Wednesday 27 February 1991

Peterborough and District Labour Council

United Citizens' Organization

Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques

Conseil des organismes francophones de la région de Durham

Mel Jacobs

Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, Peterborough Chapter

Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational Institute

Lovesick Lake Native Women's Association

Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens

Evening sitting

J. Douglas Hindson

Wilfred A. Day

Rod Brandon

Morris Dale Gates

Peter Adams

John Hollingshurst

Keith Bottoms

Gregory Wood

Robert Bowley

Dean Wasson

John Christmas

Eric Davis

Peterborough New Democratic Party Riding Association

Jim Robinson

Cliff Spicer

Elaine Fritz

Ross Campbell

Allan O'Dette

Zita Devan

Ross Jones



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


Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West PC) for Mr Eves
Wilson, Gary (Kingston and The Islands NDP) for Ms Harrington

Clerk pro tem:
Brown, Harold

Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

The committee met at 1541 in the city hall, Peterborough.

The Chair: I call the meeting to order. Good afternoon. My name is Tony Silipo. I am the Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. I would like to welcome, on behalf of the committee, all of the members of the public who are here with us in Peterborough this afternoon. We are continuing our hearings across the province, to give the people of the province an opportunity to talk to us as a committee of the Legislature of Ontario on their wishes and aspirations for the future of the province and the country, and we appreciate the opportunity to be able to be here in Peterborough this afternoon and this evening.

First of all, I want to apologize for being late in starting, partly due to the committee members being late getting here from Kingston. That is where we were meeting earlier today. As people know, the proceedings are being televised over the parliamentary network, and we had some delays because of technical problems with that. In any event, we are beginning and we will ensure that all of the people who are on our list to speak will get heard. We will extend the time accordingly to make sure that happens.

I want to introduce the members of the committee. This is a committee made up of representatives of the three political parties. From the NDP caucus, in addition to myself we have Gary Wilson, Gilles Bisson, the Vice-Chair -- he will be joining us shortly -- Marilyn Churley, Gary Malkowski, Fred Wilson and David Winninger. From the Liberal caucus we have Charles Beer, who will also be joining us shortly, Yvonne O'Neill and Steven Offer. From the Conservative caucus, Charles Harnick and Chris Stockwell.

It has been a long day and a long week. This is the fourth week of our hearings, so we are getting a little tired. I think it is fair to say that, but we are none the less very interested and will be quite interested in the views of the people in this area of the province.

I think members of the committee have been told that the microphones here are voice-activated. I gather that some of the conversations we were having were being heard in the audience, which is fine. I think this is part of the process as well, but just so people realize that.


The Chair: I would like to call the first group to speak to us from the Peterborough and District Labour Council, Dean Shewring. I point out, as indicated on the schedule available to people, that we have allocated 15 minutes for each group presenting, and we would appreciate if within that presentation you would also allow a little time for us to deal with some questions from the committee.

Mr Shewring: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters. My name is Dean Shewring. I am the president of the Peterborough and District Labour Council. I have provided copies of my brief plus a supplement with source material for my presentation.

The Peterborough and District Labour Council, representing 44 affiliated locals with over 5,000 trade union members, has been asked to appear before this committee to present its position on the kind of Canada we would like to see in the future.

I, on behalf of the executive council and delegates to the labour council, would like to thank the members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation for giving me this opportunity to appear before you to present our views. We do, however, question the value of such an exercise, given the plethora of committees, commissions and fact-finding bodies currently criss-crossing Canada in search of the elusive soul of our country. Will the findings of this committee end up gathering dust on the same shelves as numerous royal commissions and committees of the past?

In any case, at least organized labour is being asked for its opinions. Labour is usually asked what it thinks after decisions have already been made, and then only as a matter of token concern. In spite of our doubts about this process, there is much to be said regarding the future of Canada and we, as representatives of organized labour in Peterborough and area, will endeavour to contribute positively to this debate.

We, as working people, sometimes despair at the games-playing of politicians, who seem to spend much of their time worrying about how they will appear in the history books instead of getting on with the job of governing this country on behalf of its citizens.

Organized labour has watched political parties, largely representing big business, manipulating the economy of Canada in the interests of the wealthy few at the expense of everyone else. The main technique used by these politicians to disguise their activities and to get themselves re-elected is through the promotion of regional tensions across the country. An obvious example of this is the blaming of Newfoundland for the failure of the Meech Lake accord. It was obvious to everyone that it was the single stand by Elijah Harper which killed the accord, but Mr Harper as a villain was not acceptable to the federal Tory government. They had to insist that Premier Clyde Wells and Newfoundland were the ones to blame. That is how it is done in this country: If your region or province fails at something, blame another region for your problems.

The past two federal governments have very successfully mastered this technique. It has been very easy over the years for politicians to use our country's geographic and linguistic differences to divide and conquer Canadians again and again. There is, however, a price to be paid for their success, and that price has been paid through Canada being brought to the point of disintegration.

Canada's economy at the federal level is being restructured by the Mulroney government to fit in with its narrow philosophy of: What's good for General Motors, or Argus Corp or the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, etc, is good for the country. We are told that free trade, contracting out, deregulation and privatization are good for Canada. The benefits of these wonderful new ideas, however, have proven to be very elusive for working Canadians.

Free trade with the US has been a disaster for Canada. Many new jobs were supposed to be created under this deal, but only 148,000 jobs have been created during the period of free trade while we have lost about 226,000 jobs in Canada during this same period. The chance that we can be winners in a new deal with both the US and Mexico is even more ludicrous, given that it is impossible for Canadian workers or businesses to compete with wages as low as $5 a day in Mexico.

The purposes of contracting out, deregulation and privatization are to reduce wage rates, standards of quality and to try to reduce the influence of trade unions, if not to eliminate them entirely. Both unionized and non-unionized workers only make advances when trade unions are strong and able to bargain for good contracts for their members and to lobby good labour legislation for all working Canadians.

The current recession has resulted in the loss of many jobs in the region, which includes the Peterborough area. The unemployment rate is up to 15.2%, according to the most recent figures. The recent massive rise in the cost of living can be directly linked to the introduction of the goods and services tax.

Big business, which can move to any place in this country where it can get the best deal, or can now move out of the country so much easier under free trade, has certainly gained a great deal from virtually every economic incentive introduced by the federal government. You do not hear many complaints from that quarter, except perhaps how Canada's social safety net must be cut to reduce the national debt, the deficit being that wonderful all-purpose excuse to do nothing when something clearly has to be done.

It is our economy which holds us together. It contains all of those activities of work, culture and communications which give us the common framework upon which the country is structured. Public works such as the building of railroads and other forms of mass transportation, social programs such as medicare and national communications such as the CBC are all part of this framework, and all are under attack by this government. The failure of recent initiatives by the federal government to promote the unity of Canada corresponds with its failure to promote an economic blueprint to contribute to the wellbeing of working people, the majority of Canadians.

There is no better example to give regarding the current federal government's failure to provide unity to this country than to state the example of what has happened to Canada Post. In January 1986, there were 5,955 rural and urban post offices in Canada. By mid-1990, 22 urban post offices and over 700 rural post offices had been closed. Canada Post plans to shut down its entire network of public post offices -- all 5,221 rural post offices and all 734 city and town post offices -- by 1996. Just as an aside, I should point out that I expect Canada Post to fail at this goal, because it is so incompetent at running the post office that even in dismantling it, it is showing its incompetence.

The rural post offices in this country and many of the urban post offices represent the only -- and we mean the only -- federal presence across much of Canada. When these offices are replaced by privatized postal outlets, there is no obligation to provide the full range of federal government materials or services which most Canadians should expect as a matter of course. It may seem a small point, but privatized postal outlets are under no obligation to fly the Canadian flag. There are no provisions made for other federal government operations to be provided at privatized postal outlets. The presence of the federal government will soon disappear entirely from much of rural Canada. Who is to blame for this state of affairs?


To quote the current president of Canada Post, Donald Lander, the program of privatization is "a government plan." How can you expect a country to remain united when the government itself is in the process of dismantling major areas of its structure which could be used in a positive way to keep Canada together?

There is one other important question which must be asked. What kind of future can Canada possibly have if our foreign policy is seen by most Canadians as being dictated by the government of the United States? Canada built a reputation as a responsible peacemaking power through its efforts in the United Nations. Canada has been very well regarded over the years as a country that could be relied on to make positive attempts to resolve international disputes and, on occasion, to take a different stance from the US on key issues when warranted.

Under the current federal government, Canada is being seen as lap-dog for US interests and, coupled with a toadying domestic economic policy, has brought our nation increasingly into international disrepute. How can we have a successful foreign policy if it is perceived as Brian Mulroney phoning George Bush to find out what it is?

Canada is in for a difficult time over the next few years. Our domestic economy is the key to our future, but it is now in the hands of an incompetent and corrupt federal government. Therefore, the first order of business for organized labour is to employ all means possible to remove this government from office. The Canadian Labour Congress, in conjunction with the provincial federations of labour and the labour councils, is currently implementing a program to achieve that goal.

There will be, for example, a demonstration against the economic policies of the Mulroney government at Queen's Park in Toronto on Saturday 16 March. The Peterborough and District Labour Council will be providing a bus for members from our affiliated locals, which will be leaving that morning from the Canadian General Electric, Monaghan Road parking lot about 8 am. All interested members of the public are invited to join us at this demonstration.

The Canadian Labour Congress, working with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, provided an alternative budget to the one presented by Finance Minister Michael Wilson. This alternative budget called for, among other things, the scrapping of the goods and services tax; a halt to all privatization and deregulation; a restoration of funding to Via Rail, the CBC, and for research and development; a tax increase for corporations and the wealthy; investment in public works, education and the environment; the introduction of a national non-profit child care system; a withdrawal of cuts to federal transfer payments; a lowering of interest rates; and provision of more social and nonprofit housing.

In addition, a recent conference on job loss sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Labour has called on the Canadian Labour Congress to organize a one-day work stoppage during 1991 as part of the CLC's fight-back campaign.

These and other measures to be announced in the near future will be used to try to force the current federal government to call an early election. It is important that the Mulroney government be removed from office as soon as possible to prevent it doing further irreparable damage to our Canadian federation.

Canada needs a government with direct involvement and input from the labour movement and workers in general if there is to be any hope of a positive future for Canada. Why? For one thing, Canadian workers cannot easily pack up and leave the country when the economic situation gets rough, unlike certain very mobile big business interests. Workers have a stake in the success of Canada as an independent nation. We cannot expect to attain our goals of peace, security and economic wellbeing if Canada is not united and secure from sea to sea.

The questions of native land claims, of Quebec's place in Confederation and of our relationships with other governments, both domestic and foreign, could all be satisfactorily dealt with if working people had a more direct voice in government. The events of the last six years demonstrate this very well.

The future of Canada looks rather bleak at the moment, but we have gotten through worse in the past. Through all sections of society working together we can provide a future for our children and grandchildren in a united and prosperous Canada. Thank you.

Mr G. Wilson: As the past president of the Kingston and District Labour Council, I am particularly pleased to welcome you to this forum. You certainly provide a lot of solid data about why the Mulroney government represents such a threat, and I think you would agree that it represents it to all of Canada.

My question concerns the relation between organized labour in Quebec and organized labour in the rest of the country. From your experience, I would like to ask you whether you think the relation is as strong as it could be and, if not, how it could be fostered so that there is more contact, because presumably the policies of the Mulroney government are disastrous for labour in Quebec as well.

Mr Shewring: One good thing about it is the fact that the Canadian Labour Congress is represented in Quebec through the Quebec Federation of Labour, so there is regular contact every two years at the conventions as well as ongoing programs of the CLC which occur. The labour councils, as you should know from direct experience, are directly chartered by the Canadian Labour Congress, so we can get all sorts of information from the labour movement in Quebec and find out more about what is going on. There is at least a major line of communications with labour in Quebec, although, as you also well know, there are other labour confederations in Quebec which are not affiliated with the CLC. But on an ongoing basis, particularly at the CLC conventions, a lot of these questions are dealt with, and hopefully, if the atmosphere gets a little better, then perhaps we can foster a better relationship across the boundaries.

In fact, I recall watching this committee hearing a couple of days ago, and I heard a gentleman, I believe from Quebec, express the position that it would be a good idea to have more ordinary citizens going to and from Quebec to Ontario and obviously other parts of the country as well to try to communicate more directly, because that is one of the major problems we have, the fact that the politicians with their own interests -- their own obvious interests, from my point of view and I think from a lot of people's point of view -- have been mainly involved with the process of the disintegration of Canada. I know it would be a lot better if ordinary citizens, working Canadians, had a chance to talk to each other, and that is an idea perhaps you might consider in your report.

Mr G. Wilson: Could I just have a brief supplement?

The Chair: I am sorry, we are going to carry on.


Mr Harnick: Sir, you made mention of the visibility of the central government, and your reference was the post office.

Mr Shewring: Yes. I work there.

Mr Harnick: That the federal or central government should be visible. We have heard a lot from different people, some who believe that with constitutional amendment the central government should be less visible and should decentralize, the provinces should become stronger, and we have also heard the opposite. In terms of labour's position, does labour believe in a decentralized federal government or does it believe that we should have, after any amendments to the Constitution are made, a stronger federal government?

Mr Shewring: It is difficult for me to speak on behalf of all organized labour on this particular issue, but I know the question of the visibility of the federal government is important, and also the question that the federal government should be living up to its responsibilities. It should not be getting out of everything the way it has been doing.

I do not have information prepared to state exactly what particular areas it should be in or not in, but, for example, national transportation is very important, national communications are very important. If those things are not in the hands of and controlled by the federal government, then we are in real serious trouble. We are in trouble now, but we would be in worse trouble.

But when you think about the ones I mentioned in my brief, communications, transportation, those areas -- and the post office is part of communications -- the flag has to be shown across the country. The way to do it is in those areas where the federal government is responsible, most importantly responsible.

The economic leverage of this country has to be at least shared with the provinces. We understand that the provinces have almost all the economic responsibilities pretty much right now, with the exception of, say, trade and several other areas, but there should be a sharing of those areas where there is a federal government interest.

I know it is hard to explain in that way, but as long as the major segments of transportation and communications are in the hands of the federal government, administered by it and definitely something which it knows it is responsible for and is not going to try to slough off on someone else, then that, I think, is the most important thing.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Shewring. We have to carry on.


The Chair: I call next Ray Peters from the United Citizens' Organization.

Mr Peters: I have given sufficient copies to the clerk of our presentation of three pages. I hope all committee members have a copy of it.

My name is Ray Peters and I am president of the United Citizens' Organization of Peterborough and district. I will explain very briefly a few aspects of our organization. Our organization is made up mainly of low-income citizens but not exclusively so. Included as one of the aims in our constitution is that we will work unitedly for the betterment of all the people in our country. Our preamble provides that we "unite citizens regardless of age, sex, race, nationality, creed, political beliefs or affiliations." Oh, what a wonderful thing it would be if our country would subscribe to this basic belief and put into practice these great principles, and put our shoulder to the wheel for the betterment of our citizens. Maybe all of us would learn how to keep our country together if all the well-meaning people in our country embarked on a crusade for a united Canada.

The question is raised: Do we pay too much attention to the things that divide us and too little to what we have in common? I think we do. I think we have allowed extremists to be the loudmouths in our country who attempt to monopolize the use of the media in all its forms, whether it is letters to the editor or whatever. It is high time the silent majority in this country spoke up loudly and clearly that we are not going to allow this country to be balkanized and destroyed, nor are we going to allow highly prejudiced people to destroy our unity.

I am not trying to hide the fact many people hold genuine concerns, grievances and complaints and that we have to provide social justice to our people. Of course we must address these concerns and must take corrective actions, but we have to do it within the framework of keeping our country together.

Our organization will be mainly talking about social and economic issues because the effects of those policies are the ones that low-income citizens experience every day. These policies affect citizens whether they are in Quebec, Ontario, in our native communities, or any of our provinces or the Yukon or Northwest Territories. Most of the people of the world would give their eye-teeth to live in a country with the potential of Canada. Unfortunately, it often seems we are wasting our opportunities.

Our country was established by many people who realized the necessity of our east-west economic ties, and these ranged from people such as Sir John A. Macdonald, to our cross-continental trains and highways, to the CBC. However, the east-west economic ties that have been an historic feature of the Canadian economy are being replaced by stronger north-south links.

Premier Bob Rae said, "This is the time for politicians to rise above partisan interests." Former Premier David Peterson said, "I believe in Canada not only as an economic and political unit, but as the best expression of the type of caring and compassionate society that has served Canadians well for the past 123 years." We have proven that Canadians really care about less wealthy provinces by equalization payments, and this principle is now contained in the Canadian Constitution.

However, our native people suffer from wilful neglect. Fully 40% of their families must share their dwelling unit with another family. Half of all their housing has unsafe water and inadequate sewage disposal. The death rate for status Indians age 22 to 44 is four times the national average. The rate of violent deaths is also four times the national average. Infant mortality, suicide rates and the rate of admission to hospitals are a shameful page in our history.

Is it unreasonable for a Canadian worker in this rich country of ours to have the opportunity for a job and training when it is required? I think it is not unreasonable, and when we talk of over a million or a million and a half people being unemployed, then we are not providing the social justice which is required. If we want our citizens to be united, we must give them a stake in our country. When we do not do so, we are fanning the flames of separatism and the absorption of our country by the United States.

When we have consumer and business bankruptcies which jumped 69% in January 1991 to 5,991, the highest ever recorded in that month in our country, we are talking about very serious problems. The greatest tragedies in that scenario are probably young people who bought homes with big mortgages and now are having their small businesses destroyed, with all that means in terms of disruption of family and business life.

Our Canadian dollar has been priced too high, partially through high interest rates, which created a made-in-Canada recession. Many of our citizens do a lot of their shopping in the United States, and I think we have to expose the false economy of those efforts and how our treasured social and medical coverage are being undermined.

We had a free trade agreement with the United States and are now talking about including Mexico in that deal. At the same time, the public is being told that wages of 80 cents per hour in Mexico would not be unfair competition for Canadian workers. What hogwash. We need trade, but it needs to be managed trade on a mutually beneficial basis, where wages and working conditions must meet certain standards.

Social housing is one of the prime requirements in most parts of our country, and we must increase expenditures for that purpose for many years to come because we will not succeed in doing it in one or two years.

One of the abominations in this country is that the federal government has placed a 5% limit on payments to the provinces for welfare allowances, mothers' allowances and disability allowances under the Canada assistance plan in three provinces, which includes Ontario. None of the provinces agreed to it, and the result will be more suffering, greater deprivation and of course premature deaths due to the scourge of poverty.

What a way to rip our country apart. We are going to treat three provinces differently from others. We have to develop a climate in this country where the workers of the nation feel they are not being singled out as they have been for many years in terms of their standards of working and wages, which have suffered tremendously, and the statistics show that over a period of years.


Our treasured youth: We have to make our youth feel this is a land of opportunity for them rather than simply providing jobs as hamburger flippers or low-paying service sector jobs. If we really examine the statistics -- and this is rarely talked about -- we find that our youth are being paid terribly low wages. It is something we did not experience in the past in this country. Very often, the young people got very good wages, but not so today in most instances or a lot of instances.

At the same time, we must change the tax system to close the loopholes whereby many rich individuals and businesses do not pay their fair share of taxes. How can we escape the cynicism of citizens when they know from the length and breadth of this country that the people who can well afford to do it are not paying their proper share?

If we do these things successfully, we will create a majority of stakeholders in this nation who will go out and fight for a strong and united Canada in, I predict, every province and every region of our country. If we do not try hard to do so, we will have serious problems for many years to come.

The chronic disease of unemployment for this region we are in, economic region 520, was 15.2% for January 1991; that is including the Peterborough area. These were official figures, which were not disguised by the new three-month moving average which is now being used as well. The committee is probably aware of this new method being utilized by the federal government to state rates of unemployment. The official statistics of Statistics Canada -- I have them right here; you see the label: "Statistics Canada" -- say the rate of unemployment for this area is 15.2%, but now you get a three-month moving average and, presto, the rate that is released is 12.2%.

The reason we are concerned with unemployment is because the original founders of our organization were mainly unemployed. But we changed our name in 1974 to the United Citizens' Organization, because we represent all kinds of different categories of people, not just unemployed. We were originally founded in 1960 and have been the antipoverty organization in this area ever since.

Our industries in this area have been devastated. General Electric in 1957 had close to 6,000 employees. Outboard Marine, our second-largest industry, at one time had over 2,000 employees and now has only a few dozen. Westclox used to have close to 1,000 employees and now has only a handful. Brinton Carpet closed. Canada Packers closed. Many other industries have had very much lower employment levels. It is true, a certain amount of the slack was taken up, but with low-paid service industries, and our wage levels in terms of comparison with other communities has fallen dramatically. Peterborough used to have one of the highest percentage of industrial employees, with over 50%, but it is probably in the low 20% range now.

