Tuesday 26 February 1991

Task Force on Canadian Federalism

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Cornwall and District Multicultural Council

Coalition des Organismes Francophones de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry

Richard Hickerson

Shirley Armstrong

Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry Legal Clinic

Ronald Bergeron

Ken Davies

Luc Guindon

Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational Institute

Afternoon sitting

Chinese Canadians of Kingston and District

Centre Frontenac

Optimist Club, Club Optimiste

St Josephs's School

First Nations Technical Institute

Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario des Mille-Îles

Helen Cooper

Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute

Raymond Bouchard

Midge Rouse

Evening sitting

R. W. Ormerod

Vince Maloney

Peter Campbell

E. H. Storey

James Ilett

Neil Fraser

Arthur Keppel-Jones, Hugh G. Thorburn

Neil Dukas

Raymond Roberts

Aubrey Garrett

Maria Heissler

David Switzer

Bruce Vowles

Ann Bordeau

Jason Balgopal

Alex Craig

Harry Pasternak

John Dowling

Isabella O'Shea

David Dossett

David Wren



Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NDP)

Vice-Chair: Bisson, Gilles (Cochrane South NDP)

Beer, Charles (York North L)

Churley, Marilyn (Riverdale NDP)

Eves, Ernie L. (Parry Sound PC)

Harnick, Charles (Willowdale PC)

Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls NDP)

Malkowski, Gary (York East NDP)

Offer, Steven (Mississauga North L)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa Rideau L)

Wilson, Fred (Frontenac-Addington NDP)

Winninger, David (London South NDP)


Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West PC) for Mr Eves

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

Clerk: 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 1012 in the Royal Canadian Legion, Cornwall.

The Chair: Good morning. If I could 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 Cornwall this morning, continuing our hearings across the province to hear from the people of the province of Ontario on the future of Confederation and Ontario's role within that. This is the fourth week of our travels in various parts of the province and we will be concluding our formal hearings later this week. We are continuing the swing this week through the eastern part of the province and ending up in Toronto later this week.

This is a committee that is made up of representatives of the three political parties that have representatives at Queen's Park, and I want to just take a minute to introduce the members of the committee who are here. In addition to myself, from the New Democratic Party caucus we have Gary Malkowski; Gilles Bisson, who is also the Vice-Chair of the committee; Marilyn Churley; Fred Wilson; David Winninger, and Gary Wilson. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer, and from the Conservative caucus we have Charles Harnick.

We are, as I said earlier, in the Royal Canadian Legion in Cornwall, and I want to give the president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Ernie Pain, an opportunity to say a few words to us. Mr Pain.

Mr Pain: I say welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Branch 297 in Cornwall. I do hope your meeting of the select committee of Ontario in Confederation is a very fruitful meeting. Also, I would like to say that I believe in one flag, one country, indivisible. That is my own opinion. I also think that each province should have a right to decide the fate of our country. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. Before proceeding with the list of speakers, I need to say first of all -- and I realize that the message out to those people who may be following us over the parliamentary channel may not be adequately received and it will come out in terms of what I am about to say -- we have had a problem apparently this morning, our technical people tell me, with the closed captioning. Whatever piece of equipment it is that makes that possible was unfortunately placed on a truck that was on its way to our next stop, and it is being retrieved as we speak. So for those people who are not receiving now closed captioning, we apologize for that. That, we hope, will be rectified as the morning proceeds.

The other thing is, in terms of the time for speakers, we have here in Cornwall, as we have had in various other locations, a number of people who are interested in speaking with us and to us. In an attempt to try to accommodate as many individuals and groups as we can, we have had to set some time lines which are perhaps a little more stringent than we would have preferred to see. As you can see from the agenda if you have a copy, we have set aside a maximum of 15 minutes for organizations and a maximum of 10 minutes for individuals. There is a block of time later in the morning where there is about an hour's time, although I anticipate it will not take quite that long, where there is in fact a coalition of a number of organizations that have come forward. That is why that time block has been extended, because it quite frankly would have been longer if we had dealt with each of those organizations separately, given the number of them.

So just by way of asking people to do their best to try to keep to that time, I have tried to be a little bit flexible in that, although perhaps that has gotten me sometimes into trouble. But I think we need to try to maintain that time and also keep in mind that we would like to try to have some time within that maximum time for questions to be asked by members of the committee.


The Chair: With that then, I will call our first presenters, from the Task Force on Canadian Federalism, Julius Grey, Anastasios Anastasopoulos and June Weiss.

Mr Grey: Thank you very much. It is a privilege to be here, even if only for 15 minutes, to tell you about what we have been doing and to give you perhaps to some extent a Quebec perspective but one which has, I believe, implications for Ontario. We are quite clear in the policy suggestions that we give to Ontario. We do not believe that Quebec problems are purely to be settled inside Quebec, nor Ontario ones purely within Ontario. We are one country and we have been working for that since the summer.

We are a non-profit, non-partisan group -- we will not say non-political because that is a very different thing from being non-partisan -- dedicated to the study and the promotion of Canadian federalism. We have presented to the Bélanger-Campeau commission and we have done a certain amount of publishing and organizing in Quebec. We have attached both a submission that we prepared for your study and a number of articles that we have published in various newspapers or that are in the process of publication, in one case in Options.

The question we want to put to you is this. It is clear that nobody says the status quo is the only way to do things, that the Canadian status quo is perfect, that the Constitution cannot be changed. It is also clear that all sensible voices in Quebec are now saying that the economic union must continue. In fact the Allaire report wants to strengthen it. Why is it then that no one can come up with a constitutional fix? The answer is, because the problems of Canada are not constitutional; because it is a foolish illusion to believe that by changing the division of power, saying one little thing will become provincial instead of being federal, or the other way around, the daily lives of Canadians will be substantially improved. Indeed, that type of bargaining which the Allaire commission invites us to do would only lead to greater dissatisfaction, because a year after the division of powers those people who are obviously dissatisfied in some way would see that their lives are no better off than they ever were before and the demagogues would then say, "You see, we told you that the only way was to go all the way to full sovereignty."

It is therefore my suggestion that massive bargaining away of federal power is not the way to go. Even if one were to reapportion powers -- of course, some things can be changed, and I have suggested certain areas where one could move from federal to provincial or from provincial to federal powers -- but a massive giveaway of Ottawa powers will simply weaken us vis-à-vis the United States and other trading partners, make it impossible for us to negotiate effectively, especially inside this free trade area. But apart from that, it would be a disaster. What then is the solution? The solution is surely to ask ourselves what Canada is. Giving away powers without a clear vision of Canada will leave us with some sort of sovereignty association and so on.

Canada, I submit to you, is fundamentally made up of a number of points. On the last pages we list a number of them, that it must be a free society protected by the strongest of charters. And one thing I think we should stop feeling guilty about and say right out -- it is in fact patronizing not to say it -- is that much of the thrust of Quebec nationalism, not initially in the 1960s during the Quiet Revolution, but in recent years, has been unfair and has been an attack on public liberties.

A multicultural and bilingual society which increases the individual freedom of choice in cultural matters -- that is the second essential point of Canada, the welfare state, the compassionate nature of Canadian society. I submit to you that any separatist solution, any weakening of the central fabric of Canada will make it impossible for us to afford that which makes us most different from the United States right now, and the prosperous and open society which we have because of our North American location, because we are able to take the best from the United States and not incorporate some of the less attractive features of that society. It seems to be that any constitutional discussions must preserve enough unity and enough federal power to create those things and under those circumstances a giveaway of federal power is simply unthinkable.


How then is one to achieve it? I believe that bargaining on the basis of something like the Allaire report will not achieve it. It is obvious that even if Mr Bourassa and Mr Ryan are right and the Allare report is not a final statement, they will not be able to back down substantially to leave sufficient federal power to maintain the essential aspects of Canada -- the freedom, the multiculturalism and bilingualism across the country, the welfare state and the prosperity.

It is obvious that the only way to do it is for somebody from outside, as well as people from inside like ourselves, to campaign in Quebec and to weaken the apparent monopoly that they have had on the media. It is happening now; in the last two weeks there have been more and more voices coming out of Quebec saying: "Let's think about this. This is dangerous, at least economically." I think it is important for Ontario, for other Canadian provinces, for the federal government, to come to Quebec, to go from town to town, to go to Montreal and to Quebec City and to point out that Quebec was not rejected by the rest of the country; that is a misinterpretation of what happened in Meech -- whatever position one takes on Meech Lake, it is history, but it was not an attack on Quebec or a desire to remove Quebec; as I believe is the case, that all Canadians consider Quebec to be central and essential to Canada and consider the continuation of bilingualism and the French and English nature of Canada to be an essential part.

To campaign in Quebec in order to create a belief in Canada. Once that has happened, we can sit down with the representatives of a Quebec government or of other -- one might think of other forms, estates general, whatever one wants -- Canadians, Quebeckers, everybody, and make the constitutional amendments which, as I said, may be of some significance but which are not the central part of the Canadian problem.

I further say that the recognition of the specific, of the distinct, of the French nature of Quebec is not incompatible with all this. That should be done; everybody must understand that one of the fundamentals of Canada, without which we would not have this different society from the United States, is the Frenchness and the bilingualism and Quebec.

But I do not believe either that one should feel guilty about what Canada has done so far, that one should keep reiterating the sort of official half-truths or non-truths of Quebec nationalism; for instance, the great threat to Quebec, which is now pretty well established to be a myth, or that one should say, "Of course you are right, but would you keep a few of the things?" The answer is we must keep a vibrant Canada in which all Canadians feel that it is more than just an economic union, just the common dollar. It does represent as an essentially different society from the one which we respect and like but do not want to participate in south of the border.

That is basically what I want to say. I would like to ask Professor Anastasopoulos to add a few words about the economic side of our presentation.

Dr Anastasopoulos: I would like to stress that Canada has an economic problem, much less of a constitutional problem. In my opinion, it is becoming progressively less and less economically viable, and the seriousness of the problem is obscured by the intensity of the constitutional concerns. The reason for that is that the GATT agreements which are in the process and the United States free trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada negotiations, all point in the direction of two effects: first, strengthening the north-south route of trade against the east-west route of trade and, second, the decline in the manufacturing sectors. Some studies that we have conducted at Concordia University show that Canada as a whole, particularly Quebec and Ontario, is bound to lose in the area of manufacturing as a result of these developments.

Now, there are some additional considerations in the international area, like the economies of scale in multinationals, the appearance of flexible manufacturing. Another area is the forecasted shortage of high interest rates as a result of accumulation of debts in North America and the decline in productivity in North American markets. All these factors point to the fact that in the future the various North American regions are going to face strong competition among themselves. As a result of that competition, the Canadian economy is bound to undergo a serious reorganization and a change in the pattern of trade and will face difficulty in maintaining its industrial bases.

There are some additional realities. Additional realities are the interprovincial barriers of trade that exist -- some 300 regulations prohibit or limit interprovincial trade -- high federal and provincial deficits, serious regional disparities and federal-provincial disputes over social problems, the high tax burden in Canada. All these domestic issues point out that Canada has a serious problem. If things are left the way they are, the industries will move to the south. Competition among various regions is bound to weaken each region of Canada individually.

What we recommend in this case is that we need strong, concerted economic efforts of the various Canadian regions in order to protect the Canadian industry from political interventions, because no matter how we look at it, competition among various regions is going to involve a lot of political interference. In this case the United States, being a much stronger economic unit, will be able to protect its regions much more effectively. To do so, we require a stronger federal government which has the ability to conduct economic policies effectively.

On the other hand, in order for the provinces to subscribe to a stronger federalism, they must be persuaded about the economic costs and benefits of federalism. Such costs and benefits must be based on new realities as they have emerged from new technology and tendencies towards globalization of the economies.

It is my firm belief that these topics, these economic realities, these costs and benefits, can only be sorted out through negotiations among provinces concentrating on the seriousness of economic problems and not obscuring it by Constitutional concerns. I think the threat of disintegration that the country has at the present gives us an opportunity to rebuild it on more sound foundations.

Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. Are there any more comments that you wish to make? There are a number of questions. We will try to get through as many as we can. Mr Offer to start.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much for your presentation. I know that there are probably a number of questions, so I will be brief in the questions that I want to pose to you.

When you talk about the campaigning that you see as necessary in Quebec, do you see the essence of the campaign directed to the economic realities, or something more than that? I ask that question with this in mind. When one talks about the economic realities of leaving the country, or whatever configuration one wants to model, there may be the argument that says, "Take a look at the reduction in federal transfer payments to the provinces." I am wondering how one addresses that particular point.

My second point is, do you see that it is necessary that there be constitutional amendment in order to effect a redistribution of power?

Mr Grey: I would answer both questions in the following way.

Economics is not enough, in our view. The reason for economics not being enough is of course because nationalism, by its nature, is irrational. The definition of nationalism is the exploitation by a few who have an economic interest of the prejudices of the many. No matter how good an argument you have, if you come up with an economist who is unimpeachable, there will be an economist called Tremblay who will say the opposite. The nature of irrationalism is that you believe Tremblay rather than Anastasopoulos, no matter who is right.


So the purely economic interest argument will not work. Also, the purely economic argument has this disadvantage: What if there is a brief period of time in which it is not paying, if you can show that Quebec has subsidized something. You cannot have a family or a union or anything based on one party constantly benefiting or walking out if it is not.

Therefore, it will be necessary to inspire a belief in Canada which can only be done, not by economic interests which will at most get people like Bouchard or Parizeau to say, "All right, let's concede one area in a monetary law," if the going gets hot, just modify their position, but something we will have to face right on. Economics is not enough. Federal transfer payments are not the issue. The issue is: Can we keep this compassionate, free society in a very different type of thing with this gigantic neighbour breathing down our necks?

So the first question would be that economics is essential but it is not the only question. We will not win if we concentrate only on economics. I think the campaigning would surely involve the leaders. We are non-partisan, but I think the Prime Minister of Canada has failed to campaign so far, and I think it would take not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister, the opposition leader, the federal NDP, the various provincial premiers and oppositions to make it non-partisan, to tell Quebeckers, "We want you."

Your second question was --

Mr Offer: My second question dealt with whether constitutional amendment is necessary in order to effect the distribution of power.

Mr Grey: I think constitutional amendment is really not necessary in the logical sense. I think Quebec already has all the powers; indeed, Quebec has used more powers than other provinces and has made itself de facto distinct.

I believe that as a practical matter of common sense, all constitutions can be improved and probably in the present situation it would be impractical to leave the matter without some constitutional amendment, but I do not believe that constitutional amendment is the key to redistribution of Canada. At most, it is one of the things that will happen on the way. Our error is concentrating on section 91 and 92 of the BNA Act, or the Constitution Act as it now is, instead of looking at the real problems.

Mr F. Wilson: Thank you for your presentation. We are entering the final week of the first phase of our deliberations here. We have heard from many different groups within the province; whether we have heard it in anger, in hope or in frustration, the feeling we are getting is that Canada is definitely worth saving, doing almost anything within reason to save what we realize as Canada. As members of your committee and as Quebeckers, beyond the demagoguery, beyond the media hype, can you give us some kind of feeling of what you are getting from the Quebec people?

Mr Grey: We have got a tremendous number of positive comments for what we have done. After our BélangerCampeau commission presentation, at which we were insulted and called every name, I had dozens of phone calls at my office from francophones and anglophones. Indeed, our task force is made up of a lot of francophones as well as anglophones, and one of my basic principles is that I refuse to accept the distinction. I speak French as much as I speak English; I would have no difficulty speaking to you in French. In the same way, I do not see why, because of my name, the label is put on me. That is one of the irrational aspects of nationalism.

I believe that most Quebeckers would like this to go away. On the other hand, I think the way in which Quebec is different from other provinces is not that it has a greater number of rednecks -- far from it. Quebec has always had very many tolerant, open people, the same as any other place, but it is the distribution of the nationalism; the journalistic world, the university world, the business-labour world -- labour unions in Quebec are an obvious example acting against their economic interest, being more nationalistic than anyone else when they are the ones who have the most to lose.

The leaders of English Canada tend to have a lower percentage of this sort of nationalistic, narrow thinking, even though in the whole society it is probably the same. The conclusion would be that if you have more among the leadership groups you probably have a much larger silent majority thinking to itself, "If only this could go away."

I believe that if Ontarians and people from other provinces come to Quebec and go not just to Montreal and not just to one meeting where they are going to get booed and called names, but all over the province, the reception will be overwhelming. People will jump at that, saying, "This is what we wanted to hear." I think there are many people, deep down, who are sick and tired of the nationalism. We have been hearing it all the time. It is the media and the so-called official positions that are so difficult to breach.

Mr F. Wilson: Just to finish on that note, that method you describe of getting to the Quebec people sounds like a very good way of doing it: We go and deliver a message. I have the feeling, though, that that may be looked upon as a bit of an invasion by those very forces you described. It might be counterproductive.

Mr Grey: They would certainly call it an invasion, but the precise answer to that is that we are in the same country. It is not as though a group of Americans or Englishmen or Frenchmen came to Canada. This is still the same country. One of the issues that has been raised by the nationalists is: "They have rejected us." What more simple thing than for Canadians outside Quebec to go to Quebec and say, "That was a total misinterpretation."

Whatever motives one ascribes to either Mr Wells or Mr Harper or anybody else, the rejection of Quebec was clearly not one of them. As I said, there are some rednecks in English Canada, undoubtedly, who reject Quebec, but they were not the ones who either voted against Meech Lake or who have any important influence over the policies of Canada or of Quebec.

So I suggest that although there would be this immediate sense of, "You are coming to our home and invading us," the answer is: "We are Canadians coming to explain why we want to save Canada to other Canadians." We are not going to a foreign country. We cannot accept the premise of the nationalists before doing anything. I think the campaign in Quebec is an essential part of saving Canada.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation. We appreciate the fact that you left us a copy of your presentation to the Bélanger-Campeau commission as well as other materials, and we will see that people from the committee have access to those. Thank you once again.



The Chair: Could I call next from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Chief Mary David and Grand Chief Michael Mitchell. Also with the presenters is Micha Menczer.

Mr Mitchell: My brothers and sisters, on behalf of the Mohawk community of Akwesasne, I want to welcome you to this area. I want to thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. We have words on paper, as you requested. It is far too long to read it in 15 minutes, so what I have chosen to do is highlight some of those things we have brought out.

Akwesasne is a Mohawk-speaking community of about 9,500. Our territory is split into boundaries encompassing the United States, Canada, Ontario, Quebec and New York state. Our people have to live daily in a situation where there are five government jurisdictions and authorities. Every time you leave the territory you have some law on the outside that you are confronted with and deal with on a daily basis. There are international roads and borders and boundaries that affect our people on a daily basis.

On the Canadian side, there are 2,000 living on Cornwall Island, Ontario; another 2,000 in St Regis village; another 2,000 in Snye. St Regis and Snye are in Quebec, Cornwall in Ontario, so about 6,000 people reside on the Canadian side of Akwesasne.

We have become very concerned as we watch from afar your deliberations and discussions on the future of Canada, because we have yet, as indigenous people, to have the discussions that need to be had regarding finding our place, within Canada. I note on page 13 that you have some information and questions for discussion: How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal people? I say to you, you must come to grips with who our people are. The very notion that our people have to live among a society in Canada that refers to the English and the French as being the two founding nations of Canada -- I will go back even further than that. Next year your people will be celebrating the 500-year anniversary of a man who was lost. At that time, we welcomed the early European settlers and shared our land, what is now known as North America. We shared many things with European society: medicine, food, other things to help sustain life.

Our people had a respect for the land, the environment, as having a right to live beside humans. Our people recognized that all living things had a place; this is all the Creator's doing. We were branded as pagans, that we did not have a religion. We are now finding 500 years later that we are choking the life out of our mother. We could use a bit of knowledge from the indigenous people.

What is wrong with the country, according to our perception, is that they have systematically choked, through systems within government and not being able to accord respect in their dealings with aboriginal people. From the first time of aboriginal relations, treaties were made, many promises were made, and then it came down to colonization, systematically putting policies in place and reducing what was once a very proud race of people to what is now known by the majority of the citizens in Canada as a welfare state.

I want to flip the other side. I want to tell you how we see things. We cannot get out of these tragic statistics -- death rates, unsafe water, inadequate sewage, etc. On a reservation we are deprived and living under these conditions. We live like that because Canada has taken our pride away -- you have probably heard in many of the presentations, if aboriginal leaders have appeared before you -- by the residential schools, government bureaucracy, policies that affect aboriginal people. We have come all the way down to be put in such a state.

Many of our people no longer know who they are. Many of them are fast losing their language and culture, and they cannot be somebody else. We cannot go back to some country, because this is where we come from. You took our culture away. Your government put these laws on our people to reduce us, and we are going to have to rebuild it. You are going to have to allow aboriginal people to rebuild their culture, strengthen their culture and traditions. You are going to have to allow us to keep our languages and keep our lands and you are going to have to let us recognize that we have aboriginal rights.

Yesterday I got back from Mexico. I saw while I was touring their country great buildings -- pyramids, I guess they call them. A great civilization was there before the European arrived -- Mayans, Aztecs, many wonderful things that happened. But I had a look at the living conditions of aboriginal people there, living in shacks and probably the same conditions. But their will is very strong, and in Canada the will of aboriginal people is still very strong, right across the country. The focus for us is on self-determination.

In Akwesasne we have attempted to come to grips with being an international border community, let alone an aboriginal international community. We have experienced our share of problems, because there are just too many government policies and laws, or lack of laws, in different areas. We have a police force. We have a judicial system on the Canadian side, limited as it is. On the American side of Akwesasne there is no police force, no justice model of any kind. It is a guaranteed recipe for trouble.

The distinction between Canada and the United States is sometimes that they refer to Akwesasne as "our Canadian Mohawks," so the Americans will call us "our American Mohawks," and the discussion has been going back and forth. Where it involves Ontario and Quebec, usually there is neglect in past years. Just for statistics purposes, over the past 25 years it virtually has been left untouched in terms of any assistance.

They will say, "You are a federal responsibility." Three years ago I invited Quebec and Ontario, New York state, Washington, Ottawa. We sat together like this and I said:

"Why can you not all work with us to improve Akwesasne? Why can we not all sit together like our forefathers sat together when they built this country? Why is it so difficult for you to recognize that we have a tradition and we have a law, Mohawk that it is, and assist us? Help us survive and have a society that is predominantly Mohawk."


We started and Ontario was a principal player. I must point out that a few weeks ago I met with your Premier and I told him of our desire that our culture and tradition and laws, the basis for self-government and self-determination, be based so that our culture survives. Ideas on self-government: The premise is that it is predominantly Mohawk law but it will have links to Ontario, to Quebec, to Canada, to the United States, but we will survive. Your Premier said, "If your idea of sovereignty, self-determination, self-government is based on the premise of law and order and justice, then we should be able to sit down at the table with you for you to show us, enable us to understand how it is going to operate, how it is going to link up."

Last of all I want to get back to those two founding nations. I have always had difficulty going to school. I went to school here in Cornwall. I have heard that from just a small young one. It is hard for me to accept that we did not have a place in your history. It is kind of like, "Break it in half and you will have his story." I had to be a part of that and listen to it. I had to try to believe in the cowboy-Indian mentality that you are the good guys and I am the bad buy. I refuse to believe that.

What we propose is to work together. If you want to build a greater Canada, then you have to look at aboriginal people in a different light. You have to stop trying to deny to yourselves what our role was in Canada's history. We have to change many misconceptions that you people perpetuated on your citizens and find a true place. That is the only way that you will find aboriginal people accepting and stop living a lie.

The United States Congress, 1988, 18 November, passed a bill recognizing the Iroquois Confederacy, of which the Mohawk nation is a member, as being the sole inspiration for the development of the Constitution of the United States, the great United States of America turning around and honouring an aboriginal group for the inspiration of its principles of self-government. Democracy came from aboriginal people, and yet in Canada we, of Haudenosaunee Iroquois, do not have a place. I draw that analogy to give you something to think about.

I am not saying that living conditions in the United States for aboriginal people are any better. In some aspects they are probably worse. What I am saying is that there is a lot of work and it is not just between the French and the English. It involves looking at it and saying: "We cannot go hack 500 years, look at the conditions as they were without recognizing the fact that the aboriginal people welcomed us to this land. This is Onkwehonwe land, who shared this land with us."

Today the very same people are trying to find their place in Canada. I think that because of these hearings, we get an opportunity to tell you what we think. Many of our words are in here that are far more technical. If you want to ask me legal and technical questions, I have with me, to my right, Chief Mary David, who gave me the inspiration for a lot of the things that are written here. She has been involved in Akwesasne politics and community life a lot longer than I have. This is our presentation, such as it is.

The Chair: Let me just tell you that I think I speak for the committee in expressing our appreciation for the passion and the reason and the combination of those two with which you have made your point of view known to us. I can tell you that we have heard in our hearings across the province a number of native leaders and other natives talking to us and the message has been consistent and the same. I can also tell you, even more heartening, that we have heard from a number of non-native speakers who have also supported very clearly this willingness to finally sit down and try to address some of the injustices that we perpetuated towards our native people.

So I think the general will is there, and we know that the solutions can only come by sitting down together, as you have identified, as our Premier has identified, in working those problems through. We have gone the time, but if there are questions, I would be happy to allow one or two.

Mr Winninger: There are a number of questions I would like to ask you, Mr Mitchell, but because this is a constitutional committee, I am just going to put one to you. Being in Akwesasne and straddling the border as you do, you have presented some of the complexity of dealing with five different levels of government. On a more limited scale, we have heard the same complaint before with regard to falling between the cracks, between the provincial and the federal levels of government.

I wonder if you have any insights on how we might change our Constitution so that it would be easier to resolve some of the abuses of the past that you have alluded to, and restore to you your self-determination and self-government. Are there any mechanisms, constitutional changes that might facilitate that which you could address briefly today?

Mr Mitchell: I will give you some examples, I guess.

I will try to do this in the fastest time possible. It is hard to give a reply. You have a loaded question here. We have to sit down and have an understanding of what our aboriginal rights are. In this document it talks about aboriginal rights that have not been recognized or have been legislated and reduced, that it means nothing. I also presented that you have denied us a right to our existence, a right to a lifestyle where we can have pride and identity. That has been taken away. In that Constitution that you are trying to strengthen, there was a section in there that is vacant and when it went to Britain and it came back, they said, "We'll deal with our aboriginal people over five years." We talked and we talked and we talked and we came up with nothing.

Instead of having the premiers discuss it, we have to sit down with aboriginal leaders and let them come in with something, like we are doing now, saying: "This is how we wish to be treated. This is the kind of relationship we want to have, so we can keep our pride and we can keep our integrity, and we can rebuild our nations." I think in a general way that is a very important place to start from.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: You are a very articulate man. You said you had trouble with school. It certainly does not show this morning.

You were very explicit in giving us the numbers of people from your reservation who live in the different areas. Do you have representation now approaching the present government in Quebec at the same time, in the same way, in that they have hearings going on in different patterns at the moment? Have you made representations? I guess my real bottom-line question is, do you see a role for yourself in the Ontario-Quebec conversation, negotiation, whatever word you want to use, at this crucial time, being that you are in such a pivotable spot geographically to this whole thing?

Mr Mitchell: Because of that word you just said, "pivotal," we are forced to be there; we do not have a choice. If we do not go, such as the case in the past, we just get ridden right over and laws get made for us. We have to appear at these places to make known our views and our positions and our concerns, more then to be brought in and then just rolled into another statistic, another segment within Quebec or Ontario.

My main purpose in coming down here is to send out a signal and say, "Take your barriers and your boundaries, move them back and recognize that there is a Mohawk community here, a Mohawk territory that exists, and let's start from there."


Mrs Y. O'Neill: Have you presented to any of the Quebec groups? I just wanted to know that.

Mr Mitchell: We have sent out that we are willing to do the same thing we are doing here and we have not got a reply. Chief Mary David would like to respond to that.

Ms David: Just to add to what Chief Mitchell in his answer replied to your question, when I was asked to come to this, I had to sit back and think, "Should we really be involved in a provincial hearing such as this?" It is typical of the way people think. When you ask about making a presentation to Quebec, like the chief said, we have offered, we have not -- I do not know if it has come about or not. But we do not see ourselves as residents of Quebec or residents of Ontario. We are Akwesasne. When such a question comes up, we think: "Well, we've got nothing to do with the provinces. Should we really be there?" Then you have to start from that starting point and come back to reality: "Yes, we do. If we don't they won't know what we're thinking and where we're going."

Mrs Y. O'Neill: As you see from our discussion paper, your issues are certainly one of our chief priorities.

Mr Mitchell: Just a note: In our community we do have a flag. You see, sovereignty, self-determination, you cannot give it to us; it is up to us to define that. There is a tree of peace in the centre. Our whole philosophy, the system in our society is based on peace. Our laws are based on peace and to relate to one another. The Great Law of Peace was given to us by our Peacemaker and it has become our symbol in Akwesasne, and nowadays more than ever we try to promote the idea of justice, honesty, a good way of life, and you cannot give that to us. We have to fight and we have to rebuild and put pride hack in our community. You cannot give us sovereignty.

I just came back from Mexico on a Haudenosaunee passport and I have a Mexican government stamp. I have other governments on here, including Canada and the United States. You cannot be afraid of the word "sovereignty" in terms of relating to aboriginal people. There has always been a clearly defined relationship on what we can expect from each other.

I think that word that throws everyone off, because I know you are dealing with another issue. But for us we have always had it, and from that context. It has been eroded in terms of the relationship, because we have never sat down and said: "This is the way we like ours to be. This is the relationship we would like to have." So with that, I want to thank each and every one of you for giving us this time to appear before you, and excuse my English.

The Chair: No, you do not have to excuse it at all, and we thank you for coming and talking to us.

Could I call next from the Cornwall and District Chamber of Commerce, Dennis Thibeault. Is Mr Thibeault here? No? Okay, we will go on and come back to them if they appear later.


The Chair: From the Cornwall and District Multicultural Council, Colin Stockdale. Mr Stockdale, perhaps you would introduce the other members of your delegation just for the record so we have them.

Mr Belmonte: [Remarks in Italian]

I present the president of Cornwall and District Multicultural Council, Mr Stockdale, and the secretary-treasurer, Sarala Gill. I am Joe Belmonte, member of the council, and I represent the environment committee of the city of Cornwall.

Mr Stockdale: I do not know, Mr Chairman, if you have instantaneous translation but that was Italian for those of the members who did not recognize the language.

The Chair: Some of us did.

Mr Stockdale: Thank you for giving the Cornwall and District Multicultural Council the opportunity to present a brief to the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. I would like to welcome you to Cornwall. The process we used is that we represent 20 different ethnic groups from around the world who are Canadians, and proud to be Canadians. The brief I am presenting here today is a consensus we achieved from the questions in your pamphlet, the questions for discussion, and these are the ones we will address here today. I have a copy, if you wish, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Yes, we would.

Mr Stockdale: I would like to begin with the first question we were asked to address, "What are the values we share as Canadians?"

It was something, I think, unique among Canadians and we as different ethnic groups and from different countries who have come to Canada by choice or for various reasons -- the first question we set down is what we see as values as Canadians. We discovered we are about the only country, we believe, that has to ask itself: Why are we unique? What makes us Canadians?

This is different because I am Irish originally; I am now Canadian, and Joe here alongside me is Italian originally, now Canadian, and Sarala is from India. We had never any doubt in our mind when growing up or before we came to this country asking ourselves: What are we, where do we see ourselves, where do we come from or why are we here? We ask what our purpose is or what our values are. It is very clear to us. But we seem to be always asking ourselves as Canadians: What are our values? What makes us so unique? Why are we different from Quebec? Why are we different from British Columbia? Why are we different from the USA? This was something I think is uniquely Canadian. It makes people uniquely Canadian by having to ask that question.

Our first one, "What are the values we share as Canadians?" We want to emphasize more or less the multicultural policy of this government of the province. I know you will get some very good ideas from a lot of talented or gifted people that will give a lot of ideas, so our focus is mainly on the multicultural aspect we see as the problem in Canada today.

We believe in multiculturalism as a policy for Canada. Canada's policy on multiculturalism, I think, is unique in the world. Canada explicitly recognizes diversity as a source of dynamism and strength. The people of Canada now recognize the economic contributions made by our ethnocultural groups and the various diversity that we have and the tremendous additional reserve of business skills and energy that exists within this element of the business and industrial community from the various groups and backgrounds, and we bring a lot of benefit, we believe, to the Canadian economy and Canadian business in the way we do things.


We fully support and encourage any and every effort the Ontario government makes to enhance our cultural uniqueness. We believe unlimited immigration should be our fundamental policy. Canada is a vast country. Immigrants must eat and have a place to sleep, so they create demand for and consume our products. We would like to see that the philosophy in government and with the people of Canada is that each new immigrant is a new industry. Some Canadians may fear that immigrants will take their jobs, but this really has never been proven or demonstrated to any degree.

Ontario educational systems cannot meet the demand by our industry for skilled tradespeople. In fact, the recruiting base for skilled tradespeople very often is to go to the western world and bring in recruiting. This, we believe, saves the Canadian taxpayer millions of dollars in direct training costs; because they already bring in skilled people they do not have to absorb that training expense.

We believe the government should educate the public about the positive benefits of immigration. We believe the spirit of multiculturalism is an ongoing process. Unity is enhanced each time Canadian ethnic groups come together in face to face situations. It is the consensus of our multicultural group that distrust is reduced when we have contact with people who are different from us.

I might add that we have a festival here in Cornwall which is a very successful festival, where our multicultural groups get together to celebrate being Canadian. We have it on the Sunday closest to 1 July, where various groups exhibit their songs and dances, and we also share our cuisines with the rest of Ontarians, the different flavours and foods we have. It goes very well. That is something we as individuals work well together on, and I think all Canadians can do the same. By seeing the differences it reduces misunderstandings, and we come to discover that we are more alike than we are different. These are the values that our group would like to share as Canadians.

We also address the economy. How can we secure a future in the international economy? Canada, as a developed nation, has one of the lowest percentages of gross national product spent on research and development and new technologies and innovation. We find this unacceptable and a threat to our future economic wellbeing. It has been said that there are more trade barriers between provinces in Canada than there are in the European Community.

I was talking about this multicultural festival. We try to get our own country's beer to give added flavour to the festival, and sometimes we may want a particular brand that is available in Quebec or British Columbia or any other province. It is easier for us to get beer from India or Ireland or Italy than it is to get it from British Columbia or Quebec, just down the road. We urge the government to show leadership in negotiating to reduce or remove these trade barriers between the provinces.

The laws of the provinces should also be harmonized. My son was able to drive at the age of 16 in Ontario, but if I were to move to another province, say Nova Scotia, he would not legally be able to drive in that province because the age is 18. The law should be harmonized to some extent.

Encouragement by tax incentives should be given to manufacturers to export finished products rather than raw materials. We see Canadians as being hewers of wood and drawers of water. We can keep jobs in Ontario by going whole hog with the process rather than exporting our raw materials and producing jobs for other countries.

Productivity is important for Canadians to remain competitive in today's world, and we suggest that a quality of service award be established by the Ontario government like, for instance, the Japanese award system for service industries that promote service and quality. There is a Canadian government award, the federal government, but it is not well promulgated, or the criteria are not that well established. We would also like to see financial incentives attached to our industries and businesses in connection with these awards to make our businesses more effective.

One of the main concerns of the multicultural council is that we have a policy of good environmental management. Reduce, reuse and recycle should be our governing principle in the way we do business. The manufacturers or producers of packaging on products should be responsible for the disposal or recycling of the used container or wrapping, and not the municipalities. Companies should be levied a fee or charge before the product comes to market, which could be credited back by way of the tax system for reusing the container or package. Make them ultimately responsible for the packaging. We commend the NDP government for its good policies in this important area.

We request that we have a fair taxation system and that a basic rate of 20% apply to individuals and corporations, with social safety nets in place for the poor and disadvantaged. Governments should have balanced budgets in good times and only incur deficits in lean years, like recessions or depressions. These are some of the ideas that our group has suggested for addressing our economy.

One of the important points on which we had some discussion was the role the federal and provincial governments play, which maybe gave rise to this commission. We really do not see anything wrong with our present parliamentary system. I do not think it is so perfect that it cannot be fixed or addressed, but as politicians I am sure you have quite a lot of ideas on how that could be achieved.

We do, however, have some difficulties with our Senate as it is presently constituted, and we have some suggestions for reform. We recommend that members of the Senate should be appointed by the government of the day of each province, territory, and our native peoples. Senators would be appointed by the provincial government for the duration of that government's mandate; three members from each province or territory, regardless of the population base, and three from national bodies representing our native peoples. The concept that the Senate should be the house of sober second thought should be maintained.

We believe another constitutional change should be made to have unified school boards in Ontario. Schools can retain their own religious objectives or programs, but they should have shared administration, maintenance and busing. As a taxpayer, it is very disconcerting to see three or four buses coming down our roads picking up different kids and going in different directions. This is an expense for a duplication of service, a horrendous waste of the taxpayers' money.

How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal people? Maybe we are lucky to follow Chief Mitchell; he gave us some interesting comments. We believe the aboriginal people should be recognized as a force to be dealt with by the governments of Canada. The government should recognize the treaties and agreements in no matter what form, and it should negotiate in good faith. The Ontario government should make every effort to improve the quality of life for our aboriginal communities.

Of all the questions we asked, the one on which we had the strongest opinions -- I guess this is typical of Canadians -- was about the roles of the English and French languages in Canada. The multicultural council of Cornwall is strongly opposed to any legislated language for Ontario, ie, for Ontario to become a bilingual province. English and French should be used as the marketplace demands, not as determined by governments. This issue has given rise to very strong feelings.


