmes d'enseignement afin de répondre aux besoins particuliers des francophones.

Sixièmement, il nous faut une politique concernant l'animation culturelle dans les écoles partout dans la province afin de répondre à cet urgent besoin.


Mlle Mitchell : Je vais vous parler du milieu de vie francophone. Il faut que les opinions des élèves soient entendues aujourd'hui. Il faut créer un réseau de consultation auprès des élèves du secondaire et puis il faut créer un milieu communautaire francophone qui dépasse la cour d'école. J'ai une citation qui vient de quelques élèves de l'école secondaire de Plantagenet, à Plantagenet.

«Veuillez s'il vous plaît prendre en considération nos nombreuses demandes, nous en avons grandement besoin», et puis j'ai quelques citations qui viennent des milliers d'élèves du secondaire franco-ontarien : «Saviez-vous que.... Nous avons droit.... J'pense que c'est le temps.... Écoutez-nous.... En tant qu'élève du secondaire je pense que.... J'aimerais que.... Pourriez-vous s'il vous plaît.... J'ai quelque chose à vous dire....»

Ensuite, il faut développer le sens de leadership chez les Franco-Ontariens, donc il faut avoir de la formation en leadership.

Fritz Larivière de l'école secondaire d'Algonquin nous dit : ««Nous avons droit à une formation en leadership en français. Ces activités renforcissent l'unité francophone en Ontario». Pourquoi ? Pour qu'ils et elles puissent prendre leur place en Ontario et qu'ils puissent gérer leurs entreprises et leurs conseils scolaires de façon autonome plus tard.

«Il faut aussi valoriser l'élève qui s'implique dans sa communauté et dans son école. Il faut trouver une façon de créditer l'implication des élèves à l'intérieur du curriculum scolaire et il faut tenir compte des besoins culturels et rendre les horaires des élèves plus flexibles, afin de leur permettre de s'impliquer sans qu'ils aient à subir les conséquences néfastes.

«C'est grâce en grande partie aux élèves motivés, aux élèves impliqués que les Franco-Ontariens se rallient. Dans plusieurs endroits de la province la communauté culturelle tourne autour de l'école.

«Réalisez-vous qu'en général un élève impliqué au conseil des élèves de son école consacre un minimum de 175 heures de travail au dévouement de l'école ?» C'est Caroline Bisson de l'école secondaire De La Salle à Ottawa qui nous a dit ça.

«Les élèves travaillent très fort mais dû au manque de financement les activités parascolaires sont limitées. Ces activités sont indispensables dans la vie d'un élève du secondaire et surtout pour la vie francophone» ; Nadine Mantel de l'École secondaire Northern Collegiate and Vocational Institute, une école d'à peu près mille anglophones, une école mixte, et puis dans l'école il y a 70 francophones.

«Je pense qu'il est temps que l'Ontario français reconnaisse toutes les activités parascolaires et qu'on soit crédité pour nos efforts.»

M. Groulx : Si on regarde au point de vue des collèges et des universités franco-ontariens. Tout d'abord, on aimerait vous remercier pour le nouveau collège de l'Est, la Cité collégiale. Je crois que c'est très bien pour les gens de l'Est, c'est privilégié, on s'en sert puis les résultats sont là. Ce collège promouvait la continuité de l'étude postsecondaire en français en Ontario. Ce que nous voulons c'est la continuité du projet à l'échelle provinciale. Ce que nous voulons comme tel c'est deux collèges francophones, un dans le nord et l'autre dans le sud de la province ; aussi, la création d'une université franco-ontarienne répondant aux besoins des francophones partout dans la province.

Alors pourquoi ? Si on regardait les raisons. On ne veut pas aller étudier au Québec. On veut rester dans notre province, on veut rester ici. On veut garder les Franco-Ontariens chez nous. Offrons-leur la possibilité de vivre en français en Ontario.

Si une des richesses de cette province est le fait qu'elle soit composée de deux peuples fondateurs, il faut investir dans la culture franco-ontarienne afin qu'elle s'épanouisse pleinement. En créant des collèges et universités de langue française en Ontario, les jeunes Franco-Ontariens se sentent valorisés dans ce qu'ils et elles font et pour ce qu'ils et elles sont. Ayant étudié au primaire et au secondaire en français, la suite logique est le postsecondaire en français. Le nombre d'étudiants francophones qui étudient présentement au postsecondaire est suffisant pour assurer une inscription comble des la première année.

Voici quelques-unes des citations sur la lettre ici à M. Rae au sujet du postsecondaire franco-ontarien.

«Je demande une institution postsecondaire en français dans le Nord», dit Angèle Lapointe de l'école secondaire Hanmer.

«Je suis en douzième année et je veux étudier au collège mais je dois aller à Ottawa. S'il vous plaît, changez mon destin en approuvant le collège dans le Nord», de Stéphane Lecours de l'école secondaire de Hearst.

Si nous regardons ce que Chantal Barrette de l'école secondaire Rayside de Sudbury nous dit : «Nous autres dans le Nord on a besoin de toute l'aide qu'on peut avoir. Donnez-nous un collège.

Et de Guy Gagnier de l'école secondaire l'Essor à Windsor : «Je suis certain que si on ouvrait les portes d'une université française ou d'un collège francophone dans la région du sud de l'Ontario, un soupir de soulagement se ferait entendre de Windsor à Toronto en passant par Penetang, Welland et Hamilton etc».

S'il y avait des réseaux de collèges créés ou d'universités de langue française mises sur pied, nous pourrions regarder dans les résultais suivants : la formation de jeunes professionnels franco-ontariens ; le développement de l'économie et des personnes qualifiées francophones qui pourront répondre aux besoins régionaux ; les Franco-Ontariens restent donc en Ontario et dans leur région ; pour certaines personnes c'est la seule chance d'étudier au postsecondaire ; plus de personnes francophones qualifiées égale plus de services en français égale plus de personnes francophones qualifiées.

Nous aimerions vous remercier et vous dire que ce que nous vous avons apporté aujourd'hui, on demande au gouvernement en leur disant que c'est maintenant le temps de prendre action et de démontrer l'exemple au reste du Canada en se disant bilingue et en ne pas renonçant aux francophones.

M. le Président : Au nom du comité, merci bien de votre présentation et de la manière de laquelle vous nous avez présenté vos points de vue. Comme j'ai déjà dit, nous sommes toujours heureux d'écouter les jeunes de la province parce que nous trouvons que vous avez une manière d'arriver au point, comme vous avez dit, et c'est quelque chose qui va nous aider à arriver nous-mêmes à nos conclusions. Je crois qu'il y a peut-être des questions.

M. Beer : Une question au sujet de l'université de langue française : pensez-vous que ce serait mieux de créer une université et mettre tous les effectifs là pour vraiment avoir une bonne université, ou est-ce qu'il faut essayer d'avoir au moins deux ou trois ? Qu'est-ce que vous pensez de cela ?

M. Groulx : Si je peux me permettre de répondre : on garde la possibilité d'une université de langue française en Ontario. D'après une recherche qui a été faite par l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, il y a un nombre suffisant d'étudiants au postsecondaire pour combler une inscription suffisante.

En ce qui concerne la diversité des endroits pour les universités, je crois qu'une solution simple à ce problème serait d'avoir un centre universitaire fixe à un endroit commun, disons à Toronto, par exemple, parce que c'est une région assez centrale. Avoir des campus dans des régions plus éloignées pour permettre aux élèves de ne pas voyager jusqu'à Toronto ou jusqu'à Ottawa ou jusqu'à Windsor, ceci éliminerait le fait d'être obligés de partir de leur région et de leur famille.

Lorsque les gens partent de leurs endroits, habituellement ils n'y retournent plus et l'économie dans ces parties de la région baisse. En ayant des campus ou des réseaux d'une université ou d'un collège, ce problème est dissout puis le fait de l'université de langue française est là mais à différents endroits.


The Chair: I now call Lewis Chan and Emilio Binavince from the Canadian Ethnocultural Council. Go ahead.

M. Chan : Bonjour, je m'appelle Lewis Chan ; je suis président du Conseil ethnoculturel du Canada. Avec moi est Emilio Binavince ; il est le conseiller honoré de notre conseil.

Tout en premier lieu, notre Conseil ethnoculturel est une coalition sans but lucratif. Nous faisons partie des 37 organismes ethnoculturels nationaux qui représentent eux-mêmes plus de 2000 organismes provinciaux et locaux partout au Canada. L'objectif primaire de notre conseil est de garantir l'égalité de chance, de droit et de dignité pour les minorités ethnoculturelles et pour tous les Canadiens.

I would like to advise this committee a little on the process we have taken to date. Our council has within the last several months organized meetings so that we have drawn on the expertise and consultation among many groups and individuals and scholars and academics to develop a constitutional position regarding national unity for the purposes of appearing before federal and provincial committees such as this one here. Our position has not been fully developed, but on a rush basis to prepare for this meeting we have prepared some written materials for your consideration.


What I will try to do is limit my presentation to about 10 minutes because I understand we have approximately 20 minutes and then we can allow about 10 minutes for questions and answers.

If I can perhaps take you through our brief, the white copy which is here, the first two pages within the brief sum up some of our main recommendations. They reply to some of the questions asked in the public discussion paper. Others we can perhaps deal with in the question and answer.

We have four or five principal recommendations. The first is that within the Canadian Constitution and as well other provincial constitutions on policy papers, what they should set out is clearly defining the nature of the Canadian population and some of the fundamental characteristics and values within that province or country.

Some of those would include things such as recognizing the diversity of Canada, or the province in this case, based on race, national or ethnic origin, culture and religion; also recognizing the linguistic duality, the two official languages of Canada; the role of the aboriginal people; the regional diversity within different parts of Canada and how they are distinct unto themselves; equality between men and women, and social equality and justice. We should have a clause within the province, the government of Ontario in this case, which would set out clearly the nature of our population and what are some of our values.

Some of those values would include things such as being an open and tolerant society where we can accommodate differences among each other and enshrining not only equality but, more important, equity, which is something I will discuss a bit later.

The second point is that our council believes that different provinces or areas within Canada should maintain some sort of economic and political unity. However, given the various tugs and pulls within the country right now, we also think we have to be realistic and look at the fact that we cannot keep people or provinces or regions in Canada against their will. So ultimately it is the people of Canada, or a region, who must decide for themselves.

The third point, which was mentioned in the first point partly, is that the multiculturalism or recognizing the diverse nature of the peoples should be included in the provincial charters, constitutions on laws, as may be applicable.

The fourth point is the matter of immigration, and I have had occasion to comment publicly to the economic council's recent report in this regard. It is recognizing that Canada's population and demography are changing and increasing, from mainly immigration, and the source of immigration, and the result is that Canada and Ontario are becoming more multicultural and multiracial. There should be sufficient public education, because if government does, and I believe it does, support immigration, there needs to be more public education to inform the general public as to the benefits of increased immigration and how society would better adapt to new and greater sources of immigrants.

That outlines our brief briefly. Perhaps at this point I would just be ready to respond to questions myself, and Mr Binavince.

The Chair: Before I call on questions, I do not think we have received a copy of the brief, so if you have one you can leave with us -

Mr Chan: Oh, okay. I passed it to --

Mr Beer: Tony, we have. You are only the chairman.

The Chair: We do have it? Okay. Perhaps I just do not have a copy. That is fine. Then we will get a copy for those of us who do not have one. Why do we not just try to go around. We will start with Mr Bisson.

Mr Bisson: You mentioned something in your brief that I think about everybody has touched on, the whole question of the importance of our education system responding to the realities of the country in regard to multiculturalism, multiracial issues. Can you share with us what way you would see that developing? Like, what is actually needed within the education system in order to be able to deliver those kinds of programs and how do you think it should be done, in your view?

Mr Chan: Well, within the programs, education being mainly a provincial concern, although some part of it is federal, we have several concerns. One of them is as to the materials themselves, whether materials accurately reflect the history of Canada, first of all, including the aboriginal people and the various makeup of Canada.

One of the notions which our council does not subscribe to is the fact that there are two founding nations. We are of a view that Canada is comprised of many, many people who have been in Canada for a long time, including the aboriginals, of course the original French settlers and the British settlers, but also there have been for example people of German background, of Chinese background, etc, who were here well before Confederation. So a more accurate reflection of the history of Canada.

Another thing is to have materials which respect more the values of different people in Canada, as well. Within the school curriculum we do support for example teaching of languages other than English and French, because one of the things we recognize, which is one of the questions in the brief as to how we can make Canada more competitive internationally, is that we believe we can utilize people within Canada who have some capability in international languages or heritage languages so that we can compete in an international market and use those resources.

Mr Binavince: We take the position that education is a method of transmitting one's culture and one's knowledge to future generations. That generation is the one that will make this nation after we have gone and made our day. Presumably if we have a multicultural country, it has to transmit to future generations those traditions that reflect multiculturalism.

The other aspect, of course, of education is that it has to maintain the standard of living and the kind of country we want to have. It is not very simply being educated and that is the end of the day. It has to produce some economic benefits for the country. It has to bring civilization forward. And we have to go, as Mr Chan said, and face the competitive nature of the society outside of us. Toleration is one element of that kind of education and responsiveness to international challenge is the other side of it.


Mrs Y. O'Neill: You do seem to have a very large group of people that you are representing this morning. You talked about a formal manner in which you gathered the comments you have presented and I wondered if you had used our document, Changing for the Better, as part of that gathering of data. Have you used the document that this committee had circulated before we began?

Mr Chan: I am sorry. Are you referring to this discussion paper?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Yes.

Mr Chan: Yes, we have taken into consideration the questions being posed in this questionnaire as well.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Are your priorities listed in their order, the Canada clause being your first priority?

Mr Chan: Yes, that is correct.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Would you like to say a little bit more about that particular recommendation? We have had quite a few multicultural groups bring that to us. It may be a difficult achievement, but we certainly feel that we would like to learn as much about it from those who are recommending it as possible, so I would like you to say a little bit more about that.

Mr Chan: All night. Perhaps I can expand on that briefly. We had made presentations previously on constitutional matters, before the joint Senate and Commons committee on what is commonly referred to as Meech Lake, as well as various other committees dealing with the matter. Our council is on record as supporting the official languages and other aspects which we consider distinct or fundamental to Canada, but what we would like to see is that in describing Canada we embody the various things which are distinct or unique to Canada and which describe Canada and its peoples. They would include the official languages, certain regions being distinct, whether it be Quebec or others, the multicultural diversity within Canada and the recognition of the aboriginal peoples. Specifically with regard to multiculturalism, there is federal legislation already which was passed unanimously by the House of Commons in 1988 which describes multiculturalism as being a fundamental characteristic of Canada. So really it is nothing new, but what we would like to see is that embodied in the Constitution as well.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you for helping us understand your first recommendation.

Mr G. Wilson: I realize that this is just the summary of your recommendations, you elaborate on t more fully in your paper which I have not had a chance to read in detail, but I am interested if you could elaborate for us what you call the misunderstanding, I guess, by many Canadians about what multiculturalism is all about and the failure of political leaders to bring some understanding in these areas.

Mr Chan: As I mentioned earlier on, this is a fairly rushed presentation put together, but in my view multiculturalism, which is a policy which has been with us for approximately 17 years or 18 years or so-in fact multiculturalism is a reality. We only need to look in different parts of Canada to realize that Canada is very diverse. So the fact that Canada is a multicultural nation came about before that policy came into being. The policy was only a recognition of that fact.

I think what a misinterpretation of multiculturalism -- and in that case it is the fault, I believe, of maybe society as a whole, you know, whether it is government, whether it is community people, whether it is the media. I think we all have to bear some responsibility. But coming back to multiculturalism, it is a philosophy ultimately which says that all people in Canada are equals, regardless, and should be treated as having equal rights and access and so, regardless of their backgrounds, whether it be linguistic or cultural or racial or religious or whatever. It goes beyond just being a policy for minority groups. It is a policy which should embody all Canadians.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentations.

Mr Chan: Thank you.


The Chair: I call Gordon George from the Coalition for the Preservation of Aboriginal Languages for Urban Natives.

Mr George: Good afternoon, Mr Chairman, distinguished committee, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, before I get into this, may I apologize for the typing errors, as I had to redo this three or four times yesterday and attend a conference as well. I had to do this rather quickly, so I apologize for any typing errors.

My name is Gordon George and I am pleased to be able to come before you and do thank you for this time given to me.

I was in my office, and on my desk there is a calendar with all the holidays people celebrate. I did not see one for native people -- not one. I guess we do not have anything to celebrate.

We find ourselves now in a situation where, as aboriginal people of Canada, many, many items that should have been resolved upon early contact still are not resolved. I guess the most depressing thing about these items is not that they really exist or still exist; it is that we still will not address these items.

So rather than spending a lot of time celebrating -- and yes, we do have a lot of things to celebrate. We have probably living within the borders of Canada some of the most generous people in the world. We have an incredible, resourceful country. For the land mass, we have probably proportionately, on a per capita basis, more land, more resources than any other people in the world, but the way we have been managing them over the past 125 years I do not think has been in its best interest.

But when we look at the relationship that exists between the aboriginal people and the people who have come here since Columbus stumbled on this land, we find that for native people our lives have gone down the drain. The environment has virtually gone down the drain.

We have an enormous task, as native people, to get any single item resolved, and the first problem we run into is that we do not know our common history. If there was a single item that I would like to get from this event it would be to have an accurate reflection of our joint history.

I think that there is nothing more appalling than the fact that most people who are educated in Canada, be they native or non-native, never get a fair understanding of how the land was acquired. In fact most Canadians, because we are so entertained by our Americans to the south of us, think that the same thing happened here, that the cavalry charged over the hills and native people were defeated. That did not happen here. The history of our people must be told. We need to accurately present what has happened in the past so that we may deal with it in the future. We need to begin to deal with some amazing inadequacies.

I do not feel proud that there are some ranches in Canada that are bigger than 10 or 15 reserves, do you? Do you feel proud about that?

I do not feel good about the fact that native people can have lived on this land for thousands of years and yet they do not have any legal, recognized aboriginal title to this land. At the same time, we are telling the world that at many times in our history in the past 125 years, farmers could come and stake out land and all they had to do was cut a few trees and run a few furrows in the land and it belonged to them.

What are we going to celebrate? Are we going to celebrate the fact that it took until 1959 before we could vote in this country? Are we going to celebrate the fact that it took until 1968 before we could vote in Quebec? What are we going to celebrate?


I do not like what has happened in the last 500 years. We could not do a lot about it. The majority of people could not do a lot about it. But what are we going to do about the next 500 years? What are we going to do about the next nine years so that when the year 2000 comes around, there are some differences? What are we going to do about the poverty of native people? We do not like it when Canadians are unemployed. We are concerned when we are around 10% and more, and we are concerned when a million people are unemployed. But what if 90% of your people are out of work?

I do not think we have a single thing to celebrate unless we are going to do some work, unless we are going to do something different in the future. Yes, the French and English should sit down and talk among themselves. That is an interesting debate. We as native people watch it all the time. I hear this talk about minority language, and I think, are they possibly talking about the indigenous language? Not once when that is discussed, are we talking about indigenous language.

I hear this talk of separation, where someone is going to physically take land away from Canada. What land? What about the indigenous land in Quebec? What about the indigenous people at Barrier Lake who do not have a treaty? That land has never been dealt with and the people who are there are still trying to scratch out a living like they did in the past. What land are they going to take?

The Canadian experience for indigenous people is to watch these two peoples that have come after us argue among themselves over our land, over our resources, and what we have is misery and poverty. We are marginalized.

What about the 53 indigenous languages that we have lost? How many more will be lost in the next few years? It is really time for a change. It is time that the European people and their descendants and the rest that are here that are now Canadians seriously begin to address the basic relationship we have with this land and the people that were here first. We can do things differently in this country. We can be leaders for the world. We criticize South Africa for the racism that is seen there, yet we have no examples at home.

The problem in South Africa is descendants of European people trying to wrestle with the fact that they must live with an indigenous people. In that case, the indigenous people are the majority, so there is paranoia in that white race that is there. But what is your paranoia? Why can we not have a situation here where native people have enough land and enough control ever their lives where they can have some dignity? We have no reason to criticize South Africa. We have no examples to show the world.

But it can be different and it must be different, or the next couple of decades will not be the French and English problem. We cannot have a situation where people are lined up to get to the negotiating table and maybe in 30 years, maybe in 40 years they will begin to negotiate. You cannot continue to contain that situation. What we have now in the way hand is being dealt with in this country, we have treaties that are hundreds of years old and that are supposedly protected by the highest law in Canada, the Constitution. Yet, 100 years later, we still have not fulfilled the land requirements in that legal constitutional document.

Can you think of any other people among us that would have that kind of legal document and 100 years later still be wondering whether we should fulfil that legal document? It can only happen to native people; it would never happen to the Anglos. The time has come, and thank God that they have the power now. It would never happen to the French. But that is not good enough. That is not all that is here.

It was an insult to the first nations when the premiers and the Prime Minister of this country could come out of a room that they were locked into well after midnight and announce to the world that there were two founding peoples, two distinct societies. My God, these men were the same men whom George Erasmus and the Assembly of First Nations had been negotiating with for the past five years, yet they had the audacity or the ignorance to come out of there and not recognize the fact that Canada and nowhere else in the world do the indigenous peoples from here call home. If we are not distinct here, where in the hell are we distinct?

When is it going to be different? When we are celebrating 1,000 years? Or are we hoping that by that time all 53 indigenous languages do not exist any more? Are we hoping that by that time we have become so much of the melting pot that we have become completely irrelevant?

I believe we can do something different. We want to do something different. We are sick and tired of coming to events like this and being your conscience, absolutely sick and tired of it. We would like nothing better than to go around and feel good about ourselves, but we have too many real things to be concerned about.

Do we want a bald place on earth where every tree is killed and never comes back? Do we want to live in a cesspool? Or do we want the next 125 years to turn around the clear-cut forest and the pollution from the mines? Do we want to be first in a few things, first in human relations? Canada has a lot of potential. The question is, are we big enough to face that challenge?

The Chair: Thank you, Mr George. Let me just say to you, on behalf of the committee, that the issues you have raised are ones that we have heard a great deal about over our hearings the last three weeks. It is an area that we as a committee take very seriously. Our point of departure is the position Ontario has taken, which is to work towards recognizing self-government for the native peoples and looking for ways to make those words and that concept into reality. We realize that there is a great deal of work to be done and we realize that in the end it will be acts and not words that will be the significant determination of that concern. I did want to say to you that we have heard the message very clearly in the hearings to date, and you have underlined it again for us today.

Ms Churley: Thank you very much for your presentation. Along the same lines as Mr Silipo has just mentioned, what I have found interesting, wherever we went, to the north and now to the south, is that almost without exception, every non-native person who has got up to speak to us has been very, very supportive of aboriginal rights, negotiating self-government, all kinds of things, contrary to the split in how people feel about French-English relations.

I am wondering if that is a new phenomenon. Do you think that people are finally getting the message? Do you think that because of Oka and because of leaders like yourself, that ordinary people in Ontario and maybe all of Canada are finally starting to understand and are really supportive? Or do you think that some of it is lipservice because people are not really clear on the implications of solving these problems?

Mr George: That is a very interesting question. I myself attend a lot of aboriginal conferences. The last one I attended was in Peterborough, where we had a youth and elders conference. The most gratifying thing for me at these conferences -- as I said before, I do not wish to labour the point, but the most gratifying thing for me is that non-natives attending these conferences come away from here with a feeling within themselves that they have never had before. It is like something they have lost. They have an inner feeling and they express that to us so many times.

We as native people know our relationship with the land, but non-natives who come and see us in our dances and our drumming, in our costumes, in our culture, have such a gratifying feeling within themselves that they come away from there -- and I mean this sincerely -- sometimes virtually in tears.

This is so gratifying for me, because now we know that people are sincere. People are very sincere about the environment. People are very sincere about native people and the relationship that we have about this land. We are first Ojibways, Crees, Micmacs, and Canadians next, because this Canada grew up around us. We do not want to lose that culture. We do not want to lose this feeling that we have with the land. It is such a good feeling that we have within ourselves.

So, yes, it is very gratifying, especially for non-natives, to come to these conferences and come away from inhere with such a feeling that is so good within themselves that, again, I say they are sometimes virtually in tears.

Ms Churley: Thank you very much.



The Chair: I call next Marc Cousineau.

M. Cousineau : Premièrement, laissez-moi vous remercier de nous permettre de vous adresser la parole aujourd'hui et de présenter mes collègues. Mon nom, en premier lieu, est Marc Cousineau. Je suis le doyen associé de la faculté de droit de l'Université d'Ottawa, section common law et responsable en partie du programme français. À ma gauche est la professeure Lucie Léger qui va aussi présenter devant vous, et à mon extrême gauche est la professeure Diane Labelle qui va aussi participer à cette présentation.

Laissez-moi en premier vous expliquer la raison pour laquelle nous croyons pouvoir contribuer à vos recherches et à vos études. Nous croyons que nous sommes dans une situation assez privilégiée quant aux droits de la personne. La faculté de droit de l'Université d'Ottawa représente les deux cultures et les deux systèmes juridiques de notre pays. Nous avons, dans la même faculté, la section de droit civil et la section de common law. Dans la section de common law, nous avons deux programmes complets : un programme en anglais et un programme en français. Nous participons au programme de common law en français.

De plus, nous avons à la faculté le Centre canadien des droits de la personne et nous sommes responsables de la revue juridique, les Femmes et le droit. Alors, dire que nous vivons les droits de la personne, c'est une vérité. Chaque décision que nous prenons à notre faculté -- du moins nous tentons de prendre une décision en vertu des droits de tous les individus et des communautés de notre société.

L'autre élément important qui nous permet, nous croyons, de nous présenter devant vous c'est que notre programme est un programme d'action positive. Puisque nous sommes devant vous, c'est pour témoigner de l'utilité de tels programmes et le succès de notre programme démontre que c'est une méthode très facile pour revendiquer les droits des minorités à travers le Canada.

Un exemple du succès de notre programme lorsque notre programme a été créé il y a seulement quelques années, on n'a même pas mis de nombres maximaux aux personnes qui pouvaient être inscrites au programme parce qu'on ne croyait pas que la demande pouvait y être. Il y a quelques années, on a dû inclure un nombre maximum de 60 personnes à notre programme parce que la demande était tellement grande. Les programmes d'action positive nous invitent en premier lieu à créer les programmes, ensuite les demandes vont venir. On ne peut jamais s'attendre à avoir les demandes en premier lieu avant de créer les programmes.

Vous avez le mandat de notre programme à la page 2 de notre mémoire. Le common law français ne s'enseigne que dans deux écoles dans le monde entier : à Moncton et à l'Université d'Ottawa. La seule raison pour laquelle le common law s'enseigne en français dans notre pays est à cause des minorités francophones qui existent à l'extérieur du Québec. Évidemment, au Québec c'est le système de droit civil. On n'a pas besoin d'avoir le common law en français. C'est seulement dans les provinces de common law au Canada qu'on utilise le common law en français.

Nous vivons, à la faculté, la raison d'être du common law en français, c'est-à-dire les communautés francophones hors Québec. Nous croyons pour cette raison aussi avoir des motifs importants de présenter devant vous.

Avant de céder la parole à ma collègue la professeure Léger, je voudrais reprendre quelque chose qu'on a entendu ce matin de la Fédération des élèves du Secondaire franco-ontarien au sujet des textes en français. Le common law a une grande tradition britannique. Nous enseignons et nous devons traduire tout. Nos étudiants et étudiantes qui étudient chez nous doivent faire toute la lecture en anglais parce qu'il n'y a pas de textes de common law en français. Il n'y en a jamais eu de besoin dans l'histoire. Nous avons fait des demandes, par l'entremise de l'université, au gouvernement de l'Ontario à plusieurs reprises pour de l'argent pour nous aider à développer des textes en français et nous avons toujours été refusés. Alors, je ne voulais pas manquer l'occasion de le faire d'une façon un peu plus formelle ici devant vous et la prochaine fois nous faire accueillir de façon favorable.

J'aimerais céder la parole maintenant à la professeure Léger.

Mlle Léger : La société ontarienne moderne exprime une volonté de se fonder sur des principes des droits de la personne et plus précisément, le principe de l'égalité. Ce principe a déjà été reconnu, par exemple, dans la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés ainsi que dans le Code des droits de la personne de l'Ontario qui exigent que chaque individu ou chaque et chacune des collectivités soit traité avec respect et dignité.

D'ailleurs, dans plusieurs de ces décisions, la Cour suprême du Canada a déjà traité du principe de l'égalité en termes de respect et de dignité, ce qui veut dire qu'il faut s'éloigner d'une définition formelle de l'égalité. Il y a bien des exemples qui peuvent nous éclairer là-dessus. L'égalité des femmes ne se fait pas en les traitant comme des hommes. Si c'était le cas, les congés de maternité n'existeraient pas, par exemple ; même chose, je pense, pour les collectivités. Le discours éloquent de M. George qui nous a précédés vous a sans doute convaincus que ce dont ont besoin les peuples autochtones n'est pas nécessairement la même chose que ce dont a besoin chacune des collectivités qui composent le Canada. Donc, l'égalité ne peut pas se faire de façon formelle, elle doit partir d'une notion de respect et de dignité.

Lorsque la collectivité en question est dans une situation vulnérable, il incombe au gouvernement de prendre des mesures pour assurer la survie et les intérêts de ses minorités. Le préambule de la Loi de 1986 sur les services en français affirme que la collectivité franco-ontarienne a joué en Ontario un rôle historique et honorable. Malheureusement, cette communauté-là continue à être la cible d'attaques par des membres de la collectivité majoritaire, tel que démontré par des événements récents que vous connaissez tous et toutes : les décisions des municipalités de Thunder Bay et de Sault-Sainte-Marie de se déclarer unilingues, l'incident de Brockville, la popularité du parti COR, par exemple. Nous ne pouvons croire autrement que ces manifestations sont du racisme. Ces événements sont du racisme dont la seule source est le mépris et la haine pour la collectivité francophone.

D'autres raisons importantes incitent les gouvernements à s'empresser de prendre des mesures positives pour le bénéfique de la collectivité francophone. Par le passé, le gouvernement de l'Ontario a agi délibérément pour supprimer les droits des francophones. Mentionnons simplement le Règlement 17 de 1912 qui avait pour effet de supprimer l'enseignement de la langue française dans les écoles ontariennes, et qui limitait finalement tout enseignement possible à une heure par jour. Alors, puisque le gouvernement de l'Ontario est en grande partie responsable de l'affaiblissement de la communauté franco-ontarienne, nous pensons que là aussi le gouvernement doit être responsable pour les réparations qui sont dues à la communauté franco-ontarienne.

De ce point de vue-là, nous ne considérons pas que les arguments fondés sur le fardeau économique de ces mesures positives sont valables. La Cour suprême du Canada a toujours accepté le principe que l'égalité et les principes fondamentaux de notre société passent avant les fardeaux économiques et nous pensons que le gouvernement de l'Ontario est en mesure de poursuivre cet engagement.

En dernier lieu, il faudrait mentionner le fait que la collectivité franco-ontarienne existe en soi, est une communauté en soi et ne dépend pas de l'adhésion ni de la séparation de la province du Québec du reste du Canada. Nous reconnaissons que la séparation du Québec pourrait avoir des conséquences des plus sérieuses et sans doute néfastes pour les francophones de l'Ontario. Mais c'est d'ailleurs pour cette raison que nous vous demandons d'agir dès maintenant pour assurer la survie et l'épanouissement de la collectivité francophone ontarienne. Notre intervention vise à promouvoir les intérêts d'une communauté qui est niche, qui est dynamique et qui risque d'essuyer un recul considérable si la conjoncture actuelle se poursuivait dans le contexte d'une séparation du Québec.


L'État, nous pensons, s'exprime par ses institutions et une collectivité s'épanouit à l'intérieur de ces institutions. Nous participons à deux grandes institutions étatiques, notamment en tant que professeurs au système d'éducation et en tant que juristes, au système juridique et nous avons à ce niveau-là des propositions précises que nous voudrions présenter à votre comité.

Mlle Labelle : Je suis ici pour vous parler du système d'éducation. Vous avez déjà entendu parler du Règlement 17 à plusieurs reprises aujourd'hui. Et bien voilà, son effet a été de priver la communauté francophone pendant une période de 60 ans de l'enseignement dans sa langue maternelle. Pendant cette période, la communauté francophone s'est vue dévalorisée. Elle s'est dit  : «Il n'y a pas de place pour le français dans l'Ontario». Alors, quel est l'effet d'une telle dévalorisation ? D'abord, il y a l'assimilation. Si nous ne pouvons y participer puisque nous sommes francophones, nous allons alors devenir anglophones. Deuxième effet possible c'est, à ce moment-là, qu'on retient son identité francophone mais qu'on participe de façon limitée à la collectivité majoritaire, c'est-à-dire qu'on restreint ses activités où on se retrouve comme francophone et donc qu'on ne contribue pas pleinement.

Vous avez également entendu les étudiants et les étudiantes venir vous demander un système scolaire complet. Je suis ici pour vous dire que le gouvernement de l'Ontario a non seulement l'obligation morale, mais l'obligation juridique de fournir un système scolaire complet. La promotion et la préservation d'une culture et d'une langue ne peuvent se réaliser qu'à l'intérieur d'un système d'éducation qui réunit tous les éléments nécessaires.

La Cour suprême du Canada l'a affirmé dans l'affaire Mahé. La Cour nous dit qu'il existe un lien étroit entre la culture, la langue et l'éducation et je crois que la présentation des peuples autochtones viennent confirmer cet élément également. La Cour ajoute que l'article 23 de la Charte -- c'est l'article qui garantit l'enseignement dans la langue de la minorité -- a un objet réparateur.

Nous jugeons qu'afin de respecter cet article, le gouvernement de l'Ontario doit mettre sur pied un système d'éducation global destiné aux francophones de la maternelle à l'université en passant de la garderie à l'éducation permanente. De plus, suite à la décision de la Cour d'appel de l'Ontario dans le renvoi sur la Loi sur l'éducation, le gouvernement doit repenser sa carte scolaire de sorte à assurer aux francophones leur propre système scolaire. Ici nous parlons de repenser ce que nous connaissons comme des commissions scolaires. Par exemple, la région du moyen-nord, composée de Sudbury, Sturgeon Falls, North Bay et les municipalités environnantes pourrait facilement être constituée en un conseil scolaire francophone autonome.

Lorsqu'on examine les nombres suffisants pour établir un tel conseil, il n'est pas raisonnable de se limiter aux lignes et aux frontières déjà tracées. On doit examiner la réalité telle que la vit la minorité.

Nous tenons à souligner notre appui à la création de nouveaux collèges communautaires francophones comme on l'a revendiqué encore ce matin. Par définition, un collège communautaire existe au sein d'une communauté. Donc, bien que la Cité collégiale répond aux besoins de la communauté francophone de l'Outaouais, celle-ci ne saura répondre aux besoins des francophone du nord, du moyen-nord et du sud de la province.

Et en plus de créer de nouveaux collèges communautaires, nous demandons la fondation d'une université de langue française qui offrirait une échelle complète de programmes. C'est le moins qu'exige l'esprit réparateur de l'article 23 de la Charte. L'article 23 de la Charte force les gouvernements à reconnaître les injustices dont ont été victimes les francophones de l'Ontario.