Central to a strong Canada is that citizens would have rights which are part of their everyday living. In our 31 years, we have fought cases for thousands and thousands of Peterborough area citizens, in the city and in the rural areas, and in all that time there have only been a few years in which we received funding from the federal government, in the 1970s, for job creation, advocacy and demonstration projects. Since 1979, we have not received one cent from any level of government. Successive provincial governments have told us there was no money to provide funding for our advocacy efforts, and we have never received money from that source. It is high time both the provincial government and the federal government recognized that legitimate, long-term organizations fighting for the rights of low-income citizens should be able to obtain funding with reasonable criteria.

Alberta's Ombudsman in February 1991 stated that there should be a federal Ombudsman's office, and we would add that there needs to be an expansion of the provincial Ombudsman's office to handle complaints against municipalities.

We also think it is high time that our country built or manufactured a much higher degree of the goods in our country, as a job-creation project and to increase our self-sufficiency. We have the potential in Canada, but we need the political will and the individual commitment to regain the prosperity we once knew in our country. If governments provide the leadership, citizens will respond, and if we can create prosperity, real prosperity, in our country, the differences will disappear like melting snow.

A lot of people do not realize that when we talked about fiscal prosperity 25 and 35 years ago, we were talking about real prosperity. We are not talking about the disguised one which we have had in the last few years which ignores the hundreds of thousands of people who are not counted as being unemployed and suffering. But I can tell you for certain that they do exist in our country.

The Chair: I thank you, sir, very much.


The Chair: I call next Fleurette Léger, de l'Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques.

Mme F. Léger : Monsieur le Président, membres de la commission : Raymond Léger, un représentant du Conseil des écoles séparées catholiques du district de Lakehead m'accompagne pour répondre aux questions.

Je m'appelle Fleurette Léger, présidente sortante de l'Association franco-ontarienne des conseils d'écoles catholiques, ou AFOCEC. Fondée le 4 août 1988, cette association regroupe des conseillers et conseillères scolaires, administrateurs/administratrices, dans 22 sections de langue française de conseils scolaires catholiques. Forte des principes qui orientent l'action de ces conseils membres, l'association a comme but ultime la promotion de l'éducation catholique de langue française en Ontario, et ce à tous les niveaux d'enseignement et pour une clientèle qui s'échelonne du préscolaire à l'âge adulte.

Consciente de l'importance de l'éducation pour la survie et l'épanouissement d'une collectivité de langue minoritaire, l'AFOCEC apprécie l'occasion qui lui est offerte de faire connaître aux membres du comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération les aspirations de ses membres mais déplore qu'un débat d'une aussi grande importance se fasse selon un échéancier aussi serré. L'AFOCEC aurait voulu prendre le temps d'approfondir et de répondre à toutes les questions soulevées dans le document de discussion mais, faute de temps, je me vois dans l'obligation de vous présenter une synthèse de notre pensée.

Les francophones de notre association sont grandement inquiets de la situation des Franco-Ontariens face au rejet de l'accord du Lac Meech, au climat qui règne à l'heure actuelle au Québec et aux gestes d'intolérance et d'injustice qui furent posés dans plusieurs municipalités de la province de l'Ontario en 1990. Les événements de la dernière année ont démontré clairement que notre constitution est très inefficace et même désuète. Dans la plupart des cas, il faut l'approbation des Communes, du sénat et d'au moins sept provinces représentant 50% de la population pour changer quelque chose à cette constitution. Dans d'autres cas il faut l'approbation de toutes les provinces, et vous en avez vu le résultat quand moins de 10% de la population du Canada a bloqué l'accord du Lac Meech. Pourquoi ? Deux poids, deux mesures. De plus, les Communes, le sénat et les provinces ont trois ans pour approuver ces changements. Quelle foutaise, puisqu'il y a au moins deux ou trois élections provinciales durant cette période.

La crise constitutionnelle alarmante est loin d'être étrangère à la question linguistique. Le gouvernement ontarien, par le biais de sa politique linguistique, doit promouvoir sa minorité plutôt que de l'opprimer. Plus de huit ans après que les droits à l'enseignement dans la langue minoritaire étaient inscrits dans la Charte, l'Ontario n'assure toujours pas l'accès complet à des établissements de langue française.


Les francophones de l'Ontario ont dû mener des luttes acharnées et déchirantes et ont obtenu des miettes des législateurs provinciaux. Je rappelle à votre mémoire l'infâme Règlement 17, les crises scolaires de Sturgeon Falls, de Elliot Lake, de Penetanguishene et j'en passe. Dans plusieurs cas nous avons dû traîner le gouvernement de l'Ontario devant les tribunaux pour faire respecter nos droits. Je mentionne ici les causes les plus récentes, la Loi 30, la Loi 125.

L'AFOCEC est de l'avis que les catholiques francophones ont un droit garanti à un système complet de conseils scolaires catholiques de langue française selon l'article 93 de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867 et les articles 15, 23 et 29 de la Charte des droits et libertés de 1982, une éducation de qualité égale à celle de la majorité. Nous tenons à souligner que la gestion de l'éducation en langue française ne pourra pas répondre adéquatement aux besoins de la population franco-ontarienne aussi longtemps qu'on n'aura pas la pleine gestion de nos institutions, de la maternelle à la fin de l'université. La manque de programmes de formation professionnelle collégiale ou universitaire en français constitue un handicap majeur pour les francophones qui veulent se qualifier dans leur langue maternelle. Il est à noter que le Québec, avec une population d'environ 580 000 anglophones, dispose de trois universités et de six cégeps de langue anglaise.

Au Nouveau-Brunswick, où la population est de 50% moindre qu'en Ontario, les Acadiens jouissent d'un système complet d'éducation en langue française. Les commissions sur l'unité nationale au cours des années ont toutes reconnu que les deux cultures, française et anglaise, constituaient le fondement même de la Confédération. Les recherches sur les besoins des Franco-Ontariens précisent que dans une province très majoritairement anglophone, les services judiciaires, les services de santé, sociaux et de communication doivent être renforcés afin de contrer l'assimilation galopante. C'est grâce à des investissements personnels des communautés religieuses et campagnes de souscription que les Franco-Ontariens se sont dotés d'infrastructures culturelles, communautaires et économiques. Plusieurs citoyens questionneront les coûts rattachés à ces services, mais n'est-ce pas un prix minime à payer pour garder le Canada uni ?

Depuis quelques années nous reconnaissons que les gouvernements ont injecté des fonds pour la promotion du bilinguisme. Il faut aussi souligner la contribution des gouvernements au multiculturalisme. On entend souvent les commentaires face aux coûts pour éduquer les francophones, mais on n'entend à peu près jamais parler des coûts pour éduquer une poignée d'anglophones dans des endroits à forte population francophone. Certains prétendent que les francophones de l'Ontario jouissent de privilèges et de faveurs linguistiques. Les Franco-Ontariens ont appris une deuxième langue sans l'aide du gouvernement. Par contre, les employés anglophones ont accès a des cours de formation linguistique payés par les contribuables. Au Québec, la minorité anglophone a ses propres hôpitaux et un réseau de services sociaux subventionnés par la province.

Le gouvernement du Canada a donné les sommes suivantes en 1988-89 pour l'enseignement aux groupes minoritaires : pour les francophones hors Québec, 76 millions de dollars ; pour les anglophones du Québec, 62 millions de dollars. Pour l'étude de l'autre langue, les francophones du Québec, 12 millions de dollars ; les anglophones hors Québec, 65 millions de dollars ; pour les francophones du Nouveau-Brunswick : 800 000 $ ; pour les anglophones du Québec :1,8 million de dollars, pour un total de 89 millions de dollars pour les francophones et de 128 millions de dollars pour les anglophones.

L'AFOCEC est consciente que les discussions constitutionnelles partout au pays auront un impact profond sur la toile de fond du nouveau Canada. Pour les francophones de l'Ontario, le Québec demeure le berceau de la francophonie. L'AFOCEC propose donc au comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération :

Premièrement, que les recommandations des consultations actuelles au Québec servent de base pour trouver un terrain d'entente entre le Canada et le Québec. Ottawa et l'Ontario doivent faire des concessions pour sauvegarder la langue et la culture françaises au Québec et hors Québec.

Deuxièmement, que les législateurs adoptent un processus d'amendements plus équilibré.

Troisièmement, qu'il est essentiel que les structures canadiennes maintiennent leur bilinguisme dans les institutions gouvernementales et que les gouvernements fassent la promotion et l'application de cette politique à travers le Canada.

Quatrièmement, qu'une réforme du sénat s'impose et que dans toute nouvelle proposition les législateurs doivent s'assurer qu'un nombre de sièges soient réservés aux francophones hors Québec.

Cinquièmement, que dans tout amendement à la Loi constitutionnelle de 1982 soient enchâssés les principes suivants : aux droits religieux acquis, le paragraphe 93(1) de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867, les articles 29 et 15 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés de 1982 ; aux droits linguistiques, l'article 23 de la Charte ; le jugement dans l'affaire Mahé le 15 mars 1990 ; aux droits sociaux, la Loi de 1986 sur les services en français ; et aux droits économiques, le financement juste et équitable pour répondre à ces droits.

Nous demandons aux législateurs de l'Ontario d'exercer un rôle de leadership afin de dénouer l'impasse constitutionnelle qui secoue le Canada en entier et de ne pas perdre de vue les cris des 500 000 citoyens francophones de cette province. Il s'agit du groupe le plus important de francophones hors Québec. Nous avons joué un rôle de premier ordre dans la découverte et le développement de l'Ontario depuis plus de trois siècles. Nous tenons à garder la place qui nous revient dans cette province. Je vous remercie.

Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. I have basically two short questions from your presentation.

First, and it may be that I just misheard this, we have heard in other presentations of people's feeling that the failure of Meech Lake is read as a rejection of Quebec, and I think I heard you state in your opening statements that you see the rejection of Meech Lake as a rejection of francophone rights in Ontario. Now, I do not know if that is what you have stated, but if it is, I would like to get a further expansion of that point.

The second question I ask is that you made the point dealing with the need for French education and day care centres, all the way up to post-secondary and university education, and you stated that you recognized the cost, "but the price is low if we want to maintain the unity of the country." I am wondering if you can expand upon where the link is between the advancement of francophone rights in this province and the unity of the country vis-à-vis all other provinces.


M. R. Léger : Alors, on a mentionné que, disons la défaite, le rejet de l'accord Meech était aussi une défaite de la francophonie en Ontario. À mon avis, et je dis bien à mon avis personnel, le rejet de l'accord Meech était un rejet de la société distincte au Québec. Les Franco-Ontariens sont une extension de cette société distincte du Québec bien que nous soyons différents des Québécois puisque nous avons évolué dans une société à majorité anglophone dans un système judiciaire autre que celui du Québec, cependant nous avons des droits comme Franco-Ontariens. Si le Canada n'est pas prêt à reconnaître la société distincte du Québec, nous nous posons de sérieuses questions. Est-ce qu'on est prêt à accepter la différence linguistique et culturelle des Franco-Ontariens ?

Donc, c'est dans cet aspect-là que nous nous posons des questions. L'éducation en langue française, nous savons qu'elle a toujours existé en Ontario. Cependant, nous savons très bien qu'elle a été limitée soit au palier élémentaire soit dans des institutions privées en Ontario jusqu'en 1969 quand le gouvernement a bien voulu accorder des écoles secondaires de langue française en Ontario.

Avant ça, il n'était pas question d'écoles secondaires de langue française financées publiquement en Ontario. Présentement, nous avons un seul collège communautaire ou collège d'arts appliqués et de technologie en Ontario ; c'est la Cité collégiale qui dessert l'est de l'Ontario. Or, environ un tiers de la population franco-ontarienne est desservie par un seul collège en Ontario. Nous n'avons aucune université en Ontario qui a le mandat de desservir la population franco-ontarienne. C'est ça l'état de la question en éducation aujourd'hui.

Quant à l'unité, les Franco-Ontariens se sont toujours considérés comme à l'avant-poste de la francophonie en Ontario. Nous avons subi les difficultés d'incompréhension par le passé. Le coût pour nous en Ontario a été une assimilation galopante. Même, on pouvait dire jusqu'à tout récemment que hors du Québec, point de salut pour les francophones. C'est ça vraiment ce que j'ai toujours personnellement dit : quand on quittait le Québec, il n'y avait pas de droits. Heureusement que l'Ontario a donné les écoles secondaires en 1969 et reconnu les écoles élémentaires comme étant des écoles de langue française et non pas des écoles anglaises-françaises, a reconnu le palier collégial en partie en Ontario et surtout en 1986 a donné la Loi sur les services en français. Mais encore là, c'est de façon partielle et c'est peut-être encore trop peu. Merci.


M. le Président : Gilles Fournier.

M. Fournier : Bonjour. À la fin de ma présentation, Denis Bédard et moi-même pourrons répondre à vos questions s'il y a lieu.

Je me nomme Gilles Fournier. Je suis membre de l'exécutif du Conseil des organismes francophones de la région de Durham. Permettez-nous tout d'abord de vous remercier de nous avoir accordé le privilège de vous adresser la parole au nom du Conseil des organismes francophones de la région de Durham.

L'Ontario est sans contredit à la croisée des chemins en ce qui a trait à son avenir personnel au sein de la fédération des provinces connues sous le nom de Canada. C'est pourquoi notre mémoire misera sur le fait que l'Ontario doit accentuer la dualité linguistique nationale qui fait partie de l'identité canadienne. Comme Paul Demers, le chansonnier franco-ontarien l'a si bien dit : «Il faut mettre les accents là où il le faut».

Tout d'abord, situons notre organisme par rapport au vécu des francophones dans la région de Durham et ensuite nous vous ferons part de notre vision de l'Ontario au sein du Canada.

Le Conseil des organismes francophones regroupa 24 organismes dont le centre communautaire l'Amicale, la Fédération des femmes canadiennes-françaises de l'Ontario, SOS Femmes, le Club Jeunesse d'hier, le club La clique et le Club canadien-français. Ce conseil dessert une population de 5000 francophones dans la région immédiate de la ville d'Oshawa. Son mandat culturel assure une cohésion et une vitalité d'expression française dans une mer anglophone de plus en plus multiculturelle. À titre d'exemple, l'Amicale, centre communautaires des francophones d'Oshawa, initie et parraine de nombreuses activités francophones afin de promouvoir le fait français dans la région.

Cette présence francophone, en dépit du fait que notre région n'est pas désignée comme étant bilingue, est responsable en grande partie de la croissance francophone qui se manifeste depuis la dernière décennie. L'ouverture d'une deuxième école élémentaire française en plus d'une école secondaire française et la planification d'une troisième école élémentaire témoignent du désir des francophones de se maintenir et même de s'épanouir comme collectivité dans une région qui autrefois se disait exclusivement anglophone. De plus, la Loi 8, adoptée en 1986 et mise en oeuvre en 1989, confirme de façon officielle la dualité linguistique ontaroise «là où le nombre le justifie» et assure aux francophones une viabilité continue de leur culture.

Cette potentialité, reconnue par le gouvernement Peterson et appuyée par les deux autres partis politiques, a servi d'exemple au reste de notre pays que la majorité se doit de s'occuper d'une façon plus définie et plus équitable de sa minorité nationale.

Nous croyons que ce geste concret cherchait à créer un lien, un rapprochement entre les minorités anglaise et française du Québec et de l'Ontario et la façon dont elles étaient perçues par leur gouvernement respectif. Mais, au fait, est-ce que l'Ontario répond à la vision nationale énoncée par les pères de la Confédération en 1867 ?

Le Québec semble avoir compris cette vision. Tout en cherchant à s'épanouir culturellement, il a reconnu et maintenu le fait anglais dans les tribunaux et à la législature. Il a mis en oeuvre une législation spéciale pour garantir l'accès aux services médicaux et sociaux à sa minorité anglaise. Par conséquent, il existe de nombreuses institutions éducatives, médicales et sociales gérées par et pour les anglophones qui répondent très bien aux besoins de cette minorité.

C'est pour cette raison que l'Ontario se doit de se déclarer officiellement bilingue, non pas pour apaiser les Franco-Québécois, mais pour répondre aux besoins de sa population grandissante de francophones et francophiles ontarois. La raison pour laquelle le français doit être choisi comme deuxième langue officielle par opposition à l'italien, le portugais ou l'arabe est que la vision originale de notre pays englobe la dualité anglo-française ou, si vous voulez, franco-anglaise. Bien que le pays n'ait vu ses débuts officiels qu'en 1867, n'oublions pas que nos racines canadiennes relèvent des années 1530. En effet, notre héritage historique et culturel est un mélange, que l'on l'admette ou non, de l'anglais et du français. Le Franco-Ontarien vit cette réalité depuis longtemps.

C'est pour cette raison que l'Ontario, en ce moment de remise en question nationale, doit prendre l'initiative et agir comme le maillon clé pour unifier les diverses régions du pays.


En guise de conclusion, il est important de se rappeler que le Canada est un pays distinct à cause de cette coexistence entre le français et l'anglais. L'ironie est que cette situation se manifeste d'une façon officielle au Nouveau-Brunswick et au Québec où la minorité anglophone a le même droit que la majorité francophone sauf en ce qui a trait à la langue officielle. Ainsi la toile de fond de ce pays, qui est le bilinguisme au niveau fédéral et le multiculturalisme, tant fédéral que provincial, n'est qu'une manifestation plus visible de cette tolérance qui découle de notre héritage biculturel.

En terminant, permettez-nous de vous proposer les recommandations suivantes : que l'Ontario se déclare officiellement bilingue et par le fait même qu'il assume un rôle de leadership au sein de la fédération canadienne ; que l'Ontario établisse des mécanismes pour la gestion d'un système éducatif complet pour les francophones, comme c'est le cas depuis 124 ans pour les anglophones, ici et ailleurs ; que l'Ontario mette sur pied un réseau de services sociaux francophones, administrés par des francophones et incluant hôpitaux, centres communautaires et le reste là où on en fait la demande et non pas là où le nombre le justifie ; que l'Ontario garantisse par statut l'existence d'un ministre pour affaires francophones.

Ces quatre recommandations, honorables membres du comité, serviront à redresser les inégalités historiques qui datent depuis longtemps et permettront une mise au point sur le statut actuel des francophones en Ontario. De plus, elles témoigneront l'initiative sincère de cette province d'assurer un bilinguisme authentique pour tous les francophones et francophiles à venir. Voilà ce qui s'appelle vivre la dualité canadienne.

Mr Bisson: My colleague would like to know your colleague's name.

M. Fournier : Denis Bédard.

Mr G. Wilson: Thanks for a very informative brief, Mr Fournier. You are asking for, especially in the educational field, French instruction from child care to university. But beyond that, there are very few opportunities, probably in this area in particular, for working in French, and I am just wondering what difference that makes to the culture. I guess this would then come down to what it means to be a minority in a larger society.

M. Bédard : D'après votre question, je vous réponds premièrement qu'il y a au-dessus de 700 000 francophiles en Ontario, c'est-à-dire pas des francophones, mais des francophiles qui ont appris le français comme langue seconde. Ces gens-là croissent de plus en plus et à un moment donné il va falloir qu'il y ait un débouché non seulement pour les Franco-Ontariens mais aussi pour les francophiles, et dire tout simplement parce que présentement il n'y a pas de demandes dans une région particulière -- nous avons cité dans notre mémoire que dans la région de Durham, qui était exclusivement une région anglaise auparavant, maintenant nous avons des écoles d'immersion, nous avons deux écoles primaires, une troisième qu'on planifie et ensuite une école secondaire. Il va falloir que, avec un système complet d'éducation, et on ne parle même pas de collège -- je pense que dans notre mémoire on vous a mentionné tantôt qu'il y a un collège en Ontario pour desservir toute la population francophone et francophile -- à un moment donné on demande de plus en plus des gens qui peuvent s'exprimer dans les deux langues officielles. Je pense que vous constatez que, avec la Loi 8, vous avez un permis de conduire où c'est dans les deux langues officielles ; le besoin se fait de plus en plus sentir. Est-ce que nous allons attendre que ce besoin soit tellement grand que l'on est obligé d'acquiescer à la demande et dire : «Bien oui, vous avez raison», ou est-ce qu'on commence a prévoir le besoin chez les francophones et les francophiles ? J'insiste sur le mot francophile parce qu'il y en a de plus en plus qui possèdent plus d'une langue. La mentalité américaine d'avoir uniquement une langue et de tout gérer dans le monde, je pense que ça disparaît de plus en plus et vous savez comme moi qu'en Europe il faut trois et même quatre langues pour pouvoir accéder a des postes. Est-ce que ça répond suffisamment ?

Mr Stockwell: Under your recommendations, you made it very clear. You said where you would supply certain programs, community centres, social services, schooling: in fact, where asked, where they have been requested. It has nothing to do with numbers; it is just where they were requested. Any thoughts on what kind of cost would be incurred, or are you very clear about that? It has not anything to do with numbers; you are directly saying where they have been requested, whether there are 5, 10, 500, 5,000.