It is our opinion that bad laws are creating the conflicts, not the English or French peoples who have lived in harmony for many years with the other ethnic groups in Canada. I would only have to recognize that languages other than French and English are spoken in Ontario; our 20 different ethnic groups all speak their own language in their own homes. We polled our group and a surprising fact emerged. Most of our groups, when surveyed, clearly indicated that they were willing to live with the language of the majority and maintain their own language at home. The question arose: If 25% of the population was made up of Italian-speaking people -- Mr Chairman, you have an Italian background -- should they be serviced in Italian?

We are constantly told by governments that nobody will lose their job on account of bilingualism. I think the flip side is never mentioned, that is, that you have less chance of obtaining a job in government or will not be promoted if you are not bilingual. A lack of French is an obstacle to promotion.

I have my own experience of that. I work for the federal government. I obtained recently a promotion, and I was given a diagnostic test to tell the language teachers how long it would take me to learn a language. The federal government allows you a year. I came out at 15 months, so I did not meet the language requirements and therefore did not get the promotion. This is what bilingualism means in the federal public service. More disheartening, however, is that those who try to learn do so in the face of often artificially high standards of fluency to qualify for jobs where French is rarely or never used. I think this is something that should be addressed.

We recognize the very real fear that francophones have of being assimilated by English-speaking Canada, but it seems they have enough protection and services in place to alleviate this fear. We recognize it is very real. We do not know what the solution is. We know the French want to be French first and then maybe Quebeckers and Canadians later. I think this has given rise to the problem.

The other question is what we see as -- I do not have it in our notes; I did not get time to publish it, due to short notice -- Quebec's future in Canada. If the Allaire report is the basis for negotiation, I think we are in grave difficulty in this country. I understand why this commission is seeking the views of all Canadians, in other provinces as well, because we do not want to see Canada balkanized and broken up. Quebec has the problem. I do not know how we can fix Quebec's problem to make them feel more comfortable with us, to live with us as Canadians and to recognize themselves as also being Canadians.

Many of us in the multicultural council feel that Quebec is just another ethnic group. I know they have other aspirations, being a founding people, but if you look at the English, the other side, it is made up of all different groups, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. We cannot give you any assistance whatsoever, unfortunately, on this aspect.

I would like to thank you for your time and for listening to our comments.

The Chair: I think we will have to move on, because time is pressing, but I do want to thank you for the presentation addressing a number of the issues in the discussion paper. We realize on your last point that that is an issue that is going to be important for us to address. I do want to say, however, that the many Franco-Ontarians who have talked with us over the last three weeks -- I want to be clear -- see themselves as Canadians first and as Ontarians, and it is not a situation of seeing themselves as anything different. In that context of Canadian versus anything else, it is the same kind of attitude you started out with, believing we are all Canadians, that we come to Canada from various backgrounds and with various cultures and languages. The francophone organizations and individuals are saying to us that there is a particular place for the language and culture they have, that they also want us to see what we can do to help them retain that, particularly within Ontario. I think a lot more discussion needs to go on about that among all of us so we can better understand each other on that. But thank you once again for your presentation.


The Chair: We have next a coalition of francophone organizations.

J'invite maintenant les membres de ce groupe, la Coalition des organismes francophones ; il y en a cinq. Peut-être que je vous laisse l'occasion de vous presenter.

M. St-Aubin : Nous sommes de fait une coalition de divers représentants de la communauté francophone de cette région. Chacun, à tour de rôle, vous donnera un portrait de la vie francophone de cette région et ce que ça peut représenter en fait de vie et de nos besoins.

Je pense qu'il est important de souligner dès le début que les personnes que vous voyez devant vous sont de fait canadiennes à part entière. Nous sommes conscients que nous vivons des heures très difficiles pour notre pays et je pense tout simplement qu'il faut lancer un appel à tous les Ontariens, que même s'il s'agit d'un hiver très long, nous devons surmonter peut-être la fatigue d'entendre parler de ces questions parce que nous le devons à nos ancêtres. Puisqu'on se trouve dans la salle de la Légion, nous le devons à ceux qui sont morts sur le champs de bataille pour notre pays et nous le devons à nos enfants de trouver la solution à cette situation.

Nous vous soumettons que nous ici, de cette région, avons tout de même une perspective qui peut vous être utile. Parce que nous sommes une région frontalière, les contacts avec nos amis, notre parenté, les contacts d'affaires sont constants avec la région environnante. Montréal est à un peu moins d'une heure d'ici. Nous sommes certainement inquiets de la situation mais nous avons aussi une sensibilité, d'une part, à l'égard de l'aspiration de la province de Québec, qui cherche tout de même à sortir d'un contexte qui ne lui convient plus, qui cherche à poursuivre une vision d'un peuple qui n'est pas tout simplement une province comme les autres.

Nous aurons des présentations individuelles. Je me permets -- parce que de par ma formation je suis avocat -- de vous parler de certaines perspectives juridiques. J'ai eu l'honneur d'être l'avocat responsable de la Loi sur les services en français. J'ai eu l'honneur d'être l'avocat responsable de bâtir un système judiciaire bilingue en Ontario. Je pense donc que je sais ce dont je parle. Il y a des façons d'en arriver, je pense, à des gestes très importants pour que notre province à cette étape-ci communique un message. Vous savez, un avocat n'est pas sensé vous parler de cette question. Mais il est évident que nous vivons, je pense, une crise d'amour dans notre pays.

Essentiellement, nous avons de la part du peuple québécois -- parce que, évidemment, les médias nous communiquent plus facilement les messages négatifs que les messages positifs ; c'est leur nature -- nous avons les messages d'une part des drapeaux piétinés de Brockville qui sont communiqués dans presque tous les foyers du Québec. Nous avons, hélas, les messages très concrets, très positifs de votre gouvernement, de celui qui vous a précédé et même de celui qui a précédé celui-là. Ces messages-là rentrent très difficilement dans les foyers du Québec. D'un côté, on vous dira que ce qui se passe chez les minorités francophones n'a pas d'importance pour le Québec. Par contre, sur presque chaque lèvre d'une personne qui invoque son appartenance à la souveraineté on va souligner les événements, comme je l'ai mentionné, de Brockville.


Je pense donc que, avec le climat de la défaite de l'accord du Lac Meech qui très évidemment a été une insulte pour le Québec à cause d'un processus, franchement, qui n'avait ni queue ni tête, un processus imposé dans la constitution de 1982 où il fallait que 11 législatures adoptent ces modifications, c'était une structure toute faite pour être défaite. Le message doit donc être communiqué, et communiqué vite, qu'il y a façon pour cette grande province, dont je me compte très fier d'être un citoyen, un citoyen natif de cette province, avec mes ancêtres ici depuis au-delà de 200 ans, que cette grande province puisse communiquer dans la constitution du Canada certaines dispositions qui enchâsseraient, qui rehausseraient à un niveau constitutionnel des dispositions qui sont de fait déjà dans nos lois, qui sont déjà dans la Loi sur les services en français.

La partie de la Charte des droits qui traite des droits linguistiques -- on parle surtout des articles 16 à 22 -- sans vous faire un parcours de tous ces éléments, je peux vous dire que si on fait la comparaison entre ces dispositions et le texte, d'une part, de la Loi sur les services en français et de la Loi sur les tribunaux judiciaires de l'Ontario qui gouverne les tribunaux, nous verrons que ces dispositions sont déjà en vigueur en Ontario. Donc, passer un signal d'amour qui serait celui d'enchâsser ces dispositions dans la constitution n'exige pas beaucoup du corps politique ontarien.

Par contre, il y a une disposition dans cette charte, l'article 16 qui parle d'égalité linguistique, qui n'est pas en fonction en Ontario. Je suis ici pour vous dire que je suis aussi sûr que les rédacteurs de la charte de 1982 n'avaient pas sûrement la prétention qu'ils étaient sur le mont Sinaï recevant les commandements de Dieu. La Charte des droits et libertés peut sûrement faire l'objet d'une réflexion et de nouvelles dispositions. Cet article 16, à mon avis, n'a pas nécessairement à être adopté par l'Ontario pour que nous ayons un véritable message convenable.

Je me limite à ces soumissions. Je pense qu'il est important que vous entendiez parler de la vitalité de cette communauté et de ces besoins.

M. Robert : Je m'appelle Émile Robert. Je suis représentant de l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario, ACFO -- régionale de l'Estrie. Merci de nous avoir permis de vous transmettre notre point de vue sur la direction que devrait prendre l'Ontario dans le Canada de demain.

Nous, les 23 085 francophones de l'ACFO de l'Estrie, dans l'est ontarien plus spécifiquement des comtés de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry, voulons vous décrire notre réalité.

Nous sommes à la porte du Québec, cette belle province qui manifeste de plus en plus le désir de se démarquer du Canada anglais. Nous, francophones en Ontario, comprenons bien l'état d'âme québécois. Nous savons ce que représente être minoritaire dans son pays. Nous connaissons les enjeux des négociations de tels rapports. Nous connaissons le prix à payer avant d'obtenir accès à des droits légitimes.

L'assimilation effarante de nos francophones est le prix à payer. Peut-on continuer à se laisser disparaître sans rien dire ? C'est le prix à payer à cause des lenteurs et des lourdeurs des gouvernements successifs depuis 200 ans.

Des moyens, entre autres, pour nous permettre de survivre en Ontario sont : éliminer toutes mesures discriminatoires envers les francophones que l'on retrouve dans les lois actuelles ; accorder prestation égale et simultanée des services en français : ne plus attendre que les citoyens et citoyennes de l'Ontario français revendiquent à grands coûts des poursuites judiciaires ou du temps, de l'énergie et de l'argent dépensés pour vous entendre dire que nos droits doivent être respectés.

Que ce temps, énergie et argent soient investis pour que les francophones puissent « vivre décemment » en Ontario. « Vivre décemment » veut dire entre autres pleine gestion de nos institutions d'éducation de la maternelle à l'université avec financement juste et équitable : conseil scolaire de langue française avec financement garanti ; collèges francophones avec financement adéquat ; pleine gestion de nos institutions de santé ; pleine gestion de nos institutions de services sociaux et communautaires.

Vous me direz qu'il existe différents programmes pour subventionner différents services pour les francophones en Ontario. Oui, je vous l'accorde. Mais quand nous, francophones en Ontario, réussissons à nous pointer le nez sur l'échiquier de ces programmes, nous entrons dans le processus d'élimination du projet. La lente et lourde quincaillerie administrative retarde l'approbation des projets soumis.

Comme exemple, on soumet un projet à l'agent du projet. Il y a accusé de réception et évaluation du projet, toujours des attentes ; le dépôt sur le bureau du conseil régional ; le retour à la case 1 pour modifications, encore des attentes. Il y a des modifications à être apportées ; la soumission doit être portée au superviseur régional. Encore là, il y a des délais. D'autres modifications sont recommandées ; le programme est envoyé à Toronto pour être évalué par le gérant de programmes. Il y a encore des attentes, des délais, puisque le programme doit être soumis au directeur des programmes. Ensuite, il est soumis au sous-ministre et au ministre pour l'approbation finale.

Ce sont les étapes à parcourir avant l'approbation et cela continue après l'approbation ministérielle. Comme exemple, en novembre 1989 le Centre de santé de l'Estrie recevait une approbation ministérielle pour implanter de nouveaux services de santé en français dans la région.

Aujourd'hui, le 26 février 1991, les francophones n'ont toujours pas accès à ces services. La cause : la lenteur et la lourdeur administratives aux différents échelons du processus d'implantation.

Pendant ce temps, nos francophones sont privés des services auxquels ils ont droit. Ils s'habituent à demander en anglais. Même, ils se dispensent de certains services sachant très bien qu'ils ne recevront aucune satisfaction. C'est pourquoi nous demandons une réforme au niveau administratif des programmes et de développement dans différents ministères. Nous demandons aussi une réforme fiscale pour financer ces services qui devront être de qualité.

En tant que recommandation : comme résidents de l'Ontario et citoyens du Canada, nous voulons que l'Ontario rehausse au niveau de sa constitution les articles 16 à 20 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. Merci.


M.Rancourt : Mon nom est Jean-Yves Rancourt. Je suis président du comité des citoyens de la Cité collégiale du campus de Cornwall.

Tout d'abord, nous vous remercions de nous avoir donné l'occasion de présenter nos idées devant votre comité.

Nous sommes ici aujourd'hui au nom des membres du Comité des citoyens de la Cité collégiale, campus de Cornwall, un comité qui représente, depuis le début du mouvement de la Cité collégiale, les intérêts auprès des francophones, jeunes et adultes qui veulent étudier au niveau collégial en français.

Il est important de signaler le rôle que la Cité collégiale joue auprès de la collectivité francophone et ontarienne. La Cité collégiale offre des cours et des programmes qui sont rattachés de très près à la réalité du marché du travail dans l'est de l'Ontario. Les étudiants et étudiantes, les apprenants et apprenantes qui s'inscrivent à la Cité, apportent avec eux leurs bagages, leurs connaissances et leurs réalités. Souvent, ces réalités reflètent un peuple qui a longtemps été laissé dans le brouillard de la société majoritaire. En effet, mesdames et messieurs, il existe un immense rattrapage à faire. Nous croyons que, avec l'appui du gouvernement provincial dans sa vision d'un avenir juste et équitable, le gouvernement posera audacieusement les gestes qui compteront à l'épanouissement des institutions postsecondaires francophones, et dans ce cas-ci, la Cité collégiale. Quels gestes ? Ce sont ceux de reconnaître davantage et de mettre en application les uniques recommandations fondamentales que la communauté francophone réclame, avec toute l'énergie des centaines de milliers de personnes qu'elle constitue.

La Cité collégiale, premier collège d'arts appliqués et de techonologie de langue française de l'Ontario, a en outre les responsabilités d'ordre général qui s'attachent à ce genre d'institution, compétence exclusive pour dispenser des programmes et des services en langue française au niveau collégial. La direction de la Cité collégiale entend faire de celle-ci un lieu d'excellence en formation et en perfectionnement professionnel et privilégier l'épanouissement personnel. Elle entend aussi, en consultation avec des représentants d'autres organismes publics ou privés ainsi que de la population, mettre la Cité collégiale au service de la promotion économique, sociale et culturelle de la collectivité franco-ontarienne.

Dans sa première année opérationnelle, la Cité collégiale a largement dépassé ses objectifs de 2 300 étudiants et étudiantes à temps plein inscrits aux 80 différents programmes sur trois campus situés à Hawkesbury, Cornwall et Ottawa. La Cité collégiale regroupe déjà une quarantaine de comités consultatifs formés de représentants et de représentantes de tous les secteurs imaginables : les services de la santé, les métiers, les secteurs publics et parapublics, industriels et commerciaux.

Beaucoup d'attention est portée sur le développement de la communauté. Le fait que la Cité vient de naître démontre une occasion extraordinaire de travailler avec le gouvernement et ses ministères à la promotion économique, sociale et culturelle de la collectivité franco-ontarienne.

En faisant partie du réseau provincial des collèges d'arts appliqués et de technique et en ayant l'appui incontestable du gouvernement provincial, la Cité collégiale voit l'importance de faire avancer son mandat par cinq objectifs :

La Cité collégiale exerce son mandat exclusif et met tout en oeuvre pour répondre de façon proactive aux aspirations des personnes et des collectivités qui souhaitent une formation de qualité en langue française.

La Cité colhégiale assure à la collectivité de l'est de l'Ontario des programmes et des services pertinents de qualité et d'application souple.

La Cité collégiale participe au développement économique de la collectivité francophone de l'est de l'Ontario.

La Cité collégiale promeut la connaissance du français et l'épanouissement de la culture franco-ontarienne en créant un milieu propice au développement dans la collectivité franco-ontarienne du sens de l'appartenance et de la fierté.

La Cité collégiale se dote d'une culture et d'une structure organisationnelles qui favorisent l'initiative interne et la participation de l'extérieur afin de répondre efficacement aux besoins des divers éléments des communautés locales et régionales de lk'est de l'Ontario.

Pour réaliser ces cinq objectifs fondamentaux, le gouvernement ontarien doit continuer à démontrer un leadership auprès de la francophonie dans le domaine postsecondaire.

Nous croyons que la clé au développement global des communautés dispersées à travers toute la province est la ressource humaine. Il faut combattre l'analphabétisme, l'assimilation et le décrochage de nos ressources humaines et promouvoir le professionnalisme, l'éducation dans les métiers, la préparation à l'emploi sur le marché du travail et le sens d'appartenance de nos ressources humaines.

L'importance de pouvoir étudier au collège en français est primordial et l'Ontario se doit d'être un chef de file et doit persister à faire grandir la francophonie, non seulement en Ontario mais dans tout le Canada et par tous les moyens possibles.

Voici les recommandations du Comité des citoyens de la Cité collégiale : que le gouvernement de l'Ontario continue à appuyer l'éducation francophone postsecondaire collégiale à travers la province en réaffermissant ses lois concernant l'éducation francophone et en appuyant l'établissement d'un site permanent de la Cité collégiale à Cornwall ; que le gouvernement de l'Ontario devienne un chef de file pour promouvoir l'égalité linguistique et culturelle dans la province. Merci.

The Chair: I will just remind people here who may have come in late or people following us over the parliamentary network that we are in the process of hearing from a coalition of francophone organizations that have come together to make a joint presentation. People may be wondering why the time has been extended in this way. There are six different organizations that are presenting in front of us today.

M. Duplantie : Mon nom est Roger Duplantie, membre du comité provisoire de l'Agence de développement économique Proaction.

Les gens d'affaires des trois comtés unis de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry vous remercient de l'occasion que vous leur donnez d'être entendus devant votre comité.

Notre présentation tentera d'attirer votre attention sur l'importance des francophones dans le domaine des affaires ; ce qu'ils apportent et donnent et retournent à la communauté et l'importance d'une province forte dans un Canada uni et fort.

L'Agence de développement économique Proaction s'est donné pour mission la promotion et le développement économique de la communauté franco-ontarienne de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry. Pour ce faire, elle stimule l'entrepreneuriat et favorise avec et pour le compte des francophones la création d'emplois, de modalités de soutien au monde des affaires, de modes de communication entre les diverses composantes d'expression française et de milieux de travail où la langue des communications internes est normalement le français.

En outre, elle veille au perfectionnement des intéressés et à la collaboration entre les intervenants communautaires des secteurs économique, éducatif, social, culturel -- des loisirs et de communications, notamment -- en leur qualité de partenaires dans la promotion et le développement économique de la communauté franco-ontarienne.

Bien qu'elle en soit à ses premiers pas, l'Agence de développement économique Proaction regroupe déjà quelque 300 membres et se tient à l'affût d'événements qui pourront s'avérer bénéfiques pour la communauté économique.

Toutefois, pour bien assurer la promotion et le dév0eloppement économique de la communauté franco-ontarienne, l'Ontario se doit d'être un chef de file dans la promotion du français en Ontario et au Canada. Par sa politique linguistique, et plus particulièrement avec la Loi 8, elle permet à des communautés comme Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry de s'épanouir davantage. Cependant, il ne faudrait pas s'arrêter là. La province doit continuer à jouer son rôle de leadership en ce qui a trait aux langues officielles du pays.

Le fait que l'est ontarien a été désigne pour recevoir des services gouvernementaux bilingues favorise la venue d'industries provenant du Québec et d'ailleurs qui sont à la recherche d'une main-d'oeuvre bilingue. Toutefois, elle recherche également une culture et un mode de vie en français.

Nous sommes à même de vous affirmer connaître des industries, comme Canadian Tours et Granby Metal Stamping, qui se sont établies à Cornwall parce qu'elles pouvaient y retrouver une main-d'oeuvre bilingue et un réseau de vie en français. D'ailleurs, la ville de Cornwall en fait la promotion dans ses dépliants visant à attirer des industries dans son parc industriel.


La province peut également jouer un rôle important pour améliorer la qualité de vie dans SDG. Depuis le temps qu'elle en parle, il serait plus que temps que la province décentralise ses bureaux gouvernementaux. En effet, après Kingston on retrouve l'est ontarien et en particulier les comtés de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry, une région désignée bilingue. Ces ministères seraient à même de trouver du personnel bilingue et ces emplois, en plus de donner du travail à une population qui possède un des plus hauts taux de chômage dans la province, augmenteraient la qualité de vie, ce qui favoriserait encore davantage l'établissement d'industries dans la région. Plus notre région y gagnera, plus la province en retirera des profits et plus l'Ontario fera belle figure aux niveaux national et international, d'autant plus que nous sommes situés près de la frontière américaine.

Par ailleurs, étant à proximité de la province de Québec, les comtés de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry représentent une région propice au développement économique. Et ce n'est pas seulement avec des industries qu'une communauté grandit mais avec des services gouvernementaux de tous genres, des institutions solides et un bon système d'éducation.

Parlant d'éducation et d'institutions, la venue de la Cité collegiale dans la région est grandement appréciée par les gens d'affaires. En effet, grace à ce collège communautaire, les gens d'affaires pourront éventuellement compter sur des diplômés qualifiés pouvant répondre à leurs exigences. D'ailleurs, plusieurs hommes et femmes d'affaires se sont impliqués dans les divers comités consultatifs de la Cité afin de s'assurer que la formation que les futurs diplômés recevront sera adéquate en tout temps.

Par ailleurs, le campus à Cornwall de l'Université d'Ottawa vient tout juste de présenter au recteur de l'Université d'Ottawa un projet pour l'implantation d'un institut des sciences de l'environnement du Saint-Laurent.

Situé aux abords du fleuve Saint-Laurent, cet institut serait unique au pays et les occasions d'affaires seraient incalculables pour la communauté, tout en y attirant des étudiants de partout au pays. La province serait alors une des premières à y retrouver un gain appréciable au niveau canadien grâce à l'originalité du projet, alors que de plus en plus, la population canadienne et même mondiale s'intéresse à et s'inquiète de son environnement.

Comme vous pouvez le constater, la communauté francophone de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry se prend en main économiquement et elle exige que le gouvernement de l'Ontario raffermisse sa politique de bilinguisme dans la province et continue d'exercer son leadership au niveau des deux langues officielles du Canada, pour un Canada uni d'un océan à l'autre.

Par conséquent, voici les recommandations de notre groupe : que le gouvernement de l'Ontario procède des maintenant à la décentralisation de ses bureaux vers des régions désignées bilingues, entre autres, la région de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry ; et que le gouvernement de l'Ontario raffermisse sa Loi sur les services en français dans les régions désignées bilingues et qu'il intensifie la promotion de ces régions aux niveaux provincial, national et international. Merci.

Mme Gauthier : Bonjour. Je suis Monique Gauthier, coordonnatrice du Centre polyvalent des aînés francophones de Cornwall.

Aujourd'hui, dans ce mémoire, il sera question de l'importance du Centre polyvalent des aînés francophones, de son impact dans notre communauté cornouaillienne francophone et enfin, de l'économie qui profitera à notre gouvernement ontarien et de l'exemple de services dont les autres provinces pourront bénéficier.

Notre organisme est un organisme à but non lucratif cherchant à desservir une population cible de plus de 5 000 francophones aînés de Cornwall. Notre centre appartiendra aux gens du troisième âge. Ces derniers pourront profiter d'un éventail de services socioculturels et de maintien de l'autonomie. Ces services seront offerts prochainement selon les besoins et les suggestions de nos aînés.

En effectuant dernièrement une enquête auprès des clubs d'âge d'or de Cornwall, nous avons voulu nous sensibiliser aux services qui existent déjà pour les aînés francophones de notre communauté. Il en ressort que les activités sociales et culturelles offertes en français sont les jeux de cartes, un ou deux soupers communautaires à chaque mois et à ceux dont la condition physique le permet jouer aux quilles.

Ces activités à ce moment-là ne permettent pas à cette population cible de s'épanouir, de conserver et de développer leur autonomie. C'est l'objectif que nous poursuivons en ouvrant notre centre polyvalent de jour pour les aînés francophones de Cornwall.

Nous avons donc besoin de subventions -- excusez-moi de le demander -- pour la mise sur pied des programmes d'ordre socioculturels, le maintien de l'autonomie et de garde de jour.

Nos aînés, payeurs de taxes, sont en droit de se voir offrir les mêmes services existants du côté anglophone. Ainsi, ils pourront continuer à oeuvrer dans notre communauté et le gouvernement économisera de l'argent sur les soins hospitaliers et les maisons d'assistance. La communauté pourra donc s'enorgueillir de voir ces personnes continuer à être actives et profitera par le fait même de l'expérience de nos aînés.

Maintenant, passons au côté moins comique de l'histoire, les statistiques. C'est de temps en temps assez ennuyant. Lors du dernier recensement de 1986 de Statistique Canada, la population francophone -- français total -- de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry agée de 55 ans et plus serait de 7 125. Il n'est donc pas erroné d'avancer le chiffre de 5 000 aînés francophones vivant à Cornwall. Notre centre vise à proposer des services en français à ce groupe cible. Des études faites par différents organismes gouvernementaux démontrent l'importance d'offrir des services de soutien et de soin aux aînés. On s'attend, selon ces études, à ce que le nombre de personnes âgées double au cours des 30 prochaines années, dont moi aussi je ferai partie à ce moment-là. L'espérance de vie augmente pour tout le monde, c'est pourquoi il faut se préparer et offrir des services à nos aînés francophones.

En retournant dans l'histoire, les Canadiens français auraient immigré à Cornwall vers 1786, attirés par les industries et la construction du canal. Selon Marc Bisonnette, «En 1881, ils étaient aussi nombreux que les anglophones. » À ce moment-là, comme référence il donne le recensement de 1881 qui indique qu'ils étaient 2 222 sur une population de 4 468 à Cornwall. « Un siècle plus tard, en 1971, Cornwall est devenue une grande ville et compte 47 120 habitants, dont 23 320 sont d'origine française. »

Ces statistiques paraissent excellentes, mais en fait représentent l'origine ethnique. Le tableau pourtant est fort différent de la réalité lorsqu'on veut parler de langue maternelle encore comprise ou de langue d'usage. «En 1961, seulement 42% au lieu de 54%, et en 1971 moins de 30% au lieu de 50% des citoyens se considéraient de langue maternelle française, ce qui témoignerait alors d'une assimilation incroyable de 22% à 23% de nos francophones d'origine. »


Que s'est-il passé ? Et que se passe-t-il encore présentement en 1991 ? Nous voulons rétablir l'équilibre. Nous voulons notre place aujourd'hui pour hier et demain.

Nous constatons qu'ici même à Cornwall, certains de nos aînés ne parlent ni comprennent l'anglais. C'est pourquoi notre étude nous démontre la nécessité d'ouvrir un centre polyvalent pour nos aînés francophones.

Nous remercions la commission de s'être déplacée ici à Cornwall pour entendre notre point de vue sur la direction que devrait prendre l'Ontario dans le Canada de demain. Nous espérons vous avoir sensibilisés à la problématique de nos grands oubliés.

Comme recommandations : au niveau socioéconomique, que nos aînés francophones reçoivent des services dans leur langue. Ici je paraphrase une citation de Kay Spicer, article paru dans le Ottawa Citizen : « Tout individu a le droit de vivre, de vieillir et de mourir dans sa langue; deuxième recommandation, que l'Ontario enchâsse dans sa constitution les articles 16, 18, 19, 20 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés. Il donnerait ainsi aux francophones de l'Ontario le statut de citoyens à part entière. C'est la direction que l'Ontario devrait prendre dans le Canada de demain. Merci beaucoup.

Mme Blais : Je suis Suzanne Blais. Je représente le comité de citoyennes et citoyens du Conseil scolaire de langue française pour Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry.

Nous vous remercions, les membres du comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario dans la Confédération, d'avoir fait un arrêt à Cornwall afin d'entendre l'opinion des citoyens et citoyennes face à l'avenir de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération.

Le comité des citoyens regroupe près de 100 membres dans les comtés de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry. Ces citoyens et citoyennes travaillent avec acharnement depuis 1985 pour l'obtention d'un conseil scolaire de langue française qui rassemblerait tous les francophones de nos trois comtés. D'une étape à l'autre, d'obstacles à embûches, nous persistons dans cette optique.

Avec l'aide d'un comité local, Proaction, nous avons pu obtenir les services d'un contractuel pour défricher les bases d'une structure d'un conseil scolaire de langue française. Cette structure tenait compte des expériences dans la province tel que l'on connaît à Toronto, à Ottawa-Carleton et à Penetanguishene. Le document fut finalisé en janvier 1990 et un exemplaire fut déposé sur le bureau du ministre de l'Éducation dans les mois qui suivirent.

Les deux sections françaises des conseils scolaires de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry décident de former un comité d'étude pour travailler à un modèle d'un conseil scolaire de langue française. La présidente de notre comité de citoyen, Nicole Bourgeois, est invitée à siéger au sein de ce comité d'étude pour apporter naturellement le fruit de nos labeurs, c'est-à-dire notre document et nos recommandations. On y ajoute une étude financière. D'ailheurs, ce dernier rapport n'est pas encore rendu public.

L'avènement d'un conseil scolaire de langue française pour la région de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry est une question de droit et non de privilège. La création d'un conseil scolaire de langue française s'appuie sur les principes directeurs dont je vais vous en citer quelques-uns:

1. un engagement à garder unis les francophones, indépendamment de leur croyance ainsi que de leurs effectifs;

2. un droit à un financement équitable pour offrir une qualité d'éducation équivalente à celle offerte à la majorité de la langue officielle;

3. une gestion complète et totale par et pour les francophones de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry, condition essentielle à l'amélioration de la qualité de l'éducation dans les écoles de langue française;

4. l'accès à l'éducation confessionnelle et non confessionnelle conformément à la Loi sur l'éducation et à la Charte des droits et libertés et à la Loi sur l'éducation;

5. une modification, si nécessaire, aux limites territoriales actuelles pour mieux répondre aux besoins de la minorité de la langue officielle telle que définie par le gouvernement fédéral. Je passe sous silence les deux autres.

Nous estimons que les francophones des comtés unis ont droit, en vertu de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés, à un conseil scolaire de langue française. Depuis 1982, l'article 23 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés accorde aux citoyens canadiens du groupe linguistique minoritaire le droit de faire instruire leurs enfants dans les établissements d'enseignement de la minorité linguistique financés par les fonds publics. En mars 1990, la Cour suprême du Canada a statué dans l'affaire Mahé que l'article 23 de la Charte confère aux parents appartenant à la minorité linguistique un droit de gestion et de contrôle à l'égard des établissements d'enseignement où leurs enfants se font instruire. Cette gestion et ce contrôle, disait le tribunal, sont vitaux pour assurer l'épanouissement de leur langue et de leur culture.

Le degré de gestion et de contrôle exigé par l'article 23 peut, si le nombre d'élèves le justifie, aller jusqu'à un conseil scolaire autonome. La population francophone des comtés de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry est importante. Un conseil scolaire de langue française aurait au-delà de 6 000 élèves. Il est donc clair que le conseil scolaire de langue française de Stormont, Dundas et Glengarry serait éminemment justifiable au point de vue pédagogique et financier.

Une seule recommandation à vous présenter: que l'Ontario assume un rôle de leadership au sein de la gestion scolaire autonome des minorités officielles au Canada. Je vous remercie et je repasse la parole à Étienne St-Aubin.

M. St-Aubin: En terminant donc, je pense qu'il est important de dire deux choses. Nous sommes bien conscients que le visage de l'Ontario a beaucoup changé depuis quelques années et continue de changer du côté de sa diversité multiculturelle. Il n'y a aucune contradiction entre cette richesse-là et l'appréciation de cette richesse et la reconnaissance des droits des francophones. Au contraire, vraiment au contraire, le vrai respect des minorités ethniques de notre province commence d'abord par la reconnaissance des droits historiques du peuple francophone, un peuple qui comprend dans sa famille une diversité culturelle en elle-même.

Nous accueillons dans la communauté francophone des peuples de divers pays qui adoptent le français comme heur langue officielle. Je pense donc qu'il ne faudrait jamais croire que les soumissions que vous avez entendues aujourd'hui ne sont faites que dans un intérêt étroit. Elles sont présentées dans un intérêt, justement, de filles et fils et cette province-ci qui sont fiers de l'être et heureux de vous avoir accueillis à Cornwall. Merci beaucoup.

The Chair: We have some time left in the presentation for questions, if there are any, from the members, either to any of the individuals or collectively and then they can decide.

Mr Harnick: You made mention of your involvement with Bill 8, and as we have travelled about, there is a great deal of misunderstanding about that bill and about the implementation of that bill. One of the arguments -- and I do not know whether it is a perception or whether it is real, but we heard it again this morning -- is that people who are not bilingual, because of Bill 8 or bills like Bill 8, are not able to compete for jobs.

Is there any way that Bill 8 can be implemented in such a way that it could satisfy the needs of the Franco-Ontarian communities and at the same time not be perceived as being something affecting people's competitiveness for jobs if they are not bilingual?


Mr St-Aubin: If I may answer directly in English, first of all, the legislation addresses the specific needs of this province and it was built upon the notion of offering services in an effective way, and that is why the calculations made of the numbers involved here of positions that were required to be staffed by personnel who could offer services in both languages were assessed as being relatively small. In fact, the figure is somewhere between 5% and 10%.

I was not involved in the implementation of the act and I know that certainly issues of sensitivity sometimes overshadow what might be written in legislation. Also, I think it has been acknowledged that regrettably there may have been much too late an effort to explain what this legislation was in the belief that the voices of acrimony and hatred could be ignored. Unfortunately, those voices were left to be ignored too long and untruths became beliefs in people's minds.

This legislation precisely does not take up section 16 of the charter, and as you will recall in my submissions, that is not a section that I would urge upon you. This legislation, in its intent and, I believe, in the way the implementation was intended, was that of effective offer of services in designated areas.

Mr Harnick: Can I just follow up for one moment? I tend to agree with you about your comments dealing with the implementation of the bill. Is there something that the provincial government could be and should be doing now to alleviate the problems that you have pointed out?

Mr Robert: Okay, I will answer in English too. If there are any problems, then I will go back to French.

First of all, Bill 8 was poorly sold by the government during its implementation. It is important to underline that the language of administration within the government is English and only a small proportion of the positions are designated as bilingual and most of these positions are front-line workers. So perhaps if the government would sell a better understanding of Bill 8 and the real implications, other than, you know, false understanding that in people's minds became the truth, that became reality.

Mr Harnick: Thank you very much.

M. Beer : Merci pour tous les renseignements que vous nous avez donnés, une gamme de renseignements et de projets de la communauté francophone de cette région.

J'aimerais juste poser une question au sujet du conseil scolaire, là où cette question est rendue aujourd'hui. Si je comprends bien, dans cette région les deux communautés, c'est-à-dire la communauté catholique et les parents qui envoient leurs enfants dans les écoles publiques, sont d'accord pour la formation d'un conseil scolaire peut-être un peu comme à Ottawa-Carleton, une sorte de conseil homogène. Est-ce qu'on a aussi discuté de la possibilité d'unir un conseil régional Prescott-Russell-SDG ou est-ce qu'on pense qu'il faut avoir un conseil pour cette région-là et un autre conseil pour SDG ? Est-ce qu'il y a eu des discussions, et est-ce que j'ai bien compris qu'on parle d'un seul conseil francophone et non pas de deux pour SDG?

Mme Blais : Oui, effectivement on parle d'un conseil scolaire de langue française pour SDG, c'est ce qu'on veut; il y a une population qui le demande et aussi mille enfants francophones ici dans ces trois comtés. La question pour Prescott et Russell a été soulevée mais n'a pas été approfondie. Nous continuons à chercher puis à faire des recommandations bien structurées pour un conseil scolaire de langue française dans SDG.

M. Winninger : Nous avons écouté plusieurs groupes multicuiturels qui veulent avoir les mêmes droits, les mêmes services que vous. Est-ce que vous croyez qu'on peut distinguer entre les droits des francophones des autres groupes multicuhturels?

M. St-Aubin : Si vous permettez, il y a certainement, premièrement, certains services linguistiques qui doivent être offerts dans autant de langues que possibles. On parle par exemple d'interprétation au niveau de tribunaux, on parle d'accès à certains services cruciaux au niveau, par exemple, de la Commission des accidents du travail et autres. Mais je pense qu'il est injuste pour justifier l'abandon ou la négligence de l'aspect linguistique des droits des francophones, de vouloir invoquer le besoin d'offrir le même niveau de droits linguistiques à tous les peuples qui se sont incorporés à la communauté linguistique de l'Ontario.

Premièrement, la devise de l'Ontario suggère jusqu'à un certain point ce dont je parle : « Ut incepit fidelis sic permanet », je pense qu'il est important de demeurer fidèle à ses origines pour qu'on soit fidèle à son avenir. Les peuples qui se sont associés à cette famille ontarienne, je vous l'ai indiqué, s'incorporent évidemment à la communauté anglophone mais aussi à la communauté francophone. La communauté francophone est accueillante aussi pour les peuples de tous les pays. Je peux vous dire qu'ici même à Cornwall, le groupe qui s'est présenté auparavant ne parle pas nécessairement au nom de toutes les ethnies de cette région. Plusieurs de ces ethnies sont représentées dans la communauté francophone de cette région. Ce que j'entends d'eux, c'est une phrase que nous nous sommes laissé dire, que la tolérance qui doit caractériser notre pays est mieux inspirée par le respect des droits linguistiques et le maintien des droits linguistiques des francophones, que c'est leur meilleure garantie. L'abandon de ces droits, le recul serait une menace pour tous les groupes linguistiques minoritaires.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much for your presentation. Not that we have not heard a great many representations dealing with the rights of Franco-Ontarians, but it is a great opportunity for the committee to have representatives from different organizations before us at once. My question deals with the issues which you have brought forward, which are talking about making certain that there are certain services, Franco-Ontarian services, which are not only protected but indeed advanced. Whether they be in education or senior citizens or whatever, there is the need for not only the protection but the advancement of those particular services.