Pour ma part, j' `aimerais vous faire un témoignage personnel. Je suis originaire d'un petit village à l'extérieur de Sudbury. Vous avez entendu parler de Hanmer lorsque les étudiants se sont présentés ; c'est mon lieu d'origine. J'ai été instruite dans la langue française pendant l'école primaire et ensuite mon secondaire a été dans une institution bilingue ; à l'époque, les écoles secondaires françaises n'existaient pas. Elles étaient à la veille d'être créées. Plus tard dans ma vie je me suis déplacée à Thunder Bay et là j'ai vécu en anglais et j'ai travaillé en anglais. C'est là où je me suis rendu compte qu'une culture et sa langue sont des choses très fragiles et qu'il est très facile d'y avoir érosion et ensuite assimilation.

Suite à mon vécu à Thunder Bay, je me suis déplacée pour vivre au Nouveau-Brunswick et c'est là où je me suis rendu compte qu'il est possible d'avoir un système d'éducation qui répond aux besoins des francophones bien qu'il y ait une majorité anglophone dans la province. C'est possible d'avoir ce système de dualité, si vous voulez. J'ai poursuivi des études au niveau universitaire à l'Université de Moncton.

Je suis maintenant professeure de droit et je contribue maintenant d'une façon, grâce à mon expérience enrichissante à l'Université de Moncton, à la société ontarienne comme je n'aurais pas pu le faire autrement. Je travaille à former des avocats et des avocates de langue française qui vont retourner dans leur milieu, nous espérons, pour oeuvrer aux besoins de leur communauté. Ces avocats et ces avocates contribuent également à la société dans son sens entier, c'est-à-dire qu'ils et elles vont aussi représenter des clients et des clientes de langue anglaise et d'autres minorités. Donc, dans ce sens je ne crois pas que j'aurais pu contribuer de façon aussi importante si je n'avais pas eu l'expérience d'une formation à l'université dans ma langue maternelle, soit le français.

Pour ce qui est des arguments d'ordre économique, je vous dis qu'à chaque fois que l'on empêche une minorité, que ce soit les francophones ou les peuples autochtones, de participer pleinement à la société, ce sont là les coûts économiques, ce sont là les pertes économiques. Bien qu'on doit encourir des coûts importants pour mettre en place un système tel que nous le demandons, je crois que la participation autrement perdue de ces personnes devient avantagée et devient accentuée au point où les coûts économiques sont diminués dans le sens que maintenant on contribue à la société et on append beaucoup plus au roulement économique.

Je passe maintenant la parole à Marc Cousineau.

M. Cousineau : Merci. J'aimerais aborder avec vous maintenant quelques commentaires au niveau du système juridique. Le système juridique est une des grandes institutions de l'État, il n'y a pas de doute. Une communauté doit avoir accès au système juridique afin de participer pleinement à la société. Ce n'est que depuis 1980 que les francophones ont le droit d'utiliser leur langue devant les tribunaux de la province et en réalité ce n'est qu'avec les modifications en 1988 à la Loi de 1984 sur les tribunaux judiciaires que les francophones obtiennent un accès réel aux tribunaux.

Après tant d'années d'exclusion, les francophones doivent être renseignés sur leurs droits récemment reconnus. Un sondage de l'AJEFO, l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario, en 1984 démontre que les francophones sont très réticents pour exiger leurs droits devant les tribunaux judiciaires et on se demande pourquoi. Deux raisons ressortent : premièrement, parce qu'ils ne sont pas renseignés de leurs droits d'utiliser le français ; deuxièmement, ce qui est encore plus choquant est qu'on a peur d'exiger le français dans un système qui est le leur, qui est le système des Anglais. Exiger nos droits en français est vu comme une façon de minimiser leurs chances de gagner.


Les registraires des palais de justice nous disent que les francophones n'utilisent toujours pas leurs droits d'accès au système judiciaire. L'AJEFO est en train de mettre sur pied une campagne de sensibilisation. Cependant, on n'a pas de fonds. Sans cette campagne de sensibilisation, les doits à l'accès aux tribunaux judiciaires en français risquent de devenir purement illusoires et d'une valeur symbolique. Le financement d'une telle campagne doit venir de la province qui, en vertu de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, est responsable de l'administration de la justice dans la province.

De plus, l'AJEFO est une institution juridique essentielle à la collectivité francophone. On leur a coupé les fonds lors du dernier gouvernement. On est ici pour vous demander de réinstaurer les fonds pour assurer un financement permanent à cette association.

M. le Président : Si vous pouviez conclure rapidement.

M. Cousineau : Très rapidement, je vais conclure. Très brièvement, nous recommandons aussi, comme vous voyez à la fin, que la Loi de 1986 sur les services en français inclue un mécanisme de recours. Dans le moment il n'y en a pas. Si le gouvernement ou un de ces tribunaux refusent des services en français, il n'y a pas de recours dans la loi, alors c'est une des choses qu'on demande. On demande aussi que le Code des droits de la personne de l'Ontario soit modifié pour inclure la langue comme un des motifs de discrimination interdits. C'est frappant que le Code des droits de la personne inclut presque tous les autres motifs sauf la langue. On vous demande cette modification.

Finalement, nous vous demandons et nous voulons mettre beaucoup d'importance sur une déclaration de bilinguisme constitutionnel. J'imagine qu'on n'est pas le premier groupe à le faire, alors vous connaissez déjà plus les arguments. Laissons-nous souligner finalement que l'article 43 de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1982 vous offre un mécanisme très facile pour rendre la province bilingue de façon constitutionnelle. Alors il n'y aurait pas de difficultés telles qu'on a vues avec l'accord du Lac Meech.

Pour conclure finalement, l'Ontario et le Canada sont au point de se définir. Les choses que nous vous demandons ici aujourd'hui, c'est vrai que nous les demandons pour la collectivité franco-ontarienne. Nous aussi voulons participer à cet acte de définition de l'Ontario. Pour reprendre la thèse du début de la professeure Léger : une société se définit en vertu du traitement de ses minorités. Nous représentons une minorité. En nous accordant les droits que nous demandons, l'Ontario va se définir comme étant une société juste et saine.



The Chair: Could I call next Mary Pat McKinnon from the Social Planning Council of Ottawa-Carleton.

M. Melchers : No, I am not Mary Pat McKinnon. Je m'appelle Ronald Melchers ; je suis le président du Conseil de planification sociale d'Ottawa-Carleton. Pour économiser votre temps - j'entends des grondements de faim autour de la table -- on va épargner un peu les préliminaires. Vous avez ici des députés de l'Assemblée législative qui sont élus dans notre région qui nous connaissent très bien et je les chargerais dans vos délibérations, vos rencontres, de nous présenter et vous dire un peu qui nous sommes.

Donc, je vais sauter directement à la raison qui nous amène ici à vous présenter ce mémoire. Nous représentons, en quelque sorte, la majorité de la population de l'Ontario qui, dans ce débat, est restée silencieuse sur plusieurs aspects. L'aspect qui nous préoccupe en tant que Conseil de planification sociale est les perspectives qui concernent la justice et l'équité.

The constitutional debates in this country and in this province, though they have been much briefer and much more superficial perhaps, have tended to concentrate on a certain number, and a very reduced number, of questions. The questions which interest us as a social planning council are perhaps different from those national questions. We are concerned with justice and with equity. We are concerned with social goals, and it has been our great dissatisfaction with the process that the social goals of our country and the social goals of our province have not received sufficient attention in the public deliberations on the current constitutional crisis and the constitutional future of Ontario.

We feel that beginning in about the mid-1970s there was a fundamental shift in the goals which were pursued by social and economic policies in this country. That shift occurred both at the federal level and at the provincial level. We have abandoned a number of goals which charted our course as we put together the links of the social safety net from about the 1940s or 1930s up until the mid-1970s.

We pursued a number of goals, not all of which were just social justice and equity. Many of them were economic efficiency goals. They were goals of economic growth. They were goals trying to establish an infrastructure from which Canada would be able to compete internationally, particularly in the restructured post-war economies of Europe and North America. Those goals have been abandoned and that has not been recognized and it's not being recognized currently.

We wonder how you can have a constitutional debate if there is no discussion of the fundamental goals which that Constitution is to help us achieve. This is why we are presenting to you.

We have a written brief, which has been distributed to you I believe through the clerk, which will give you much more detail and much more perspective on the kinds of groups we represent, the kinds of issues we want to bring in, but I did want to leave with you the major point. If we only can make one, I think that is the one that we want to leave you with.

I will ask Mary Pat McKinnon to highlight very briefly the kinds of things you will find in the brief as you read it.

Mrs McKinnon: When we were going through the exercise of doing this brief, we decided that what should drive the brief in a sense is what are common values we share as Canadians and as citizens of Ontario. So we went away and we came up with what we thought were some key values, the first of which is a belief in fairness and social justice. We thought this was a fundamental value we share as Canadians and that must be considered in any kind of discussions around constitutional reform.

A second value that we believe we share is a belief in fundamental freedoms and rights of all individuals. A third value is a belief in the value of linguistic and cultural diversity. A fourth value is a belief that the French and English traditions and cultures can coexist in harmony in this country. A fifth value is a tradition that seeks consensus and compromise rather than violence and extremism.

A sixth and final value for this brief -- certainly these are not all the values we share as Canadians, but we thought that they were the key ones -- is an appreciation of our natural environment. By that we mean concern around the environmental issues and concern around how our environment has had a peculiar effect on shaping our identity as Canadians.

We also turn to the question that the discussion paper raised, which is what is the role of Ontario in the present discussions? We believe that Ontario must take leadership, that historically it has always played a very important role in Confederation and that this role must continue. However, we recognize that that leadership role must be exercised with great caution, because Ontario cannot be perceived as dominating the debate or being arrogant in exercising that leadership role.

However, we do not believe that Ontario has to take a back seat, because in fact Ontario has been very generous in supporting the concept of equity and equalization which has been built into the Charter of Rights in our new Constitution. So Ontario in looking at its role has to acknowledge that its position in Confederation, by virtue of its economy and its population, is a key role and that that is not to be equated with arrogance. That is just to be equated with the reality of the facts.

I am not going to go through the more detailed discussion of how we see Ontario taking a role, but I just wanted to highlight that.

Then we looked at something that we thought was very important, that is, what role should the federal and provincial governments play? In this question, we thought that it is very important to step back a minute and to consider in this debate the division of constitutional powers and to note that the Constitution is really just a tool. It's more of a tool that assigns regulatory powers and instruments. It is not a document that really defines the scope and range of service activities open to governments.


We feel we have to go beyond the issue of which level has which powers and ask the questions: What is it that we want from our governments and what are our options in fulfilling these wants? In asking those questions we thought then we had to look at some key principles that should guide any discussion around constitutional alterations. These principles or assumptions, if you will, are the following:

A reasonably similar quality of life for all Canadians: If you consider the unequal distribution of resources and the unequal tax bases among the provinces, the federal government's role in providing equalization payments to provinces and in providing cash transfers to individuals and families, it is a critical role in maintaining a basic level of minimum standards. We worry that the level of social and health services in Canada, while far from optimum and admittedly in need of enriching, will be jeopardized if decentralization further erodes the federal government's fiscal and legislative powers.

Capacity to create and maintain national policy frameworks: We believe that the federal government must have sufficient control of fiscal and monetary policy instruments and enough financial resources to enable it to shape national policy frameworks. The policies and programs that emerge from these frameworks can then be jointly designed and implemented with the provincial and in some cases municipal governments, but the federal government has to maintain that kind of leverage.

Respect for an intact federal presence: By that what we mean is that, again, if you increase decentralization or if you erode more of the federal government's economic and revenue powers, it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to develop and implement new national social programs.

Need for a national economic strategy: We believe that the federal government, again jointly with the provincial governments, has a responsibility, and I underline that, to develop national economic policy that is regionally nondiscriminatory and reflects a willingness to intervene in the economy in pursuit of national social and economic objectives that otherwise would not be realized through the workings of the free market system.

Constitutional and political reforms are inevitable and necessary: Belief in a strong central government with a clear economic role in Canada in no way precludes a willingness to discuss different options for sharing jurisdictional powers and for reforming central institutions.

We looked at what the roles of the French and English languages were in Canada, and I must say that our brief reflects our vision of a country that includes Quebec. We approach the issue of official languages from that vantage point. We believe that Ontario must build on the French Language Services Act. It is not enough to simply have policies to promote linguistic equality or to guarantee a provincial administration offering services in both languages. Language must be used and lived if it is to flourish.

Francophone advocates of bilingualism are not lobbying for translation; they are lobbying for the right to be treated in their own reality. Therefore, we believe the government of Ontario must undertake initiatives to promote the respect of both official language groups and self-determination among minority francophone groups in Ontario.

Finally, we believe that the political reality in Canada is that Anglophones far outnumber francophones and as such the onus is on the English majority to make concussions and share the responsibility of promoting official language minority rights and culture.

We addressed in another section what we called "Why We Must Seek Justice for Canada's Native Peoples." We believe that this issue really lies at the root of our problems as a country. The committee's discussion paper asks how we can achieve justice for our aboriginal peoples. We hesitate to tell this committee how this should be done, because we question our right as a non-native organization to suggest to native peoples how they should seek justice.

However, the crisis in our relations with native peoples cannot be solved by provincial governments alone; it demands federal action. We urge the provincial government to press the federal government to recognize its fundamental responsibility in this respect. Negotiations must be conducted among equal partners with a shared goal of self-determination for native peoples. By working to achieve this we hope to discover the real value of being Canadian.

Another section of the brief looked at what multiculturalism means to Ontario. Unfortunately, as we considered this question, we realized that too often multicultural policies have not been a means of upward mobility for multicultural groups in Ontario. The economic and social contribution of ethnic and visible minorities to Canadian society has been seriously limited as a result of systemic economic discrimination. We believe it is incumbent upon Ontario to show that multiculturalism could be a bond between all its diverse groups, a philosophy that could aid individuals. The province should celebrate its diversity, not its divisiveness, and it should use its multiculturalism policies to fester and develop intercultural understanding and to create a more harmonious society.

For the concluding section I am going to turn it over to Jim Zamprelli, our executive director.

Mr Zamprelli: As you have heard, we are convinced that Canadians across this country share a number of common values. While not always held high for all to see, these values have been instrumental in shaping the country we have come to know and call our home. We believe in fairness and social justice which looks beyond the individual and provides for the collective wellbeing of all people.

À la foi en quoi ? Aux libertés fondamentales de la personne et aux droits individuels de chacun d'entre nous.

Canada never was and is not now composed of a single group of people who speak the same language or practise the same traditions. We believe in the value of linguistic and cultural diversity and continue to welcome people from every continent of the world.

La culture franco-canadienne ou canadienne française, si vous voulez, sa langue et ses institutions sont d'une importance fondamentale à l'identité canadienne et à l'existence et la survie de notre pays. On est convaincu que les deux cultures fondatrices, soit la culture anglaise et la culture française, peuvent coexister en harmonie et en esprit de collaboration entre elles et avec d'autres cultures qui englobent notre fait canadien.

Furthermore, we believe in justice for the aboriginal people of Canada and the recognition of their fundamental rights as first nations.

The choices we are now facing require us to embrace these values in approaching the necessary political and constitutional reforms before us. These values have quietly shaped the prouder elements of our past and contain the guiding principles which were sorely lacking in previous discussions on the future of Canada.

We would like to offer you a quote from Eugene Forsey, who compared the evolution of this country to the building of a house which nevertheless remains unfinished. He said:

"The Fathers wrought well, and laid our foundations deep and strong. But the building is still unfinished, and parts of it have suffered some damage through the years. It does not need a bombing squad or a wrecking crew. But it does need alterations, repairs, additions, the expansion of certain rooms; and all of us must be made to feel at home in it."

We feel we are all architects, builders and residents of this house.

Mr Melchers: That concludes our presentation. I just want to leave with you our hope for what this committee will contribute to the debate on Canada's future, that is, to contribute to this debate a vision that makes us feel comfortable in what is being discussed, not a vision which is based on dividing communities into segments but a vision of bringing things together for the pursuit of a common set of goals which represent the values which we as Canadians all share. That has not been the case to this point, and we have very high hopes that your committee's deliberations will help us feel comfortable in the debate that is going on about the future of this country.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We will try to do our best to meet that challenge. We appreciate the detail of the brief that you have put before us and the fact that you have gone to the trouble you have to address some of those specific areas in the kind of detail you have. Thank you very much for being a great help to us.



The Chair: We do have one last presentation, which I am told will be very brief, from L'Union culturelle des Franco-Ontariennes, Doris Thibedeau and Claire Paladeau. Bonjour.

Mme Thibodeau : Monsieur le Président, mesdames, messieurs du comité spécial sur la place de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération, nous vous remercions de donner l'occasion aux Ontariens et Ontariennes de nous exprimer à ce moment délicat et déterminant de notre histoire.

L'Union culturelle des Franco-Ontariennes est un organisme regroupant 3000 Franco-Ontariennes provenant de 70 communautés francophones rurales et semi-rurales de l'Ontario. Depuis 55 ans, l'union culturelle concerte ses efforts à promouvoir l'épanouissement des femmes au sein du foyer et dans la société et à améliorer le statut socioéconomique des femmes par la formation, l'information et la revendication. À ceci s'ajoute la promotion de la langue et de la culture françaises.

Nous aimerions aujourd'hui porter à votre attention les questions qui intéressent les femmes et leurs familles. Nous reconnaissons les efforts que le gouvernement de l'Ontario et que notre communauté ont investis pour que les francophones se sentent partie prenante de la société et participant au dynamisme de l'Ontario. Mais quand on est femme et de surcroît francophone, tout n'est pas seulement simple et la réalité est souvent bien sombre. On en vient même quelquefois à ne plus bien savoir si on est d'abord femme ou francophone, tant il a fallu au cours des années nier nos droits en tant que femme, nier nos aspirations personnelles, nier nos besoins pour unir nos forces afin de travailler à la sauvegarde de la langue et de la culture françaises.

Je ne vous apprendrai rien en vous disant que les femmes francophones ont joué un rôle prépondérant dans la surveillance du fait français en Ontario. Leurs luttes furent quotidiennes, isolées et souvent méconnues. Nous les femmes croyons que le gouvernement de l'Ontario peut jouer un rôle avant-gardiste dans les mises en place des services et de structures dans lesquelles les femmes francophones et les femmes en général peuvent s'épanouir et se sentir partie de la société.

Bien que des mesures d'égalité aient été mises en place, que la discrimination pour des raisons d'invalidité, d'âge, de pauvreté, de race, d'analphabétisme, d'état matrimonial de l'homme, d'orientation sexuelle, de manque d'instruction soit interdite, les femmes ne sont toujours pas des partenaires égales aux hommes dans aucune structure du pouvoir politique, économique ou autre. Elles sont absentes des instances décisionnelles.

Les conséquences sont prévisibles. La pauvreté, le sentiment d'impuissance, le manque de programmes de formation professionnelle n'ont jamais engendré la qualité de vie et il est important d'encourager les femmes à participer davantage à tous les aspects de la vie et de la société. Un des moyens pour y parvenir est de donner une éducation dans leur langue maternelle à toutes les femmes dès leur entrée à l'école, et ce jusqu'à l'université. Il faut donner aux femmes la formation dont elles ont besoin pour rivaliser de compétence sur le marché du travail.

Les institutions découlant de ce droit à l'éducation devront être gérées par chacune des trois communautés nationales : anglophone, autochtone et francophone. L'éducation provient non seulement des institutions scolaires mais aussi des bibliothèques, des médias, des services sociaux des groupes d'entraide.

Les services de garderie doivent être disponibles aux parents de jeunes enfants qui désirent travailler. Les parents ont besoin de ces services de garde pour se joindre à la population active et y rester, et les employeurs doivent pouvoir compter sur une population active où les parents de jeunes enfants sont de plus en plus nombreux. Les services de garderie devraient, selon nous, inclure les infrastructures nécessaires aux différents âges de la garde des enfants et être accessibles dans leur langue maternelle.

Mme Peladeau : La place des femmes dans l'économie. Sur le plan économique, les femmes n'ont pas atteint l'égalité, et il reste de nombreux obstacles à surmonter.

Encore aujourd'hui, le travail des femmes n'est ni bien compris, ni bien rétribué et ce, même si elles ont toujours travaillé au foyer ou ailleurs. Le gouvernement doit accorder une grande priorité au dossier économique et multiplier les interventions dans les secteurs du commence, de la fiscalité, de l'emploi et de la formation afin que les besoins des femmes soient compris et incorporés à la planification, la prise de décisions et la mise en oeuvre.

Des mesures doivent être mises de l'avant pour redresser les déséquilibres en milieu de travail, notamment en ce qui a trait à l'équité salariale et à l'équité en matière d'emploi. Même si certaines mesures ont été mises sur pied, force nous est de constater que ces mesures ne sont pas pleinement efficaces ; les succès remportés ne se sont pas répercutés sur toutes les femmes. Des approches plus globales s'imposent donc, pour profiter aux jeunes femmes, aux femmes dont les aptitudes au travail sont insuffisantes.

Des progrès ont été réalisés pour éliminer les formes les plus flagrantes de discrimination à l'égard des femmes, mais la discrimination systématique existe toujours dans les structures et les principes qui régissent la société. Pour atteindre l'équité en matière d'emploi, les femmes francophones doivent avoir accès égal aux programmes d'éducation et de formation dans leur langue maternelle et aussi avoir droit à des emplois non traditionnels.

Au sujet de la pauvreté, quand pourrons-nous cesser de parler de pauvreté en Ontario ? La pauvreté frappe fort chez les femmes francophones et les femmes autochtones. Elle est liée l'isolement, à l'analphabétisme, à l'absence de garderies, au grand nombre d'emplois à temps partiel offerts aux femmes, au caractère saisonnier du travail des femmes rurales, à l'inégalité salariale et au taux de chômage marqué chez les femmes. La pauvreté fait des ravages immédiats sur ses victimes mais ses effets sont pernicieux à long terme. Elle se perpétue d'une génération à l'autre; elle ronge le droit des femmes à une pleine participation à la société.

À la complexité des questions entourant la pauvreté se mêlent les facteurs tels que le manque de logement, le régime alimentaire mal équilibré, des conditions de vie inadéquates, les stéréotypes et l'étiquette associés à la pauvreté. Les femmes âgées appréhendent la pauvreté en raison de l'insuffisance de pensions et de logements. Donc, nous exigeons des pensions décentes et des logements à prix abordables pour toutes les femmes.

Le régime de santé traditionnel doit être plus facile d'accès ; les femmes veulent en savoir plus sur les solutions de rechange. Elles veulent des centres de santé communautaires mis sur pied par des femmes où elles ont leur mot à dire à toutes les étapes de la gestion, de l'administration des soins, des centres où l'on préconise des approches nouvelles telles que les accouchements par sage-femme et à domicile.

Le régime de santé n'est pas au diapason des besoins des femmes ; les médecins ne semblent pas intéressés aux maladies généralement dites féminines : dépression, épuisement, ménopause, ostéoporose, infections, infécondité, maladies causées par l'usage prolongé de contraceptifs. C'est dans le domaine de la contraception que le régime de santé néglige le plus les femmes. Celles-ci revendiquent depuis longtemps des contraceptifs plus sûrs. Beaucoup de femmes ne jouissent pas d'un accès égal aux soins de santé, les femmes éloignées des villes, par exemple, les femmes désavantagées, les femmes âgées, des minorités visibles, les immigrantes, les pauvres et les handicapées. Il est primordial que les femmes soient assurées des services de santé et des services sociaux dans leur langue indépendamment de l'endroit où elles vivent.

M. le Président : Excusez-moi, madame, si vous pouvez conclure ; on m'avait indiqué que vous n'auriez besoin que de cinq minutes. On a déjà dépassé ça depuis longtemps et on a surtout presque une heure de retard.

Mme Peladeau : D'accord. Au niveau de la violence, la encore il y a eu des programmes de mis sur pied mais je pense qu'on doit vraiment avoir la volonté politique et puis il faut penser que la violence n'est pas seulement une affaire de femmes, c'est un problème de société, alors on exige encore là des mesures pour éliminer la violence.

Et comme je l'ai mentionné tout à l'heure, par exemple, le gouvernement n'attache pas une grande importance aux valeurs sociales telles qu'un environnement sain, une population scolarisée bien portante, épanouie. Il n'accorde pas beaucoup de valeurs à la propreté de l'eau, à la propreté de l'air, au travail non rémunéré des mères de famille qui restent à la maison pour élever leurs enfants. Nous aimerions que le gouvernement se penche sur ces problèmes que vivent les femmes en Ontario et puis nous insistons pour que le gouvernement de l'Ontario exerce une volonté politique pour instaurer les bases d'une société plus juste et plus égalitaire.

C'est dans cette ligne de pensée que nous croyons que l'Ontario peut jouer un rôle de chef de file en ce qui concerne les négociations pour un Canada uni et fort. Nous pensons que l'Ontario doit jouer un rôle prépondérant dans le rapprochement des différentes régions du pays à cause de sa puissance économique et de sa force d'attraction industrielle. À cause de la présence d'un demi-million de francophones, de nombreux groupes multiculturels, d'une présence importante de communautés autochtones, l'Ontario est bien placé pour maintenir des liens étroits entre les différents éléments de sa communauté et peut servir de modèle aux autres provinces.

Il est important aussi de maintenir des relations avec la province de Québec afin de pouvoir bénéficier de son apport culturel et socioéconomique. Je pense que les trois communautés, les autochtones, les francophones et les anglophones, ont le droit de voir leurs acquis protégés et leurs droits historiques et nous insistons aussi pour que l'Ontario se déclare bilingue et qu'il tienne compte des droits, des intérêts et des besoins de la communauté autochtone.

M. le Président : On va terminer là-dessus.

We will break at this point. I am conscious that we are beyond the time and that therefore we will be late resuming this afternoon. I am going to suggest to the committee that we try to come back ready to start by 2:30 at the absolute latest. I know that trims down the break, but I think it is the only way we are going to get through this afternoon. We have a long list of speakers this afternoon and into the evening. We will recess at this point. Thank you.

The committee recessed at 1355.


The committee resumed at 1443.

The Chair: I would like to call the meeting to order, and on behalf of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation I would like to welcome those of you who have joined us here in the audience this afternoon. We are of course, for those people who are following our meetings over the parliamentary channel, proceeding with our meetings today in Ottawa in the fourth week of our hearings across the province. We heard from a number of organizations this morning, into the early afternoon, and we are continuing with another full afternoon of presentations before us.


The Chair: I would hike to begin by calling Neil McDonald from the Citizens Council of Canada to come forward. While Mr McDonald is coming forward, let me just remind people that because of the number of groups that have asked to speak to us, we have had to ask people to limit the time to within 15 minutes. We appreciate people's co-operation in doing that because it will allow us to try to hear from as many groups as we can.

Go ahead, Mr McDonald.

Mr McDonald: Thank you for the opportunity. From the governed to the governing. Apathy and empathy. Me versus we: If you turn an M upside down, you have "we."

"Weep for Canada." This was an article in the Toronto Sun, 6 August 1981. Mediocracy -- and the spelling, when you read the brief, notice it please -- is not good enough. A joint submission from a network of groups representing thousands of citizens employing holistic techniques. The network is both formal and informal, dedicated to providing a better understanding, as well as vehicles, to prepare society for survival into the third millennium and beyond on planet earth. We are all citizens who individually and collectively must learn the lesson of human unity once and for all. Then we list the various organizations.

Laurier said nearly 100 years ago that this century we are about to close would be Canada's. He was wrong. The fault lies with each and every one of us, not the least of whom are the ones citizens elected to bring that about. Instead of selecting the best of all worlds, we have become followers, adopting the worst of all worlds since the USA went off the gold standard -- and we can thank Nixon for that -- and we abandoned our standards of integrity. I think we can also thank Nixon for that.

Canada still has an important role to play in the world community. Historically, Ontario had played a leading part. The ancient humanistic concepts of Dr Erasmus of Rotterdam and his modern counterpart, Tommy Douglas, can still be applied -- ageless values. Such possibilities under our present antiquated system can only be accomplished by you, as we the citizens have transferred our power to you. It is only by having one foot in history and the other in the future now, can we reach attainable human goals, inspiring all.

Since one of four of my great-grandfathers arrived in Canada in 1854, few Canadian families have contributed more, few have sacrificed as much. The mentor to such as Sir Joseph Flavelle and Canadian-born Cyrus Eaton, his mark was left indelibly in the North American mosaic.

Then we run into this headline of 6 August, "Weep for Canada." To see days and days and days of constitutional discussions while Canada burned at that time was almost too much for this citizen. We live in a vulture culture, and I for one was intrigued to have the opportunity to go to Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1968 to see history in the making and have paid dearly for that audacity.

Listed are perhaps a dozen commissions of this type addressed over the last 10 to 15 years. The first topic we want to address is a letter to Evelyn Gigantes re a default judgement of $755 million against the province of Ontario, Lévesque versus the Queen.

On Friday 25 January 1991, I phoned the above riding office, asking the cabinet minister Gigantes to phone me over the weekend, leaving the essential details. To this day, over one month later, no call from her.

Likewise, a month has passed since I phoned my own MPP, Mrs O'Neill, to call me. Madam, nobody is that busy.

The grave danger exists. They have infiltrated all levels of government here in Canada, including the highest in the land. There is only one more court and if ineptly handled, or as some of us think, ordered to, that sinister international group gets $755 million of Ontario taxpayers' money.

They ran an ad last winter in the Victoria paper using the largest auditorium at the Victoria university. The topic advertised was sex, s-e-x, in the third millennium. I went to hear them. It should have been spelled s-e-c-t-s. The speaker was welcomed like it was the second coming of Christ. It is very frightening. It has been ignored by all, and what makes it more frightening is our government we elected. The only cabinet minister of the NDP government here in Ottawa never called back. They, the group I am speaking of, masquerade under democracy but manipulated democracy. You will read more in the presentation. I am skipping.


The next subject, perhaps even interrelated, is the Governor General of Canada. One of the groups loosely associated with us believes the present Governor General is illegally appointed due to a conflict of interest which we have attached to our presentation. If it is true, and the present Attorney General of Ontario was so advised on this matter on several occasions, all Legislation passed since his appointment, including whether our armed forces in the Gulf should be there or not according to law, is in severe doubt.

Surely we expect better than the Attorney General of Ontario to ignore such a possibility. These are people who are legal experts. They are not lawyers; they are paralegals. But they read law, I read law, you read law. It is just sufficiently possible that it also is very frightening. Totally ignored. The citizens of Ontario and Canada deserve better. No wonder many Canadians feel betrayed.

The last subject is relics and records of antiquity. Ontario is dragging its feet, although special delivery this morning before the presentation they did send me their latest information which I have been waiting since 3 January to get. Ontario is not quite as out of touch as the federal government, but it is enough to make you vomit when you read about the legislation planned for Canada to protect our artefacts and our records. And the word "record" does not even come up in any of the legislation proposed by Ontario or Ottawa. Our concern is Nova Scotia, Oak Island, but here in Canada, right here in Ontario, I should say Deep River, we have evidence that Henry Hudson got as far as Deep River. And the evidence was found. A school teacher has that and will not, for example, let me see it. It is not his. I said: "You are only the guardian of that."

Closing remarks: As one listens to the various submissions as carried on TVOntario, one must observe it is all academic if we do not get our act together and if you do not get your act together. If such a simple thing as messages of a few minutes are handled thus -- and you will see how many times I had to dial to get through to find out whether I could make this submission on not -- how in the hell can the citizens of Ontario expect you will get our messages straight from perhaps a maximum of 2,000 in many locations in this vast province?

At the IEEE conference 1973-74, the founder of Sony said: "We believed in Trinitron to the degree we were prepared to bankrupt the company to pull it off." That is dedication. This citizen since 1967-68 has also been dedicated to Canada, and you will see the sad story of what it is costing.

I see I am running close to the end of my time. I will skip a bit here. One must ask: What is happening to and in this great country? When one seeks redress through the Ontario Ombudsman, the human rights, letters to Queen's Park ignored, and now see the NDP doing exactly the same, then weep for Ontario too, not just Canada.

We as Canadians have been betrayed: 1984, Mulroney; 1985, Bourassa -- I was there in Quebec City at that time -- 1986, Peterson, and now the pattern is repeating itself, 1990 with the Ontario NDP government. We list many communications; I will skip all through that.

The choice is simple. The decision is easy, but who has the will if not the NDP?

My conclusions: The sinister force. Forget Saddam; he is only concerned about one billion Muslims and he feeds on dissent. And this other group feeds on dissent. If that group has infiltrated the province of Quebec, the high dissent factor for some years, to a larger degree than Ontario, with help from Ottawa knowingly or not, is it just a coincidence that (1) the space lab (2) the rights institute and now (3) the heritage group and (4) the long-standing James Bay project that water and power advocates promote are natural resources being converted into megabucks?

At Coe Hill, Ontario, were two murders unsolved linked to this group. There are 16 more murders, suicides and arsons in eastern Ontario and Quebec. Are these also linked under a variety of police levels, perhaps 16 different jurisdictions, versus one operating under one jurisdiction?

The end of my submission. I appreciate the opportunity to warn Canadians that it is not what it seems. This is the letter to Evelyn Gigantes -- totally ignored. And that is part of my submission.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.

Mr McDonald: Questions, if you will.

The Chair: I do not see that there are any. Questions? Okay. Thank you very much, sir.


M. le Président : Je voudrais inviter Gisèle Lalonde, de l'Association française des municipalités de l'Ontario.

Mme Lalonde : Au nom des membres de l'Association française des municipalités de l'Ontario, je vous remercie de nous donner l'occasion de vous présenter notre vision de l'Ontario et particulièrement de la francophonie ontarienne au sein de la future Confédération canadienne.

Notre désir de participer au processus que vous menez vient du fait que ceux et celles que nous représentons, c'est-à-dire les élus et les gestionnaires francophones oeuvrant sur la scène municipale ontarienne, sont parmi les hommes et les femmes politiques, ceux et celles qui entretiennent les contacts les plus étroits et les plus intimes avec les communautés ontariennes. Nous ne risquons pas de nous tromper en disant que la majorité des municipalités de l'Ontario sont constituées, à des proportions différentes, bien entendu, des communautés qui ferment la mosaïque de notre société. Le rôle et la voie de nos membres sont donc d'une importance capitale dans le processus de redéfinition de l'Ontario au sein du Canada.

Dans le présent mémoire, nous présentons premièrement les aspirations et les intérêts sociaux et économiques des francophones de l'Ontario tels que vus par l'AFMO. Nous faisons ensuite état des principes ou fondements sur lesquels doivent s'appuyer les changements que nous jugeons nécessaires. Nous avons regroupé ces changements sur trois catégories et chacune fait l'objet d'une partie : les fondements sociaux d'une nouvelle Confédération ; les fondements économiques d'une nouvelle Confédération et les fondements structuraux d'une nouvelle Confédération.

L'AFMO n'a pas de mandat de commenter la place que doit prendre le Québec, ni les autres provinces ou les nations autochtones dans un Canada redéfini. Nous avons une conviction et c'est la suivante : une structure, pour qu'elle soit efficace, doit respecter l'autonomie de ces composantes tout en visant un but commun. Forts de cette conviction, nous ne pouvons que respecter toute décision que prendront les autres communautés intéressées par leur épanouissement collectif dans une nouvelle Confédération.

Quelles sont les aspirations sociales et économiques des francophones de l'Ontario ? Pour l'AFMO, la réponse est simple. Les francophones de l'Ontario sont et tiennent à demeurer des partenaires à part entière dans l'essor social et économique de l'Ontario et du Canada.

À l'exception de quelques arguments relevant davantage du fanatisme que de la raison, nous ne connaissons pas d'Ontariens ni d'Ontariennes qui s'objectent à ce principe.