M. Fournier : Nous comprenons la difficulté d'offrir certains services à un nombre très restreint de gens. Par contre, il pourrait y exister des services centralisés en différentes régions afin de permettre, par exemple à Moosonee, de se rendre à un endroit où on pourrait se faire servir dans sa propre langue. Dans le moment il existe, par exemple, très peu de centres médicaux où un francophone peut se faire traiter strictement en français. Il en existe à Toronto, il en existe peut-être quelques-uns dans le Nord mais ils sont très difficiles d'accès puis ils sont très difficiles à trouver pour les francophones.

Dans le moment, on aimerait voir des services centralisés en différentes régions afin de ne pas nier le droit aux francophones de se faire servir, n'importe l'endroit où ils demeurent dans cette province.


The Chair: I call next Chief Mel Jacobs from the Curve Lake First Nation.

Mr Jacobs: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, committee members. I do not have a brief for you. Kathleen Taylor was originally supposed to make a presentation today on behalf of the Ontario Native Welfare Administrators Association. She was unable to attend, so she asked if I could come and I thank you for allowing me to be here.

I am not going to speak on behalf of the welfare workers association; I am going to speak on behalf of the Curve Lake First Nation. I am the chief of the first nation. It is a community of 1,250 members locally here. Some 850 of those members live on a reserve of about three square miles. It gives you some idea of the size of the community.

I am not going to speak about grievances or specific things that we have to worry about. I would much rather use this agenda today and this opportunity to speak to you about something that I think not only Indian people but non-Indian people are very much concerned with today, and that is the arrogance, lack of communication, Lack of response of members of provincial Parliament when questions are asked or when new processes are put in place.

That is my opening statement with regard to Canada and Indians. However, I think if the Canadian people knew exactly what the Indian agenda was, not only nationally but in the province of Ontario, if they knew what the process was to deal with that agenda and if they knew what the expected results may or may not be at the end of that agenda, we would have a better process of dealing with those things.

Nationally we have claims that are on the table, claims that have been on the table for many, many years. We have pre-Confederation treaties or claims that are not even recognized. There was an arbitrary date established, but there were treaties that dealt with Indians before that. We have treaty grievances nationally. Both governments have talked about self-government initiatives, and in support of those there is discussion about sovereignty. What does sovereignty mean to you? Does it mean sovereignty outside of Confederation? Does it mean some sovereignty within Confederation?

Our constitutional rights were recognized. Constitutional rights were not defined. There is a section of the Constitution that said, "You do have rights." We do not know what they are yet. It seems to me the only time that we really find out what they are is when the Supreme Court of Canada makes a decision such as Sparrow Lake that says there is a right to fish. That is the only time we can find out what constitutional rights are.

I think that leads to the Canadian public generally perceiving that Indian people in Canada are going to continue for ever, endlessly to be a drain on the good social programming of the country. But we do feel that there is an end in sight if in fact the governments do what they say they are doing.

The Prime Minister of Canada talked about the four pillars, the green plan. He was talking about dealing with the issues of claims in a much quicker and professional manner. Premier Rae made statements soon after his election indicating that if the federal government and the province of Ontario could not get together and collaborate and deal with some of the issues, he would be prepared to move on without the federal government. So we do think we have some agreement from the government.

But I think the Canadian people, the people of Ontario have to understand what that means to them. If the ease is there that the provincial governments and the federal governments are willing to deal with all these issues more rapidly -- six eases a year federally, more rapidly than two cases a year provincially -- then perhaps we should let them know that. The quicker, the better, because the quicker we get some of these claims settled, the quicker we will move towards economic self-reliance.


I mentioned the three-square-mile area that 850 people live on because it does have quite an effect on whether you can become an economically viable place for people to live. If you do not have a good resource base to work with, then you cannot possibly do something. You are going to continue to be a drain on some social programs. And I reflect back this past summer, to the Oka situation. I do believe that if we let Canada know what is going on, if we let the people know what is going on, they will react.

If you had taken a poll the day after the incident in Oka, I think you would have got a much different opinion than we got, let's say, in September, when 72% of the people polled said, "Yes, I think we should deal with Indian crises, I think we should deal with the situation now with claims, I think we should move forward and deal with it." I do not think that is an accident though. The crisis itself was very quick; the crisis was not resolved quickly. It took time. The media needed time, they needed filler. They did some historical backgrounding. They got some information that said, "Yes, maybe it is a legitimate grievance.

So I think if we establish what the ground rules are, if we let the Canadian public know what they are, if you let the Indian people know what they are and if they are legitimate and dealt with in that manner, Canada will be a much better place. If we listen to what the people are saying, Indian and non-Indian, and if we tell them what we plan to do with it, I think it will make a better Canada. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. There are a couple of questions, but let me first of all say to you that one thing has been clear in our hearings so far: the overwhelming consensus in favour of governments at all levels addressing issues of first nations' self-government and trying to pursue those problems. So I think there is a growing consensus there among our population on that.

Mr Malkowski: I certainly was impressed with your presentation. As we have travelled from city to city we have certainly got presentations from a variety of native people who have talked about rights for self-government and so on. You seem to be identifying a problem of communication between the various levels of government and the native people. Should there be a position or a seat that would allow for the natives to have a formal place in government to bring their concerns? How would you feel about that, or a reserved seat for natives within the political system so that there would be a guaranteed voice?

Mr Jacobs: Personally, no, although I do know that some of our native leaders nationally indicate that that might be an appropriate use of the system. We are members of a constituency both provincially and federally. I think if we use that properly, we can be heard. I think if we went the other way, where we said, "Yes, we will accept one seat in the federal legislature and one in the province of Ontario," it would be that: "You are an Indian. I am sorry. You have got your own minister or your own MP there you go see." So, no, personally I do not think that is a workable solution.

It would be hard nationally to do representation by population because we are very small communities scattered all over the province and in the rest of Canada. That is my own personal opinion, but you may hear others.

Mr Offer: Chief Jacobs, you have spoken about a number of issues. First, you have spoken about the need to settle land claims, and I think as a corollary to that you indicate that those particular land claims must recognize that they have to be of a sufficient area in order to have a sufficient resource base to be self-sufficient.

You also speak in a second area about a growth of services within a particular reserve. Do you believe that these aspects can be achieved outside of constitutional amendment? Do you believe that they can be as a result of negotiation between either the provincial and federal or a combination of both governments and without constitutional change?

Mr Jacobs: I think the grievances can be settled. I think there are sufficient cases, even though it is only 60 a year with regard to claims nationally and the one or two every year we read about that the province of Ontario has settled with them. I think it can be done jointly between the province and the federal government.

Self-government: We are looking at claims and the settlement of claims only. We are looking at resource bases and generally the federal government. I would assume at this point in time the province would rather give money than land, so your resource base is not going to necessarily expand. But with money you would have the opportunity to do something.

I think the type of thing that we are Looking for and we are working towards is negotiation towards self-government. It would be a lot easier, I suppose, to get that legislated. However, in the long run, and we do tend to view the process as much longer than I guess a politician who is only in for four years, we are looking at constitutional entrenchment of self-government.

Currently you have the Sechelt. You are looking at the James Bay agreement in Quebec, the legislation. They are having all kinds of problems with them. Some of the rights that will come out of Supreme Court cases such as the Sparrow case, other decisions that may come as a result of that type of action will entrench some rights, and if we can tie the two together, I think constitutional entrenchment is what we are looking for. Legislative change may be an interim step, but eventually constitutional entrenchment.

Mr Bisson: You mentioned in your presentation that in the law, and in the Constitution to a certain extent, native rights have been recognized, but unfortunately they have not been put into practice, and the only way that has been done is by challenging it through the court system. We have heard a lot of people present, and the Chairman touched on it, during the whole time of these committee hearings, people talking about how we need to finally sit down and we need to recognize native people and native people's rights and we have to start working towards either self-government or whatever that mechanism might be. There seems to be quite a bit of goodwill out there.

Personally yourself, what is your sense of it? You know, you are hearing a lot of people now saying it is about time that we start dealing with it. Do you have a lot of confidence that at the end of the day, let's say, that the rights in regard to fishing will be settled but it means that some outfitter or some camper or some cottager may end up having to lose his right, or whatever it might be? How do you see that developing? Do you see that there will be enough goodwill to get us to the point that finally the native people will be able to basically control their own destiny and control their own programs?

Mr Jacobs: Given the history of progress, I guess probably not in my lifetime, but I see that there will be some movement towards that. You know, I was a bureaucrat at one time. I did work in the federal government, so I am aware of some of the processes and some of the delays that happen just because it is a bureaucracy. There is goodwill out there. There are certain rights that we have been claiming for numerous years. One local example is the fishing right, the Supreme Court case in British Columbia, the Sparrow case, that there is a right to fish for food. It took a local magistrate's decision here to recognize that we have that right. We still have another case at the Ontario Supreme Court Level that could wipe that out again.


It seems that you win, you lose, you win, you lose. I do not know when the end of the day is, and it does not seem to me that anyone else does either. If we can identify them, we can live together. A community of 850 people fishing for food is not going to deplete the lakes out here. It never did before, and I do not see why it should now. We are not going to say that non-Indians should not fish in the lake, but we feel we have a legitimate claim to fish there. We are not saying, "You cut off this slice, and this is ours." We are saying that if we can fish for food, we do not care what colour you are when you come across in a boat.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Chief Jacobs.


The Chair: I have been told that the next two groups presenting have agreed to switch order, so I call next Margaret Hobbs from the Peterborough chapter of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League.

Ms Hobbs: I would like to thank you all for giving us the opportunity, all of us here, to speak to you today. My name is Margaret Hobbs and I am representing the Peterborough chapter of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League. Our local chapter has been functioning since the fall of 1987, although as most of you are aware, CARAL has been a national organization for many years and has local chapters in communities across the country.

We exist as an organization primarily for two main reasons. We have wanted to get and now to keep abortion out of the Criminal Code of Canada, and we want to ensure that women in our community and in fact in all communities across the country have equal access to safe and affordable abortion services and to other related health care services.

What I want to do today is mainly to tell you something of what we believe in, and to highlight some of our key concerns about the present, and our fears and our hopes for the future. As feminists and as members of a national umbrella organization, we do not want to speak specifically just in terms of our concerns and needs as Ontarians. Rather, I think we speak first and foremost as feminist women who are dedicated in general to the principle of equality and to the principle that women, wherever they live, whatever their class or ethnic background, should have the right to control their own bodies and to make their own choices about health care matters. These are matters, we believe firmly, that concern only women and their doctors. Moreover, women of Canada have a right to expect a guaranteed standard of quality and affordable health services, again, wherever they live and whatever their social and economic background.

I want to emphasize our position. I want to emphasize that we are pro-choice, not pro-abortion. Some people who do not like us very much have called us pro-abortion, but it is important to recognize that this is really to misconstrue the fundamental basis of our position on abortion. We believe that individual women have a right to make reproductive decisions for themselves, in accordance with their own morality, their own circumstances, their own ethics. We support, therefore, a woman's decision to carry her foetus to term just as readily as we would support her decision to terminate the pregnancy. That, we feel, is the essence of choice.

I think it is clear that the majority of Canadians support our general position. I could cite many examples, but I will only cite one, and that is the 1988 Gallup poll which revealed that 71% of Canadians share our view that abortion is a private health matter between a woman and a doctor. The precise statistics on this question vary from poll to poll, of course, but it is important to realize that fairly consistently the pro-choice faction has come out on top in this question, in Peterborough and also nationally.

As you all know, the Senate has recently defeated the federal government's latest abortion bill, a bill which, if passed, would have recriminalized abortion and left the doctors performing abortions, as well as the women who are seeking abortion services, open to criminal action on the part of third parties. Obviously, we rejoice at the defeat of this bill -- that goes without saying. Thankfully, I think it marks the end of one round of fairly ugly attacks on women and on women's right to choose. This is a round of attacks that really began in earnest in the summer of 1989 when Barbara Dodd and Chantal Daigle's male partners attempted to force the continuation of their pregnancies through court injunctions.

Now that Canadians have successfully thwarted the government's attempts to recriminalize abortion, we have to turn our attention to the problem of women's access to this particular medical service and indeed to other health services. I want to point out that access to abortion was severely undermined after Bill C-43 was passed by Parliament. Many, many doctors right across the country, acting on the presumption that the bill would very soon become law, began withdrawing their services rather than face the prospect of an ugly criminal action.

In Sault Ste Marie, for example, the Algoma West Academy of Medicine announced that none of its members would perform abortions any more, so they advised women to go and get the service done in Toronto or northern Michigan. Referrals like this from northern Ontario and from other regions in the province have put a tremendous strain on Toronto's abortion services, and the result is that women in Toronto were having to wait for up to a month for government-funded abortions. This is a long waiting period. Prior to this, women were having to wait generally just 10 days to two weeks. That additional two weeks can mean a great difference to women.

In the Maritimes and in the Prairies access has similarly been further restricted and women are being forced to turn to American clinics, where abortions can run up to $1,000 or more, and these are costs that are not covered by provincial plans.

If we presume that these access problems I have just summarized quickly will vanish now that the bill has been stopped, I think we will be mistaken. We can reasonably hope that many, or perhaps most, of the doctors who withdrew their services in light of the coming law will now begin performing abortions again. But it is likely that others may not. Once you have stopped providing a service, how can we guarantee that those doctors will continue to re-establish that service? I have a concern about that. But even if they do, even if all of the doctors who performed abortions before go back to performing them, we have to realize that as Bill C-43 did not create the access problem in the first place -- it only made it worse -- we cannot assume the access problem will simply disappear with the failure of this bill.

I want to outline in very broad strokes the access problem in our community here in Peterborough. The current situation for Peterborough women needing abortions is quite grim. Under the old law, the abortion law that was struck down by the Supreme Court in January 1988, women seeking abortions in Peterborough had to go through the therapeutic abortion committee of the Peter-borough Civic Hospital. There were many problems with the law, not the least of which was the fact that it was a criminal law. It is ironic that more women could obtain abortions locally in Peterborough when that law was in effect than they can now when there is no law in effect.

I am going to run very briefly through some statistics which will show you how local access has been deteriorating, particularly over the past several years. I do not want to bore you to death with statistics, but I will run through them quickly. This is the number of abortions performed at Peterborough Civic Hospital, which is where abortions in Peterborough are done. Right back to 1970, there were 353 abortions performed at the hospital. We jump ahead a decade to 1980 and we have 372, an increase; 1981, 330. Throughout the early 1980s, the numbers continue to increase, from 330 in 1981 to 342 in 1982; in 1983, a slight drop to 279; 1984, a very slight drop again to 249; in 1985, a further drop to 200; 1986, a drop to 171.

This is an important year, because this is the year that doctors went on strike to protest extra-billing, and many Peterborough doctors who once performed the service decided they would not perform it any longer because they could not extra-bill. While there were five doctors in Peterborough providing abortions, after extra-billing there were only two. In fact, only one does them regularly; the other does them on an ad hoc basis. The one doctor we do have is getting close to retirement age.


So from 1986 with 172 abortions, we continue a decline to only 113 in 1987. In 1988, 76, a further drop. This is the year the old abortion law was struck down. The next year, 1989, we went up a slight bit to 90 abortions, but even though 90 abortions were performed we know that that year at least 131 women from Peterborough had to go to Toronto for their abortions. For 1990, we only have figures for three months, which show there were 38 abortions done. None the less, in 1990 we know abortion access continued to be very bad in Peterborough.

Over the summer, when one of the two doctors who can do abortions was away for the holidays, a full two thirds of local women had to go outside Peterborough at their own expense to get an abortion. Now that both of them are somewhat resuming their services, about 15 abortions are done per month locally, but eight to 10 women a month have to go to Toronto. These are very rough statistics, but they tell a story certainly. From the statistics we have been able to gather, some 40% of the women seeking abortions in Peterborough have to travel outside their own community to get a procedure which is a legal medical service.

What does all this mean for women in practical terms? The cost of an abortion done at one of the freestanding clinics in Toronto is $200 to $250, money not reimbursed by OHIP. Costs can be even higher, perhaps up to $650, if the woman's pregnancy is more advanced and she has to go to one of the few centres that handle second-trimester abortions. She has to pay her own travelling expenses; she must take time away from school or work or other obligations in order to have the procedure done out of town. For some it means you have to find somebody to take you there; a companion to drive you there and take you home again. All of these kinds of arrangements mean it can be more difficult to maintain confidentiality about this issue when you go out of town than it is in town. You might think it would be the reverse.

Having to go to Toronto for our Peterborough women is especially difficult for younger women who do not have very many financial resources, and it is also especially difficult for unemployed women or low-income women, whatever the reason, because they simply do not have the finances to foot the bill. So we have a situation in Peter-borough where women have to travel outside their community to attain a legal procedure that technically is covered by OHIP. We know the need for abortions is not diminishing in this community and elsewhere. What is decreasing is access to abortion services.

We at CARAL Peterborough are alarmed, really alarmed, at the great variation in the availability of abortion services and the quality of those services from community to community and also from province to province. In the past few years the federal government has shown absolutely no willingness to use the Canada Health Act to penalize provinces which withhold access to abortion and abortion-related services or try to restrict them to particular groups of women or under particular circumstances. We fear their inactivity really signals a major threat to the fundamental principles underlying our whole national health care system.

With most other Canadians, we view with alarm the gradual dilution of any federal government commitment to national standards for health care services, and abortion is one of those services. As Canadians, I think we all value and take pride in our national health care system. With many other Canadians, we at CARAL are concerned about any impacts future constitutional negotiations might have on the health care services in general, although, of course, our particular focus will be on how it might affect the provision of abortion and other related health services for women.

We are especially concerned that Quebec is demanding complete control over its health care system, and we are concerned about how Brian Mulroney will respond to that kind of demand and the demand, potentially, by other provinces. Brian Mulroney has promised us that accessibility to health care will not be jeopardized in any future provincial-federal negotiations, but I think we have reason to worry that medicare itself is in the process of being dismantled, as Carol Gore recently warned us in her national affairs column in the Toronto Star of 19 February.

Yesterday's budget release is not at all reassuring in this regard, for the announced cuts in transfer payments to the provinces will undoubtedly have a serious impact on the ability of the provinces to provide quality accessible health care services.

To sum up, I have outlined our concerns about what could be considered a crisis in access to abortion services, both here in Peterborough and in many, many other communities. I have emphasized the importance of a strong federal commitment to ensuring women have access to abortion and other health services and to services that follow uniform standards in all the provinces. What we would like to see is a strengthening of the government's commitment to medicare in general and to women's health services in particular, rather than what appears to be happening, which is a gradual dilution of the Canada Health Act and, along with it, the dilution of national health standards altogether.

We would ask that you keep our concerns for the health and reproductive rights of women in mind at the upcoming federal-provincial negotiations. The women of Peterborough, and indeed the women of Canada, are really counting on you to make our voices heard and to make our needs and our fundamental rights known.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Hobbs. We have gone beyond the time, so we have to move on.


The Chair: I call next the group of students from Peterborough Collegiate: Sasha Miller, Luke Tromly, Alison Watson and Dom Jaikaran.

Ms Miller: Good afternoon. My name is Sasha Miller. We are four honours students at Peterborough Collegiate, and we are just here to voice our opinions on certain aspects of Canada and the future.

To open, we would like to say we do not feel we are knowledgeable enough to give polished arguments with force behind them on Canada's present state. Our adviser received very late notice, thus giving us little time to form this committee. We do, however, have opinions on certain aspects of Canada's future, but before we come to that, we thought perhaps we should point out that students today are basically poorly informed about Canada's situation and where it may go in the future. When we were asked to give our feelings on these issues our immediate reaction was: "I don't think I know enough about it to speak about it. Perhaps you have the wrong person." With that in mind, please bear with us and hear what we have to say.

Mr Jaikaran: Good afternoon. I am Dom Jaikaran and I will be addressing the question of Quebec in the future of Canada.

I find that students of today are very tolerant of Quebec, but we do not know why or where we stand on most of the issues. More or less, the students are very confused over Quebec and the future of Canada. We have grown up with Quebec, we have taken French all the way through the system, we have participated in French exchanges, we have taken French immersion and we have been forced to accept the French culture.

Most of us are of the opinion that Quebec should stay with Canada and we became very upset at the thought of Quebec leaving. We feel the French culture adds a lot to Canada in ways that cannot be replaced. It is very interesting that most of the students want Quebec to stay, and most adults, as well as myself, think if it wants to leave we should let it leave.

We came to the conclusion that students, because they are so ill informed, base their decisions on gut feelings, whereas adults, who are better informed, tend to overlook gut feelings and base their decisions on the information they have gained from various media sources.

I myself, as well as many other people in Canada, would very much like Quebec in Canada, but I do not think we should have to put up with all its demands. They ask us to be equal and fair by learning French but they are not willing to have any English signs hanging in their streets. They must be willing to make a move as well. The system has to work both ways.