There is, aside from those very important issues which you have brought forward, the question of the activities going on in Quebec today, what they are doing and what they are looking at and how they are dealing with their particular issues. Is any message given to Quebec, in your opinion, on the basis of how this province deals with Franco-Ontarian rights? I am looking for what the message is to Quebec or if there is a message to Quebec as a result of how the province of Ontario deals with the hopes and aspirations of Franco-Ontarians.

Mr St-Aubin: If I may, the message is not getting through as to the very positive steps that have been taken by successive governments of the province of Ontario. It is not getting through. Efforts have been made in perhaps a haphazard way to convey that, but one is up against the -- and I do not think it is collusion on the part of the Quebec media. I think it is a simple tendency of media to portray the negative, although there may be a dash of collusion too. But there is certainly the fact that the positive stances taken by successive governments of this province are not getting through, and I recognize that that may be frustrating for you as legislators.

I think, however, that the issue of what Ontario does is important. Ontario counts quite a lot for Quebec. One reads it in the media every day. Anything that is done there is usually -- and politicians, in speaking of roads or whatever, would always compare to Ontario. Ontario is the rest of Canada as far as Quebec is concerned in its media, and what Ontario does counts.

I have no ready-made solution as to how one conveys the right message. I think, though, that it is important that the leaders of this province recognize that it is now a question of dignity and feelings, as I tried to convey at the outset. We can talk about laws and structures and so forth, but really it is a question now of how people feel about how they are wanted or not in this country. The feeling in Quebec now, and understandably so after the Meech Lake fiasco, is one of deep insult, and quite correctly so, because it was an insult in terms of the way it eventually came to an end.

But if Ontario wishes to convey its message, I think its leadership will have to take original steps and perhaps go directly to the people there because every single time that I have spoken of the positive steps that have been taken here, there is appreciation and there is change of mind. So I think that it is important that specific steps be taken by the province to do that. Enshrining certain aspects in the Constitution, as I have indicated, will undoubtedly have a great impact. If the negative can have such an impact, there are means, surely, that the positive can too.

The Chair: With that, we will end this presentation, and thank you very much. Merci pour votre presentation.


The Chair: Could I call next Richard Hickerson. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Hickerson: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and thank you to all the members of your committee who have been kind enough to receive me this morning. Unlike the groups which have preceded me, I speak only on my own behalf.

I would like to start, with your permission, with a very short little anecdote from my past. I am 61 years old. In 1946, I turned 16. The war was just over, Canadians were prouder than ever that they had vanquished the forces of evil in Europe, but we still were not Canadian citizens, because the Canadian Citizenship Act had not yet been passed by the Parliament of Canada. So here we were, British subjects -- proud of it, mind you, not to take anything away from that, but we still could not say with a straight face and a period after the sentence that we were Canadian.

I was only 16 at the time and that struck me as strange that my father at the post office, when I went to be registered, could not tell the clerk that his father was from Ontario and that his father before him was from Ontario. That was not an adequate reply. They wanted to know your country of national origin. In other words, they wanted to hyphenate you as a Canadian. They wanted to truncate you and make you less. That has never left me, the idea that for the first time in my life in 1946, when the Parliament of Canada passed the Canadian Citizenship Act, I could say, "I am a Canadian," period. Regardless of whether I was aboriginal or French or Greek or Icelandic or German or Scandinavian or Yugoslav or whatever, I was a Canadian and I was proud of it.

So I thank you again for having me today. I know you have a lot of people to hear and I will try to make my remarks as brief as I can. I have a tendency to be a bit long-winded and I have been warned that I will be cut off if I do so, so I will stick to my text as much as I can. I have provided you copies of my text. This is a summary.

Canada's history is intimately linked to its geography and you cannot understand Canada unless you understand its geography, but it is a big enough place to receive people of all creeds and races if we can be big enough to allow this to happen, if we can learn to grow together in mutual respect and co-operation.

Canada is also a relatively new experiment in human living. It is a country where hatred should be slowly dying, a country where hatred and racism ought to be dying instead of getting more virulent, where true brotherhood must be born under the fatherhood of God. That is the kind of Canada I have the vision of.

Interestingly enough, if you hook at the BNA, no province was ever given the right to secede from Canada. This family was meant to stay together for ever. None of the fathers ever foresaw that any one of the children would decide to secede from the family. This is just not conceivable. It is not in the Canadian way of thinking and it was not in the way of thinking of the fathers of this country. Canada was meant to last for ever.

Canada really has not failed. Like many things, it just really has not been fully tried yet. It is in crisis, though, and we can no longer take Canada for granted. We must start really caring for this wonderful country or risk the dreadful, horrible possibility that it might slip through our hands.

Again these are personal opinions, but it seems to me that in Canada we have to have a strong federal government. Canada is such a big place, such a diverse place, such a huge country. We cannot erode the powers of the federal government to the point where the federal government can no longer speak or no longer does speak on behalf of Canadians. Unfortunately that is why we are in the mess we are in today. Our central voice is no longer the strong voice that it used to be, and that weakens the whole of Canada.


In my view, the federal government must be able to speak univocally for all of Canada, all Canadians. If we are in the crisis we are in today, it is precisely because the power of the federal government to speak for Canada has been so dangerously weakened. I have to say this here, gentlemen, and I do not mean it in any personal way, but the provinces must stop being so greedy for power. The reason why they have to stop doing that is that every time they get more power, the central government ends up with less and Canada becomes less strong, less able to speak with the united voice.

We can understand, humanly speaking, that provinces want more power. Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, we are all the same. But for the sake of the common good of the whole country, the provinces must curb their insatiable appetite for more and more and more power. Canada cannot withstand that appetite. You are going to eat us to death if you keep pushing that hard. This goes for all provinces, not just Ontario and not just Quebec, but all provinces in Canada from the smallest to the most powerful.

It is absolutely essential, in my view, that all Canadians be treated equally. I know that is a dream and an ideal but one worth striving for. We must make sure that native Canadians are treated fairly and with equity and that no Canadian ever feels he is second-rate or third-rate or fourth-rate. Every Canadian should be able to feel that he is a first-rate Canadian.

But having said that, no Canadian is more distinct than any other Canadian. We have got to get this crazy word "distinctness" out of our vocabulary. It is nonsense. It is not logical, it is not philosophically correct and if you push that too far, you are going to have 26 million different countries in Canada instead of one country. You cannot push that that far. It is absurd to do so.

Canadians also have to get to know each other better. Gosh, we know each other very poorly. The provincial government and the federal government have to develop more programs and more plans to help Canadians to get to know each other better. We have got to encourage more travel. This country is so big, most Canadians cannot afford to travel to other parts of Canada. It is too costly. So what we have to do, and the Ontario government could maybe take the lead in this area, is say, "Hey, let's help Canadians to travel more in Canada so that Quebeckers can get to know us better, so that we can get to know them better and understand them better."

No province should ever be allowed to blackmail the rest of Canada by threatening to leave the Canadian family. Each cultural and linguistic group may and must and should defend and promote its wellbeing in a multicultural Canada but never at the expense of anyone else. That is the key right there.

The other point I would like to make, and I know Bob Rae's government is strong on this point and I support that wholeheartedly, is that the wealthy in Canada must bear a more reasonable share of the tax burden in this country. It is time to say to the really wealthy in Canada who have become wealthy because of Canada, "Okay, fair share." Because the basis of taxation has always been the ability to pay, the wealthy must pay a fair share so that the burden is taken away from middle-income and low-income Canadians.

The other thing that annoys me no end in Canada is how language has been used often as a weapon both in French Canada and in English Canada. How are you going to eliminate racism and hatred in Canada when you promote it? When you use language and culture as a weapon against each other, how can you do that? How can you have a united Canada?

The other bit of nonsense that has been perpetrated on us by people who perhaps thought they were doing the right thing is the whole business of an officially bilingual Canada. Canada need not be officially bilingual in order to be a united country. By saying that, I am not saying that it is not okay for Canada to be multicultural and multilingual, but it is not necessary. Unfortunately bilingualism has divided us against one another.

The Chair: You are going to have to sum up very, very briefly.

Mr Hickerson: Okay. On a small planet like Earth there simply is no room for narrow nationalism, regionalism or tribalism. But the one positive thing I see coming out of this is that, out of our despair for Canada, maybe we are starting to really care about Canada. I think that is fantastic because, if out of this despair for Canada can come hope that we can make Canada work -- the way I see it, if Canada can be made to work, then the world can work, but if Canada cannot be made to work, neither can the world be made to work. It will continue to fail. Canada is not an easy experiment, but it is very well worth the effort. We could become, if we wanted to, a model for a better, more humane and civilized world, and we owe it to ourselves and the future to give the Canadian experiment our very best shot.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. We are going to move on to the next presenter.


The Chair: I call Shirley Armstrong. While Mrs Armstrong is coming to the table, we have on the list also Etienne St-Aubin, but I believe he was one of the people who presented earlier.


The Chair: A different presentation? We will come back to him after this then.

Mrs Armstrong: I am not in a hurry.

The Chair: No, go ahead, ma'am.

Mrs Armstrong: Ladies and gentlemen, I did not realize this was going to be so formal and a lot of pomp and ceremony, so I do not have a presentation to give you that is all typed out. I am going into the point system because I have noticed that we are running out of time and I have a buddy back there who has one all typed up, so he may do a lot better.

I would like to say that I do not think that taking all these powers away from the federal government, as the Allaire report is looking for, and holding a gun to the rest of Canada's head to make people go along with it is good for our country. I think that the federal government should have quite a few powers. They should have control over the environment, for one thing, so a company cannot say, "Ontario won't let us do this, so we'll go to another province and that way we can pollute." I am on a public liaison committee here in town, which is what brought that one to mind.

On the unity of Canada, I think the biggest problem is lack of communication and dialogue. I was of the opinion that this was going to be rather an informal committee where we could discuss things with people, instead of these presentation-style things. But I do believe that what we do need are discussions, not me and half a dozen other people sitting here giving our opinion without somebody being able to refute it and question us and find out where we are really coming from.

What we need is the voice of the people, not the voice of the politicians -- I am sorry if that is going to insult all you people here -- and we do not need as much media coverage. Politicians and media have a way, you have got to admit, of twisting things around. I suppose one of them is to get votes and the other one is to get ratings. I do not know why they do it, but I have certainly noticed it. I think it would be much better to have groups of people that could discuss, argue, holler at each other, whatever, get it all out in the open, and then if they have got something to say to the press, call a press conference and make a release.

You are talking about bilingualism. I am not very hot on that. As a matter of fact, I am not even lukewarm, but there was a point in time when I said, "Well, if that's what it takes to keep this country going, let's do it and get on with our lives." Then Quebec came out with its law, I do not know what the number of it is, but no English signs. They hired their own little -- I was going to say Gestapo, but I guess they had a little police force to police that and report people and prosecute them.


I ask you, where is the reason in that? Supposedly they feel that it is necessary to protect their culture and their language and that it is the right thing to do. Yet when a few municipalities in Ontario this year declared English only, and I believe that was probably as much for the economic justice of it as anything, they became French-bashing bigots. But some poor little fellow up the Pontiac in Shawville or somewhere who has had a general store for the last 50 years has to take down his sign that says "General Store," because this is protecting the culture and French language. I would say that if their culture and language is that weak, maybe they should do it a favour and put it out of its misery.

Sovereignty-association certainly would not work because the way they have presented it anyway in this Allaire report, they would be wielding a bigger balance of power than they do now. Separation is almost geographically and economically impossible, but if that is what it takes, maybe we should try to work it out. That way, we would save money on the bilingual expenses that we have.

There were a couple of points mentioned here, the historical rights of the francophones in Ontario. Now stop me if I am wrong, but when I went to school the BNA, when Wolfe and Montcalm had their little skirmish and after, said that the Quebec people or Lower Canada or whatever it was at that time could retain their language. I do not think it said anything about Upper Canada or Ontario, as we call it.

I also find that today the people around here are sort of typical of Canada. A lot of them, not them all -- I have been here since before 10 o'clock -- but a lot of the people came in just in time for their little private presentation and immediately left. They did not hang around to find out what the other guys were going to say, and my main point is that we need dialogue.

The Chair: Thank you very much, ma'am. I think we recognize as a committee the need for a continuing dialogue as you pointed out, and we will be trying to see how we can structure that in the second stage of our work, even more so than we have this first part.



The Chair: I come back now to Etienne St-Aubin.

Mr St-Aubin: If I may, Mr Chairman, I applied for the opportunity to address you at this point as director of the Stormont, Dundas, Ghengarry Legal Clinic from a different perspective than that which I brought to you a few moments ago.

The province of Ontario is going through this very important exercise at a time when obviously, as your document puts forward, there is a great deal of change in our province. The opportunity of this process to deal with issues which perhaps have not been in the forefront of considerations in constitutional discussions is there. Depending on one's political point of view, the election of a New Democratic government in Ontario was akin to a miracle and therefore expectations are extremely high on the part of persons who hope that a perspective which may not have been in the forefront gets there and stays there.

I think it is appropriate for the province of Ontario in any discussions involving the Constitution not only to be the engine of our Canadian economy, as it has always been referred to, but perhaps to be the engine of social justice. In the context of the Charter of Rights, which is our Constitution at the moment, it would be appropriate that provisions be inserted that would reflect the preoccupation for equality of opportunity in this province, that in effect we deal with a social charter.

I feel how relevant it is to be addressing you on something of this nature in this particular community. It is a community which works very hard for everything it gets. It is a community which has not been favoured by an easy life in any shape or form. You only have to step out of this hall and breathe the air to see, for example, the ravages of pollution in this jurisdiction, and you have only to visit close by to see the effects of inequality.

I recognize that a Constitution does not of itself make people happy and governments of themselves cannot do that, but at the best and I think that at least if a Constitution is going to be considered at all and if governments take any steps at all, it can be towards trying to help to create conditions in which people can at least aspire to some measure of happiness.

In this community, issues of social justice are issues of daily life, and I hope therefore that any constitutional consideration reflects those fundamentals of daily issues and that this aspect be taken into account in deciding what is the future of Ontario. I will not take up more of your time, sir.

The Chair: Thank you. We will carry on then.


The Chair: I call Ronald Bergeron.

Mr Bergeron: I have some copies made, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: That is fine. We can get additional ones made. Thank you. Our clerk will just pick them up. Go ahead.

Mr Bergeron: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentleman, I imagine you are all anxious to get home after one month of being the lightning-rod for all the problems in Ontario. I for one thank you for taking that time. We all need to reflect and consider where we are coming from and where we want to go.

Let me begin by telling you about my eldest daughter, Lianne, who recently wrote to us from France. She had just finished working in Paris as part of a work exchange program and was on her way to Florence, Italy, to study Italian. She wrote: "My heart is in Canada. My pride is in Canada." What did she see that we do not seem to see? I thought of her life experiences. My wife is English-speaking and I am French-speaking. We have both learned each other's first language and the culture attached to it and have passed it on to our six children.

They have attended French-language schools and are fluent in both French and English, not just in language, but in nuances, humour, puns, etc. They delight in making "la tire" and celebrating St Patrick's Day. They will split a gut laughing at "Rock et Belles Oreilles" and they will cheer our local Glen Productions. We have travelled as a family to Awkwesane, les Cantons de h'Est, hes Escoumains, Montréal, Ste-Adele, Sudbury, Niagara Falls, Midland, British Columbia and farther outside of Canada.

A few years ago, Lianne spent a week at the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa. This was a Canadian experience where some 100 students from across Canada gathered together. It was an intense experience where many of the students became fast friends and did not want to leave.


It was only at that time that she realized how fortunate she was to be bilingual. She spent much of her time translating for the students from British Columbia and Quebec. She became aware that French humour and English humour differ, that language is more than words. The interesting thing was how all these students made it work, no matter their backgrounds or differences.

In succeeding years she was an exchange student in France and in Italy. In turn, we have had students from those countries in our home, as well as visitors from Iceland and Britain. We have all been enriched by these experiences.

Last September Lianne drove alone across Ontario and western Canada. This was at the time of post-Meech failure and the boiling pot of Oka. She stayed at friends of ours or in bed and breakfast homes. She returned in October so enthusiastic about the friendly people she had met and so enthralled by the beauty of the land.

Here we were so hangdog about the future of Canada, and here she was so full of optimism. Why the difference? Quite simply, while we were all watching TV and reading newspapers, she was sharing meals with our neighbours.

There are a number of lessons in this. There is nothing wrong with the people of Canada, and this is recognized worldwide. Exchanges work, not just overseas but here in Canada. We need more exchanges, opportunities to meet each other, not just for students but also for adults, and not just French-English but north-south, east-west, within a province and within our country. To paraphrase an old Indian saying, "Let me not judge another until I have walked a day in his moccasins."

If there is nothing wrong with the people of Canada, what is it then that so infuriates me, that makes me so concerned? I believe I can sum it up in two words: government and media.

First, to government. Every time I turn around, I hear about unity or the lack of it, of Canada disappearing or being strong, all from the mouths of politicians. Most of the time I get the feeling that the provincial and federal governments do not care about me. Rather, they are more interested in increasing their own power by trying to give me more rather than better government.

It does not matter where I turn, one level of Big Brother is sticking it to me. "Well, how about a 3% payroll tax?" "Hey, I can top that. How about a 7% GST?"

I watch helplessly as the justice system lets the rights of the accused outweigh the rights of the victims. To top it off, we are governed by parties where the majority has voted against it. For example, in Ontario, 62% did not vote for the NDP. I think at the federal level, what, 50%, 60% did not vote for the Conservatives. These are the people who are trying to define unity for me.

It seems to me that in a power struggle, the federal government has defined "unity is equal to centralized government is equal to good" and therefore "bad is decentralized government is equal to disunity."

Then to thicken the broth, the French-English situation is added. There are few things as loaded with emotion in Canada as English-French relations, and I have lived it at first hand several times.

As rational as we want to be, we cannot escape our feelings. When we react to Clyde Wells or the burning of the Quebec flag, there are very strong emotions, emotions that cloud facts and colour our perspective.

It is essential that the language issues be kept separate from the discussion on the format of government. The issue is centralized versus decentralized government. That is not a constitutional problem, in my opinion, but rather a management problem.

Arguing for or against government does not make someone for or against Canada. Let me show you some confusion here. Look at this headline from the Ottawa Citizen. It says "Quebec Employers Back Canada." The article reads, right off the bat, "Strong Majority Support a United Canada." It sounds like they are backing Mulroney's centralized concept. But wait, there is a bit more here. It says, "A united but decentralized Canada is the preferred choice."

I think oft-times the same train of thought is being stated by many western and native Canadians. I want to see decentralized government, but not to the point of a void, and just decentralization should be not just federal-provincial but also provincial-municipal.

I want accountability. I want a say in what is being done to myself, my family, my community. I guess you could say, "Yes, small is beautiful." I want a changed management style. I want an election process that reflects our diversity of opinion and I want our representatives to have the freedom to vote according to their conscience.

I enjoy being a Canadian. I think we have a country that is great. I find, sadly, it seems to be not because of the government but in spite of it.

As to the press, if ever there was a group of people who have done more to spread hatred or incite unrest and create dissension in this country, it has to be the CBC, CTV and the major news media.

Consider the infamous Brockville incident where photos and video footage were taken of some people burning the Quebec flag. The media focused on close-up shots of this, spread them as quickly as possible across Canada. It gave an impact in Quebec of a redneck Ontario. There were reactions from Quebec, subsequent reactions to reactions from Ontario as the news flashed back and forth between reporters bent on a story.

Here was a classic example of sensationalism which was sure to cause conflict. Yes, the flags were burned, but why the close-up shots? Because long shots would have shown how few people were involved and this would diminish the impact. There was no perspective. One of my sons was at school in Brockville at the time, a French student in an English environment at Grenville Christian College, where he never encountered the bigotry that the press was trying to lead us to believe was typical of all Ontario.

Are there bigots and rednecks? Of course, but they are a tiny minority, yet the press plays up the conflict to the point that we start to believe that is all there is to this country. And in believing it, we make it happen.

The post-Meech Lake bitterness was going on at the time when my daughter was crossing the west of Canada. According to the media's view of the west, she should have found herself treated as an outsider, but wherever she went she found friendliness.

The Chair: Mr Bergeron, could you sum up, please.

Mr Bergeron: Okay. We have also used the word "crisis." I like to save that word "crisis" for things like starvation in Ethiopia and a war in Kuwait. We have differences of opinion.

I would like to point out that the local media in smaller communities, in my opinion, are generally quite good. These reporters know their communities. They work and play and socialize with their citizens. If they do not get a story right, they are quickly reminded. In other words, accountability forces good reporting.

In summary, I think we should establish substantial exchange programs, separate language issues from management issues, minimize and decentralize government, change the election process and encourage the news media to be responsible.

I read recently about a Mexican and a Salvadoran who died near Niagara Falls as they tried to enter Canada illegally. We cry about Canada heading for oblivion and yet they died trying to come here. What did they see that we have not seen?

Let us remember, there is nothing wrong with the people of Canada. Let us build on that. The essence of Canada is worth the effort. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, sir.



The Chair: We will move to the next speaker, Ken Davies.

Mr Davies: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Ken Davies. I am a private citizen and I am here to represent and express my own personal views and opinions.

I would first like to congratulate Premier Bob Rae and all the members of the NDP on their overwhelming victory at the last election. Bob Rae demonstrated that a person who listens is rewarded.

These hearings and the opportunity afforded me today are a further demonstration of the integrity, willingness and fresh new approach of our present provincial government.

Before responding to some of the questions posed in the excellent discussion paper, I would like to make a comment with reference to page 23: "Please, we want your views" and "Please, time is short." Please do not make this like the Muhroney 23 June deadline.

I am sure we all appreciate that the committee has to table an interim report. If the only statement that could be made on 21 March were, "We need more time," that would be neither an understatement nor a reflection on the committee's ability to consult and present the views of the people of this province.

More than a century has passed since the Fathers of Confederation drew up the British North America Act. In 1982 Pierre Trudeau made a few modifications and called it the Constitution. He introduced the "notwithstanding" clause, which allowed Quebec to implement the new English sign law. In 1990, Brian Mulroney took the first ministers to Meech Lake and succeeded in creating more dissension in this country than its history has ever seen. We are hypothetically back to 1867. So what is the hurry for a new Constitution?

I would like to bring your attention to Premier Bob's quote on page 23 of this discussion paper: "No one political party or no one government is going to `save Canada' or be the vehicle or the only vehicle for national unity.... We are all going to be involved in this process of reconstruction, rediscovery, renewal and recovery."

Please note the number of re's in that statement. These are the kinds of words we are hearing with reference to the Gulf war: recovery, renewal, reconstruction. Are these words indicative of the divisions and damage that Canada has suffered in recent years? I believe they are.

Many Canadians are concerned that the nation is undergoing changes that threaten to destroy the very essence of that which has made us the envy of the world; namely, our multicultural mosaic and the will to coexist peacefully. Today we have the opportunity to build a superstructure designed by the people and for the people, and since such a document is to express the will of the people, it is imperative that pending and future amendments be designed, approved and implemented by the people. The experts can labour over the words, but the intent belongs to the people. The right and freedom of each and every Canadian to participate in constitutional reform must be revered.

The vehicle for this is the referendum. Canada needs a Magna Carta, an impregnable document derived from the people, written by the people and amendable only by national referendum. There are those who would say a referendum is too cumbersome, too slow, and those who believe constitutions can only be written and understood by legal minds or politicians. Recent history has shown that constitutional reforms cannot be entrusted to our appointed representatives. Meech Lake was a disaster and a national disgrace, and such a debacle must never happen again.

It may take several years to formulate the tenets of a Canadian Constitution, but ultimately, if all Canadians participate, it will be seen as time well spent. Remember, thanks to Brian Muhroney we are now back in 1867. Let us do it right this time. The referendum is the only way.

I would now like to address some of the questions from the discussion paper.

To say that free trade has disrupted the Canadian and Ontario economies is a gross understatement. This area, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, is suffering economic starvation as a direct result of free trade. The disastrous consequences of the present agreement were clear to the majority of Canadians. Quebec did not want free trade, but in giving unanimous support to its native son Mulroney, it gave away the store. Free trade was a very important issue and should have been decided by referendum.

How we manage our economy is one of the most important issues facing us now and in the future. Canada is vast and diverse, sparsely populated, rich in natural resources and lacking in conversion of resources to finished product. We should put more effort and finances into manufacturing, selling products made from our natural resources, rather than buying them back from offshore producers.

With regard to the aboriginal peoples, it is easy to say that they have the same opportunities, the same rights and freedoms as every other Canadian, but is that really true? Technically, yes, it is.

I do not purport to understand native land claims, but I know that they are a very contentious issue between Canadian governments and the aboriginals. I do not believe the settlement of land claims would improve housing and facilities, decrease violence or have any effect on the high mortality of young Indians. The same scene of poverty, violence and death can be found in any society that does not value all of its inhabitants. The aboriginals have been patronized and shunned in the same moment. It is hard to have dignity and self-esteem when you are rejected. I know; I have been unemployed for almost three years thanks to free trade.

Work is the answer to having dignity. The opportunity to earn a living and provide for one's family is paramount to solving the problems besetting our native peoples today. The aboriginals have many talents. They are holding a lemon. Let us help them to make lemonade. This is addressing the needs of the aboriginals. When they have work, they will have dignity, some of their problems will abate and Canada will be the winner.

Should aboriginals have the right to manage their own affairs in Canada? Yes, of course they should, to the same extent as other Canadians manage their own affairs within the framework of federal, provincial, municipal and local legislation. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides for every Canadian without exception the right to live, work and play within a very liberal society. I do not believe Canadians would ever support the recognition of aboriginal laws and/or customs contrary to the charter.


What are the roles of the English and French languages and Quebec's future in Canada?

There can be no doubt that the battle for constitutional reform, that is, Meech Lake, was a battle for power; power for the federal government, power for the provinces, power for women, power for aboriginals, but most of all, power for Quebec. The province of Quebec wants an inordinate amount of exclusive rights and privileges in order to exercise power both inside and outside its territorial boundaries.

In the moment that an individual or group is granted special status, persons not included may be offended. Most non-French-speaking persons are acutely offended by the audacity of Quebec daring to consider itself a distinct society in a country that has been pioneered and developed by many nationalities. The founders are the aboriginals who were conquered by the French, and they in turn by the British.

The Chair: Mr Davies, perhaps you would sum up, please.

Mr Davies: Yes.

I am proud of my heritage and I come from a nation that has left its mark all around the world, but I do not think this gives me the right to claim special privileges, rights or freedoms over any other human being on this earth. The "distinct society" notion is repulsive, very contentious, incitive, divisive and undermines the sacred fundamentals of equality. Special status for Quebec or the aboriginals, if conceded, would be the beginning of claims that would plague the nation ad infinitum.

The charter protects cultures, languages and religions that exist in Canada today. Neither a Constitution nor any amount of legislation will preserve them. This has to come from the will of the people involved.

Does Quebec want to he in Confederation? This is really up to Quebec. Historically, the French are notoriously fickle, and this characteristic is true of Quebeckers. They supported 100% the Liberal Party for native son Pierre Trudeau, and overnight switched party allegiance to the PCs to support next native son Brian Mulroney. They face a dilemma in the next federal election, because the incumbent and the opposition leader are both native sons.

The Chair: I am sorry, Mr Davies, I am going to have to stop you.

Mr Davies: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Could I call next Luc Guindon? Mr Guindon is also a former MPP from this area. We welcome Mr Guindon to our committee.

Mr Guindon: If I have your permission, I would just in my way hike to welcome you to Cornwall. It is nice to see everybody here this morning still bright and still very enthusiastic after a long three weeks. I would like to especially mention a former colleague of mine who travelled long distances on the social development committee on Bill 30, and that is the member for Mississauga North. I am glad to see him here in Cornwall.

Mr Chairman, may I first of all thank you and the members of this committee for taking the time to listen to my views on the constitutional crisis in Canada. We are facing an important turning point in the history of this country. We sense that unless a real consensus can be forged, we will be faced with very troubled and trying times ahead. The task that confronts you is an urgent one and we hope your support will become a substantial contribution towards a satisfactory solution.

Listening to the variety of briefs presented to you, it is clear that a consensus is nowhere yet in sight. Constitutional issues, one is tempted to say, seem to bring out the worst in Canadians. Every region, every province and every minority group want its interests enshrined in the Constitution. Far from being a heightened consciousness of basic human rights, this fact is a measure of the deep distrust that is pervasive across this land. Indeed the constitutional discussions of the last two decades have over the years poisoned the political climate in this country.

Everyone agrees that the Meech Lake accord had a disastrous ending and that it was a fiasco and that it ultimately exacerbated the political impasse it was designed to resolve. It has indeed resulted in polarized politics. It has brought the constitutional process down to the level of bickering party politics. It has sapped the credibility of two major political parties. Never have we seen both their leaders so passionately resented by massive segments of the Canadian population, Jean Chrétien in his native province and the Prime Minister in most others.

The ascription of blame is not my purpose here, nor is my concern the autopsy of the Meech Lake fiasco. I am concerned with two questions. The first is, to have reached this low point, where have we gone wrong? What are the flawed policies that led us to our current state of polarized politics? And the second question I will raise concerns the role the province of Ontario might play to be part of a solution to this crisis.

It would be self-deceiving to think that the problems facing Canada started with the Meech Lake debacle. It is equally naïve to believe that the Meech Lake accord, had it been passed, would have constituted a lasting solution. But it is true to say that its rejection, and especially the manner in which it was rejected, have added to the problems facing this country.

It is clear to me that the road that has led us to our present quandary was entered upon some two decades ago. Let me explain. When Lester B. Pearson, as prime minister of Canada, struck the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, in defining its terms of reference, he spoke of the two "founding races," emphasizing in that outdated expression the dual nature of Canada as a country, a fact that the French expression, "les deux peuples fondateurs," had always conveyed. Pearson expected this commission to forge a bilingual language policy that would satisfy the changing needs of this country.

It has been argued, and I agree with the argument, that the royal commission recommended a language regime that in effect deepened the language conflict that it was expected to resolve. It refused to adopt a territorially based language policy that would have recognized the basic French character of Quebec and the basic English character of the rest of Canada. The commission refused to take the territorial route because it claimed it could not bring itself to condemn the francophone communities outside Quebec to death, so instead it proclaimed a bilingual Canada from sea to sea. It created two official minorities and designed a language policy to accommodate them, rather than the two founding peoples that Pearson had charged them to do. Canada thereby become the only democratic country in the world to create official minorities among its citizens.

Has this language regime increased the viability of French communities outside Quebec? The answer is a clear and definite no. It had already been established at the time of the commission's sitting that outside the bilingual belt from Sault Ste Marie to Moncton, the assimilation of francophones was proceeding at rates that varied from 65% to 90% per generation. It was equally clear that even with the bilingual belt, the economic basis of French communities in their traditional habitat was eroding since they were involved in farming, lumbering, fishing and mining, and none of these are growth sectors in a modernizing economy.

Furthermore, inasmuch as such communities stayed economically viable, they became capital and not labour intensive and therefore could not accommodate any population growth. When demographic growth did take place in traditional communities around the nation's capital, it was more an influx of anglophones and francophones, thereby changing both the composition and the dynamics of community life. The problem of bilingualism in Ontario is not that the English learn French, but to ensure that Franco-Ontarians retain their language. Once the Franco-Ontarians are all bilingual, and they now are, French as a language is in great danger of not being grounded in the needs of everyday life.

Natural social forces are bringing this about and well-meaning state policies can do nothing to stop them from endangering its survival. In such a case whether minority language rights are entrenched or not in the Constitution, the ultimate outcome will be the same. The Pépin-Robarts Task Force on Canadian Unity realized this and John Robarts testified his opposition to the constitutional entrenchment of minority language rights at hearings of the House of Commons. What the entrenchment of minority and language rights in the Constitution does achieve is to institutionalize the political bickering and disunity in this land and, I suppose, to ensure the economic prosperity of constitutional lawyers who would otherwise be condemned to a modest academic status.

If the viability of French communities outside Quebec has been eroded by natural social forces, one must also mention that this erosion has equally been accelerated by the fact that the provincial state has had, because of the cost involved, to take over the funding and the administration of the health, welfare and educational institutions from the churches and the local communities.

This process of state-initiated modernization has further eroded the embeddedness of French in the requirements of daily life. The establishment of the welfare state had the probably unintended consequence of increasing bilingualism in the traditional French communities and of further undermining the usefulness of French in meeting one's daily needs. Given these circumstances, it is fitting that the provinces facilitate the maintenance of their maternal tongue to its minority. But such provisions can more easily be successfully implemented by interprovincial agreements than by constitutional entrenchment. Some steps in that direction had been taken by a number of provinces until the Trudeau government stepped in to quash these initiatives.


In Quebec the same process of state-initiated modernization, known as the Quiet Revolution, forced for the first time the anglophone population to face up to its minority status. While the problem of bilingualism outside Quebec was to find ways for the francophones to maintain their language, the problem in Quebec was and still remains to have the anglophones and most of the immigrants to effectively become bilingual. It would not be unfair to say that historically they never had any natural inclination to become so, nor was there any necessity for them to do so since they had a complete set of segregated institutions.

The official language policy of this country has been designed not to accelerate but to impede the needed changes in Quebec society. Only in Quebec is there a language barrier that burdens the majority of its population to become bilingual to access a very important part of the corporate economy in its midst. The French majority of Quebec, now that it has become fully qualified since the Quiet Revolution, is keenly aware of this retrograde character of the official language policy. Not only does it not force the corporate world to adapt to the population it should serve, but it also sends the wrong signal to the immigrants of Quebec where they are also led to believe that they may choose to learn English instead of French.

Inasmuch as the situation has changed in Quebec over the last few years, it has not been because of but in spite of the official language policy of this country.

I assume that the nature and character of my dissent from the official language policy of this country and the direction of the current constitutional discussions are sufficiently clear. Let me summarize. While Canada can legally proclaim itself to be a bilingual country from sea to sea, it is proclaiming a myth and not a social fact. Nor will that myth ever become a fact. A bilingual Quebec in an English Canada will never cut the mustard with the Québécois majority. The only grounds on which a national consensus might still be feasible is not to shoot for the stars but to settle for a French Quebec in an English Canada.

When Clyde Wells read the content of the Allaire report -- that is the constitutional white paper of the provincial Liberal Party of Quebec -- he recently stated in an interview with Radio-Canada that he would prefer sovereignty-association to this version of renewed federalism. The defeat of the Meech Lake accord may now represent, even to Clyde Wells, a hollow victory. The Allaire report was imperative for the provincial Liberal Party if it intended to maintain any political credibility with the Québécois electorate. Renewed federalism Trudeau-style is now only embodied by the Equality Party of Quebec and Jean Chrétien's federal Liberal party.

I am convinced that the government of Ontario can play a very important and positive role in finding a solution to the current constitutional deadlock. I suggest that it could urge the Canadian Parliament to reach back to the Pearson terms of reference and start from scratch. This consensus would be based on a language policy tailored to the needs of the two majorities in Canada rather than its official minorities, for a refreshing change.

Rather than taking the route of constitutional entrenchments, realistic policy objectives could be defined and interprovincial agreements encouraged to facilitate the minorities to maintain their mother tongue. Reasonable rather than polarized politics might again become possible. Such a radical departure from the confrontational politics we have been accustomed to by the Trudeau regime for nearly two decades would constitute a welcome change of pace still difficult to imagine.

Ontario and Quebec, one should remember, are each other's major trading partner. This shared economic interest should favour the voices of reason and moderation in the search for common understanding. Whether the Québécois opt to stay in a basically modified federal state or whether they opt for sovereignty, one should be acutely aware that both Ontario and Quebec stand to lose much if spite rather than reason prevails. That, in my opinion, is why the report of your committee may be vitally important. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Guindon. That concludes the printed list of speakers. Mr Beer, very briefly, because I want to give an opportunity to one other group that was left off the list, and we are running way behind time.

Mr Beer: Very briefly, Mr Guindon, I just want to be clear on your concept. There could be agreement, for example, between Ontario and Quebec or Quebec and New Brunswick whereby each of those governments would say, for example, "We'll provide education in the French language in Ontario," or "We'll ensure education in the English language in Quebec under certain kinds of conditions," and that would be an agreement between those two provinces. It could be in other fields. But you are saying do it that way rather than protecting a right to education in either French or English through the Constitution.

Mr Guindon: That is right. For 20 years it has not worked. The entrenchment of linguistic rights and minorities has not worked. I am sure you have heard a lot about it. It has been very ugly with Meech Lake, and we are not heading in a better direction, I do not believe personally. If the provinces start speaking to each other in a better tone of voice and making arrangements between themselves, between Quebec-New Brunswick, Quebec-Ontario or any provinces, to me, that would assure the Francophone population of Ontario as many services as they need to survive. That is basically my point, that I do not see personally that the entrenchment in the Constitution made any difference in the last 20 years; I mean, not counting what the province of Ontario did.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Is Kristianne Ross from Cornwall Collegiate here? Yes. I gather that the students from Cornwall Collegiate were mistakenly left off the list, so I would like to give them an opportunity to speak to us briefly, and then conclude our session here in Cornwall. I apologize to all those people who had wanted to be added to the list, but time simply will not allow it. We need to move on this afternoon to our next stop in Kingston.

Mr Sylvester: My name is Brian Sylvester. I am also a student at Cornwall Collegiate. As you know, we are the future of Canada as a nation. I am extremely proud to be a Canadian. Being a Canadian to me means being part of the most extraordinary and one of the most unique countries in the world. In a recent poll done by Xerox of Canada 93% of all Canadians believe they are living in the greatest country in the world. I am in total agreement with that.