Notre association croit que l'Ontario et le Canada ont tout pour innover sur le plan social et pour devenir un modèle de société interculturel fondé sur l'harmonie et les besoins d'actualisation des communautés et des individus. En effet, les yeux du monde entier sont tournés vers nous. Ils nous regardent avec envie pour ce que nous avons toujours représenté, et en même temps avec inquiétude face à ce que nous allons devenir.


Comme l'optimisme et la ténacité demeurent des qualités fondamentales des francophones, nous voyons le processus de révision constitutionnelle dans lequel se retrouve le Canada présentement comme un mécanisme pour identifier les moyens de réaliser le partenariat entre les communautés qui composent le Canada, plutôt qu'un mécanisme pour remettre en question l'existence de ces communautés comme certains le laissent entendre. Dans cette perspective, le présent exercice ne vise pas à justifier notre présence en Ontario puisque nous sommes ici pour y demeurer. Nous tentons plutôt de décrire les façons par lesquelles la reconnaissance officielle du partenariat de la francophonie peut venir enrichir les relations sociales et économiques de la société ontarienne d'une part, ainsi que celle des francophones sur le plan individuel et communautaire d'autre part. Notre mémoire vise donc l'innovation sociale au seuil du 21e siècle.

Il convient de mentionner ici que les membres de l'AFMO croient que le Canada doit maintenir un système de Confédération. Alors que partout à travers le monde les différentes nations se regroupent sur le plan économique pour faire front commun, il serait tout à fait illogique et irresponsable pour le Canada d'agir autrement. Les principes fondamentaux qui définiront la future Confédération devront d'une part permettre de positionner l'Ontario et le Canada sur le marché mondial, comme des chefs de file, tout en favorisant l'actualisation des individus et des communautés. Il est important de mentionner qu'au moment où la globalisation devient de plus en plus la règle des nations, l'enracinement dans une communauté devient de plus en plus la règle pour les individus. La future Confédération devra tenir compte de cette réalité.

Les Canadiens se sont faits dire à maintes reprises au cours des dernières années qu'ils devaient faire preuve de tolérance parce que le Canada était justement fondé sur ce sentiment. Ce discours, nous l'avons entendu surtout à l'égard des conflits qui sont survenus dans le débat qui entoura l'accord du Lac Meech. Or, en utilisant le terme «tolérance», on ne fait que renforcer le sentiment de supériorité de la majorité et celui d'infériorité de la minorité. En effet, le terme «tolérance» ne comprend pas la notion de respect mutuel mais comprend plutôt la notion de fort-faible. Est-ce là le sentiment et l'attitude que l'on veut encourager chez la majorité linguistique à l'égard des francophones ? Peut-on bâtir un partenariat à part entière sur des sentiments de tolérance ?

Nous préférons parler d'harmonie entre les communautés ontariennes et canadiennes car l'harmonie est l'unité, l'ordre, l'organisation, l'entente, la paix et l'union. «Harmonie» à des connotations d'amitié, d'équilibre et de compréhension. Dans une société basée sur l'harmonie, l'épanouissement de chaque communauté devrait être perçu comme étant un enrichissement du but commun.

Or, une belle vision suppose que la structure d'ensemble du pays soit bâtie de façon à respecter les aspirations et les intérêts sociaux et économiques spécifiques des communautés. Que la francophonie vive son essor social et économique, par exemple, n'enlève rien à l'essor social et économique de la majorité linguistique. Au contraire, dans la structure que nous préconisons les deux se complètent. Une telle structure favorise la décentralisation et encourage l'autogestion des communautés. Elle suppose enfin une Confédération qui a les pouvoirs que lui confient les communautés.

Bien entendu, ceci signifie qu'au départ toutes les communautés ont adhéré au but commun, soit celui d'établir un partenariat qui vise l'essor économique et social de chaque communauté tout autant que celui de l'ensemble.

Comment l'AFMO définit-elle la communauté francophone ? Nos membres sont d'avis que la communauté francophone de l'Ontario est composée d'individus issus de diverses origines, tant de l'Ontario que d'autres provinces et d'autres nations qui ont un trait en commun : c'est qu'ils ont choisi de vivre en français en Ontario dans un contexte qui favorise l'interculturalisme dans toutes ses expressions. En outre, le concept de communauté francophone n'est pas uniquement relié aux entités géographiques. La francophonie est une communauté mondiale et nous tenons à ce que les liens que nous entretenons avec les autres francophones du Canada, tant du Québec que des autres provinces et des autres nations francophones sur le plan de l'éducation, des arts et de l'économie continuent à exister en s'intensifiant.

C'est à l'intérieur de ces paramètres que les membres de l'AFMO tiennent à se définir et qu'ils demandent au gouvernement de les reconnaître. Il est de notre avis que c'est là une condition essentielle à l'essor économique et social de la communauté francophone ontarienne et à celui de la province.

Quant à la communauté anglophone et aux nations autochtones, il en revient à chacune d'entre elles de se définir comme elles l'entendent et d'identifier l'étendue de leur participation au sein de la nouvelle Confédération.

Le partenariat à part entière s'appuie sur l'apport de la spécificité culturelle des communautés linguistiques à l'essor social et économique de leur municipalité, de leur province et du pays. Un tel principe repose sur le pouvoir égal des partenaires plutôt que sur leur caractère majoritaire ou minoritaire, c'est-à-dire qu'il ne confère pas aux partenaires un pouvoir proportionnel au nombre de personnes qu'ils représentent respectivement.

Puisque le partenariat à part entière consiste à reconnaître les partenaires sur une base d'égal à égal, n'est-ce pas qu'il serait inadmissible que l'un ou l'autre des partenaires ait à poser des gestes supplémentaires et différents pour être admis au groupe ? Pourtant, c'est ce que fait la législation ontarienne qui établit présentement le mode de recensement municipal et scolaire, puisqu'elle veut que tous les Ontariens et les Ontariennes soient anglophones jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient prouvé qu'ils sont francophones. Cette situation est absolument inacceptable et elle devra être modifiée pour que tous les Ontariens et toutes les Ontariennes aient à s'identifier soit comme anglophones, soit comme francophones.

Le partenariat à part entière suppose également qu'un immigrant qui s'établit en Ontario n'est pas automatiquement intégré à la communauté anglophone mais qu'il se voit donner le libre choix d'adhérer à l'une des deux communautés de langue officielle dès son arrivée dans la province. Ceci suppose enfin que l'infrastructure existe de façon efficace pour permettre à cette personne de joindre les rangs de la communauté qu'elle a choisie.

Une société démocratique, parce qu'elle est régie par le principe de la majorité, doit adopter des moyens de protéger ses communautés minoritaires dont l'existence est fondamentale à sa définition. C'est le but de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. On comprendra facilement que sans une belle reconnaissance, une minorité dans la meilleure des situations démocratiques ne pourrait en aucun temps espérer son actualisation. On ne peut donc plus parler de démocratie au Canada sans tenir compte des articles de la Charte, et l'AFMO croit fermement que les protections constitutionnelles doivent être maintenues.

Cependant, les droits constitutionnels ne veulent rien dire si personne n'a l'obligation de les appliquer. La sociologue et philosophe française Simone Weil écrivait dans une de ses oeuvres : «L'accomplissement effectif d'un droit provient non pas de celui qui le possède mais des autres hommes qui se sentent obligés à quelque chose envers lui... Un droit qui n'est reconnu par personne ne vaut pas grand'chose».

La reconnaissance des droits constitutionnels dépend en grande partie des gouvernements provinciaux. Quand nos droits constitutionnels en tant que francophones de l'Ontario ne sont pas respectés, nous avons comme seul recours le processus politique ou les contestations devant les tribunaux. Bien que les francophones développent de plus en plus le pouvoir politique malgré le fait qu'ils soient minoritaires, c'est encore le recours aux tribunaux qui demeure le mécanisme le plus propice pour assurer la reconnaissance de nos droits. Jusqu'à ce jour, les tribunaux ont donné des orientations aux gouvernements mais nous savons très bien que les juges dans les domaines constitutionnels se gardent bien d'imposer des directions précises aux législateurs. Il en revient donc toujours à la volonté politique de choisir ou non d'appliquer les droits des minorités.

Or, l'AFMO maintient qu'un gouvernement ne peut faire abstraction d'un droit constitutionnel quel qu'il soit ou retirer ce droit sans commettre pour autant une injustice flagrante. En outre, une belle approche vient à l'encontre même du principe de partenariat, privant par le fait même la société ontarienne d'une expression d'elle-même et handicapant son essor social et économique.

La prochaine Confédération devra faire en sorte que les gouvernements soient tenus d'appliquer les droits constitutionnels des communautés de langues officielles.

Que l'on soit d'accord en principe avec ce qui suit ou non, il reste que les arguments les plus fréquents auxquels les francophones sont confrontés à chaque fois qu'ils parlent de services et de droits relèvent de l'aspect économique. Si l'argent n'était pas une préoccupation constante tant pour les individus que pour les gouvernements, la reconnaissance de la francophonie ne poserait pas autant de problèmes. Que ces préoccupations soient issues de fausses perceptions ou non, il reste que nous devons tous surmonter l'obstacle qu'elles représentent.

Il va de soi que la reconnaissance des droits de toutes les minorités comporte des dépenses supplémentaires pour une société, et nous déplorons le fait que l'application de nos droits soit toujours étudiée et évaluée en fonction des priorités financières. Cependant, puisque aujourd'hui le discours que tiennent les Ontariens et les Ontariennes dans ce processus de révision constitutionnelle tourne autour de l'essor économique de l'Ontario, il s'avère par le fait même essentiel de parler d'engagements financiers et d'investissements.


Sans vouloir réduire notre présence aux bénéfices que retirerait l'Ontario de la reconnaissance de nos droits, il est important de signaler que les francophones de l'Ontario veulent et peuvent apporter un élément unique à l'essor économique de l'Ontario. Nous représentons un atout économique important pour la société ontarienne et c'est aussi dans cette perspective qu'il faut regarder les coûts relies à la reconnaissance de nos droits.

Il ne faut pas sous-estimer les bénéfices que comporterait pour nous-mêmes et pour la société ontarienne la pleine reconnaissance de notre partenariat dans l'essor social et économique de la province et du pays. Il s'agit d'ailleurs une aspiration profonde de la communauté francophone. Nous n'avons jamais voulu vivre aux dépens de la majorité. Bien au contraire, nos revendications depuis toujours ont été motivées par notre désir de participer pleinement au développement économique de notre société.

Nous avons mentionné dans le chapitre portant sur les fondements sociaux que les membres de l'AFMO préféraient se rallier à une communauté mondiale francophone au lieu de s'isoler dans une identité régionale, et par le fait même restrictive sur le plan des actions. À l'heure actuelle où les blocs économiques se multiplient à travers le monde, les élus et les gestionnaires francophones de la scène municipale ont déjà commencé à établir des liens économiques et sociaux avec des homologues d'autres pays francophones. Les échanges et les initiatives que nous avons entrepris sont rendus possibles en premier lieu parce que la communication et la compréhension sont facilitées du fait que nous parlons la même langue. Nous représentons pour les pays francophones un pont entre leur réalité et l'Amérique du Nord de la même façon que nous représentons pour l'Ontario un pont entre les intérêts de la province et les pays francophones.

Prenons par exemple le projet d'Afrique 2000 mis de l'avant par la Fédération canadienne des municipalités et auquel participent certains de nos membres. Ce projet constitue un service de ressources techniques et de formation offert par des municipalités canadiennes à des municipalités africaines. Dans le cadre de ce projet, la ville de Hawkesbury, par exemple, est jumelée à la ville francophone d'Esseka au Cameroun. Cet échange existe grâce au caractère francophone de la ville de Hawkesbury. Autres municipalités ayant dans leurs rangs des francophones évaluent présentement la possibilité de participer à ce projet canadien. La ville de Rockland, par exemple, est en voie d'établir un jumelage avec une ville du Niger.

Il s'agit aussi de constater les projets internationaux francophones de l'Association Ontario-France, de la Chambre économique de l'Ontario, de la Cité collégiale, de l'Université d'Ottawa et de l'Université Laurentienne pour se rendre compte de l'importance du potentiel que représentent les initiatives francophones pour l'essor économique de l'Ontario.

Enfin, mentionnons qu'il n'y a pas de limites au caractère de ces échanges puisque les francophones sont actifs dans toutes les sphères d'activités de la société ontarienne.

Le bilinguisme officiel en Ontario. Lors de son congrès annuel de 1985, l'AMO, Association of Municipalities of Ontario, adoptait une résolution qui avait été proposée par la ville de Vanier à l'effet que des revendications seraient faites auprès du gouvernement de l'Ontario pour que ce dernier déclare la province officiellement bilingue. Malgré ce geste démontrant le leadership des élus anglophones et francophones de la scène municipale, aucun gouvernement provincial depuis n'a donné suite à cette résolution. Cette hésitation à agir de la part des gouvernements n'a en pour effet que de soulever et de donner raison aux stratégies négatives de certaines personnes et de certains groupes contre la francophonie. Nos membres savent mieux que qui que ce soit que parler du bilinguisme officiel soulève encore toutes sortes de sentiments d'appréhension dans les communautés.

En devenant officiellement bilingue, l'Ontario endosserait par le fait même le plein partenariat de la francophonie. Oui, cela occasionnerait des dépenses supplémentaires ou du moins une nationalisation créative des priorités budgétaires, mais la province et les francophones en retireraient des profits sûrs. La francophonie serait heureuse de finalement pouvoir investir ses énergies à innover sur le plan social et économique plutôt que de les dépenser à faire reconnaître ses droits.

Plus que des services en français, le bilinguisme officiel signifierait que les intérêts de la francophonie seraient considérés dans l'adoption des plans d'action et la prise de décisions à tous les paliers et dans tous les domaines d'activités. Cela ne voudrait pas dire que tous les Ontariens et toutes les Ontariennes devraient parler deux langues. Ils pourraient demeurer unilingues anglophones ou même unilingues francophones s'ils le désirent.

Un ministère des Affaires francophones au palier provincial. La structure qui prévaut présentement au palier provincial est insuffisante. Plus qu'un ministre délégué aux Affaires francophones, il nous faut un ministre des Affaires francophones qui aurait pour mandat de recommander au Cabinet les orientations et les décisions qui tiendront compte des intérêts de la francophonie. Les coordonnateurs des services en français, plutôt que de travailler dans l'isolement comme c'est le cas présentement, relèveraient de ce nouveau ministère où il détermineraient ensemble les orientations communes pour les questions francophones. Ceci ne les empêcherait pas d'avoir également une allégeance au ministère où ils seraient assignés.

Une des raisons marquantes pour lesquelles le système actuel de prise de décisions politiques ne fonctionne pas relève du manque flagrant de consultation auprès des communautés. Ce manque est inévitable dans la structure actuelle puisque les paliers de gouvernement sont centralisés au niveau provincial et fédéral et par le fait même sont très loin des réalités communautaires. Il est difficile pour ces superstructures d'adopter des décisions qui tiennent compte de tous les réalités et qui sont applicables partout. Il s'avère essentiel que dans la nouvelle Confédération, la prise de décisions soit réorientée afin de tenir compte des besoins et des aspirations communautaires dont seuls les élus municipaux peuvent en mesurer l'impact et la pertinence.

Le système parlementaire actuel ne reconnaît pas le niveau municipal comme un niveau de gouvernement. Or, les membres de l'AFMO réclament une modification imposante soit apportée au système parlementaire pour qu'un troisième palier de gouvernement soit créé et reconnu officiellement. Dans ce sens, nous croyons que le gouvernement municipal et/ou régional devrait devenir ce nouveau palier gouvernemental et qu'il devrait avoir des pouvoirs de gestion et de consultation précis.

En conclusion, nous avons énoncé dans ce mémoire les fondements sociaux, économiques et structurels sur lesquels la structure provinciale et la future Confédération devront être établies.

En terminant, nous tenons à citer le philosophe et psychologue italien Moreno qui disait : «L'avenir d'un peuple, en dernière instance, dépend de la créativité de ses membres».

Alors, Monsieur le Président et membres du comité, en tant qu'élus et gestionnaires francophones de la scène municipale de l'Ontario, soyez assurés que nous ferons preuve de toute la créativité possible pour que notre communauté, notre province et notre pays puissent devenir un modèle de société où l'harmonie et le partenariat à part entière sont à la base de toute activité sociale et économique.

M. le Président : Merci, madame. On a dépassé le temps. Il y a une question, brève, j'espère. Mrs O'Neill, a brief question.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you very much, Madame Lalonde. You have worked, at least for most of the last 20 years, in a community where the majority of the people are English speaking, but you have represented a very -- what should I say? -- concentrated group of francophones within that community. Throughout that time I have seen you as being a very effective leader for francophones and I am sure a lot of people would agree with me.

You have reiterated and have reiterated throughout this brief, partnership, and that is a word we are beginning to hear more of as we work our way through these hearings. I wonder if you could say a little bit about that from the perspective I have just placed you in, how the francophone community can build partnerships, whether it be at the municipal or provincial level, with the majority. You have talked about structures that francophones need to support themselves and we certainly have heard that from many francophones, but can you give us some practical ways in which these partnerships be build understanding, to build stronger economic units, to provide better social services can be built?

Mme Lalonde : Je crois que l'AFMO veut justement bâtir ce partenariat avec les anglophones ou les gens d'autres ethnies qui sont membres dans les municipalités. Par exemple, au niveau du développement professionnel de nos membres, en regardant ce que vous avez au Ministry of Skills Development au gouvernement provincial, nous reconnaissons qu'il n'y a absolument aucun document, séminaire ou outil qu'on peut mettre à la disposition actuellement des élus et gestionnaires municipaux en français. Nous avons, par contre, de la traduction qui est en train de se faire mais pour nous la traduction n'est pas suffisante. Nous voulons traduction et adaptation. C'est une des questions, disons, qui nous intéressent énormément.

Sur le plan de partenariat, je crois qu'on a toujours entendu dire que ça coûte cher d'offrir des services en français. Nous avons plusieurs municipalités qui se sont déclarées bilingues mais nous avons quand même des municipalités -- si je prends l'exemple de North Bay -- qui ont une forte proportion de francophones et qui n'ont jamais eu d'élus francophones encore dans cette municipalité. Nous aimerions qu'il y ait des moyens sur place pour encourager et sensibiliser nos jeunes et ensuite les encourager pour qu'ensuite un jour ils deviennent des chefs de file dans leur communauté.

On ne peut pas parler de partenariat si on n'a pas les gens en place pour nous représenter. Comme vous le savez, nous venons d'avoir notre première Franco-Ontarienne au gouvernement fédéral et nous avons très peu de Franco-Ontariens qui ont été élus au provincial. Nous n'avons pas encore eu une femme franco-ontarienne, malheureusement, au provincial. J'espère que ça va venir mais disons qu'on ne peut pas parler de partenariat quand on ne fait pas partie du pouvoir décisionnel.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you for a creative answer.



The Chair: I call next Chris Harris and Nizam Siddiqui from the Advisory Committee on Visible Minorities.

Mr Siddiqui: Thank you, Mr Chairman, members of the select committee. My name is Nizam Siddiqui. I regret to inform you that Chris Harris of the city of Ottawa's advisory committee cannot attend today. However, I will make a presentation on behalf of the advisory committee on this subject.

The City of Ottawa's Advisory Committee on Visible Minorities was established in December 1982. Over the past decade, the ethnic and racial diversity of Ottawa's population has become evident as existing cultural communities have expanded and new communities formed, largely as a result of increased immigration from non-European countries.

As the race relations advisory body to the city of Ottawa, we have found ourselves advising on issues of local, national and international import because of our location in the nation's capital. It is inevitable that our committee has been sensitized to issues at the federal level due to our proximity here. For this reason, we bring a unique perspective to your deliberations that stems from our specific concerns for our community but is informed as to the global implications of our positions.

Since its inception, the advisory committee has taken a leadership role as demonstrated by our multiculturalism policy for the city of Ottawa, which was approved in March 1985 as a direct result of our initiatives. This policy, which encompasses all areas of the city of Ottawa's operations, including policy, programs and services, is the most comprehensive document of its type passed by a Canadian municipality. We have also undertaken initiatives in the area of training of municipal employees and are actively involved in establishing a multicultural centre in the city as well.

Our concerns with any future constitutional talks in which Ontario participates can be summarized in two words, ambiguity and rigidity, and the need to avoid these. It is our hope that through discussion, this province can establish grounds for more informed participation by all concerned parties, thereby leading to a more responsive constitutional document that clearly reflects our multicultural heritage.

Before expressing our position, however, the advisory committee would first like to comment upon the process that preceded the signing of the Meech Lake constitutional accord on 30 April 1987. It is our belief that this hastily conceived document gave much cause for future concern, because we did not pause and reflect on the far-reaching implications of many of the provisions that it contained. It is now apparent that this constitutional document, meant to establish guidelines for our future evolution, succumbed to a number of ills, of which the most prominent was political expediency. Throughout our submission we will refer back to components of this accord to shed light on the direction we would now like Ontario to proceed in.

One restriction that has always been willingly accepted by Canadians as part of the cost of participating in a democracy is the transfer of our decision-making capacity as individuals to our leaders for greater effectiveness. This is a trust essential to its functioning. The 1987 constitutional accord saw this trust violated when not only those elected failed to take into consideration the interests of all Canadians, namely, the multicultural communities, Quebec's minorities, aboriginal peoples and the citizens of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon, but as well there was a failure on the part of our leadership to properly consult us to compensate for this lapse, and that is all you can call it.

The advisory committee appreciates this opportunity to place its concerns before the select committee on Ontario in Confederation but feels compelled to point out that after-the-fact consultation of concerned individuals and organizations is far from ideal, making as our base the province's active participation in the 1987 constitutional accord discussions.

It is our suggestion that the select committee's final report address the key issues of process raised by the 1987 accord and recommend that the concerns of affected groups be shifted from the peripheral position that they now occupy to the central position that they warrant. This is imperative given the likelihood of an amendment formula which may call for unanimity for any future changes, a prerequisite that may be somewhat optimistic given the disparate interests and objectives of the provincial and the federal governments.

Proceeding to the role of Quebec in Confederation, the advisory committee does not deny the importance of recognizing the distinctness of Quebec society within Canada. However, our concern arises out of any constitutional document that identifies Quebec's distinctness, yet makes no mention of other distinct components in the Canadian mosaic. This leads to one of two conclusions, as identified in the report of the special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons; that is, as either as "an intentional downplaying of Canadians whose ethnic origin is neither English nor French, or as a telling lapse which indicates that Canada's political leaders are insufficiently sensitive to present political realities."

The aspirations of the Quebec government to nurture and preserve its French heritage and the provincial governments in recognizing the legitimacy of these concerns are applauded by our advisory committee. It is our belief that we are diminished as a country if we are unable to recognize and adapt to the differing needs of each of our multicultural societies. However, this recognition of Quebec must not be at the expense of the aspirations of Canada's ethnic communities or its aboriginal peoples.

The Quebec government's power, as was defined in the Meech Lake accord, to "preserve and protect the distinct society of Quebec" has to be further clarified if that is to be given. The rights of the cultural and linguistic minorities within Quebec can be subjugated to those of French-speaking Quebeckers if the latter are given explicit recognition with no protection. We believe that a specific reference to Quebec's commitment to ensure that its actions will not result in discrimination against its minorities is required.

The further distinction that bilingual rights should be protected by the Constitution while multiculturalism and protection against discrimination may possibly be restricted to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms artificially increases the gap between our member cultures. It is of great concern to us that the present view of multiculturalism appears to exclude francophone Canadians as outside its ambit, which is not the case.

It is our contention that multiculturalism expands to encompass the differing needs of our distinct societies and we object to barriers that would separate us. English Canadians and French Canadians are as much a part of the multicultural milieu of the country as are Ukrainian Canadians, Chinese Canadians or East Indian Canadians.

We would take issue with any restrictive role on the federal and provincial governments to preserve the fundamental characteristic of Canada as we currently perceive it. In the event that an amendment is made to include multiculturalism as part of that fundamental characteristic in the future, additional amendments should be made to ensure that the federal and provincial governments are also required to promote those characteristics.

Both bilingualism and multiculturalism are dependent upon the active participation at all levels of government. The present use of the concept "preserve," with its image of the maintenance of the status quo, does not make sufficient allowance for the dynamism of the aspirations of our distinct communities. The living dimension of any Constitution should nurture rather than restrict the development of Canada's distinct societies.

For this reason we would support the contention of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council and others that affirmation of the equal position of our multicultural communities concurrently with the specific needs of Quebec be provided for. At present, multiculturalism is subordinate to the rights of French-speaking Quebeckers. It is inevitable that once Canada is defined bilingually, the bicultural presumption will infuse our views of ourselves, thereby further eroding the rights of other ethnocultural communities, including those of francophones outside of Quebec.

It is not currently clear whether the general provision of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is sufficient protection for these individuals who may suffer discrimination as a direct result of the application of the existing Constitution, ie, the BNA Act, such as actions taken by Quebec to preserve and protect its distinct society. Aside from the issue of ambiguity, we are concerned about the financial burden that will be transferred to individual citizens as they seek clarification and protection through the courts.

Our concern is reinforced by the fact that a number of other Canadian ethnocultural organizations share our uneasiness that linguistic equality/distinct society provisions in the future can have potential negative connotations for the status of multiculturalism in Canada.

In the report of the special joint committee of the Senate and the House of Commons, this concern was expressed by the German Canadian Congress which stated that:

"It is our position that the interpretation clause of the Constitution" -- and they were referring to the Meech Lake accord at that particular time -- "is not true to the social reality of Canada in the 1980s and, for that matter, in the future. It recognizes a linguistic duality, an English-French duality, which is only part of the Canadian society we live in today. Whether we speak of cultural pluralism, community of communities, sociocultural mosaic or multiculturalism, the fact is that we are a society quite different from the 1940s and the 1950s and one that is undergoing sociocultural changes of enormous proportions."

The Chinese Canadian National Council went further and stated to the same joint committee:

"If the linguistic duality clause is allowed to stand by itself without a similar clause addressing multiculturalism, which would include these members of our community, the Constitution will not be broad enough to address the true nature and reality of Canada fully. In other words, bilingualism does not embrace all Canadians -- it may officially but may not in fact -- whereas multiculturalism does."


It is clear, based on these comments, that any constitutional discussion must address the concerns of Canada's multicultural community, eg, enshrining multiculturalism in the national Constitution. The federal government must be responsible for not just preserving but rather promoting the bilingual nature of Canada and not merely emphasizing linguistic duality, and this is something that Ontario has to share in as well.

The advisory committee believes that if the multicultural reality of Canada is not recognized now, it never will be. We are not opposed to describing linguistic duality as a fundamental characteristic of Canada but rather its opposition results from the omission of multiculturalism being described as a fundamental characteristic as well. Reflecting on this omission, the advisory committee proposes that multiculturalism be recognized as an interpretative principle for any future Constitution in Canada.

It must be stated on the record by the advisory committee that for ethnic and visible minorities, any constitutional agreement must achieve three goals, including: one, recognizing that multiculturalism is a fundamental characteristic of Canadian society and must be preserved and promoted by federal and provincial governments; two, ensuring that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not adversely affected by any Constitution of Canada, especially section 15, the equality rights clause, which guarantees freedom from discrimination; three, repealing the "notwithstanding" clause of the charter which is an escape hatch for governments who may want to withdraw rights.

We understand also that the select committee will be receiving numerous briefs from concerned native leaders enumerating their concerns. It is our desire to lend our support to their assertions as well and remind the committee that they are also distinct societies within Canada. The exclusion of aboriginal leaders from the 1987 constitutional amendment process demonstrates in graphic fashion exactly where the political will of our present governments is on this issue -- non-existent.

It is not sufficient to append a reference to enumerated sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as adequate protection of the rights of aboriginal peoples. Specific reference to the distinct place of the aboriginal peoples in Canada is required. While we appreciate the concern of all government leaders to include Quebec in the Canadian constitutional family, we would argue that we are behaving like unruly children if we omit native people from direct participation in this process and are far from complete in their absence.

The very grounds upon which Quebec has based its arguments for distinct recognition within Canada and our Constitution are equally applicable to the aboriginal peoples. The aboriginal peoples' request for constitutional recognition of their right to self-determination and self-government stems from the same desire to control their own destiny. To enshrine in the Constitution the rights of Quebec while emitting the rights of aboriginal peoples is profoundly disturbing.

The viewpoint of the aboriginal peoples on this issue was expressed by Zebedee Nugat on behalf of the Inuit Committee on National Issues in 1987 in the report of the special joint committee that I referred to. He stated:

"We have much concern with the distinct society clause, mainly because it abjectly ignores that people or groups other than Quebec are not distinct, it implies that Quebec is the only distinct thing that deserves such special recognition. We know that to be a basic fallacy, because we are distinct just as much as Quebec is: we are aboriginally distinct. With the distinct society, our concern is that we may be out-distincted by a distinct Quebec, especially if we have the circumstances of living within the boundaries of what is called Quebec now."

In regard to aboriginal concerns, the advisory committee supports the position of the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and the Native Council of Canada. We believe that the basic principles and precepts of social justice have been, for too long, denied to Canadians of aboriginal ancestry. This should not be allowed to continue.

The input of the aboriginal people through their member organizations should be carefully considered and assessed in the light of the tragic historical legacy of promises unkept and unfulfilled and, when kept, singularly lacking in substance. It should be the responsibility of our time to redress the enormous wrong perpetuated on the first inhabitants of the country. Vague promises of aboriginal agenda items for annual consideration by the first ministers should be completely discarded.

This would essentially involve the aboriginal peoples in one or two items of their immediate concern on the entire first ministers' agenda. On issues such as Senate reform, which vitally impact on the aboriginal peoples, they may in fact be excluded under such a process. It is our belief that a formal, ongoing constitutional process to address the issues affecting aboriginal peoples and aboriginal rights has to be established. This is something that Ontario must take a leading role in doing or in initiating.

We also support the objections -- and I am going back to the Meech Lake accord as a case in point -- of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon regarding any talk of the exclusion from the constitutional amendment process and the adverse impact that any amending formula may have on their attaining full provincial status. It is clear now that they stand posed to accept their responsibility of provincehood. However, as demonstrated in the last series of constitutional discussions, the almost insurmountable obstacle that unanimity represents would have denied Canada its first province capable of articulating and reflecting the views of aboriginal people.

It is not our position that the intention of the framers of this specific amendment was to preserve a particular racial status quo. However, when you couple this result with an examination of provincial attitudes as at the first ministers' conferences on aboriginal self-government, it is difficult to envision how a united political will can be developed in any future constitutional discussion of provincehood for these particular provinces, particularly if an amending formula is not developed. Ontario, therefore, must be involved in this process from the outset as well.

We recommend that Ontario endorse the process of entry into pnovincehood for the northern territories in this context as being the same as for all other former territories and colonies within Canada: bilateral agreement between the affected territory and the national government as approved by Parliament speaking on behalf of all Canadians. This is the only just route in a democratic Canadian state, the right of people to self-determination.

The Chair: If you want to conclude --

Mr Siddiqui: There are just a few more points I would like to emphasize.

Reflecting on another subject, that is, the discussion of immigration, the advisory committee wants to indicate that provincial opting out may be used as a panacea for difficult substantive issues as demonstrated in the 1987 constitutional accord again. The level of quality of services provided to foster the linguistic and cultural integration of new Canadians may be jeopardized if a decentralization of immigration on provincial lines occurs. The absence of any national standards -- and this is a point that Ontario must adhere to -- and/or defined guidelines for provincial services may result in unacceptable variations in services in that situation.

Any discussion on the guaranteed percentage of immigrants to Quebec is unclear in both intention and enforceability, if that is the route we do proceed in the future. Furthermore, unresolved issues may remain regarding how that percentage will be met. Undefined criteria as to where Quebec would recruit newcomers, what criteria would be used, what accessibility would be established for those whose member tongue is not French must be developed. A related issue is the extent to which other provinces will develop reactive policies to Quebec's pro-French-language stance.

I will conclude on that note. Essentially, one last point that we would like to make is that with regard to the future of Canada, we envisage that both Canada and Ontario are distinct societies in that context, one composed of people originally from many diverse backgrounds and different parts of the world. To ignore this fact is to ignore the reality of the Ontario and Quebec we live in today, a land whose founding members are native and aboriginal peoples, a land which boasts proud English and French cultural traditions, a land which boasted even richer legacies from other parts of the world and which has enshrined this fact in a multiculturalism act. This is the Canada of today and the Canada of tomorrow. This is the Canada whose future we have to work for together.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Siddiqui. We will move on to the next presentation.


M. le Président : Je voudrais inviter Robert Millaire, de l'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens.

M. Millaire : Bonjour. Au nom de l'AEFO, l'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, j'aimerais vous remercier d'avoir accepté de nous entendre aujourd'hui. Je crois que ce processus de consultation est extrêmement important dans les futures discussions qui vont avoir lieu sur le débat constitutionnel. Nous maintenons que l'Ontario peut et doit jouer un rôle très important dans les futures discussions sur la constitution.

L'AEFO représente les enseignantes et les enseignants qui oeuvrent dans les écoles de langue française partout en Ontario. Nous avons 7000 membres qui entrent dans les écoles de langue française à travers la province. Par son biais de l'éducation, l'AEFO est intimement liée aux aspirations de la communauté francophone. L'AEFO a été très active dans le passé pour faire la promotion des droits de la francophonie.

Basé sur ces énoncés, je vais faire le commentaire suivant : la communauté francophone de l'Ontario se considère comme une entité culturelle faisant partie intégrante de l'Ontario. Cette promesse constitue la pierre angulaire de toutes les thèses et propositions que nous formulons pour répondre aux besoins et aux attentes de la communauté francophone en Ontario. Je pourrais faire maintenant, au début de votre texte, les pages jaunes, les faits saillants de notre présentation.


1. L'AEFO considère comme essentielle la présence du Québec au sein de la Confédération canadienne. L'AEFO affirme que le retrait du Québec de la Confédération canadienne serait une expérience traumatisante, autant du point de vue social que du point de vue économique pour tout l'ensemble du Canada.

L'amputation de 25% à 30% de l'économie et du territoire d'un pays ne peut pas se faire sans effets secondaires. Pour l'AEFO, il n'y a aucun doute que la communauté francophone de l'Ontario vaut par elle-même. Elle ne justifie pas son existence à cause de la présence du Québec. Elle a su par ses efforts se prévaloir d'institutions et d'infrastructures minimales pour son développement. Cependant, avec une vision réaliste, notre communauté considère que ses efforts devront être intensifiés pour conserver et améliorer ces infrastructures.

2. Une politique de bilinguisme officiel pour l'ensemble de la province devrait être adoptée par le gouvernement de l'Ontario. L'AEFO formule cette demande en s'appuyant sur le fait du profond attachement de la communauté francophone à l'Ontario et à ses efforts constants qui ont permis son développement jusqu'à ce jour. De plus, par rapport au débat constitutionnel, l'AEFO propose que l'on reconnaisse trois communautés nationales du Canada, dont les communautés autochtones, anglophone et francophone. Cette reconnaissance constitue un premier pas vers la résolution du débat linguistique. Pour concrétiser cette reconnaissance constitutionnelle, l'Ontario devrait établir un code invariable de reconnaissance du statut de sa collectivité francophone. Ce code servirait de pilier à la mise en place de la politique de bilinguisme officiel proposée par L'AEFO.