Mr Tromly: Good afternoon. My name is Luke Tromly, and this afternoon I would like to talk about the relationship between Canada and the United States. I really have no authority to speak on this subject besides the fact that my parents are American, but I was born in Canada, so it is interesting for me to see what is going on between the two countries, in my family as well as in the whole country.

There has always been an anti-American sentiment among young people of Canada. I think these days that sentiment has kind of grown weaker and died down. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. The first is free trade and the fact that the trade barrier has been eliminated between the two countries. Second, I think young people feel that there is a real lack of kind of Canadian symbols that represent a Canadian identity. For example, two symbols that came to mind were the recent cuts in the CBC and also the trans-Canada railroad that I think kind of diminish Canada's identity as a country.

A third reason is the values that Canada as a country holds. I think the most important value for me, the Canadian value, is the fact that Canada is a fairly pacifist country and neutral, and I think that is really changing. For example, if you look at the recent crisis in the Gulf, Canadian war policy has been determined by the actions of the United States, which is not a particularly pacifist country and I think is making Canada act in a way that is detrimental to the idea behind Canada. For example, to find out what was going on in the Gulf, I watched an American news station, and that station told me more about Canada's actions in the Gulf than anything else, because Bush's policies are Mulroney`s policies.

I think Canada should be independent from the United States. I think it would be more beneficial for both countries for Canada to maintain its independence. I have recently had an argument saying that the only way Canada can maintain its independence is to become a neutral state like Switzerland. I know that is not very realistic, but it shows that Canada has always had a hard time maintaining its identity with the United States.

Going back to the beginning of my statement when I said that the anti-US sentiment has really died down in Canada, in a way that is good. I mean, I am not here to propose some sort of hatred of the United States. I do not think that is good for Canada. However, the fact that Canada is now more amicable towards the United States shows that Canada is really in a situation where we could be enveloped by the United States quite easily. I think we are in a situation and a state of mind where we could lose our independence quite quickly.

As I said before, I am against that and I think the only way for Canada to maintain its independence is for the Mulroney government to adjust its policies, its foreign policies and its domestic policies, to enforce Canadian businesses, Canadian jobs and Canadian independence, and also to try and re-establish independent Canadian values and attitudes which would help differentiate us from the United States.

Ms Miller: Okay, this is just our position on free trade and our fears of free trade. Once again, we do not know a whole lot about it, but as students, we cannot yet see the effects of free trade with the US and it will probably take many years for all the benefits and the problems to come to the surface.

We feel that free trade with Quebec, if Quebec were to leave, would probably be impossible, as there may be too many hard feelings or tension between Quebec and Canada, maybe even malice.

We have a few concerns about free trade with the United States at this present time. Will not the continuance of free trade to a degree take away from the individuality of Canada? We do realize that this is in progress and there is really not a whole lot we can do to change it, but is free trade not just one step closer to having unified Canada with the United States?

We also fear the free trade agreement with the United States because it is just, you know, a more powerful country than we are. Perhaps if we were in a free trade agreement with Mexico or even another country as well, the United States would not have such a chance to dominate.

I also was reading the green and white booklets that have been going around on the emergence of the large economic blocs which is stated in it as a possible decision for the future. We feel that it may take away from Canada's individuality, but the way the European common market is coming together, it is probably an inevitable decision on Canada's part.

Ms Watson: Good afternoon, panel members. My name is Alison Watson. I will sum up the opinions of my group on the subject of Canada's future.

We feel that Canada is unique and that it was founded by and made up of many distinct cultures. Whether or not these cultures will divide up into many distinct societies remains to be seen, but what we feel is special and attractive about Canada is that up until the last three decades, these cultures have been able to coexist in relative comfort. We would like this good relationship to continue.

The United States is often compared to Canada because of its geographical proximity, similar size, similar culture and similar history. But the United States of America is a melting pot. Many diverse people come to America and drop their collective cultural identities at the borders as one would drop one's coat at the door upon entering a house. Once inside the country, they become homogeneous. They are Americans; again, this new cultural identity at the price of losing their old cultural tradition.

On the other hand, Canadians are free to enjoy their identity as Canadians as well as any other heritage they may have without feeling like traitors to their country. In fact, Canadians overall seem to have a less aggressive pride in their country, which is often sadly mistaken for ambivalence.

The future we envision for Canada is one in which all citizens may express their cultural heritage, practise their own religion and speak their own language, but not inflict them on others. Canada has historically been a very tolerant country and we see no reason why it should not continue to be so.

The future of Canada is in our -- the students' -- hands, but we are not adequately informed to handle it. The government is slowly responding to the need for more public education with hearings such as this and public discussion papers such as these. Also, with further public education campaigns, Canadians will feel more secure in Canada's future and will be more inclined to take action.

Thank you for this opportunity to express our opinions. Does the panel have any questions of any members of the group?

The Chair: I am sure there are. Actually, I want to start with one. Thank you very much for your comments. You have said that you have not had much of an opportunity to talk and think about some of these things, but you have given us none the less some very clear positions and clear views, and sometimes it is really from the gut; in fact, a sensible, if not more sensible, rationalizing out. None the less, I wanted to ask you what you thought we can do as politicians, particularly within the school system but in any other way, to ensure that young people like yourselves can become better informed and can become more involved in some of these things.

Ms Watson: One thing that would be effective is school assemblies, perhaps something similar to this, like a forum format travelling around to various schools. I would like to say that the four of us were very pleased to be invited to speak here. These booklets, the public discussion papers, are very effective. This program is very effective and the media coverage I think will help a lot to educate people, not just young people but all of Ontario's people on issues such as these.

Mr Tromly: I think in addition probably more of a debate forum to talk about government policies would be appropriate, because usually when we hear about a government policy we hear the one side of the issue, the issue of the party that is trying to get the bill passed or whatever. By debating it among students, we could probably get a better idea of what these policies entail and how appropriate they are for the country.

Ms Miller: I think perhaps students are afraid to touch this. They do not understand enough and they just say: "Okay, I won't think about it. I won't do anything about it." If we generalize it, make it easier for them to understand, booklets like this are good, but still you probably would not find the average student picking one up and reading it. We did because we had to prepare for this. Otherwise, I probably would not have. Something, I do not know, interesting, art in it or something that would catch a teenager's attention. As well I think assemblies are a big, important deal for students.

Mr Jaikaran: I agree with most of the opinions that have been stated, especially with the one about the future of Canada. When I first heard about this debate, I was kind of turned off and backed away from it a bit. But more or less make the talks and education like you want it, because most people like to hear about it and they hear it on the news and they hear at home and they pick up a Maclean's magazine and it is on the cover, but they just put it down. So a different way to look at things, and I think school assemblies would be a good way to do that or even a section of a course, like maybe a grade 10 course that takes the government of Canada and what is going to happen. I feel that we anyway have not been really informed about the future of Canada and we have not had a role in doing anything about it and expressing our opinions.

Mr F. Wilson: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, for the fine presentation. We have had many groups come before us, students younger than yourselves and the various groups too. Each group preamble their presentation by apologizing for their lack of knowledge and their lack of experience. I think it is time that we just told you to talk plain. I am very impressed by the groups that have come before us. Really, I do not know why we are impressed. We should be more aware.

Second, one of us usually says about this time that part of what we are doing is because you are going to inherit what we leave for you. I also think that is a little bit redundant now, because I believe you have already inherited it.

My question was in fact along the same line as Mr Silipo's: How can we get students more involved? What would you like to see, that we can do as a government, as personal, private MPPs, to make students of our different constituencies and areas more involved in it? I will not ask that question again. What I will do is to challenge you, though, perhaps to go back and talk to your colleagues in school and perhaps formulate the kind of ideas around that.

If it means access to government ministries, if it means access to MPPs, they are readily available. The information that you request is there somewhere. I would challenge you to go back perhaps and consider it is already yours. Therefore, you have a responsibility -- I should think a duty -- in helping to make it better or helping in the mechanism to make it better. Then perhaps get in contact with whoever happens to be your MP federally or provincial MPP, or somehow with the ministry, to make that information part of the action.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: We are hoping that this has become a centre of discussion in some history classes, English classes, that some people will actually do some papers on it and that they will pass them on to us.

Your presentation has a little bit of a different slant, for me at least, because you talked more about the United States. I think three out of the four of you were quite explicit about the role of the United States and how closely we are associated with what we have often called the elephant and ourselves the mouse. Of course, I can see why you feel that way because you are not that far from the border. Especially with the war on, there is much more talk about the US.

But Luke particularly mentioned that he thinks there should be more symbols, something that makes us more distinctively Canadian, and I think one of you mentioned the free trade agreement as well and that we must preserve the Canadian part of that economy that brought us to the table and maybe broaden that. So I wonder if you would like to talk about some ways in which you think we can remain distinct, because the threat has always been there and will continue to be throughout your lifetime.

Mr Tromly: First, I would like to agree with you in that the threat has always been there, especially, I think, for young people because, as has been said, we do not really play an active part in the government of this country. And, because we feel we do not really have a say, the threat of the elephant stepping on the mouse is very real to us.

Second, when I did talk about Canadian symbols, the point I was trying to make was not that we should make symbols for the sake of having something distinctly Canadian. I think the lack of symbols is telling, but false symbols will not get us anywhere. You are right, though, in that Canada has always lacked the stars and stripes. Where America has the Statue of Liberty, we have Wayne Gretzky. Canadian patriotism is not as strong as in the United States.

To answer your question of what symbols would help establish a Canadian identity, I do not really know. We are in a tough time right now because national unity is very shaky. I do not know if national unity can be saved by a picture of a beaver or something like that, but it is tough to say. You cannot give symbols meaning. They have to mean something on their own, and right now to Canadian youth and Canadians in general I question how many Canadian symbols have a strong meaning.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: We had a suggestion last night that we change some of the pictures on our currency. Maybe you saw that.

Mr Tromly: The Mila Mulroney $10 bill or something.

The Chair: There were a couple of our names, actually.

Ms Churley: Somebody mentioned early on, and the Chair spoke to it, that you do not know a whole lot about this so you are speaking more from your emotional viewpoint and do not have all the facts. I just want to say that a lot of adults do not have the facts and that I think that you have identified a problem. That is one of the things we were hoping to do, cause a dialogue to happen so people understand.

I wanted to ask a question about that to do with Quebec. Everybody knows about the sign problems over stores, etc, but it seems to me that a lot of people are not really aware that, for instance, in Quebec, English Canadians, the minorities there, students like yourself, have an access to education that French minorities here do not have. There is all kinds of information and lack of clarity between the provinces about that, and I am wondering if you have had an opportunity to talk to any Quebec students and if you are interested in finding out more about the real facts around the issues that have come up between Quebec and English Canada.

Mr Jaikaran: I am not quite clear on the Quebec issue, but I feel there are bad things the government is doing to Quebec, and I think some of the things that Quebec is doing back it is being quite stubborn about. My position, and I do not feel quite confident in talking about it, is that Quebec wants all this and some of the stuff is very justified and it should get it, but other provinces do not have this big thing about leaving Canada if they do not get what they want. Quebec was part of Canada when it was formed in Confederation. If Quebec gets this, another province will say, "We want this," and it seems right now we are in a crisis and national unity is the best thing for the country. But I am not quite sure. I am a student. I feel very strongly that if Quebec does not want to be part of Canada it should leave, but there are other opinions. I just do not feel very confident talking about that.

Mr Bisson: Could I just ask a very quick question?

The Chair: Very quickly, if you can.


Mr Bisson: Just a yes or no, each of you. Do you have any confidence with regard to Canada's future?

Ms Watson: Yes. Would you like me to qualify that or --

Mr Bisson: It is up to you.

Ms Watson: I think Canada will survive in one form or another. As to Canada's surviving in its present form, no. I think it has reached a straining point. The last 30 years, beginning with the liberation of Quebec campaign in the early 1960s -- I think it is coming to a culmination now where things like this are going to determine what is going to happen. Yes, I believe Canada will continue to be, but in a radically altered state.

Ms Miller: I agree with Alison. There is no way it will be able to continue the way it is right now. It has to change. What changes obviously will be determined later, but I agree with her in that it will change.

Mr Jaikaran: My opinions have already been stated by the previous two.

Mr Tromly: I have a kind of confidence for the future, an uneasy confidence. It is true that Canada may well enter the future in a different form and I think a lot of Canada's future depends on how hard Canadians want to work to improve the future and how much we believe in the future of Canada individually.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call our final speakers for this afternoon, Brenda Anstey and Beverly Brown from the Lovesick Lake Native Women's Association.

Mrs Anstey: I would like to thank everyone involved in the organization of this forum for allowing me to present the concerns of the Lovesick Lake Native Women's Association. Our association is based in Burleigh Falls, 35 kilometres north of Peterborough. We have a population of approximately 150 native and non-native residents.

When we look at Canada as a whole we see a country full of opportunity, at least for those who have the ability to reach out and take a piece. Unfortunately, not everyone has this ability. Some of us have not had the opportunity to function in society due to several factors, factors which include stereotyping, racism, low social standing, lack of education, etc.

Our association, of which I am president, has been attempting for the past nine years to assist people in overcoming such barriers. This has not been an easy task and changes do not occur overnight. People need to be encouraged to make changes that will lead to a brighter future with positive outcomes.

In 1982 a group of concerned women formed the association specifically to address the social, cultural and economic needs of our community. It was realized that the urban service agencies could not effectively extend their services to our rural area. We had a multitude of problems we had to deal with, problems which included alcohol abuse, drug abuse, low education levels, etc. There was a lot of idle time. There were no employment opportunities. Everything was at a complete standstill.

With a clear sense of direction, we set out to reverse the negative cycle our community was trapped in. Since our incorporation, we have provided, through volunteer efforts, over 400 jobs in the community -- they had been short term. The services have been extended to reach out into Harvey township, Smith township and Burleigh-Anstruther, which covers quite a population.

Our services include a youth employment counselling service, a Futures program, an adult learning centre, summer student programs which we administer every summer. We have employment and training opportunities, ongoing programs short-term, and were responsible for the development of the EduCon carpentry training program. That program runs for three years, and over the period of a year it takes 30 people in and gives them the opportunity to get apprenticeship training.

Lovesick Lake has a mandate to create employment and educational opportunities for all people in the area. We have been very successful in our short-term job creation attempts and attribute our success to an excellent knowledge of available funding sources, both provincial and federal, our ability to negotiate with government, to operate programs effectively and to maximize the use of local available human resources.

Our board of directors consists of five women. We have been commended and recognized for our volunteer efforts, for our invaluable contribution of services to the area. Although this recognition is well received, we feel the following issues with regard to funding need to be addressed.

1. We have over the years recognized the fact that many of the available programs are a duplication of services being provided by both federal and provincial governments.

2. Eligibility criteria guidelines are restrictive and do not necessarily reflect the needs of the local rural community. Programs administered at the community level do not receive sufficient funds to administer and cover all program costs. Non-profit organizations such as ours are not eligible to receive an administration fee for delivery of programs. This causes financial hardship. Although we do a lot of fund-raising, we have fund-raising events, the money we raise is minimal. Multipurpose organizations have no means of obtaining moneys through current program mechanisms to provide core staffing. We have over the years obtained a large number of programs through volunteer efforts, and the administration, the overseeing of the programs, has been all provided through volunteer efforts.

With regard to the concerns I have just presented, we would like the elected representatives to initiate a program that would provide recognition and financial support to rural community-based organizations that encourage social and economic reform. We as Canadian citizens share a common will, the desire to function in a democratic society free of discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, race or colour, gender or disability.

Within the native culture there are four values that direct and influence our lives. These values are honesty, sharing and caring, strength and kindness. Without this form of guidance, we could not have accomplished all we have.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge the participation of the Ontario select committee members.


Ms Churley: I love your name, Lovesick Lake Native Women's Association. I would love to know how you came to that particular name.

Mrs Anstey: When we were sitting around discussing what we should call our association, we thought rather than the Burleigh Falls Native Women's Association we should go with a name that has impact, that people will remember, and we just happen to be situated between Lovesick Lake and Stony Lake. We thought Stony Lake Native Women's -- there is nothing to that -- so it was Lovesick Lake Native Women's; people will remember that.

Ms Churley: People will remember, it is true. It showed up on another agenda one time and the people did not arrive, but I never forgot the name. I know I was really disappointed they did not show up.

I just want to ask you very briefly about how much native women are involved in the hierarchy of the process within your communities, ie, there are a lot of chiefs who I think are mostly male and of course most of our politicians are male and we are trying to change that, and if that is an issue and if women within your communities are involved in some of the treaty negotiations and the larger political arena.

Mrs Anstey: We have really tried to stay out of the political circle because we have a lot of issues within the community that need to be dealt with -- economic, social development -- so up to just recently we have not really taken a broad look at all of that.

Ms Churley: But it is something you would be interested in, in your role: the social kinds of problems and the context of the larger political area, I guess, tied together.

Mrs Anstey: Just recently we have attended a couple of workshops with the Ontario Native Women's Association and we have attended the Iroquois and Allied Indians' Association, so we are becoming involved in that circle now.

Mr Offer: You have spoken about the type of service you provide and the difficulties you are experiencing in terms of the duplication and eligibility requirements and how necessary the services are. At the end of your presentation you spoke of a way in which your problems in providing service could be rectified and I just wrote it down. It seemed to me to be almost a central type of organization and I am wondering if you have prepared anything in a formal sense that we might want to take a look at.

Mrs Anstey: I have nothing with me right now, but we can supply it.

Mr Offer: I certainly think it would be very helpful for the committee to first appreciate the needs, how you are meeting them and how you suggest you can improve on the existing process. I think that would be very helpful to us, so I would encourage you to send that in to us.

Mrs Anstey: I do have right now a brochure.

The Chair: If you leave that with us we can provide copies. If you would like to send us anything, we can make sure you have our address.


The Chair: Members of the committee, there is one additional organization that would like to present and I think it is easier for us to fit them in this afternoon than it will be this evening, so with your acceptance I will call them forward now -- Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens; Anne Patenaude.

Mlle Patenaude : Bonjour. J'espère pouvoir parler plus fort que vos estomacs. Je suis Anne Patenaude et je suis représentante de l'AEFO, l'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, unité secondaire. Je vous ferai le rapport et Pierre Riopel viendra m'aider pour répondre aux questions.

Nous remercions le comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération d'accorder ces quelques minutes à l'Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens, aussi connue sous le sigle de l'AEFO, unité secondaire de Durham, qui s'est crue dans l'obligation de réagir à la présente impasse constitutionnelle. Cette toute nouvelle unité oeuvre auprès des jeunes de Pickering, d'Ajax, de Whitby, d'Oshawa, de Peterborough et des communautés environnantes depuis quatre ans. L'unité est endossée par l'AEFO provinciale qui compte présentement au-delà de 6000 membres.

L'AEFO provinciale, et plus particulièrement l'unité secondaire de Durham, a pour but de protéger individuellement et collectivement ses membres pour assurer le respect de tous leurs droits dans l'exercice de leur profession, de promouvoir une meilleure éducation des francophones en Ontario et de promouvoir l'épanouissement professionnel de ses membres. En tant que porte-parole de cette unité, je vous soumets ce mémoire. Nos membres auraient souhaité que les circonstances nous aient permis d'élaborer d'avantage cette question qui nous tient tellement à coeur.

Nous croyons que l'Ontario peut et doit jouer un rôle prépondérant dans les discussions actuelles, étant donné son pouvoir économique, son importance démographique et son leadership politique. Les membres de notre association sont grandement inquiets au sujet de l'échec de l'accord du Lac Meech, des disparités régionales et sociales en Ontario et au Canada en entier, du mouvement souverainiste qui prend de plus en plus d'ampleur au Québec et des gestes d'intolérance et d'injustice posés par plusieurs municipalités de la province de l'Ontario en 1990. Cet état de choses remet en question l'existence même du Canada.

En tant qu'Ontariennes et Ontariens et en tant que membres d'une communauté linguistique minoritaire, nous trouvons cette situation particulièrement alarmante. Nous sommes une communauté vibrante qui cherche à se faire une place dans la grande communauté canadienne qui comprend l'Ontario, le Québec, l'Alberta, la Colombie-Britannique, l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard et tous les autres membres de la Confédération.

Il est grand temps de souligner nos ressemblances plutôt que de mettre l'accent sur nos différences. Nous sommes tous Canadiennes et Canadiens premièrement et avant tout. Ne perdons pas la chance de bénéficier des atouts que nous confèrent deux langues officielles en s'ignorant l'un l'autre.

Les francophones de l'Ontario bénéficient de certaines améliorations majeures depuis un quart de siècle. Cette situation doit se maintenir afin de marcher au pas du progrès.

La Loi sur les services en français adoptée unanimement par l'Assemblée législative en 1986 offre une gamme de services à plus d'un demi-million de francophones habitant dans certaines régions désignées de l'Ontario. Nous demandons que les efforts de la province de l'Ontario soient poursuivis et intensifiés en désignant la région de Durham selon les termes de cette Loi. Plus spécifiquement, en tant que responsables de l'éducation franco-ontarienne, il devient de plus en plus évident aux membres de l'AEFO que seule la pleine gestion de nos institutions scolaires peut assurer la survie de nos communautés francophones.