When I think of Canada I think of Ontario and Quebec sharing a provincial border, not an international one. I think as a nation and as citizens of this nation we really underestimate how important the impact of Quebec separating from the union would be. I believe it would set off a chain reaction around the country. The maritime provinces would probably opt to join the United States, a very good possibility of that, and then they would not have a link to Canada. And there is a good chance that BC would either join the US or form its own country, as it has little association with Canada as a whole as it is.


We also stand to lose a lot on the world stage. Our credibility and clout in the UN would be severely diminished and our reputation and the way we are highly regarded as one of the elite countries of the world would be virtually destroyed.

In short, if Quebec separates the Canadian pride would be depleted almost to the point of extinction, and the embarrassment would be phenomenal. If it takes giving in to Quebec to save and preserve this land of lakes and rivers, then it is crucial we do so. I think we must do that to save this country. It is more important than values. I believe there must be a limit to what we give in to, but what is to say we cannot get all the premiers and the Prime Minister together like last June and get them discussing this? Take the information that you are getting from this and the Spicer survey and give that to them, and then get them in a room and do not put a time limit on it. Just let them discuss this and eventually someone is going to lean one way or the other and something has to get solved.

We have established the lock; now we must find the key and be the masters of Canada's destiny. Thank you.

Ms Ross: I spoke to a variety of different students, and I am the spokesperson for the group, who did this speech. To start with, we feel that currently we are the biggest part of Canada. We are that strong link in the chain that is keeping it all together and -- another metaphor, if you will -- we are the wheel and the other provinces are the spokes. We are the richest province, we have the largest population, we are resource-rich, with the Great Lakes and the various minerals. Also, the capital of Canada is in Ontario, and that attracts a great deal of people, and we should be focusing on culture and tradition within the capital.

As it is right now, we are a unifying force. However, we feel in the future that Ontario needs to take its leadership role, use its superior lobbying power to do good. For instance, we should continue to be a unifying body for the country and we should try to set an example with bilingualism.

We were the first province to really do something about the French, and we feel bilingualism should be encouraged throughout all of Canada, not because we are giving in to Quebec but because we are acknowledging the fact that French and English were -- how can I put this? -- founding bodies for the country. We feel it is very important for the country to acknowledge, through either having bilingual signs or having bilingual schools, that the French people are wanted.

Also, we feel that Ontario should develop its resources in the northern region of the province. This would create jobs, and we feel the federal and provincial governments should be willing to give a little bit of aid for that.

Ontario is the only province that can pull the country together, because we are very close to the Quebec border so we know how they feel, and we have a pretty even mix, or as close as we are going to get, of French and English cultures in the province as opposed to other provinces. We also can sympathize with the plight of the other provinces. I feel that in order for every link in the chain to be strong, the strongest link now needs to do something about it. Premier Rae has to grasp the opportunity he has been given and have a Canada for all Canadians. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation.

Mr Sylvester: Just one note on bilingualism. In Ontario, in order to get our diploma as students, we have to take one compulsory French credit. I think that is one-sided, because I do not believe that in Quebec they have to take one English credit to get their diploma.

The Chair: I think that may be the case, that they may in fact have to do that. I guess we can check that.

Thank you very much for your presentation and thank you to all the people who presented to us this morning. We have had, once again, a fascinating array of perspectives put before us and they will be useful in our work as a committee.

We again apologize to those people we were not able to add to the list, time being what it is. We need to move on this afternoon to Kingston, and invite you to continue following our proceedings over the parliamentary channel if you are so interested. Thank you very much. We are recessed.

The committee recessed at 1336.


The committee resumed at 1642 in Memorial Hall, City Hall, Kingston.

The Chair: If I can call the meeting to order. Thank you. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We are happy to be here in Kingston, Ontario, in the city hall at Memorial Hall. This is of course the meeting of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, and we are proceeding during our fourth week of hearings across the province to hear the views of Ontarians on the future of the country and particularly the role of the province and the aspirations of the people of the province with respect to some of the changes in Confederation.

We apologize for the lateness in getting started here in Kingston. We sat late this afternoon in Cornwall and we were a little bit late in leaving there to arrive here. So we apologize for that, but we will extend the time to ensure that all of the speakers who are on our printed list get heard. We also of course have another session, so we will provide another opportunity there for people to speak to us as well.

What I would like to do is just to indicate -- as you can see from the printed list if you have a copy, and there are copies at the back -- for those people who are on the list, we have unfortunately had to limit the time to about 10 minutes and would appreciate your understanding in that it is simply the only way that we can get through providing as many people as possible an opportunity to speak.

I do want to say, because I know there has been some concern about people perhaps not getting on to the list, that as important as this process is for us, we do not see that this is the end of the process, but simply the beginning, and we will be certainly looking, as we put together our interim report towards the end of March, at the whole question of how we can ensure that the discussions around these important issues can continue and how the public can continue to be involved in those processes and those discussions. So although the format may be different, we certainly intend very seriously to ensure that that happens.

What I would like to do before proceeding with the list is just to introduce the members of the committee. This is a committee that is made up, as you may know, of representatives from the three political parties, and I am happy to introduce the members of the committee. In addition to myself, from the NDP caucus we have Gary Malkowski; Marilyn Churley; Gilles Bisson, who is also the Vice-Chair of the committee; Fred Wilson; David Winninger, and Gary Wilson, also the local member. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, who is out actually making a phone call on behalf of the committee, so he will be joining us shortly, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer, and from the Conservative caucus, Charles Harnick. Our other member, Ernie Eves, is not with us today.


The Chair: We want to start then with the first group, the Chinese Canadian National Council, the Kingston chapter, Mabel Chau.

Mrs Chau: Good afternoon, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen in the audience. Thank you very much for the invitation and the opportunity to share our views regarding the future of Canada. It really is a privilege and honour for me to be able to address the committee today.

First, we would like to address the issue of how Canada can secure a future in the international economy. How can we ensure that we become more competitive internationally?

It is obvious that in order to be a prosperous nation, we have to export more goods and services outside of Canada. We must unite to become a common front to gain economic competitiveness. We must combine our technology and resources to make Canada truly competitive in a global economy.

How can we achieve these goals? We have the following suggestions:

1. Canada must take the path of high technology. Both federal and provincial governments should pay more attention to universities and technical institutions for research and development, science and technology, and then we must develop markets for exporting the high technology. In this way we can make the best use of our resources.

2. We must raise our standards in science and technology in schools. Canadian students score lower in tests in the mathematics and science subjects, especially at the high school level, compared to students in other developed countries in the world. If this trend continues, then Canada will fall behind in these subjects and we will lose our competitive edge in technology. We should raise awareness of science and technology in the general public and raise the standards for these subjects in high schools and universities.

3. We have to promote quality improvement in our products and services. As the people around us are becoming more sophisticated and demanding for what they can get for their dollar's worth, business is getting to be tougher than ever and more competitive. We must outdo our competitors in order to survive. Quality improvement in all areas of products and services is the answer.

People have to be educated in the benefits of quality improvement, which includes improving our productivity and our efficiency, and they have to be taught the technique of quality planning and quality control. Also, management styles have to change. They have to bring decision-making closer to the workers, who can then identify with and be responsible for and also be proud of the quality of the products which they produce. Quality in a product or service is the ultimate factor which will provide us with a competitive edge and bring economic success in both domestic and global markets.

That finishes our first issue. Next, we want to address the issue of, what does Ontario want?

Speaking for the Chinese community of Kingston, we say that above all we want a prosperous Ontario and a strong and free Canada. As Canadians, the Chinese community will do everything to work along with other Canadians to strive for these goals.

What are the common values that we share as Canadians?

For us, they are compassion for fellow human beings and social justice. We believe in freedom and democracy. Our social system is different from those of other countries in that we are more compassionate. We care more about the weak, the poor, the oppressed, the young and the old. We are very proud to be part of that social system and we would like to continue to be that way.

The following are a few points raised at a discussion meeting among our group.

First, regarding immigration, we would like to see the integrity of the present immigration policy be maintained. The present level of immigration services to new immigrants is very good but can be better publicized among new immigrants so that they can be better informed.


Second, regarding language, we would like to see the heritage language rights protected and preserved. We feel that the language program should meet the needs of local communities.

Third, regarding racial discrimination, as discrimination arises out of ignorance, multiculturalism should be promoted to improve better understanding of other people and their cultures. Education would eradicate stereotyping, and Canadian history should include the contribution of every ethnic community.

Fourth, regarding human rights, modern Canadian history should retell the injustices inflicted upon the human rights of the Chinese community, such as the head tax and the Chinese exclusion act and the incarceration of the Ukrainians and the Japanese communities during the First World War and Second World War, so that such injustices should never be repeated to any other community of people.

Fifth, regarding employment, job training programs are adequate. However, there can be more affirmative action such as hiring minority groups, equal pay for equal jobs and increased hiring of women. In other words, every effort should be made to undo the injustices done in the past.

Sixth, regarding health, the universal health system must be maintained to ensure that all Canadians have the right to quality health care. The present cost-sharing system between the provincial and federal governments will ensure that.

Given all the above points, how can we achieve those goals?

For a first step, multiculturalism should be promoted at all levels. Multiculturalism promotes awareness of the cultural or ethnic diversity of the peoples of Canada. Cultural or ethnic differences or distinctiveness between people have to be accepted and respected instead of suppressed. Once these differences are recognized, people can start to understand each other, their ways of thinking, their concerns and interests. Then they can work together and by consensus arrive at some common goals which are in the best of everybody's interests. The magic word here is "consensus."

Some people may be sceptical about multiculturalism. Indeed, it may produce adverse effects if people's differences are used to create a hierarchy of classes where one class or culture assumes superiority over another class or culture. Where one group dominates over other groups or forces conformity, then this would lead to oppression and inequalities among the groups, which may eventually lead to division among the people. That is not what we want. We want unity in Canada.

That is why the real meaning of multiculturalism must be clarified and understood by all. Multiculturalism is not to encourage the development of distinct subcultures within Canada, which are independent and isolated from each other. Multiculturalism is to facilitate understanding and communication between the different subcultures of people in trying to work together so that differences and distinctiveness can be recognized, accepted and respected. These differences should be used to complement each other to enrich a broader culture, which is the greater Canadian culture or identity.

In order for there to be communication between the subcultures, people have to come out of their community and interact with each other and try to understand the interests and needs of other communities. In this way, there will be a true dialogue and communication between the different communities of people, and then we can arrive at a consensus of common values and aspirations which we can share as fellow Canadians.

Multiculturalism should be promoted at all levels. The multicultural program in Kingston right now has been very successful under the direction of the Canadian Folk Arts Council. However, it should not be limited just to folk arts alone; it should be extended to every part of the community. We would like to see continued or increased support in areas such as education, language and immigrant services.

Ontario should assume the role of leadership in the promotion of multiculturalism because of the ethnic and cultural diversity of its population and use this opportunity to demonstrate to other provinces and other countries in the world that it is possible for a nation of people of different ethnic backgrounds to live together peacefully, upholding common values while respecting diversity, each working and contributing to a strong and united Canada. Thank you and have a good afternoon.

The Chair: If you would just wait one minute, there is one question from one of the members. Thank you for your presentation. Mr Offer.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much for your presentation on basically two areas, first, the role of economic growth, which this committee is hearing a great deal as being crucially important to our country as a whole and indeed our province, and second, the whole question of the multicultural aspect of not only this province but this country.

My question deals with that second aspect, the multicultural fabric of the province. We have had on other occasions people make presentations which talk to the potential need for the inclusion in our Constitution of a clause which reflects not only the anglo, francophone and first nations founding aspect of the country but also the multicultural aspect as almost as important a part of our country, and I am wondering if you could share with us whether you believe there is a role in the province to promote a constitutional amendment which embraces the multicultural contribution to this country.

Mrs Chau: I think it is desirable, of course, but if it cannot be implemented in the immediate future, we are no doubt going in that direction if multiculturalism is first promoted. That would come as a result.

The Chair: Thank you, Mrs Chau. Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next Gabriel Toussaint, du Centre Frontenac.

M. Toussaint : Mon nom est Gabriel Toussaint. Je vous présente ce mémoire au nom du centre francophone de Kingston. Le Centre Frontenac tient à remercier le gouvernement de l'Ontario et les membres du comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération de nous avoir donné la possibilité de participer à ce processus de reconstruction, de redécouverte, de renouveau et de relance auquel nous invitait le premier ministre Bob Rae le 9 décembre 1990.

Créé en 1977, le centre social et culturel Frontenac est un organisme à but non lucratif qui regroupe une vingtaine d'organismes francophones d'ordre social, culturel, scolaire et communautaire.

Comme dans l'histoire de toute société, il est des moments où les générateurs de culture, telles les institutions chargées de véhiculer les normes, les valeurs et les conduites sociales, doivent s'arrêter pour évaluer les apports multiples en vue d'une meilleure définition de leur avenir. Nous croyons que le Canada, après 124 années d'évolution, est rendu à cette étape importante.

Dans cette démarche, nous sommes certains que l'Ontario peut jouer un rôle actif, notamment dans le rapprochement des différentes communautés culturelles. Certes, l'Ontario possède ses problèmes tout en offrant d'indiscutables avantages car, étant plus diversifié sur le plan culturel et racial que le reste du pays, l'Ontario a toujours été le principal attrait de nouveaux citoyens, ce qui a contribué à l'accroissement de la population ontarienne. Ainsi la présence d'un demi-million de francophones, de nombreux groupes multiculturels et des communautés autochtones place l'Ontario dans une position privilégiée pour promouvoir la bonne entente entre les communautés.


Il faut reconnaître le surcroît des efforts investis tant par la communauté francophone que par le gouvernement de l`Ontario, de manière à ce que les francophones d'ici ne soient pas que des simples spectateurs mais des intervenants, des acteurs dans le développement de la province.

Nous demandons donc que ces efforts soient poursuivis et intensifiés. Pour ce faire, le gouvernement de l'Ontario devrait continuer de faire la promotion de la dualité linguistique dans la province, encourager la création d'institutions socioculturelles, et plus spécifiquement des centres scolaires communautaires qui verraient à assurer le transfert des valeurs, des normes et des conduites sociales à nos enfants.

En conclusion, permettez-nous de vous rappeler que dans tout processus de formation d'une culture, les institutions quelles qu'elles soient jouent un rôle prédominant. Il n'est pas de culture qui puisse nier l'apport de ses institutions, et derrière ces dernières il y a des gens. Il y a aussi ces générations qui année après année ont donné de leur sang, leur vie, en un mot, qui meurent pour faire place à d'autres à la manière des cellules de notre corps. C'est la superposition de ces générations mourantes et se renouvelant qui nous permet d'être si fiers de notre culture, laquelle est plus que la somme de tout ce que nous avons fait jusqu'à aujourd'hui. Soyons fiers de notre culture. Aidons nos communautés culturelles à s'épanouir. Investissons dans nos institutions garantes de nos valeurs, normes et conduites sociales. Merci.

Mr Mahkowski: Thank you for your presentation. Can you expand on what you mean by the schools and community centres? Do you mean them to become cultural centres? And how can we recognize the multicultural aspect of this province? Do you want that entrenched within the Constitution?

M. Toussaint : Est-ce que vous pourriez reformuler, s'il vous plaît, parce que je n'ai pas bien suivi.

M. le Président : Il y a la traduction. Peut-être que nos interprètes porraient répéter la question.

Mr Malkowski: For this committee, what would you like to see included in the Constitution? Can you further expand on what you meant by the schools and the community centres? Do you see them as being cultural centres? Can you further explain how you would see the French community's rights being entrenched as well as the multicultural aspect of the province?

M. Toussaint : Pour ce qui nous concerne en tant que communauté francophone, nous pensons que le principe du centre scolaire communautaire donnerait l'avantage aux groupes francophones de développer, de transmettre la culture à nos enfants. Le centre scolaire communautaire réunirait, comme son nom l'indique, l'aspect scolaire et l'aspect communautaire. Étant donné la tendance à l'intégration ou bien l'assimilation qui est très forte pour nos jeunes francophones, l'enfant qui sort de l'école francophone pourrait continuer les différentes étapes de son éducation à travers une structure francophone, à travers un centre qui pourrait lui permettre d'échanger avec des amis francophones et puis d'aller puiser dans les sources des valeurs, comme je viens de mentionner dans le rapport, des valeurs, des normes et des conduites sociales que je pense seul dans un centre scolaire communautaire on pourrait avoir.

Le problème auquel on fait face présentement est que nos jeunes ici à Kingston n'ont pas de centre communautaire pour le moment. Nous avons le Centre Frontenac, mais qui ne peut pas offrir tous les services à la communauté francophone. Nous sommes obligés d'aller quémander ailleurs différents espaces pour pouvoir présenter des spectacles, pour pouvoir donner des services à la communauté. Nous croyons qu'en ayant un centre scolaire communautaire qui intègre l'aspect scolaire et l'aspect communautaire, il y aurait cette continuité et les enfants, les jeunes francophones n'auraient pas vraiment à se perdre dans l'immensité, les tendances. Ils seraient un peu contrôlés, plus ou moins, par nos valeurs et nos structures tout en se montrant ouverts aux différents aspects culturels de la société. Je pense que nous nous devons de leur donner un centre qui leur permettrait de s'épanouir, de réaliser des activités en français, une chose que nous n'avons pas présentement.


The Chair: I call next from he Club Optimiste Guy Marois.

Mr Marois: Good afternoon. My presentation will be done in two sections. The first is a personal view, and I will do it in English. The second section, which is the Optimist Club position, will be done in French.

First, in my name and in the name of the Optimist Club, I would like to thank you all for accepting me to come and talk to you.

For a few years now, as I am a native of Quebec, I have realized more and more that the population of Canada is dissatisfied with the federal system we have right now. I am happy to see that Quebec has decided to do something about it. We have to realize that they have problems with the federal system as Ontario has problems with the federal system, as other parts of Canada have problems. I lift my hat to Quebec for wanting to do something about it.

The advantage they have is that they started a while back. I am very happy to see that with this committee we are finally jumping in and working at it. I do not think Quebec really has the intention of breaking up Canada. I see it more as the intention of reorganizing Canada. As with a company that does a reorganization, it does not mean that once it is finished it changes its name. With a house, if you tear down a few walls and add an extension it does not mean the number on the house is going to change.

Therefore, I see it as very important that we work hard to keep Canada and also work hard on our needs here in Ontario. I see Canada as a government that will help each region of Canada. When I talk of "region," I mean the Maritimes, the provinces of the west, Quebec, the first nations and Ontario. Canada must help these people maximize their needs.

For Ontario, as I said before, I am very happy to see that we are finally sitting down and looking at what our needs are, where Ontario fits in all this. It is important for us not to point any fingers at anybody, but to look at ourselves and look at what need, what we expect from this Canada, so that when we sit down with the other provinces, instead of saying, "We don't want you to do this," we can say: "We want this from Canada. This is what we want."


En ce qui concerne le Club Optimiste de Kingston, son principal devoir dans les communautés est d'aider les jeunes, voir à leurs besoins. On a remarqué plusieurs choses depuis un certain temps : on a remarqué des problèmes de drogue ; nous avons remarqué des problèmes des jeunes qui lâchent l'école avant le temps ; nous remarquons de plus en plus de familles monoparentales ; nous remarquons de plus en plus de jeunes qui se sentent délaissés, qui sont perdus ; nous remarquons de plus en plus de jeunes qui mangent seulement un repas par jour. Food banks are now very notorious.

Il est important, parce qu'il y a plusieurs choses dont l'Ontario n'a pas le contrôle, que nous nous arrangions pour être capables de réagir. Nous devons nous équiper d'outils. La libre-échange entre le Canada et les États-Unis est fait ; ça peut être amélioré mais c'est fait. Nous devons nous adapter. Les jeunes, on a besoin d'eux. II est important que ni la drogue, ni les problèmes de nourriture, ni les problèmes de logement, ni les problèmes de scolarité deviennent des obstacles pour qu'on soit plus compétitif au niveau international.

De plus, l'Ontario n'est pas en position d'empêcher les États-Unis d'établir un libre-échange avec le Mexique. Nos besoins humains sont importants. Nous devons nous spécialiser, nous devons nous arranger pour que nos jeunes finissent l'école, soient instruits et soient équipés pour pouvoir affronter les besoins de l'Ontario au niveau international et à l'intérieur de leur propre province.

To conclude, from my position and the one of the Optimist Club, we see Canada going in the same direction or having the same needs as the European Community except for one thing. The European Community needs to give more and more responsibilities to a centralized government while we need to do the opposite. We need to give more and more tools to our different people and our different regions so they can satisfy their needs. Thank you.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you very much. I am familiar with the Optimist Club. The Optimist Club in Nepean is in my riding and I get to interact with these people quite often, and their efforts are very admirable.

You seem to have indicated, as we have heard from several presenters, that Ontario needs to take a leadership role and not just be in a reactive mode to what is going on around us. We learn a lot of what is going on around us through many media presentations in particular. You said we should make some regional representations or focus regionally on certain items. I wonder if you could tell us what items you think we could focus on or deal with regionally better than we are doing now centrally.

Mr Marois: I think it is important that we have a certain control on specifics. For example, when we talk of education, Ontario has needs in workmanship that other provinces do not have, and it is important that Ontario can act very fast and be able to make the changes it needs to adapt as fast as possible.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Is that skills training you are referring to?

Mr Marois: Skills training, that is one example. Another example could be aboriginal rights, or multiculturalism. It is just that every region has a specific need, and the different regions have to have this latitude to be able to adapt themselves. If you want specifics, I do not think I am in the position right now to give you specifics.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: What you have given is very helpful. Thank you.

Mr Marois: But I think what is really important is that we determine those needs and that we get the tools to be able to satisfy them.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Hopefully, forums like this will help us do that.

Mr Marois: I am very happy to see you here.

Ms Churley: Thank you. I think you have an interesting and somewhat different perspective on Quebec than we have heard throughout our travels. Most people I have heard compare Confederation and the country to the family and refer to Quebec as being the delinquent or at least troubled teenager who is going through growing pains and needs to be treated with either kindness or whatever. You seem to be saying, which I think is interesting, that Quebec is more grown up than the rest of us or is ahead of us in some ways and that perhaps it is the rest of us who need to do some growing up. I am wondering if that is, in a way, what you meant.

Mr Marois: When you look at the rhythm with which they are going right now, in certain aspects they are in advance of us. Fifteen years ago they had a political party that had a dream. Now they have two political parties that are coming up with solutions, with things they want to do in this country. To my last knowledge, we do not even have a political party that has a dream right now. I cannot wait to see a political party here in Ontario that will come up with some good ideas and a way of thinking that will send us in one direction.

The only thing I have is that you have to understand that Quebec is being an emotional province, and I would expect it to react faster than anybody else because of that. It is just them, they are emotional. What is dangerous is that I was not too scared 10 or 15 years ago, because, as I said, the political party had a dream but it did not have much to base it on. Now it is a logical plan coming through, and the majority of people out there believe in it and see it as a solution to their problems, while we do not even have a political party that has a dream.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: Could I call next a group of students from St Joseph's School: Jason Galhaugher, Matt Hubbard, Jesse Bilhett and Chris Tillaart? While they are coming up, could I also acknowledge the presence of a former MPP for Kingston and The Islands, Ken Keyes.

Interjection:He was here.

The Chair: Okay. Go ahead.

Mr Reil: Thank you. I am Robin Reil, the principal of St Joseph's School in Prescott. We are a grades 4-to-8 school with 175 students. What we have here are four grade 7 students in our enriched class. We really appreciate the accessibility of the Ontario government in terms of our being here speaking. We also want to acknowledge the great help we got first of all from our MPP Bob Runciman, who spent an hour with us. We went up to his office; no problem to do that. We also had an hour with our federal MP Jim Jordan, and we thank him for that. It is great to see access to government, as I have mentioned.


The basic assignment the students had was that we kind of said in terms of the approach, "Let's not deal with the way things are, let's talk about things the way they ought to be." Again, we thank you for doing that and I did mention to the students this may be their one chance in a lifetime to say, "Hi, mom and dad," but they have not quite decided if they are going to do that yet.

The Chair: Feel free to do that as well.

Mr Gallaugher: Hello. My name is Jason Gahlaugher and I am the first speaker of a group of four students and this report expresses our views on Ontario's role in the Confederation of Canada.

Our opinions are summarized in the form of our mission statement which we hope complies with the feelings of other Canadians on the subject that it deals with. Our hope is to let the committee know the opinions of young Canadians so that our voices may be recognized in the government of our province.

In hearing this report, remember that as young people we are often misinformed as to the facts of Canada's political situations. Please overlook any errors in this report that conflict with fact.


Mr Harnick: We don't get those admissions too often.

Mr Gallaugher: We were wondering if each person had one of our briefs.

The Chair: No, I think we only received a few copies, but we will make copies for the members of the committee.

Mr Galiaugher: Okay.

Ontario, as one of the most economically powerful provinces in the country, has a responsibility to lead Canada in trying to make the ideal a reality. We must try to build a Canada where all Canadians can feel a sense of national pride without resorting to becoming a hyphenated Canadian. Also, we must try to establish a country where bilingualism is respected and both French and English-speaking people have equal language rights.

A country where the aboriginal peoples have national security is necessary so that all citizens of Canada can feel a part of our nation. These people should have more rights that enable them to preserve their culture and heritage in a way that is less restricted than the present state. The aboriginal peoples are the first people of our country and are the most poorly treated. This must end in order to bring unity to Canada.

Another issue that Canada is confronted with is the possibility of the separation of Quebec. Ontario cannot sit back and watch our neighbour simply separate from our country. We must assist in helping Quebec find a happy medium with our government so that we can hold Canada together.

Ontario faces all these issues and more, so we must face them in a way that will meet the rights of all Canadians, so that we can strengthen our unsteady Confederation.

Mr Billett: Hello. My name is Jesse Billett and I will be speaking to you on the issues of bilingualism and aboriginal rights.

Ontario is going through difficult times in terms of conflicts over official bilingualism. The past dispute in Sault Ste Marie triggered other municipalities into making motions to switch to official unilingualism.

In our opinion, this action was quite unnecessary. What is the point in making a row over an issue that is irrelevant in a specific area? Other cities such as Kingston and Brockville decided to ignore the action taken by Sault Ste Marie since bilingualism does not apply in their areas. This makes perfect sense since francophones in Ontario will not live in areas where there are mostly English-speaking people, but rather they will live in French-speaking communities.

Ontario recognizes the bilingual nature of Canada. We also recognize that French-speaking people have the right to services in their own language where numbers warrant.

The francophone minority in Ontario does not rule out bilingualism at all. The public discussion paper released by Premier Rae states that there are 91 francophone newspapers and 19 French theatre companies. This is proof that the French minority in Ontario does not mean that it is in any way insignificant. This means that we must try to work with our French population to try and lessen the friction between French and English people.

One way to gain an advantage from Ontario's -- for all intents and purposes -- bilingualism is to educate both French- and English-speaking people so they can work together to make a better Ontario and a better Canada.

The French language is an important part of Canada. It is a part of our heritage and must be preserved. The bilingual aspect of our country is what makes it very unique throughout the world. Canada is the only country that is part of the British Commonwealth and the French la franeophonie. This makes our country special among other nations of the world.

To conclude this section of our report, we would like to say that we should not fight about our languages but work together to put them to their best possible use to build Canada. It would be nice if Canadians could say: "I speak English, je parle français, I am Canadian, je suis Canadien, and I'm proud."

We are aware that the situation with our native people is bad. Reserves are too small and the condition of the living facilities on these reserves is very poor. We have to listen to our native people's concerns and issues and open our ears to their complaints so we can make a change for the better with our native Canadian people.

This is also an area that we feel that most Canadians, ourselves included, need to be educated and made aware of and made aware of the role of the native peoples in Canada. They were here first and should be considered to have a prominent place with our founding fathers of Confederation.

Mr Hubbard: I am Matthew Hubbard and first I will be speaking to you on our Quebec separation issue.

Our neighbour to the east, Quebec, is demanding certain privileges or powers such as the right to control its own manpower, health, agriculture, communications, regional development, etc.

Ontario can act as a mediator much like the Soviet Union in the Gulf crisis and help Quebec obtain some of these reasonable benefits that it is asking for from Ottawa. Such demands include the right to control its own regional development and unemployment insurance.

We cannot risk losing such a part of Canada so distinct in culture and heritage due to the fact that Quebec has been taking a beating since 1759. We have to try to find a nonseparational solution to our problems with Quebec so that we can keep a unified Canada and preserve the unique cultural identity of Canada.

Now I will do our environment issue. In Ontario the environment is a very important issue as many people are becoming increasingly aware of the environment difficulties Canada is facing. The problem is that there are many misinformed conservationists. The pressure put out on fast food restaurants such as McDonald's to start using paper packaging: This will result in the cutting down of thousands of trees that will take years to replace. Fast food packaging is mainly made of styrofoam which is not biodegradable, but does no harm in the environment when it is placed in landfills.

Ontario must educate the general public so that zealous conservationists do not cause more harm than good to the environment.


Mr Tillaart: I am Chris Tillaart and I will be speaking on Ontario and the United States and making the closing statement.

We feel if Quebec separates from Canada we will have lost a distinct culture in our country and we will be more likely to be influenced by the Americans. Also the Canadian aboriginal people are a distinct culture and if they separate because of our constant violations of their rights as humans we will become susceptible to the American way of life and we do not want this.

We should attempt to establish a different culture from the United States. Canada's young people are influenced daily by US television. For instance, many children think that we have a President instead of a Prime Minister. Canada's metric system is ignored and replaced by imperial units in the home. Ontario can help to preserve our cultural identity by emphasizing our heritage and making a province that is distinctly Canadian.

Closing statement: That concludes our report to the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. After reading this report and hearing our presentation, please keep in mind that the writers are young and their opinions are influenced by the media and others around us. Our information is mainly based on research, but some is based on things that we heard on the radio, watched on television or read in newspapers. If any of the material in this report is faulty, it is because we are misinformed and form assumptions that are based on what we do know. Please overlook any such errors and try to derive our meaning from them.

We appreciate the chance to present this report to the committee since we also feel that it is important for the people of Canada to communicate with their government so that Canada will work for everybody.

On behalf of St Joseph's School and its students, we would like to thank the government for letting us speak our minds about this issue. Thank you.

The Chair: We have heard from a number of students in our travels across the province. You are the youngest group of students that we have heard from and we appreciate your coming and talking to us.

Mr Bisson: First of all, with regard to old people and young people alike, I do not think we have a monopoly when it comes to being unfactual. So you did not do any better or any worse than anybody else.

Interjection:I think they did a lot better.

Mr Bisson: I think you did a lot better in some cases, quite honestly. I just have a very simple question. You look at us as adults, as the so-called leaders of our society. What is your assessment as to where things are going and what are some of the things that you see that we need to be able to do in order to get past this impasse that we are in right now -- just a general assessment, nothing technical, just how you feel.

Mr Billett: Well, that depends on what issue you are dealing with.

Mr Bisson: We are talking specifically to what we are dealing with within this committee. We are talking about the future role that we should play with regard to the Constitution.

Mr Billett: I cannot hear a word you are saying here.

Mr Bisson: That is quite all right. Most people never do understand me. You are very perceptive, I must say. I will try it again. To be very specific, all I am saying, from where you are sitting in your own experience, looking at what is happening today in Canada with regard to the squabbling that you see French, English, Quebec, anti-Quebec, all of that stuff, what is your -- how do you feel about that and how do you think that we as adults are dealing with it?

Mr Billett: Well, in observing from a fly-on-the-wall point of view, we see that if we were to look at it as if we had never been here before -- I will quote a number of Australians I met once. They said they were confused about why we could not decide whether or not we wanted to be a country. We can see that Canada, I guess, is going through political turbulence and you might say that the leaders handling it are doing a fairly good job, but it needs to be speeded up and it needs to look at everything on a broader perspective and not just what is at hand right now, but what could be in the future.

Mr Bisson: Very profound.

The Chair: Mr Harnick? Is there a question? No? Okay. Thank you very much, again. Could I also note that we have been joined by Chris Stockwell from the Conservative caucus. Welcome, Mr Stockwell.


The Chair: The next speaker is Bruce Millar from the First Nations Technical Institute.

Mr Millar: I must admit that coming on after such a presentation is certainly not a good act to follow. I hope my presentation will live up at least partially to what they have done.

My name is Bruce Millar. I am the president of the First Nations Technical Institute, which is located on the Tyendinaga territory on the shores of the Bay of Quinte, just west of here. I have been asked on behalf of Chief Earl Hill of the Mohawks, Bay of Quinte council, to bring greetings and thanks for hearing a representative from his community, and also from Chairman Doug Maracle, the chairman of the board of directors of the First Nations Technical Institute.

Our organization is a post-secondary institute. We operate three wholly owned subsidiary companies that conduct commercial activities related to the learning activities of our parent company. Since the official start of operations in the summer of 1985, the institute has faced and continues to face many barriers. In the limited time available, I cannot give much more than a brief overview, but I want to focus as much as possible on issues relating to learning. Aboriginal people have missed the Industrial Revolution to a large extent and we must not let the aboriginal communities miss the technology revolution.

The first issue that I think needs to be dealt with expeditiously is the business of federal-provincial jurisdiction with respect to aboriginal people. I remember when we were starting the institute, we approached the then Minister of Colleges and Universities, the Honourable Bette Stephenson, and said that we wanted to start a unique training facility on the Tyendinaga reserve for aboriginal people in partnership with the Loyalist College in Belleville.

She thought that was, "A hell of an idea, great stuff, and let us know how it goes, but since aboriginal education is a federal responsibility, go and talk to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development." We went and talked to the Honourable John Munro, who thought it was, "A hell of an idea and let me know how it goes, but since post-secondary education is a provincial jurisdiction, go and talk to the Minister of Colleges and Universities."

This exclusionary use of the jurisdiction, or the counterjurisdiction, or overlapping jurisdiction, has caused a lot of trouble. But just about that time, to our rescue came the skills growth fund, an initiative by the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission to provide innovative solutions to target groups who were not being well served by the existing college and university system.

This initiative, I think, was funded in the neighbourhood of $390 million. I could be wrong with that, but there was quite a bit of money in it. In the guide to applicants it indicated that an aboriginal community wanting to start a training facility for its people, especially in areas of high concern or high national interest such as technology, would receive priority. Boy, we thought we were in like Flint.

Well, not so. Immediately the provinces said, "This is an unwarranted federal incursion into provincial jurisdiction." So the government of Canada stood firm and granted the provinces a veto over all projects. To make a long story short, after 24 months of lobbying and with the support, eventually, of both the minister of Indian affairs and the Minister of Colleges and Universities, our project was denied. Of the $53 million in the skills growth fund that went to Ontario, to the target groups, women got $200,000, handicapped people got $150,000, and aboriginal people did not get anything. So much for being a target group. There is a very cynical statement around Tyendinaga that says, "If we can find an aboriginal woman with a limp, we could probably get every grant in the book," but I am not so sure about that either.

The time has come for both levels of government to accept the challenge of the growing trends towards aboriginal-controlled infrastructure, including education, and use the overlapping jurisdictions as a funding authority to enable innovative programs to continue and to start. Provincial funding to reserve locations must be enabled. At present we still have not had a federal-provincial meeting with respect to on-reserve post-secondary or secondary institutions.

Aboriginal control of aboriginal education and learning systems remains an achievable goal. You do not have to cause duplication of services or double funding. If you look in the book on the sidebar, you see the terrible numbers that we are all overly familiar with now about education of aboriginal people, about the poor social and health care that other speakers today have alluded to.


But in Canada we have another problem that is strictly provincial and federal and again deals with legislation. We have developed a complex, segmented, complicated and frustrating system for defining learning. We have basic adult education. We have literacy. We have skills development. We have training. We have post-secondary, elementary-secondary and a few others that are not going to be mentioned here. All are learning activities, but are administered through a multitude of government authorities. In aboriginal country, this complicates further the jurisdictional and logistics nightmare that must be overcome to meet the needs of the learner.

The funding of results -- that is, success -- is impeded and the funding of failure perpetuated. The typical client we get -- we have a social services program for welfare administrators -- is a 45-year-old Cree lady who comes to us with English as a second language, who has been a welfare administrator for 15 years. She needs basic adult education, English language literacy; she needs to be involved in some high school-level programs and she is enrolled in a post-secondary diploma program.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services funds her travel. Indian Affairs, education pays her tuition. Indian Affairs, social development pays some of the cost of the course. Canada Employment and Immigration Commission buys some of the seats, and we have seven separate funding agencies, all with different reporting methods and different funding criteria. It becomes very difficult.

The federal and provincial agreement with respect to the delivery of social services is a good example. What happened was that the province has accepted the responsibility of delivering what is normally a provincial jurisdiction, social services, and then it is billed back through an agreement with the federal government. But at the time it was done, the human resources required to operate the welfare administration delivery system in small, isolated communities was largely omitted; as a result, many years later we are just now addressing the learning needs of those people who have been welfare administrators in a very difficult environment.

If further programs, such as airports, policing and education, are also to be involved at a federal and provincial co-operative level, this omission must not be overlooked again. Some aboriginal communities are distrustful of further and increased provincial involvement, not because there is not a need for involvement and not because the history of the provincial involvement has been poor. In fact, I would like to give a pat on the back to the native community branch and the ministries of Citizenship and Culture and Communications, which have been far more forthcoming with assistance to communities than a lot of their federal counterparts. But aboriginal communities and aboriginal people sometimes feel that increased provincial involvement will enable the federal government to withdraw from its responsibilities.

Intergovernmental co-operation is presently very poor and interdepartmental co-operation is even poorer. I know it has nothing to do with your provincial organization, but at the federal level the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, the Minister of Industry, Science and Technology and the Minister of Employment and Immigration are all supposed to be involved in something called CAEDS, the Canadian aboriginal economic development strategy. CAEDS has been an unmitigated failure and continues to be so because the excuse is being used that the other guy pays for it.