3. L'AEFO recommande que le gouvernement de l'Ontario joue un rôle proactif dans le débat constitutionnel sur la scène nationale. Fort de son expérience de leadership dans les débats constitutionnels antérieurs, et plus précisément celui de l'accord du Lac Meech, l'Ontario est en mesure de jouer un rôle prépondérant en ce qui a trait à la question constitutionnelle. L'AEFO croit que le gouvernement de l'Ontario, en déclarant une politique de bilinguisme officiel et en établissant un code de reconnaissance du statut de la communauté francophone en Ontario, exercera dans les faits son leadership et inspirera les autres provinces canadiennes.

Ce sens de leadership du gouvernement de l'Ontario peut aussi s'appliquer par rapport à la question économique et des disparités régionales. En portant une attention particulière à ses propres régions victimes de disparités économiques régionales, le nord et l'est de l'Ontario, le gouvernement provincial peut mettre à profit la vigueur du développement économique de l'Ontario afin de résoudre ce problème de disparités. De plus, au niveau national, l'exemple stimulant et la source de richesses que représente l'Ontario sont d'une influence certaine quant à l'enrichissement du Canada dans son ensemble.

4. L'AEFO demande qu'un système d'éducation de langue française, du préscolaire au postsecondaire, soit établi en Ontario, garanti par mesures législatives et géré par les francophones. Parce que nous considérons le domaine de l'éducation comme la pierre angulaire du développement global de notre communauté francophone, la pleine gestion de nos réseaux scolaires permettra à notre communauté de répondre aux nouveaux défis économiques et technologiques qui s'imposent à l'ensemble de la population ontarienne. La communauté francophone de l'Ontario sera ainsi formée adéquatement afin qu'elle participe pleinement au développement général de sa province. La pleine actualisation de notre communauté représente un avantage économique et social incontesté pour l'ensemble de la province de l'Ontario.

Je vous réfère maintenant à la page 6 de votre document. Vous avez un schéma qui résume un peu les aspirations de notre présentation. En tenant en tête ce schéma, je vous réfère également à la page 14, où je vais réitérer les recommandations de l'AEFO.

L'AEFO recommande donc que le gouvernement de l'Ontario adopte une politique de bilinguisme officiel pour l'ensemble de la province. L'AEFO recommande, à la page 15, que l'Ontario dans les prochains débats constitutionnels travaille à ce que le Québec demeure à l'intérieur du Canada. L'AEFO recommande que le gouvernement de l'Ontario joue un rôle proactif dans le débat constitutionnel sur la scène nationale. Et, à la page 16, L'AEFO recommande qu'un système d'éducation de langue française, du préscolaire au postsecondaire, soit établi en Ontario, garanti par des mesures législatives et géré par les francophones.

Alors voilà nos recommandations. S'il y a des questions je suis prêt à y répondre.

M. le Président : Est-ce qu'il y a des questions ? Non ? Merci.

The Chair: Could I call next Baljinder Gill from the National Association of Canadians of Origin in India. Not here yet? Okay.


M. le Président : Marguerite Yamasaki et Louise Pinet.

Mme Yamasaki : Bonjour, et nous vous remercions d'avoir accepté de nous entendre.

Les parents membres de la Fédération des associations de parents francophones de l'Ontario ont pour principal intérêt l'avenir de leurs enfants. Nous croyons en notre pays, le Canada, un pays qui s'étend d'un océan à l'autre, de l'Atlantique au Pacifique et à l'Arctique. Nous les parents voulons offrir à nos enfants un héritage complet. Il n'y a pas de gens plus intéressés que nous le sommes à ce dossier. Nous avons la responsabilité de préserver héritage et le patrimoine ; nous avons la responsabilité d'assurer l'avenir.

Notre fédération sait que la solution aux difficultés actuelles ne réside pas dans un retour aux batailles anciennes. Oui, nous sommes inquiets de toute l'instabilité qui nous entoure, mais nous croyons que le Canada vaut la peine d'être maintenu. Malgré la situation instable, il n'en demeure pas moins que, aujourd'hui, hors de voyages à l'étranger, on reconnaît encore l'importance de notre pays. Nos jeunes sont fiers d'afficher le drapeau du Canada sur leur sac à dos car, disent-ils, les Canadiens sont bienvenus partout. Nous ne voulons pas d'un Canada amoindri.

En tant que parents francophones en Ontario, nous savons ce que ça veut dire de s'accommoder. Nous avons vécu la discrimination officialisée, nous connaissons l'injustice. Mais nous connaissons également le succès, les réalisations, les progrès, et c'est cela qui nous motive.

Malheureusement, dans certaines régions du pays on n'a pas encore tiré plein profit des avantages. Nous devons viser à éliminer les disparités qui persistent. Voilà vers quoi nous devons nous diriger.

En tant que parents, nous voulons que chacun de nos enfants ait l'occasion d'exceller sur tous les plans. Nous voulons que tous les Canadiens puissent bénéficier des avantages du pays. Dans son ensemble, le Canada est plus fort que ses provinces prises individuellement. Nous ne voulons pas que nos enfants vivent isolés, tant du point de vue linguistique que du point de vue économique. Nous ne voulons pas restreindre les frontières. Nous voulons un Canada où tous les Canadiens se sentiront chez eux, et cela dans toute l'étendue du territoire géographique, dans le respect des particularités de chaque citoyen.

Mais il ne faut pas minimiser la crise actuelle. Il ne faudrait surtout pas la considérer comme une simple crise d'adolescence. Il vaudrait mieux considérer qu'après 120 ans les besoins ont changé. Il faudrait voir à ce que toutes les provinces et territoires puissent bénéficier des avantages qu'offre le pays, et cela sans nuire à aucun d'eux ni à aucun de ses citoyens. Il faudrait s'assurer que toutes les provinces et territoires partagent les responsabilités d'un tel investissement. Nous devons essayer établir des ententes et des rapports communs qui seraient acceptables à tous.


En tant que francophones en Ontario, nous sommes conscients que nous ne sommes pas les seuls francophones au Canada. En particulier nous pensons au grand nombre qui se trouvent au Québec et au Nouveau-Brunswick. Depuis toujours les francophones en Ontario ont participé à la vie économique, artistique et culturelle et cela dans tous les coins de la province. Nous pensons que la province de l'Ontario doit adopter les articles 16 à 20 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés et devenir une province officiellement bilingue. C'est le premier geste à poser. C'est le geste qui fera preuve d'équité et d'égalité.

Nous avons reçu de nos parents un héritage dont nous sommes fiers. Nous voulons le laisser à nos enfants en espérant qu'ils pourront faire de même pour les leurs.

M. le Président : Are there any questions? Est-ce qu'il y a des questions ?

M. Beer : Un bref commentaire, peut-être. Je pense qu'il est très important, comme vous l'avez souligné, dans l'éducation de vos enfants qu'on puisse développer des programmes scolaires pour les écoles de langue française et que ces programmes soient développés par des francophones. Au sein du ministère de l'Éducation je sais qu'il va être très important, en développant d'autres domaines, qu'on développe la capacité de garder un groupe de francophones qui ne traduisent pas les programmes tout simplement, mais qui développent vraiment ces programmes, que ce soit dans le domaine des sciences, des mathématiques ou quoi que ce soit. Je pense que c'est un point important pour assurer la meilleure éducation possible aux francophones dans cette province.

Mme Yamasaki : C'est une nécessité absolue pour nous, que tout se transmette.

M. Bisson : Vous avez fait mention dans votre présentation qu'il ne faut pas sous-estimer la situation avec le Québec, avec les changements auxquels on y fait face. Beaucoup de monde regardent cela comme crise d'adolescent mais vous avez dit dans votre mémoire qu'on ne peut pas le regarder en ces termes. Quels changements est-ce que vous, comme individu et comme groupe, pensez qu'il faut envisager en tant que pays vis-à-vis de la constitution ? Des changements de pouvoir au niveau des provinces et au fédéral ? C'est quoi votre vision ? Qu'est-ce qu'il faut faire pour faire face à ces problèmes ?

Mme Yamasaki : Au cours de l'été dernier j'ai suivi les débats à la télévision. J'ai cru voir un marathon. C'était comme si tout le monde était pressé, pris à la dernière minute. Je pense qu'il est temps qu'on s'arrête vraiment, qu'on étudie à fond tous les problèmes parce que les marathons se font dans la course et les sports, pas dans une question constitutionnelle.


The Chair: Could I call next Mary Jackson from the Capital Region Centre for the Hearing Impaired, I believe.

Mrs Jackson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I am the deaf president of the deaf centre. My name is Mary Jackson and sitting next to me is Betty Tigwell, who is also deaf, and she is an American sign language instructor. On behalf of the Capital Region Centre for the Hearing Impaired, it is my pleasure to give you this presentation this afternoon.

Historically in our nation the statutes form the main part of the nation's political Constitution, a Confederation consisting of a federal Parliament and a number of provincial legislatures with power divided between them in a specific way.

We need some strong legislation to provide us, the deaf population, as well as other disabled persons, better access to reasonable accommodation. That may include providing interpreters, telephone devices for the deaf, telephone handset amplifiers, telephones compatible with hearing aids, TV decoders, visual emergency alarms and ramps in buildings such as residential dwellings and commercial facilities.

The Americans With Disabilities Act, or the ADA, was signed into law in Washington, DC, last summer, 26 July 1990, and it is expected to have a tremendous impact on America's deaf and hard-of-hearing population, as well as persons with other disabilities. We need a bill like this in Canada. Such a bill would provide civil rights protection to all Canadians with disabilities, including deaf and hard-of-hearing persons. Various sections of the new act would benefit us in the following areas, employment, telephone message relay services, 911 telecommunications device for the deaf access and closed-captioning.

Such a new law, similar to the ADA, would be a wonderful beginning for serving the needs and also for realizing the possibilities of all human beings.

Key features of provincially legislated human rights should be taken into consideration for some review, and this should be done in order to ensure that the interpretations of specific clauses are clearly understood relating to some areas such as reasonable accommodation, undue hardship, education rights, barrier-free employment.

Conclusively, such a new bill similar to the ADA would be a good influence on bylaws/amendments within municipalities in order to provide disabled citizens with better access to service related to their daily life needs, and those needs are things such as the provision of ramps, wheelchairs and transportation.

In closing, please permit me to leave with you a summary of what the Americans With Disabilities Act will do for deaf citizens in the United States, and I urge this committee to take this into consideration when formulating your conclusions and recommendations.

I would like to ask Betty to add a few words.


Ms Tigwell: I would like to talk a little bit about education, and that follows some of what Mary was saying. I think that we should make sure that American sign language is provided in the schools and that it be used as a language of instruction because it is a much better means of educating deaf people. It is a language equal to that language used in schools for hearing people.

We have to also see a larger number of interpreters. We do not have enough interpreters for ASL and also for LSQ. In Quebec there are only a small number of interpreters, and I think that across the province we have to make sure that interpreters are provided. We have to make sure that American sign language is allowed, it is a part of the system. Deaf people take language in visually and it must be accessible to them, and I would urge you to remember that. Thank you very much.

Mr Malkowski: You were talking about the number of deaf people who live in Quebec moving. Do you notice a large number of deaf people from Quebec moving to Ontario because of services?

Ms Tigwell: Well, in Quebec there are very few LSQ interpreters, so often they come here. But again, there are inadequate numbers of interpreters in Ontario. There may be some in the school system, but there are very few interpreters, and that is a real need. We have to make sure that we see increased numbers.

Mrs Jackson: That is correct. Interpreter services are very small and the LSQ interpreters we have tend to move back to Montreal, so we need to see a better balance of services for francophone and anglophone deaf.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


M. le Président : I call next Benoît Martin, du Mouvement des caisses populaires de l'Ontario.

M. Martin : Messieurs et mesdames les commissaires, permettez-moi en premier lieu de vous remercier, remercier le gouvernement ontarien de nous avoir invités à cette consultation pour exprimer notre point de vue sur la participation de notre province au débat national sur l'avenir de notre pays. Le Mouvement des caisses populaires de l'Ontario est heureux de présenter son point de vue sur l'avenir politique et constitutionnel de l'Ontario.

Les caisses populaires, seules institutions financières entièrement francophones en Ontario, existent depuis 1912 et ont toujours été étroitement liées au développement économique et social des Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes. Le Mouvement des caisses populaires de l'Ontario regroupe plus de 60 caisses populaires réparties à travers la province, dont les actifs totalisent plus de 1,5 milliard de dollars. Nous comptons plus de 450 dirigeants et dirigeantes élus démocratiquement et provenant de toutes les couches de la société et plus de 800 employés offrant à nos 250 000 Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes membres de caisses des services financiers en français.

La mission du Mouvement étant de contribuer à l'épanouissement économique et socioculturel des Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes, nous ne pouvons passer sous silence les difficultés et les embûches quotidiennes que nous rencontrons dans l'atteinte de ces objectifs.

En dépit du fait que la constitution garantit aux francophones le droit à leur langue et cela partout au Canada, il est évident que tous les francophones, peu importe où ils se situent au Canada, ont de la difficulté à vivre ces droits. Le Canada anglais comprend difficilement les revendications autonomistes des francophones, que ce soit le Québec face au Canada -- et l'accord du Lac Meech en est un exemple frappant -- ou les francophones hors Québec, ceux de l'Ontario, du Manitoba, du Nouveau-Brunswick qui revendiquent tous à l'intérieur de leur province respective une plus grande autonomie dans la gestion de leurs affaires, de meilleurs services gouvernementaux en français et surtout la création d'institutions francophones propres aux francophones.

Plus souvent qu'autrement, pour ne pas dire toujours, revendications se butent à un refus obstiné de reconnaître ces droits historiques et fondamentaux des francophones. Cette situation est d'abord nettement confirmée en maints domaines dans lesquels les Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes sont privés de pouvoirs d'action essentiels à leur protection, telles les communications, l'éducation supérieure et l'économie, ou pour lesquels ils ne reçoivent pas leur juste part du soutien provincial, telles la redistribution des taxes, de subventions et autres. Cependant, nous reconnaissons un certain progrès avec l'adoption de la Loi sur les services en français.

La situation des Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes face à l'Ontario n'est pas différente de celle du Québec face au Canada. En effet, la majorité anglophone semble réticente à favoriser les aspirations des francophones de vouloir vivre en français à tout prix. Le fait français ne peut s'épanouir qu'à l'intérieur d'un milieu francophone, d'où la nécessité pour les francophones de posséder leurs propres institutions et surtout d'en assurer le contrôle. Ces revendications ne sont pas un caprice, elles sont essentielles à la survie du français en Ontario comme partout ailleurs au Canada.

Nous comprenons le désir des Québécois 01 Québécoises de faire reconnaître le caractère distinct de la société québécoise au sein de la Confédération. Le Québec veut pouvoir survivre en tant que tel et entend se doter des outils nécessaires à la réalisation de son mode de vie.

Nous, Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes, profitons de l'occasion unique que nous offre la commission Silipo pour vous sensibiliser, messieurs et mesdames les commissaires, qui aurez à conseiller notre premier ministre Bob Rae à l'urgence pour l'Ontario de reconnaître cette nécessité vitale de doter la communauté francophone de cette province de tous les outils nécessaires et revendiqués pour son épanouissement.

Je vous pose la question : comment la province de l'Ontario peut-elle espérer assumer son leadership au sein du débat constitutionnel si elle ne fait pas la preuve qu'elle est en mesure de comprendre les revendications de sa propre communauté francophone ? Il ne suffit pas d'instruire une population en français. Encore faut-il que cette population puisse vivre et travailler en français. Et cette réalité passe par la création d'institutions francophones gérées par des francophones.

À défaut de saisir ce besoin vital des francophones de vivre en français et à défaut de voir la majorité anglophone saisir cette richesse des deux cultures canadiennes, on risque de voir le Canada se déchirer. Il serait si simple de reconnaître une fois pour toutes ces droits que la constitution canadienne accorde aux francophones, mais surtout d'accepter que ces derniers aient aussi le droit de posséder et contrôler tous les leviers économiques, sociaux et administratifs nécessaires pour qu'ils puissent réaliser eux-mêmes leurs aspirations légitimes par les moyens qui leur conviennent.

S'il n'avait été de l'acharnement héroïque de nos pionniers, nous n'existerions probablement plus à l'heure actuelle. Il nous faut constamment être attentifs et vigilants vis-à-vis chacun des gestes posés par nos gouvernements afin de nous assurer que les acquis, si durement gagnés, ne soient pas diminués ou tout simplement retirés. Du Règlement 17, qui interdisait l'enseignement du français dans les écoles, jusqu'à l'accord sur le nom d'une ville, les gouvernements tentent constamment d'handicaper les efforts louables d'une communauté qui ne demande que de bien servir sa province et d'en recevoir le juste respect de sa langue et de sa culture.

Vous ne réalisez sans doute pas que le réseau des caisses populaires opère en Ontario strictement en français. Pour nous c'est une question de survie. Même le bilinguisme risquerait de contribuer, à moyen terme, à accélérer le taux d'assimilation de nos membres de caisses. Le Mouvement veut ainsi protéger son caractère francophone et se veut l'un des défenseurs de la langue française en Ontario. Or, il est évident que les gouvernements successifs n'ont pas encore compris ce caractère distinctif qui est le nôtre.

Saviez-vous que notre mouvement revendique depuis plus de cinq ans une plus grande autonomie de gestion en français, avec l'établissement d'un fonds de sécurité pour nos caisses ? Et pourtant, les gouvernements font la sourde oreille. Pourquoi une telle attitude ? Pourquoi nous obliger à utiliser la langue de Shakespeare puisque aucun cadre supérieur de l'Ontario Share and Deposit Insurance Corporation ne s'exprime pas en français ? Pourtant, un fonds de sécurité francophone ne coûterait absolument rien au gouvernement puisque nous acceptons de le financer à 100%.

Serait-on opposé à la création d'emplois francophones dans cette province ? Ou serait-ce tout simplement une incompréhension pure et simple de nos aspirations légitimes ? Notre Mouvement des caisses populaires de l'Ontario est la plus belle réussite économique des Franco-Ontariens. Nous avons fait la preuve que nous avons non seulement une solidité financière exemplaire, avec plus de 57 millions de dollars en réserve, mais surtout que nous étions et que nous sommes très bien gérés. Nous estimons qu'une plus grande autonomie de gestion permettrait aux caisses populaires de l'Ontario d'économiser plus de 1,5 million de dollars par année. Cet argent est essentiel pour assurer notre développement futur et à défaut d'obtenir cette autonomie à court terme, c'est le développement de toute la francophonie en Ontario qui en souffrira.


Permettez-moi, en guise de conclusion, de reprendre les paroles mêmes de notre premier ministre, Bob Rae : «Nous devons changer considérablement la façon dont au Canada nous partageons les pouvoirs, préparons l'avenir et prenons des décisions sur les questions économiques et sociales comme gouvernements et comme individus». Ceci est tiré des déclarations de l'Assemblée législative le 19 décembre 1990.

Pour nous, ces paroles signifient que pour coexister, les anglophones et les francophones de ce pays, que ce soit le Québec face au Canada ou la situation des Franco-Ontariens et des Franco-Ontariennes à l'intérieur de leur propre province, doivent apprivoiser leur diversité et en respecter leur spécificité. Pour s'épanouir, le fait français a besoin de la compréhension de la majorité anglophone de ce pays et cette dernière devra accepter de partager ces pouvoirs.

Partout dans le monde, l'heure est au changement. La structure canadienne n'y échappe pas et elle doit être opposée tant du point de vue politique, économique que social. Pour ce faire, les gouvernements doivent être à l'affût des besoins distincts des trois peuples fondateurs du Canada : les autochtones, les francophones et les anglophones. Ils doivent dès maintenant commencer à négocier ce nouveau Canada et démontrer leur ferme volonté de sauvegarder la coexistence de ces regroupements.

La province de l'Ontario, étant la première province du Canada, tant par sa population que par sa richesse, se doit d'assurer le leadership dans cette matière. Elle doit assumer cette responsabilité non seulement par ses attitudes vis-à-vis sa communauté franco-ontarienne, mais surtout par son pouvoir d'influencer les autres provinces pour que ces dernières saisissent bien les aspirations légitimes des francophones de ce pays. C'est à ce prix que l'unité du Canada sera sauvegardé.

La province de l'Ontario ne côtoie pas le Québec seulement géographiquement mais elle partage également avec ce dernier des ententes commerciales et autres qui font de ces doux provinces une force économique importante pour le Canada. De plus, l'Ontario compte la plus forte communauté francophone hors Québec, ce qui lui assure une compréhension unique au débat constitutionnel qui s'annonce et par voie de conséquence, une meilleure crédibilité au sein de la communauté anglophone du pays.

Tel le Nouveau-Brunswick, l'Ontario se doit de reconnaître la langue française et de plus insister fortement pour que cette juste reconnaissance fasse partie intégrante du renouveau constitutionnel.

En terminant, le Mouvement des caisses populaires souhaite que le présent mémoire soit utile à la commission et remercie cette dernière d'avoir bien voulu l'entendre. Merci.

M. le Président : Merci, Monsieur Martin. Est-ce qu'il y a des questions ? Are there any questions?

M. Beer : Juste une question. C'est au sujet de cette question des caisses et du fonds de sécurité. Je sais que c'était toujours un sujet de discussion quand nous étions au pouvoir et je vais dire que je n'ai jamais complètement compris toutes les raisons pour le problème. Est-ce que c'est toujours à l'ordre du jour du gouvernement ? Où est-ce que cette question reste ? Je pense que vous avez fait dans votre présentation un bon argument pour changer le système actuel, mais quel est le problème clé ?

M. Martin : Je pense que le problème qui existe présentement est au niveau des priorités gouvernementales. Je crois que le ministre des Institutions financières a peut-être d'autres problèmes soi-disant plus prioritaires, mais passé avril je pense que le gouvernement se rattachera un peu plus près de notre problème. On était censé le régler l'année dernière, mais avec les changements gouvernementaux ça a été retardé encore une fois, alors on espère bien que la commission intercédera.

M. Beer : On va en parler avec nos collègues de l'autre côté.


M. le Président : J'appelle maintenant Yves Drouin, le maire de la ville de Hawkesbury.

M. Drouin : Monsieur le Président, chers membres du comité, mon nom est Yves Drouin et je suis de la onzième génération de Drouin au Canada. Mon fils Mathieu est de la cinquième génération de Franco-Ontariens. Je suis aussi maire de Hawkesbury et au nom des citoyens et citoyennes de la ville de Hawkesbury, je désire vous remercier d'avoir accepté de nous recevoir aujourd'hui.

L'Ontario, la province la plus peuplée du Canada a, à n'en pas douter, un rôle clé à jouer dans la redéfinition du Canada. En ce sens, la mise sur pied de ce comité spécial arrive à point.

Last year, during what some have called the winter of the unilingual crisis in Ontario, our city made a leap forward. Rather than declaring itself a unilingual city, Hawkesbury boldly chose to officially become a bilingual city. In a nutshell, this action is an accurate reflection of who and what we are: proud Canadians, tolerant people and citizens who strive to find a way to accommodate the two official linguistic groups in this richly diverse country.

Hawkesbury est fière d'être une ville bilingue. Alors que la population canadienne utilise l'anglais comme langue de communication à 75% et le français à 25%, nos proportions sont à peu près l'inverse. Le Canada tout entier semble croire qu'il est impossible de relever les défis que nous présente notre réalité linguistique. Nous à Hawkesbury croyons, bien au contraire, que notre situation linguistique n'est pas un problème mais plutôt un atout, une force et un outil de développement socioéconomique et culturel pour tout l'Ontario et le Canada.

Trop souvent, l'Ontario semble oublier qu'à l'extrême est de ses frontières existe une région dont la ville principale est Hawkesbury. Le journal l'Ottawa Citizen, dans son autopublicité, demande si Queen's Park sait où est situé Ottawa. Cette petite question nous amuse à Hawkesbury. Nous savons que vous savez ou se trouve Ottawa, mais savez-vous qu'à moins de 100 kilomètres d'Ottawa il existe une ville appelée Hawkesbury ? Lorsque le gouvernement ontarien, en collaboration avec le gouvernement fédéral, a annoncé en 1989 la mise sur pied du premier collège communautaire de langue française, avec campus à Cornwall et à Ottawa, deux villes à forte majorité anglophone, nous ne nous sommes pas laissés démoraliser, car nous savions que nous avions beaucoup de ressources à offrir. Nous pouvons, entre autres, offrir un milieu de vie unique en français que virtuellement aucune autre région de la province ne peut offrir.

Nous avons revendiqué avec fierté cet atout et l'ensemble des ressources dont nous disposons et c'est ainsi que nous avons obtenu notre campus de la Cité collégiale. Maintenant nous attendons que le gouvernement de l'Ontario accorde un financement réaliste à ce campus et au Centre des métiers qui en fera partie.

L'Ontario a su profiter durant son histoire de nombreux avantages. Bien situé géographiquement au centre du Canada, assuré d'un accès direct aux riches marchés américains, profitant d'une main-d'oeuvre diversifiée, étant ainsi devenu le coeur de l'industrie manufacturière canadienne, l'Ontario est la province la plus riche et la plus puissante de la Confédération. Aujourd'hui, cette Confédération est menacée et le monde économique qui l'a si bien servie est en profonde restructuration. Le Canada est en voie de se désintégrer et l'économie mondiale est en voie de se globaliser.

Dans ce contexte et à cette période critique de notre histoire, l'Ontario a su saisir l'opportunité de venir en aide à notre pays en mettant sur pied un comité d'étude et de consultation tel que le vôtre. Votre mandat le dit très bien.

The mandate that has been entrusted to your committee is one we take seriously. In addressing both questions, which are of fundamental importance to the future of our country and our province, we would first like to say that in order to protect and promote the social and economic interests and aspirations of all Ontarians, the Ontario government must play a proactive role in saving our country from the crisis it now faces.

The disintegration of our national fabric can only bring serious harm to our province. Over the years, Ontario and Quebec have developed and enjoyed strong economic links that must le preserved at all costs. If, for instance, Quebec decides it has no other choice but to sever its ties with Canada, there is no doubt in our minds that this would cause irreparable harm to all concerned.


Il est évident que le Canada tel que nous l'avons connu est déjà chose du passé. Il nous faut donc une nouvelle forme de confédération. Nous ne sommes pas des constitutionnalistes, mais nos expériences et nos connaissances nous permettent d'affirmer avec conviction que nous devons reconnaître, protéger et promouvoir les droits des premiers citoyens du Canada, les autochtones. Nous devons partout au pays reconnaître, protéger et promouvoir les droit des communautés linguistiques de langue officielle. Nous devons trouver les moyens qui permettront aux francophones et aux anglophones et aux autochtones de se sentir à l'aise au sein de notre pays, de s'épanouir et de servir le pays avec fierté. Nous devons reconnaître et promouvoir l'héritage multiculturelle de notre pays. Nous devons permettre à chacune des régions de notre pays de se donner les moyens d'agrandir et de contribuer à l'ensemble du pays.

Canadians have but one certainty today: We cannot go back to the Canada we once knew. Change is the order of the day. If making changes means granting a greater degree of autonomy to Quebec -- or to any other province, for that matter -- we say let's do it. This whole crisis is not and should not le about the division of powers between the federal and the provincial governments. The heart of the matter, the real issue, is the existence of our country. We are firmly convinced that our country can exist under another type of formula than the one that has served us since Confederation.

Behind this crisis, however, that has been tearing us apart for years, there is an even more serious issue. While Canadians from all parts of the country are desperately searching for a new identity and continue to fight their way out of this dangerous constitutional quicksand, our world is slowly but surely becoming a global village, and this globalization phenomenon is seriously overtaking our world economy.

Those fundamental changes to our world are bringing a new era and a new way of doing business across the many continents. For example, how can we possibly think of developing new markets and finding new growth opportunities when we are continuously engaging in constitutional debates that require most of our energies and resources? If we want to ensure a dynamic and prosperous future for Canada and Ontario, we must start using all of our resources to develop new economic opportunities.

We, the citizens of Hawkesbury, do not pretend to have all the answers in this regard, but we do know this. Our chief resource, people, is not being used to its full potential.

Nous pourrions citer de nombreux exemples. Nous préférons toutefois en utiliser un qui est plus près de nous. L'Ontario a l'unique chance de voir coexister sur son propre territoire deux langues des plus utilisées au monde, l'anglais et le français. Nous à Hawkesbury savons à quel point la possession de ces deux langues peut être importante ; notre ville est une des villes les plus bilingues au pays avec un taux de bilinguisme de 90%. Toutefois, cette grande ressource, même chez nous, est mal utilisée parce que, entre autres choses, notre population francophone n'a pas accès à une éducation postsecondaire dans sa langue. Nos industries doivent se rendre au Québec et parfais ailleurs dans le monde pour trouver des spécialistes. On nous répondra que la Cité collégiale est là pour ça, sauf que la Cite collégiale n'offre pas de centre de métiers touchant des domaines tels les sciences de la santé, la gestion, les arts et la culture. Nos étudiants et étudiantes doivent aller étudier ailleurs. Malheureusement, plusieurs d'entre eux ne reviennent pas.

Our message is simple: Ontario's francophone population has a lot to offer Canada and the province. We Franco-Ontarians can le a tremendous asset in helping Ontario develop new markets the world over. Among other things, we speak one of the two languages most often used in the world, the French language. But to help Ontario do this, we need help from Ontario. We need the tools and the development mechanism that will put us in a situation to contribute fully to our province's growth and future. We need educational tools such as the French-language community college that was created in Ottawa in 1989, a campus in Hawkesbury fully equipped to develop our people. Those are the kinds of tools that can help us help you. The French Language Services Act of 1986 was a start. We must go even further still. Our future depends on it.

Les francophones de cette province, comme les francophones des autres provinces et les anglophones du Québec, sont l'une des principales ressources de ce pays. Malheureusement, une petite minorité aimerait pouvoir leur enlever leurs droits qu'ils ont si durement acquis et les renvoyer «chez eux». Chez nous, c'est ici en Ontario. Nous sommes ici pour rester et nous voulons bâtir un Ontario compétitif et un Canada meilleur.

Le Canada, à n'en pas douter, est à la croisée des chemins. Nous sommes présentement à faire des choix qui détermineront notre avenir. Ce processus a toutefois très mal débuté. Depuis le 23 juin dernier, si l'on se fie aux médias, les Canadiens et Canadiennes semblent avoir décidé de s'autodétruire, de se livrer à un suicide collectif. Au Canada anglais, on entend presque quotidiennement des «Let them go» ; au Québec on regarde le pays comme s'il était l'ennemi juré.

À Hawkesbury, nous nous retrouvons littéralement à la frontière de ce phénomène. Située à quelques minutes du Québec et à une heure de Montréal et composée d'une importante minorité anglophone, notre ville subit presque quotidiennement les soubresauts d'une incertitude constitutionnelle qui perdure. Nos anglophones, comme nos francophones, sont inquiets de l'avenir.

Nous savons aussi toutefois que, quoi qu'il arrive, Hawkesbury et ses citoyens et citoyennes seront toujours en Ontario au lendemain des grandes décisions, qu'ils vivront toujours ensemble, que le Québec sera toujours juste un peu plus loin que Montréal et que Montréal ne changera pas d'emplacement. Nous savons que, quoi qu'il arrive, nous continuerons à être un pont entre l'Ontario et le Québec.

We want to live in a strong and united Canada. As Canadians, we know that the disintegration of our country will cost us dearly and in many ways than one. We also know that we must le prepared to make important change in the way we have been relating to each other as Canadians and as a nation.

L'Ontario doit d'abord s'assurer d'être l'un des principaux chefs de file dans la réalisation de ces changements. Il est important que la province s'assure de jouer un rôle de médiateur dans le débat qui s'enclenche. L'Ontario et le Québec partagent une histoire commune qui remonte à presque 200 ans. Plusieurs choses nous unissent, entre autres des relations économiques extrêmement importantes. Durant le désormais célèbre débat sur l'accord du Lac Meech, par exemple, l'Ontario s'est assuré de maintenir des liaisons de communication constantes avec le Québec. C'est là un rôle que l'Ontario se doit de continuer à jouer. D'autre part, l'Ontario doit aussi s'assurer que les points de vue des autres groupes, régions et provinces soient entendus et écoutés. Si l'on veut que le Canada survive, il va nous falloir écouter beaucoup au cours des prochains mais.

At this key moment in our history, Ontario, if it wants, can seize the unique opportunity of being a role model. At a time when intolerance, unwillingness and rigidity seem to predominate, Ontario could and should adopt the role of the big brother and show the way to a more tolerant, open and peaceful society. One of the ways in which we can achieve this is by adopting a code of rights for its minorities and developing the appropriate policies that would serve to enforce it.

Grâce à ces deux grands axes, médiation et respect des droits des minorités, l'Ontario pourrait avoir la certitude que, quoi qu'il arrive, notre province serait vue comme celle qui a tout fait pour sauver le pays. Par la suite, les liens qu'elle aurait à établir avec le reste du pays seraient d'autant plus faciles à négocier.


Enfin, l'Ontario doit prendre conscience que, en fonction de l'avenir incertain qui nous attend, sa population francophone devient un élément clé dans son positionnement. Le Québec, souverain ou non, ne partira pas à la dérive dans le golfe du Saint-Laurent. Nous continuerons, comme Ontariens et Ontariennes, à entretenir des liens économiques, sociaux et culturels très étroits avec les Québécois. La province aura donc grand besoin des francophones pour assurer des liens solides entre les deux provinces. Pour ce faire, il faut que l'Ontario reconnaisse officiellement sa population francophone et qu'elle lui donne les moyens de servir sa province et son pays.

En conclusion, en prenant ces mesures l'Ontario aura fait tout son possible pour tenter de nous sortir indemne de la crise actuelle. Ce faisant, peut-être pourrions-nous éviter aussi la malheureuse erreur commise en 1980. Si, après le référendum de 1980, les provinces canadiennes avaient reconnu les droits de leurs minorités linguistiques, comme on l'a fait en Ontario et comme Hawkesbury l'a fait pour sa population anglophone, il est fort possible que nous aurions pu éviter la crise qui nous déchire aujourd'hui.

Dans toute cette question, il importe de garder à l'esprit un élément fondamental : les autochtones, les francophones, les anglophones et la communauté multiculturelle de ce pays désirent d'abord et avant tout se sentir à l'aise dans ce pays, s'épanouir pleinement et pouvoir être citoyens et citoyennes à part entière.

In our humble view, a crisis can also be an opportunity for change and growth. Ontario has always played a vital role in this country. More than ever before, its leadership is a key to the impasse that Canada and its respective provinces and territories seem to have reached in finding ways of accommodating this richly diverse nation.

Nous, citoyens et citoyennes de Hawkesbury, partageons ce désir par-dessus tout et souhaitons avoir l'occasion de contribuer pleinement à la société ontarienne et au Canada tout entier.

M. le Président : Merci, Monsieur Drouin, d'avoir partagé avec nous le point de vue de votre ville et particulièrement votre position dans le contexte de la géographie mais aussi dans le contexte de notre pays.

Mr Beer: One thing I would like to mention with Mayor Drouin here is the role Hawkesbury has always played in terms of the anglophone and francophone communities; you note that your municipality has declared itself bilingual. I think people forget sometimes that a year ago, in fact, there was something in the order of 50 or 60 municipalities, here in the east and in the northeast in particular, which have done that. Indeed, in this very room in which we are sitting, the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton operates in both languages. It is something we should remember, that there are many Ontarians out there who felt there was another way and that their communities could operate bilingually. Your municipality has always taken the lead and I am delighted that you were able to come before us and give us that message.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Could I invite next Michael Teeter from the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Trade?

Mr Teeter: My name is Michael Teeter. I have with me Bernie Dueck, who is also a member of the committee. We are here representing the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Trade, which is the voice of business for this region. We have approximately 1,600 members, representing small, medium and large businesses in our community.