Les conseils scolaires homogènes de langue française des régions d'Ottawa-Carleton et de Toronto métropolitain sont des signes tangibles de la bonne volonté du gouvernement provincial. La présentation du projet de loi 12 par le gouvernement Rae est positive. La création d'autres conseils homogènes est un besoin essentiel. Le succès indéniable de La Cité collégiale, premier collège communautaire francophone en Ontario, démontre évidemment le besoin pressant de mettre sur pied des structures semblables dans les régions actuellement mal desservies. Enfin, les discussions et les pourparlers qui portent sur la création d'une université franco-ontarienne doivent être menés à terme. Il est complètement logique que la personne franco-ontarienne voulant s'éduquer dans sa langue maternelle puisse le faire tout au long de sa vie. Il est important d'assurer une qualité de vie à tous et à toutes dans la langue officielle de son choix.

Les enseignantes et les enseignants de la région de Durham ne pourront répondre pleinement aux aspirations et aux besoins des jeunes francophones que si les recommandations soumises dans le cadre de ce mémoire soient considérées pour leur juste valeur. Nous sommes très conscients du travail grandiose que le comité spécial sur le rôle de l'Ontario au sein de la Confédération aura à faire dans les prochains mois. Lors de vos délibérations, nous vous prions de bien vouloir considérer les recommandations suivantes :

Que l'Ontario puisse avoir le rôle d'un des protagonistes dans les décisions qui seront prises. Il va de soi que l'Ontario, pour donner un tel rôle, doit déclarer la région de Durham officiellement bilingue en vertu de la Loi sur les services en français et que, ultimement, la province entière soit ainsi désignée.

Que la pleine gestion de nos institutions scolaires soit cédée aux Franco-Ontariennes et aux Franco-Ontariens après tant d'années d'attente.

Nous vivons des situations délicates et difficiles. Afin de fournir une relève canadienne capable d'envisager les défis de demain, l'Ontario doit se frayer une place de choix au sein de la Confédération, une place de leadership. Nous espérons ici faire avancer notre histoire collective.

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

Mlle Patenaude : C'est tellement complet. Merci.

The Chair: We will now then recess and come back at 7 o'clock for the evening session.

The committee recessed at 1800.

The committee resumed at 1905.

The Chair: I call the meeting to order. Thank you very much and good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this our evening session of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation from the council chambers at city hall in Peterborough.

We are happy to be here this evening, continuing in our hearings across the province. We have heard from a number of people here this afternoon, a number of organizations in particular. This evening we will be hearing primarily from a number of individuals here in the Peterborough area, and we want to just say that because of the number of people who have asked to be added to the list to speak, what we are going to do is to ask all the speakers to limit themselves to five minutes.

We realize that may hamper. Quite frankly, we can do it in one of two ways: we can either stick to the printed list and go with the time lines that we had offered, and that means that the other people will not be heard, or in order to give more people an opportunity to be heard, we are going to have to ask people to limit themselves.

We have time constraints that we are working under. We will not be able to go past 9:15 this evening because we have an early start tomorrow morning as well, so we are trying to do our best to accommodate as many people as we can. Again we apologize for the inconvenience that causes, but in our experience it has been better to give people a few minutes rather than give nothing at all. And so in that way, we hope it is of some use. I will say with that, that there will be some further opportunities for this discussion. This is not a one-time thing. There are going to be other opportunities for people to be able to participate in this process.

One of the things we will be doing as we put together our interim report is looking at how we can structure in facts from further discussions, because we understand the need for people across the province to be given an opportunity to continue talking to us and with us about these issues.


The Chair: With that then, I would like to begin with the first speaker on our list, Doug Hindson.

Mr Hindson: I would like to first of all thank you for this opportunity of appearing before you this evening and I will keep my introduction very short considering the time constraints. I have, I might add, prepared a submission which is rather lengthy and I gather will be reviewed by researchers. While I had not intended my address to be of short duration, it will force me to deal with what I think is the most important aspect of my concerns.

If I may, I would like to begin at the role of language in our society. Without doubt, the French language and culture have been important to Canadian growth, and, if anything, are probably the most distinguishing characteristic of Canada. Indeed, the French language in Quebec has never been stronger. As was stated recently in an article appearing in the Ottawa Citizen, written by francophone academics, the greatest danger to French language today is not in the need to place additional restrictions and enforcements, but rather in the manner in which the language is spoken. Those of you who have lived in Quebec might be familiar with that concern. I might add that I have had the privilege of living there, as I have lived across Canada in seven of the 10 provinces.

Modern-day Canada is made up of many cultural and linguistic groups, all of whom have made their distinctive and individual contribution to the richness of this country. The continued growth and vitality of our country relies not in granting of special rights and privileges to any one group, either English or French or any other linguistic group. The blunt reality of our North American societies is that we reside in an English-language environment. To further policies which attempt to fight this reality will not only be doomed to failure, but will also prevent us from establishing cohesiveness of purpose with which to effectively survive in this shrinking and most highly competitive world.

Canada and Ontario should encourage all of its citizens to retain their own linguistic and cultural heritage. Observing the many cultures which now make up our country, I believe most practise and guard their heritage in a most admirable way, while joining in the mainstream of our economic society, sharing the same rights and privileges of all Canadians. Granting any special rights or privileges to Quebec will only lead to further angst among the rest of the population.

I wish I could be more optimistic about the role of Quebec in Canada. Given the concerns and the mood that seems to prevail in Quebec today, I am not particularly optimistic. Certainly the way to ensure Quebec's remaining part of the Confederation does not lie in the granting of further powers and concessions. Past experience and wisdom indicate that the more they are granted, the sooner they will be back seeking more. Perhaps you might consider the words of William Thorsell, the Globe and Mail's editor-in-chief writing in the Globe and Mail's Report on Business where he says: "Somewhere in the midst of all this, the question occurs, is so much really wrong with Canada? Have we somehow talked ourselves into a false crisis, indulgently and carelessly?" I wonder if we have.

Further I agree with Mr Mulroney that Canada is not negotiable. We have already stated that a "distinct society" clause for Quebec is not acceptable. Having said that, however, I emphasis that from my personal perspective this is not a rejection of Quebec, its society or its language. Quebec must decide on its future on the basis that it cannot be both separate and yet remain economically and politically affiliated with Canada.

Frankly, we do not offer associate memberships. If we are unable to convince Quebec, and the population of Quebec, that its best chance for survival, its best chance at economic prosperity, lies not in separation but in joining Canada, joining a family of Canadians, if however we are not able to convince them of this, I have laid out five concerns or five positions I think we need to consider beginning with.

1. We must stress that sovereignty-association is simply not acceptable.

2. If Quebec departs, it should do so only with the territory it brought to Confederation. The Abitibi lands once held by the Hudson's Bay Company and granted Quebec in 1898, and the Ungava territory granted Quebec in 1912, remain part of Canada. The decision of the Privy Council in London of 1927 concerning Labrador must stand.

3. Quebec must leave Confederation totally and absolutely. There can be no kind of monetary union.

4. The St. Lawrence Seaway is of strategic national interest to Canada and must remain solely under our control.

5. The proportionate share of the federal indebtedness must be paid by Quebec before any recognition of formal separation. Indeed, Quebec's statement that it will not negotiate with anyone but the federal government implies that it is already a sovereign power.

Frankly all provinces in Canada are stakeholders in this nation. I suggest that all provincial politicians, all provincial premiers must be players on the negotiating team. I will even go so far as to suggest perhaps that Clyde Wells and Elijah Harper co-chair. Mr Wells, I believe, is probably one of the most popular Canadians today, having the greatest degree of respect for his steadfastness during the negotiations on Meech Lake.

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

Mr Hindson: Remaining in Confederation does not preclude Quebec from retaining its language and culture. Similarly they cannot deny any other ethnic group the right to do the same.

In conclusion, I believe that Ontarians are looking for national unity. After all Canada is the sum of its parts, not of individual provinces or regions. We are all in it together. It is my fervid hope that our leaders are able to convince the people of Quebec that joining our family is in everyone's best interests.


The Chair: I call next Wilfred A. Day.

Mr Day: Ladies and gentleman, we are not here just to talk constitutional law. Social and economic rights are as important as legal rights. The right to an adequate standard of living, and many other things, should be in our Constitution. Otherwise we are no further ahead than when the famous statement was made that, "The law, in its majestic concern for equality, forbids the rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges."

So before we look at constitutional mechanisms, we should start with what people want most, a strong country in the social and economic sense. That country is Canada, not Confederation. Many people talk as though Canada and Confederation are the same thing. You might help unlock a few doors if you said clearly that this is not so. The real country was here before Confederation, and if Quebec keeps going in its present direction, we will soon learn that it may well be here after Confederation.

Canada of course evolved. But if we have to pick a time when it started, we could say this: We were that orderly part of British North America which did not join the American Revolution. In 1763, by the royal proclamation, we cemented our alliance with the aboriginal peoples. In 1774, by the Quebec Act, the English took the French as equal partners. By no coincidence, when the first Continental Congress met in Philadelphia later that same year, Canada declined the invitation to attend. Without these events, this peaceful and civilized country would likely not exist.

There have been many changes in Canada since then. In 1791 Ontario seceded from Quebec and we have tried running a colonial semi-sovereign association with Quebec, marked with disputes about the St Lawrence canals and tariffs. In 1840 we rejoined Quebec. In 1867 we joined the Maritimes in Confederation, and of course there have been many more changes since. But the point is, Canada is much older than 1867 and it is much older than Confederation. So if we can make our economy and society work for the people, if we can make the economic links work, then we can make the legal and constitutional structure work.

If Quebec ends up putting forward some new kind of Canadian union, Canada may well keep living long after Confederation has died. You probably cannot propose this. That might be premature and presumptuous. But you can point out our first and foremost goal, that the real social and economic Canada, the alliance with the French and the aboriginal peoples on which the northern half of this continent was built, is older than Confederation and is worth keeping in whatever form that takes.

We have all heard the line by the poet Rilke, "Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other." But how much protection can Canadians expect from a government which gave us the Mulroney-Reagan trade deal and dismantled so many of our achievements? If we still want to build a civilized society which is a little fairer, safer and more tolerant than the American melting pot, we should say: "Why should we deny ourselves this adventure? We still want the new, confident Quebec as our ally in achieving these goals."

My second point is that you should tear up the myth that all provinces are the same. Again, let's start with a quick look at history. At the time of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald strongly believed that the common law provinces would unify their laws as to property and civil rights. As you may know, our Constitution does contain a provision that once Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had made those laws uniform, the federal Parliament would take jurisdiction over property and civil rights in the common law provinces.

Quebec would have kept its own Civil Code. As you know, property and civil rights is a vast area. It covers everything from family law to car insurance, from labour law to securities law. And if that clause in the Constitution had been used as Sir John A. Macdonald expected, Quebec would have been a distinct society or would have had special status far beyond anything under discussion today. Quebec MPs would have been voting on Ontario's car insurance plan while Quebec had its own plan. Of course this never happened, but the point is the Fathers of Confederation were a lot more flexible than some constitutional lawyers are today.

No doubt your staff has given you all kinds of background on possible options. It is time to get some of these options out of the background and on to the table. For example, there is the option of legislative special status, which would not have scared Sir John A. at all.

But you are not limited to that. There is the option of provincial administration. We have had this for 124 years in criminal law. The criminal code is passed by Parliament, but the administration of criminal justice, the police and the prosecutors, is a provincial matter. That is how Dr Morgentaler's clinics were able to operate in Quebec before they were legalized elsewhere. If Quebec wants to administer some fields that are now in the federal government's hands, we could leave the rest of the country alone. Let Quebec have an administrative special status to pass laws relating to the administration of national policy in some fields. And of course, there is the well-known option of special administrative arrangements: the Canada pension plan and the Quebec pension plan.


Another option, not yet widely discussed, is regulatory special status. Today, if the federal Parliament passes a statute, it normally provides that the federal cabinet shall pass regulations pursuant to that statute. Under regulatory special status, the regulations relating to Quebec would be passed by the Quebec cabinet, not the federal cabinet.

These options would not be many people's first choices, but although no one of them may be the whole answer, some combination of them might work. Ontario cannot afford not to try.

I am not here to discuss details, but to make my second basic point: Canadians want national standards on matters like medicare. We want to keep a strong central government, but we do not want Quebec to leave. We might find it simpler not to have any of these kinds of special status either, but if we have to choose between letting Quebec go and creating some imaginative compromise, please let's be creative.


The Chair: I call next Rod Brandon.

Mr Brandon: This is my first attempt at anything like this, so I hope to keep it short and sweet. If I start to run on, somebody just holler.

I am Rod Brandon. I was born and raised and have always lived in Ontario. I am proud to be a Canadian. As president of the Employees' Association of Electronics, an independent, certified trade union representing 130 employees in the Peterborough area, I have experienced democracy in action for the past four years. The announcement of this new concept for this evening of inviting everyday Ontario citizens to express their views on their province and its role in Canada is the first sign of democracy I have seen from any level of government in my lifetime.

Because I am just an average citizen, I do not rely on reams of facts and figures that came from public opinion polls or royal commission reports, just a little common sense. The following statement is hereby offered for consideration: The purpose of government is to represent the best interest of the majority of citizens as a whole.

It seems in the past our elected officials have disregarded this very basic principle in favour of economic and social status and almost every other personal gain imaginable, exemplified by the constant acknowledgement and negotiation with specific interest groups rather than the majority as a whole. Consider the amount of tax dollars utilized to perpetuate the need for government by continued negotiation with these special interest groups. These dollars could have been utilized to maintain a debt-free society which would have benefited the majority.

Despite the development and promotion of French-language education in Ontario schools, and the translation, production and distribution of every public document in French as well as English, we can speak to and do business with company representatives around the world in English. However it is difficult and sometimes impossible to work in English 250 miles away, still in Canada.

We are free to drive the open road anywhere in our own country and rest assured that we can read and understand essential road signs, except for some places in Quebec. We can hang a sign outside the door of a business anywhere in Canada, in whatever language we want, to best serve our customers; that is not so in Quebec.

It goes on. We have several other situations where we have made special consideration for special interest groups. Originally we agreed to at least help out a little bit a separate school or the separate school system. What do we have today? Two totally funded, individual administrations, ineffectively and inefficiently in parallel, attempting to achieve the same end, the segregation of neighbourhood children into separate social groups.

After years of attempting to satisfy pro-life and pro-choice activists with development of an abortion law, neither group has been satisfied with resulting legislation. In fact the legislation had to be scrapped, and that was the only thing that these two special interest groups could agree to.

Alter years of attempting to negotiate with native Canadians, which in my opinion is probably the only group that should have ever received any special consideration at all, despite special tax, education and monetary considerations, their reliance on social programs remains high, perhaps not their fault. There is continued unrest in the native Canadian community.

As a result of the implementation of social programs and policy to satisfy the rich special-interest groups, the poor citizens whose sole source of income is from social programs can maintain a higher standard of living than those working at minimum-wage jobs. Our community colleges are so geared to local business needs, the onus of providing continued skills training has been removed from the employer.

Average Canadians cannot support our economy through consumerism because of the increasing tax burden. There are three common characteristics which are present in the above examples. No special-interest group has ever been satisfied for long, negotiations have always continued and the burden on taxpayers has increased. At this point we must ask ourselves what, if any, end -- and I have a note to myself to put emphasis on the word "end," because at this point in time it appears there never can be -- can be achieved and what further negotiations and subsequent concessions to special-interest groups can be tolerated.

In these fast-paced, high-tech, free trade times, it is time for the new government of Ontario to focus attention on the best interests of the majority and to put an end to the continuous future-threatening concessions to fanatic special-interest groups. It is time for the new Ontario government to initiate the development of government policies which apply equally and fairly to all, yet allow minorities to pursue their individual interests at their own expense; to define the level of linguistic terrorism to be tolerated in Canada's future and for the province of Quebec to define its level of tolerance towards the majority of Canadians; to establish one efficient, publicly supported education system which serves the academic needs of all students; to develop legislation consistent with the needs and desires of the majority; to invite native Canadians to participate and prosper in Canadian society on an equal ground; to develop a taxation system which applies equally to all.

The ability to temporarily satisfy special-interest or lobby groups does not win votes. The respect gained by developing, administering and monitoring commonsense policies applied equally to all will provide an environment where the desire to be happy, successful and prosperous in all citizens will prevail and serve the best interests of the majority.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I invite next Morris Dale Gates.

Mr Gates: Mr Chairman, members of the select committee and ladies and gentlemen, fortunately for Canada, many Canadians today are seriously questioning the direction our political leaders have been and are leading us in. The public's lack of confidence has arisen for a good cause. Leadership failure has occurred in four main areas that I would like to address. You have asked me to cut my time, so I will skip three, the examples having to do with multiculturalism, with official bilingualism and with the economy, but I will go on and begin with what I call the leadership failure over the Constitution.

The Constitution has been manipulated to meet the vision of politicians and not the people. Patriation should never have proceeded in the face of Quebec's objections, but Trudeau cared not a whit for Quebec's strong feelings. The 1982 failure gave rise to Meech Lake and an even greater abuse of democracy. Abuse was paramount in the GST debate, yet we heard much talk of democracy. But politics is awash with hypocrisy.

Our elected representatives, the political leaders in our communities have also failed us, unintentionally perhaps, but that will continue until rigid party discipline ceases, and the mandate concept must also cease. The party elite set the political agenda, not the people or even the elected representatives. Very few MPs or MPPs take the big issues into their ridings for open discussion. The truth of the matter is the people's participation is not wanted until a crisis occurs and then our support is sought -- crisis democracy.

In future we want real democracy, where the people make the big decisions -- capital punishment, abortion, deficit financing, immigration, Sunday shopping and others -- as they arise. These issues must be decided by the people directly. Canadians have the education to make such decisions, and the required technology is available. Direct legislation, referenda and recall are now practical. Most important, direct legislation will ensure control of government always resides with the people. Never again should the people have to accept such leadership failure as we now have without the power, except a distant election, to end it.


Politicians who speak against direct legislation employ weak arguments. Switzerland's stable society with its multiple languages and cultures amply demonstrates direct legislation's steadying influence. Yes, Canada needs a new Confederation. The majority refuses special status but Quebec demands it to the point of a separate state, if one accepts the Allaire report. The west and the Maritimes want a better power-sharing arrangement. The north and the aboriginal people want to govern themselves. At the individual level, most Canadians believe there is far too much government, that it is time to redistribute powers, to eliminate duplication and, most important, to return decision-making closer to the people themselves, right down to the municipal level when appropriate.

In other words, there is a form of support for the Allaire report, but not to the extent of destroying the total essence of Canada -- Canadian citizenship -- with no meaning whatsoever. A central government can remain strong, but only in those areas where the people wish it to be so. If Quebec's separation is to be discussed on the basis that all peoples have the right to self-determination, it must be on the basis of Quebec at the time of Confederation, without Rupert's Land, and the same right must be afforded to all political entities within Quebec, counties and townships.

Separation aside, a confederation of regions is perhaps the only basis for a new federalism. It is not a new idea -- I am aware of that -- but it is five semi-autonomous regions, namely, the west, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes and the northern region, that offer some hope of a better political balance while reducing government duplication.

In your discussion booklet you state that time is short. Why? Why is it short tonight? Why must we rush? Let us take the time to do it right, which means the agenda must ensure plenty of time for public reaction and input at every step of the way. In that same statement, it is also said, "It is too important to be left to the politicians alone." Well, perhaps the politicians' role should end with these commissions. Our political leaders lack the public confidence needed for this difficult task. Canadians, once very trusting, are now openly resentful of their political leaders, fearful of a future control by them. A solution by today's leaders will be viewed with scepticism.

Given this almost total lack of confidence, drawing up a new agreement must be by a constituent assembly elected equally from all regions. In that way, the same conditions would necessarily apply to all regions, with special status for none; otherwise there would be no agreement. Aboriginal issues and the Senate will necessarily be addressed fully. Finally, approval would be gained by a majority vote in all regions.

Poor political leadership has brought the country to a crisis condition, its existence threatened. There is common ground to remain one country through a redistribution of powers to five equal, semi-autonomous regions, confederation of regions. Describing a new Canada must not be left to the politicians, but given to a constituent assembly which must propose a new Confederation subject to, first, public scrutiny and discussion in every community in the land and, second, direct approval by a majority vote in all the regions. The time required to complete the task must be provided. There must be no pressure to complete the task within the mandate of any government.

The real need today is to renew democracy, to actively involve the people in decision-making, to give more equal voice to all parts of the country. Issues must be decided by consensus, majority rule, but an informed majority with consensus built from good information, more discussion and finally expressed openly as the people's voice. Our elected representatives must perform their leadership role in this context.

Thank you for the courtesy of your attention. I look forward to your report.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call next Peter Adams, who is a former MPP for this area.