I think it is time for partnerships. An aboriginal employment and training working group put together to assist the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission -- which left, surprisingly, aboriginal people out of the labour force development strategy even though they have the highest unemployment rates in Canada -- devised five working principles, and I thought some of them were applicable here.

Local control: Aboriginal communities, including urban aboriginal communities, require local control of the decision-making processes that affect them. Learning services and local control of learning services is high.

One of the things I have found in talking to public servants and to members of Parliament and MPPs is that aboriginal people tend to be treated as: What do the Indians want? We found in our programs that local control is a way around this, because what is culturally sensitive to an Iroquois person may be offensive to a Cree, and what is culturally sensitive to a Cree may offend an Ojibway person, and certainly is very different than what Haida or a Micmac person would want. But if you deal with local geographic areas you have an opportunity to make learning and economic development sensitive to the individual area. The only way to deal with that is to listen and provide local control.

The second thing is delivery method. It is critical that learning programs and services be increasingly managed, operated and conducted through aboriginal controlled institutions and infrastructure. Obviously that is a selfserving statement, as I am from an aboriginal controlled institution -- and I hope there is a Brink's truck outside; small, unmarked bills, please.

What I would like to point out here is that the Ontario government traditionally has addressed aboriginal needs in sensitizing the existing college and university system to cultural aspects and the kind of learning needs of the aboriginal people. I think that is good work and it must continue, but it is only part of the answer. Having a place that is run and controlled and organized and sensitized and directly responsible to the client group is part of the answer as well, and we hope that increased funding and increased consideration for aboriginal controlled organizations will be given by the provincial and federal governments.

The funding mechanism: It is important that funding mechanisms be developed which recognize the planning, operational and capital needs of aboriginal learning institutions. With the community college system in Ontario, the buildings were built and equipped initially -- initial startup grants were provided to the board of directors. In aboriginal country, there is no capital structure.

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte -- through Chief Hill, who says he is too stupid to quit, but I would not accept that; I think he is a very persevering man and has great vision -- have struggled on using winter works capital grants. Our first buildings were six portable classrooms dragged from Nicholson Catholic College, put up on a full basement and completely renovated at a cost of less than $15 a square foot to provide us with our initial home. But we have found that an unbelievable difficulty in meeting the specific criteria of contribution agreements; a lack of flexibility and a lack of understanding of local needs has hampered us. We know that when the transfer payments come from the federal government to the province for education all noses are counted, including aboriginal, so the position that the provincial government has little or no responsibility for aboriginal post-secondary education on reserve is really quite a difficult one to defend.

The Chair: Mr Millar, if you would sum up, please.

Mr Millar: Okay. I have one more. Access to learning and supportable results: Learning services to aboriginal clientele must provide access, supportive learning environments and delivery methods that produce supportable results. What I am saying here is that exclusionary criteria for people who want to participate in learning, such as aboriginal people, must be removed as quickly as possible. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you. We are going to have to move on to the next presenter. Thank you, sir.


The Chair: The next organization we are going to hear from is l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario des Mille-Îles. We do not have a name of a person.

M. Bordeleau : Je me présente : Claude Bordeleau, président de l'ACFO Mille-Îles, l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario. J'aimerais remercier le président du comité ainsi que ses membres de nous avoir accordé le privilège de nous présenter ici aujourd'hui et de vous adresser la parole. Je pense qu'il est intéressant de noter que, si on n'était pas rendu au point où on en est maintenant, on n'aurait peut-être pas le privilège de s'adresser en français comme on peut le faire. On est quand même reconnaissant des efforts que le comité a déployés pour assurer que partout en région, les gens puissent s'exprimer selon leur désir dans leur langue maternelle.

J'en profiterai aujourd'hui pour vous faire part du point de vue global de l'ACFO comme tel, et plus particulièrement de notre vécu quotidien dans cette région de l'est ontarien. Je vais essayer de garder mes remarques brèves, étant donné que nous sommes un peu en retard sur l'horaire et que nous devons continuer avec les présentations. J'aimerais quand même vous situer géographiquement sur ce que représente l'ACFO Mille-Îles.

Cette région s'étend du village de Cardinal à son extrémité est jusqu'à Trenton à l'ouest, sur une distance de plus de 200 kilomètres le long de l'autoroute, nommément l'autoroute Macdonald-Cartier. Cette région comprend cinq comtés, les comtés de Leeds-Grenville, Frontenac, Hastings, Prince Edward et aussi Lennox et Addington. C'est un vaste territoire qui recouvre plus de 17 000 kilomètres carrés. Un point de comparaison que j'aime utiliser est que ça représente approximativement le territoire actuel du Koweit, mais un cinquième seulement de sa population. Par ailleurs, si on utilise les données du recensement de 1986 et les projections démographiques telles que données par le ministère du Trésor et de l'Économie de l'Ontario, on constate qu'il y a près de 10 000 francophones dans la région de l'ACFO Mille-Îles dont 4 000 habitent la région immédiate de Kingston.


C'est une région qui est idéalement située à égale distance entre Ottawa, Montréal et Toronto. C'est d'ailleurs un peu cette situation géographique qui avait été attrayante il y a plus de 300 ans lorsque le comté de Frontenac était venu créer le premier fort, Cataracoui, en ces lieux mêmes en 1673.

J'aimerais maintenant que vous vous déplaciez quelque peu dans le temps et dans l'espace pour nous situer à Toronto, plus précisément au parc de la Reine, à l'ouverture de la première session de la 35e législature de l'Ontario. Certains d'entre vous, j'imagine que la plupart d'entre vous, étaient là. Le nouveau gouvernement qui dirige cette législature avait alors indiqué par le biais de son discours du trône sa ferme intention d'être, et je cite, à l'écoute de la population et de ne ménager « aucun effort pour répondre à ses besoins ». Selon moi, il est important de voir plus loin que ses propres paroles dans le texte. On peut voir que plus loin dans le discours, on parle du rôle de l'Ontario et comment il peut être important dans le Canada renouvelé. Sa contribution au débat national passe d'abord par une redéfinition de ce que l'Ontario entend être pour ses propres citoyens. On peut lire dans le texte, et je cite de nouveau, que l'Ontario doit se donner « un idéal selon lequel tous peuvent vivre avec dignité ... bâtir une société où tous les membres auront véritablement accès à l'éducation ... et seront traités de façon équitable. »

Il faut bien noter que le texte ne dit pas que tu auras droit à une éducation de qualité à condition d'être anglophone ; cela ne dit pas non plus qu'on reconnaît le principe de justice pourvu que tu résides à Toronto ou à Ottawa. On y parle en fait de tous les membres, peu importe où ils se trouvent. Las francophones de cette région font partie de cette société et entendent bien y contribuer activement. Ils ont besoin cependant que l'on reconnaisse leurs besoins spéciaux afin qu'ils puissent eux-mêmes développer les outils nécessaires à leur épanouissement.

Las trois communautés nationales qui sont les autochtones, les francophones et les anglophones ont droit à une éducation dans leur langue maternelle respective du début jusqu'à la fin. Si l'on se reporte à quelques années dans le temps, en 1984 la province de l'Ontario avait reconnu le droit à l'éducation à tous les citoyens, peu importe leur nombre. En pratique, cependant, cela se traduit à une offre de classes de langue française différente selon les régions. Présentement il y a un groupe de parents dans la région de Brockville qui tente d'implanter des classes de langue française, et le seul choix qu'on leur offre est de suivre ces cours soit à Cornwall soit à Ottawa, ce qui nécessite un déplacement de plus d'une heure et demie en autobus. Un peu plus tôt il y avait également eu un autre conseil scolaire qui offrait même de transporter ses élèves jusqu'à une distance de 400 kilomètres afin de leur offrir un service de langue française.

Sur un autre plan, ici, même dans notre localité, nous avons les résidents de la base militaire de Kingston qui n'ont pas encore eu de confirmation si, oui ou non, ils auront le droit de vote aux prochaines élections municipales qui se tiendront en novembre prochain, et pourtant on est rendu en mars. On demande également à ce qu'il y ait des gestions qui se feront par les francophones dans les régions de Belleville et Trenton afin qu'eux-mêmes puissent avoir le droit de décider à quel type d'éducation ils ont droit. On se doit également de reconnaître une spécificité au niveau des garderies francophones, puisque maintenant les monnaies qui sont attribuées à ce niveau ne font aucunement mention de l'état de la langue maternelle. On se trouve pénalisé à ce niveau.

Au niveau d'éducation, globalement les subventions devraient être attribuées non pas par le nombre d'étudiants mais en fonction des programmes à offrir, puisque ce n'est qu'à ce prix que l'on pourra obtenir un financement équitable.

Dans le discours du trône on mentionnait également qu'il fallait travailler en étroite collaboration avec la communauté francophone afin de préserver ses droits. C'est un objectif noble mais qui ne tient pas compte de toute la réalité. Il faut dépasser cette préservation des droits ; il faut en fait en avoir une offre active. Las droits linguistiques, puisqu'il faut en parler, devraient être reconnus par la province. C'est un symbole nécessaire auquel on se réfère souvent et qui permettrait à l'Ontario d'avoir une image de marque au niveau national ainsi qu'au niveau international. On se doit d'adopter une attitude généreuse qui éviterait les revendications constantes et les litiges coûteux en différents endroits de la province. Ce n'est pas à coups de procès qu'on doit avancer dans la législation mais bien par une offre généreuse.

On se doit également d'adopter une attitude qui soit indépendante de ce qui se passe dans la province voisine.

Cela nécessite d'être sensible à notre réalité francophone. Pour donner quelques exemples de ceci, il ne suffirait pas de traduire le texte anglais de toute l'histoire de l'Ontario pour réussir à voir la réalité francophone de son histoire et de sa contribution francophone.

En terminant, j'aimerais apporter quelques recommandations spécifiques et d'ordre général. On parle souvent en Ontario de régions désignées, mais lorsqu'on parle de régions désignées, cela veut nécessairement dire qu'on parle de régions non désignées et le nombre de francophones qui se retrouvent dans ces régions, dont Kingston, se chiffre à plus de 90 000. Cela crée des distinctions inutiles qui en fait créent des citoyens de deuxième classe dans ces endroits.

En deuxième lieu, la chaîne française de TVOntario est présentement accessible uniquement à environ deux tiers de sa population, ce qui laisse plus du tiers, dont environ 180 000 francophones, avec aucun moyen d'accès à la télévision éducative en Ontario. Il serait absolument crucial et indispensable que l'Ontario débourse dès maintenant l'argent nécessaire pour assurer qu'il y a des retransmetteurs dans toutes les régions afin que toute une génération de francophones puisse être desservie, et non pas être complètement oubliée pendant qu'elle sera à l'école.

La participation de l'Ontario au niveau des programmes de langue officielle doit se faire et doit être entendue au niveau fédéral. Des ententes spécifiques devront être créées entre ha province et le gouvernement fédéral afin que des fonds spéciaux soient attribués pour la création de centres scolaires communautaires. À ce niveau l'Ontario, par le biais de son ministère de l'Éducation, a un rôle important à jouer puisque ce n'est que par ce ministère que l'on pourra obtenir ces fonds, et présentement en province il y a déjà plusieurs centres scolaires communautaires qui sont à l'étude. Le groupe de Kingston a déj à déposé un premier rapport qui sera distribué aux différents ministères, et on espère qu'avec ceci nous pourrons avoir accès à une gamme complète de services et d'éducation en langue française. Mais cela passe au départ par une demande que la province doit faire au niveau fédéral.

La constitution est un sujet qui tient le débat présentement. On se demande quel est le rôle que l'Ontario peut y apporter. Je pense qu'une des contributions importantes qu'on pourrait y faire serait dans la définition d'une formule d'amendements qui aiderait à renouveler les différents aspects de cette constitution.

J'aimerais terminer par un extrait de discours qui a été présenté il y a de cela plus de 80 années par le premier président de l'ACFO qui est, je crois, encore de mise aujourd'hui :

« Il nous semble également évident que [l'idéal de justice] ne sera pas atteint, en Ontario, aussi longtemps que les [francophones] n'y auront pas à leur disposition l'usage complet du moyen le plus efficace et le plus propre à leur formation intellectuelle, morale et sociale, qui est ... celui de la langue maternelle.

« La langue française, comme les traditions françaises, font partie de l'héritage national du Canada. Je suis convaincu que la majorité de nos compatriotes de langue anglaise ne désire pas l'oubli ou la méconnaissance de ces glorieuses traditions, ni la disparition de notre langue maternelle. Et si les [francophones] comprennent ... qu'il leur] incombe de continuer à faire un élan historique pour maintenir la langue française, n'ont-ils pas raison d'espérer et de croire que leurs concitoyens de langue anglaise leur aideront à conserver une si belle partie de l'héritage national ? »

Ces paroles sont tirées du texte qui a été prononcé le 19 janvier 1910 à l'occasion de la première réunion de l'Association canadienne-française d'éducation de l'Ontario, comme on l'appelait à l'époque, prononcé par le sénateur Napoléon Antoine Belcourt.

Je tenais à réutiliser ces mêmes paroles pour démontrer encore une fois que ce dont on discute aujourd'hui est en fait une répétition souvent de ce qui s'est produit, et qu'il est temps que l'on passe aux actions afin de non simplement être d'accord avec les principes, mais également de trouver les moyens nécessaires pour fournir la structure et tout ce qui est bon pour adopter en Ontario français les lois et la législation pour respecter les droits acquis en francophonie. Je vous remercie.



The Chair: Could I call next the mayor of Kingston, Mayor Helen Cooper.

Mrs Cooper: Hello. Good evening, everyone. I think it is evening by now and I welcome you to Kingston city hall. I hope you enjoy the experience of listening to us in the surroundings in which you sit. I could not help but recall while I was listening as well that almost 150 years ago, in fact in June 1841, the Confederation of Upper Canada and Lower Canada was officially launched on the steps of what is now the old front entrance of the Kingston General Hospital. So the issues of which you are learning today are very much a part of the history of this community, and this city hall in which you sit -- the construction was started on this building in that very same year.

Approximately one year ago the council of the city of Kingston consciously chose to counteract the force of unilingualism which was touching many of our neighbouring municipalities. One entire council meeting was devoted to delegations pleading that Kingston not declare itself unilingual. There were indeed eloquent speakers then, as I am sure there are today, stressing the importance of unity and of linguistic and cultural understanding.

Now, I have not prepared at great length and in depth for this. I know many of you have come from the realm of municipal politics yourself. You know that it is a life of little preparation time, but I originally had the word "tolerance" in there and I scratched it out and wrote the word "understanding." I find the word "tolerance" really quite sounding like we are all martyrs, that we somehow have to put up with something with a kind of suffering smile on our faces while we do it, so I consciously try to avoid the use of that word.

I will stress, however, before we give too many gold stars to the city of Kingston that this motion was that we not support unilingualism. It was not a motion saying we would support bilingualism, although it was translated as that in several reports by the media, including the CBC. There is quite a difference.

Certainly this city was not prepared to support bilingualism because we well recognize that there would be certain very substantive commitments with that which would have financial obligations which we simply were not prepared to meet. Although municipalities, as I am sure you are all aware, are extremely wary of their current financial relationships with the province of Ontario and although the issue of economics was launched as a reason for the wave of unilingualism, I would argue that it was something far more visceral and that the argument of economics came later.

I cannot speak for the people of my community, and I trust there are spokespeople here today who will be able to. So much of this, I think, is very, very personal.

My mother's family -- I have ancestors who settled in Quebec City in the late 1700s from Scotland and they lived and worked in the Quebec City area for many, many generations. I have still many relatives in that area. They retain anglophone and Scottish and English traditions. They are all bilingual and they to a certain extent have assimilated and they have no desire to leave Quebec. However, I have met in this community many people of similar origins who have consciously chosen to leave the province and who have a very different feeling towards Quebec than I personally have, so I cannot possibly speak for them because I do not understand the well from which this emotion springs. But I think it is extremely serious and it is extremely worrying, because I think it is terribly destructive for all of us.

What happened, which is a good thing, I think, out of the unilingual debates last year was the development of the forum of eastern Ontario mayors, reeves and wardens. This had been tried to be started once before and never got going, but this problem last year provided a sufficient incentive to be able to get that going and we are now meeting every few months. Of course, as has been explained to you already by the population characteristics of eastern Ontario, we are meeting as anglophone and francophone together and we do have bilingual agendas as well and I trust that out of that there is an ability for people to come and talk to each other eyeball to eyeball over some of these issues in a way that some of us at the local government level in Ontario have never done before.

The other initiative that I would briefly like to mention is the fact that in the last year we have started in Kingston the mayor's committee on race, ethnic and aboriginal relations. It has not been going very long, but there is a very conscious desire here to ensure that this is not just an exercise in window dressing. We have been very fortunate in being able to attract people who have never had anything to do with city hall or any of its committees before and who, when they first started, expressed those very healthy feelings of resentment towards local government, which again I am sure you have heard expressed towards provincial governments as well.

Queen's University is an extremely important resource in this exercise. Not only is there, of course, an intellectual debate at the university, but there is a range of ages there from young to old who are interested in these topics. In fact, the only issue in my experience of kicking around here for the last 12 years that Queen's University students have really been very concerned about and appear in delegation about is the issue of the unilingualism debate. But also, our committee on race, ethnic and aboriginal relations has some tremendous resources as a result of having that university here.

I would like to talk to you just very briefly about a totally different tack that I would like to take. Again, this is just a very personal comment, personal observation, and it springs not only from my involvement in local government here in Kingston for the last few years but also from my deep involvement with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario over a period of several years. I think there is a problem in Ontario. I think we can talk about relations between Quebec and other provinces in Canada, especially the province of Ontario, but I think we have to talk about relations within Ontario.

I would suggest to you, as you are sitting at Queen's Park, that there is a growing feeling that Ontario, what is Ontario, is becoming rapidly synonymous with the greater Toronto area. I would suggest to you that citizens outside of the greater Toronto area are feeling an increasing alienation towards Queen's Park and I would suggest that they are also feeling an increasing resentment that most other Canadians regard Toronto and Ontario as synonymous and what comes out of Toronto speaks for all of Ontario.


There is a big, big problem, because the greater Toronto area has certain very definitive characteristics that could well be recognized as serious problems with which you have to deal, but they are not the same characteristics that are shared by the rest of the province. I am speaking about population characteristics. I am speaking about disparities in wealth, which are very different. There are certainly problems here, I do not mean to say there are not, but they are different, and I am also speaking about the fact that all national media focus occurs out of Toronto.

Is this alienation inevitable? Should there be on your part as the legislators at Queen's Park a much more conscious attempt towards decentralization and devolution of certain decision-making in this province? Should there be certain decisions made about transportation systems? Should there be certain decisions made about actual, physical location of government buildings? I do not know. I am just throwing out a few very obvious ideas, but I am sure it is a complex problem.

In all of this, I suggest that it is feasible over the next few years that Ontarians will be asking qualitatively for some of those things from Queen's Park which Quebeckers are now seeking from Ottawa. I will finish at that. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much. There was, I think, at least one question. Mr Offer.

Mr Offer: Thank you very much, Your Worship, and thank you for your presentation.

As we have gone through the province, on more than one occasion people have come before the committee and talked to us in terms of the municipal government being closest to them, and they hold that very dear to them. We have also heard presentations from associations, from professors, from the legal profession, from people, as we have seen today, students, just coming and talking about the way they feel the role of the province should be, what they feel their vision is of this country.

I am wondering if you feel there is a role for the municipalities to share their thoughts in a leadership type of role, either municipally, on an individual basis, or through the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, to say, "This is an issue which can very directly impact on the operation of municipalities." Those thoughts and comments of municipalities are crucially important in this discussion and whether you feel there is a role -- I personally do feel this -- but whether this is a matter which can be taken up by AMO or by individual municipalities.

Mrs Cooper: We would love to. I was specifically trying not to refer to municipal governments. I was referring to individuals as I sensed just from the world I live in and the comments I hear. The feelings of alienation that I am attempting just to gloss over here are certainly felt by municipal governments, of that there is no doubt, but I guess I did not want to appear too self-serving here. I think one has to be very careful about this discussion about grass-roots politics, the level closest to the people and so on. This is all very true, of course. Again, many of you who have had a career in local government previous to entering provincial politics know that you live on the street and you are living 24 hours a day with your electorate.

I had a couple of interesting experiences in terms of consultation exercises, and the same public I think will tell you that it views local government as appropriate for certain functions but not for others. In other words, would we please get on with filling the potholes, or preferably digging up the whole road and relaying it, and not worry about getting involved in a lot of the other issues that apparently we are getting involved in, whether we asked for it or not. So therefore I think that there desperately needs to be in this exercise a rationalization of responsibilities at different levels of government.

I will say from the local level as well that one of the biggest problems, of course, is that local government, AMO in particular, is largely regarded as a hobby organization, and that is frustrating because local government is not a special interest group. I think this is a mindset that we all have to get over, particularly as we wrestle with this terrible problem about who is financially and administratively responsible for a huge variety of services. So there is still a feeling among municipal politicians that somehow they are being told to get on with a lot of things without having been consulted first about the appropriateness of whether they should even be involved in the exercise in the first place.

Between municipal government in Ontario and provincial government in Ontario there are big problems, but again, as I said, I was trying not to be too self-serving as a municipal politician in this exercise and point out to you that I think there is also a perception -- there certainly is in this community -- that somehow whatever rules apply to serve the problems of the greater Toronto area -- that could be everything from provision of affordable rental housing to waste management -- somehow the rules are different in Toronto from the rest of the province and somehow there is an advantage to being in Toronto because there is an understanding of Toronto problems in a way there is not an understanding of anybody else's problems, and it seems to us, in all deference to our local members of provincial Parliament who are sitting here, that somehow they get scooped up into this because they end up in Toronto dealing with those who are able to lobby in Toronto.

Mr Offer: Thank you.

The Chair: Gary Wilson, very briefly, please.

Mr G. Wilson: I was hoping that my colleagues here could have responded to that, Mayor Cooper, by saying that this is the first time they have heard that particular concern. Anyway, I just have a short question. I want to salute you for the work you have done in setting up those two committees you mentioned. I was wondering whether you feel there has been a lessening of tension or a decline in the emotion that the language issue was dealt with in the recent past.

Mrs Cooper: As you are well aware, the level of tension in this community last year at this time was extremely high, and it is not like that now in terms of, you know, voluntary expressions that I would hear as mayor in the way that I heard a year ago. But I think it would be naïve of us all to assume that anything has changed. I think we have a very split community. As I said, I think there are very visceral, deep reasons for this that I do not understand, so I do not propose at any point to come and sit here before you and try to tell you what the solution to this problem is, because I do not understand the problem in the first place.

As I tried to explain, my personal experience is so vastly different in this regard that my feelings towards particularly the province of Quebec are very strong feelings that are very different from those which have been expressed to me by some people in this community. I will point out too that as a child growing up in Kingston, my mother tried desperately to get me to learn French, but I was not sufficiently motivated. In that regard, as in all other things, I should have listened to my mother and I did not.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Mrs Cooper: Okay. Thank you very much.


The Chair: Could I invite next, from Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute, a group of students and Bob Williams, teacher. I will just indicate while they are setting up for those people who may be following our meeting over the parliamentary network in the Kingston area, we will be late in beginning the evening session. If people are planning to come to that, we probably will not get that started until at least 7:15, perhaps even closer to 7:30. Go ahead.

Ms Boland: My name is Andrea.

Ms Molson: My name is Ann.

Ms Brown: I am Sarah.

Mr Marans: I am Josh.

Ms Boland: Okay. We do not really have any sort of formal speech prepared, or formal points, because you guys have had a rough day.

Ms Molson: We can tell.

Mr Harnick: You are right. Does it look that obvious?

Ms Boland: Yes, it is quite -- yes. We just sort of wanted to have, you know, an informal -- like, we are all sort of going to just improvise on each other's points --

Ms Brown: Yes, just talk.

Ms Boland: -- and we would really like it if at any point you guys could just butt in and say what you have to say.

Ms Brown: Yes, or even just ask for clarification, or any questions.

The Chair: We will allow that, but after you are finished, okay?

Ms Boland: Oh, really? That is too bad.

The Chair: It is easy enough to try to control them with the rules that we use.

Mr Harnick: You're so conservative, Tony. You usually don't butt in.

Ms Brown: Yes. Come on. No, seriously. If you have something to say, it would just enhance the discussion if we would have an open -- instead of us lecturing you.

The Chair: We will allow some flexibility in that. You go ahead with your presentation.

Ms Boland: All right. I guess to start, we are not really representing our school, KCVI. We are representing ourselves. So these are all our views, but they are also views shared by many people our age.

I guess one of our main points and what we found as a bit of an obstacle in coming here and talking about issues concerning Ontario was that in general, as youth, we feel disconnected and alienated and distant from the government or the government processes. We feel really alienated and it is really hard, because of this distance, for us to form an opinion about things like the GST and Meech Lake and Quebec separating. It is really hard because we do not really feel that we can relate with government policies and the way the government goes about doing things, you know?

Ms Molson: I think a lot of people just really feel that the government, in the way things are decided in this country, is just going to take its course really regardless of what we feel as individuals.

Ms Brown: We do not feel that we can make any difference in any decision regarding anything. Even if we write, we go to Parliament Hill and lobby or whatever, we do not feel that we can make a difference, because it ultimately is in your hands.

Ms Boland: Yes. This sort of really I guess reflects a lack of trust and a lack of ability for us to relate to you people. I mean, even the way --

Ms Molson: Even the way this is set up.

Ms Boland: The way this is set up, it is really hard for us to relate to you one on one. Maybe as sort of a bit of a point as youth we could give you is that maybe the government should have a more humanistic aspect to it, you know, have more of a one-on-one, because it is really hard. Even just if you look at this room now, it is really hard to relate to you people and it makes us feel a little bit intimidated by you.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Have you gone to your MPP's office, to Mr Wilson's office?

Ms Boland: Well, I think we forgot about the municipal level, but I guess we are also talking about the federal level. You have a good point. At the municipal level, I guess we could have more -- but even then it is difficult for you.

Mr Bisson: How much of that is perception and how much is reality in that attitude?

Ms Brown: I think a lot of it is perception, because what we see on the TV I guess basically the TV, like media, what media present to us --

Ms Molson: But I think the really sad thing about what we are talking about is it really leads to a lot of young people not even caring. I mean, the fact of whether we have control or not really aside, I think a lot of people -- I do not have that clear an understanding of what the Meech Lake accord is all about, and really because I have not, I feel like it has no bearing on me. I realize that is wrong, but I think --


Mr Harnick: What motivated you to come here today?

Ms Brown: What motivated me in particular -- I cannot speak for the others -- was that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will never have the opportunity to speak to you guys again. Yes, we do have a few points, a few things that we would like to talk about. You know, we cannot speak to you in formal discussion manners, because it is just not us. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am grateful that I can come here and I also appreciate the fact that you guys are listening, you know. So we are going to say what we are able to say.

Mr Offer: But this is not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. On this issue today it is, but there can be an issue that drives you tomorrow, and there is no barrier that says that you cannot do it tomorrow.

Ms Brown: But within our age group there is a sort of sense of apathy regarding the government. We do not care what you do, because you are going to do it anyway. That is the feeling that we have.

Mr Offer: What do we do to get rid of that barrier? What do you think we should do to reduce that?

Ms Molson: Well, I think stuff like this helps. Like, I think this is a good start.

Ms Boland: This is good and makes it more humanistic.

Mr Harnick: What about the idea, though, when you get to be voting age, you have the opportunity then, if you do not like what we are doing, to vote for somebody else and to work for somebody else and find somebody else to be your candidate who is going to do the things that you think should be done?

Mr Marans: But the thing is, though --

Mr Offer: You would have to bring that point up.

Mr Harnick: You feel guilty, don't you?

Mr Marans: The thing is, though, the people we vote for eventually have to vote by the party line for the most part, don't you? We are not suggesting here that we want a direct democracy, but we do not feel that that is representative. We think that some major decisions, or at least I do, should be left to us.

Mr Bisson: On the question of perception, what happens is that many people do not realize that everybody who is sitting here within our Legislature of Ontario is the same as you. We got involved in politics because we are concerned as well as you are. What I am wondering is how much of that is perception. The attitude in regard to -- not to say that everything that politicians do is right because you cannot do everything to please everybody.

Ms Brown: We are not saying that everything you do is wrong either.

Mr Bisson: But the thing is that you as individuals have control because the process is that you can get involved, and that is how we came here.

Ms Boland: As we were talking earlier, one of our points was that we do not really feel that we should have to join a major political party in order to feel that our voice is heard. Why is it that you have to be totally involved with the government in order to be heard?

Mr Beer: You don't.

Ms Boland: You don't? Well, I personally --

The Chair: Let me ask Mr Malkowski to jump in because he has been patiently trying to play it by the rules.

Mr Malkowski: Can you tell me what you think of Canadian unity and how you think the youth in Canada can get involved and what you want to seek for Canada?

Ms Boland: Okay, well personally, about Quebec:

From what I can interpret from the news, they are economically strong enough; they are independent; they have got enough natural resources; they are a strong province and they are strong enough to survive as independent from Canada. But I keep wishing, just because you are strong enough to separate from Canada, why do you have to? I have lived half my life in Quebec. I love that place. That place has made me part of who I am. Although I am just as happy living in Ontario, I do not want them to separate.

Ms Molson: Because it enriches our country. What makes Quebec special is beneficial to everyone in Canada.

Mr Martins: If Quebec separates, it is giving up on the problem. It is not a solution, it is a step backwards.

Mr Boland: Like, why should they separate? Just because they are strong enough does not mean that that is a reason to separate. In my view, part of what makes Canada is the fact that we have Quebec. I mean, it is so unique throughout the world that we have this Frenchspeaking province.

Mr Malkowski: Just to add to that, maybe Ontario and Quebec should start having more exchange programs within the high schools. If that was implemented, do you think that it may help in understanding the political process and the whole situation with Quebec?

Ms Molson: I think that would definitely be beneficial because if more people had some kind of contact with Quebec and their culture, then they would see the benefits. They would realize that it enriches Ontario and the rest of Canada.

Ms Churley: I heard you talk about how to get your voices heard and I am just wondering what you think about minorities and the fact that a lot of people are saying, "We want referenda and we want things done by majority rule." How do we hear everybody's voices then? How do we, as politicians, play fair, because we cannot please everybody and we have to protect minorities. What are your views on that?

Mr Martins: We recognize that very often politicians are placed in the position where the best thing for us is not necessarily the thing that is going to be popular, so it makes it difficult to make good decisions. We would not want to see referenda on a constant basis. We do feel, though, that you need to have referenda now and again. Major decisions, and I think it is obvious what they are when they occur, need to have a referendum. There is no point in having you people if we are going to have referenda every day obviously, so we have to place our trust in you to an extent. But you also have to turn to us when you are not sure of the answers, not sure how we feel.

Ms Boland: Also, you know, if Quebec did separate, then other minorities -- I am not too sure exactly, you know, what minorities-but I am sure they would all be saying: "We want recognition. We want special status. We want to be recognized by Canada." You cannot please everybody, I am well aware of that, but when the situation is to a point where it is infringing on the rights as a sort of culture within Canada, then I think something should be done. I do not know what can be done. I do not know what can be done, but if the laws here in Canada are infringing on rights to any minority, then I think they should be changed. Whatever steps it takes to do that, then I think they should be taken.


Mr G. Wilson: I just want to ask whether you ever have any school issues that force you into the role of politician. For instance, are any of you on the school --

Ms Brown: I am on the school government.

Mr Bisson: Aha, a politician.

Mr G. Wilson: Exactly. I mean politics occur at all levels. Going back to Mayor Cooper's statement about the understanding, understanding comes from being involved in issues, of course, and it can be at several different levels. I think even what the Quebecois are going through can be felt or empathized with through activities that you are involved in, the stresses and strains that arise in those things. So at least you are on the school council. Are none of the others of you --

Mr Martins: I was on it earlier this year.

Ms Boland: I have been in clubs at schools in the past. I mean, I know you cannot please everybody, and no matter where you go, you are going to see little subforms of governments and people. There comes a point where you have to make a decision and you are not going to be able to please everybody, but it just seems to me that there are so many things that we could do to improve Canada, and from what I see, we are not really doing them.

Ms Brown: I think perhaps maybe if the public, the common person saw that the government actually was trying -- and maybe they are but we do not see that. We want to see that. We want to see that you are trying to please us or to help us to understand what your position is, but it is like the government places this border between itself and the common person. As soon as they get in that position of power, we no longer hear from them. We just hear six months later when they have passed a bill and we have to live with it. That is the only time we ever hear from the government.

Mr G. Wilson: I think it is a good first step that you come out and tell us that.

Ms Boland: Things like what is happening right now are really good. I am really pleased I have had the opportunity to speak to you. I would also like to just point out, you know, I am not putting you down as politicians. It is not you personally. I think there is a lot of inhibition about being face to face with any sort of government, anything with a government label on it. I guess people's defences get up and it is like, "This is our opportunity to tell them how we feel." We do not want you to take it personally. We are just --

The Chair: Oh no. We have heard a lot tougher things than this.

Ms Boland: Very good.

The Chair: These are compliments. Mr Winninger, Mrs O'Neill, and then I want to give you an opportunity to add any other points that you may have.

Mr Winninger: Just to build on what Gary and others have said, I know when I was growing up and in high school in London, we formed what we called a political debating society and we had different parties. I was the only one reckless enough back then to join the NDP, but it gave us a chance to explore issues, see different points of view, different perspectives. We were dealing with the same issues back then like medicare and pension plans that the government was dealing with and we felt perhaps more enfranchised that way, by forming a political society and arguing the issues. That is just one idea in case you do not have it already.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I hope you have found this a good experience. I doubt very much this will be once in a lifetime. You may not be able to identify with this, but I made my first presentation to a parliamentary committee in 1958, the first year I taught high school, and I certainly got kind of hooked, it looks like. I really do feel that you have performed a real service to yourselves today and to young people.

I have been in Parliament now for close to four years. I have literally seen hundreds of people in my constituency office, and I think only four of them came in and said:

"You are my MPP. I want to introduce myself to you and I would like to get to know you." That is why I asked you the question when I first did. I think that is one thing you can do. You do not need to belong to a political party to do that. I think it is the only responsible thing to do as a citizen: to know who is representing you and to give them a chance to explain themselves, to tell them a little about yourself, just to see the environment in which they work.

I thank you very much for doing what you have done today. I am sure you have been an example to lots of people out there who are watching us.

Ms Brown: I think that there has been sort of apathy on both sides, maybe the government not wanting to get off its pedestal per se and the common people not wanting to get out of their couch basically. I think that it basically has to be a two-way street. I do not know who is the first to start but maybe it should be the government. They are the people who have the most power within the society.

Ms Boland: Also it just angers me a little bit that we have to make such an effort to make, you know, government issues more humanistic. Like, why is it that we have to get out of our couch? Why can't we just change the way the whole government works? I am not saying to abolish the government or anything. I just think that you know it should be more one to one, person to person. I know it is hard. There are so many in Canada you cannot speak to each and every one of them, but there must be things you can do to make the people feel more in touch with you.

Ms Molson: Yes, in tune with what is going on.

Ms Boland: Yes.

Mr Beer: But I think you are raising here an interesting question. I am struck by the previous speaker who talked about us having the power. Especially those of us who are Liberals could argue that on 6 September we did not have the power. It rested out there, which is where it ought to be. So when you talk about you know who should be coming to whom surely it is a circular process.

Maybe one of the things that we have forgotten is, each of us as an individual, as an elector, as a member of our society, what are our responsibilities to make sure that our democratic system works? Now, ours, especially once elected, is not to forget who elected us, where we come from, what our responsibilities are as individual elected members. But it seems to me, whether I am elected or I am sitting where you are, that as a citizen I have responsibilities around the issues -- I mean to my family, to my own community, however defined -- and that it is only that way where both of us work at it.

There is no question that all of us have seen this sense of alienation, not just among secondary school students but among a wide range of people in society. We either are going to find a solution to that or we are not going to find the kind of solution we want for our country. So I would say that it goes back to the simple proposition that Dave Winninger made to you, that there are many, many different ways whereby we become involved. I think that we have to say as individuals, "Yes, I have got to get out of the couch."

There may be a lot of things that I, as an elected person, should be doing as well, maybe many more than even I can think of. But I just say, you know, remember and then believe that the power rests where it ought to rest, that is with you as an elector. Maybe there are some changes we have to make to our political institutions to make sure that that functions. But if we stop believing that we have that control then we are going to lose it, and I think that is kind of scary.

Ms Brown: I think that is vital to a lot of issues. Your point was well made that we do have to solve this problem of the power. Each sort of different society's perception of the government and where the power is in the society, we have to solve that problem and make people understand that the power does rest with all different people, whether they be a common citizen or in the government. Then Meech Lake and GST, native rights, I think will come a lot easier. They will not come --

Mr Beer: I am not saying that.

Ms Brown: Well no, but in my opinion they will not be quite as hard to deal with.

Ms Boland: That was one of our main points actually before we came out, that before we deal with, you know, the issues of Quebec separating, GST and all those major political issues that have been about lately, we really have to overcome the obstacle of government -- I am getting all --

Ms Brown: People feeling powerless.

Mr Bisson: I think that you are right in the sense is that this forum is quite good and allows you to interchange. I grew up in the olden days, in the 1960s, and we were very anti-establishment and believed the things that you are purporting, saying that, "You can't change the establishment eventually." Then we said, "We need to change it," and we went out and did all kinds of weird things.

Ms Boland: Has it really changed?

Mr Bisson: Yes, we had the old saying, "Tune in, turn on and drop out" type of thing, but that is something else.