Over the past 10 years the business growth in our region has been rather impressive, in our view; in fact, the business community has been responsible for nearly all the population growth that has existed in this region. The major business sectors in our region are high-technology, hospitality industries, retail and light manufacturing. Unbeknown to many, the federal government has been a declining influence in our region in terms of economic might in the last 10 years. The relative importance of federal government employment has declined. Ten years ago, federal government employment was approximately 32% of the region's workforce; today it accounts for less than 23%.

I do not want to give the impression that federal government employment is not important. Obviously, it is vital to our community, and I am only highlighting the fact that the business community has, I think, done an excellent job in making this region what it is today.

We are here, obviously, to discuss the future of Canada and to a lesser extent, though certainly important to us, the future of federal government in our region. This is what we will focus on to some extent in the rest of our comments.

First, we are somewhat dismayed by the fact that many Canadians are not as proud of or as supportive of our public service and the federal institutions in our nation's capital as they should be. We think this attitude is perhaps symptomatic of a deeper and disturbing malaise in our country. It is symptomatic of a nation that perhaps is beginning to disrespect itself a little. I welcome all of you to ask an American how he feels about his nation's capital and I am sure you will get a much different response from when you ask that question of many Canadians in this country.

From a business point of view, all this talk about how terrible the federal government is and the lack of pride in our country, at the same time as perhaps a downgrading on emasculating of what the nation's capital represents, we feel erodes business confidence generally.

These two things and all the other things associated with the political uncertainty brings with it, I think, a serious threat to our economic health and security as a nation.

As mentioned by others, the rest of the world seems to be breaking down barriers while Canada seems to be putting them up. We are intensely preoccupied with ourselves while we should be looking outwards and creating world-class businesses. We are focusing on those things that divide us and not on those values that we share in common.

All these things, of course, disturb us greatly as businessmen in this region. We are concerned about the future, and we would hope that the Ontario government, for its part, works very diligently to seek a fast and effective solution to all this political insecurity. Frankly, from my point of view, I am much more wedded to a fast solution than I am to any particular outcome, as a businessman, and I think there are many businessmen who feel the same way.

In our view, there are perhaps three serious options being considered in terms of the constitutional blueprint for the future. The status quo is not one of them. The first one is a substantial devolution of powers to the provincial governments, as the Allaire report pointed out; the second one perhaps is special status for Quebec, sovereign nation, whatever you want to call it; and a third one is the significant reform of power sharing and perhaps institution sharing between the provinces and the federal government and, in the process, perhaps taking some of the those shared jurisdictions that currently exist and making them the exclusive domain of one level of government or the other.

Personally we support the third option. In our view the first option is the worst. A substantial devolution of powers is not something we would support at all, either from a regional perspective or because our members feel somewhat attached to Canada as a country and what it stands for and would feel strongly that the federal government should maintain all powers necessary to make Canada be what it stands for.


At the same time as we support a reform of power sharing, we would also support a reform of democratic institutions, an elected Senate among other things, but also an ability for individuals, both MPs and individuals in society, to more fully affect the democratic process. There is a terrible degree in our view of disfranchisement today and a sense of frustration that a handful of people are destroying the country that we care for.

In fact I believe that if our democratic institutions had been reformed some time ago we would not be in the malaise we are in today, that if there truly was regional representation in power circles in this town, that if there was a real ability for individual legislators to influence the process rather than having it held so tightly in very few hands, the degree of disfranchisement either on a regional perspective or on an individual basis would not be what it is today. There would be a lot more satisfaction and a lot more confidence that the institutions we do have would be able to solve the problems of the future.

In terms of our own region and what might happen in the final analysis, it is possible indeed that our point of view, which is one of reform of powers between the provinces and the federal government but not necessarily a downsizing of federal government resources or a power devolution, just means a further clarity of what powers belong to whom. Assuming that our point of view is accepted, then we would not expect a radical effect on our region in terms of economic implications.

None the less, if we are wrong and there are transfers of revenues, tax points, powers, employees, etc, from the federal government to the province or government of Quebec or any other provincial governments for that matter, we would argue very strenuously for some kind of a transition period, a minimum of 10 years, and that there be specific economic adjustment programs for our region.

I think that, again getting back to this, we should not underestimate the importance of federal government employment to the 800,000-odd people who live in this region.

We also believe that overall federal decentralization commitments that continue today designed to transfer jobs and programs to places outside our region should be postponed indefinitely.

We would seek a more active participation of the Ontario government in the economic affairs of our region, particularly as it acts as the commercial centre for eastern Ontario. It has been my impression that the government of Ontario has assumed, certainly in today's time, perhaps a little bit incorrectly, that the federal government always looks after this region and that it therefore does not have a significant role to play, but I would suggest that in times such as these it is time for the Ontario government to exercise some leadership in terms of our region.

Last we would seek some sort of commitment that any institutions required to manage a new Canadian federation be housed here, that they not be housed elsewhere.

The last two prescriptions have to do with any kind of change in power sharing and so on, and that those would go regardless of the outcome. They in fact are policy positions that we have today as the board of trade.

Trade barriers between provinces, for example, we do not believe should ever be permitted to exist regardless of what the outcome of constitutional discussions are and we would strongly support a standardization of tax and regulatory regimes between all provinces.

In closing I would just like to emphasize what our chairman said to me last night, and that is that we hope that at a time like this, the Ontario government might stand up and exercise some leadership on behalf of the people in Ontario to perhaps restore some of the lost confidence that we all feel at this time.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Teeter. There are some questions. We will try to get through as many as we can.

Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. Just in passing, when you talk about the trade barriers between provinces, you might be interested to know that many people have come before this committee and brought forward that particular message that we, as a province, and certainly all the provinces, should be looking at the reduction of trade barriers between the provinces.

My question deals with your membership. You have indicated you have 1,600 members and one of the things I would like to know is whether you, as the board of trade, are having any in-depth discussion with the membership on the issue, in terms of the impact of any of the potential models that you have already gone through and what it means to them, and also whether there is anything being done in terms of the province as a whole and boards of trade and chambers of commerce.

I think that that would be helpful to the committee. After saying that, my question is directed to the scenario which you have indicated you prefer, being a reform of power sharing in institutions between the provinces and the federal government. I was wondering if you might be able to share with us whether you feel the federal government should still, even in the event of a redistribution of power sharing, have some form of economic-type control over the provinces or whether you see some devolution in that area also.

Mr Teeter: Let me just talk a little bit about the consultation process, since you raised the subject. I would say that it is just beginning, and we in the national affairs committee have been perhaps a little bit more proactive in talking about the issue, because we believe that it would have a significant effect on the Ottawa-Carleton region. I am also vice-chairman of the board of trade and I have discussed it at the board level and at the executive committee level. The momentum is building to try to create, say, a more broad consensus among the membership, as well as to gather data, as much as we can, as to what the impacts are.

In terms of the chambers of commerce generally, there are instruments in place to allow us to consult with other chambers of commerce through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commence and so on. In fact the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting is happening shortly. I know that it must be on the agenda somewhere, but we will have to make sure that it is. It must be.

Now, your second question about the specific economic powers that might or might not be transferred: I must confess that I have not done an in-depth analysis of all the power sharing of the powers that each level of government has, but in general I would support certainly a very strong presence for the federal government in all matters relating to monetary policy, to begin with, and obviously some control over fiscal policy too, because the spending powers, if they are transferred to the provinces as well, monetary policies in the federal government's hands, you may have the two acting at cross-purposes. So I would have to just say generally that I am a strong supporter of a stronger federal presence and stronger federal clarity of roles in all matters related to economic policy.

Bernie, do you have some comments?

Mr Dueck: Yes, I think I will follow with the no trade barriers between the provinces. Generally we would not support the devolution of economic powers to the provinces.

Mr Offer: Mr Chair, we might find out what is going to be on the agenda at the annual meeting of the chamber of commerce, because if there is going to be discussion -- I know from past history that the agenda is usually circulated -- any discussion which has taken place at the annual conference might be very helpful to this committee in terms of their looking at some of the economic ramifications of any of the models being proposed.

The Chair: Perhaps we can make sure that through our research people we get that information. It may be of use to us. Thank you very much then. We will move on.

J'appelle maintenant Jocelyne Beaulier du Cercle des femmes journalistes francophones. Non ? Françoise Viau? Non?



M. le Président : Monsieur Lécuyer.

M. Lécuyer : Bonjour, Monsieur le Président, membres de votre comité. À ma gauche est Françoise Viau, directrice générale de la fédération des aînés francophones de l'Ontario. Moi-même je suis André Lécuyer, président de la fédération. Nous vous remercions de nous avoir reçus aujourd'hui pour pouvoir dialoguer quelque peu sur un sujet qui nous intéresse tous puisque nous vivons dans cette province et que nous y vivons depuis très longtemps.

La Fédération des aînés francophones de l'Ontario existe depuis 1979, donc 12 ans. Elle regroupe les clubs et les centres de jour, tout près de 104 clubs et centres de jour, plus de 12 000 membres, et nous sommes ici non seulement pour représenter ces 12 000 membres mais pour représenter les tout près de 42 000 aînées francophones de cette province. C'est à la page 3 du mémoire que vous avez devant vous.

Nous représentons plus que cela. Nous représentons toutes ces personnes qui sont nées dans les années 1900, qui ont vécu ici ou qui sont venus s'établir en Ontario. Nous représentons en plus cet esprit combatif de ces personnes, ceux mêmes qui ont combattu pour le maintien et l'établissement d'écoles de langue française primaires et secondaires, aussi bien que les nombreuses personnes qui ont fondé les associations pour la protection de la culture et de la langue française en Ontario, et de même, tous ces francophones aînées qui ont combattu pour la reconnaissance du fait français. Tout ce qui se passe en Ontario actuellement, je pense que nous pouvons le souligner avec fierté ; ce sont des faits et gestes de personnes de notre âge, de mon âge aussi bien que de personnes de 80 et de 90 ans.

Alors -- à la page 3, dernier paragraphe -- les personnes âgées ont planté racines dans cet Ontario et ce Canada. Nous sommes fiers de dire que nous sommes le deuxième peuple fondateur de cette province, après les autochtones bien sûr et avant les anglophones évidemment.

Nos pères, nos mères et nos arrières-parents sont venus s'installer sur le territoire ontarien 352 ans passés. C'est tout un héritage que nous portons. Tout comme nous respectons l'héritage du premier peuple fondateur, les autochtones, nous souhaitons que le troisième peuple fondateur, les anglophones, respectent notre existence et celle de nos descendants et de nos descendantes.

Qu'est-ce qu'une personne âgée francophone peut partager comme valeurs à titre de Canadien ou de Canadienne ? Nous pouvons partager ce que nous avons de plus cher, un respect et une reconnaissance pour toutes les grandes réalisations des deux autres peuples fondateurs. Nous aimerions que ce soit réciproque, que les anglophones puissent respecter et reconnaître tout, partout en Ontario et même au Canada, ce que nous et nos ancêtres avons fait pour le développement de cette province et du Canada. Nous aimerions partager cet héritage francophone du passé et la fierté possible d'un futur à titre de Canadiens et de Canadiennes.

Nous avons à vivre cette dualité linguistique qui a toujours existé et qui fait du Canada un pays spécial et quasi unique. Sur les 25 millions d'habitants et d'habitantes dans ce pays, nous sommes 26% à descendre de l'ethnie française qui a trouvé sa source dans la création de ce pays.

L'autre 74% est compose de descendances multiethniques qui se servent de la langue anglaise majoritairement comme outil de communication. Une fois que chaque Ontarien et Ontarienne aura accepté cette diversité dans une forme d'unité, nous aurons alors des valeurs similaires à partager en tant que Canadiennes et Canadiens à part entière. Nous, personnes âgées de l'Ontario français, demandons d'être valorisées pour nos nombreuses contributions au développement de l'Ontario et nous aimerions partager des valeurs de fierté et de respect avec tous les Ontariens et toutes les Ontariennes de notre province. Quoi répondre à la question comment l'aîné francophone peut assurer l'avenir de la province de l'Ontario au sein de l'économie mondiale, sauf peut-être avec une arrière-pensée un peu sarcastique ?

Dans ce territoire qui est devenu l'Ontario, les Français et les autochtones ont été les premiers à négocier des échanges commerciaux sur base internationale. On peut dire que c'est grâce à eux si on parle aujourd'hui d'échanges et d'avenir pour l'Ontario au sein de l'économie mondiale. Les précédents créés ont toujours été là pour justifier les gestes entrepris et à entreprendre. Ce sont les Hurons, ce peuple de commençants, qui ont appris à nos ancêtres l'art du commerce mondial.

Nous, descendants et descendantes de ces ancêtres francophones, avons contribué autant que n'importe qui à la réussite de l'Ontario et du Canada sur la scène d'économie mondiale. Nous avons travaillé dans nos forêts, dans nos mines, dans nos industries, dans nos usines. Nous avons même contribué à la création d'entreprises multinationales et, venant de l'Ontario et venant de Sudbury, je crois que quelques noms en ressortent. Nous avons même créé certaines de ces entreprises.

Comment voulez-vous que le Canada ait réussi à assurer son avenir au sein de l'économie mondiale ? Il a cru essentiel de se définir comme pays bilingue pour s'offrir des ouvertures à l'étendue du globe. Il faut en tirer leçon et s'offrir, nous aussi de l'Ontario, un statut bilingue français-anglais pour être respectés davantage à l'échelle internationale. Si l'Ontario veut s'ouvrir de plus en plus sur le marché des peuples francophones -- de la France, de la Belgique, de la Suisse, de l'Afrique, des Antilles -- il va falloir que notre province suive l'exemple du Canada et se déclare officiellement bilingue pour recevoir une reconnaissance de ces pays.

Si Ontario veut profiter des talents de génie de nos descendances francophones, il va falloir que notre province nous offre plus de collèges et d'universités pour permettre une meilleur formation en francais. Il est reconnu qu'on apprend mieux dans sa langue maternelle. Pourquoi les Desmarais et plusieurs autres Franco-Ontariens et Franco-Ontariennes ont opté pour le Québec comme terre d'accueil pour leurs compagnies ? C'est très simple. Il y a beaucoup plus d'universités et de collèges bilingues qui peuvent leur offrir des économistes et des entrepreneurs et entrepreneuses qui peuvent s'adapter linguistiquement aux trois quarts des négociations économiques mondiales.

Si l'Ontario veut s'assurer d'un avenir au sein de l'économie mondiale, il va falloir qu'il soit au diapason de cette dualité linguistique internationale. La majeure partie de l'Europe travaille déjà en trois langues. Notre avenir ontarien dépendra d'au moins deux langues, le français et l'anglais. Comment pouvons-nous faire autrement si nous voulons vraiment faire partie d'un pays à deux langues officielles ?

En résumant, nous affirmons que la population francophone de l'Ontario a été un atout important dans l'évolution de la province sur la scène mondiale.

Il serait plus que possible de développer d'autres génies entrepreneurs et entrepreneuses francophones et de les garder en Ontario si nous avions des collèges et des universités francais, comme le Québec s'est permis d'avoir pour sauvegarder son pouvoir économique international, des collèges et des universités anglais.

Les Franco-Ontariens et les Franco-Ontariennes ont toujours été partie intégrante de cette participation au sein de l'économie mondiale. Il faut donc que la province de l'Ontario favorise davantage cette participation pour faire de notre province un pouvoir économique international. Avec votre permission, Monsieur le Président, je demanderais à Mme Viau de continuer.


Mme Viau : À la question, quel rôle devrait jouer les gouvernements fédéral et provinciaux, vous faites une erreur. La question est trop vaste. On devrait se demander quel pouvoir devrait avoir l'Ontario dans un fédéralisme. L'Ontario devrait définitivement avoir plus de contrôle dans les domaines de la santé et des services publics. Il est évident que l'Ontario fait des progrès au niveau des services en français, mais pour mieux venir en aide aux aînés francophones, il nous faudrait des résidences francophones, et ce uniquement en français. Pour permettre à nos gens de bien finir leur vie, de bien s'adapter à cette dernière phase de leur existence, il faut avoir un peu de gratitude.

Il ne faut pas oublier qu'ils et elles ont fait leur part dans le développement de cette province. Nos personnes âgées méritent bien cette considération. Il ne faut pas oublier que d'ici l'an 2031 notre nombre aura doublé. Actuellement, la majorité des aînés doivent finir leurs jours dans des résidences anglophones. Est-ce vraiment avoir du respect ? Nous, la Fédération des aînés francophones de l'Ontario, demandons plus de résidences françaises par respect pour nos personnes âgées qui ont travaillé très fort afin de forger cet Ontario que nous connaissons.

Il est vrai qu'au Canada on ne rend pas justice aux autochtones, comme pose la question 4. Il est aussi vrai que dans la province de l'Ontario, on ne rend pas justice aux droits des francophones. C'est reconnu, les minorités ont toujours été défavorisées ; ça fait partie du côté sombre des notre histoire. Ontario, qui représente 38% de la population canadienne, a le devoir d'être le premier à rectifier ces injustices. Notre gouvernement doit devenir la figure de proue et rendre justice là où il se doit

Il faut reconnaître officiellement ces deux peuples fondateurs qui sont devenus, avec les années, minoritaires. Il faut leur donner ce qui leur revient, reconnaître leurs droits. Tout revient une autre fois à cette question de respect, respect des autochtones, respect des francophones.

Reconnaître le droit à l'autodétermination et aux revendications territoriales des autochtones est une question de logique.

Reconnaître l'égalité linguistique du français et de l'anglais en Ontario est aussi une question de logique.

C'est en respectant cette base qu'on finira par comprendre ce qu'il faut vraiment faire pour garantir l'union dans un Canada.

La question sur les conflits linguistiques ne date pas d'aujourd'hui, croyez-nous. Nous le savons, nous les aînés francophones de Ontario, et ce n'est pas une question d'émotivité comme vous le dites dans votre document de discussion, Changement et renouveau. C'est plutôt une question de survie pour une culture, pour une langue, pour un peuple en voie d'extinction.

C'est encore cette question de manque de respect. Les aînés francophones de l'Ontario ont vécu et subi plus que les deux grandes guerres mondiales. Ils et elles se sont battus toute leur vie pour éviter le génocide culturel et linguistique qui semble être concocté par leur prochain. Une autre partie sombre de l'histoire de l'Ontario.

Comment voulons-nous un Canada bilingue et uni quand nous n'avons même pas une province bilingue et unie ? Le peuple franco-ontarien est un peuple fier, un peuple tenace. Il a réussi à survivre malgré les nombreuses pressions pour le faire disparaître. Imaginez-vous si toutes nos énergies franco-ontariennes avaient été investies uniquement pour développer l'Ontario ; nous aunions toute une province tant sur le plan international qu'à l'échelle nationale. Nous avons perdu beaucoup de temps, nous les aînés francophones, à vouloir défendre notre culture et notre langue. Elles ont perdu beaucoup de temps, les personnes âgées anglophones, à vouloir nous détruire. Il semble que l'union aurait pu faire la force dans notre province.

Comment voulez-vous l'unité au Canada quand la majorité des provinces n'emboîtent pas le pas sur cette reconnaissance nationale des deux langues officielles ?

M. Lécuyer : Le Canada n'est pas un melting pot et la langue française n'en est pas une parmi tant d'autres. C'est une des deux langues officielles et canadiennes. Aux autres peuples parlant le français, nous vous demandons de vous joindre à nous dans le respect de notre histoire, de nos racines et de nos droits acquis comme peuple fondateur. Ce droit n'est pas négociable et ne peut pas être abrogé.

Au stage où nous en sommes, l'avenir du Québec reste à être déterminé par le Québec comme l'avenir de l'Ontario reste a être déterminé par l'Ontario. Si toutes les provinces avaient suivi le pas du Canada en se déclarant bilingues, nous n'aurions pas à nous poser cette question : quel est l'avenir du Québec au sein du Canada ? Il faut s arrêter d'y penser. La réponse est pourtant simple. Le respect de l'un attire le respect de l'autre. Avec un respect mutuel, on développe l'amitié ; avec l'amitié on crée en retour l'union, et avec l'union on adhère à l'appartenance.

Ontario n'a qu'un geste de base à poser pour ouvrir les négociations sur l'avenir du Québec au sein du Canada. Il doit démontrer une solidarité canadienne en acceptant les deux langues officielles de notre pays et ce par voix législative.

Comment voulez-vous qu'un peuple menacé ne se protège pas ? Le français a toujours été menacé au Canada et particulièrement en Ontario. Les deux plus grandes provinces, l'Ontario et le Québec, regroupent à elles seules 65% de la population canadienne. Il y a quasi autant de francophones que d'anglophones dans ces populations combinées. Il faut vraiment être sérieux et y penser.

La place de l'Ouest, du Nord et de la région de l'Atlantique au sein du Canada n'est vraiment pas une question. Il est tout à fait normal que l'ouest et l'est du Canada parlent de favoritisme pour le centre. Si cette philosophie de ne pas respecter ses minorités existe dans la mentalité générale du peuple ontarien, comment voulez-vous qu'en nombre minoritaire les deux extrémités du pays ne se sentent pas défavorisées ? Même là c'est encore une question de respect. Il faut que cette attitude de supériorité cesse. La modestie et l'humilité doivent commencer à s'apprendre chez soi avant d'oser avoir la décence de vouloir les transporter ailleurs.

À l'ultime question, que veut l'Ontario, il est impossible pour la FAFO de répondre. Elle est trop générale, trop vague, tout comme la question que le Canada anglais s'est posée : What does Quebec want?

Les personnes âgées francophones de l'Ontario ne se posent pas la question : qu'est-ce que les francophones de l'Ontario veulent ? Ils et elles savent ce qu'ils et elles veulent et surtout ce dont ils et elles ont besoin. Voici ce que la Fédération des aînés francophones de Ontario veut et s'attend du gouvernement de Ontario :

que le gouvernement de l'Ontario apprenne à respecter ses minorités en mettant à leur disposition tous les services -- santé, éducation, instruction -- et ce, sans exception. C'est de mise pour en retour être respecté des autres gouvernements provinciaux ;

que le gouvernement de l'Ontario commence à faire des gestes concrets en acceptant légalement les deux langues officielles du Canada pour garantir un pas positif vers l'unité nationale. C'est la base de toute logique ;

que le gouvernement de l'Ontario favorise les programmes destinés aux personnes âgées francophones en leur donnant accès à des résidences françaises pour finir leurs jours dans la grâce et la dignité. C'est simplement un fait de reconnaissance pour le rôle que nous avons joué dans l'évaluation de notre province ;

que le peuple anglophone du Canada commence à respecter le peuple francophone du Canada pour créer l'unité. Ce n'est qu'un geste normal et humain.

C'est en passant par de petits gestes concrets comme ceux-ci que l'Ontario aura sa place dans un Canada déjà défini comme étant un pays bilingue.

C'est main dans la main qu'on bâtit l'amitié, c'est par le respect de l'autre qu'on bâtit l'unité et c'est l'unité qui fait la force d'un pays. Sans respect des autres cultures et sans reconnaissance des deux langues officielles, il y a peu d'espoir pour un Canada. Pour un peu paraphraser Louis Hémon dans Maria Chapdelaine, nous sommes ici depuis 350 ans, nous avons l'intention d'y rester. Nous avons l'intention de continuer à combattre et espérons que le respect que nous demandons aujourd'hui ne tardera pas à nous être accordé et que nous pourrons tous ensemble grandir et faire grandir Ontario pour le plus grand bien des peuples qui y résident. Merci.


M. le Président : J'appelle maintenant Rhéal Leroux de la Chambre économique de l'Ontario. C'est notre dernière présentation aujourd'hui. Our last presenter this afternoon.

M. Leroux : Comme je suis le dernier à présenter un mémoire aujourd'hui, et que vous avez déjà en face de vous le mémoire, je vais un peu résumer et distribuer le document de façon à vous libérer le plus tôt possible.

Fondée en mai 1990, la Chambre économique de l'Ontario est un organisme à but non lucratif dont l'objectif principal est de promouvoir et valoriser les entreprises francophones de l'Ontario.

Il existe en Ontario non moins de 8000 petites et moyennes entreprises dirigées par des francophones. De ce nombre, 25% sont gérées par des femmes. La Chambre économique de l'Ontario croit que la situation économique de ces entreprises peut être améliorée et leur développement facilité. C'est pourquoi nous croyons important de prendre part aux audiences publiques sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération.


Si le Canada a comme base deux groupes linguistiques, celui-ci accueille chaque année des gens de différentes ethnies. Ces nouveaux Canadiens apportent une dimension nouvelle à notre société et nous permettent ainsi d'élargir nos propres horizons. Le multiculturalisme constitue pour tous les Canadiens une grande richesse.

Les francophones et les anglophones du Canada doivent donc se réjouir de cette dimension nouvelle permise par le multiculturalisme. Si le Canada désire accroître son pouvoir économique, c'est par une ouverture de plus en plus grande sur le monde qu'il réussira.

Il est donc de l'intérêt de chaque Canadien de mettre en valoir les principes fondamentaux de notre société : liberté d'action et d'expression, démocratie et ouverture d'esprit.

Si l'Ontario veut maintenir et même élargir sa part dans le grand ensemble mondial et conserver un pouvoir d'attraction et de compétitivité déjà reconnu vis-à-vis d'autres pays, le protectionnisme doit être évité. À l'encontre du maintien de la position actuelle, il est préférable d'investir dans la recherche, le développement et la formation professionnelle. Le gouvernement de l'Ontario doit se préparer à accueillir les libres marchés et trouver les mécanismes qui pourraient être à son avantage.

L'Ontario doit continuer sa promotion sur la scène internationale. Poursuivant les efforts du gouvernement précédent, l'actuel gouvernement doit continuer la promotion de l'Ontario vers le marché américain, premier partenaire économique de l'Ontario, et accroître sa part du marché dans le cercle du Pacifique. De plus, l'Ontario doit repenser et réorienter sa position à l'égard de l'Europe.

Pour des raisons politiques, Ontario a fermé la maison de l'Ontario à Bruxelles on 1987. La maison de l'Ontario à Paris a à peine 17 employés alors que la maison du Québec en a 85. Cette situation est d'autant plus étrange que la maison de l'Ontario à Paris doit desservir le Benelux, l'Espagne et devait, jusqu'à l'ouverture récente d'une maison à Milan, desservir l'Italie.

Selon nous, après les États-Unis le milieu d'affaires francophone de Ontario doit, avec la collaboration de la province, développer son marché vers l'Europe. Le gouvernement provincial doit se doter d'outils et de politiques pour augmenter et améliorer ses marchés. La création d'un ministère international on d'un secrétariat aux affaires internationales pourrait faciliter les échanges vers un marché mondial et favoriser l'économie ontarienne. Il est important d'avoir une direction francophone au sein du ministère responsable des affaires internationales. Le ministère de l'Industrie, de Commerce et de la Technologie doit développer un plan de missions économiques vers la France et encourager les entreprises francophones à y participer.

En matière de coopération avec les pays en voie de développement, il faut encourager des programmes d'échange au niveau des PME francophones, petites et moyennes entreprises, et en participer des coopératives agricoles qui semblent être le véhicule le plus adéquat dans les zones rurales de ces pays. Un effort supplémentaire de la part de la province de l'Ontario, en collaboration avec le milieu des affaires francophones, doit être dirigé vers les pays francophones en voie de développement tels que le Bénin, le Sénégal et la Nouvelle-Guinée.

L'entente Ontario-Rhône-Alpes et la participation de l'Ontario au groupe des quatre moteurs économiques d'Europe dont l'Italie (Lombardie), l'Espagne (Catalogne), la France (Rhône-Alpes) et l'Allemagne (Baden-Württemberg) doivent être poursuivies et accentuées. Dans cette entente, les gens d'affaires francophones doivent être invités à participer au développement économique et tout l'Ontario doit être impliqué, ce qui n'est actuellement pas le cas. L'entente Ontario-Rhône-Alpes se limite beaucoup trop à la région de Toronto.

En même temps que s'élargissent les frontières économiques, la Chambre économique de l'Ontario croit que le fédéral et le provincial participent activement à une décentralisation importante des pouvoirs politiques et économiques au niveau des régions et des villes. De plus, les gouvernements, autant provinciaux que fédéral, auraient sûrement avantage à privilégier le libre-échange entre les provinces, surtout dans les domaines de transport, de la construction et de la bière.

Il existe actuellement un trop grand dédoublement entre le gouvernement fédéral et provincial dans des programmes dirigés par les ministères à vocation économique et de formation professionnelle.

Au plan national, il faut remettre à la province la responsabilité du développement économique. Le fédéral doit se limiter à la promotion de commerce extérieur. Au plan provincial en Ontario, le ministère de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de la Technologie doit réduire ses programmes et abandonner ceux qui sont quasi inutilisés.

Dans le domaine de l'entrepreneurship, des fonds de départ devraient motiver la petite et la moyenne entreprise, mais l'aide à des multinationales en difficulté et l'octroi de subventions cachées aux entreprises internationales pour les encourager à s'établir en Ontario doivent être abolis.

La direction de la formation professionnelle sur le plan provincial et fédéral telle que connue doit être repensée et révisée. Le fédéral doit se retirer de cet échange d'activités. La formation professionnelle planifiée par le gouvernement provincial doit renforcer l'approche du développement sur le plan régional et ceci par l'entremise des collèges communautaires. À cet égard, l'Ontario francophone a besoin d'un collège de langue française dans le Nord et dans le Sud.

Un correctif fiscal énergique sans la forme d'une réduction des dépenses est important. Ne pas essayer de restreindre le déficit fédéral et provincial est simplement suicidaire. La Chambre économique de l'Ontario croit à un gel des dépenses fédérales et provinciales pour un minimum de trois ans afin de pouvoir contrôler le déficit. Il n'y a au Canada et en Ontario aucune place pour de nouvelles taxes. Il faut se montrer très ferme pour maintenir les restrictions et les dépenses publiques.

Le Canada a la chance d'avoir deux langues, d'avoir comme langues officielles le français et l'anglais, qui sont les deux langues les plus parlées dans le marché du Commonwealth et des pays francophones. Ces deux langues sont utilisées sur les cinq continents. Leur connaissance devrait être encouragée pour permettre l'ouverture sur les marchés mondiaux.

À l'exemple du Nouveau-Brunswick, l'Ontario aurait avantage à reconnaître le français comme langue officielle en Ontario. Le gouvernement doit promouvoir la tolérance au sein de ses communautés. Dans les réunions à faible population francophone, le ministère de l'Éducation doit encourager la création de centres scolaires-communautaires un de centres multiservices pour permettre le développement de la communauté francophone.

Le Québec est un partenaire économique majeur pour l'Ontario et pour le reste du Canada. C'est un marché naturel et un voisin privilégié. Le Québec doit être encouragé à demeurer dans le Canada.

L'Ontario doit reprendre son leadership sur la scène nationale. À l'image de John Robarts, Bill Davis et David Peterson, le premier ministre Bob Rae doit être un leader national et un allié du Québec sur la question d'une société distincte.

Ontario doit proposer un Canada composé de quatre grandes régions, soit le Québec, l'Ontario, l'Ouest et les Maritimes. Dans le contexte actuel, le sénat doit être aboli.

En raison du contexte international des marchés et de l'économie, il faudra donc de plus en plus soutenir adéquatement les régions dans la conquête de ces marchés tout en recherchant l'équité sociale. Il devient donc essentiel pour le Canada et l'Ontario d'apporter des correctifs à leur approche de développement régional

Cette approche doit : privilégier la formation sur une véritable base de décentralisation politique et économique ; faciliter l'accès aux marchés internationaux ; promouvoir une plus grande productivité et une meilleur qualité ; renforcer l'approche de coopération et de partenariat en valorisant les différences spécifiques de chacun et sortir des oppositions traditionnelles ; et promouvoir le bilinguisme, la tolérance et la richesse multiculturelle de l'Ontario.

M. le Président : Il y a des questions. Monsieur Beer ?

M. Beer : Merci, Monsieur le Président et merci, Monsieur Leroux pour votre présentation. Je pense qu'une des choses intéressantes depuis dix ans est l'essor des entreprises francophones de notre province et voir qu'aujourd'hui on a une Chambre économique de l'Ontario C'est peut-être quelque chose qui aurait été impensable il y a dix ans. Pouvez-vous nous dire exactement comment vous travaillez pour promouvoir et valoriser les entreprises francophones ? Est-ce que vous avez des liens, par exemple, avec des chambres de commerce ? Est-ce que vous êtes complètement indépendant ? C'est un organisme très nouveau. Comment est-ce que vous travaillez ?

M. Leroux : À date il est évident que c'est un organisme très nouveau. On est en communication avec les autres organismes à vocation économique dans la province de l'Ontario, comme le regroupement des gens d'affaires, la Chambre de commerce de Hawkesbury et le Mouvement des femmes en affaires à Welland. Sur la scène de l'Ontario on est en train de se regrouper et d'ici peu on en sera à une première campagne pour tous les membres possibles dans le domaine économique. Sur la promotion, actuellement nous sommes en train de rencontrer des différents ministères et aussi de promouvoir l'activité économique chez les Franco-Ontariens, des études, des recherches. On a déjà commencé avec la région de Rhône-Alpes et on est en train d'organiser une mission dans le domaine agroalimentaire avec la région de Prescott-Russell, le Collège d'Alfred. On est en train de préparer une mission économique avec le ministère de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de la Technologie et aussi on vient de se rendre à Rhône-Alpes pour augmenter la connaissance de la France face à la francophonie en Ontario.

Également, on vient avec la PMPMI à Paris de signer un protocole dans le sens d'échange de services.

M. Beer : Merci beaucoup et bonne chance.


M. Bisson : Monsieur Leroux, je vous remercie pour votre présentation. Il y a des idées là-dedans qui sont très bonnes. On pourra en discuter un peu plus en détail tout à l'heure. Vous avez fait un point que j'ai trouvé intéressant. Vous avez dit, si j'ai bien compris, qu'une des choses que l'Ontario et le Canada ont besoin de faire, c'est de ne pas se mettre dans one position de ce qu'on appelle en anglais «protectionism». Moi je regarde dans l'histoire de l'économie japonaise. Une des grosses affaires qui ont rendu possible le succès économique du Japon est exactement l'inverse de ce dont vous parlez. J'aimerais voir si vous pouvez expliquer ça on peu

M. Leroux : Il est évident qu'en 1945 en 1950, la situation internationale n'était pas ce qu'elle est aujourd'hui et le Japon ne se protégeait pas que sur les marchés économiques, il se protégeait sur l'immigration également, ce qui n'est pas le cas du Canada. Et on sait que l'immigration n'était pas permise au Japon, n'a pas été permise pour à peu près 30 ans

La situation internationale des marchés à complètement changé aussi. Aujourd'hui on ne parle que de l'Europe 92, on parle d'un bloc économique du Canada, des États-Unis et du Mexique. Toute la situation internationale a changé. Vouloir se protéger est une réaction normale. On veut toujours se protéger.

Je vais vous donner on exemple. On a des jeunes de 13 à 14 ans, on voudrait bien les cacher dans la maison contre la drogue, la cigarette, la boisson, mais ce n'est pas on les cachant à la maison qu'on va les éduquer et qu'on va les préparer à être adultes. Alors, notre économie c'est la même chose. On voudrait protéger notre économie, avoir des lois, mais face à la scène internationale c'est dépassé.

Il est beaucoup mieux d'investir dans la recherche, dans la formation professionnelle et c'est triste : il y a des industries, oui, qui vont fermer, il y a des manufacturiers qui vont fermer à cause de cette liberté du marché. Mais recyclons nos travailleurs, recyclons nos marchés, soyons compétitifs. Faisons ce projet d'être compétitif.