Mr Adams: Mr Chairman, colleagues -- former colleagues I should say -- ladies and gentlemen, it is tragic that we should be debating the future of Canada at a time when our unique decentralized system of democracy is just coming into its own. Not long ago communications were such that it seemed impossible to govern a huge country with a diverse, scattered population such as the one we have. Today, modern means of travel and electronic means of communication have eliminated at least the technical problems of passing information from coast to coast to coast.

It seems that other parts of the world have begun to realize that we were on the right track. In Europe, as your discussion paper points out, through the European Community, overly centralized, sometimes dangerously nationalistic states are moving towards some sort of confederal system. In the USSR it would appear that they are struggling to move away from an overly centralized union towards something more decentralized to better cope with enormous regional differences.

One of the reasons I am particularly saddened that Confederation is at risk at this time is that ours is a system of government which has great potential for the ultimate solution of the great environmental problem we face. It could be a model for the world in this regard. Given the will, how would you design a system of government which can cope with such apparently diverse concepts as "small is beautiful" and "global village"?

The first makes a virtue of smallness and the second conveys the idea that all parts of the global system are inextricably linked and that environmental problems do not recognize political boundaries. These two famous concepts of the environmental movement are brought together in the equally famous axiom, "Think globally, act locally." Here in Canada, we have a system of government which has the potential to operationalize this guiding environmental principle.

For generations we have learned that Canada is the second-largest country in the world and thought little of it. Recently we have realized that we have the awesome responsibility for a huge and sensitive part of the Earth's surface, land, rivers, lakes and parts of three oceans, and responsibility for the air above that territory. We have a unique decentralized system of government which has the potential to act locally while also acting at as near a global scale as any nation can, while thinking globally.

What an irony, just as we have begun to recognize and accept our responsibilities for the global environment, that we should be considering dismantling Confederation, which provides us with a means of shouldering those responsibilities. Of course, these concepts which the environmental movement has adopted are simply bases for good government of any sort.

Socially, for example, "think globally and act locally" is the only way to go. Similarly, again as your discussion paper points out, the trend towards an increasingly globalized economic system is also towards small economic units like the prefectures of Japan and the cantons of Switzerland as the basis of that global economy. So I am sorry that we find ourselves engaged in such a bitter debate about the future of Canada just when it is becoming clear that our system of government has special strengths in allowing us to exercise stewardship over this particular piece of the global system and its people.

However, the debate is upon us, and debate we must. I tend to the view that further tinkering with Confederation will not provide a long-term answer, for such an approach will simply postpone the withdrawal of Quebec. The only solution which will allow Confederation as we know it to flourish is a renewal of shared national vision. I would like to think that our growing sense of responsibility for a huge piece of the globe, including the north, will help us find that vision.

But more immediately, I regret to say that I now feel that one of the more useful things this select committee can do at this particular time is to force the people of Ontario to start thinking about the unthinkable, if only as the last means of avoiding the unthinkable. The unthinkable of course is not Canada without Quebec; it is Canadas without Quebec. If we do not begin to think about these possibilities seriously, we may find that events overtaking us, and a bad situation may be made worse for lack of forethought. If we do begin to think about these possibilities seriously, we may well realize just how good what we have now is and what a fine base it provides for further creative growth.

We have to think about the various possibilities for Canadas without Quebec in geographical, economic, social and other terms and in terms of the allocation of powers that we might like to see in the new country which contains Ontario. I can imagine various scenarios which technically could be quite viable.

One of them is of course a country made up of all of modern Canada, less Quebec. Others involve smaller units, combinations of various provinces and territories. We would all do well to remember, though, some of the things which all of these possibilities have in common: None of them will be among the top 10 developed nations on the globe. None will have a market base greater than 18 millions. Each will be an even smaller mouse living alongside an elephant which will not have shrunk at all. In the part which contains Ontario at least, immigrants will make up a substantially larger proportion of the population than they do now, and I say that as an immigrant.


Each of those possibilities will likely still be a small group of people trying to exercise stewardship over a huge piece of the globe, and each will be a brand-new, unproven country starting out with the disadvantage of the memory of a traumatic secession.

I believe that the people of Ontario are resourceful enough and energetic enough to make a go of a new country, whatever its political or geographical configurations. However, I also believe that they are coming to realize that they will be making a go of something which is second-best to a country developed from and soundly based on what we have now.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Adams.


The Chair: I call next John Hollingshurst.

Mr Hollingshurst: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I am one of the angry Canadian citizens. I am submitting a brief on what I believe to be one of the most divisive problems that we have in Ontario and indeed in the whole of the country.

Every single Canadian citizen has a duty and moral obligation to this country. The last 30 years have seen us inundated with unnecessarily large amounts of controversial pieces of legislation that have cascaded down upon our heads in such volume as to cause confusion and anger. We, the people, are the victims. We, the people, are being divided and abused by the very people and issues that should bind us together as a nation.

The solid foundations which this great nation was built on are being removed, the most controversial of which are the symbols of our nationalism: our flag, our language and our culture. We no longer have trust or even sympathy with any of our levels of government.

Every country has internal problems. Canada is no exception. The other day I heard a passionate cry from a member of a committee such as this: "I am fed up with French-bashing," etc. He was referring to bigots and racists. This cry and its counterpart, "Enough is enough," are cries from people in distress. The cries are proof that, one, the people are not being listened to and, two, the root of the problem lies in the political manoeuvring that has been going on behind the scenes for years between the provinces and the federal government.

Here are a few excerpts from Ontario's French Language Services Act voting on 18 November 1986, translation of Hansard on the third reading of Bill 8. Ninety per cent of the reading of this bill was in the French language. This is in an English-speaking province. Seventy members absented themselves from the reading. Why? Less than half attended the most controversial and politically inspired piece of legislation that has gone through this House in years.

Mr Peterson -- and we all remember him -- said, "This is the largest leap in the past 120 years for the francophones of Ontario," 4.6% of the population of Ontario. He said, "We have much left to do, but now we are putting into practical effect the things we want to guarantee, real a real opportunity to our Franco-Ontarians to live and work in their language." The target of this Ontario French Language Services Act is eventually official bilingualism entrenched in the Constitution.

I will refer you to Mr Rae, our present Premier. Mr Rae said, "I can remember...trying to get Ottawa to take that step... making Ontario a province where French is constitutionally entrenched in the Constitution of Canada and where French is recognized as an official language of our province."

Mr Rae further went on to say, "I want to go on record again today as saying to the Premier (Mr Peterson)... it is my personal view that Ontario can do an immense amount for national unity by taking that next step forward, a step that would include and recognize French as an official language in this province and one that would guarantee those rights in the Constitution."

So we have two premiers, one following the other, trying to make this province, an English-speaking province, an officially bilingual province.

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

Mr Hollingshurst: The cost, the reaction of this English-speaking province, the fairness in light of Quebec's language laws, were never given the slightest consideration.

I personally, like many more, have been vilified and branded as a bigot and a racist, whatever, because I had the temerity to stand up in defence of my country. I accept that as part of the price I must pay for daring to voice my convictions.

Quebec, if one dares to acknowledge the truth, never has been and never will be a willing partner in Confederation. For 232 years, generations of young Quebeckers have been coerced into believing their rightful place is at the centre of a French-speaking Canada.

The Chair: Sir, I am going to have to ask you to end, please.

Mr Hollingshurst: What more proof -- I have two minutes.

The Chair: No, you do not have two minutes, sir.

Mr Hollingshurst: Why not? You allowed other people to go further. I am angry and I think you should allow me to finish.

The Chair: Sir, you have gone beyond six minutes already. Would you please sum up.

Mr Hollingshurst: Beyond six minutes? Why can I not have 10 the same as Mr Adams and all the others?

The Chair: They did not have 10 minutes. I do not want to sit and --

Mr Hollingshurst: They did so. I timed them.

The Chair: Sir, they did not. I will allow you another minute to finish.

Mr Hollingshurst: Right. What more proof do I need to support my observations than to look at the extent to which provincial governments have gone to placate the French Quebec fears of assimilation? I will finish off on the Last thing. I leave it to you to go back to Mr Rae and tell him that Ontario does not want to be made officially bilingual. Thank you.



The Chair: I call next Keith Bottoms.

Mr Bottoms: Mr Chairman and members of the select committee, I want to thank you for the opportunity to participate in these discussions. I have read your discussion paper but I do not feel qualified to comment on all the issues, and therefore I will briefly speak to the ones that are of most concern to me. I am going to speak briefly on constitutional changes, Quebec and official bilingualism, and what I think Ontario might do about these things.

But first, I believe that we need major changes in our Constitution in that it is not the case of fixing it any more. We must allow, I believe, regional control of the legislative process at the federal level. This could be done, I feel, via the triple E Senate proposal, which would allow the regions to have a full say in federal legislation through the Senate. This seems to be a very logical approach in consideration of the long, thin country that we have inhabited with such diversity of geography and climate. Ontario would, of course, lose some control in this situation, but I think it should be willing to do so in the interests of the whole nation.

A second change I would like to see would require free votes in the Houses of Parliament, both the Commons and the Senate. Now, this is assuming an elected Senate. Members would be free to vote their conscience or their constituents' wishes. Each bill would then far more likely be decided on its merits rather than on the wishes of a particular party or a particular party leader.

A third constitutional change I would like to see would be in the selection of our judges. I feel again regional interests should be paramount, with two judges being selected from each of the regions and a ninth one being selected by the Prime Minister. The regions I refer to are the main four regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and the west.

Fourth, I would like to see the Prime Minister elected directly or by a combined membership of the House of Commons and the Senate. This second option appeals to me because it would produce a welcome reduction in the Prime Minister's powers and make him or her responsible to all the elected representatives of the people. I believe this would have a tremendous degree of legitimacy which would be hard to deny. The members of the Houses of Parliament would also, of course, be able to deselect him or her under certain conditions that would have to be carefully specified, but it would do away with dictatorial prime ministers.

On Quebec and official languages, I have asked, "What can we do in English-speaking Canada to keep Quebec a part of the country?" Or do we want it to remain a part of Canada? Perhaps instead it could become the friendly nation next door. I sometimes feel that in trying to solve the Quebec problem, we are trying to reconcile the irreconcilable.

Some years ago after reading René Lévesque's book, My Quebec, I said to my wife upon setting the book down, "Quebec is going to separate some day." I said this because Lévesque`s thoughts and feelings left me with the very strong belief that what Quebec wants, we cannot give, at least not while maintaining our strong belief in democratic principles.

This "distinct society" clause that Quebec wanted in our Constitution I thought and many people thought was very objectionable because it permanently divides Canada into two groups: French Canadians on the one hand and everyone else on the other. This, I believe, is no way to unify a country. I think the question for many Canadians was and is: "How far can we stretch democratic principles and still call ourselves a democratic nation? How far can we go in appeasing Quebec's ever-increasing demands and still have more than a shell of a country left?" I think the answer was given at the Meech Lake defeat, when English-speaking Canadians massively supported Elijah Harper and Premier Wells in saying, "This time perhaps you've gone too far."

What can Ontario do? First, I think Quebec should be accepted as a French-speaking province without having to use a "notwithstanding" clause. Without official bilingualism, which neither Quebec nor the rest of Canada wants, the provinces could speak and use the language or languages of their choice. Quebec would be free to call itself a distinct society and use a language of its choice.

Second, Ontario should rethink official bilingualism. It is an idea which I do not think has worked. It is time to accept this and try something else. Most people in English-speaking Canada have almost no need to learn French, and a bigger problem is very little opportunity to use it in any case. The reason for this is that only one person in 20, in eight of 10 provinces, speaks French.

The Chair: Sir, I am going to ask you to sum up.

Mr Bottoms: Okay. I was going to mention that I thought Ontario should make a strong effort to be more co-operative and more westward-looking and to join with the four western provinces. I also think Ontario must encourage all of the people of Canada to call themselves Canadian, unhyphenated, and to celebrate occasions and historical events which have meaning to the Canadian experience. Let us stop emphasizing our differences and start emphasizing our common values, our common principles, and our common experiences.

Finally, major constitutional change is going to occur in Canada whether we want it or not. Things have progressed too far to call a stop at this juncture. Things cannot remain as they are. They cannot remain the same. We must not, however, be distressed by this turn of events but rather seize the opportunity to rewrite the fundamental law of the land. We must look upon this situation as an opportunity to do it right this time. It must, however, be done in a way that illustrates our strong belief and democratic equality, that encourages our separate identity and that supports our commitment to social services in a caring, free and democratic Canada. I thank you for your attention.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call next Gregory Wood.

Mr Wood: Mr Chairman, members of the provincial Parliament, I too would like to thank you for the opportunity of appearing before you tonight. I would particularly like to express appreciation for your stamina. You must be worn out by now. Before getting into the substance of my remarks, it might be helpful to you if I situate them.

I was born, raised and received my formal education in Alberta. I speak fluent French and my work takes me very frequently to Quebec, where I have numerous friends, acquaintances and business associates. I appreciate the Quebec culture and feel at home there. In the past, my work took me regularly to the east coast, and I visited all of the Atlantic provinces on a number of occasions. Although I would be quite comfortable living in any region of Canada, I have chosen Ontario.

J'ai commence à apprendre le français a l'âge de 23 ans. Aujourd'hui, je serais tout à fait à l'aise vivant, travaillant et menant ma vie sociale en français au Québec, même dans un Québec indépendant. Mais en dépit de mes efforts à apprendre le français, et ceux de milliers d'autres anglophones, les efforts de centaines de milliers de francophones à apprendre l'anglais, il faut maintenant que nous fassions face avec réalisme à un Canada plus divisé que jamais.

I am here today because I fear that our current crisis could well end in tragedy. By this, I mean not only the breakup of Canada but also accompanying economic and social disarray. If such a tragedy is to be averted, or at least mitigated, we must begin by articulating, clearly and usefully, the problem and critical parameters. Only then can a coherent strategy be developed and the practical handling of the crisis he adept.

From the snatches of your hearings, which I have been able to see on television, I have been particularly concerned by a general inability or unwillingness to examine the basic problems in a dispassionate manner. With this in mind, I have chosen a few points which I would like to address, in the hope that they will contribute to injecting more coherence and realism into the debate.


We must recognize first that, although the values and aspirations of Ontarians are important, dissatisfaction with Confederation has its roots in Quebec and in other regions of Canada. Our views on Confederation must be tailored to deal with dissatisfaction. Moreover, it is important to differentiate between the dissatisfaction of the regions and that of Quebec. Dissatisfaction in the regions has different roots and a different character than that in Quebec and demands a different and separate response.

Let's first consider Quebec. It is critical to understand the basis of Quebec's dissatisfaction of Canada. It might be helpful to view the Quebec situation in terms of Quebeckers' evident primary allegiance to Quebec rather than to Canada. This is not to say that Quebeckers feel no attachment to Canada. As many of us who are in close touch with Quebec have long recognized, Quebec's unique aspirations stem largely from this basic sentiment.

It is therefore critical that Ontario and Canada admit openly this reality and accept it without recrimination, because so many Ontarians have had such difficulty with this important element as is demonstrated each time the unfortunate reference is made to being Canadian first. I would like to dwell on it a minute. I will resort to a couple of simple analogies which I hope will be useful.

Try to imagine, for instance, what your position might be if Ontario were, by historical arrangement or outdated military defeat, part of Mexico. Regardless of how benevolent was the Spanish-speaking majority, you might well be somewhat uncomfortable knowing that the Mexican majority would always dominate national decision-making. It is possible that you would resent having to speak Spanish to have a successful career in government or that you would tend to view the rest of Mexico as a whole and not be sufficiently concerned with regional differences between Tijuana and Vera Cruz. Perhaps you might even have aspirations of forming an independent Ontario.

From another angle, if these same people who are apparently unable or unwilling to accept or understand Quebeckers' allegiance to Quebec are asked if they wish to be American, they reply with a resounding no. This is not because they do not like Americans or because they perceive that Americans do not like them. They would readily admit that no number of youth exchanges or noble expressions of brotherhood or sisterhood from our American friends would change their minds. Yet many of you do not understand why this approach will not work with Quebeckers. And let us remember that our culture is, in many ways, more similar to the United States than Quebec's is to ours. At least we speak the same language.

For providing some views on how we might approach the Quebec problem, let me turn for a minute to the rest of Canada, which is a very different situation. From my experience, the overwhelming majority of anglophone Canadians throughout the country feel a primary allegiance to Canada. Their discouragement stems from a long-standing feeling of impotence and disregard, which Canada, in its inimical manner, has failed to address for far too long.

They now favour decentralization largely because they have given up hope for what they perceive as fair and equitable treatment under the current federal system. Many could accept and even support a relatively strong central government, if convinced that their interests would be looked after. The dissatisfaction of the regions, particularly the west, must be dealt with if Canada is to flourish in harmony in the long term. Moreover, westerners in particular will be watching closely the process dealing with the current crisis, and they will expect their interests to be taken appropriately into account. If the west's views are once again ignored, this will provide a powerful impetus to those in that region contemplating a future outside Canada.

Now, let me turn back to how we might deal with Quebec. As implied earlier, little can be done to alter Quebeckers' primary allegiance to Quebec. Emotional appeals will not allay their desire for independence. With regard to constitutional change, it is time to put to bed the myth that Quebec's principle objective is to protect or promote its language and culture. Quebeckers and all others were informed of what has happened in Quebec over the last 25 years. Know that Quebec now has all the tools necessary to protect these interests. Those of you who have read the Allaire report may have noted that not once does the document even mention the protection of language and culture within Quebec.

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

Mr Wood: Okay. In summing up, I would like to address the most important question that your committee will consider, which is, "Should Quebec be given a special arrangement within Confederation?" Like many of you perhaps, I would be tempted to respond positively, in the vague hope that this might keep Canada together. At the very least, it just might buy time for a leader to arise to turn the tide in Quebec. But there is a fundamental problem with such a position, one that cannot be ignored in the democratic society in which we live. The committee must face the fact that the majority of Ontarians and other anglophone Canadians reject this outright.

This is not to suggest that this vast majority of Canadians are intolerant or even that they reject the notion that Quebec is a distinct society. But there can be no doubt that they have a deep and abiding conviction that all Canadians will be equal and, right or wrong, they are not about to be convinced otherwise.

I do not necessarily agree with much of this sentiment. I have no doubt that there will be hell to pay, particularly in western Canada but also in Ontario, if this conviction is not given due respect. With this in mind, I would like to make a final comment on the work of your committee.

Surely your committee is playing a useful role in focusing public attention and generating thought on critical and urgent matters facing our province and nation. As you draft your report, I would ask that you guard against the temptation of using these hearings as a pretext for putting forward recommendations that do not accurately reflect the views of the majority of Canadians, of Ontarians. Although I personally believe in bilingualism reform, a report which reflects only my views or, I expect, your views could well result in great bitterness and in the end cause more difficulties than it would resolve. You must set for yourself the daunting task of articulating a position which is able to form a broad consensus of the majority, so often absent from the many recent governmental decisions. I wish you every success in your endeavours.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I invite next Robert Bowley.

Mr Bowley: Danke, grazie, merci, domo, thank you. In French Polynesia I would start this by saying, "I greet you." In Britain's tiniest colony I would start by saying, "I hope you are well." I am bilingual in English and chemistry, which was my working language.

I have agonized over what to say in a few minutes; there is so much. I have given you a longer written version which I hope you will read. I have asked myself many questions about our many problems and have tried to find constructive answers.

It seems that most of our population is fed up with party politics. My answer is to have a complete reform, a switch to the presidium style of government at the federal and provincial levels, like the ward system in many municipalities. These elected members would sign a contract of allegiance to Canada and to the aspirations of their constituents and the contract would have an impeachment clause in it.

I would reduce the number of federal members from over 260 to 110. I would make the Yukon and the Northwest Territories provinces at once, and distribute the seats using a population-and-area formula. This would, using the Manitoba and Ontario border as the geographical centre of Canada, give the west 50 and the east 60. Ontario and Quebec would have only 14 each, getting rid of the overpowering current voting strength of these two. The same principles should be used at the provincial level as well.


We appear to have a serious problem with Quebec, with the words "separate" and "sovereignty" being bandied about. A brief review of history reveals that the land on which a great many Canadians of French ancestry now live was ceded to Britain in 1763. The French people were allowed at that time to stay on this land and, in the terms of the Treaty of Paris, allowed to retain their cultural habits, their language and their religion in their daily personal lives.

In 1867 they ceased to be French. They have since been just Canadians. Check your passport. There is no such thing as a French Canadian or a Vietnamese Canadian. New citizenship papers identify immigrants as just Canadian citizens. This divisive use of prefixing should be abolished. Those of French ancestry are still allowed to live on the land called Quebec, but the land belongs to the Dominion of Canada.

It is a shame that when the Parti québécois was started and its leaders began to incite separatism, the perpetrators of this sedition were not charged and expelled from Canada. There is no mechanism in the BNA Act for the separation of a piece of land from the Dominion, nor is there presently such a mechanism in the Constitution of 1982. According to Professor David Hogg in his 1985 book, Constitutional Law of Canada, the only way land could be separated is by revolution.