Ms Boland: Maybe there was some validity to that.

Mr Bisson: But what I want to do is challenge you to something, because I think what people lack is the understanding of what the process is. People sometimes get the impression that we, as politicians, can wave a magic wand and come up with a very simple solution to a problem, not realizing sometimes that, if we are left talking to the federal government, if I was in the federal government, I would be only one of 26 million people and would look at things from where I come.

I challenge you to do this, to take whatever issue, and if you want to do it around what we are trying to do -- tying to solve, let's say, the problems or go forward in regard to the Constitution -- each one of you within your school gets as many people as you can involved and everybody plays a different role. Somebody be Alberta, somebody be Quebec, somebody be municipalities, somebody be the federal government, some represent various groups, the Confederation of Regions, l'Association canadienne-francaise de l'Ontario and all of that, and see how easy it is to come to a solution. You will find that part of the thing is that some people do not understand the process. We tend to look for solution from where we come from, and I look for solutions according to what I understand. If somebody looks at it differently from me, my perception as an individual maybe is, "Well, it's all wrong and you're doing it all wrong, so therefore, the system does not work." I think what you were saying before -- I did not get your name, the gentleman on the heft, of the persuasion I liked --


Mr Martins: Josh.

Mr Bisson: That was a joke. You are supposed to laugh, Charles.

The perception is right that a government sometimes has to make decisions for the common good that may not be acceptable to particular people within society, and maybe we have to get people to understand.

Mr Martins: An additional obstacle is that I do not believe education is there within the schools to help people understand what goes on in the government. By the time I was in grade 4, I had learned an awful lot more about Australia than I had about the Canadian government. I do not think I ever got the proper education on our government to fully understand our culture. Just as an aside, I recently did a survey of grade 7 students and they knew an awful lot more about the United States than they did about Canada, which says something about this. We really need to start spending money.

Ms Boland: Can I briefly elaborate a bit on what Josh said? I am taking a history course right now and we have just briefly gone over the process of the Canadian government, and it is so dry. It is so difficult to grasp -- between the electoral government, democracy, direct democracy, I was totally lost, totally confused. It is really hard. You really have to get into the governmental system in order to understand it. It is very hard to just read from a book and understand how it is.

Mr Winninger: Come and visit us at Queen's Park.

Ms Boland: Maybe that would be better, really and truly.


Ms Roland: It is not you. It is just that the people are right to --

The Chair: Now that we have driven the technical

people completely crazy -- I think it has been quite useful to throw the rule book out the window for a few minutes and just go in this way. I want to give you an opportunity, if there are any final comments you want to make. We will have to move on.

Ms Molson: I want to make one final comment about the future of Canada and about the Quebec separatist thing and everything. I think people feel there is this lack of a Canadian identity. I think among young people there is a lot of pride in being a Canadian; it is considered a very important thing. Also, Canada in my view is well regarded by other countries. I would not want to be from any other country than Canada. When you see political jokes about other countries, the States, the USSR, in general Canada comes out looking pretty good, so I definitely am proud of being Canadian. I do not want it to separate. Even if it would be better for economic reasons or whatever, I think you should struggle to stay together, and I think that is a view shared by many, many people and not heard enough.

Ms Boland: Especially young people.

Ms Brown: Talking about economics, when we are talking about separation and the Canadian lifestyle, it always comes down to money. I do not understand why that is. Maybe I am naïve, I do not know, maybe I still have more to learn, but I do not understand why everything has to come down to money. Why can we not just be happy to be Canadians and be happy that we are diverse and that we have a lot of people within this country who are different and need recognition -- but I do not think they need distinct recognition. I think we should have a greater understanding and Ontario can play a very good part in that.

Mr Williams: Could I add a word? One of the things that concerned me when I saw the process a few years ago when the premiers got together was, I was alarmed that they were coming to that conference with the idea of, "I'm going to look out for my province." They had shopping lists. I do not want the unity of Canada being brought by people who have shopping lists, who have vested interests. I want optimists. I want people who are looking for ways to share with each other part of the country. I would ask, in the process of deciding the fate of Canada let's have optimists rather than pessimists.

The Chair: Thank you. We understand there needs to be a lot more discussion about these issues and many other issues, and we as a committee are going to be looking for how we can structure more discussion in the next stage of our work more along the lines of the kind of discussion we have had here with you this evening which allows people to talk with us, and people have talked to each other as well. But we encourage you to do that also, within your own environment and your own school and your own classrooms, because that is also where it is going to happen and that is also where the kind of thinking needs to happen, in the schools, in the workplaces and anywhere else in the communities. But thank you for coming and talking to us this evening.

Ms Boland: Thank you very much for listening, too. I hope you did not misinterpret us. I am really happy that I got a chance to speak to you.

Ms Molson: Yes, so am I. It has changed my perspective.

The Chair: Thank you very much. Take care. We will try to get through the other two speakers who are on the printed list and then take a short break and come back after that.


The Chair: I invite Raymond Bouchard from l'école secondaire Marie-Rivier.

M. Bouchard : Monsieur le Président, membres du comité, bonsoir. Premièrement, j'aimerais dire que je fais partie de trois différents groupes, donc je préfère que mes opinions soient prises comme des opinions personnelles de sorte a ne frustrer personne.

Depuis déjà un certain temps, je ressens une inquiétude envers mon pays et ce que lui réserve l'avenir. Tellement de questions flottent dans mon esprit auxquelles je ne peux répondre, tellement de commentaires sont faits de part et d'autre qui me forcent à repenser ma position. Souvent je me retrouve affecté, voire blessé par les remarques faites par certaines personnes. Celles-ci, il me semble, refusent à tout autre le droit d'être différent, voire d'avoir des opinions autres que les leurs. D'ailleurs, je reste convaincu que dans la majorité des cas ces gens oublient ou ne réalisent pas que d'autres sont affectés par ce qu'ils disent. C'est pourquoi je remercie le gouvernement de l'Ontario de m'offrir cette opportunité d'exprimer mon opinion et probablement celles de milliers d'autres Canadiens et Canadiennes.

Loin de moi l'idée de montrer du doigt qui que ce soit. Enfin, je suis convaincu que le Canada est en pleine crise d'identité. Dans cette crise, trois groupes, soit la population du Québec, a population aborigène et la majorité anglophone du Canada, semblent revendiquer ce que chacun croit être un droit indéniable.

Pour composer avec les revendications de chacun, il faut d'abord reconnaître l'évidence de la situation. Indiscutablement, nous jouissons d'un des, pour ne pas dire « du », plus beaux pays du monde. Présentement, nous sommes dans une phase où nous refusons de voir à quel point nous sommes chanceux d'être Canadiens. Par le moment, nous essayons même de changer ou d'ignorer ce que nous sommes ainsi que nos origines. Je ne veux pas citer l'histoire de notre pays car nous tous la connaissons plus ou moins. Par contre, je veux rappeler à tous que nul d'entre nous n'a choisi sa race, sa couleur, sa langue, sa culture ou même l'endroit où il est né. En réalité, nous sommes tous des accidents de la nature, peu importe ce que nous en pensons.

Ceci dit, il est nécessaire de regarder ce que d'autres ont et ce que nous avons. Le Canada s'est pourvu à travers des années de mécanismes sociaux que le monde entier nous envie, tels l'assurance-maladie, l'assurance-chômage, la pension de vieillesse, le Régime de pensions pour n'en citer que quelques-uns. Combien d'entre nous jouiraient ou même pourraient s'offrir de tels programmes sans le système fédéral dans lequel nous vivons ? La grandeur, la diversité, la richesse du Canada garantit à tous ses citoyens et citoyennes une vie relativement facile. Les différentes origines et cultures des Canadiens et des Canadiennes ajoutent au charme et à l'aptitude de sa population de comprendre les problèmes des autres. Pourtant, il semble que nous sommes incapables de nous accepter tels que nous sommes.


Pour débuter, je me dois de vous dire que je suis Canadien français, né à Alma, Lac-Saint-Jean dans la province de Québec. Je suis bilingue de façon intégrale depuis déjà plusieurs années. Pendant mes temps libres je suis très impliqué dans la communauté. Entre autres, je suis président d'une association de parents dans une école secondaire francophone et je suis membre de l'exécutif d'un centre culturel. Professionnellement, je suis militaire depuis 17 ans. De ce fait, j'ai eu la chance de vivre et de travailler à l'extérieur du pays plusieurs années.

Le Canada, à mes yeux, est probablement un des pays les plus favorisés dans le monde. Il regorge de toutes les ressources naturelles imaginables. Sa superficie est telle que nous pourrions multiplier notre population plusieurs fois sans pour autant manquer d'espace. Notre système gouvernemental est un mélange du meilleur de plusieurs autres systèmes démocratiques. Ainsi, nous jouissons des possibilités législatives qui n'ont comme limites que celles que nous nous imposons. L'éventail de nos services sociaux n'a d'égal nulle part ailleurs. Bien que chaque province et région du Canada soit différente l'une de l'autre par son économie, ses habitudes de vie, ses richesses naturelles et bien d'autres points, toutes ont besoin de sécurité et de prospérité. Toutes, à un moment ou à un autre, profitent des richesses et du succès des autres. À l'échelle individuelle, ceci se traduit par un des niveaux de vie les plus élevés au monde. Comment peut-on imaginer que la rupture du Canada ne soit pas ressentie à la grandeur du pays et sur tout ce qui touche à notre existence ?

La crainte de perdre leur identité et leur culture est commune à la majorité des Québécois. C'est-à-dire que plus de six millions de Canadiens et de Canadiennes sont inquiets de ce que leur réserve l'avenir. Des experts confirment cette crainte avec des recherches démographiques poussées.

Les demandes de nos autochtones ne sont-elles pas semblables si nous ajoutons à ces craintes un droit à l'autogérance ? Comment peut-on accepter que ce groupe particulier soit obligé de demander la permission au gouvernement fédéral pour gouverner leur communauté ? La création de nouvelles provinces ne devrait-elle pas être une chose décidée par la population en général et non par un petit groupe de politiciens ? L'idée d'un sénat tel qu'il existe présentement me semble révolue et surtout antidémocratique. Il faut donc ou l'abolir ou le redéfinir.

Depuis la découverte du Canada, trois groupes principaux se sont formés et côtoyés. Comment peut-on imaginer que certains Canadiens et Canadiennes refusent encore d'accepter ce fait ? À mon sens, les Québécois ne désirent pas changer le Canada mais désirent plutôt réaffimer leur droit d'être ce qu'ils sont sans avoir a s excuser à qui que ce soit dans le reste du pays. N'est-ce pas là la base même d'un système démocratique ?

Las autochtones n'ont-ils pas un droit indéniable de gérer leurs propres affaires comme le reste des Canadiens et Canadiennes le font dans leurs communautés ? Même les fondateurs de notre pays avaient cru bon reconnaître nos différences de sorte à préserver la paix et garantir un avenir à tous.

Pour ces raisons, mes recommandations seraient que tout doit être fait de sorte à préserver au Canada son aspect présent tout en respectant le droit de chacun des trois groupes distincts qui le forment.

La division des pouvoirs législatifs de chacun des paliers gouvernementaux devrait être revue de sorte à mieux refléter la situation démographique actuelle de notre pays ainsi que les différences régionales, et à rendre notre système plus efficace et capable de s'ajuster à tout changement.

Notre constitution doit reconnaître les trois groupes distincts qui ont vu la naissance de notre pays tout en respectant les droits de chaque Canadien et Canadienne.

La Canada et la constitution devraient reconnaître au Québec le droit indéniable de protéger la culture et la langue particulières de la majorité de sa population de sorte à freiner son assimilation par le groupe linguistique majoritaire continental.

Le Canada et la constitution devraient reconnaître aux autochtones le même droit à l'autodétermination reconnu aux autres Canadiens et Canadiennes, ceci incluant le respect des traités signés avec eux.

Le Canada et la constitution se doivent de reconnaître des limitations financières en regard à tous les groupes ethniques qui forment sa population globale, de sorte à éviter des demandes excessives dues aux différences de chaque groupe.

Le gouvernement fédéral devrait avoir le pouvoir d'établir des normes dans tous les domaines qui touchent la totalité de la population, peu importe leur lieu de résidence, de sorte à promouvoir l'egalité de tous.

Les provinces et territoires devraient avoir le pouvoir de légiférer dans tous les domaines qui touchent leur population, tout en respectant les normes établies par le gouvernement fédéral.

Pour conclure, les choses qui nous unissent et font notre force sont beaucoup plus importantes que celles qui nous séparent. Depuis plus de 124 ans, nous avons réussi à réconcilier nos différences et à prospérer ensemble. Je reste convaincu que l'avenir de chaque province et territoire dépend de celui de notre pays. C'est pourquoi je pense qu'il est critique de reconnaître au Québec ainsi qu'aux autochtones le droit de légiférer dans tous les domaines qui touchent leur culture et leur survie.

Permettre à ces deux groupes particuliers d'assurer leur avenir comme peuples distincts, à mon avis, n'enlève rien aux autres Canadiens. Au contraire, je crois que le Canada tout entier a tout à gagner à voir les Québécois ainsi que les autochtones heureux et prospères. Ce n'est que lorsque nous aurons résolu nos problèmes d'identité que nous pourrons nous remettre à avancer comme peuple. Il suffit de regarder le chemin parcouru depuis la création du Canada pour imaginer ce que nous pouvons espérer de l'avenir. Des milliers d'individus de partout dans le monde attendent pendant des années dans des conditions très difficiles pour avoir le droit au privilège de vivre dans notre pays et de se faire réel un rêve qui pour nous n'a rien de spécial. Suffit-il de demander à ces individus pourquoi le Canada et non un autre pays.

N'est-il pas temps que nous cessions de chercher nos défauts et que nous reconnaissions la chance que nous avons d'être nés et de vivre dans un aussi beau pays ? Si tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes s'y mettent, je suis absolument convaincu qu'il nous est impossible de ne pas trouver une solution.

M. le Président : Merci, Monsieur Bouchard. On va passer à la prochaine presentation.


The Chair: Could I call next Midge Rouse.

Ms Rouse: Good evening. I am Midge Rouse, the coordinator of native patient services at Hotel Dieu Hospital here in Kingston. I have been working with Mushkegowuk Cree from the west coast of James Bay for the past six years. My role has been to facilitate the delivery of tertiary medical care in Kingston. I would like to address the concerns I have, first as a human being and second as a citizen of Canada, with the policies and practices of our federal and provincial governments and how they have affected the health, indeed the very survival, of the first nations people of Canada.

I apologize if you have heard this history lesson before. We are all aware that the two founding European nations of Canada ignored the historical and political structures that existed among the first nations during the federation of Canada. Imperialist policy of the time placed no value on the languages or cultures of the first nations. All land was claimed as belonging to the crown; the first nations people were merely residents on the land and therefore subjects of the crown. Those first newcomers believed it was easier to buy, to trade or to divide the land among themselves and the people of the first nations than it was to fight over the land. This practical approach to the colonization of Canada has remained a central theme in the myth of the peaceful settlement of new Canadians among the people of the first nations.

First nations people believed that indeed it was wiser to share the land with these newcomers, that it was possible to live side by side in harmony and with respect for each other. The first nations people did not wish or expect to interfere with the governing of the newcomers and neither did they agree to be governed by them. With these differing historical perspectives, the founding of the entity called Canada resulted in the creation of not two solitudes but of many.

The history of the first nations since the middle of the 19th century has been a history of a systematic destruction of their cultures and societies. Successive federal and provincial governments have pursued policies which insured political and economic disparity -- in fact, political marginalization and poverty. First nations people were not permitted to vote in federal elections until 1960, until the mid-1960s in provincial Alberta elections and 1969 in the province of Quebec.

The band councils, which are made up of elected representatives of the communities, a system which has been imposed by the federal government of Canada, have little political authority today. Any band council resolution or decision can be overturned by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs if there is an economic element. I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, how many municipal decisions do not have an economic element? The band council is unable to raise income through the taxing of its members or independent economic development. The political organizations of the first nations, their newspapers, their radio and television programs are therefore all dependent on federal funding.


Unemployment and underemployment on reserves is rampant. In 1985, 50% of all people living on reserves in Canada received an income from either family allowance or unemployment insurance, and their income was less than $10,000 a year.

Treaty land today remains federal land. In the past, this meant the federal government could and would grant timber and mining rights, approve hydro development projects, construct highways and railways on reserve land without acquiring the approval of the band or requiring compensation or profit-sharing agreements to the people of the first nations who occupied them. At present, reserve lands represent one twenty-fifth of Canada's land mass for 4% of our population. Reserve housing is substandard. In 1986, one third of the houses had no central heating and no bathrooms, one fifth had no running water, and overcrowding was rated 16 times above the national average.

The federal government's policy of assimilation and integration was vigorously pursued. The operation of the residential school system from 1889-1970 was based on a policy of aggressive civilization. For seven generations, first nations children were prohibited from speaking their languages and practising their religions. They were spiritually, physically and sexually abused.

A federal government official predicted in the 1930s that native people, with the exception of the Inuit, would be extinct within a generation, the victims of infectious diseases for which they had no immunity, poor or non-existent medical care, malnutrition and inadequate housing. However, improvements in medical services and technology reversed this trend. First nations people have the highest birth rate in Canada today and will soon be a majority in some provinces, particularly Manitoba. They have the shortest life expectancy, however -- an average of seven to 10 years less than the national average -- and they have an infant mortality rate twice the national average, equivalent to some developing countries.

Every day, working in the health care field, I see the effects of the changes in their lifestyle: a change in their diet, decrease in physical activity as a result of the introduction of skidoos and mechanical devices, and the increase in smoking and alcohol consumption. I see people with diabetes, renal disease, heart disease and cancer. It seems ironic to me that these diseases of the rich are prevalent among the poorest of our poor in Canada.

As a result of these political and economic conditions, the people of the first nations have experienced an unprecedented assault on their family and social structures. Family disintegration and its corresponding problems of alcoholism and other substance abuse, child neglect and abuse, violence, mental health problems, suicides and conflicts with the law exist in most first nations communities today in alarming numbers.

With this as their reality, and in order to save themselves, first nations people looked for a new way to deal with federal and provincial governments. Through a policy of cultural nationalism, they affirmed their special status in Canada. They do not want to be equal, if equal means they are just another cultural group in a multicultural Canada. They choose to retain their own cultural uniqueness. In the 1960s and 1970s the people of the first nations established and developed national political organizations. Many bands began to insist on administering their own schools and their own child welfare programs. In the 1980s and now in the 1990s they have vigorously asserted that their land claims be settled and their treaties maintained in an equitable manner.

We all heard in the spring of 1990 the voice of Elijah Harper, MLA from Manitoba, insisting upon the recognition of a new role for the people of the first nations in a revised Canadian Constitution and their active participation in determining that role. Some of us who live in Kingston had the opportunity of hearing George Erasmus, national chief in the Assembly of First Nations. Mr Erasmus spoke of his view of sovereignty and self-government. He said:

"We live in the state of Canada. We've arrived at accommodation. We are Dene. We have Canadian citizenship. We're here, we're part of this country."

It sounds remarkably like the philosophy of those first nations people who met those European newcomers. It is wiser to live side by side in harmony, with mutual respect.

Before he was elected Premier, Bob Rae visited the Mushkegowuk Cree in their communities along the west coast of James Bay. He wrote upon his return, "Each community has its own unique character, but all share a common reality: profound and systemic poverty, a sense of powerlessness." He concluded: "Nothing in the division of powers, federal or provincial, or the natives' insistence on retaining their direct link with the federal crown, takes away from the fact that Ontario can do with its money what it pleases. This includes action for its first citizens."

We cannot repair the damage that has been done to our first citizens, but we can act. We cannot change our history but we can include their history, their languages and cultures in our future. We can do -- to use a medical term -- no more harm. We can make reparations and assist first nations people to heal themselves. We must not exclude first nations political organizations and traditional leaders from the next constitutional negotiations and the revised Constitution.

We must make a commitment to the first nations self-government and economic self-management and we must act on that commitment. Through land claim settlements and treaty maintenance, a land and capital base can be created. We can assist in the creation of healthy communities through the promotion of health in housing, water and sewage management, parks and recreation and education as well as community-developed public health programs.

It will probably take seven more generations before the people of the first generations have healed themselves, yet there is much hope among the people. They no longer endure in silence and their voices are being heard. If we listen to those voices, we will learn who we were, who we are and who we can be as citizens of Canada. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Rouse.

We will break at this point. For those people who may have joined us recently, we did start the afternoon session later because we were delayed in arriving from Cornwall, so we are running behind. We will need to take a short break. I am going to suggest to the committee members that we try very hard to get back and begin by 7:30. I know that only gives us a short break, but we will do our best. We have a number of people who have indicated that they wish to speak to the committee in the evening session. We will recess until then.

The committee recessed at 1909.


The committee resumed at 1949.

The Chair: I can call the meeting to order. Good evening, first of all. I am Tony Silipo, the Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. On behalf of the committee, I would like to welcome those of you who have come here this evening. I know a number of you were here this afternoon, but a number of people have joined us for our evening sitting here in Kingston.

This is our final week of hearings across the province. We have been in a number of communities in various parts of the province, and we are during this week travelling through various communities in the eastern part of the province.

We heard from a number of people earlier today; earlier today we were also in Cornwall. We have again this evening a number of people on the list to speak to us and, as we have had to do on these kinds of occasions, particularly in the evening sittings where we tried to make the proceedings less formal and open it up to more people to speak, the only way in which we can accommodate the number of people who have registered at the table to speak is by being strict with the time in terms of limiting ourselves to five minutes per presenter. I apologize if that restrains the kinds of things people want to say to us, but it is an opportunity to give people a chance to talk to us and to try to get to as many people as we possibly can.

We are starting late because, as you may or not know, we were late coming into town earlier today. We will sit later than we had planned to try to accommodate as many people as we can, but we also ask for your co-operation and patience in that.

Before calling the first speaker, just a couple of other housekeeping things. We have a number of people already on the list, but in the event that there are others we may not have put on the list -- there are -- there are people at the back of the room at a table there, if you would like to add your name.

The other thing is that there are still some translation devices available at the back of the room if people want to sign those out, because our proceedings go on in English and French and the presentations may be in either language, so for people's assistance that is also available.

Finally, I would just like to introduce the members of the committee. This is an all-party committee, as you may know, made up of representatives from the three political parties represented at Queen's Park. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer. From the Conservative caucus we have Charles Harnick and Chris Stockwell. From the NDP caucus, in addition to myself there are Gary Malkowski, Marilyn Churley, Gilles Bisson, the Vice-Chair of our committee -- we hope will be rejoining us shortly -- Fred Wilson, David Winninger and Gary Wilson.


The Chair: We will begin with R. W Ormerod.

Mr Ormerod: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the subject, I believe, is Ontario in Confederation and what this committee would like to hear that we do about it. I think, first of all, Ontario should re-enter the democratic scene in that everybody in the province is equal but, first and foremost, the people of Ontario should be given the opportunity to earn a living and be respectable citizens of the whole country.

The background of the situation in which we find ourselves today, of course, is that the NDP government is here on a negative basis. It was because of the dislike for the Tories and the Liberals that you are sitting here this evening. That is painfully obvious, so your tenure could be quite short. The point, though, I am trying to make is while you are here you have been saddled with a debt of some $70 billion; this includes, of course, the $10 billion it is suggested you will add to the $60 billion-plus you already have. So the climate is very difficult for any politician to keep this playing field level.

I am concerned that the first thing the government should do is to protect the culture and the heritage of the English-speaking people of Canada who made this country what it is today, first. The second thing is that you should develop a system of fiscal responsibility. Throwing money at anything does not solve the problem. Pragmatism is what is needed in order for this province to once again become the energetic and productive part of Canada it was in the 1950s.

Referring back to the heritage of this country, I think it is high time the provincial government of Ontario allowed British history and British culture to be taught in this province. It is wrong in a democratic country to deny citizens the ability to study their culture and their language with, on the other hand, gross wet-nursing to another province. It makes absolutely no sense. In view of the astronomical debt the NDP has picked up and the increase they will apply this year, does it seem reasonable that we should give Quebec $4.6 billion? Who is the poor province? I think we are. We are shovelling this money into another province.

Here locally the Québécois who have been parachuted into Kingston are now demanding $80 million to provide themselves with a school and a cultural centre, yet, on the other hand, the schools are not allowed to teach English Canadians their culture or their history. In a democratic country everybody surely should have the same opportunities and the same chance.

I must repeat that the astronomical debt we have in the province, plus that we are facing in the federal government -- announced recently, about 4 o'clock today, it is $400 billion, and the interest on that is going to reach $40 billion very shortly -- nobody but nobody has any money. We in the city here are in debt because our infrastructure is crumbling and we have not the money to repair it, but here we have these trucks in the street, we have this caravanserai going all around the province at a fantastic cost.

I hope you will bear in mind, first, Ontario men and women, and then the rest of Canada. Let's not start giving away our birthright because we have not the gumption to stand up and protect the people who made Canada what it is today.

Mr Harnick: I had a couple of brief questions for you. I understand you are a member of the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada?

Mr Ormerod: Yes.

Mr Harnick: You can maybe enlighten us. How come we have heard that speech in many places but no one ever admits they belong to APEC? Why do they never say that?

Mr Ormerod: I do not know.

Mr Harnick: Are you embarrassed about that organization? Why would you not be forthright and tell us you are a member of APE C?

Mr Ormerod: In 1986, I joined the APEC organization in this very hall. It calls for the protection of the English language, the protection of the English culture and the protection of Canada as it was. For reasons which were mostly financial, we decided to open up our own organization known as the National Association for English Rights here in Kingston so we could get closer to the grass-roots, to the people who put you gentlemen into the provincial Parliament. We are very proud of the fact that we are now the National Association for English Rights Inc, a federal incorporation; furthermore, we have on our record of membership 500 members paid up and a supporting membership of over 5,000 on our computer.


Mr Harnick: Well, that leads me to my next question.

The Chair: Sorry --

Mr Harnick: Just for one moment, please, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: All right. Very briefly, please.

Mr Harnick: We had some people come to see us today, students from St Joseph's School in Prescott and from the Kingston Collegiate and Vocational Institute. I think they were pretty representative of the young people who live in this area, and quite frankly -- I want you to help us because we are going to have to grapple with these issues -- your organization was probably the furthest thing from the way they wish to see this province and this country develop. That was the gist of their evidence, and they are the people we will be leaving a legacy for. They did not like your position in terms of the English language; they did not feel it was threatened. And they were concerned about Quebec leaving Canada, they did not want Quebec to separate from Canada. I am puzzled, because the Canada you envision is totally different from the Canada the young people who have come before us envision, and that causes me some very grave concerns.

Mr Ormerod: May I answer Mr Harnick?

The Chair: Go ahead; yes.

Mr Ormerod: First, the children who come to speak to you have been brainwashed by our school system very thoroughly, but more important I think is that the preponderance of people who have addressed your committee and the preponderance of people who have had the most time have been Québécois, or they have been Québécois who have been parachuted into this area for a good reason.

The Chair: Sir, sir --

Mr Ormerod: Excuse me, I have the right to answer this gentleman --

Mr Harnick: I would like an answer, though. You have not --

Mr Ormerod: I have a right to answer him, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: All right, go ahead.

Mr Harnick: But you are not.

Mr Ormerod: It is a fact that every meeting you have held so far has been heavily biased in favour of the Québécois or, if you like, the association of French in Ontario. Furthermore, that body received last year $4.7 million to support its activism in this province, and we, the National Association of English Rights, do not get one red cent. Furthermore, the francophone association of Ontario gets tax credits for anyone who gives it money. We have applied, APEC has applied, and we have applied five times to get the same credits. No way. That is why I say it is time that Ontario got back to democracy where everybody is treated equally and where the people who built this country are not being subjected to the tyranny of biased politics. In fact, favouritism to one province should never be.

The Chair: All right. Thank you, sir, for your views.

Mr Ormerod: Any more questions?

The Chair: I am chairing the meeting, sir.

Mr Ormerod: This gentleman here wishes to ask a question.

The Chair: He will ask the question if I allow him to ask the question. This is how we are going to run the meeting. You have answered the questions you have been asked and that is fine. We are going to carry on with the next speaker.

I just wanted to clarify something you said earlier. I just wanted you and everyone else to be aware that of all of the groups that have presented before us, the francophone association and individuals, to our knowledge all of them are Ontarians, and I think that they have the same rights you and I have as members of this society in Ontario. Thank you very much.

Mr Ormerod: Mr Chairman, I did not say they should have different rights.

The Chair: I was not asking you a question, sir. I want to move on.

Mr Ormerod: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your time and thank you very much for the kind attention of the audience.


The Chair: Is Vince Maloney here? Go ahead, sir.

Mr Maloney: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I wish to express my gratitude for this opportunity. I can tell you that I do not envy you your job because I have had the opportunity to watch --

[Failure of sound system]

The Chair: Go ahead, sir.

Mr Maloney: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I do not wonder at this mike being a little out of order after the last speech.

It is my opinion that what Canada most desperately needs is leadership with imagination to set our goals for the year 2000 and beyond. There has been a complete vacuum for the past several decades from Ottawa, an ad hockery and Band-Aid approach.

If we simply go back to Expo 67, our 100th birthday, we did a pretty good job. Canada's Expo was the envy of the world and gave all Canadians a feeling of immense pride.

We had emerged from the Second World War with enormous worldwide prestige, had inaugurated the first air mail service in the world, had a very large navy and merchant marine, well-trained workforce, industrial plants, raw material and the energy required to manufacture all forms of machinery and equipment to supply world needs.

When we consider our maritime coastline, we rank either first or second of all the nations of the world. For our leaders to fritter away our ability to ship the products of our forests, mines and fields, to transport our goods to the markets of the world was shortsighted and negligent.

Was there a single Canadian not bursting with pride in 1972 in the final game in Moscow when Paul Henderson scored when he got a pass from Yvan Cournoyer, if my memory serves me right? No question of English and French there. That combined Canadians from all parts of Canada: Henri Richard, Guy Lafleur, Jacques Phante and many others. No one resented the fact that some were from Quebec. We all shared and celebrated the victory.

A more recent event was the victory of the games in western Canada when the young Canadians, a team from all over Canada, were able to win the gold medal.

It seems to me that a very serious virus invaded Canada from south of the border. This disease became more visible during the term of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It manifested itself in meanness and greed. It perhaps began in California under Proposition 13 and spread slowly eastward and northerly.

In Canada it was eagerly embraced by the C. D. Howe Institute, Fraser Institute, National Citizens' Coalition and Business Council on National Issues. These so-called think tanks think about enhancing their personal wealth more than Canadians' wellbeing. Their false prophets hoodwinked Canada into buying the Mulroney leap of faith and entering into the free trade agreement with the promise of even greater prosperity and jobs, jobs, jobs. Greater protection for displaced workers, child care, universal in nature, enhanced protection for seniors. There was nothing these spin doctors would not promise.

The resulting misery of the free trade agreement and the made-in-Canada depression we now suffer plays no favourites: native people, francophone, anglophone, and every other ethnic group. Meanwhile bank presidents and Canadian heads of multinational corporations, who have not already left for greener pastures in Mexico, have told Canadians to suffer even more with the GST. The only reason Michael Wilson has recently lowered the interest rate is simply because he could no longer tolerate it being higher than the popularity of his government. Hopefully both will continue the downward trend.


End of the Meech Lake accord: Muhroney rolling the dice; forcibly confining one Premier from leaving; blustering, threatening and lying by him and his other bully, Lowell Murray; Canadian public shut out completely; no native people, no women, no trade unionists, no farmers. Is it any wonder it failed? We have had enough of these snake-oil peddlers. One cannot make a silk purse from a sow's ear. This exercise is as welcome as a breath of fresh air. At least you are making it possible to hear the frustrations and feeling of isolation by the general public.

It is very difficult to not have a deep source of pessimism about the future of Canada, Ontario and Quebec when we contemplate the calibre of our present Tory government. Would that a leader with the vision of Sir John A. Macdonald were in charge of the Tory government. Our ship of state is rudderless and without captain or crew. Meanwhile the engine, Ontario, is being dismantled piece by piece. When John Crosbie informed Nova Scotians they should compare their quality of life with Haiti and be satisfied, given more time Haitians will have no reason to be envious.

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

Mr Maloney: It is my conviction that Canada needs leadership to again put Canada on the rails. Hopefully this committee is the first step. When people are worried about losing their jobs, homes and families by deliberate acts of the federal government, they strike out blindly. It is easy to blame other visible minorities, innocent though they may be.

With the potential wealth of Canada, coupled with a strategic plan to utilize our resources, our energy, our productive capacity, we could again be the envy of the world. We cannot unless we set realistic, attainable goals, sell it to the people of Canada and set our course.

Now is not the time for political decisions related only to the next election. We are only borrowing Canada from the generations to come and they deserve much better stewardship than we have been providing.


The Chair: Could I call next Peter Campbell. Next I will be calling Dr E. H. Storey. Mr Campbell, go ahead.

Mr Campbell: I would like to address what I consider to be a number of myths which are creating a great deal of confusion at the present time. These are not myths which have to do with the Constitution itself, but rather myths which have to do with history, language and culture.

Myth I is that Canada is in the process of falling apart. This is a myth for the simple reason that something which has never been together cannot fall apart. There has never been any kind of any real understanding in this country between French and English, any shared history. As a Canadian historian, I feel no qualms at all about stating the obvious fact that there is no such thing as Canadian history. We have one history according to the English, one history according to the French and one history according to native people. There is no Canadian history. We have few if any shared historical and cultural symbols.

Myth 2: According to many Ontarians, and especially in the English rights movement, if we let Quebec go we will be rid of our language problems. This is a myth because if Franco-Ontarian ties with Quebec are weakened, the 500,000 francophones in Ontario will be forced to fight even harder for their rights. They will in effect be forced to become more, not less, militant. In other words, if Quebec separates we may not see the end of French-English conflict in Ontario, but in fact we will see its beginning.

Myth 3: Official bilingualism has been a success. This is a myth, but I say it not as a supporter of the English rights movement but as someone coming from the political left. The Liberal vision, the Trudeau vision, was fatally flawed because it argued that language was the key: If people can talk to each other, they will understand each other. The people who put bilingualism together had obviously never been married. This is of course a myth. As an anglophone it does me no good to talk to a francophone whose English is perfect but who knows nothing about who I am, where I come from and what I care about. I would much rather talk to a francophone whose English is poor but who knows something about my history and culture and what I care about.

The fact that there are some 15,000 francophones now in the federal civil service also means little if anything to most Québécois, especially if they live in places like Quebec City, Montreal and the Gaspé. The fact that francophones are getting jobs with the Ontario government is basically irrelevant to the vast majority of francophones in Quebec. In short, official bilingualism demonstrates the victory of form over content.

Myth 4: Francophones do not want to be Canadians. This is a myth because English Canadians have never given francophones a chance to be Canadians. A few weeks ago, Charles Goulet spoke French in Kingston and was booed. Mr Goulet was told in no uncertain terms that you cannot speak French in Kingston and be a Canadian. Yet Mr Goulet could move to St Petersburg, Florida; Fresno, California, or Little Rock, Arkansas, and speak French and he would be considered an American, yet in his own country he is not considered a Canadian by many people. Francophones are not Canadians for the simple reason that most English-speaking people in this province have never considered them Canadians.

I have three proposed solutions I would like to talk about:

1. The government of Ontario should go on record as supporting important symbolic initiatives which will indicate to the people of Quebec before the referendum is held, probably in the fall of 1992, that we consider them full and equal partners in Canadian Confederation. One of the important gestures for the Quebdcois, and native people and immigrants as well, would be to replace the picture of the Queen on some of our currency with actual figures from Canadian history.

Some suggestions might be Samuel de Champlain, Jacques Cartier, Dohhard des Ormeaux, John Cabot, who is English -- Jean Cabot when he is French; he was actually Giovanni Caboto; he was actually Italian -- Josiah Henson, the black leader and Crowfoot. I have here a picture my daughter did of a $20 bill with a picture of Crowfoot on it replacing the Queen. I cannot imagine a better symbol of a Canadian who fought for his people, who fought for his land and fought about the future instead of the past. Other people would be Tommy Douglas; Nellie McClung, both for what she did and also because it indicates that there actually were women in Canadian history, or perhaps the most important, who I consider the most important figure in Canadian history, Louis Riel; in other words, some symbolic indication that Canada has been about more than the Queen of another country or the white men who controlled its political, social and economic life.

2. Official bilingualism should be scrapped because it does not work. The money, however, should be used to promote the French language and culture in other ways, including the maintenance and expansion of French immersion programs, which to the contrary are actually working amazingly well. The government of Ontario should arrange with the government of Quebec for an exchange of teachers so that Canadian history from a Québdcois perspective can be taught in as many Ontario high schools as possible and English Canadian history taught in as many Quebec high schools as possible.

In addition, the NDP government of Ontario should immediately, next week not next year, announce the building of at least one francophone university in Ontario, hopefully with funding from the federal government. This university would hopefully attract francophone scholars from Quebec and around the world and its core purpose would be to issue degrees in French-English relations and would hopefully foster poor and working-class French and English students to go to this university.


3. Finally, we have to bury the battle of the Plains of Abraham. It is clear and tragic that many English Ontarians continue to define who they are in terms of that battle. They feel that because we beat the French in 1759 that they should go away or at least roll over and play dead. The time has ended for ordering our political life around battles which happened centuries ago. We have a historic opportunity as Canadians to say to Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, Jews and Arabs in the Middle East, Hindus and Muslims in India and Pakistan that we can order our lives in terms of the needs of today's world, not in terms of old wounds and old battles.

In that spirit, the government of Ontario should arrange to throw a big party at the Citadel in Quebec City, maybe on Canada Day this year or next year. We could have two people dressed up as Montcalm and Wolfe shake hands and bury their swords. Afterwards, French and English together, we could all repair to the Château Frontenac and have a few beers.