M. Bisson : Le problème que j'ai avec ce que vous dites est que oui, il faut ouvrir la porte pour ne pas se mettre dans une situation où on ne veut pas regarder, il faut être capable de rendre les lois un peu plus flexibles, de la manière de laquelle on fait les affaires avec d'autres pays. Oui, je suis très d'accord, c'est une économie globale, mais c'est une question d'ouvrir la porte sans ôter les pentures.

On regarde aux États-Unis une économie qui est très protectionniste puis c'est une des difficultés qu'on a avec le libre-échange. Je regarde les travaillants dans l'Ontario et le reste du Canada qui ont perdu leur job, pour exactement cette attitude-là, en disant qu'on ne veut pas seulement ouvrir la porte, on veut ôter la porte puis ôter les pentures puis on va ôter toutes les affaires qui sont nécessaires pour donner on peu de protection à nos travaillants, à nos usines. Ainsi, je ne suis pas trop d'accord sur ce point-là. C'est quelque chose que je voulais clarifier on peu.

M. Leroux : C'est une question économique à débattre. Ne pas avoir embarqué dans le marché de l'entente États-Unis-Canada, il n'y a rien qui dit que ces entreprises-là seraient encore aussi en existence. Ne pas être compétitif et manquer de productivité par des méthodes de protectionnisme ne solutionne pas notre problème à long terme. Il le solutionne à court terme et c'est populaire politiquement.

On va aller prendre un café tantôt.

The Chair: Last question, Mrs O'Neill.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I really do appreciate your presentation because it is different. It is from a different perspective and I think that is very healthy. Your very first point or recommendation on the last page seems to indicate a close tie between the politics and the economy at the present moment. Do you want to expand a little bit about how one can help the other or one affects the other, the interrelationship that you see?

M. Leroux : Quand je parle de décentralisation politique économique, vous savez comment le gouvernement fédéral n'a pas su s'ajuster aux dépenses et au contexte économique canadien. Quand je parle d'une décentralisation, je pense que l'avenir est vers les régions, c'est-à-dire des régions fortes et on le voit en Europe ; Rhône-Alpes en est une, d'autres régions c'est le même phénomène. Il faut décentraliser les pouvoirs du fédéral dans le domaine économique vers l'Ontario, et en retour l'Ontario les décentralise vers des régions.

Comment peut-on planifier les besoins en formation professionnelle dans des bureaux de fonctionnaires à Ottawa pour les besoins en Colombie-Britannique ? Comment peut-on prévoir les besoins en formation professionnelle pour les pêcheurs de la Gaspésie à partir d'Ottawa ? Je pense que l'Ontario est sur la bonne piste en travaillant avec les collèges communautaires, les 22 ou 23 collèges communautaires qui sont un peu partout dans la province. C'est là que la base de la formation professionnelle se fait, non pas à partir des bureaux de fonctionnaires à Ottawa ; ni à Toronto, d'ailleurs, c'est la même chose. C'est pour ça qu'il est important d'avoir des institutions, des collèges communautaires. On a un collège de langue française à Ottawa ; il y en a un dans le Nord, alors c'est-à-dire que c'est au niveau des régions. Vous savez que les gens d'affaires, les citoyens surveillent beaucoup plus les gouvernements qui sont près d'eux. Il y a toujours une meilleure relation avec les élus des gouvernements municipaux qu'avec ceux de la province ou du fédéral, alors je pense que la décentralisation politique est nécessaire au départ pour permettre de décentraliser au niveau économique. C'est on peu ma réponse, Madame O'Neill.

M. le Président : On va s'arrêter là. We will end this afternoon's session at this point and recess until 7 o'clock this evening. Thank you very much.

The committee recessed at 1727.


The committee resumed at 1909.

The Chair: I would like to call the meeting to order. My name is Tony Silipo. I am the Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation.

We are pleased, as a committee, to be here in Ottawa this evening. We have been here since this morning and heard from about 23 different organizations earlier today, this morning and this afternoon. This evening's session has been set up primarily to give individuals an opportunity to talk to us. We de still have a few organizations we would like to give an opportunity to, but given that this evening's session was primarily set up for individuals and that we gave organizations primarily the opportunity to talk earlier today, I would like to suggest, as we have done on other occasions, that the time lines be set up very clearly so that we can give as many people as possible an opportunity to talk. We would like to suggest that we proceed with the organizations, with a maximum of 10 minutes, and then with the individuals, a maximum of five minutes. Also, I will call on members of the committee to limit the requests for questions, and that will again allow us to hear as many people as we can.

We will probably sit at least until 9:30 and possibly later than that, and we will try, as I said, to accommodate as many people as we can in that time frame; keeping in mind that other discussions will follow after our interim report, and that we will be looking for ways to ensure that there is further consultation and further involvement of the public on those important issues dealing with our future as a province and as a country.


The Chair: I would like to call on Geoffrey Wasteneys from the Northern Foundation to come forward.

Mr Wasteneys: I guess you would like to know the identity of the Northern Foundation. It is a think-tank organization with approximately 1,000 members. It is located in this city. It has held two national conferences on matters of general Canadian interest. It is a Canada-wide organization financed entirely by its members. You might like to know that the president is Ann Hartmann. She is a lawyer, a widow, a mother of six children, and she is a very capable person, but she could not be here tonight.

I am the vice-president. I am Geoffrey Wasteneys. I am a business consultant. My background: I am a graduate of political science and economics. I appeared before the first joint parliamentary-Senate committee on the Constitution and delivered a brief which was printed in its proceedings. I also delivered a brief to the second constitutional group for the 1981-82 Constitution; one of my suggestions was that it should be unlawful for any provincial government to pass any laws restricting the use of either official language. That clause was introduced in the first draft of the Constitution but eliminated for some reason, no doubt the intransigence of somebody.

I have come to talk to you gentlemen and ladies about the nature of constitutions. I am interested in constitutions. I have been interested in them all my life. The British North America Act is on my desk and it has been there ever since I came to Ottawa 40 years ago.

Incidentally, you were addressed this morning by Mr Pickersgill. It is rather interesting to me to remember that one of the first times I came to Ottawa, shortly after I graduated from political science and economics, it was to meet Mr Pickersgill. I was sent to see him by the student advisory body, advising me that there was a job writing features for the Prime Minister, Mr St Laurent. My meeting with Mr Pickersgill was rather brief, because he asked me how I had voted in the last election. As I had voted Conservative, that was the end of that.

What I want to say to you is that a new Canadian Magna Carta is needed. The Magna Carta, as you know -- as every schoolboy used to know when we taught British history in this country which, sadly, we de not -- was signed by King John in 1215. A new Canadian Magna Carta is needed to restore rights and freedoms taken away from working Canadians by elitist politicians and civil servants. The Magna Carta which King John signed in 1215 and subsequently repudiated, as you probably know, in 1216 -- but he died shortly afterwards so it did not signify -- was not so much to provide new rights as to restore those that had been taken away or fallen into disuse. During his regime and that of his Plantagenet predecessors, many topics were covered in the charter, but great attention was given to the retention of all the old rights and to protection from the imposition of new forms of taxation, which is very familiar to us here.

The British North America Act, which is Canada's Constitution, was drawn up entirely by Canadians. I am sure you know that. It clearly states that the Constitution should follow the model of the British Constitution so far as our circumstances will permit. One of these models was a system of common law in which laws are determined in great part by custom which has been generally recognized in the past. When the Constitution Act of 1981-82 was passed, it seriously disrupted this model by presenting a Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was intended to govern all legislation, save where a province invokes the "notwithstanding" clause, by a veto held by the Supreme Count of Canada because, of course, any legislation passed could be appealed to the court under the charter. With one stroke of the pen, the vaunted supremacy of Parliament was sadly lost.

What is more, when judges are given political power, it should not be surprising that they begin to act as politicians de, and many of the recent decisions of the Supreme Court appear to have been made on political rather than legal grounds. It is to be hoped that any amendment to our present Constitution will seek to restore to the Parliament of Canada the responsibility it never failed to exercise in the past, the responsibility for our rights and freedoms.

Those persons who have been involved in the care of hives of bees will tell you that the presence of an additional queen or queens in a hive is shortly followed by a swarm in which the new queen is followed by a large number of worker bees. Our federal system presents us with a rivalry from 10 provincial legislatures, and unless the absolute supremacy of the Parliament of Canada is established, it is virtually certain that there will be from time to time decentralizing forces. When provincial politicians speak of the rights of their province they are really only speaking about their own powers and privileges as provincial politicians. All of our problems arise from the rivalry of politicians seeking their own best interests.

A Constitution is intended to limit and direct the scope of government, and for this reason it is utterly absurd to place the politicians themselves in the position of designing a system under which they are to be controlled. The constitutional change produced by a Prime Minister and 10 premiers is likely to represent simply a resolution of their own interests with the interests of the whole country quite forgotten.

The best Constitution is the simplest. The British North America Act served Canada well. We have had nothing but difficulty and disaster since the amendment in 1981-82, and we certainly have no need for additional constitutional change.

It should not be forgotten that a democracy is a government in which the interests of the majority receive the most concern -- the gentlemen on my left have "Democratic Party" in their title, so I think it particularly interesting for them to think about this. This does not imply that minority rights are restricted or rejected, but an excessive concern for minorities and the institutionalization of minority rights, including minority language rights, has proven to be reverse discrimination, and the real interest of the whole country has been lost.


It is presumed that the select committee an Ontario in Confederation has been hoping to secure a representative opinion from those organizations that appear before it. This hope has been sadly dashed by the bias displayed by the committee in the selection of organizations that have been invited to appear before it in Ottawa to present formal briefs. From a total of 24 organizations, no fewer than 13 were special-interest groups for the interests of Franco-Ontarians and, moreover, principally funded by the Secretary of State department and the province of Ontario, with few genuine dues-paying members. You might ask them how many they have. A further three groups were concerned with multiculturalism on visible-minority rights, and only four, as can be determined, with the general interest of ordinary Ontarians. If this is an example of the exercise of judgement of these Legislators, what can we expect from their judgement on other matters?

I was shocked when I came here and saw, particularly as our organization was one of the first to ask for an opportunity to speak and was not given one. I am here now this evening and I will de my best not to preclude the time for those people, equally important, who are coming here personally as individuals. But I want to say to you gentlemen and you ladies that 22% of the Ottawa residents are French-speaking, no doubt; 78% are English-speaking. This is roughly equivalent to the representation in the whole country, and we in the majority, I tell you, are getting damned tired of being treated as if we were the minority and not the majority. What has been done today by this committee is to destroy the franchise of the organizations in this setting that happen to represent Canadians at large.

I am a resident of Ontario and I have been one since 1918, but I owe no loyalty greater to the country. I de not give a damn for provincial administration. I de not give a damn for Quebec, Newfoundland, British Columbia. I am a Canadian, and I think we should all be Canadians, and the Constitution we are concerned with is one which will keep us all Canadians. Anyone who does not agree with that, anyone who wants something different, is a traitor to our country -- and the term "traitor" should be heard.

In the past it was well known. Our forefathers died for the rights we enjoy today, and some of us fought for these rights in 1939-45. Are we to sit here today and see those rights taken away in the interest of the very people who are not prepared to fight for these rights?

Go to Vimy Ridge and see the names of the people who fought in two wars, in large part to preserve the freedom of France. You will find Ukrainian names, Norwegian, English, Irish and Scots. You will find some French, but far fewer than their proportion. It is not the fault of those people. It is the fault of their leaders, their false leaders who told them it was possible to live in a country and not fight for it until it was too late.

The Chair: Sir, if you could sum up, please.

Mr Wasteneys: It was for that reason.

I am saying to you that the government of Ontario and the legislators of Ontario have no role in the amendment of our Constitution, nor for that matter have the legislators in the Parliament of Canada, in the Senate or the House of Commons. It should be decided by a group of disinterested Canadians drawn from the public at large and not interested in their own particular interests.

If in this country we had a free press which printed everything that was said instead of just what they felt like printing, if we had a free Parliament in which members voted as they wished according to their own wisdom and their own judgement and not as their party told them to de, we would not have the trouble we have come into today.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.

Mr Wasteneys: does anybody wish to ask me any questions?

The Chair: Well, we are beyond the time but if there are any questions, I will allow them. Are there any questions? I de not see any. Thank you very much.

Let me just say before you leave, sir, that listening to your earlier comment about your organization not being allowed on to the list earlier, I went back and checked the list that we had, because I want you to be clear and I want everyone in the room to be clear that when the committee looked at the list in terms of deciding which organizations we were going to hear, and we have accommodated the vast majority of those organizations, for some reason or other your organization's name was not on that list.

Mr Wasteneys: Our name was phoned in at the very beginning, and, Mr Chairman, I will tell you what I was told when I came today. I said, "We were one of the earliest to ask and we did not get even a response," and I was told: "We didn't choose the people for that reason. We wanted a representative group. We wanted to balance it." Now what kind of a balance is this?

The Chair: Sir, you have made your point. I would just like to make mine, which is what I said. We looked at the list of organizations and from that list there were only one or two groups that we did not choose to hear, and it was not because we agreed or disagreed with their point of view but because the issues that they deal with we thought were too remote to the kind of mandate that we had. Your organization, for whatever reason, was not on the list. If it had been on the list, you would have been heard earlier today. In any event, you have had your opportunity to speak, and we have heard you, sir. Okay?

Mr Wasteneys: If it was not on the list, it was not because we did not telephone.

The Chair: I appreciate that.

Mr Wasteneys: Thank you.

The Chair: We will take a look at that and see what the problem was. Thank you.

I am going to proceed now by beginning to call some of the individuals. We will have some other organizations later on. What I would like to de is to just indicate in groups of two or three the people I will be calling, so if people want to come forward and use some of the chairs that are here, that will facilitate our getting through, again, as many people as we can. This is a beautiful room, but we apologize for the distance because it sort of seems to set us down at this end and the rest of the people at the other end of the room.


The Chair: Could I call Arthur Milner to come forward. I will be calling after Mr Milner, Harry Bateman and then Earl McKeen, so if those two people want to come forward as well. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Milner: Thank you. I think you have the text of most of what I am going to say, or in fact more than what I am going to say, in front of you, but I will go through parts of it out loud.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to speak. I believe that the work you are doing is crucial. There are those who say that constitutional talk is a smokescreen or at best irrelevant to the real needs of Canadians, the real needs being generally described as food on the table and a decent job. I could not agree with this sentiment less. The continuous bickering between and among various levels of government makes impossible any concerted and coordinated approach to dealing with Canada's economic problems. We will remain unable to face squarely economic or other serious problems until constitutional issues are resolved.

There has existed since Confederation disagreement on the relative strength of the central government and the provinces. The current division of powers has clearly failed Quebec and has also been unsatisfactory to the other provinces.

With respect to Quebec, we should accept that there exist now limited possibilities: extensive special powers for Quebec and a strong central government for the rest of the country; a sovereign Quebec and a strong central government for the new Canada; giving to each province those powers that Quebec demands, and a weakened central government. This is a wide range of possibilities, but one option is excluded: a strong central government with no special status for Quebec. Those who believe that significant support for the federalist option exists in Quebec are deluding themselves.


Quebec will have to negotiate with Canada either its new powers or the terms of its sovereignty. Quebec is refusing to participate in constitutional talks with nine provinces and the federal government. After the experience of Meech Lake, such a position on the part of Quebec is justified. The rest of Canada must decide how it wants to be represented in talks with Quebec, but we should agree to come up with one negotiating team. Ontario can take a lead in suggesting how such a team be constituted.

The real difficulty, however, will be in reaching an agreement among the nine provinces about what kind of restructuring is acceptable. Will the rest of Canada opt for a strong central government or strong provinces? It would be easy if there were general agreement on this subject outside of Quebec, but there is not. It would be easier if we had started to discuss those questions seriously 20 years ago, but we did not. We will have to de so now.

I want to present two outrageous possibilities, two different directions, two different ways of imagining the country.

If the Canadian dilemma is between a strong central government on one hand and strong provinces on the other, the simplest solution is to abolish one or other level of government. Imagine a country from sea to sea to sea, except for Quebec, with only a central government. Personally, I de not believe such a structure would be acceptable to any province other than Ontario, but it does suggest a direction. We could begin to explore this direction by agreeing now that anyone, especially a provincial politician, who calls for a strong central government must at the same time declare which area of provincial or shared jurisdiction he or she is willing to give up. Education perhaps? Health? Social security? Employment policy and job training? Which ones? How strong a central government are we talking about?

The second possibility is to de away with the central level of government -- an outrageous idea again, but worth pursuing at least conceptually. We could have 10 -- or more or fewer -- autonomous provinces or regions which would meet to negotiate agreements on areas of mutual interest -- foreign policy, defence, equalization, even education and employment. A central bureaucracy would be required to implement policies agreed to by members. While any member could drop out at any time, members would be bound by agreements reached. But policies would be adopted through negotiations by autonomous governments instead of the current situation where national policies are forced on unwilling provinces by a resented central government. Quebec might well be willing to participate in such an arrangement. It does, after all, resemble the Allaire report. It resembles, as well, the way in which the European Community operates.

I agree these are outrageous, complicated and far-reaching suggestions, but they force us to think at least about the direction in which we want to move.

I want to make a few more points.

The population of Ontario is approximately 75 times that of Prince Edward Island, 16 times that of Newfoundland and four times that of the Atlantic provinces combined. I suggest that Ontarians would be justified in feeling some resentment of the fact that in certain constitutional negotiations a resident of Prince Edward Island has 75 times more voice than a resident of Ontario. This is not what we normally think of as democratic. In any restructuring, we must begin to look at the country in terms of regions rather than provinces. Ontario might want to suggest, for example, the Atlantic region should have the same voice as Ontario.

If constitutional discussions are to work, they must take place in an atmosphere of respect and consideration -- provinces for each other, federal and provincial governments for each other and, most important, political parties for each other. We must listen to what others are saying. If we use constitutional discussions as one more opportunity to score points against political opponents, we will have killed those discussions before they begin.

There exists in Canada, outside Quebec, what has been called a crisis of legitimation. No one trusts anybody. No one is seen as legitimately speaking for or making decisions on behalf of Canada. Commissions like this one are denounced before they are begun. The process of Meech Lake contributed as much to its failure as did the contents of the accord. There is every likelihood that any process suggested for constitutional change will be similarly denounced. I have attached a suggestion for thinking about a possible process. I will not read it now.

With respect to native claims, I have little to say except that the questions are both important and complicated. That native Canadians are divided into many organizations, different legal entities -- Inuit, status and non-status Indians, Metis -- and nations will make any resolution of problems more difficult. It is clear that we have barely begun to deal with native claims and that the native people are understandably impatient. At the very least, we must approach any negotiations with a spirit of generosity. By this, I mean that negotiations require a willingness to give things up. We should be willing to give up a great deal.

I want to end with one final warning. I had hoped that at this point in our history such a warning would be unnecessary, but a recent discussion convinced me otherwise. We all know of the passion that accompanies struggles for national autonomy. Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, Palestinians, Northern Ireland and native Canadians are only a few examples. There is no reason to suspect Canada is immune from ongoing violence. Should Canada refuse to accept Quebec's decisions, we clearly have the ability to force the issue to the point where violence becomes inevitable.

The government of Ontario should at the earliest possible date make clear that it will accept Quebec independence in its existing borders if Quebec reaches such a decision either by a majority vote in a referendum or by government legislation following an election held on the question of independence. In the negotiations that will follow a decision for Quebec independence, Canada must negotiate fairly and in good faith with a view to Canada's self-interest and not in a manner designed to punish Quebeckers for their actions. This commission has no doubt heard people say Quebec should be told that it has no right to secession. Such a position will guarantee violence and not Quebec but the rest of Canada will be responsible for this violence, whatever legalisms and petty excuses are used. For the sake of all Canadians, Ontario must dissociate itself from such inflammatory and confrontational positions as clearly and as quickly as possible.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. We will carry on with the next speaker.


The Chair: Harry Bateman. I will be calling Earl McKeen next.

Mr Bateman: Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening. There are so many issues involved that everyone is trying to deal with that I am going to try and make mine brief. It is quite short, and it goes this way.

It seems to me and hundreds of others that Quebec is acting like a nail in Canada's shoe. The cure would be to get the nail out, and if it were possible, it would be a relief. The fact is, Quebec cannot secede from Canada without the consent of the majority. It is tied to Canada economically, geographically and politically. They are stuck in our craw and we cannot spit them out.

The many things to consider are the 75 members of Parliament, 22-plus senators, three Supreme Court judges, half a million English Canadians who were born in Quebec, and thousands of business people and all those who come to Ontario in the morning to work and return in the evening. What happens to them?

The ill will towards Quebec is due to the fanatical promotion of the French language throughout Canada by a few of the French Canadian corporate elite. It is not necessary for everybody to speak French. The cost of taxpayers' dollars is in the millions. The problem can be solved by the abolishment of all language laws and their restrictive clauses. Bill C-72, Quebec bills 101 and 178 and Ontario Bill 8 must go.

In the past, interpreters were able to aid with communication. Language today is confused with education, which it is not. You can be illiterate in several languages and have no knowledge of what the devil is going on, but you can be able to speak them. A lot of people can. Language laws make the ability to speak French a condition of employment and discriminate against 90% of Canadians who are not fluent in French, let alone joual, as well as thousands of Quebeckers who cannot speak English.

If Quebeckers can get rid of their spleen, the problem can be turned around in only a few months, but we need the co-operation of Prime Minister Mulroney, all the premiers, all politicians, religious groups, educators and all the media.


Language laws are a crime against Canada and they are tearing Canada apart. We could live with a reasonable Quebec on a level playing field, but it has to stop whining like spoiled brats. Some 65,000 French persons were abandoned in 1763 by the French King and they swore allegiance to the British King, obtaining a freedom that they would never have received back in France. But that was over 200 years ago and here is Quebec still bleating about the fact that English is the majority. We cannot help it. They might just as well give up and say, "All right, let's get together." I de not know why they de not. It makes you mad when you think of it. Thank you very much.


The Chair: Earl McKeen. I will be calling next Stuart Ross.

Mr McKeen: Because of the curtailment of time, I am not able to give the presentation that I had originally intended when I was promised 15 minutes, so I will only discuss two issues.

First of all, referendum: We must not allow fear of exposing divisions among Canadians to deter us from using referenda as a means of deciding important constitutional and social matters. The suppression of majority feelings and opinions should not be permitted in arriving at decisions affecting all Canadians for the sake of often disunited minorities. The people must be supreme. Politicians and professors of political science in Laval University or graduates thereof will not likely agree to the concept of referenda where people may make their wills known, but then that is to be expected of them and does not make it wrong.

Furthermore, polls, which politicians seem to favour, are limited in scope and accuracy and, worse, often directly influence people's opinions and decisions at the polling booth.

On the question of national unity, which is my second subject, this committee is going around Ontario trying hard to find things that unite us and finding very few. I say, in fact, name one. Language? Culture? Flag? Philosophy? Legal systems? Certainly none of those. Perhaps we are united in our distrust of politicians, but even that must be questioned. French Canadians in general seem to idolize their politicians, while on the other hand most English-speaking people worship neither flag nor politician.

So I say Canada will not work in the future with Quebec as a constituent or sovereign part. There can be no unity as long as one province has a legislated distinction that other provinces de not. The French minority in Canada will always feel repressed by the English-speaking majority, even though the reality is it presently enjoys privileges not available to unilingual Anglophones or, for that matter, any other minority group, especially so right here in Ontario thanks to Bill 8; especially too in Quebec, where the English, Scots, Irish, etc, built and paid for their educational and medical institutions.

That, I might say, is a fact which is always conveniently forgotten or otherwise unstated by francophones. Remember, the Anglophones or, if you like, the Scots, the Irish, the English and so forth, built those educational and medical institutions in Quebec. They did not have them paid for by the francophones, believe me. That is history.

I believe no minority group, ie, French, should have greater privileges than any other minority, and the only reason I believe English should prevail as the language of communication in Canada outside of Quebec is because it is the language common to not only the majority of Canadians but also the majority of people throughout the world. This, of course, is earth-to-earth common sense, but then quibbling politicians are not known to be endowed with much of that.

Here in Ontario Bill 8 must be rescinded. There must be no language laws whatsoever. Thus, no language police, no costly translations, no unnecessary bilingual traffic signs. French people in Ontario will of course communicate with their government in English, just as English people in Quebec are frequently required in practice to communicate with their government in French, despite the fact that there are legal provisions giving them the right to communicate in English.

Further, there is no legal requirement in Quebec for municipal governments to provide communication in English unless 50% or more of the population is registered as anglophone. This means that more than 1,500 municipal governments in Quebec are actually forbidden to provide English-language services to their anglophone minorities.

The Franco-Ontarians are constantly stressing the need to preserve their language. I would represent that the survival of the French language in Ontario is entirely up to the voluntary interest and action of Franco-Ontarians and that the vast English-speaking majority should not be required to finance the preserving of French out of non-French-speaking revenues.

The Chair: Sir, if you would sum up, please.

Mr McKeen: Yes, I will. What English-speaking Ontarians are entitled to question in any contemplated constitutional rearrangement is the loyalty of Ontario francophones to Ontario and Canada or the francophone majority in Quebec, whether ostensibly inside of Canada or out.

It is suggested that the conflict between francophones and the English-speaking majority in Canada will fade with the passing away of the current elderly generation. Think again. The sight on television of 50,000 francophone youths parading in Montreal on St-Jean-Baptiste Day last year waving their Quebec flags while desecrating ours on a large scale has not been lost on youths in English Canada. They are not going to forget that sight in a hurry. They too will remember.

Summing up, let Quebec go completely independent. Quebeckers, according to countless polls, want to be independent, although now that there has been some resistance from English Canada, that trend may be changing. Let us here in Ontario and the rest of Canada be magnanimous, not mean-spirited; let us not try to coerce them into remaining dissatisfied within an English-speaking Canada. I for one feel as confident about the future of Canada without Quebec as francophone Quebeckers de about the continuing prosperity of their province without Canada. Surely if they have no fear, why should we?

As for the matter of the $33-billion trade between Quebec and Ontario that Mr Harnick knits his brows about, that would be dealt with as between any two civilized nations entering into whatever trade agreements are mutually beneficial. But possibly the greatest benefit to accrue to both Canada and Quebec would be that without the perception of one dominating the other, our two peoples could become friends. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.



The Chair: I call Stuart Ross, then following that I will be cabling Lucien Saumur.

Mr Ross: Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, thank you very much for the privileges granted to all of us in making presentation to you.

Canada's history of attempted constitutional reform stretches back to the days immediately following the initial meetings in Charlottetown and Quebec. For almost 130 years we have attempted to find resolution and satisfaction in our constitutional arrangements. The recent federal-provincial negotiations known as Meech Lake are a final culmination of our inconclusive national preoccupation with the constitutional dilemma. These negotiations have taken place among politicians elected from regional constituencies, purportedly as representatives of the people of Canada, yet there is a strong feeling that these political representatives have failed the country.

We are now a country with a repatriated Constitution in which one of our major provinces, Quebec, will not join. Further, our native population has been denied access to the constitutional process. The Meech Lake fiasco has provided the latest constitutional crisis in our continued national partnership. Anglophones are disillusioned, as you hear here tonight, while francophones are angry at the rejection of their minimalist position. The national mood is one of pessimism. Our political leaders are viewed with disdain and our political processes with discredit. Finally, in the present impasse, the question must be put: Who among our elected representatives has a responsibility or a mandate to speak on constitutional reform when that reform goes to the very existence of our national identity?

The national consultations now under way indicate that the Canadian public is eager to redefine Canada. The people of Canada voice the need for political leadership and say that they wish to participate in the process of reform. The people of Canada propose positive solutions. A significant number suggest creation of a constituent assembly with the power to redefine the nature of the country. There are even some who de support bilingualism, although I de not think you have heard from very many of them tonight.

There are proposals for a new delineation of the place for Quebec, for a resolution of the problems facing the native community and for a major change to governmental powers and processes. Canadians wish to preserve the linguistic duality of Canada. Certainly the young and, I would suggest, those who are open to change and open to the future are ready to accept that linguistic duality. They wish a more effective representation from less partisan politicians and they want leadership and a chance to play a significant role in the process of national renewal.

The question we face is what to de about this situation. The problem you face is how to resolve the myriad presentations that you hear and the diversity of those presentations. Canadians all wish to have a say in what happens to this country, but no mechanism exists for such a consultation to take place, other than possibly two alternatives, an election or a national referendum.

To legitimize and empower a national process of constitutional redefinition, it seems to me that a national referendum on the Canadian question is needed and is essential. The question of such a referendum should be to ask for authority to negotiate the contract between English- and French-speaking Canadians and to include in that process the natives of this country.

It should be asked to convene a national constituent assembly, to redraft the Constitution and, in particular, to elaborate how that Constitution will protect the language and preserve the culture of its English, French and aboriginal first nations. The constituent assembly should be elected by the native, French and English peoples of this country on the basis of proportional representation.

The task of that assembly should be threefold: to define the nature, the role and the purpose of the Canadian political entity; to prepare a constitutional framework for Canada by defining a new and a renewed arrangement of constitutional powers and structures, and finally, within the context of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to draft a manifesto for the protection of our linguistic heritage and the preservation of our cultural traditions.

Proposals and recommendations of this assembly should then be put to a second referendum to obtain the support of the people of the regions of this country for these constitutional changes, and this should be done in order that direction should be provided to both federal and provincial governments for the implementation of those changes.

I find myself, in conclusion, in an interesting position, violently disagreeing with the remarks of some of the people that I have heard this evening yet in some ways sharing some similar solutions to them in terms of a referendum, a desire to protect and preserve language, tradition and culture, and it seems to me that the solutions that I put forward may move in some ways to achieving consensus, the task that you people have in trying to determine for this province. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Ross.


The Chair: I call now Lucien Saumur, and I will be calling next May Nickson from the Council of Women of Ottawa and Area.

Mr Saumur: Good evening. Let me begin by stating my belief that the best Constitution ever written is that of the United States of America. This Constitution was written more than two centuries ago and has never been equalled. This Constitution has endured and served the American people well. Its superiority is evident when it is compared to any other Constitution in the world and it is no wonder that the Americans are so reluctant to trifle with it.

We, the Canadian people, cannot have the same scruple about our own Constitution. We are saddled with nothing more than a Mickey Mouse Constitution which is imploring to be mercifully discarded on the proverbial garbage heap of history. But why are we so reluctant to de so, except that we de not seem to know whether we are coming or going? We are confused because we de not seem to know what a Constitution is all about.

If we are to proceed resolutely at the task of framing a Constitution, we must first understand the purpose of constitutions in free societies. We must understand very clearly that such constitutions exist for one purpose and one purpose only. It is to limit the power of governments and to de nothing else.

It is not for the purpose of dividing the power between politicians, nor is it for the purpose of dividing the power between special-interest groups within society, as we appear to be doing presently in our country. Such power in the end is not power for the members of these groups but for the leaders of those groups, which is to say for politicians. Countries with constitutions that de nothing but give power to politicians cannot be but oppressive countries, authoritarian and totalitarian countries.

When all is said and done, the fundamental question that we must decide and that we cannot avoid as we discuss the Constitution that befits our country is whether or not ours will be a free country. What has made the American Constitution the best that has ever existed? It is that it was written decidedly to serve the purpose that constitutions ought to serve in free societies. No Constitution was ever written with such a clear purpose in mind, but the fact that it is the best Constitution ever written does not mean that it is perfect, as 200 years of use, misuse and abuses have certainly made evident.

Our country, Canada, is given at this time in history a golden opportunity to de what the Americans would never dare de. They would not dare undertake to rewrite their Constitution for fear of doing worse, but we in Canada de not have that problem. Unlike them, we have nothing to lose in attempting to rewrite our Constitution.

If we fail to de better than the Americans, we can de no worse, because we can make up for our failure by joining the American union so that we may enjoy the benefit of the best Constitution in the world. If we succeed and if we can produce a Constitution better than theirs, then it will be the Americans who will be begging to join Canada. Of course, we should not be concerned with the separation of Quebec from Canada. If we succeed, they will be begging to join also. If we fail and must join the United States, then the fate of Quebec will be academic to the rest of Canada.


Then how may we try to write such a Constitution? Let us agree immediately that a Constitution, if it is to limit the power of governments, cannot be written by those same people whom it must control. I propose that it ought to be written by a constitutional assembly, existing as a separate branch of government and elected for the purpose of creating and amending the Constitution, and for no other purpose.

There is much talk of abolishing the Senate for the reason that its function merely duplicates that of the House of Commons, and therefore that it is a costly redundancy. I suggest to you that perhaps the Senate ought to become the constitutional assembly. As such, it would have a function clearly distinct from the House of Commons and would acquire justification for its existence. I think that the constitutional assembly should have the exclusive task of establishing and fine-tuning the Constitution, except inasmuch as it is itself concerned by it, in which case the related items of the Constitution should be subject to popular ratification.

I propose that the simplicity and brevity of the original American Constitution serve as a model and an inspiration for the constitutional assembly. Like the American Constitution, the Canadian Constitution should delineate as concisely and elegantly as possible the extent and limits of the power of each branch of government, the division of jurisdiction between the federal and provincial governments, the procedure to amend the Constitution, and de no more. The constitutional assembly should not attempt to write a constitution which is different from the American. It should try to write one which is better and should remember that different is not necessarily better and better is not necessarily different.

I have a number of ideas about that which a Canadian Constitution should contain. I think that I know where and why the American Constitution has been wanting and I think that I can make reasonable recommendations about the means to correct these deficiencies. But I should not discuss these ideas at this time because it would be futile to de so until we agree that the direction that we must take is that which I am suggesting. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call now May Nickson and Shirley Browne.

Mrs Browne: Good evening. I am Shirley Browne, the president of the Council of Women of Ottawa and Area. I would like to begin with a small quotation:

``Our comprehension of one another's circumstances, needs and difficulties and methods of thought may be poor and weak at first, but it will surely grow and strengthen if we go forward grasping that magic wand of love, determined not to merely tolerate one another's opinions but to understand one another and to understand that value that underlies each one's work."

These words were very disturbing to the status quo in Ottawa in 1895. They were spoken by Lady Isabel Aberdeen, the founder of our society. We are a society that has been evolving and growing with Canada for almost 100 years and we are proud to say our first meeting was in the heritage building of the new Ottawa Carleton Centre.

The Council of Women of Ottawa and Area is an umbrella group of local organizations which has been in existence, as I said, since 1894. At present its membership consists of over 50 autonomous organizations, as well as about the same number of individual members. It has always been concerned with issues involving the family, the community and the nation, particularly but not only as they affect women, because we feel that when women's problems have been solved it affects the whole family and thus the nation.

It is affiliated with the Provincial Council of Women of Ontario and the National Council of Women of Canada and the International Council of Women that has status at the United Nations. Altogether in Canada, I think we are speaking for approximately 750,000 to 1,000,000 women. Our mandate is always to proceed democratically and we are not allowed to make statements that de not agree with the policy of the whole council. However, this is a brief from the local council of women with the blessing of the national council president.

As I said, we have been working all century, but in 1980 we responded to the constitutional commission and we sent them this preamble which was a national philosophy:

"We, the citizens of Canada, affirm that our federation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a free society or free institutions. Proud of our country's stature among the nations of the world, we accept with the rights and privileges of status the responsibilities towards all humankind.

"Recognizing the vastness of our land and the diversity of its inhabitants, we realize that a federation is only possible through the triumph of our will for a common citizenship overarching yet respecting the differences of region, race, language and religion of our peoples. We honour those who left us richly endowed:

"The original inhabitants: Their care of the land from time immemorial acknowledging their right in perpetuity to some of the benefits of its lands and waters.