The BNA Act makes us all Canadians, all equal. No one ethnic group can be distinct or, using one common synonym for this word, superior -- it is no wonder that so many of us were upset when that was introduced -- and no one province should have any sovereignty or supreme power over its residents that other provinces do not have, not if we are going to have any unity in the country.

Party-type politicians at the provincial level in Quebec and Ontario and at the federal level are responsible for this mess. Every time the Quebec gang demanded and gained an inch, they went for a mile. Our weak and ethnically biased federal gang have made a habit of handing it over. Ontario has followed suit for unknown reasons. The latest travesty is the immigration agreement signed on 6 February giving Quebec supreme power to select francophone immigrants. This divisive legislation must be repealed.

Since the federal government decides on many issues and aspects of the lives of all Canadians, and I think it should, and since the common language of most of them is English, I would repeal the Official Languages Act, which has put a terrible burden in many ways on a very large majority of Canadians since 1969. I would replace it with a simple language act whereby the federal government and all its ministries from coast to coast would operate using English only, especially in the House of Commons. This would satisfy over 90% of all Canadians who use the common language English in their daily interactions with other Canadians.

There would be a proviso that any municipality, township, county or even province where a healthy majority, like 70%, of the residents ask for it could use any additional language, provided it raised local taxes to pay for the cost of the bilingual service.

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

Mr Bowley: My advice to members of any ethnic group which finds that it cannot live in harmony in this Dominion as it is presently constituted with members of all other ethnic groups on a completely equal basis should separate by the only lawful means at their disposal -- emigration. I hope it will be clarified in a new Constitution that all immigrants from all corners of the Earth, along with all present Canadian citizens, including our first nations people, are welcome in all provinces where they can retain their own cultural habits in their own homes, small business and churches, while living together amicably under one common Canadian flag, using one set of laws, having a fair taxation system, like income tax only, and being governed by a group of elected representatives at all levels of government whose sole purpose in life is to do the best they possibly can for their constituents while making sure that we have a strong, unified Canada.


The Chair: Dean Wasson.

Mr Wasson: Members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, good evening, bonsoir. I would like first of all to present to you my thoughts in summary because I understand that I do not have that much time this evening. Is it correct I have somewhere around seven minutes?

The Chair: You have somewhere around five minutes.

Mr Wasson: Five minutes. Everyone else, after sum-up, has been running seven minutes.

The Chair: Well, I will give you the warning at five minutes, which usually means about six minutes, okay?

Mr Wasson: Thank you very much. It is my opinion that we are searching for common ground in the area of culture and language. Because of the French-English nuance in Canada, it most likely will be regionally based and it must be sensitive to the views of the majority as well as the minority within the regions. There needs to be regional sensitivity in fiscal and economic policies. The Charter of Rights must be flexible enough to allow cultural divergence by region. We need to create and sustain a level playing field for the minorities in the area of language, education, employment and government services. Native issues need to be addressed. In my brief I have written material on that which I have left with you and I probably will not have time to get to it. We need less government, and that has been adequately covered in your hearings to date, so I will not be covering that any further.

The searching for a common ground is directed at a new Canada, with Quebec as a fully participating partner. In the event that Quebec cannot be satisfied with reasonable reshaping of Canada, then we must decide who will negotiate with Quebec on de-Confederation. We should not be prepared to negotiate with a knife at our throat, with a Quebec-stated position only for consideration. We should move quickly to set out English Canada's basic position for de-Confederation. In my view, Ontario should lead that initiative. With that position clearly in mind, the Quebec people will be in a position to make a reasoned decision on opting for a united Canada or separation. Finally, a new direction for Canada must be approved by the people in a referendum.

Let me now go on to the question of what we have in common as symbols or a common identity across Canada. Great emphasis is currently being placed on multiculturalism and bilingualism as the key to our Canadian identity. On the contrary, what this symbolizes is a country that is totally focused on its minorities. The traditions, culture and values of the majority will be and, in the opinion of many, have been sacrificed to that end. What it is doing, in many people's view, is emphasizing diversity and thereby disunity. I sense this view in both English-speaking Canada and French-speaking Canada, and it is also echoed in the ethnic community.

It seems to me that we need to seriously rethink the situation. We need to find a way to provide services to the minorities in whatever language without the official bilingual emphasis. In my view, Ontario should lead the way by redrafting Bill 8 as a bill for services to all minorities wherever numbers warrant. In the main, this should be accomplished through coupling Bill 8 with the thrust of employment equity legislation.

We should then move on to defining national symbols and beliefs which we all will support. We should first develop a vision for Canada along idealistic lines in which we would continue to emphasize our commitment to equality of opportunity and the acceptance of everyone as an equal.


As a principle, what I really want is for me to live in my community in peace and harmony with those about me so that they do not feel threatened by me, nor do I feel threatened by them. I would also like my heritage recognized and protected in our culture and national symbols and to not have them continually eroded, as the courts redefine our society in the light of the Charter of Rights.

In that spirit, let me express my sense of a common heritage. I am going to try to paraphrase here, so pardon some of the slipup. But to do that, I am going to use as an example my family, which came to this community in 1831. We are thousands in the community and we are thousands, and maybe tens of thousands, across Canada as we have proliferated. You know, they were ordinary Canadians and by all the standards of historians they were nonentities. They did not command armies, they took little part in history-making decisions and they shunned the limelight. None of them would be up here speaking tonight. A few of them achieved --

The Chair: Could you sum up, sir.

Mr Wasson: All right. What they did, in my view, was more important than many acts of statesmanship. What they really did is build Canada, and that is where I focus my pride in my heritage, as a builder of Canada. I sense, as I work through this land, and I travel quite frequently across the land, that is where a lot of people focus their pride. It is their pride in having built a strong and proud nation. I think if we come to grips with that and focus on that as the common theme across Canada, we might be able to do something in terms of engendering a spirit of national unity. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Next is John Christmas.

Mr Christmas: Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you. It seems to me that we have had this constitutional crisis as an ongoing thing and I really see no satisfactory end to it. Quebec now has so many powers that in fact it is essentially a separate country, for example, when it has the powers over immigration, but a person then coming into Quebec can go anywhere in the country. If you say, "No, you cannot do that," then you have a separate country.

My feeling is, whether we like it or not, Quebec is going to separate, and I am mostly concerned that we should be prepared for that, because it looks as though 1992 could be upon us. My own feeling is that the separation of Quebec is not really a serious problem in the country. However, the conditions of separation must be thought about right now, and the most serious aspect in my opinion is the geographical one. We must not allow the Atlantic region to be cut off geographically from central Canada. This is reminiscent of West Berlin and the split-up of Pakistan into east and west Pakistan when the British left India and it leads to a lot of trouble.

My feeling is that whatever Quebec decides to do, the land immediately west of Montreal, the mainly English Eastern Townships, the south shore of the St Lawrence, including the Gaspé, should remain a part of Canada regardless. The northern and northwestern part of Quebec, which was formerly Rupert's Land and was ceded to Britain not Quebec, together with Newfoundland and Acadia, by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 and later became part of the Northwest Territories, was only transferred to Quebec I believe for convenience of administration. I feel the native inhabitants of this region should be allowed to decide their own future, with Quebec or with Canada, by a referendum under United Nations supervision.

The state of Quebec should print its own currency, entirely independent of the Canadian dollar. Immigration into Canada from Quebec would be handled in the same way as immigration from anywhere else. Trade with Quebec would be by negotiated agreements, the same as applies to the United States or other countries. Quebec should also assume its proportionate share of the national debt.

My feeling is that once Quebec is separate, relations will be much better between Canada and Quebec than they are now.

Ontario should support the creation of three new provinces. These would be the Yukon, the western part of the present Northwest Territories and the eastern part of the Northwest Territories, the last of these to include that part of present-day Quebec which was formerly Rupert's Land, should the native inhabitants wish it.

The federal government: I would keep the House of Commons much the same as it is now, except that all candidates for Parliament be required to pass an intelligence test. The test would include questions in logic, ethics, geography and accounting. The Senate should be abolished in its present form and be replaced by a triple E Senate, with equal representation from each of the 12 provinces. This is designed to give the west, the Maritimes, Newfoundland, and the northern natives better representation in government.

The Constitution: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a typical French-style, top-down Constitution, in which rights are doled out by bureaucrats to those below them. It divides the country into groups, each with its rights. It results in much litigation, which adds nothing to the wealth of the country, and increases resentment between groups and individuals. It also transfers large amounts of money from government into the pockets of lawyers. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms could be abolished. In its place would be the laws of Canada.

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

Mr Christmas: These laws should be: (1) sensible and clearly stated; (2) arrived at by a consensus of the people; (3) enforced by punishment sufficient to deter the crime -- and I do not mean rehabilitation; and (4) taught in schools. Provided the laws are not broken, people should be free to do anything they want.

The judiciary should operate within provincial or national guidelines so that sentences have less of the character of a lottery. The present Constitution moves much of the responsibility for decision-making away from our elected officials and gives it to appointed judges in various courts. This is extremely undemocratic. Consequently judges are making decisions on subjects such as the environment, on which they have little, if any, knowledge. More responsibility should reside in Parliament, where members are made accountable to the voters.

I do have one or two things to say about finance --

The Chair: Sorry, we do not have time --

Mr Christmas: Can I just say one thing?

The Chair: Very, very briefly.

Mr Christmas: The national debt stands at $380 billion, double the per capita debt of the United States. How was this money spent? Well, we sure have not put a man on the moon. Much of the money has been spent in an attempt to buy Quebec into staying in Confederation. Between the years 1980 and 1988, the federal government transferred to Quebec $95 billion more than it received from Quebec in taxes. This alone amounts to one quarter of the national debt, but does not include the interest on the money since that time or capital expenditure is done in Quebec.

The Chair: Sir, I am going to have to stop you there. I am sorry. Thank you.



The Chair: I call Eric Davis. Come forward, sir. I think you were not here when I announced that we are working on five-minute time lines.

Mr Davis: Well, I am going to have to read like a newscaster.

The Chair: Do not try to speed up, because that is just going to confuse everybody. Just summarize as best you can.

Mr Davis: Thank you for the opportunity to appear here tonight. I wish to comment on constitutional reform and democratic government. Other speakers have already spoken about the American system of government and its superiority over those of other countries in delivering effective representative democracy. If Canada is one of the most democratic in the world, it is not because of its Constitution, but despite its inadequacies. If we can improve our Constitution, we may set an example for other countries to follow in the next decade or two of political ferment and reform. If we could but do that, it would benefit developing countries by more than billions of dollars in foreign aid.

The American Constitution was devised with the benefit of recognizing the defects of the British parliamentary system. The original Constitution was framed with the idea of government by consensus. Tyranny was to be avoided by splitting the powers of the federal government three ways. Laws were to be made only by the agreement of both Houses of Congress. The administration of the laws was to be the responsibility of an elected president, assisted by his cabinet of appointed secretaries with departmental responsibilities. An independent judicial system headed by the Supreme Court rules on matters of law and the constitutional validity of new laws.

In the first Congress assembled in 1780, there were no political parties. Indeed, George Washington believed political parties to be a threat to democracy. However, the experience over the next 20 years brought about a change of view, and a constitutional amendment provided for the creation and representation of two political parties. In a two-party system the winner always has a majority of the votes. Furthermore, the elected representative is expected to speak in the Congress in favour of the interest of his constituency. Party loyalty is secondary to constituency interest.

In British parliamentary practice, the situation is much different. In Canada, we had enormous power concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister. Theoretically, both in Britain and in Canada, the government is the inner cabinet. The recent ouster of Prime Minister Thatcher is the result of her authoritarian exercise of her prime ministerial powers. She ignored the advice of her ministers and acted on the advice of unelected advisers. Democracy had fallen prey to autocracy or quasi-dictatorship. I must say she did a great deal of good for her country and her intentions were good. It was only a provision in the constitution of the Conservative Party that allowed her to be removed as party leader.

Another defect in our system is that where there are three or more parties contending for election, there is a good chance that the winning party can rule with a majority of seats but with less than the majority of votes. For example, in the last federal election the PCs won 169 seats out of a total of 295, an absolute majority of 43 seats over both opposition parties. This large majority was won with only 43% of the valid votes passed, with the opposition parties together winning 52%. It is a poor reflection on our democracy when the PC cabinet can rule the country as it wishes while representing a minority of the voters.

Some people argue in favour of proportional representation as a remedy for this problem. But proportional representation as practised by the Italians leads to a great proliferation of small parties. Governments can only be formed by coalitions which are unstable and may last less than a year before there is a reshuffling.

I have a proposal to put forward which would go a long way towards solving this problem and improve greatly the prospects for consensus government. The proposal is that we halve the number of constituencies by twinning adjacent ones and to have two representatives for each enlarged constituency. In other words, the two candidates for the largest and second-Largest number of votes would be elected to Parliament.

I have made a preliminary study of the impact of such a system upon the electoral results in the recent Ontario election. The following figures indicate the difference in the results. The actual results were that the NDP with 37.6% of the votes had 74 seats. They needed 63 seats, something like that, for a majority. With the proposed system, the NDP would have had 60 seats and 45.84% of the vote. The other parties would have increased the number of seats and the results would have been a minority government for the NDP. The average number of votes per seat did not vary greatly. My results show the following:

NDP 23,484; Liberals 20,772; Progressive Conservatives 21,221. With averages as close as this, it hardly seems worth while to go to the trouble of weighting each member's voting power in the Legislative Assembly according to the number of votes received at the election.

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

Mr Davis: I also propose that the Senate as currently constituted is archaic, irrelevant and should be abolished. It should be replaced by a new House of the Provinces whose principal job would be to look after constitutional matters and to set out rules by which government should govern. It should not take part in the affairs of the government of the day, it should not have any votes, but it should set down the rules which should be followed by the government and by political parties. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call next Gareth Park.

Mr Park: Thank you, Mr Chair. I am probably slightly different. I am presenting this on behalf of the Peterborough New Democratic Party Riding Association. Peterborough New Democrats had a small group meeting and sat around and brainstormed about the concerns we had with the present Constitution and the debate surrounding the Constitution. Like all Canadians, we were not unanimous on all areas, but we did have a number of concerns and a number of recommendations we wanted to bring forward.

We would like to affirm Canada as a good place to live. We have enjoyed its inclusion of diversity, its social programs, its potential for political, economic, social and environmental justice for all Canadians. Peterborough New Democrats feel the whole is stronger than the parts, and we are glad to be Canadians.

New Democrats also have concerns with the way the Constitution and the debate around it has been proceeding in this country. The continuing exclusion of aboriginal people from Canadian life represents a major failure, and I might add that any constitutional re-evaluation will not succeed unless it resolves the deplorable state of our nation's first and original peoples. The hurt that results from the political exclusion of women, native people, the poor, the disabled, gay men and Lesbians, ethnic and minority groups and the French is an obstacle to a creative future for this country.

A business, not a people's, economic agenda actively fostered by government has added to that hurt and has created further divisions among people. It has put in peril many lives within the groups listed above, through poverty, violence and instability. The sellout of our natural resources and the use of them solely for profit, not sustainability, have led to a lack of self-sufficiency and severe environmental degradation in a potentially rich country.

The danger of the separation of Quebec is a product of divisive leadership and of the lack of understanding of history, and may result in the balkanization of Canada. Peterborough New Democrats are concerned about the vagueness of current Ontario and federal constitutional consultations with the public. It appears to be designed to leave the politicians space to bargain in the back room again, without taking seriously the options of the people of Canada.

A draft statement from both levels of government expressing their constitutional aims would give people responding some idea of the federal and provincial agendas of what will be discussed in the back rooms. This would provide a focus for agreement or change in the public and be a more serious attempt at consultation. The process by which we proceed in amending a Constitution and discussing it will in many respects determine the outcome.

The failure of leadership provincially, but particularly in the federal sphere, has played a major role in creating the serious concerns listed above. New Democrats, along with a major percentage of the general public, believe that efforts at short-term political gain have actively created division and competition at a historic moment when there is no room for winners or losers. Dialogue has been constructed in terms of competing interests, and we have seen that tonight. Peterborough New Democrats would like to recommend the following for inclusion in a new Constitution.


The select committee and all levels of government must think and act, in terms of thinking about aboriginal people, as original and sovereign people on a level with both the English- and the French-speaking peoples. This principle must be included in the new Constitution.

The federal government must be given the responsibility to ensure fundamental principles of balance among the interests of the people, the environment and the economy. Balanced development of these three spheres will ensure a fair and just Canada. This calls for a new set of relations within Confederation entrusted to the federal government and enshrined in the Constitution. The social, political and economic rights of all Canadians must be protected by a strong federal government. The environment, whose health affects the future of Canada, must be recognized and protected as a valued part of all our decision-making. The economy must serve people, not devalue them. Economic self-sufficiency and self-sustainability for Canada must be the fundamental priorities of the federal government under the new Constitution.

The hurt suffered through exclusion from political and economic life by women, aboriginal people, francophones, ethnic and other minorities must be acknowledged. Inclusion of their voices and interests in the new Canadian Constitution must be guaranteed.

The new Constitution must be concerned with how diversity can be accommodated in an inclusive way, not an exclusive way. It must reflect common values of inclusion and equality. Canada's democratic processes must extend the concept of political democracy to include economic, social and environmental rights for all Canadians. These must be based in the Constitution and maintained through powers designated to the federal government to ensure that regional differences never threaten these basic rights.

The Constitution should include ways to achieve an ongoing process of political empowerment for all Canadians, not just in times of crisis; a process of continuing meaningful consultation around major social, economic, environmental and constitutional issues. The select committee should examine models which give the wider population a chance to discuss and examine these issues, and I want to emphasize that we are not just talking narrow constitutional issues but broader public issues, a lot of which has spilled into the presentations tonight and which determine how we think about this country.

The Chair: Mr Park, would you sum up, please.

Mr Park: These models should range from formal dialogue to informal discussions at the grass-roots level. We request that upcoming consultations between the federal government and the provinces be based on positive and inclusive language, rather than who gets what and who loses what.

Peterborough New Democrats urge the politicians of our province and our country to redefine leadership, to ensure that the above suggestions be included in the Constitution and practised after its creation.

Finally, I would like to ask the select committee to identify in its report who was present at these hearings and who was not. Many voices in this community and province cannot participate publicly for a variety of reasons: poverty, homelessness, threat of violence, illiteracy or lack of education. Alternative approaches to these people must be found so that no group or individual is voiceless. Thank you.


The Chair: I call next Jim Robinson.

Mr Robinson: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I have just received a news flash. The war is over. The battle of the Plains of Abraham was won by General Wolfe, so what are we here for?

What I have been listening to this evening is characteristic of what I was afraid I was going to be listening to, but I came out anyway. My name is Jim Robinson. I am a small businessman who has lived in Ontario, with a five-year sabbatical in the United States, since 1964.

My parents were English -- read British, if you like -- and I was born in London, Ontario. We moved to Drummondville, Quebec when I was six years old. My schooling was in English. I was not assassinated by French Canadians while I was there -- I am here now -- and I graduated from high school in English. I attended the provincial textile institute in Ste Hyacinthe, Quebec, where courses were in both languages. Je parle français aussi.

After graduation I worked in the textile industry in Drummondville and Granby, Quebec. French was the major language for communication. Peterborough became home in 1964, where I worked at a local industry. I was often called to translate when calls came from Quebec customers.

I am in favour of French immersion, if for no other reason than that it promotes understanding. How is English immersion in Quebec doing? Subtitles are less interesting and offer only a smattering of what is going on. I sympathize with Ontarians when they tell of the trip they made to Quebec and how someone could or would not serve them in English. Is it possible a Québécois has experienced a similar difficulty in Ontario? Trampling the Quebec flag and telling someone to "speak white" may make newspaper headlines, but it is not indicative of the general feeling of Ontarians towards French-speaking Quebeckers, at least I do not believe so. Vive la différence. It sells newspapers.

There are things that annoy me about Quebec: "Je me souviens." I remember. "Je me souviens de quoi ?" What do I remember? "Maîtres chez nous." Masters in our own house; street name changes to rewrite history, Lévesque for Dorchester; Bill 101; multiculturalism, Quebec style. One thing I read just recently was "discourage ethnic immigration to Montreal to avoid buildup of ethnic minorities who might opt for speaking English." How ridiculous can you get?

If we believe that a nation benefits by a non-discriminatory immigration policy, should one province be allowed to select its immigrants? I am sure we could avoid problems in integrating immigrants if we selected ones that spoke either official language, but more simply English for Ontario. Why not? Hyphenated Canadians do not a nation make. Personally, when I am asked, I say I am Canadian.

Quebec should be reminded it is one of ten provinces; distinct, yes, but one of ten. Hitler's attempt to create a master race by selective breeding? How boring. And Greek street signs on the Danforth threatening to our very existence? We are poorer for the experience if the thought police are allowed to take over. Anybody here attended Expo 67? What a wonderful, exhilarating experience. What happened?