Lighten up, Ontario. Most Québécois do not want massive new constitutional powers. They are not being parachuted in from Quebec. How many different ways can they tell us that they are frightened about their future, that they are worried their children will lose their culture and language and that they are trying to keep that from happening? Sounds like some English people I know in Kingston.

We have a choice. We can respond to their concerns with condemnation or we can accept that a key part of being Canadian is ensuring the continued survival of the French language and French culture in this continent. Rather than condemning that effort, we should embrace the opportunity to help the French-speaking members of the Canadian community realize their goals. We should not see it as some kind of onerous task. We should welcome the opportunity.

The people of Quebec want what they have always wanted, and what we all want, a little respect and a little recognition. Maybe if the respect and recognition finally come, the re-creation of the nation will not be so difficult after all.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Campbell. Just for the members of the audience, I did not interrupt Mr Campbell because I have a copy of what he was saying and it was clear that he was getting near the end.

We will move on to the next speaker, Dr Ted Storey.

Mr Fraser: Mr Chairman, I have a suggestion and that is that one of the groups would hold up its hand when we have 30 seconds left of the five minutes.

The Chair: I usually interrupt the speakers and let them know when they are very chose to the time, and as I said I did not do that with the last speaker because it was clear to me that he was getting near to the end of the presentation.

Mr Fraser: Yes, but both the last two speakers --

The Chair: Yes, I realize that, sir, and I appreciate your reminding me of that. I will try to be stricter as we go along and you will see that happening if people continue to take longer than the five minutes.


The Chair: Go ahead, Dr Storey.

Dr Storey: Mr Chairman and members of the commission, I find myself in a rather difficult position because I have been watching you on television and I saw that you had 10-minute presentations and that is what I prepared. I will try to shorten it a bit, but I hope you will bear with me.

The Chair: You will have to shorten it, sir.

Dr Storey: I would like to first commend you on the conduct of your meetings throughout this province. I have been following you on television and I feel that a great deal of benefit is accruing from the open exchange of diverse views, proposed solutions and passionate pleas for Canadian unity.

We have been shown that while there are some who would say, "Let Quebec go," there are more of us who want Quebec to continue as a valued partner in our federal system. If there are among us those who are intolerant of differences, there are more of us who respect differences and appreciate and understand the value of distinctiveness and of diversity to the character of Canada and of Canadians.

I believe very strongly that the future of our country rests in our willingness to respect and indeed to cherish the distinctiveness that creates the warp and the weft of the very fabric of this country, and on our ability to open our minds to the exciting opportunity that we now have to look creatively and innovatively towards our Canada of tomorrow.

The need for constitutional change in Canada derives from concerns expressed in all regions of the country that our present political structures and processes are not responsive to perceived persistent inequities in such matters as the distribution of the national wealth; economic opportunity, including employment; jurisdictional powers, cultural sovereignty and multiculturalism; language rights, immigration, the rights of women and of the aboriginal peoples; resource management; taxation and revenue-sharing, and our international relationships.

The oft-repeated claim that the failure of the Meech Lake accord was a rejection of Quebec as a significant member of our federal system should thus be put to rest. The Meech Lake accord was rejected primarily because of the perception that it placed the nation in a constitutional straightjacket, hobbling its future ability to address equitably nationwide and regional concerns through effective constitutional reform or restructuring. We now have the opportunity to build a better Canada than Meech Lake offered us. Let's take advantage of that opportunity.

I have travelled across this country several times. I have always been impressed by the distinctiveness of each of the different parts of this country and I have been impressed that wherever I went, despite the distinctiveness, despite the fact that in some parts of the country I was from Upper Canada or a maudit Anglais or a God-damned easterner, I was always treated fairly, warmly and with respect as a fellow Canadian and I have always come back to Ontario feeling immense pride in our country and in being a Canadian.

So the conviction that I have today is that the greatness of Canada rests in not the sameness but the distinctiveness of each of its provinces and territories and that the country is far, far greater than the sum of its parts because of that distinctiveness. That is the conviction that I have today and it is the reality that I want this country to carry into the future. The beauty, the strength and the potential of Canada lies in its diversity and the distinctiveness of its parts as they combine to form a united whole. Any part that would be lost to us would diminish the strength and the spirit of our nation, and of the part that would be lost to us as well, in ways that are disproportionate to the strength and the potentials of each.

I would like to remind you that we may have lost faith in some political leaders, we may have lost faith in our national government, but we have not lost faith in this country. Some will say that faith is not enough, but let's remember that Canada has always been a miracle of faith and let's remember that faith has inspired us through our pioneering years, two world wars, a Great Depression and our new-found prosperity, as we have evolved from a colony into what I believe is the finest nation in the world, warts and all.

Let's remember that while the United States came about through a revolutionary war, Canada developed through peaceful evolution. That fact is reflected in our caring, sharing society that makes us a special place that is envied so much by the rest of the world. So let's buckle down to the task.

In recent weeks there have been some very positive indicators that Canada can and will meet its present constitutional challenge and will do so in a creative, responsive and forward-looking way. The game is afoot, ladies and gentlemen.

The Chair: Mr Storey, you are going to have to sum up.

Dr Storey: May I finish with four principles?

The Chair: Very quickly.

Dr Storey: Okay. The four principles that I feel should underlie our Confederation are these:

First of all, the federal system, which places those things that are of importance to the nation as a whole and to our national institutions under the sovereignty of the federal government.

The second level of government, the provinces and territories, should have sovereignty over those matters that are of local and provincial relevance, and that means having sovereignty over those matters that nurture the distinctiveness and the self-determination of each of the provinces and regions. I believe that should be one of the underlying principles as we look for a reconstituted federal system.

One of the things that we do not want is provinces that have special status. I believe that we should stick with the equality principle as a part of that federal principle, but I think we need to take a second look at that equality principle and recognize a third principle, and that is the principle that being equal does not mean being identical. It is time to recognize that the distinctiveness and the diversity mentioned earlier that we cherish dictate that being equal should not mean being identical. Equality and status must mean having equality and opportunity to be distinctive and equality in opportunity to be responsive to differing provincial needs, values, cultures and economic circumstances. So we must celebrate our diversity and our distinctiveness.


One final principle, the principle of something of value. If we are going to take something away from our Constitution, let's make sure that we put something of value in its place, something of value to all parts of the country and to the country as a whole.

I will finish by simply saying I believe that our country, our Canada, has a future. I believe that in the majesty of our landscape and the potentials of all our people and above all in the gentleness and the strength of our gentleness and our caring for each other throughout this land, there is hope and there is faith in our promise that we must keep for ourselves, for our children and our grandchildren, and the larger world that needs Canada for what it is and what it can become. Thank you, sir.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Could I call next James Ilett. Following that I will be calling Neil Fraser. Mr Ilett, go ahead.

Mr Ilett: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and good evening members of the committee. The last four acts are rather hard to follow and I cannot promise you anything quite as exciting as they offered, but at least I think what I have to say is very relevant to the practical agenda.

I am sure the committee members are all familiar with the content of the Allaire report and you will have your own opinions about what arrangements of this sort would do to the Canadian Confederation. I do not think I need elaborate on that further. But at least the Allaire commission has placed some concrete proposals on the table.

The fact of the matter is that Quebec is not the only region of the country that is disenchanted with the present federal system. It seems to me, therefore, that it is a mistake to concentrate our whole attention on the subject of relations between Quebec and the rest of the country, because the problem is bigger than that.

I would like to suggest that what we really need to do is to think out the sort of Canada that all Canadians, or most Canadians, want for the 21st century and then having defined what we want, consider in practical terms how we get there. Although this is very obvious as soon as you say it, I think if we could take this in two stages and first of all define the Canada we want in terms of concrete aims and then in the second stage consider what arrangements we make to achieve those aims, we can get away from all this emotional stuff about federal and provincial powers and just think in practical terms about functions and services and how they are best organized and how they can be paid for.

In order to try and concretize this, I have set for myself some six aims. But before trying to do this, I thought it was worth while maybe to remind myself of some salient facts about our country.

First of all -- and here again, I hope you and the people behind me will forgive me if I point out the obvious, but occasionally it does need to be pointed out -- we have a huge country. We have almost 7% of the world's land mass and a substantial proportion of its fresh water, but we have less than half a per cent of the world's population and a large amount of this hand mass we do not effectively occupy.

In a world in which the total world population will have increased by about 50,000 in the few hours that you are in Kingston -- in other words, the whole population of the Northwest Territories -- when the world population is increasing at this speed, it seems to me it is not realistic to think that we are going to retain sovereignty over so huge an area without doing anything with it. To many of us the north seems pretty inhospitable, but to a lot of people in the world it will be a lot better than nothing. So that is fact one to bear in mind.

Fact two to bear in mind is that Quebec is, whether you like it or not, most certainly a distinct society, but it is not the only distinct society. I would think from what I have seen of Newfoundland, in different ways that is also a distinct society, and certainly the Inuit and the Indian communities of the north must be very much more distinct. So we should not get too hung up on this matter.

The next thing is that most of the people in Canada have a high material standard of living and I think we can say we use a good deal of this material wealth very sensibly to have a good quality of life. We have all sorts of things that we all know about -- health services, parks and so on. But this material standard is not a birthright. We have to earn it year by year in a competitive world and in a world that is getting more and more competitive. Now, the competition gets less and less in terms of hewing wood and drawing water and more and more in terms of organization and technology. This is brain power.

The Chair: Mr Ilett, I am going to have to ask you to sum up very quickly. You are past the time.

Mr Ilett: These and other obvious things one can point out, but having thought about these points, my six aims for Canada would be these.

The Chair: You will have to do that very quickly, sir.

Mr Ilett: Yes, very quickly.

(1) That we have effective control of all the territory; (2) that we are a democratic society; (3) that we have equality of opportunity, personally and regionally; (4) that we have efficient delivery of services that can only be provided publicly or better be provided publicly; (5) that we have an efficient economy which can compete and collaborate globally, and (6) that we have a social security net for the disadvantaged and the handicapped who cannot take advantage of the equality of opportunity.

If you think of how you achieve those six objectives, obviously it has implications at all levels of government, and if I could just repeat, please think of it in terms of how we achieve these practically in terms of who carries out the functions and who provides the services, not in terms of who has powers.

The Chair: Thank you very much, sir.

Mr Ilett: Thank you.


The Chair: Neil Fraser, and I will be calling next Arthur Keppel-Jones.

Mr Fraser: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, first of all, in brief, what makes Canada great is its care and compassion. I am just going to try and touch on a few things that have not been touched on.

What we need within Canada is free trade within Canada, and as a provincial government, I would hope you would work at that. Ontario is more than likely guilty as well as Quebec, but I know people from Quebec working for Ontario Hydro, for example, who speak very little English. I have no objection to their working in Ontario Hydro, except that the opposite does not hold true. You cannot get a job in Quebec speaking English and very little French.

This free trade bit goes down to agricultural products, all sorts of things. We should have worked on free trade in Canada before we worked on it with the United States. But in little things like employment, people are being turned down for the OPP in Ontario because they do not speak French, yet we are having people recruited from New Brunswick and Quebec who may not speak very much English for the OPP. I would challenge you, members of the committee, go back and ask the OPP. I cannot get the truth out of anyone; I hope you can.


The educational system: By and large we have had a good educational system, but we now are faced in Ontario with really three school systems: the public, which is now basically an atheistic system with a few concerned Christians, Jews, Muslims; a separate school system, which is really one state-supported religion, and now a French system.

I would prefer one system. I know at this time in history it is not possible, but something has to be worked out more equitably, whether you look at a credit system, but it is not fair for Protestants and Jewish people, anyone who wants a Christian education outside of Roman Catholicism, to not be able to get some public support.

As far as our relationship with Quebec is concerned, I want Quebec to stay as an equal partner, but I do not want it to stay as an unequal partner. The CBC is partly responsible for not telling the Canadian people exactly what has gone on in this country, and I would suspect that TVOntario gives a disproportionate amount of support to TVOntario and the francophone network if you took the proportion of the society and the dollars equated.

I am not against the French language. I am not able to speak French. I took an oral French course once, but that would not do you much good unless you actually went and lived in Quebec or among the francophone community. But I am against government pushing one language at the expense of another. In Ontario today you call up and you get "Bonjour." Okay, fellows, if that is the way you want it, I suggest that you write and contact Mr Bourassa and have him say "Good morning" in English in Quebec.

There is no historical evidence for two founding nations, so anyone who studies history has to reject that. At the time of Confederation all the parts of the country were crown colonies. Now, we French and English can work together, but official bilingualism is nothing to do with language, it is all to do with power, and that is why you have an English rights movement: because we are concerned about equality.

If you look in Quebec, just as an example there, about 17% of the population is non-French. I do not have recent statistics, but in 1981-82 you had about 1% of the federal public service in Quebec who were non-French. So you can see where the federal government lies.

I have contact with people in Ontario, and already under the Liberal government you had a preference for francophones in supervisory positions. This is why many of us would not like to see Ontario officially bilingual. It is not that we are against communicating; it is that we are against arbitrarily having members of one group get all supervisory and management positions based on their ability to speak a language rather than on their ability for the job.

The Chair: Sir, I am going to have to ask you to sum up, please.

Mr Fraser: Basically, I just want to say that the students we had are part of the school system. I will just say that my own children came up through the system, and they would agree to a large extent. But my youngest son got through university two years ago, and he said: "Dad, I used to think you were all wet, but I had a classmate who was turned down for a job in the summer because he couldn't speak French. French wasn't required and he was better qualified for the job, but a French person got the job." What I would like to see in Canada is that if a French person is the best qualified for the job, he gets the job; if an English person or an aboriginal or whoever -- it is based on merit, not on what your ethnic background is, and I think if we try to work together we can make Canada great.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Could I call next Arthur Keppel-Jones, followed by Hugh Thorburn.

Dr Keppel-Jones: Professor Thorburn and I are making a joint submission. We have given in a memorandum or paper which will say much more than we can say now, but we would like to speak briefly to this memorandum.

We have begun from this point, that we think it is a serious mistake to suppose that whatever additional powers are given to Quebec should be given also to every other province individually. We think this mistakes the nature of the problem. Though every province and region has its distinctiveness, the wrangles of the last many years over the Constitution have shown that the relation of Quebec to our federation is a much more serious and immediate problem than the relation of any other province to it. In fact, basically, in spite of the distinctiveness of other provinces, Canada really consists not of 10 parts but of two, Quebec and the rest, and we approach the problem that is now critical in this country with that fact in mind.

We have concluded that there are three main requirements which any solution of our constitutional problem must meet. The first is that it must hold Canada together. That is to say, a secession of Quebec, a mere breakaway of Quebec, would have very harmful effects. The harm would be felt, first of all, in the economy. Investors are very sensitive of any political instability and the approach of a crisis such as this, a Quebec breakaway, would certainly drive a lot of money out of the country and that would be followed by a number of economic consequences.

But there are also other harmful effects that a breakaway of Quebec would have. I need only mention as an obvious one that the Atlantic provinces would be left up in the air, as it were, but that is just one of them. So we think Quebec must not break away but must be retained in some form of union with the rest of Canada. That is our first point.

The second point is that Quebec must have more powers and independence than it has now. It is obvious that is what the Québécois are demanding and they will not be satisfied with anything less.

The third point is that in the rest of Canada, in the nine remaining provinces, opinion goes the opposite way from that in Quebec. It does not favour decentralization. It favours greater unity and centralization. So a solution would have to meet those three requirements, keeping Quebec in Canada, giving it far more power, but also giving the rest of Canada greater unity.

That is a very difficult puzzle to solve, but my colleague, Professor Thorburn, is going to give you some ideas about the constitutional form that a solution might take. I will just be content to say this, that it seems to us it follows logically from these facts that Canada should become a confederation of two states: one of which is itself the federation, the present Canadian federation minus Quebec, more unified and centralized than it is now; the other is Quebec, united to the other federation in a looser union. That is the conclusion we come to from our analysis of what the problem is about.

We would ask people who criticize the proposed solution -- of course, it will be very widely and generally criticized -- to focus not on our constitutional proposals but on our analysis of what the problem is about, our statement that three conditions have to he met, retaining Quebec in Canada, giving Quebec much more independence and giving the rest of Canada greater unity, because that is what experience over many years now seems to show public opinion in the different parts of the country demand.

I would like to say, just before I hand over to my colleague, that we do not regard our proposals as a kind of stopgap to put off the day of the inevitable breakup. We do not regard it in that way at all. We hope an arrangement can be found which will actually be satisfactory to both English Canada and Quebec, which will give advantages that both of them value, and that therefore the wrangling we have been going through will not have to be repeated. Thank you. I will hand over to Hugh.


Dr Thorburn: Would you like to ask my colleague questions first, or shall I just pick up?

The Chair: We will see if there is time at the end of your presentation, if there are questions.

Dr Thorburn: All right. I should begin, I suppose, by saying what my own preference would be. I am afraid my preference would be that we keep Canada the way it is. Unfortunately, if we take a look at the opinion polls that are coming out of Quebec and the reports that are coming out, the Allaire report already published and the one set up by the Quebec government which will be coming along in another month, it would appear that majority opinion in Quebec favours separation, and I believe there is no disposition in Canada to hold Quebec forcibly. Therefore we must do some very serious thinking about what we will do if the day arrives when Quebec in fact says, "We wish to secede."

It is true that there is no constitutional mechanism for this and therefore we will face a serious crisis. What I think we have to do is prepare some careful contingency plans so that if this should arise -- I hope it does not but I think it will -- we will be prepared with some kind of counterproposals that will preserve as much of what we value as possible and which will prevent the situation running out of hand.

I am led to go back to some ideas that were propounded by Mr Stanfield when he was leader of the Conservative Party and a suggestion, I might say, which divided the Conservative Party itself at that time, and that is the idea of two nations. I think we have to be a little tolerant in looking at this and not jump to rapid conclusions. What is meant by this is that there are two separate linguistic, cultural communities in Canada which are distinct geographically and, that being the case, if one of them wishes a constitutional relationship with the other which is strikingly different from what prevails, we must be prepared to deal with this and to deal with it seriously.

That suggests to me that we should be willing to consider this but we should not allow it to permit us to destroy the country we know, the federal system we have or the union we have among English Canadians. In other words, it will be a different kind of bond between Quebec and Canada than there is between other English-speaking provinces. I think, if we are willing to face up to this and be understanding in negotiating an arrangement, we can create a situation where nobody suffers.

This suggests what the current jargon would call asymmetrical federalism, that is to say, where there is a kind of unity between a larger and a smaller partner, and this is always very difficult. English Canada has three times the population of Quebec and more than three times the wealth of Quebec and therefore can be forgiven, I suppose, for saying, "We're not going to give them complete equality."

That means we have to find another way to live together. I was wondering how we are going to do this so we can live together, like France lives beside Belgium or Canada lives beside the United States, the big guy beside the small guy. It does not mean they both have to be, in every sense, equal. I finally found a parallel that I think might help us.

If you go back to 1867 it is a big year in Canadian history, but it was also a big year in the history of the Austrian empire. It is taking it a long way from Canada, I know, but they had the same kind of problem. The Hungarians decided they wanted to secede; the Austrians did not want them to, but they did not want to fight about it either. So they finally discussed the matter and came to an agreement. The agreement was that Hungary would have a separate monarchy and a separate Parliament and Austria would have a separate Parliament as well. They would look after their own affairs separately but some things would be held in common: There would be a common financial arrangement and there would be a common military establishment and there would be a common bank and customs arrangements and that sort of thing. To handle this, they used the custom duties to fund the common enterprise and supplement it by funds collected by taxes from each part.

The Chair: Mr Thorburn, I am going to have to ask you to sum up.

Dr Thorburn: I will just complete what I am saying, if I may. The Austrians were 70%, the Hungarians 30%, so this is the way they divided the financial responsibility to service this common administration. That suggests to me that we might do something like that. I am not suggesting that we copy it at all -- the differences are enormous. But the point is that we should start thinking about arrangements that will allow this kind of devolution of power to the two sides and at the same time permit harmony to reign and to permit the kind of co-existence without necessarily meaning that in every sense the two parts are equal. I would be happy to discuss any of these points if anyone wants to.

The Chair: You put some interesting notions before us, and I am sure they would be interested in getting in some questions, but, given the time, we are going to have to press on and hear the other speakers. Thank you very much, both of you.



The Chair: Could I invite next Neil Dukas.

Mr Dukas: Kenneth McNaught once wrote, "The assumption that order must underlie both liberty and justice is fundamental to Canadian political and social ideas." I agree with this premise. Canada, throughout its history, has stood for the rejection of revolution as a political philosophy. Peace, order and good government was the cornerstone of Canadian parliamentary democracy and the tie that bound.

We have not remained true to our original principles in two major respects. First, we have allowed the political order of this country to decline as a direct consequence of having failed to assert the paramountcy of Parliament. Second, our political leadership has failed to provide the good government that was required to maintain that order.

Although the courts may from time to time have ruled otherwise, there can be no doubt that politically the Fathers of Confederation sought to create one nation with a strong central government. The provincial legislatures were created merely to avoid micro-management by the central authority. A series of federal governments, however, have given away the candy shop and fumbled in their duty to maintain institutions revered by all Canadians as intrinsic to the national fabric.

I have said in other forums that I believe serious consideration should be given to calling a constitutional convention in which we could publicly and democratically debate all proposed constitutional models. In view of our Prime Minister's recent statements, however, I see little hope of this ever occurring.

Returning, then, to Ontario's role in all this, if I am to believe the newspaper reports, the popular sentiment in Ontario is clearly against decentralization, and if that means Quebec leaves Confederation, then so be it. Ontario will continue to exist no matter which route we choose, and I might add that Alaska has no interest in joining Canada, despite not being contiguous with the United States. My point is, let's not be fatalistic about the future of the maritime provinces within Confederation.

Ontarians have always felt they were simply Canadians. By defining ourselves in no other way, we have left ourselves in an awkward position. If Canada was to break up tomorrow, would we, as Tom Courchene suggested, end up being Americans simply because there is no alternative? I am inclined to say that our sense of Canadian identity would not change. We have too much faith in our own destiny to let that happen.

In contemplating such a scenario, one must acknowledge the perceived danger of Ontario dominating what remains of Confederation. The only way I can think of alleviating such fears is by going ahead with the plan to convert the Senate to a House of Provinces. It is the only rational way of ensuring that provinces such as PET and even the territories can have a voice beyond the meagre number of seats allocated to them in the Commons. I personally do not support the triple E concept. I would rather have the provincial government appoint its representatives and see to it that these representatives hold their seats in the upper House only as long as their sponsoring government remains in office.

The maritime provinces have endured economic under-development and high unemployment for far too long. The west simply views Ottawa as the agent of central Canada. Regional development, east, west and the north, has grave economic and political implications for the future of this country, and in my opinion has to be brought to the top of our political agenda. Ontario must take a leading role in urging this to happen.

I will only say this about official bilingualism. If our governments had limited the number of grand gestures and kept the process balanced and reasonable, I do not think bilingualism would be an issue today. Last week was Ontario Heritage Week. Even TVOntario failed to give it any notice. We go on blaming the federal government for having failed to induce a sense of Canadian nationalism, but the Ontario government is just as culpable in its own jurisdiction.

Our provincial motto is "Loyal it began, loyal it remains." It is about time we had it officially translated into English so that Ontarians can understand and appreciate the significance of our loyalist roots. Maybe we could even put it on our licence plates.

Ontarians say we value our parliamentary heritage, but we keep the Lieutenant Governor out of sight and out of mind. This may sound facetious, but let's put the Lieutenant Governor in Casa Loma as an official residence. It would be of great value for tourism and would bring that most noble of public offices into the daylight where we can all see it.

Last month, the provincial government abolished the office of sheriff and replaced it with something called the Ontario court services manager. This represents the end of an institution in this province which can be traced back to at least the Magna Carta. I am the last one to stand in the way of progress, but surely this title could have been accommodated within the confines of its new function. Boroughs have given way to cities. Counties are making way for regional municipalities. Reeves and wardens are apparently next on the hit list. I am told that it is because at municipal conventions Americans do not realize what wardens are. This reminds me of a recent attempt by one US auto maker to have Ontario auto workers change the date of our Thanksgiving holiday to match their own. They thought we were disrupting their production schedule.

If education is a provincial responsibility, why is it that Ontario history is so terribly neglected in our public schools? I have my doubts about the number of Ontario schoolchildren who realize the Mohawks in Ontario were Loyalists. The United States is said to have borrowed directly from the Iroquois Confederacy in the process of shaping its own Constitution. How can we expect our children to grow up respecting the place native people have in our society if we make no mention of these achievements?

While we may have a well-defined economic aim, I find there is a certain lack of cultural raison d'être for this province. It distresses me that we are doing so little to refresh our memories. If we are to remain Canadians and Ontarians, we must look again at who and what we are. This committee's hearings are a good start. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. We will carry on.


Mr Roberts: Mr Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak. The word is "equality." The FrancoOntarians want more rights than the original natives to this land. French should be just another language, like German, Italian, etc. To give the French language official status makes second-class citizens of the rest of us, especially the ethnic groups. We all pay the same taxes.

This brings me to another point. Why should FrancoOntarians be funded by federal and provincial governments when English-speaking Ontarians receive no funds for their associations? Over a period of time in Quebec, 450,000 English-speaking Quebeckers have left Quebec. Why? Because of harassment, the language police. It reminds me of all the East Germans who left East Germany for West Germany to escape socialism.

Here are some documented facts of what French Canadian leaders have said. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1966, when he was parliamentary secretary to Lester Pearson: "There is no way two ethnic groups in one country can be made equal before the law... and to say it is possible is to sow the seeds of destruction." Jules Léger, 1968, in a luncheon speech on his departure for his position as ambassador to France, said, "The Canadian government is now engaged in a national task of spreading the French language across the length and breadth of this country," -- Montreal Gazette, 29 October 1968.

Leo Cadieux, 1973, ambassador to France, speaking to the National Assembly: "Canada is going to be a Frenchspeaking nation from coast to coast, and anyone who is opposed to this is opposed to the best interests of Canada." Serge Joyal, November 1982, the Secretary of State for Canada: "Everything we undertake and everything we are doing to make Canada a French state is part of a venture I have shared for many years with a number of people. The idea, the challenge of making Canada a French country, both inside and outside Quebec.. .an idea that some people consider a bit crazy.. .is something a little beyond the ordinary imagination."

Lucien Bouchard, June 1988, Secretary of State: "Bill 72 is intended to promote the interests of francophone minorities. The English-speaking Quebeckers do not need protection." Robert Bourassa, 1988, Premier of Quebec: "Bilingualism is unthinkable for Quebec."


According to our local newspaper, the Whig-Standard, and subtitled "Socialist Housing Policy Anti-middle-class and Racist": "Speaking of subsidized housing, have you heard the latest? The president of the new Residence Richelieu in Windsor has succeeded in having this building declared a French-only apartment complex. This is a non-profit housing complex subsidized by a government grant, and 10 of the building's 51 units were open for referrals from the Windsor Housing Authority. That body located people by need, which is only fair when taxpayers' money is involved. The Minister of Housing has given his consent to this act of racism and bigotry."

We have segregation in the school system. Now we have segregation in housing. What are we going to get segregation in next? Do not talk about South Africa.

When John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister, the national debt was nearly non-existent. After two terms in office of that great fellow Trudeau, the national debt soared to $190 billion, money spent on promotion of French and money to his communist friends -- dictator Castro.

I think the slogan for Canada should be, "Equal rights to all and special privileges to none."

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Aubrey Garrett, go ahead.

Mr Garrett: Mr Chairman, committee members, distinguished Canadians, I appreciate this opportunity to express my thoughts on who will speak for Ontario in this time of crisis. I say it is a crisis not because Quebec is leaving, but because no one is speaking for the Greeks, the Jews, the Brits, the Scots, the Ukrainians and the Italians, all the groups that make up the race we know as Canadians, that make up the culture we know as Canadians.

This is who we are. We are displaced persons. I took a little look at my family history. If you want to tell me to go home where I belong to, if I go back to Israel, they will say, "We don't recognize the rights of the Reform rabbis." If I go to Holland, they are going to tell me, "You'd better get yourself some wooden shoes and learn to speak Dutch." If I go back to Britain, they are going to say: "You colonials are a bunch of radicals anyway. Could you please go back where you belong?" This is where I belong. I belong in Ontario. I am a Canadian. But who is speaking up for us?

We have an example: Down in Quebec, the Prime Minister pointed to the billions of dollars being funneled from Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia into the province of Quebec. They are known as transfer payments. I heard a figure a little earlier from a speaker, $4.6 billion. But no distinguished Canadians from Ontario, Alberta or British Columbia are saying to the maritime provinces, to the two poorer prairie provinces: "These moneys will continue but in the form of transfer payments. They will go to you and they'll help you and we'll still maintain a very strong Canada." Instead we have total silence.

In the recent past we have seen the CF-18 fighter contracts taken from Manitoba and put into Montreal. We have seen the space agency shipped from Ottawa into Montreal. Here in Kingston, the Bell helicopter plant -- Kingston was on the short list, Kingston and Peterborough. Everything was shaping up good, the first helicopter plant to be built in Canada, and then the cabinet stepped in and told that company from Texas: "If you want Canadian taxpayer money, you'd better set it up in Quebec." And if you want to see the plant that was built, you had better start heading east to take a look at it.

Here in Kingston, a secretive building permit was issued and a plant was built. Lo and behold, a company from Quebec moved in in almost the wee hours of the morning. J. and P. Coats came into Kingston in that fashion. It was almost like an East German crossing the Berlin wall late at night to escape what he was leaving behind.

Enforced bilingualism, first on the federal level and now through Bill 8 on the provincial level -- please notice I am saying "enforced" bilingualism; I do not object to bilingualism -- and now we are going to have it, I believe, on the municipal level. The politicians say I am wrong. Now is your chance to tell me why I am wrong.

In Bill 8, clause 8(1)(b) says: "The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations.. .amending the schedule by adding areas to it." If I look at the schedule at the back of Bill 8, there are all the lists that are officially bilingual in Ontario.

Then I go to section 16 in Bill 8. The whole section applies to municipalities. There is a pamphlet put out by the Office of Francophone Affairs. It is called The Facts, and it says: "areas where francophones form 10% of the population or urban centres where they number at least 5,000." These are the areas we are concerned about. The Kingston Whig-Standard said there are approximately 4,000 to 4,500 francophones in this area. Does that mean that when we have 500 more Kingston becomes officially bilingual and all that is involved in enforced bilingualism in the job site? It is in the job site that I object to, the enforcement of it.

Maybe I am misreading Bill 8, but in Hansard from 18 November 1986, when Bill 8 was passed, Mr Shymko said: "Thanks to the recommendations and amendments from this side of the House, the municipal level has been included in the sectors required to offer French-language services. I congratulate the government on the fact that the municipalities have been included among the organizations required to offer services in the French language." Bob Rae said: "These are important measures and I take some pride in the fact that thanks to two of our amendments, one regarding the municipalities, one regarding the rights of the individuals, we are going to guarantee these people the right to challenge the government before the courts." I suggest to you that Bob Rae has declared his own view, his own bias, when it comes to bilingualism. So Bob Rae cannot speak for all of Ontario.

The Chair: Sir, you are going to have to sum up.

Mr Garrett: All right. What has taken place across Canada? We have seen Premier Getty go down to personal defeat. He signed Meech Lake. We have seen Hatfield, Peckford, Peterson, Pawley go down to personal defeat. We have seen John Buchanan put in a safe place where he will never go down to defeat. Mr Devine and Joe Ghiz, look out. Bill Vander Zahm, if he ever calls an election, he had just better hang on.

I ask these two questions: Who speaks for English Canada? It is a real concern of mine. The second question:

Do we want to live with the type of leadership we have seen in Canada in the last 20 years or do we want to live in a democracy? Thank you for your patience.

The Chair: Before I proceed to the next speaker, Mr Beer wanted to make a comment with respect to Bill 8, I believe.

Mr Beer: I just want to reply to the question about Bill 8, having, as the speaker perhaps knows, been responsible for its implementation over the last couple of years. I want to underline that the reference to municipalities in Bill 8 is "may." The reason that reference is there is that there are some 50 or 60 municipalities in Ontario that have passed bilingual bylaws where they provide some or all of their services in both languages, and the provision of the "may" is simply to ensure that that is legal, that a municipality may do that, but no municipality in Ontario is under any obligation to do that. The references in Hansard were to including in the bill the permissive clause, the "may" clause, so that those municipalities which themselves voted to do so would be able to provide those services in both languages. That is why that is there, but municipalities are not forced at all by Bill 8 to provide services in both English and French.


The Chair: Ms Heissler?

Mrs Heissler: I follow about 10 or 12 men. The subject is to save Canada, and I have a woman's view on the save-Canada thing. I would first like to thank Premier Bob Rae for allowing our voice to be heard.

If we should continue on the downhill path we have been following for the last three decades, a remedy to save Canada has to be quickly applied or we shall go under as former civilizations have done under similar circumstances. The values of our forebears are widely regarded as outmoded. Instead, we have accepted so-called new morality, which is in fact nothing more than the old immorality. The old values were based on the premise that God exists and that He has established a certain law and order so that social groups, big or small, might function. The new morality is based on the assumption that God does not exist. As a result, secular humanism makes new laws to do away with proven order. It tries to brainwash society into believing them and so change its attitudes, bringing us all by the minute closer to disaster.


A country is only as strong as its families. Destroy the family and you destroy the nation. Every child has a right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother. Our government, by new laws, promotes the breakup of marriages and therefore of families by undermining the solid base these institutions were founded on.

Motherhood is considered an inferior state of womanhood. The mother at home is discriminated against. Her many duties are not accepted as valuable work, and the tax system has a way of punishing her. Fatherhood has as well fallen victim to new attitudes. The equality craze no longer considers it is acceptable for a man to be the sole provider and protector of his loved ones.

A true mother plays a major role in nation-building by raising her children with basic moral and practical values. Together with her husband, she teaches a sense of responsibility. Here is a word -- responsibility -- which is being removed from our vocabulary. I strongly suggest that some straight-thinking lawmakers come up very promptly with a charter of responsibilities to preserve our rights and freedoms. We are to be concerned about the loss of human life in the Persian Gulf, but more frightening is the phenomenal loss of human life right here at home. Between Canada and the United States we kill nearly two and a half million humans annually by abortion. Moreover, we have the nerve to call it our right. Worse yet is that some of our honourable members at Queen's Park see this paramount evil as their top priority -- to be implemented, furthermore, at taxpayers' expense.

The royal law commission of Canada has a book out entitled Crimes Against the Foetus. Whatever is a crime is punishable. If you legalize one, then logically you should legalize the others. Would that not be a frightening prospect?

Much is said about the environment and pollution control. The worst pollution is mind pollution, and our Charter of Rights allows it to progress full speed, especially to our youths. As an environmentalist myself, let me assure you that unless you stop this mind pollution, you will not stop the other ones. As a comment on our welfare system, I suggest that we get all the idle hands in Canada, and there are not enough for the overwhelming task, to work physically to improve the environment by planting trees, operating woodlots, cleaning up fresh water bodies. As Canadians, we have probably broken a record by polluting the world's biggest fresh water resource with the smallest number of people. Other important projects would be creating parks, bicycle trails, rebuilding and modernizing our railway system.

Work will in turn create more work. Idle land and idle hands go hand in hand. We cannot all be white-collar workers. It is ridiculous that we, at our high rate of unemployment, still have to import workers at harvest time. Apparently, it is our human right to refuse to use our muscles other than in aerobics classes or exercise machines or golf courses. Meanwhile, we still consider that somebody owes us a living, so our government becomes our nurturing parent, provides our needs, and up, up go our taxes and our national debt.

On a positive note, it is late but it is not too late. I plead with all Canadians to help rebuild Canada by returning to proven values. I plead with the people in government to rule by the same proven values. For the love of this country, for the health and wellbeing of the country, please reverse your present philosophies and do all in your power to restore the healthy family.

The Chair: Thank you, madam.

Mrs Heissler: I have a few recommendations. Do you have time?

The Chair: We are beyond the time already.

Mrs Heissler: Okay. I hope you read them. I had a resolution I put before the federation of agriculture in 1988, and it was unanimously accepted by the whole 400 people present. I will send it to you to Queen's Park.

The Chair: Or if you want to leave a copy with our clerk, we can get copies made, if you wish. Thank you.


The Chair: David Switzer, and following that I will call Bruce Vowles.

Mr Switzer: What are the roles of the English and French languages in Canada? The Fathers of Confederation never intended Canada to become bilingual. As I understand it, the province of Quebec was to be bilingual and the rest of Canada was to be unilingual English. The federal government has spent billions of dollars cramming French down our throats. Bilingualism is one of the largest contributors to our huge national debt. Now Ontario is cramming French down our throats with its infamous Bill 8 and its threat to make Ontario bilingual.

I do not want to see any more English and French signs; no more government documents in both languages. We need the hundreds of millions that are being wasted on bilingualism here in Ontario to be spent on hospitals and schools, etc. This has always been a unilingual English province, and I want it to stay that way. Repeal Bill 8.

"What is Quebec's future in Canada?"

The province of Quebec will not fly the Canadian flag on its legislative buildings in Quebec City. Bill 178 makes it unlawful to put up an exterior English sign in the province of Quebec. What a slap in the face of English-speaking Canadians?

I would like to see Canada stay together. If Quebec wants to stay in Canada, it must become just another province, no better or worse than the other nine, no distinct society. They must honour and respect our national flag. It must be flown on every provincial legislative and government building in Canada. And Bill 178 must be repealed.