"The early explorers and settlers, the French-speaking with their abiding faith, tenacity in the face of overwhelming odds, proud possessors of their language and culture.

"The English-speaking, with their great courage and fortitude and traditions of parliamentary democracy.

"All the others who in becoming citizens have made Canada a mosaic of customs, languages and cultures, a country unique in the world.

"The identity of Canada is not fixed. It will evolve and be re-created by succeeding generations building on this heritage. We, for our part, with generosity of spirit intend to develop this inheritance, enhancing it for our descendants. We Canadians affirm our will to live and find our future together in a federation based on equality and mutual respect, embracing enduring communities of distinctive origins and experiences, and are resolved that a renewal of the Canadian federation, guided by aims set forth in this Constitution and living out the intent of the law, can best fulfil the hopes of our founders and of present generations."

As far as the brief is concerned, I must apologize for not having copies for you. Our original idea was to prepare a brief for the Spicer commission, but we felt it would be suitable for this one too; we are working from our draft paper, but we will send you copies when it is finished.

What follows is the distillation of group discussions at a meeting of the council of Ottawa on 18 February, which was only last Monday, where approximately 100 women met and discussed what sort of Canada they would like and what part Ontario would have to play in that. There was a workshop and the challenge put to the participants was: What kind of Canada de you want? Groups first identified what were for them the major issues facing Canada at this point in history. From their discussions emerged three predominant concerns: the need for national unity, the wish that Quebec be part of this, and the need for restructuring -- remember, I am speaking for 100 women here -- political institutions and the need to deal more fairly with aboriginals.

Based on those reports, we have tried to respond to the Ontario questions, and I am going to ask my colleague, May Nickson, who is a member of the local council, the provincial, the national and the international council, to speak to this.

Mrs Nickson: We tried to go over the questions very quickly and put what we had, to interpret them from our workshop.

First, on the values we share: In spite of all the opposition we have heard tonight, we believe there is a strong Canadian identity. We are united in our desire for peace, order and good government, concerned for collective rights and individual welfare. We like to think we are tolerant, able to compromise, value freedom of speech, social justice, caring and sharing with others. Many of us value the French language that makes us different, and we value being a middle power with a role as international peacemaker. Whenever we travel abroad, we are always very proud to be Canadian, and when we meet other Canadians, we have an instant friendship, and it is not at all muted by whether they have a different language on a different background. We are all Canadians abroad, and so we should think of that here.

Question 2: Canada must remain a strong, united country with the federal government as the principal player. We want to maintain a high standard of living. And to meet international competition, Canada will need a highly productive economy with a skilled labour force, and this necessitates economies of scale to cover the research and development costs which are characteristic of modern technology. If we are to remain a middle power, able to promote peace and international sharing to help the less developed nations, there must also be less confrontation and more co-operation.

The roles: The federal government must therefore maintain most of the powers given under the present Constitution, but with division by industrial components. The federal government should maintain security, control over external agreements, customs, immigration, currency, debt, some of the communications, and environment. It must maintain the control of things overlapping provincial boundaries -- the borders of the provinces should not act as barriers for any Canadian citizen -- and it should control things which affect the growth and prosperity: most taxation, commerce, job training, environment, research and development, unemployment and trade.

However, there should be a definite shift in the power base towards the provincial, municipal and the native centres. They should administer their own social development programs. They are more tuned into local need and the programs can be more specifically directed.


The aboriginal peoples: There was a unanimous feeling that we need to deal more fairly with our aboriginal peoples. There was agreement that they need more control over their own affairs, that land claims should be settled as soon as possible, that there should be an end to the destruction of environments on which they are economically dependent. It was believed that the effect of self-government on the aboriginal peoples would be to increase their self-respect and self-reliance, and the effect on Canada would be that we could hold up our heads at the UN. Many feel the role of the Indian Affairs department should be reviewed, as the department as presently constituted was thought to impose an unhealthy dependence among the aboriginal people.

Language: Some, but not all, of the groups saw bilingualism as a crucial question. Many supported official bilingualism federally, while calling for tolerance and common sense in more local contexts. One participant spoke of having a dream of a bilingual country sea to sea, but of now recognizing that parts of Canada, particularly the west, find this impractical. Others thought that learning a second language should be encouraged but not imposed. Having a second language enriches one's life, "a delight," as one of the members expressed. It was noted that immersion classes were effective in teaching the second language. The need for recognition of the languages of the aboriginal people and immigrants was also mentioned.

Question 6 is Quebec. The Council of Women is willing to recognize that Quebec is a distinct society, one which, as a tiny linguistic society in a basically English North America, needs caring and nurturing, and we want to help preserve its culture.

Other regions: Other regions, too, have special needs and should be given the ability to control or to have a strong voice in areas of special concern to them. However, it will be important for Canada to have some basic national standards. These can be developed in many ways using a representative, elected Senate, some type of umbrella council, regional agreements or some delegations back to the federal government.

Now, Ontario: It is not what we want from Ontario; it is what we want from our Ontario government that we were talking about. We want them to stop making deals and start caring about Canada. We want honesty and competence in government, not politically biased information. We want an integration policy for immigrants which provides tolerance, understanding and fairness. We want work for the collective good, not for the strongest lobbies. The financial and ecological implications of rights need to be taken into account, promotability and compromise, freedom of speech and social justice.

We were urged to think Canadian. As one member said, replying to the question, "What does it mean to be Canadian?": We have a passport worth stealing.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Could I call Robert Edmonds.

Mr Edmonds: Mr Chairman, in the few minutes at my disposal, I should like to offer some personal views on Canada's future in the domains of bilingualism and multiculturalism, the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments, and the need for national standards.

Having stated my purpose, I must say that I have been pre-empted to some extent by the very fine brief from the Council of Women. They have stated very comprehensively what I am going to say in more minutiae, detail.

I should perhaps explain, first, that I have recently retired from the Canadian Foreign Service, and thus have observed Canada throughout my working career largely from abroad. From this perspective, I can testify, despite all the hand-wringing within Canada about our national identity, that no one at the United Nations, where I myself have served, has any trouble distinguishing a Canadian from, for example, an Englishman, a Frenchman or an American.

Canada has always played a pivotal role at the United Nations, and this was verified by an American academic who, having spent the whole three months of one General Assembly session in the mid-1960s charting the traffic patterns on the floor at the House, came to the conclusion that the Canadian delegation was the most consulted of any in the General Assembly. This special Canadian role at the United Nations derives largely from our image as a bilingual and multicultural nation. We have a privileged entrée to the delegations from the francophone and anglophone African nations, and Canadians are generally regarded as a people without any imperialist baggage and who are tolerant, sensible and with a special talent for finding acceptable compromises.

This is all to demonstrate the point that Canadians should sometimes step back from all our domestic problems and look objectively at the blessings we possess. In particular, Anglophones like myself should not complain about "having to learn French," but rather should glory in the fact that, apart from one small country in west Africa, Cameroon, and one island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius, we are part of the only country in the world that has as its national heritage the might and privilege of using the two most important European languages on a daily basis.

Similar considerations also apply to the Canadian policy of multiculturalism. While multiculturalism has its downside in prolonging the hyphenation of Canadians, it also has its upside in that its encouragement of persons of all ethnic backgrounds to maintain their national traditions and folklore not only enriches the Canadian cultural mosaic but also is consistent with those other Canadian traditions of tolerance and internationalism. Partly because Canadians tend to remain hyphenated, our country, at least in the years since 1939, has not been isolationist in its policies and has been one of the strongest supporters of the United Nations.

The other side of the bilingualism coin is that it must be promoted and fostered in all 10 provinces and two territories in Canada. The concept of Quebec's distinctiveness should not be manipulated into a policy of promoting Quebec as an exclusively French enclave. Such a policy of ghettoizing Quebec would not be in the interest of either Quebec or of Canada as a whole. Canadians of whatever ethnic origin should be able to feel comfortable living and working in any part of the country using the official Canadian language of their choice.

Any discussion of Canada's bilingual-multicultural nature inevitably leads to the question of the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. In my view, the process of devolution of powers from the federal to the provincial governments has already gone far enough. Indeed, Canada's very viability as a country with certain unique values would be destroyed if the process proceeds much further. For example, and for the reasons already indicated, I de not agree that cultural policy should become exclusively within the domain of the provincial jurisdiction. Additionally, in foreign policy, Canada must speak with an independent, but also united and confident, voice. It makes no sense for the federal government to be allowed to retain responsibility for national defence but not for external affairs. The two are inextricably intertwined. Indeed, it has often been said that soldiers are put to work only when diplomats fail in theirs. Recent events in the Persian Gulf have amply demonstrated that point.


On the practical level, there may be some room for the rationalization of powers in the interest of avoiding overlapping and of decentralizing the decision-making process in relation to programs which affect the welfare of individual Canadians. Additionally, some shared responsibilities, such as the administration of justice, might be looked at in terms of assigning them to one or the other level of government. For instance, is there any particular, overriding reason why the incarceration of prisoners is a provincial responsibility with respect to sentences of less than two years and a federal responsibility thereafter?

While in the interest of avoiding duplication and improving efficiency there is some merit in nationalizing responsibilities as between the federal and provincial governments, it still remains important to maintain national standards for welfare, health and other important people-related programs. Just as any Canadian should be able to live and work in any part of Canada and de so in the official language of his choice, so should he be able to move without jeopardizing his health care, pension and other entitlements.

The Chair: Sir, if you would sum up, please.

Mr Edmonds: Also, it is essential in the light of the great disparity among the provinces in terms of economic resources that the federal government be able to subsidize cultural projects of all kinds throughout Canada. In this regard, there is no readily apparent reason why the Canadian government should create a new institute to study the cultural scene in Canada. What is required now is more financial support of those cultural institutions already existing which are already trying to preserve national unity and promote the richly varied traditions which constitute the unique cultural heritage of our Canada. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call Chris Jalkotzy from Civic Forum.

Mr Jalkotzy: Thank you for hearing me today and hearing part of our group. One of the things I would like to agree with, particularly with the last two speakers, is that one of the things we must seek is a new vision for Canada. I think one of the things you politicians around the table will have a lot of difficulty with, in finding and exemplifying and putting forward, is the concept that you must catch the imagination of Ontarians in the ideas you put forward when you go and write your report.

You are going to have a lot of trouble with that, I think, primarily because of the background you come from. The structure that brings you to the seats you sit in at this point, I think, are a hindrance. Civic Forum itself, the party, the group, looks at municipal government, looks at municipal structures and says, "Where are we most easily going to be able to seek and find that consensus that Canadians see as an equal, shared concept resulting from the country we live in?" I think catching the imagination of the population at large is going to be your biggest problem. Politicians to date I de not think represent in many ways the individual opinions you see brought in front of you on the table. You can see that you are going to have to fight a lot of opinions that are sometimes quite alien or quite alienated.

I think you are going to have to look at starting fresh. What I mean by starting fresh is that maybe you should forget about the whole notion of trying to discover what Canada is. Maybe you should be looking at simply the process Canadians should use in discovering or developing their new Constitution.

Where should it start? A new structure will not evolve from the process you are using today, I de not think, or the discovery that the structure we have right now will be suitable from the process you are using to date. I de not know exactly how you are going to be able to put together the ideas you need to capture the imagination, where you are going to have a bit of a snowball or something rolling down a hill that says: "Now we have a sense, now we have an idea. This is what we would like to try to achieve. These are our common aspirations in education, health." We have a lot of them quite similar with those aspirations of people in Quebec, but the process we use to discuss those at this time in these quite formal surroundings -- in these nice chambers that echo quite nicely, especially from the middle -- I de not think is the kind of conducive environment you are looking for.

Maybe one of the areas the province should look to is the municipalities. I think some of the best examples are small communities. You will see community spirit in some areas that is unrivalled anywhere. The ability for a small community to overcome adversity in all kinds of different ways, disasters, religious disagreements, are exemplified there. The meeting of minds happens at that level. That is where it starts. If you are going to find some place for a consensus on how we are going to determine how we want to get along, that is where you have to start to look.

Going around to the communities is helpful, but there is a formal structure that exists might now, today. Most of the municipalities in the province of Ontario are not party-bound, in some sort of allegiance. In general, they are fairly fluid organizations that represent and work on an individual basis. That is the forum you need to look to to help you develop the process to determine what our future Constitution is going to be like. I de not know if it is a constitutional assembly; it might be something else.

Native organizations and women's groups have a lot to offer in showing us different ways of seeking consensus. The institutions we have built and surrounded ourselves with in our Constitution, our party politics, our law, tend to foster confrontation. There is always a left, a right; there is no sense of seeking consensus. If you look at some of the political structures native groups use, some of the political or societal structures women have used, they are much different than those we have developed for ourselves today. That is the crux of it, from my perspective. Thank you.

The Chair: I will just say that we realize as a committee the kind of challenge I think you have outlined. I guess we will see whether we are able to meet at least part of that in some way. Thanks for your comments.



The Chair: Marianne McLean?

Mrs McLean: I have asked to testify here tonight because of my profound concern for constitutional change and the direction that change has been taking in Canada in recent years, most particularly in the last 12 months.

I strongly support the policy of a bilingual and a multicultural Canada. The advantages which these policies have brought to us over the past 20 or more years have been immense and are ones I would not want to give up. I also believe, however, very strongly in a federal system, with strong powers for the federal and for the provincial governments. I see that system of government as being right for Canada, because that federal system has allowed us to build on what we have in common and to express that commonality to each other and to the world, as others here tonight have mentioned. I also support a federal system because that system allows regional identities and preferences to be maintained. What would Canada be without Newfoundland, without its western identity and, indeed, without Ontario?

None the less, there are many reasons to look at changing Canada's constitutional arrangements at this time. There is western alienation, there is the question of native communities, and most particularly, perhaps, there was the failure of the Meech Lake accord last year.

I find it very alarming, very upsetting, that from public accounts in the press, radio and television, it appears that the sovereigntist option is gaining wide support in Quebec. What can or should Ontario de in light, for instance, of the recommendations of the Allaire report? I personally feel that the sort of Canada that would evolve from the recommendations in that report is not one I would want to belong be. It is too decentralized a government.

I am not sure what the people of Quebec want now, so I would suggest that we ask them. Is there a way in which they would like to continue being Canadians with us? If their answer is yes, I think we should go the extra mile, try and find constitutional arrangements that would meet their needs so they can feel secure in the development of their distinct society.

But if the answer is no, that they feel themselves to be Québécois and only Québécois, they no longer have any sense of being Canadian, I think we must look to the development of a very different country. It should continue to be a country which is federal in nature so that regional distinctions can be preserved but that what we have in common can still be developed and brought out.

There may be some reallocation of power necessary between one level of government and the other. These are very weighty questions. I have appreciated several of the contributions I have heard already here tonight. I hope the government of Ontario will take a leading role in the discussion that will go on in the future. I feel that until now the federal position has not been well represented in Canada, that there has not been somebody standing up to say: "We have something in common. Let's try and build on that." I would ask the Ontario government to take on that task. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: Could I call Philip Capobianco.

Mr Capobianco: The word "diverse" accurately describes Canada's social fabric. Regional, linguistic and cultural diversity are fundamental characteristics which have been part of this country for over 200 years. Canadians in every province and territory must work to find unity in diversity. We must strive to achieve one goal, one dream: the preservation of this nation for our children.

To accomplish this goal, we as citizens must work hard to destroy the present environment of bigotry, ignorance and intolerance. These destructive forces have aggravated the present constitutional dilemma and are the cause of conflict among Canadians today. We must foster dialogue, we must promote understanding, we must not allow this nation to be torn apart by fringe groups, by dreamers who speak rhetoric. In the words of Pierre Trudeau, "Separatism is against the gut interest and the gut feeling of the average Canadian."

A large number of French Canadians in Quebec support separatism because they are dissatisfied with the present Constitution and the present federal system. This dissatisfaction is evident not only in Quebec but across the country. French Canadians, until the Second World War, traditionally supported a classical vision of federalism, a vision where both levels of government were autonomous within a framework of specific powers. After the Second World War, Quebec experienced massive industrialization and modernization. With the election of Jean Lesage in 1960, French Canadians in Quebec demanded internal change, and change came quickly. The Quiet Revolution in Quebec brought on provincial nationalization of the hydroelectric industry, the expansion of social services and the creation of a ministry of education.

In the 1960s Quebec sought change to the federal system, arguing that it needed powers and jurisdictions to assure the survival of French Canadians in North America. This was and still is a valid argument. With the lowest birth rate in Canada and with a population of seven million French-speaking people surrounded by 270 million English-speaking people, how can Quebec survive as a distinct society without certain constitutional guarantees?

This province, Ontario, must play a vital role in diffusing the present uneasiness in Quebec. Ontario must stand firm to preserve Confederation and fight for changes to our Constitution and our federal system of government. I am not calling for a massive decentralization, but changes that will allow the Canadian federal system to function better than it does today.

In November 1967, the late John Robarts, former Premier of Ontario, summoned the provincial premiers to Toronto for what was called the Confederation of Tomorrow Conference. The conference was called to defuse separatist sentiment and to bring Canadians closer together. It worked.

I call upon Premier Bob Rae to summon the Prime Minister, the federal cabinet, provincial premiers, territorial leaders, native leaders and leaders of multicultural organizations to participate once again in a second Confederation of Tomorrow Conference as soon as this committee, the Spicer commission and other provincial committees have reported their findings. This conference will allow political and cultural leaders the opportunity to discuss the various provincial and national committee reports on the future of this country and to give an opportunity to build consensus. Our political loaders will have a final say in any constitutional agreement, and it is fitting that Ontario play a role in bringing them together.

History has shown us that referenda and plebiscites divide rather than unite Canadians. The American democratic principles of majority rule and special status for no one will not work in Canada. Canadian constitutional and democratic principles have always been distinct and unique. Today in Canada minorities are heard, Canadians in every province share equality in social services, and poorer regions of this country are helped financially.

We must be proud of the nation we have built. We must fight for its survival. Canadians, regardless of ethnic origin, must open their minds and hearts, for the future of our nation is at stake. Let's work together to build a new Canada, a Canada of the 21st century, a Canada where tolerance, mutual respect and national pride are values supported by all citizens.

In conclusion, I would like to make sure that all people remember the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier: "Canada first, Canada last, Canada always." Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Capobianco.



The Chair: Could I call Mr Hahn.

Mr Hahn: My name is Michael Hahn. I am a chairman of 10 million ethno-Canadians, the Canadian Federation of Ethno-Business and Professionals. In this capacity, four years ago on 21 August 1987 I made a presentation to the parliamentary joint committee on the Meech Lake accord. In that presentation I made specific new Canadian Constitution-making principles, procedures and system. These specific principles, procedures, systems, all the documentation, are not only registered in Canadian Constitution-making history in Parliament, but also I made a complete documentation to the Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney's office.

Unfortunately, as you see from my newspaper article, last year, 1 November, Brian Mulroney's office appointed Mr Spicer as chairman of the so-called Canadian consultative organization. His principles and organizational procedures and structures are all my recommendations and principles. I understand that when Mr Spicer was asked to be chairman of that committee, at first he refused. I think it best to wonder why he refused. I understand he has no Constitution-making or academic background, and I am the one who invented new Canadian Constitution-making principles, procedures and structures, so how could he implement the new procedures? As you know, any governmental body or commission has specific goals, objectives, direction and vision. Therefore, whoever is appointed to that committee should have that kind of new vision, new ideas, and experience and academic background.

Anyway, that is not the point. I would like to make the presentation to you tonight. I have recommended many principles, but the most important is this: The Canadian Constitution belongs to all of us, ourselves, our children and our generations to come; therefore, the first ministers or any class of Canadian society should not have the final say in establishing the new Canadian Constitution. That constitutional direction, vision, should come from ordinary Canadians, you and me, all 26 million Canadians. That is the first principle.

Then we have to formulate the specific mechanism and the formula how we accommodate 26 million Canadians' aspirations, new visions, directions and hope. We have to specify that particular mechanism or formula. So far no Canadian constitutional professors or scholars or any politician identified the specific formula or mechanism, but I will explain to you a specific formula. You have a copy of my three sheets of paper so I will explain to you one by one.

Once we accommodate 26 million Canadians' aspirations, new directions and so on, then we have specifically, professionally, statistically documented what are Canadian ordinary people, grass roots, consensus or general agreement. All new principles should be incorporated in our Canadian constitution-making principles.

The second point we should ask is this, de we have our very own Canadian Constitution or not? Many professors, constitutional professors and some politicians may argue yes, we have had our own Constitution since 1867, Confederation, the so-called British North America Act, or since Mr Trudeau successfully repatriated on 27 April 1982 our Constitution. That is not true. Why? Very simple. As you know very well, in 1867 Canada was not an independent country. We are the colony of Britain. Therefore, the British Parliament enacted by themselves to protect their own interests and to govern the colonial country of Canada, so therefore they established the BNA act.


The Chair: All right, sir. Mr Hahn, carry on.

Mr Hahn: Therefore, now, we should have our own Constitution. Then our Constitution is not only the abstract word or Bible or any provisions. The Canadian Constitution is our daily life and protects our interest and guarantees our future and the following generations to come.

Where is the Canadian Constitution -- not only the Canadian Constitution, any Constitution -- if it does not accommodate and guarantee individual Canadians employment, business, our happiness and our future. That is not a Constitution. Then we have no strong reason to protect and contribute to make our own Canadian Constitution.

Therefore, if we look at the history, Canada's so-called amending formula and the Constitution principle were studied in the full field, so-called, based on the legislative model. Therefore, we spent the last 30 years to come up with an all provincially acceptable amending formula. We spent many hundreds of millions of dollars in the last 30 years to come up with our own Constitution and agreement, but however, as you may know, through the Meech Lake accord and the Victoria formula or Fulton formula and so on, we all failed and it is all a waste of our hundreds of millions of dollars and 30 years of our history.


Therefore, now, as I indicated in the first place, the Canadian Constitution-making principles and the directions of visions should come from ordinary Canadians, you and me.

Once we establish that principle, then as I mentioned to you we have to formulate how to accommodate this, and also we have to establish a specific formula to professionally, statistically document our general consensus and agreement to fulfil this principal objective as you see from my information sheets.

We establish a new amending Canadian Constitution contest for everyone. Anyone who is older than the age of 21 years is qualified to submit a complete draft of a Constitution. The first prize will be $300,000, the second prize is $200,000 and the third prize is $100,000 and the fourth and the fifth prizes are $10,000 to $1,000, up to 1,000 people.

Why we have to open up this kind of high prizes and financial reward is very simple. We like to accommodate as broadly as possible all the Canadians, some kind of a consensus or agreement.

The Chair: It is time to sum up, please.

Mr Hahn: Yes, thank you.

However, this costs roughly $2 million. How to finance this? We are going to mint Canadian pure silver, 100% silver, one-ounce coins. This is a Canadian commemorative Constitution coin. I am sure of almost two million Canadians. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all ordinary Canadians to participate and buy the pure silver coins to hand over to the children and the following generation to come. This is only $30. Therefore, once issued, we will guarantee that within 10 years the value of this one coin, pure silver coin, will be increased to $100. Therefore, if we implement the silver coin, we are financially self-sufficient, and also we are going to make enough money to accommodate all the Canadian people's recommendations and aspirations.

Therefore, now -

The Chair: Mr Hahn, I am sorry.

Mr Hahn: This is my conclusion.

The Chair: You are going be have to conclude, sir.

Mr Hahn: Okay, you are a member of this committee, and I already sent this to Premier Bob Rae, so please discuss it among your members. We are looking for a sponsor to implement this contest and the Canadian coin, so if Brian Mulroney refuses to implement this, I ask you people, as Ontario is the most important province of Canada, to implement it. Then we can establish our own Canadian Constitution.


The Chair: Could I call Tom Sloan? And I will call next Terry Olsen.

Mr Sloan: Mr Chairman, this submission is based on three premises: first, that Canada is undergoing its worst crisis since Confederation; second, that this country is worth every effort we can make to preserve it in some recognizable form in which the whole is truly more than the sum of its parts; third, that the province and the Legislature of Ontario have a key role to play, all the more so given the absence of credible federal leadership at the present time.

The other day, I heard a former federal cabinet minister say with the presumed authority of age and experience that the present situation not only is nothing new, but that we shall certainly be living through the same debate 20 or 30 years from now. That is precisely the attitude which I believe has landed us in our present mess. Twenty-nine years ago, I went to Quebec City as the correspondent of the Toronto Globe and Mail and I have been following events in this country with regard to questions of national unity ever since, and believe me, things have changed and they have not changed for the better.

Canada is in many ways a fortunate land and Canadians a fortunate people. Perhaps we have been too fortunate. It is almost as though, having basically so little to complain about, we got bored and to make life more interesting decide to turn on each other. There is a sourness in this country that I find hard to fathom. In common with a good many other countries, we have more than one official language. Is that really a reason to whine and snarl at each other? Surely it is a reflection of almost 500 years of history and we should be proud of it.

There are a million French-speaking Canadians living outside Quebec who for too long have been barely tolerated, let alone encouraged by the rest of us. I would not like to think that the mean-spirited actions of the city fathers of Sault Ste Marie represent English-speaking Canada, but many French-speaking Canadians fear they de. Conversely there are almost a million English-speaking Canadians living in Quebec whose linguistic rights have been trampled on by the petty-minded provisions of Bill 178.

Should Canada finally fail, it will have been the victim of what I would describe as linguistic fundamentalists on both sides. If they are strong enough to prevail, perhaps we shall deserve our fate.

This country is worth saving, for reasons that are much more than economic. This does not mean that we have to maintain the status quo. We have the opportunity now -- it has been forced on us -- to take a hard look at our constitutional arrangements, including the division of powers between the central and provincial governments, but that does not involve sending the central government to hell in a handbasket and it certainly does not involve the destruction or crippling of the national institutions that were created to help unite us. I am thinking of the railways and I am thinking of the CBC and I am thinking of the postal service, among others.

If the bottom line had been the final arbiter, Canada would not have existed. If today we choose profitability as our sole criterion, we de not deserve to exist.

That, I believe, is the kind of message that this province should be sending out. This is precisely the time when Ontario has the right and the responsibility to assert itself and show leadership. Our record over the years in matters affecting national unity, and particularly in the just treatment of the franco-Ontarian community, has been far from spotless, I admit, but in recent years it has improved dramatically and I give credit to all three political parties.

Now I would urge that we take one further step and declare this province officially bilingual.


The Chair: All right.

Mr Sloan: I realize this might well have no effect on the debate going on in Quebec. So what? It would be a display of moral leadership. A spirit of justice and generosity has seldom, if ever, destroyed a society. Its opposite often has. That is just one example of what Ontario could de. My essential point is simply that we issue our own clear message. We must not allow Quebec to monopolize the debate.


Ontario must express its own faith in the future of a recognizable Canada. One thing we should try to de is to enlist the support of our Franco-Ontarian population in that cause, not as hostages in any sense of the word, but as willing and overwhelmingly bilingual defenders of a province and a country where they must be made more than ever to feel at home.

There have been times recently, too, when the Ontario government has been less than forthcoming in recognizing the special status of the francophone community. Now Ontario needs that community and that community needs Ontario and let's work together.


Mr Sloan: Speaking of special status, Ontario must again make it clear -- wait until you hear this one -- that it recognizes Quebec as a distinct society that has every right to a constitutional status that recognizes its uniqueness in Canada and North America. This does not mean giving Quebec whatever the government of today or any day may demand. It does mean helping to lead Canadians in the direction of a productive dialogue between people of goodwill and reasonably open minds. I know there are quite a few who de not fit into that category but there are many who de.


Mr Sloan: I hope not.

Let's reach them before it is too late. That, as I see it, is the role of Ontario in the present crisis.

The Chair: I appreciate that people want to express their opinions and their reaction to the speakers, but I would also ask people to show the same kind of respect to the people who are speaking that they had wanted themselves when they were speaking. We can all agree to disagree on certain things, but I think we all must agree to allow each other to be heard.


The Chair: Miss Olsen, go ahead. I should indicate just before you proceed that following your presentation I will call on Charlene Leblanc.

Miss Olsen: Committee members, as a fifth-generation Canadian, I was very angry when told, "You'll only have five minutes." I had prepared a longer presentation, perhaps not as articulate as some of the previous speakers, but in simple English, for my fellow Canadians, not just francophones. It is like going through a revolving door, swoosh, "Hi," "Goodbye," yet subsidized French groups by the Secretary of State get more time. Okay.

Canada at the crossroads: Why should there be a crossroads? Why was Canada's balance of culture/destiny disturbed? Was it to appease one province's demands/revenge or to perhaps mollify a few selfish politicians with tunnel vision? You blew it. The patriotic Canadians want it back, please.

I am fifth-generation English and French, but I am not very proud of my French troublemaker ancestors, and I am not a hyphenated Canadian, thank you very much. "God save our gracious Queen! Long live our noble Queen! God save the Queen!" I am a monarchist. I de not believe I am here defending my country's needs. The title of this book, the one you handed out, Canada at the Crossroads, should have read, "Where did we go wrong?" Why the hell should we be at a crossroads? As a patriotic Canadian citizen I charge all federal and provincial leaders going back 40 years, some posthumous, with high treason.

First and foremost, Canada has had constitutional mismanagement. It is unacceptable, a piece of garbage, not even worth recycling. A Charter of Rights does not pit minority against majority. Where is the justice? It is reverse discrimination. The 1982 one is social engineering. It disturbed the balance of Canada's culture/immigration without referendum -- dictatorship -- -- and it must be repealed.

Canadians de not want any opting out, vetoes, notwithstanding clauses, unanimity clauses in a Constitution. What touches all must be approved by all. A Constitution must abound with love, fairness and generosity for its subjects. The 1982 one does not belong to Canadians. It was conceived by politicians whose visions were of their area of the land.

Canadians are very angry and they damn well have a right to be. Why, why, why were all Canadians not approached? Trudeau said: "Canada is all grown up. Let's control our own country and future. Let's have a just society." Yes, "just," but "just" for Quebec? We have been in a mess ever since.

The Queen and her Canadian subjects were stabbed in the back. This Constitution is a top-down one modelled on Quebec's Civil Code and I will not apologize for this anger. The Canadian cry, "Freedoms gained," then lost in 1982 and 1987.

Supreme Court judges should not be appointed by the Prime Minister. Are they a patronage one? If so, no more. Three cheers for the Sault and other municipalities that had the guts to stand up for bad laws.

Social engineering since 1982, Canada's population very diversified, but the native is still first. Let's settle their claims, no more apologies to them or anyone. Must future generations be burdened for mistakes of the past? The battle of the Plains of Abraham, 1759 to 1763, fought, won, finished. Canada was made English, not French. Read your history. Are the French so insecure that in order to grow, all traces of English must be washed off Canada's surface? Were terrorists, agitators brought in to Quebec to stir up the people?

The new mollycoddled, hyphenated Canadian -- multi-culture. A name given to them by the vote seekers. If you are black, oriental or mixed, how does one ever deny that fact? Keeping them ghettoized, isolated, is a play to make them dependent, passive and forever grateful to political hacks for their admittance to Canada. The First World War and the Second World War displaced people. They were so downtrodden, but after a very short time they found jobs and prospered. No mollycoddling for them.

How was Canada built and why was it so successful, beautiful and great? Through co-operation, love of freedom and free enterprise. Then another Quebecker, Mr M in 1984. His insincerity: "Elect Brian. Canada will be provided with jobs, jobs, jobs." Yes, jobs for Quebec, then close down some Via Rail, rural post offices, resulting in ghost towns. Another election, more promises. Good contracts, built in Quebec.

Bilingualism and language bills from 1969 have divided Canada. The venomous Quebec ones, Bills 22, 101 and 178. "Je me souviens," very racist, but that is okay, Quebec is distinct. I never thought I would live to see these laws in my country, worse than KGB, Gestapo. People left Europe only to face this crap. Give me a break.

Standing up for English rights: don't you dare. You are a racist and a bigot and of course a redneck. When the English de this, this is how we are labelled. I will not keep my mouth shut now. I will go to jail for what I believe in.

What is to happen to Canada? How can we save it? With honest, decent people with integrity. We cannot go backwards. We must create a climate of truth, love, harmony to build stability; a country where free enterprise is encouraged; a country for the people, of the people, by the people. We welcome all peoples, but we will no longer disturb the makeup of culture and blaming the already burdened descendant of the pioneer for the economic, racial intolerance. This was the fault of the overzealous politician.

One official language and no creation of false needs. The majority of immigrants to come from the British Isles, developed countries and then underdeveloped ones. French where required, the feds not to create these false needs. The federal government central to control economy and language. The feds would create a department of translation. Multilingual they would farm out to the other parts of Canada. From this pool, people would be sent on daily, weekly, monthly or, in some cases, a few years' appointment, then rotational.


The Chair: Miss Olsen, if you could sum up, please.

Miss Olsen: Okay, yes, fine.

Employment standards practices: Based on education level, but not race, gender, disability or language. Promotions based on merit, qualifications, not race, gender, disability or language.

Reshaping Canada: broken down into four areas or regions and whatever, western region, Ontario northern, bilingual, but some native-only regions.

So finally -- I am going to leave that other part; it is about education.

I have got no separate school, one system of education across Canada -- public. The kids can be taught religion at home and in church, not in schools. They can say a silent prayer in the morning. That is allowable. I went to a separate school and it was garbage.

Finally, the vultures from the dissenting province, plus franco-banks and subsidized French-only cheques from Secretary of State have feathered their nests long enough. Canada's money tree has stopped producing, the rest of Canada get the leftover scraps. No more. Goodbye. When these vultures hatch their eggs, many Canadians will be elated. After they have flown the coop, paid their share of the rent, we will occupy the nest with Canadian loonies. We will rename them nerd birds, because this is what Canada's leadership is now.

Immigration policy: Let's bring in family units. What about the existing family units here in Canada, born in Canada? They are struggling to survive.

That is it. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.



The Chair: Can I call next Charlene Leblanc. I gather that she is also presenting together with Deanna Milne. Charlene Leblanc and Deanna Milne.

Ms Milne: Hello, good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am Deanna and I am going to replace John Gibson, who was slated to speak tonight. I am a graduate from the school for the deaf and have seen a lot of difficulties out of that system, as well as difficulties faced by deaf members in the community who are American sign language users.

When in the school system, there is a tendency of teachers to teach only in English, often using the written word on the blackboard, and although they understand what the word is, very little is done to explain concepts. Certainly the teachers should be teaching English, but it should be done through the use of American sign language because that is the native language of deaf people and it is a language that we can understand conceptually.

I think there needs to be a respect for our culture. Just as we have heard respect for native people, francophones, Anglophones, there should also be respect for deaf Canadians.

We look at issues such as employment equity, and right now we have seen that there is a lot of hiring of people who are physically handicapped, blind people, and so on, and yet deaf people are still often not hired. I think there is an inherent fear of how to communicate with deaf people and I think that we have to have more awareness of what deaf people are and a bit more knowledge about our culture so that we can in fact have opportunities for employment on an equal basis.

I know a lot of deaf people are frustrated in trying to get jobs that are advertised as being bilingual positions. We are bilingual, we de have ASL as well as English, but there is often an emphasis put on the French language and that is something that we cannot possibly access. There has to be some concession made, such as providing French courses in the schools for the deaf so that deaf people are allowed to become bilingual, which is right now an impossibility.

There is a lot of knowledge and publicity and public awareness on oralism and how to teach deaf children how "to speak," but many parents de not realize more about deaf culture and deaf people, and I think that we should have more knowledge of that in the community so that people understand our needs and will then maybe send their deaf children to the schools for the deaf, which are a viable option.