Official bilingualism has created more problems than it is worth. You cannot legislate language where people have no occasion to use it, and I speak as somebody who speaks both languages.

How do we persuade Quebeckers that we appreciate their desire to retain their identity but we see no reason to give up ours? Quebec is important to the Canadian identity both economically and culturally. Contributions are significant. Look at Highway 401 some day. Traffic goes both ways. We should appreciate what they have to offer and vice versa.

What can we do to improve the situation? Try a dose of understanding. Marcel Masse's $45 million, which I understand is being eliminated, but to study culture in Montreal? How ridiculous. That would have been better spent on student exchanges, not only between Quebec and Ontario but with other provinces. Grass-roots groups work a lot better. They are a lot more successful than politicians at national conferences. A look at the past and current peccadilloes of some of our premiers substantiate my reasoning.

Backroom negotiations suit contract talks. They sure as heck do not do anything for constitutional ones. At least the union members get a chance to vote on the results. How do we emphasize our desire to improve relations and let the Québécois know we care? Well, we have an idea from the Americans. We will tie a yellow ribbon on the old oak tree and say: "Please stay on. We need each other." Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.



The Chair: Next is Cliff Spicer.

Mr Spicer: Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I am not Keith's relative. This is a result of our Kairos meeting, which is a study group that we run in Peterborough. You have copies of it. We are responding directly to your questions.

The values we share as Canadians: We felt these were multiculturalism, opportunity, geography and climate. We feel that Canadians are multicultural, which means tolerant, and we are proud of it. But we are emphasizing differences too much.

Securing our future in the international economy: We feel it requires superior education, especially in technical and scientific areas. We feel some sort of sense of community is needed along with a sense of how to "price ourselves down" in order to become more creative and competitive in all fields, including farming.

The federal and provincial governments: We feel all levels of government do not listen enough to specific needs. Overlaps should be reduced. Decisions should be shared and not forced. Voters should have more opportunities to decide. For example, was the Bill of Rights necessary?

Achieving justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples: Provide them with more flexibility and more choices. Listen to the Indians' needs and attempt resolutions: Encourage self-government. Get solutions from the local groups, but do not force the same solutions on all groups.

The roles of English and French languages in Quebec: We feel that encouraging bilingualism and exchange programs is the way to go.

Quebec's future in Canada: We feel some reduction in federal overlap is desirable. Introduction of some of the Swiss structural framework, like in the Allaire report, might work and would do us all some good.

The place of the west, the north and the Atlantic: A more equally representative Senate may help as well as reducing trade barriers and exploring ways of getting to know each other better.

What does Ontario want? I think we want to reduce trade barriers. We want more regional representation right in Ontario itself and some form of proportional representation in a united Canada, possibly based on the parties' percentage of the popular vote; and more ways of getting to know each other, such as encouraging exchanges across Canada.

I would like to give you an example of how the governments do not work presently, why the federal government has, I feel, abused its power. This is just a sample out of a linguistic myriad, just to give you an idea. I suppose you are all aware that the federal government actually paid money to a church in Quebec to paint a picket fence. This was the Liberal government, but it is to the point. Why is the federal government in that kind of business? The government should be working with the citizens, not against them.

For example, there has been a rabbit industry in Ontario for many years, but we have no federal inspection of rabbit meat in Canada. However, the federal government has subsidized the rabbit industry in Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick. And where do you think the surplus rabbits go? They come into Ontario. The federal government also, quite rightly, being involved in foreign affairs, imported frozen Chinese rabbit into Canada. Where do you think they sold them? In Ontario.

There is no federal consultation with our industry and the Ontario government was nowhere, and we are currently fighting the federal imposition of the GST on rabbit meat because they seem to consider it is a different meat than beef. We are also finding that we are having finished rabbit being dumped from the United States.

Somehow the government knows so little about an industry in its own country which has been going on so long, and using taxpayers' money against the taxpayers. I think it is high time that there is more representative government in this country, both at the federal and provincial levels.

We also have the fact that some of you from Queen's Park may not be aware of, but you have the brightest engineers in the world. They know exactly what the size of the ducts should be under our sidewalks out here in the rural areas, so every year it gives us a lot of backhoe work because the ice freezes up and the water will not go under the driveways because the standards are set in Toronto where all the know-it-all engineers live. The engineers up here may have gone to the same schools, but they are not accepted and what they say does not count.

So we have a problem with government, federal and provincial. That is all. Thank you.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call Elaine Fritz. I will ask the Vice-Chair to take the chair, please.

Ms Fritz: Honoured members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, my presentation is based on the fact that democracy is the natural ending to a society that is on the road to evolving a social conscience.

On doing the research to support this concept, I became aware that social conscience and survival of the species were one and the same. Democracy tries to embody this principle by first of all stating that all people are created equal or, as I like to put it, under the eyes of God everyone is equally important. In other words, no one should hold himself up as being better nor his aims to be more favoured than each and every other cohabitant on planet Earth.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when the GST went through with at least 80% opposition. I had assumed that we were living in a democracy. I guess that comes with watching too much American TV. I started researching our government system and found out that we were doomed from the start, because Sir John A. Macdonald did not want representation by population when he set about designing Confederation.

He also did not want to be dictated to by the common rabble, so he devised a system where we elect our politicians to decide issues for us. Another blow, because most grade 10 students are being taught that politicians are our representatives and take our opinion to Parliament. Another American myth, where over there, when the representatives are not sitting in the Legislature, they are indeed going from town to town, polling their constituents, how they would like their representative to vote on certain issues.

Now that I understood fully that I did not live in a democracy, I then went to the heavy books to find out more on the subject, and through that reading it became evident just how precious democracy is and how I believe we must get back on track to obtain it for our country of Canada.

If we are honest, we can give men the benefit of occupying the world in a community form that encompassed farming and development for no less than 35,000 years. In all that time, to the best of our knowledge at present, the world has only had two bright blips of democracy: one over 2,000 years ago that lasted for about 150 years in Athens; and right now, across the border, for no more than 200 years and on paper, because there are still some disparities. But at least the ideology is on paper, and they have a goal to work towards. All the rest of the time, the world has been under dictators, military leaders, kings and queens, czars, emperors, chieftains, etc.

I panicked when the threat of racism reared its head during the Meech Lake debate. There is no democracy in favouritism of any kind, especially when Canada is not the Canada of 100 years ago. The fabric has changed and so should our thinking. Even granting separate school support would be against the democratic principles of a future, ideological Canada because it shows favouritism over other religions.

As a Catholic, I was disappointed that the religious fathers did not go after rights for everyone and simply allow anyone to turn their taxes over to the faith of their choice. The alternative that would have been more sensible for the Ontario government would have been to have an educational system based on safety, considerateness and respect so that all these other religions would find the provincial system desirable.

When you took out the Lord's Prayer from the system, when municipalities say that no longer will they allow the nativity scene in front of their building over Christmas, this only serves to foster bigotry and distrust of ethnic groups, because you are taking something away from those who have. Instead, Ontario should adopt a policy not only allowing the nativity scene, but also encouraging a participation by all other ethnic groups to use the facilities to highlight their customs.

We would all be enriched by the information; not diminished by the policy of taking away to make equality. With regard to the Lord's Prayer, come up with a declaration at the beginning of the schoolday of belief in equality and respect to replace it with, sort of a code of conduct that applies to all. Always add to our enrichment, not take away. Come up with some ideology envisioned for Ontario and Canada that is based on equality. After all, why did we get rid of slavery if it was not a recognition of the common dignity and value of all men?

If there was only one thing that you take from my presentation, I wish it to be that the very first plebiscite that we should have across Canada would be, "Do we want Canada to be a democracy?" Then everything would fit into place and we can go from there. By deciding to continue the journey to democratic rule, that is, representation by population and not politicianization, then we can formulate a proper Constitution that reflects our beliefs in the equality of the citizens of the country.

More has to be done about fostering a respect for each other and a respect for property, which I do not see right now in our laws. There should be a set of Canada's working papers that determine the standard of time we use, the calendar system, the language, that can be changed over the years as needed. We should not have language, whether French, English or whatever, in our Constitution. That should be saved for the ideology of the country and should be almost sacred.

The Vice-Chair: You have one minute left.

Ms Fritz: Okay. Indigenous peoples: When the first settlers arrived on the shore of North America, they purchased land from the inhabitants, eg, the island of Manhattan for $24, thus establishing a recognition that the original peoples indeed owned the land.

It is also important to recognize the concept that by allowing immigrants to buy up areas, the Indians were putting the white man on reservations and feeling that they could use the land between for travelling back and forth. This view, from a different perspective, is worth repeating. The Indians were putting us, you and I, on reservations, not the other way around. As soon as we accept this fact, maybe we can approach the settlement of land claims with proper humility instead of the arrogance so far exhibited.

As for the Quebec issue --


The Vice-Chair: Could we ask you to conclude, please?

Ms Fritz: Yes. With regard to the Quebec issue, you will find in the papers I hand around that you should join the 21st century and notice that when you look across your borders at the rest of Canada, there are not 20 million British any more. Change the language of English to UNI, for United Nations Initiative, so that it will take the sting out of it. I guess language is not a culture, it is a communication. No one alive now was hurt by what happened on the Plains of Abraham, so we should not say that any more. It is impossible, nonsense, no one was there and no one is 300 years old. I think that if we take the racism out of democracy and get back to equality we probably can build a nation --

The Vice-Chair: I have to ask you to stop. You have gone way over your time.

Ms Fritz: Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you.


The Vice-Chair: Ross Campbell.

Mr Campbell: Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, you have my submission. I would like to forgo most of the papers that I have written you and cover just a very few items.

One is in reply to the question on page 5 of the paper and here I state that I do not believe any change is necessary in that every Canadian citizen has his or her right under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and I believe this applies to everyone. Therefore there really is no necessity for a Canadian Constitution.

I think that these same rights and freedoms should apply to all businesses and corporations also. There can be no favouritism to any one person or group. I also believe that these rights and freedoms should have no basis on any ethnic group or any person that resides in Canada. They should be all for everyone.

On page 18, there are a number of questions, three as a matter of fact. One, there should be no distinctiveness other than language. Two, let Quebec keep the French language but it must live by the same laws as the rest of the population. Three, I am convinced that the only enhancement Quebec will accept eventually is the total dominance of the country. Witness what has happened in Florida, where a large number of francophones take up residence in the winter months.

You can refer yourselves to newspaper articles and that type of thing for the answer to that. During the past two years, my wife and I have travelled Canada extensively, including the Yukon and Newfoundland, and with the exception of a little undercurrent of resentment in some parts of the west, we were accepted as fellow Canadians and enjoyed fine hospitality. I cannot say the same for Quebec, where we felt that we were really not wanted. This was not in remote areas but in well-travelled tourist areas.

My name is Ross Campbell and I reside at Kenrei Park in Lindsay. I am retired, I am 67 years old and a veteran. I am not aware of the political situation prevailing in Belgium now but I well remember, just after the war, when the French part of the Flemish population was attempting to foist its language on the total population of that country and there was a great hullabaloo about it.

Appeasement will not satisfy the francophones. They have disliked the British since Trafalgar, then Waterloo, then the Plains of Abraham. Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much.


The Vice-Chair: Allan O'Dette.

Mr O'Dette: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I feel a little cheated. I have had to chop my text in half late in the day, and I hope the general thrust is still here.

I would like to thank the Chair for recognizing me tonight and at the same time applaud the government and the opposition members for their commitment to allowing the people of this province an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns on this matter. We may look back on previous constitutional discussions and conclude that their failure was in part due to the lack of public consultation in any meaningful way towards the process of reform. If the people of this province expect the country to pull through this stage of constitutional development on its own, I am afraid they may be sadly disappointed.

I wish to address this committee because I am committed, as all of you are, to reaffirming Canadian unity. Short of delivering the message that my vote would be cast in favour of a renewed federalism, I wish to add further a few general comments on why I think Canada should remain united and a few short comments on how we may strengthen the fabrics that bind us.

This forum is useful on several fronts. For instance, I think it is allowing people to renew their faith in the public process -- Lord knows that has been in decline for a long time -- and also facilitates a need for the people to vent the very emotional anger that has brought us to our current impasse. We must, as a society, rekindle our appreciation of our neighbouring partners and cultures. If we fail to understand what drives each other, surely we stand little chance of success in the future to work together on other fronts.

Our hope lies in future generations and in their understanding and tolerance of those around them. Barthélemy was heard to say that tolerance of opinions which are thought to be innocuous is as easy as acts of charity that entail no sacrifice, but the test of a free society is its tolerance of what is deplored or despised by a majority of its members. The argument for such tolerance must be made on the grounds that it is useful to society, that free societies are better fitted to survive than closed societies.

The very idea of a multicultural, bilingual nation excites me. After all, our nation was founded on these very premises. The advantages of this in the next decade and beyond could be the very strength that allows us to maintain our current high standard of living.

My lay perception of recent constitutional failure, or at least failure to reach consensus, can be found in what I contend to be the "we versus them" attitude towards reconciliation. In other words, in my opinion the provinces and interest groups alike have focused only on their part, and we may have lost sight of the broader goals that need to be achieved from a more focused attention on the needs and goals of the whole. I have heard countless testimonies from interests that see their concerns as paramount to any further discussion. Now is the time to speak for Canada.

As all of you are aware, the economic world has changed, and is in fact ever-changing. No longer will we be blessed with the manufacturing sector providing low-skilled employment that has provided millions of jobs for Canadians over the last few decades. The whole face of the labour economy is changing, and perhaps changing for good. Some of you may argue that this is part and parcel of free trade, but I think the problem is more far-reaching than that. We might want to turn our thoughts and our abilities to being competitive in this global community.


At this point, it does not really matter whose fault it is for all these job losses. What we must come to terms with is the fact that in many respects the world is a smaller place and figure out a way of competing in it. I argue that all Canadians will be better off competing collectively, borrowing on different strengths from various parts of the country to ensure our place in this new world economy.

As we move forward into the area of global economy relations we must, as a nation, be prepared. That means our workers must be skilled, our industries on the edge of development. We must turn our thoughts to developing our own natural resources in our own backyards for export around the world. Governments must work together at all levels in a co-ordinated effort to promote and market our people and products.

I argue that Canadians would further sustain and regain their rightful place as an exporter of goods and services if seen collectively as offering the best of all worlds for foreign investment. I will just wrap up here.

Mr Chairman, upon your return to Queen's Park, I would ask you to remind the Premier of Ontario of the enormously great responsibility the people of this province have bestowed upon him. I ask this in light of a comment he made shortly after his election with regard to the priority of constitutional discussions. I would also ask that you remind the Premier of the high level of leadership expected of him and his government throughout the rest of Canada. Clearly, Ontario must be seen once again to be a rational leader in its contribution to reshaping the constitutional framework of this great country.

Let me also urge this committee to continue to provide and encourage individuals to participate in these discussions in the weeks and months to come. Further, I implore members of the Legislature to find ways of further facilitating the means by which community and business leaders can become more involved in a consultative process. As one final note, I would leave you with one message, and that is one of tolerance for people. Thank you very much.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much.


The Vice-Chair: Zita Devan. You have the opportunity of being the last speaker. If there is any time left over, maybe we can have questions.

Mrs Devan: I am reminded of the scripture that the last will be first.

My name is Zita Devan and I am a resident of Lindsay. In a voluntary capacity I am chairperson of the Victoria County Access to Permanent Housing Committee. I have come here this evening to represent a silent majority: those fellow citizens of Ontario and Canada who are not adequately housed. They come from all walks of life, from all ethnic origins, races and colour. Their only commonality is that they are poor.

In reading your discussion paper An Invitation to Talk About Canada, I read that Canada celebrates our country's diversity. But along with the cultural diversity comes a diversity that to a large extent is being ignored, that is, economic diversity. These differences that come from our various levels of social and economic stations result in a lack of equality.

The Canadian Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, ethnic origin, race and colour, and asserts that our Charter of Rights and Freedoms will be interpreted in a manner consistent with Canada's multicultural heritage. I encourage this committee to look at an ever-increasing population, our poor. This population is growing into a subculture, and they are being discriminated against because they are poor. Poverty is not only the result of discrimination; it is itself a form of discrimination. Poverty denies people equal opportunity and infringes on the dignity and worth of every person, and this is a fundamental premise of human rights protection.

Canada has agreed internationally to ensure that everyone has an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing. One only has to look around in each of our communities or read the local newspapers to see that Canada is in violation of these agreements as they relate to our citizens.

I ask this committee to make a recommendation to include what are referred to as social and economic rights, specifically housing as a right. This would establish that people have a constitutional right to a life of dignity. In addition, the charter should include all the human rights which Canada has recognized internationally, providing effective protection against the real sources of inequality.

A charter which includes the right to an adequate standard of living would articulate a shared vision of equality and social justice. It would also establish, once and for all, that poverty, hunger and homelessness are unacceptable in a country with the resources of Canada.

I encourage you to listen to my words without a question or an answer. The only question that should be asked is: Is it good for the people of Canada? If it should be, leave the how to others. Thank you for your time.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much.


The Vice-Chair: I have just been notified by the clerk that the submission by Ross Jones was called for at 8:50. I guess we went a bit too quickly, because when he arrived, he did not get a chance to present. With the committee's indulgence, another five minutes? Agreed.

Mr Jones: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I was here on time, honest. Evidently you were moving awfully fast today. I can guarantee you, last week when you were up north you were not moving this fast. Anyway, I would like to carry on, if I may.

My name is Ross Jones. I am a third-generation Canadian. My ethnic background is Welsh. I served in the Navy during the Second World War, and I am presently retired from CNR and living in Fenelon Falls, which I might say is a place to live.

I would like to start off by stating that I detest labels. In my opinion, that is what either the media or the politicians have perpetrated on the Canadian people. I would like to make it quite clear: I am neither an English- nor French-speaking Canadian. I consider myself a 100% red-blooded Canadian who comes from Ontario. In my opinion, to label people like this is paramount to separating them.

I would like to suggest the following agenda for our country, although it is not perfect. Some people will even class me as naïve, but we have to start somewhere.

First nations' rights: Yes, they should be recognized. My interpretation is that they want to determine their own future. How about determining that future with the whole of Canada? Can they forgive us for our mistakes? Can they learn to trust us again? Would they join us to make one Canadian nation called Canada? We can only trust they will.

A strong central government: On this one, I think we would have to leave it to the politicians, who hopefully would not screw it up by rolling the dice.

Provinces: All provinces to be equal partners in a new or improved Confederation. Trade between provinces should be wide open. If something is manufactured in BC or Halifax, I should be able to buy it in Ontario.

Territories should be allowed to become provinces jointly or together or, if they wish, join one of the existing provinces.

Senate: The Senate should be elected every six years and never on the same year as a federal election. After all, they must justify their actions the same as federal MPs. If the people of Canada are going to pay them, which we will, then we must have some control and that will be at the ballot box. The same amount of seats for every province.

Western provinces: More representation for western provinces in Parliament. As I have stated, equality for all.

Supreme Court of Canada: No one province to have more than one seat on the bench. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would remain.

Ontario: No one or two provinces to dominate. Ontario must relinquish some of its power and seats to other provinces.

Quebec: Quebec to be recognized as unique in its language and culture, but not to have any more power than any other province. I would like to quote a paragraph from the late Senator Eugene Forsey:

"The truth is that sovereignty-association in any form is a horse that can't run. If Quebec insists on becoming a foreign country, we can negotiate that. It will not be easy. It will not be pleasant. It will impoverish us all spiritually as well as materially. It will be a tragedy. But it can be done. But there is no way to negotiate dry water, boiling ice, sour sugar or stationary motion. Some people think we should be willing to swallow any kind of nonsense in order to preserve the unity of Canada. I am not interested in a Canada that would just be a splash on the map with a six-letter word scrawled across it."

The Vice-Chair: I would ask you to wrap up.

Mr Jones: I will do that right now. It is my contention that a new or altered Confederation will benefit all provinces and also make sure that never again will any one province be able to tear our country apart. As John F. Kennedy said to Americans, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." With this thought in mind, I am sure we can forge ahead to make Canada the country everyone knows it is and should be.

In conclusion, I would just like to make one comment on the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada. If schoolchildren cannot open their day with prayer, then I suggest that now they open their day with a pledge of allegiance to Canada and our flag and sing the Maple Leaf Forever. Then maybe, just maybe, when asked, "Where do you come from?" their reply will be: "Canada. I'm a Canadian." Thank you.

The Vice-Chair: We would like to acknowledge that we have received some submissions from the member for Victoria-Haliburton, Dennis Drainville, from the I.E. Weldon Secondary School in Lindsay, as well as students from the Norland Public School, the grade 8 classes. We have also received another submission from the Rev Gordon Young. We just want to acknowledge that we did receive those. Until 9 tomorrow morning in Toronto, bonjour, adieu.

The committee adjourned at 2123.