If Quebec decides to separate, we must let it know that the rest of Canada will no longer be Mr Nice Guy -- no sovereignty-association. Quebec must pay its share of the national debt. All of the northern part of Quebec, historically known as Rupert's Land, must be returned to Canada, and Quebec must reimburse Canada for all federally financed roads, bridges, buildings, etc.

"What are the values we share as Canadians?"

Multiculturalism: When people want to immigrate to Canada, they should be told:

1.We are historically a Judaeo-Christian nation.

2.In nine out of the 10 provinces, English is the working language, and new Canadians must be encouraged to learn English as soon as possible.

3. Our armed forces, RCMP and police forces, etc, have their dress codes that must be adhered to by everyone joining said forces -- no to turbans and ceremonial swords.

4. Not one nickel of taxpayers' money to be spent on multicultural events or teaching these languages, as espoused by another infamous piece of provincial legislation, namely, Bill 5.

Now as to being a Judaeo-Christian nation, the public of Ontario should take the lead for the rest of Canada on moral issues. Prayer and Bible-reading should be returned to all the public school systems even if we have to enact the notwithstanding clause to do it. Quebec sure was not shy about enacting the notwithstanding clause for Bill 178. Surely we can do the same for Christian education.

Sunday must be returned as a day of worship and rest. All stores, except for essential services, must be closed.


Two homosexuals living together should not be recognized as a family. Historically our province has acknowledged homosexuality as a perverse and immoral lifestyle. Our province is making a big mistake by forcing the citizens of this province to put our stamp of approval on homosexuality.

Our province should do everything it can to protect the weakest and most vulnerable citizens. We should take the lead for the rest of Canada in protecting the unborn from the evil called abortion. Instead of spending millions of taxpayers' dollars building free-standing abortion clinics, we should be encouraging mothers to have their babies.

The following quotes are from the greatest book ever written, namely, the Holy Bible: (1) "The nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish. It will be utterly ruined." (2) "Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people." (3) "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord."


The Chair: Bruce Vowles? Following Mr Vowles I will be calling Anne Bordeau.

Mr Vowles: The main thrust of my presentation is in the area of communication. Lack of adequate communication causes misunderstanding and dissension. I believe we have fallen into the trap of failing to communicate properly among ourselves and misunderstanding has followed, creating a pack of constitutional problems.

In considering these problems, I believe we must go back to basics and ask ourselves what our needs are as individuals in society, what our objectives are, and articulate clearly the rules and legislative structures required to satisfy these needs and achieve our objectives.

First, as a society of human beings, what are our individual needs. In addition to such basics as adequate food, shelter, clothing and health care, a list of basic needs for everyone should include the acceptance and respect of the community of people in which one lives, and the opportunity of achievement in an area of freely chosen activity.

Second, as a society, what are our objectives? To identify an appropriate set of our objectives consistent with these needs, we need to look no farther than the writing on the walls of this Memorial Hall, in everlasting remembrance of those from this city who fought in defence of justice and liberty. The objectives of justice and liberty have been with us for a long time and may be considered as accepted. However we need to review them and rededicate ourselves to them constantly.

Third, as a society, what do we need in the way of rules and legislative structures? We have developed and embraced representative government based on the British model as being the best means of achieving the objectives of justice and liberty in our society. With representative-type government, the people have the opportunity and the responsibility to see to it that they have competent individuals representing them in the legislative body and governing machinery.

We have representative government in our land and I do not believe we have a marked tendency to consciously or deliberately elect known scoundrels or obvious incompetents to our legislatures. We have a very high quality of civil service. Too high a head count, maybe, given the size of the economy, but very good nevertheless, probably among the best in the world.

Why then are we having problems? A reasonably well united public opinion and support is necessary to the working of a representative government, in dealing with issues that arise in the public domain. This is virtually impossible to achieve in a multicultural society such as Canada's, unless there is a lively commitment by all groups to clearly identify common objectives such as justice and liberty, accompanied by a good fellow feeling between the groups.

Although the objectives of justice and liberty are accepted in Canada, good fellow feelings have taken quite a beating in recent times. I believe this is because a significant divergence of opinion has developed on how our society should be organized for the achievement of these objectives. The development of this divergence of opinion is accompanied by misunderstanding, which is communication-related, and this brings me to the one major point I wish to make in this presentation.

We must have better communication at all levels between all the groups of our country, especially between the two major groups. The volume and quality of information flow and idea exchange and general dialogue between the francophone citizens of Quebec and the rest of the country is at a very low level. In a land which claims to be civilized, this is downright disgraceful, and lipservice to improving matters is just not good enough.

During the anguish of the Meech Lake debate, why did Premier Bourassa cry out that the rest of Canada does not understand Quebec? I believe a lack of communication, especially at the grass-roots level, has created the situation causing this agonized outburst. There is no doubt that outside pressures on Quebec's language and culture are severe, especially those pressures from the United States. It is unlikely Quebec can withstand these pressures successfully all by itself, even by imposing severe and possibly dictatorial repression and isolation on its people in the area of communication. Improved communication between our two groups will contribute to a better understanding and to the generation of ideas which will help solve Quebec's dilemma and our mutual problem.

At the same time, it must be emphasized that good communication is a two-way street. If the rest of Canada shows evidence of not understanding Quebec, it is reasonable to inquire whether Quebec really understands the rest of Canada and its deep-rooted fear and distaste of any intrusion on the legitimate liberty of the individual in the area of self-expression.

In order to ensure a climate in which justice and liberty will flourish in our society, communication of information and ideas at all levels must be complete and promoted in an even-handed fashion throughout the land. If we do not understand each other, how can we live together under the same canopy?

The Chair: Mr Vowles, will you sum up please?

Mr Vowles: Right away. In my view, the responsibility for the means of communication must remain with the central government. Surrender of this function to the provinces, or even to one province, will constitute a tremendous boost to the balkanization and even the complete breakup of Canada. Good communication is the glue which must be present to hold this country together. Placing this responsibility in the hands of the central government in no way implies censorship of the interchange and delivery of information and ideas. It does imply the responsibility of the central government to ensure that adequate communication systems can exist and function without provincial interference, and that there is unfettered opportunity for the even-handed delivery of information and ideas to the public in every section of Canada.

In this connection, it is my view that the Ontario government's role in Confederation in this matter should be active and vigorous support of the central government's responsibility for information and communication throughout Canada.

During this presentation my emphasis has been on the communication of ideas and information, because it is the obvious need for all of us to understand each other better and to be more keenly aware of each other's needs and aspirations. I would add that communication by definition really should also include transportation in all its forms; that is, regulation of the systems required to move goods and people. If you really work at it, improved communications should bring better understanding and enhancement of the good fellow feeling so necessary to the functioning of the central government.



The Chair: Could I invite Anne Bordeau to come forward, and following that I will call on Jason Balgopal.

Mrs Bordeau: I represent myself, an English-speaking Canadian distressed at what is happening to our country. I would be more at peace if blindly I trusted politicians and others and did not try to be informed, but I read three newspapers each day and two on Sundays, and much of what I read distresses me. I have a few points and then I will try to summarize quickly with some newspaper articles, because I am a newspaper reader; they say it much better than I ever could.

Those who lament the failure of Meech Lake will not get any agreement from me. We must keep the current three-year amending procedure because this provision was the one that allowed Canadians to realize just what was being done to their Constitution. We hear much talk in high circles that this must go. I say, "No, I do not think I am going." The Meech Lake accord failed not because of the three-year time limit, but because it was a bad deal. It ignored our aboriginal people and our northern territories. The "distinct society" clause was ambiguous. It was interpreted in Quebec as giving to that province all the power it would need in the future. Bourassa said so. He said if he had had Meech Lake he would not have needed the notwithstanding clause, while in the rest of Canada it was interpreted as a simple statement of an obvious reality conferring no additional powers on Quebec.

The so-called five minimums -- I am sorry, do I just -- when I point my pencil?

The Chair: No, go ahead.

Mrs Bordeau: It is indicative of how strongly I feel.

The Chair: No, you go right ahead, madam.

Mrs Bordeau: The so-called five minimum demands of Quebec contained in Meech were first presented as simply one of several campaign positions for Bourassa's Liberals in 1985 in the Quebec election. The author is quoted as saying, "It was never expected that English Canada would accept these demands." Now we have the Allaire report which would destroy the Canada so many of us love.

Because we did accept the five minimum demands and you know the performance that went on there. They were turned down and they come back with the Allaire report, which is what? You name it, ten times as strong. I resent the statements from Quebec that it is going to give Canada one more chance. Thanks, but no thanks.

The rest of Canada has been silent too long. Now that there is finally an expression of some kind of collective resistance in English-speaking Canada to Quebec's demands we also finally have a slight change to the beginning of a conciliatory tone out of Quebec. You know what I refer to, the business community is saying, "Federalism is not all that bad," and so on. So I come to the newspaper articles and how am I doing on time?

The Chair: You have a few more minutes left.

Mrs Bordeau: Okay, this is an article by Peter True-man. I am not only a newspaper reader; I am chipping newspapers. I almost have to give one room in the house over to my clippings. Peter Trueman is responding to some of the press reports in Montreal in the Montreal Gazette, La Droit -- and I will not read it -- and La Presse. This is an article from 5 December 1990, not all that long ago wherein these writers, and I have to interpret, were saying that the rest of Canada is in a state of adolescence. I think the conclusion you are to come to is that they are in a state of sophistication, etc. and this is Peter Trueman's response and I start from here down.

"What Quebeckers and perhaps many other Canadians do not yet understand is that it is because Canada has tried to be all things to all people that it is in trouble. If it is, as La Presse put it, `so divided by divergent aspirations, so torn between its attachment to the status quo and its desire for change, so confused as to its identity, and so paralysed by its political struggles' then the reason is generosity, not selfishness.

"English Canada today would be as single-minded as Quebec if, like Quebec, it had proclaimed itself unilingual and unicultural and had tried to enhance its own political power at the expense of the other participating entities in Confederation. Lucien Bouchard" -- get this one, remember it well -- the leader of the Bloc québécois in the Commons recently made a penetrating comment about what has to be faced.

"`The minute we recognize English-speaking Canadians as well as French-speaking Canadians right to a country they want, Canada is no longer possible."'

I am sorry to say that I think many English Canadians are also coming around to that way of thinking. Quebec perhaps should understand and deliberate accordingly.

I have two others. I will quit. Thank you very much.


The Chair: Jason Balgopah and next I will be calling Alex Craig.

Mr Balgopal: Ladies and gentlemen, I would really like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to present my views on how Ontario should participate in Confederation. I have given a copy of my outline of this presentation to the clerk and I hope the Chair has it.

I would like to divide this into a problem and a solution. I feel the problem itself of what Canada is right now is divided into two parts:

First, a feeling of national unity, which I would like to divide into Quebec wishing extra powers and the Mantimes and the west wishing greater recognition at the federal level. Each province is controlling so much power right now that the people associate easier with their provincial governments than they do with the federal government and multiculturalism.

Second, the competitiveness of Canada in the global markets. Our technological level, our work ethic, our education, the debt and foreign investment all relate to this.

Even though most of these problems are problems that the federal government should handle, I feel that Ontario should provide as much assistance as necessary in order to ensure that solutions are met.

With regard to the first problem, the problem of national unity, I firmly believe that every group of people has the right to determine its own destiny within its own country. Therefore, I think that if Quebeckers wish to separate, it is up to them to decide and it is their right. However, I do not want there to be any half measures. If Quebec wishes to separate, then let it separate, but let us not have sovereignty association; let us not share a currency; let us not have a common debt, and let us not have a central bank. I am a Canadian and I wish those to remain my items. When Quebec wishes to separate, let them have their own. If Quebec decides to stay in Canada, then on the basis that all people are equal, Quebec should be accorded the same powers as all other provinces, no more and no less, and should act accordingly. As far as the economy goes, if Quebec separates, I think that Quebec should reimburse Canada for all the federal buildings and other works owned by the government of Canada and should also assume its portion of the national debt.

I do not believe that any special provisions relating to the exchange of goods would need to be adopted, except to say that I think goods and services and people should be allowed to freely pass from Canada to Quebec and Quebec to Canada. In that way, people will be able to travel from the western part of what would be Canada to the eastern part through Quebec and vice versa. It seems to work reasonably well for the Americans to travel up to Alaska, and Hawaii has not sunk into the ocean, so I think Canada would be equally capable of handling that.

As far as attacking the problem of the Maritimes and the west wishing greater recognition at the federal level, which is what I believe is their desire, I feel that the Senate needs to be reformed into a triple E body. This in itself I feel would do a great deal to rectify the problem of not feeling in control.

I do not feel any more power should be accorded to the provinces. The federal government should reassume any and all federal powers which it has allowed to fall into provincial domains. Because the provinces have slowly, through increased revenue, increased power, grown bigger and stronger, people relate easier to their provincial governments than they do to the federal government. That does not breed a national unity, a sense of national will. That breeds a provincial sense of will.


As far as multiculturalism goes, I would like to see immigrants have a sense of loyalty to Canada and with the heritage that they bring to Canada add to the Canadian identity. I do not want them just to live here and stay loyal to the country they left; nor do I want their culture to smother ours.

My father was born in India. He came to Canada 30 years ago and became a Canadian. I am a Canadian. I was born in Canada and I am very proud to be a Canadian. I am proud of my Indian, my Finnish, my German and my Swiss ancestry; however, I am foremost a Canadian. What I have learned of my ancestry was taught at home. As many Canadians, my father came to Canada to be a Canadian. He did not come to Canada to be an Indian living in Canada.

I therefore believe that the government programs designed to keep people immersed in the culture which they have voluntarily left are counterproductive to the goals of our society. Canada has a culture of its own. Part of that culture is being Canadian while remembering your roots. By making the choice to live in Canada, immigrants are giving up their old culture in favour of our new one. To spend money on multicultural programs is divisive and should stop; however, legislation which allows people to add from their heritage to our mosaic without smothering our culture should definitely be encouraged.

The Chair: Mr Balgopal, you could sum up, please?

Mr Balgopal: Yes. The second problem I mentioned was that of the economy. As you see in the briefs you have, there are various points which I wanted to make. Obviously, I do not have time, but I think, in conclusion, that we should commit ourselves to increasing our research and development, commit ourselves to educating our children at a greater level so that they can be competitive, encourage people to be productive in this world, in Canada, by reducing the national debt and deficit so that we allow ourselves to freely go without the burden of having 34 cents on every dollar being paid to foreigners on interest, and reduce the foreign investment so that Canadian companies may flourish of their own accord. I think these problems are the ones which directly affect Canada today and I believe these solutions would help put Canada back on a vision that I would like to see. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: Alex Craig. Following Mr Craig, I will be calling Harry Pasternak.

Mr Craig: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to address bilingualism as the main topic. Early in the 20th century a French writer, Albert Dauzat, wrote, "Bilingualism is the transitory stage from one language to another." This truism is well understood in the province of Quebec. That province has no time for bilingualism in any form or shape. Canada's misguided commitment to bilingualism has had Quebec thumb its nose at it with the introduction of Bill 101, Quebec's official language law. This bill, together with its language Gestapo and informers, is the most repressive legislation in the free world and it is not only tolerated but condoned by the federal government of Canada.

Many have asked, "What does Quebec want from Canada?" I believe Quebec wants complete control and manipulation of its population and, further to that, it wants its emissaries sent to every part of Canada to agitate, to infiltrate, to dominate and demand French services until French becomes Canada's only official language. Quebec says: "Don't ask us what we want. Ask English Canada what it wants." I cannot speak for Canada, but as a Canadian, what I want for Canada is unity: one people, one official language, one country.

French Quebeckers are the only segment of Canada's present population who have proved themselves unwilling to integrate, unwilling to participate in Canada's future unless Canada becomes Quebec and we all live and work entirely in French.

Today, Canada's overriding problem is a deficit of $400 billion. This deficit was brought upon us by successive governments committed to bilingualism or, more correctly, the Frenchification of Canada. Translation and duplication of all federal services, provincial services and now local and municipal services have added and compounded our debt. The moving of bilingual French families all over Canada to fill artificial bilingual jobs, as well as the forming of French pressure groups to agitate and demand French services out of all proportion to any actual need, all of this costs Canadians the highest taxation level in the free world.

Not only have our French-led governments legislated and enforced French into every aspect of our lives, they have shown Canada and the world the nasty, double-dealing way in which we are governed or, more correctly, sold out to pressure groups.

The Meech Lake fiasco was typical of this underhand, malignant way of working. Thank God for people like Elijah Harper and Clyde Wells who, despite political differences, still put honesty and integrity above party alliances. Honesty and integrity, those rare qualities in our political system, have to be revived. Since politicians cannot be trusted, a system of representation of the views of Canadians must be introduced both at the federal and provincial government levels.

When any Prime Minister of Canada can manipulate by hook and by crook and ram through legislation such as the GST bill in the face of the disapproval of 85% of Canadians from coast to coast, it is nothing short of dictatorship. In fact, since Mr Trudeau bastardized our parliamentary system to rule by order in council, it has rendered members of Parliament to the status of an overpaid high school debating team, totally impotent to change any legislation whatsoever.

The Chair: Mr Craig, if you would sum up, please.

Mr Craig: Canadians have only one chance in every four or five years to decide who our next dictator will be. I suggest we in Ontario introduce legislation to make all MPs and MPPs accountable to their constituents rather than to the party. If a representative cannot or will not represent the views of his constituents, then he should be forced to resign and a by-election held to replace him. With this, there should be a total abolition of the position of party whips in all parties, thereby removing pressure from MPs to conform to party lines when they know legislation is not acceptable to their constituents.

Next, I would have a referendum on Bill 8 to find out if the individual Ontarian's view as to whether he or she wants or needs and wants to pay for services in French.

The Chair: Mr Craig, you are going to have to conclude, sir.

Mr Craig: Thank you very much, sir. I think I have made my main points. I appreciate your time.

The Chair: All right. Thank you.


The Chair: Harry Pasternak. Following Mr Pasternak, I am going to call John Dowling and I think that unfortunately we are probably going to have to end at that point.

Mr Pasternak: I have spoken at several commissions. The speakers never have a water jug, never have a glass. I think that is fairly symbolic maybe of what the expectation is really from the speaker.

The Chair: Actually, we have had water at our hearings regularly for the speakers. This is the first time that we do not have it for some reason or other.

Mr Pasternak: -I was originally supposed to talk for 30 minutes. Now I have five minutes and I was thinking maybe of just giving every fifth word and going through it that way, but I decided it would probably make too much sense if I did that, so I have taken about four points out of it and I am going to talk about those four points. Hopefully I will add something useful to your research.

I am going to swear on this book called When In Doubt, Mumble. Have you all read that? Boren's book. No? I am sure you all have. I watch the debates often. I am not going to mumble, so that is the first thing.

The Chair: Maybe we have read it without knowing it.

Mr Pasternak: He wrote the book watching you people doing it, so it was easy to write, I guess.

I am at a slight disadvantage, and the reason I am disadvantaged is that I have spent the past 30 years consulting to various government groups. I guess I have consulted to about 50 branches of government at this stage, municipal, provincial and federal -- I think five provinces, about six ministries federally and so on. In addition, I have taught about 30,000 people in various workshops, seminars and lectures.

I guess I have sort of an unique view of the problem. But part of the problem is that so do 10,000 other Ontarians have a unique view from their experiences. Part of the problem is that you are not going to be talking to those 10,000 people and, as I will get to in a second, that is really the problem that we are faced with. It is as simple as that.

If you are going to solve something, you had better define the problem correctly. I am sure you know that. You have hired management consultants and they come and they tell you these things, so this is not new. So what is the problem? What is the problem we have at hand here? It is not just a French-English problem. If that were the case, how could the Swiss survive with four official languages? So it is not French and English. It is not just regional economic disparity. How are they getting a common European market together if that was the cause of problems? They are getting along fantastically over there.

In my opinion, the real problem is you people and the Constitution. Because what you people -- and I mean you people in the Ontario government and the federal government and the BC government and the municipal governments -- do is deny me and the other 90% of Canadians a real say in approving or disapproving the Constitution of the country, the laws of the country, the legislation of the country. There is the problem.

You people are the ones who are going to have to change it. I am not going to take a gun and start attacking Queen's Park or the Parliament buildings. Canadians are not like that. We like attacking weak people hike the Mohawks and things like that. You people are going to have to cause the change; it is your responsibility.


The majority of Canadians were opposed to going into the Gulf war, not really the Gulf war, the Iraq-Kuwait conflict. Mulroney came on television and said: "I don't care what Canadians want. I know what's right." And we can go through the GST -- I am sure you have read the whole long list of things that most Canadians oppose yet they are there.

Of course, you say, "Well, we have a democracy." Yes, the Soviet Union calls its government a people's democracy, South Africa calls its form of government a democracy, so do not use that word.

George Woodcock, a good English-stock Canadian historian who teaches at the University of British Columbia wrote an essay recently. He calls the Canadian system five-year fascism, and unless there is a minority government that is what it is. We all know that. So there is the problem and the question is, what is the solution? In all of two minutes or whatever I have left -- notice it has taken 100 years to figure out its Constitution and I am supposed to come in in five minutes and give you the solution and so on.

The problem is, of course, that we have to change this around. How do we give Canadians the method of approving or disapproving the Constitution, legislation, laws, whatever there is to approve or disapprove? For want of a better example, let's pick a country that has had 500 years of doing it, the Swiss. I am not suggesting we take the Swiss Constitution and try to apply it, but I am not going to show you people, because you should know all this stuff. I would like the cameras -- I am really not talking to you people; I am talking to the people at home. Here is the Canadian. The average citizen hears the process whereby he can approve or disapprove of the Constitution, of the laws, legislation, whatever -- of course there is none. Every five years for 30 seconds you have that little democracy, whereas the Swiss have eight or nine checkpoints to change the law.

So what I suggest is that we take in the 50,000-100,000 solution. What does that mean? In Switzerland if 50,000 people oppose the existing Constitution, existing legislation, you have to have a referendum. It is as simple as that. Lots of issues are raised behind people and yes, sure, they should be debated and yes, we should vote on it and decide. On the other hand, 100,000 people bring legislation, constitutional change to the country, and we may do it the way the Swiss do or not.

If it comes to the Parliament, so to speak, in Switzerland, in three weeks it has to be debated. If it is not debated, that becomes law; that becomes Constitution; that is it. So they have to debate it. You cannot put it on a shelf for five years, like we see with all kinds of legislation. It is either debated or put to the vote of the people. So there is a solution and I think we had better do it quick.

The Japanese have just begun. If you think our economy is in bad shape now and the Japanese are ahead of us now, wait for five years. The Japanese are not successful because they all bow in the morning and walk around in little caps. They are successful because they are 50 light years ahead of the Swiss.

There is a book that you should all read written by Shumpei Kumon, which will tell you all about it and what it is. It is now the wisdom game, so if you do not make these changes it is going to happen without you. It is going to take a longer period.


The Chair: Could I call John Dowling. It has been pointed out to me that I also omitted to call Isabella O'Shea, and I call her and then we will conclude at that point.

Mr Dowling: I represent the National Farmers' Union. I happen to be the elected co-ordinator for Ontario. Recognizing that you have reached the end of the day and are all very tired and so on, I have to offer you a little bit of a remark that came to me earlier in the evening. Having heard many of the presentations, it occurred to me that the solution was already in the form of these transponders that we have here. They go in in French and come out in English and vice-versa. Every Canadian should have one. Perhaps with technology we can do this and perhaps we will solve some of our problems.

I farm nearby here, just to fill you in a little bit. I farm about 20 minutes from here, about 10 miles, on an island. But I served during the Second World War with a regiment from western Canada and I learned what a leper was: an eastern Canadian put in a western regiment. When I got overseas I discovered that we were issued Canadian badges and at that point we were all contemporaries. We were Canadians. We were no longer eastern or western.

This is one of our major problems in the country. In the cemeteries in France and Holland there is no segregation; we are all Canadians. The people who are lying in those graves and fought beside me came from Quebec, came from Acadia, and came from western Canada. I am greatly concerned with some of the things I have heard tonight, but I am not here to go any farther into that.

I will just say to you that the problems of agriculture are major in this country and it is that I would like to address and say to you that our organization was formed by an act of Parliament in 1970. This act of Parliament incorporated the National Farmers' Union, formally amalgamated into a single organization from four provincial autonomous farm unions functioning in the provinces of British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Of primary consideration, the desire of farm union members to organize a direct membership, non-partisan, national farm policy-making body was recognition of the fact that many problems confronting farmers could only be adequately addressed through national effort and government policy initiatives.

This logic has further extended to agree on the principle that farmers from across Canada should meet as farmers in an annual convention to agree upon national policy issues and also to establish, to harmonize the basic policy guidelines and principles for the policies of provincial jurisdiction and initiatives. Provincial policy issues are further refined at annual meetings of members in each region in which we have membership.


The National Farmers' Union is strongly of the view that in order to provide national perspective and equality in farm programs strong federal policy initiatives are needed. We are concerned that increasing federal farm policies are being eroded and blurred and result in growing disparity between provinces in the availability to farmers of programs to further stabilize farm production and income. The constitutional accord may serve to further aggravate this situation.

Canada was described by our founding fathers as a land from sea to sea. It is the land we wish to address here. Exploitation of our resources began in the very moment of discovery. Exploitation of the custodians of the land, who were the native people, was also carried out. The native people's strong ties to the land are the farmers' strong ties to the land. Native people and farmers have their same ties in solidarity with the land. Both of us are being denied a voice in our national government's decisions. The Conservative government is ruling by ministerial decision-making and this will inevitably lead to an eroded agricultural policy, where weaker provinces will suffer.

Like the segments of the economy, toploading of agricultural programs lead to farmers in one particular province competing with another. This drift to decentralization of responsibility on agriculture is leading us into a balkanization of our farm policy in our country. The weakening of our federal responsibilities for agriculture is of great concern to farmers. Marketing of farm products is a matter for provincial jurisdictions. Programs of a federal nature require participation by provinces compatible with national policies.

The loss of this glue between the province and the federal government would seriously impede national farm product marketing agencies and contribute still further to the balkanization of farm programs, resulting in national disparities in regions.

The Chair: Mr Dowling, perhaps you could sum up please?

Mr Dowling: The National Farmers' Union is attempting to develop national farm policies and programs capable of delivering equity and justice to all farmers. A strong central government is imperative to achieve this objective. In order to retain economic viability and in order to maintain sovereignty in food our national government has to include in its agenda a strong policy that will protect the land and its people, both native and agricultural.

Past attitudes to exploitation of the land have to be set aside in favour of policies that ensure a socially aware, economically viable Canada for our unborn generations of Canadians.


The Chair: I will call Isabella O'Shea, and I am getting an indication from the members that the committee prefers to continue and try to finish the list, so I will keep going. There are, I think, three or four other speakers after Mrs O'Shea. Following Mrs O'Shea I will call David Dossett. Go ahead, madam.

Mrs O'Shea: Thank you for including me. I was told early in the evening that I would be on and it was a bit of a disappointment when I thought I was not going to be.

There is so much talk of change, and while that is useful and change is inevitable, we must remember also where we came from to the present. It is rather unusual to tear down a domicile in order to improve it. Customarily, one builds on the positive while trying to minimize the negative aspects. I have not had the time or the energy or the expertise to deal with how to go about the resolution of these matters in Canada, but I did want to have my two cents' worth.

Even in ancient writings we find that some of our sociology texts tell us that the behaviour of foreign peoples were fully noted. It is easy to pinpoint the differences in languages and food and social customs, while the fundamental similarities are often overlooked. We forget sometimes that within each group there is a full range of differences and similarities. These must be respected and built upon. Those coming to Canada must learn something of the groups already here and respect their prior claims as the Europeans should have and now must come to satisfactory and just terms with the aboriginal people.

The two language groups, French and English, which were the first non-American languages imposed on the northern part of what is now called North America, should in turn seek to learn about and therefore appreciate the so-called newcomers. We have been in the world audience, viewing the coming together of a large part of the continent of Europe, but as someone who had an opportunity to live and work on that continent, I can never imagine the local customs and languages being submerged, let alone lost. Multiculturalism has often seemed to divide our people into "them" and "us" when it should be the means of better knowledge and understanding of and for one and all. Heritage day, for example, could really be a celebration. The very things that probably brought us together may also tear us apart if we allow it.

Just a personal experience: In Kapuskasing, I worked there many years ago and I can remember girls being fired -- I am not using the word "girls" in a derogative sense -- young women being fired or being threatened with being fired by Bell Canada if they spoke French to a French-speaking customer. Some change now when we have the chief executive officer being a French-speaking person. I do not imagine that happens any more.

Dissatisfaction with life in general, or at least with how respective governments wanted our forefathers or fore-mothers to live in the old countries or in the hope of a better life for them and for their children, brought most of even the first two European groups to these northern shores. Now our very emphasis on some of these tends to drive us apart and makes us seem to be more like the civilizations our ancestors left.

A very old observation comes to us that the degree of civilization of any culture is judged by the way in which the weakest and most vulnerable of its members are protected. Of course in a market society these would be considered the least productive and therefore the most expendable. Therefore, I hope that Ontario will always be in the forefront regarding the wellbeing of its residents as well as all the other citizens and would-be citizens of Canada through medicare and all the necessary programs for human health and happiness.

Personally, I also hope that this province would find it possible to augment the counselling and the total support for pregnant women so that the unique little humans they so generously carry for our civilization are able to be born and grow up to enjoy this wonderful country. I hope also that our provincial representatives would so counsel the other partners in Canada.

This present federal government seems much more interested in linking us with our southern neighbours than truly trying to keep the country together from east to west. Physically Canada needs the trains, the planes, national communication systems and excellent highways and in east to west as well as a northerly direction to help to bind this country together.

We also need more interchanges on various levels involving all the provinces. The young people have a right to the Canada they want. Many of us here tonight are almost finished with an earthly sojourn. It is up to us, to the so-called seniors, to show them in practice the virtues we so goodly preach about, for example, neighbourliness. We all know that it is much easier to live technically with the neighbour that we do not have to live with or to be technically a neighbour to those we do not have to live with than those we have to be chose to.

I was delighted to hear the historian -- I did not get his name -- who spoke this evening about the three histories. That would be a minimum. I would maintain that each province has a collection of histories written with some definite bias. I wrote to a prime minister years ago, in 1967 in fact, suggesting that the council of education ministers use some of its time and money to prepare a common core history, with copies of all the pertinent documents, with all their stars and warts, being made available at the appropriate ages to all the students of Canada. After all, they are our future.


The Chair: Would you sum up please, ma'am?

Mrs O'Shea: Okay. I, for one, pray that we are able to resolve our differences and build on the positive and stay together. I listened intently this morning to Mr Gzowski interviewing Mr Bourassa and the very latest statistics quoted by them stated that a slight majority of the people in Quebec who were polled still favoured federalism. Those who do not have an honest record -- I am paraphrasing loosely -- of what went before are likely to repeat their mistakes.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for allowing me to express my concern. Some may be very repetitious, but thanks again and every best wish with your hearings and your report. Thanks again.

The Chair: Thank you, ma'am.


The Chair: David Dossett and, next, David Wren.

Mr Dossett: Thank you, Mr Chairman. When I was a young boy, I tended to look down on minorities, especially francophones. I did not want French on my cereal boxes or on my soup labels. But when I got a little older I was sent to Quebec to learn French in French exchange programs. I guess that is what our friends in the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada would call enforced bilingualism. These programs were sponsored by the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews and the federal government.

I also studied at Laval for a year and I worked for a summer in an Ontario-Quebec exchange program in the provincial government in Quebec City. I learned there that there is a different point of view than what I was used to here in Ontario, a different point of view but a valid one none the less.

I became aware of a group of people in a region of North America who were struggling to maintain their language and their culture against incredible odds. I became aware of a group in this province and other regions of the country who were struggling to preserve their language against oppressive language laws which we were imposing upon them in Ontario and in Manitoba, among other places.

When I came back from Quebec after all of this, I realized that I had changed in noticing that Ontario had not changed. Its attitudes have not changed. For example, groups like APEC started to spring up to protect English-language rights. Mr Chairman, do not deceive yourself. Look at their platform very carefully. You will see that their doctrine is not one of equality but one of superiority. I have had the pleasure of speaking with some of the leadership of APEC on a personal basis and in talking to them, they refer to francophones as either frogs or pepsis, so when you listen to what they say, bear in mind that this is behind what they say. These are the kind of ways they view others in the province and in the country.

These are some of the suggestions I think that I would like to bring forward to you:

Changes to the Constitution and amending formulas, etc, are superficial unless we work towards changing attitudes in this province. We witnessed this evening and I have witnessed other evenings, I have read in the paper, prime examples of intolerance. We have seen it here from the platform and from the audience earlier. We know that francophones have been told to go home if they have a French accent or if they speak in French. We have seen it on the streets; we have heard about it everywhere; I have seen it.

Another thing I think we have to do here in Ontario is destroy some of the myths and paranoia that are around. Number one, there is a myth going around -- and I think one of the members here is aware of this. It was an all-candidates meeting during the last election. Somebody had posed a question and it went something like this: "Are you aware, Mr Representative, that the Ontario Provincial Police cars are changing colour from black to blue, just like the Quebec Provincial Police? What do you have to say about that?" The implication is that Quebec is on an invasion of the rest of Canada and that, first, they take over the OPP, then they change the colours and then they put their own people in place of our OPP officers.

There is another thing going around Kingston, another interesting rumour. All the labels in Loblaw's were turned around so the French side was showing on one aisle. This is scary. They are coming. They are around the corner.

You think that is funny and I think that is funny, but the people at that one meeting -- I know you will recall, sir -- were very serious about these rumours.

Also, there is a rumour that there is a French plot and another example of it is the proliferation of French-language stations on TV and on radio the French-language radio stations are stronger. That is insidious, is it not? I mean, we have to address these. We have to bring these fears in the open and deal with them so that we discuss them and try to resolve them.

Now, there is another myth. If you learn a second language, your first language will suffer. We have all heard that. My son is learning a second language. He started last year and he is doing fine. You would not know that he is learning a second language. You would think he is a perfectly normal anglophone, but he is not. He is bilingual. He has been going to a French day care, he is now going to a French school and he is fine. He is just as bright as any other kid, and I know approximately 24 other kids who are the same way. They pick up French faster than they pick up a cold. That is what we should be doing in this province. We should be encouraging that, not discouraging it. We should be putting more money into that.

Interjection:Whose money?

Mr Dossett: The other thing is to have respect for people when they are talking. I listened to everybody else.

The Chair: Sorry, go ahead, Mr Dossett, although we do need to conclude it, so sum up as well.

Mr Dossett: Okay, have respect for other people, have respect for other opinions and listen. If we listen in the country, we can resolve our problems, but we have to be willing to listen and be prepared to at least open our ears. It does not mean we have to accept everything, but at least we can listen.

So I think we should expand bilingual education and make sure that more people in the province enrol their children in bilingual education and encourage diversity and consider it an asset and not a problem to be overcome or supressed, because surely, if we have people who can speak many languages in this country, it is a tremendous resource that we can use to sell our products abroad. It would be an advantage that countries like the United States would not have.

In conclusion, I hope that we as Canadians do not stand in the way of our development by being restrictive and restricting language, but we should be open and promote our language differences. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: David Wren, and then the final speaker will be Sheila Martin. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Wren: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to speak to you this evening regarding the perspective from the deaf community. You have to forgive me, I am a little nervous. I think I would like to state that we were very happy when Meech Lake accord was defeated, went to its death. There was a smile on every one of our faces, because there were numerous issues that were addressed that were of concern to us. An example would be the native issues, issues for women and for disabled people and their rights as well. Tonight I am going to be focusing more on the rights of deaf people.

People ask me if I am a person from Kingston, a Kingstonian. If they ask me if I am an Ontarian, I say no, and I am not a Kingstonian. I am a Canadian and that is what my response is when they ask me where I am from.

For many, many years the news on television has had closed-captioning regarding Canada, but specifically pertaining to Ontario it has been minimal. We do not have any local news stations closed-captioned. We do not have access to the events in my own home community here in Kingston. I would like to know what is going at city hall. I want to know what the issues are, people's opinions, but I do not have access to it because they are not captioned. Finally, Queen's Park now has its coverage closed-captioned, so we have access there, but again, our access with closed-captioning is limited.


Another example would be at Queen's Park, and this discussion here, the closed-captioning, it is not available continuously. Deaf people are very much interested in what peoples' opinions are. So the issue that people were talking about between French and English, and it seems to be more of communication and that is where the problems occur.

So deaf people are very tolerant, and that is a term that has been used. We are tolerant, more so with our language. We do have regional dialects within our language and we do have a language which is termed ASL, which is an acronym for American sign language, whereas we have the equivalent for the francophone deaf people, LSQ, which is language -- I am not sure of the total term for it, but it is the sign language for francophone deaf people. Then we also have maritime sign language. Deaf people are united and we are able to communicate through a visual form, so we are tolerant. We are very, very tolerant people.

So I think and I hope that we will see Quebec remain in Canada and become part of the Confederation. We do not and I personally do not want to see Quebec leave. This year in Kingston we will be hosting a show-pitch baseball tournament which is a national event and we will have representation from each province in Canada, as well as francophone deaf people from Quebec. We will have people communicating in LSQ, as well as bringing in LSQ interpreters. We are not opposed to the francophone deaf community. They are part of our family. We see no difference between us.

I guess that is all I wanted to say. Thanks.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Wren. Could I call then Sheila Martin? She is not here?

Okay then, that concludes our speakers for the evening and it concludes our hearings here in Kingston. We want to thank all those people who participated with us this evening and this afternoon. It certainly has added to the views that we heard expressed in the other locations. Our hearings continue tomorrow from Peterborough and we invite you to continue following our proceedings through the parliamentary network if you are so interested.

Thank you very much. Good evening. We are recessed.

The committee adjourned at 2235.