Ms Leblanc: Hi, I am Charlene Leblanc and I want to talk just a little bit about sign language. I think some people may want to know some of this information. I think that we need to see an expansion in sign language interpreter services. If deaf people want to go to a doctor or any other appointment, they often are extremely frustrated because they cannot got an interpreter, or while they may be able to book an interpreter, they find out often at the last minute that the interpreter is unable to show up and this creates a great deal of frustration in the community. We need to see an expansion in services.

Ontario interpreter services and Secretary of State both offer interpreters. However the salary differences are incredible. We should see salaries on par, because what is happening is people are working only for one agency as opposed to the other. I think we should see standards between American sign language interpreters and spoken language interpreters and they should be paid on par.

Another issue is closed captioning on TV programs. Naturally we need to see an expansion of these programs. Deaf people who are on vacation or are travelling are unable to access information that is sent over a PA system. There should be visual display terminals. There should be closed captioning machines so that they can access the TV in their hotel and so on. We should be able to have complete access to information, whether it is in PA systems or whether there are advertisements that instead of auditorially can be done visually, so that we too can take advantage as citizens. I think we have to see a lot more access provided to deaf people.

We should also see TDDs more available, the telecommunication devices for deaf people. For example, in airports if an emergency occurs, I have to try to write to somebody to get them to make a phone call for me. That should be a public service, something that is available to me as a citizen.

Trying to obtain information services, for example, I have gone to places such as various ministry offices for the Ontario government. There are pamphlets that are written in French, and I have quite a few of the various pamphlets here. They have been translated into various languages. We see them not only in French and English but Portuguese, Philippine, Chinese, and yet there is nothing that provides access to American sign language. The same with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Again, there are brochures in a variety of different languages, and yet there is nothing that is done in American sign language.

Why are videotapes not provided so that deaf people can also understand what these services are? Videotapes should be available. I know that it is expensive, but deaf people should be able to have access to that. If they are, for example, able to show that they are deaf, then they should be able to have access to any information. I think that is extremely important.

It is the same idea as we see in the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. People who are unable to access written print can get Braille printouts, for example, and that is a free service to blind people. I think there should be a similar sort of situation. They also have reductions, for example, for transportation. I think that other services should be developed. We cannot often access much of this written material, so there should be videotapes put out by the government that produce the same information in a visual form. I think that is critical for our education as Canadians.

What we are saying is we want equality, that language is not an issue; we just cannot hear. We are Canadians, and we should be able to access information in a visual form in American sign language. I have passed around some brochures for the committee members if they are interested in knowing a little bit more about what American sign language is.

Thank you all very much for listening to us. I de not know if anybody has questions or if there is time for that.

The Chair: Thank you very much.



The Chair: Could I call next Monica Hylton. Following Mrs Hylton, I will be calling Gilles Guenette and Peter Annis of Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Mrs Hylton.

Mrs Hylton: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, time is running short so I will not be able to get in all of the words that I would like to say. But first of all, I would like to speak about national unity. To have national unity in Canada or in any other country, it must have one language, one system of laws of parliamentary democracy and the Supreme Court judges should be trained or schooled in the same ideas of justice, freedom and morality.

This brings me to Canada and bilingualism. First of all, I would like to say Canada is not born of two founding nations and is not a bilingual country. There are many Scots and the natives and others who were here before. The myth of bilingualism born by the machiavellian Trudeau has proven to be a disaster. This legislated, enforced, costly act has caused division, disharmony, fear, loss of jobs, illnesses, discrimination and hardship throughout the entire country. It must be abolished and it will be abolished.

Ask yourself the question: Is it logical that nine provinces must be bilingual French and English for the sake of one province that is unilingual French? It does not make sense. Ontario's French language law, Bill 8, was pushed through in 1986. It was implemented in November 1989. Millions and millions of dollars are spent for this Bill 8, and as a result Ontario will be paying out billions and billions of dollars for years to come for the translations of this and that and all the other things, and it has only begun.

We were told last winter that bilingualism in Ontario would not affect the municipalities, but this is not true. This news release which was released on 5 July 1988 at Queen's Park by a group of persons -- the minister released his task force report on municipal services in French, and if you read it you will find that every municipality in the province of Ontario is affected by Bill 8. That bill has to be rescinded.

All of this is due to the delinquency of our politicians and our so-called leaders, the elitists. They are responsible for this evil mess. In the historical documents from 1759 to 1867, language was only mentioned twice. The first time it was mentioned was in the act of the union in 1840 when Upper and Lower Canada were united, and the official language that was declared was that of English. The second time, it was mentioned in the BNA in 1867.

There has been a lot of discrimination because of bilingualism and I have encountered that too. I have encountered that here in Ottawa on a number of occasions, but we de not have much time and there is one story I would like to tell you, and I would like all of the audience to hear and whoever else -- that is the story about the francophone bank. This was one of the most outrageous situations that the federal government ever established, the francophone bank.

What is the francophone bank? The francophone bank was established by the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, and its staff members were paid to seek out recruits, francophones, to be employed in the civil service. The staff members of Energy, Mines and Resources were paid $10,000 per recruit. This was their expenses. A francophone bank person is a francophone who is hired as a government employee but for whom no position is available at the time of hiring. Such a person was to be paid a salary of $25 until such time as a position was established for him or her.

The ministry was committed to hiring 30 such recruits a year, beginning in 1982 to 1988. While I was working at the Energy, Mines and Resources Canada library in 1982, I saw firsthand a young francophone woman who had been brought in from Montreal. It was very sad indeed to see this young person, who spoke barely a word of English. She was set up in an apartment by the federal government and paid a fairly good salary. A position was created in this library for her. There was already a reference librarian who spoke English and Hungarian and French and German. The chief librarian spoke French as well. There were 18 persons in this library. I was an acquisitions accounts clerk. In the nine months I was there on a term, I had one occasion to meet with somebody who needed to speak French. This position which was created -

The Chair: Mrs Hylton, if you could sum up please.

Mrs Hylton: -- was an assistant reference librarian, so they had to bring in a desk, they had to find things to put in place for this person who was a recruit from the francobank. I was only a term, only there for a short time, even though I passed the public service examinations; because I was not a francophone, was not bilingual, I could not be hired and kept on in the position I had, even though it had been fought quite hard for me by somebody in the department.

The Chair: We are going to have to end there. You have gone way beyond the time. Thank you.

Mrs Hylton: That is too bad. I had some other interesting things to tell you.

The Chair: I am sure you did. We are just trying to get through as many people as we can.


The Chair: We are doing our best, sir.



M. Guenette : J'ai avec moi mon confrère maître Peter Annis. Nous sommes ici pour l'Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario. Nous avons un mémoire dactylographié que nous allons vous faire livrer demain, Monsieur le Président, en copies suffisantes et je n'ai pas l'intention de lire ce mémoire.

Il suffit de dire que notre Association existe depuis une dizaine d'années. Nous sommes à peu près 500 juristes : des avocats, des professeurs de droit, des jurilinguistes. Notre but a été depuis le début de promouvoir l'offre de services aux francophones dans le domaine juridique en Ontario. Évidemment, la façon la plus facile de résumer que nous désirons depuis le début et que nous désirons toujours c'est l'équivalent de l'article 133, dont bénéficie la minorité anglophone du Quebec que nous aimerions avoir pour nous-mêmes.


Pour reprendre les mots d'un témoin qui a comparu ici un peu plus tôt ce soir, nous désirerions simplement que la province de Ontario soit officiellement bilingue. Cela solutionnerait beaucoup de choses. J'ai l'intention de passer la parole dans quelques minutes à mon confrère maître Annis. Mais je ne peux m'empêcher de vous faire un commentaire en marge de plusieurs témoignages que j'ai entendus ce soir et qui me font faire une réflexion que j'ai faite souvent pendant le fameux débat constitutionnel sur l'accord du Lac Meech.

On a parlé ici ce soir souvent de distinctions constitutionnelles entre les provinces ; on entend souvent des politiciens ou des commentateurs dire que le Canada ne peut pas souffrir de divergences constitutionnelles d'une province à l'autre. Parfois ça me fait sursauter quand j'entends ça, parfois ça me fait sourire. On a entendu, évidemment, le premier ministre de Terre-Neuve le dire souvent. Ce que l'on n'entend pas souvent est ceci : que, depuis le début de la Confédération, depuis 1867, il y a une province qui a toujours été, constitutionnellement, énormément distincte des autres et c'est la province de Quebec comme par hasard, où on a eu cette divergence importante et qui est justement en partie l'article 133 mais ce n'est pas le seul et il y a également l'article qui traite et de l'éducation et des tribunaux où les deux constituantes de nos langues officielles bénéficient des privilèges absolus, complets dans Québec.

Alors on entend, depuis la discussion sur le Lac Meech, cette réflexion et on l'a entendue ici ce soir encore : «qu'une province ne peut pas être distincte des autres, constitutionnellement» et on se demande comment il se fait que ces gens-là ignorent la distinction constitutionnelle qui existe depuis plus de 100 ans. Si on doit arriver à la conclusion que l'on l'ignore tout simplement parce que ça ne les affecte pas, eh bien, ça me rend triste en quelque sorte pour l'avenir du pays parce que je me dis qu'il semblerait que les gens ignorent les distinctions constitutionnelles qu'il leur convient d'ignorer et qu'ils sont énormément frustrés par celles qu'ils craignent.

Alors sur ce, je passe la parole à mon confrère maître Peter Annis.

M. Annis : J'ai l'intention de vous adresser la parole en anglais parce que j'ai l'impression que ça facilitera les communications.

I am going to speak to you in English. Speaking at this time of the evening I am not going to be able to dwell at any length, but there are one or two points I would like to try to got across as an anglophone who has spent a great deal of time working with the association over a number of years.

When one is searching for a bottom line in terms of what we are trying to achieve in our constitutional search in this country, it would seem to me that we are trying to achieve a more civilized society. By a more civilized society, I personally feel it has to de with the respect that we as Canadians show for each other. It is in that light that I have enjoyed working with the association, and it is in that light that I recommend that this committee review its own position constitutionally, regardless of the question. If we de strive to achieve a more civilized society, if we de strive to show more respect for each other, I believe you will see, as a foundation to that, respect for the official language minorities.

It is a part of Canada's history, and our history is very complicated. We cannot explain it in the short time available, but what that history does demonstrate is that the Canada we know has been held together, and the degree of civilization we have developed in Canada has been contributed to very much by the respect for official language minorities. When you look across Canada now, you will see that by and large the constitutional provisions are enforced in the provinces of Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick. Ontario is the only exception in those provinces where there exist sizeable official language minorities, but these constitutional guarantees are not in place.

It is the submission of the association that regardless of what happens to Canada, we should continue along the path we have started. We should continue to respect minorities, continue to respect the official language minorities of the founding peoples, and that will contribute to a stronger Canada. But if a Canada cannot be achieved, it will contribute to relations between a different Canada that will be better for everybody. That is the principle upon which I personally support official language expansion in our country, because I believe it will lead to a more civilized country and a country where we are better off morally and eventually financially, and in every way possible.

The Chair: Merci. Thank you very much.


Mr Rygus: Prior to my retirement in May 1984, I was the senior Canadian officer of an international union for 23 years; before that I was an international representative. During that spell of 31 years, I have criss-crossed this country umpteen dozen times in every province. I have dealt with thousands of Canadians. I have dealt with every Prime Minister and many cabinet ministers, federal and provincial. I have criss-crossed the US. I have lived in Quebec for nine months. I have worked in Quebec off and on, been there hundreds of times, so I have a little idea of what Canada and Canadians are about.

I want to deal primarily with a problem that is staring us in the face. The so-called constitutional crisis is not a crisis in the minds of average Canadians, including most Quebeckers. It is an issue blown out of proportion by power-hungry politicians, the news media, the intellectuals who enjoy well-paid, secure jobs, and the elitist in our society.

Let me comment first on the Meech Lake fiasco. It failed because of bungling by the Prime Minister and some of the provincial premiers. However, let's not be deluded into thinking that if the Meech Lake accord had been approved it would have solved our constitutional problems in Quebec for very long. The separatists would have continued to agitate for independence under the guise of sovereignty-association on some other dubious illusion, and it is quite likely that Parti québécois would have won the next Quebec election and we would then be where we are now, in a constitutional confrontation with Quebec.


The entire constitutional debate is so wrapped up in political bafflegab and news media simplistic reporting that the average Canadian is unable to grasp what it is all about. The first thing we need be de is debunk this charade and inject some earth-to-earth realism into the debate. The first principle of realism in negotiations is that you de not solve problems by appeasement. On the contrary, appeasement only compounds problems.

It is amazing to see so many intelligent Quebeckers engage in sophisticated naïveté in this debate. The Allaire report, with its demands for 22 areas of jurisdiction, is so out of touch with reality that it lacks any credibility. It is nothing more than a brazen grab for political power, and stands no chance of being accepted in the rest of Canada.

Quebec certainly has a valid case in asking for constitutional changes on other arrangements to protect its French language and culture. I am convinced that the rest of Canada would agree to such changes. The report demands a massive transfer of federal jurisdiction but at the same time requests that Quebec continue to receive federal equalization payments. Also, it is ironic to see it criticize the federal government for failure to bring its deficits under control but ignore the fact that Quebec has been treated very generously by the federal Treasury. How can we treat Quebec's demands seriously in the face of such absurdities?

Those of you who had the opportunity to see the weekend paper, the Sunday Toronto Star or the Saturday Ottawa Citizen -- if you have not, take a look at Eugene Forsey's critique of the Allaire report. It is worth framing and keeping.

Since the Meech rejection, various public opinion polls have shown that up to 70% of Quebeckers favour independence; however, recent polls are beginning to show otherwise. Premier Bourassa is quoted last Saturday as saying the economy is more important to him than the Constitution, and I will bet this is the case with the great majority of Quebeckers. It sounds like some of the romantic euphoria is fading and earth-to-earth thinking is starting to emerge.

The Allaire report calls for a Quebec referendum in 1992. It appears the Bélanger-Campeau commission will propose that it be held in 1991. Even though Premier Bourassa insists there will be no referendum this year, public outcry may force his hand. I notice that within the last day, Lucien Bouchard, the Bloc québécois leader, says there are going to be mass demonstrations in Quebec unless they get the referendum this year.

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

Mr Rygus: Let's be frank with each other. If we had a perfect Constitution today, it would not solve our major economic and social problems; high unemployment, lack of affordable housing, rising welfare, medicare and education casts, regional disparities and many others will still be with us. The federal government as well as most provinces and municipalities face staggering deficits and increasing demands for more spending. Even a perfect Constitution would not produce countless billions of dollars each year that are needed to cope with these problems.

We expect Bob Rae to play a strong, leading and statesmanlike role in these constitutional negotiations. There is no place for political expediency at this time. Voters are fed up with political squabbling and self-serving opportunism that have plagued constitutional discussions in the past.

Canada will be a more prosperous country if Quebec stays with us. Canada without Quebec will survive, a little less prosperous and less influential in the world community. An independent Quebec could survive too, but with a lower standard of living, higher interest rates, higher taxes and many problems in its financial relations with other countries. It certainly would not become the nationalist paradise its separatist dreamers promise to create. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Marvin Jason, and I will call next Dr Jean Cottam.

Mr Jason: We represent ex-Quebeckers and there are about 450,000 of them who left since 1966. We believe that since we have lived in Quebec and all parts of Canada, we understand the situation as well as most, if not better than most. Most of us left Quebec because of some persistent harassment and threats, but we will leave that.

Switzerland is the only successful mosaic in the world today and even it has a French separatist group. All large-country mosaics have failed, some with even less differences than are found in Canada. It is only arrogance for us to think that we will succeed when so many have failed.

A little bit of mosaic theory: A review of mosaic suggests that one is feasible when none of the smaller parts is larger than a critical mass. A critical mass occurs when a smaller part numbers 500,000 or 18% plus of the population and they are in close proximity to each other. One article referred to studies that indicated the critical mass could be as low as 14%. Maoist theory puts it at 15%. It is feasible to keep a mosaic together, even though there is a great desire for sovereignty. This can be done through actual or threatened force, either physical or economical.

A successful mosaic is a democracy held together by a Constitution with little physical force or civil unrest and a good quality of life, and the only successful mosaic in the world today is Switzerland. What I ask is, why de we want to try to reinvent the wheel? They have a number of aspects that minimize conflict in their country.

They have a number of official languages, but each canton has only one language. Everything is done in that one language. There are no signage restrictions, but it is restricted to the one language. They also change their President frequently. In other words, you de not get a Prime Minister who is spending most of his time worrying about being re-elected. So the other thing we suggest is that there should be a restriction on the time or a time limit for the Prime Minister.

We recommend, as the Swiss have, a single language by canton -- in our case, it will be a province -- and a frequent changing of the Prime Minister, say, for a fixed period.

The Swiss have a right of referendum. Whenever you have 100,000 names that sign a petition, they must have a referendum on the law that they are contesting. They have a similar thing in California, and we suggest that this would be an important addition to our Constitution.

There are a few items, I have them in the report, that we suggest, one of them for aboriginals. I will not be able to respond to everything here, but the aboriginals, we think, should be handled by having an aboriginal party represented in proportion to their population and they would vote for their party for the government.

Each canton in Switzerland is represented in their equivalent to our Senate and they have equal representation. The ratio of the smallest canton to the largest is quite significant and we suggest equal representation in our Senate is important. The ratio of the population between Wyoming and California is roughly the same as that between PEI and Ontario. They have an equal representation in their Senate and we believe that it is important that we should have that as well.

The other aspect we believe that is important, that is a very strong weakness in our Constitution, is when we have representation by population. We believe that what happened in New Brunswick is very bad for democracy, that no party that gets a percentage of 5% of the plurality should have less than half of its plurality represented in the government. So if a party had, say, 8%, it would be assured of a 4% representation and would be appointed in some manner. We could de it the way they de it in Israel, but there are many different options.

Switzerland's mosaic has another advantage. They stand together, shoulder to shoulder -- by the way, this is what I gave to the Bélanger-Campeau commission, a good bit of this part -- when faced with perceived emergencies or threats. In Canada, too many Quebeckers have not done so in two world wars and the Boer War. Even when Alberta oil was being developed, they did not bear their share of the burden as all provinces west of their border had to.

A critical mass minority with perceived injustices is a threat to a peaceful country. The threat, an actual occurrence of violence, is higher in Quebec than in any other province. Some countries can get so large that considered economies of scale become diseconomies; for example, the transporting of butter and milk products from Quebec, 3,000 miles, to BC, when it could have been produced in BC at a lower total cost to Canada. Too many uneconomical situations have been forced on Canada just to satisfy Quebec. Quebec has controlled Canada for most of the last 40 years, and many Canadians are fed up with asymmetrical federalism. For 32 of the last 40 years, the Prime Minister came from Quebec.

If I go through all this in the paper, how they are essentially handling the federal civil service -- there is no use going over it and going over purification, how Quebec purifies parts of its country. For example, Montreal at one time had a majority of Anglophones. In 1867, 55% of Montreal was anglophone, 55% of the Eastern Townships was anglophone. There is only 9% of that now in the Eastern Townships. Like Pinocchio, we notice Bourassa's and many pure-laine noses getting longer and longer. Canadians outside of Quebec are learning to spot the many fibs coming out of that province. A successful Confederation can only be based on truth and honesty.


Since New France was founded, Quebec has been a religiously racist society. It is only when you get out from under the cloud, as we did, that you find out how much more racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-visible-minority Quebec is than any other province is. These actions embarrass and disgust much of the rest of Canada. Censuring of actions in Quebec by the European Parliament, article 19, and a UN human rights committee, an investigation by Amnesty International are great embarrassments to many Canadians.

Quebec does not produce one mineral that is not found somewhere else in Canada. The pure-laine will never be satisfied until they have their own government and reach their perceived potential, something they will never achieve as part of Canada. The question of Quebec separation would have arisen whether Meech Lake was approved or not. Even if they de separate, they can always return. Accommodation is possible, but we will never succeed as a mosaic. Quebec is following the melting-pot theory and the rest of Canada is trying to follow a mosaic. How can you run a country with them doing a melting pot and us or the rest of Canada trying to run a mosaic? It just does not work.

Canada needs provinces that are willing to contribute for the good of all, not to stay for the loot or until it is not profitable for them any more.

The Chair: Sir, would you sum up, please?

Mr Jason: Over 300 years ago, Cromwell addressed Parliament. Amery repeated the address to Chamberlain and we repeated it to Quebec in this B and C submission:

"You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go."

I will leave this report for you.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: I am going to call Dr Jean Cottam and I am going to suggest that we hear one other person after that, Tony Sylvestro. Then I think we are going to have to conclude at that point.

Dr Cottam: I believe that there is an urgent need for a commonsense approach to the Quebec issue. Decentralization of the rest of Canada for the sake of satisfying Quebec ought to be ruled out. The provisions of Bill C-69 must be vigorously opposed and eventually reversed. I de not know how many people in this room know what Bill C-69 represents. It represents the removal of the federal government presence in our higher education and medicare.

A complete disappearance of federal government in medicare and post-secondary education is going to take place around 2004, and this is one of the major reasons why post-secondary education and medicare are in trouble.

We cannot afford to decentralize Canada. The same applies to the UIC. The federal government has removed itself from UIC. Equalization payments to the provinces should be maintained. The Ontario government should publicize these matters for the benefit of Canada at barge.

It is better to aim at an amicable divorce than to stay in a highly destructive marriage. We cannot hold on to Quebec by force against its will. It would be no less immoral to de so than for the USSR to hold on to Lithuania. Even without Quebec, English Canada would still constitute the eighth-largest economy. Close economic ties with a politically independent Quebec are quite feasible and would be of benefit to both parties. In the event of Quebec separation, Ontario must reassure the other provinces that Ontario welcomes them to the new, even more viable, Canada.

We should tell Quebec that we prefer them to stay, but on terms that are mutually satisfactory. The underlying principle should be that Quebec has no right to destroy the rest of Canada. It has no right to prevent it from articulating its own vision urgently required. There should be no more concessions to Quebec that impact on the viability and prosperity of the rest of Canada. We must restructure our outdated and undemocratic political system in terms of a sensible variant of proportional representation and an elected Senate representative of all the constituent provinces, so that no Canadian government obtains a majority with less than 50% of the popular vote.

I would refer you to an excellent book which deals with this subject. It is called Getting Ready for 1999: Ideas for Canada's Politics and Government. It is by Tom Kent, a former public servant and it is published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, 1989.

All of the above is necessary to came to grips with the crucial issue of what kind of Canada we ought to have: a Canada of extreme poverty and extreme wealth, ie, a banana republic of the north with a puppet government in Ottawa, or a Canada ready for the 21st century.

I believe that to the latter end the Ontario government should educate the Canadian public about the consequences of our bilateral free trade agreement with the United States and the likely consequences of the potential trilateral agreement. I believe that, regardless of the cost, we must get rid of the Canada-US free trade agreement because of its serious threat to Canadian prosperity and sovereignty. Being master in our own house is a sine qua non of not only satisfying our urgent need for an appropriate social safety net, social charter and protection of the environment, but also improving our competitiveness in the global economy.

Quite to the contrary, we hear our business people, particularly big business, telling us that in order to be competitive in a global economy, we must have this free trade agreement. It is the other way around. The free trade agreement is putting such fetters on us in terms of our monetary policy, in terms of our fiscal policy, that we cannot possibly compete in a global environment. It is countries like Germany and Japan that are masters in their own house that are doing best in the global economy. Thank you.


The Chair: We probably can take one other person and I will just call Ken McRae following Mr Sylvestro.

Interjection: Mr Chairman, a question from the floor on behalf of the audience that will not be represented. Will we have a chance to make representations? Would you be coming back to Ottawa or would you suggest that we mail our representations?

The Chair: I was going to say that at the end, sir, but since you raised it, we would invite those people that will not get an opportunity to speak to us tonight to feel free to send us their comments in writing. Please de not feel that they have to be elaborate or in a polished form. In whatever form they are, we will be glad to have them. We have not put together our plans for the second stage of our work, so we are not in a position to say whether we will be returning be Ottawa or not. We certainly will not be returning prior to putting together our interim report.

Interjection : Alors, vous êtes les bienvenus à Ottawa. We hope you will all soon come back.

M. le Président : Merci.


The Chair: Tony Sylvestro.

Mr Sylvestro: My speech is only five minutes, because I have been told that is all I was allowed. You men and women will be glad to know that. Before I begin it, I would also like to let you know I have a petition signed by umpteen university teachers, professors, teachers in the Ottawa school board, as well as students in university and high school. So I am not only speaking for myself, I am speaking for them. These will be sent to all your offices once I get them photocopied.

Democracy: We are supposed to live in a democratic society, government by the people, directly or through representatives. After approximately 20 consecutive years of French prime ministers from Quebec who have continued to pass laws and bills declaring Canada bilingual, it is quite obvious we as a country are further now away from national unity than we ever have been in Canadian history.

Two languages, when forced upon the opposites, cannot and will not work. It is strange, when 90% of the population outside Quebec state English as their mother tongue and 6% French. Why have the majority of Canadians never been asked if they wanted their country declared bilingual by a French Prime Minister? We have continued to have enforced bilingualism entrenched in the federal government as well as the Constitution.

In Ontario, we pass bills such as Bill 8, basically declaring Ontario bilingual, while in Quebec they continue to reject the English language and bilingualism by passing anti-English bills such as Bill 178 and Bill 101. Over 10% of Quebec's population lists English as their mother tongue. In Ontario, less than 6% list French is their mother tongue. Why the double standard?

In Ontario alone, especially Ottawa, we have to offer just about every public service in both languages at a cost of approximately $4 million daily, as quoted by David Peterson during the last provincial election. de you hear that? Four million dollars daily, and that was almost a year ago. Why have we been forced to continue to spend millions of dollars daily on enforced bilingualism while the government of Canada cuts back in such areas as welfare programs, employment opportunity, social programs, the National Research Council, CBC radio and TV, and the list goes on?

I find it strange how the government can justify cutting back in all areas of spending while increasing spending on bilingualism. In Ottawa, the nation's artificial bilingual capital, we offer almost every public service in both languages, yet the French politicians continue to complain about a lack of French services, while just across the bridge in Hull, most services, ie, hospital, Outaouais transit services, public signs -- I can go on -- are offered in French only. Why the double standard again?

I could continue to go on about the double standard created by a discriminatory federal government, but that is not really why I am up here. I think it is quite obvious that enforced bilingualism is destroying the country outside Quebec. I really wonder where our English leaders are. Are they all out west? Who knows? I thought Bob Rae would wake up and realize that one of the reasons he won the election was because of Mr Peterson's support of the Meech Lake accord. David Peterson was not speaking for the majority of Ontario by supporting the accord, and I can only hope that Mr Rae does not de likewise to appease the French minority.

Canada is a multicultural country and always has been. There is nothing wrong with one common language to tie all cultures together in a common band. Each ethnic group can grow and prosper within the community, bonded by that common language to other groups. Their own language, including French, can grow and prosper within their community.

People who believe in one common language for Canada can no longer be frightened off with, words like "bigot." They have had enough. French outside Quebec deserves no more and no less formal a place in Canadian society than any other ethnic language or group. English is the bonding language of all Canadians, one common language to preserve and protect all multicultural heritage.


The Chair: Mr McRae?

Dr K. McRae: I thank you for this opportunity. I am here as a professional political scientist, and one who has made some studies of a number of other multicultural and multilingual countries with interests in language policy and language politics. I would gladly talk about those at some length but I will not infringe on your time.

My focus tonight is really on one major point. And I would like to make it as strongly as I can. I am concerned -- I am sure you are, too -- with the role of Ontario in Confederation, the thrust of its political strategy in Confederation at this time. I am not going to talk about specific measures, but rather the general line of policy, the direction that could be followed, the broad goal that could be pursued.

I de not need to take time to say that Ontario is a powerful figure in Confederation. We all know that. My thesis is a little stronger than that. My thesis really is that Ontario -- I think here obviously of the government and the Legislature -- almost by itself -- I say almost -- can prevent the breakup of Canada. I am sure this is a topic many of us agree upon even if we disagree on means.

How is this to be done? I see two consistent lines of action that would have be pursued to de this.

First is a constant policy of flexibility, understanding and sympathy towards Quebec, of reaching out, of looking for accommodation, of talking and talking some more, of bending a little, putting our own points across, of being pragmatic, of avoiding the hard symbolism of which much of the debate is composed today, of staying away from legalistic logic where political pragmatism may find a way, of the overintellectualization of issues. I think almost of Mackenzie King's example here, who was so criticized by Frank Scott for precisely this ability to prevent issues from taking a hard edge and a hard shape.

The second line of action, I think, is even more important, and that is what not to de. I am concerned myself with the rise of much discourse among journalists and intellectuals on the debate on Canada after Quebec or Canada without Quebec. There is a new concept with us which is taking the form of the rest of Canada. Some people have even coined an acronym TROC for this, "the rest of Canada."

I submit to you that this is a dangerous idea. If we wanted to coin a slogan, I think we could say TROC is a crock. Very simply, I would say Ontario should net bet this happen. The province of Ontario can refuse, if it wills, to join any form of alliance, coalition, or common front of the other provinces against Quebec. My reasoning is that without Ontario as a factor in this coalition, no such common front would be possible. With Ontario strongly neutral between the other provinces and Quebec, Confederation can survive.


My suggestion would be that Ontario's policy should be friendship with both Quebec and with the other provinces, but alliances with neither side. A policy of neutrality, rather, if we had more time, like the traditional role of Bern canton in the Swiss Confederation, a powerful canton which provides a hinge or a bridge between German and French Switzerland.

If I have a minute or two more, I would like to suggest that there are three possible objections to this proposed solution.

The first is that this might produce a political stalemate. This is possibly so, but I would see separation as worse than stalemate. I think we could live for some time in a situation of stalemate and I think the economic and social casts of stalemate would be lower than those of separation.

The second objection: It is likely to produce a more decentralized Canada, and I would say probably so, but not so much as a breakup of Canada would produce in terms of its social impact, especially, and I would emphasize, for Ontario. We would be the ones that would feel it most if Quebec were to leave.

Third, and this is perhaps a more difficult one, what if the popular pressure, such as you have heard around you tonight, would not approve, would press you to get on the side of a bandwagon against Quebec? I would submit here that this is a bandwagon that ought to be resisted. It is a chance to show political leadership, political education, political dialogue, and I would hope that the government of Ontario and the Legislature of Ontario would be able to show that kind of leadership.


The Chair: Sorry, sir. I thought we had concluded.

Mr P. McRae: I am Paul McRae. I thought you called me down.

The Chair: Sorry, I guess we had two McRaes on the list. All right.

Mr P. McRae: I thought you did.

The Chair: I had called Kenneth McRae, but all right, go ahead, sir, briefly, and we will conclude with you then.

Mr P. McRae: I de not want to move in where I am out of turn. Just a word of introduction: I formerly lived in Quebec. I was a principal of high schools in northern Ontario, in Manitoulin Island, Rainy River and 10 years in Thunder Bay, and served in the House of Commons for 12 years from that city, Fort William and Thunder Bay-Atikokan, and have been and am a member of the CRTC at the present time, whose chairman is off doing some similar job as you are doing here.

I am sorry to keep you so late, because I know what it is like to be serving on the other side. I was on the constitutional committee as an alternate and I went through that one, but mainly what I am here for is to talk about what really concerns me, and the relationship to the finance committee of the House of Commons, which I served on for many years.

I am here not to talk about structure, not to talk about the Constitution. I am here to talk about whatever happens when it is all over. We hope that Quebec is part of it and we pray that Quebec is part of it, but whatever happens, I make a strong plea that the final national instrument that develops from all of these discussions all across the country be strong enough to deal with the global economy and to deal with environmental problems of a global nature that could be catastrophic if countries like Canada de not take the lead. I think it is terribly important that the government of Canada, when this is all over, has that kind of power.

I would like to talk just for a moment about the global economy because I think this is something that we de not fully understand at this particular point. I think there is a very dangerous dichotomy that we have to deal with. One of them is that capital, whether it is liquid or equipment, is extremely mobile. A plant can move out of Ontario to Mexico and it can be set up in a week or two. The other part of that dichotomy, the other side of that dichotomy is the fact that people cannot move, unless you are very technical or unless you are a senior executive of that given company.

Those two problems create immense difficulties for a government and it is only those governments like Japan, West Germany and the United States -- I am not even sure if the United States can make it at this particular point; it is these kinds of governments, the two that I mentioned, that are the ones we are going to be competing with.

I would suggest that your research bring to you same papers by Robert Reich, who is a Harvard economist, a guru of the Democratic Party, who talks about the successful role of a national government in a global corporation sense. That national government has to spend a lot of time and energy developing national institutions, developing transportation, developing communications, developing educational programs that are totally relevant. These are the kinds of national governments that we have to have in this country; otherwise we de not survive.

Also, those governments have to look after people who are unable to look after themselves in this time of global turmoil. I would look at the European common market as one where, while they have entered into a major trade relationship, they are supporting weak governments, people, social systems, cultural systems and so on. Those are the kind of things that we require a national government to de. I feel very strongly that whatever the instrument that we forge after these many discussions, that instrument must contain that ability to de what I have said.

Only briefly -- I will just be a second; I know that I am running you out of time -- I would like to suggest that there are some very large, as you know, global environmental problems, particularly the ozone layer, the warming of the earth, that are not provincial problems. They are not the burial of garbage and so on. They are problems that deal with growth, with national economies, with energy matters, with all kinds of other matters.

Again, it is not good enough for a weak federal government or for a weak national government -- I use the word "national" because it always has struck me that the word we use that is wrong is "central." I think it is possible to have a strong national government that is decentralized, that has a very strong regional basis. I could go into this. I promise you that what I will de is put it on paper and send it to you, because there are some other things I would like to talk about. But mainly my plea is to make sure that we have a national instrument that is powerful enough to de the kinds of things that you mention.

I will just give you one example of what happens when we de not use our power correctly. The Stone Corp bought Consolidated Bathurst just after the free trade deal went through, not necessarily as part of the free trade deal. It invested perhaps 5% equity, took the rest on loans from banks which are interest tax free, and as I understand it the $1.5 billion, a good portion of it, went offshore. That capital is so mobile, it moves offshore immediately. These are some of the things that I think we have to look at, and before Quebec leaves, talk to people in Quebec about how important the solution to these problems is going to be for our future.

I thank you very much for your attention and I apologize for keeping you so late.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr McRae.

Interjection: Mr Chairman, I would like to register a complaint about how this session has been conducted here this evening in terms of time allocation. If you are going to assign and allot times, I would suggest that you respect -- I am one who was missed out, and that is fine. It is too late now. The other thing is that your 800 number indicates very clearly that people would be registered on arrival in order of presentation, and you have been all over the map here.

The Chair: Well, no, sir. In fact, I have --

Interjection: Well, that is the understanding that I had.

The Chair: They were registered, sir. People were registered at the door and I have stuck fairly religiously to the list that was there.

Interjection: I am sorry, my name was second on the list, because I saw the list, and I was not called. That is all right. I will submit my report separately, but I want it on the record that I am far from satisfied with the way you are conducting this. If you are leaving this kind of feeling behind in each community, then you are creating another problem.

The Chair: Sir, I would invite you to come up at the end of the meeting and look at the list, and you can see that in fact we have gone through it, almost as we have, with the two lists that I had and working from both of those. I invite you to de that.

Interjection: I have been here since 20 after 6.

The Chair: I am sorry. We are going to conclude at this point. I want to thank the people who came. The meeting is concluded.

The committee adjourned at 2221.