Thursday 28 February 1991

Korean Canadian Youth Federation

Chinese Canadian National Council

Vince Marchildon, Basile Dorion

National Action Committee on the Status of Women, Unemployment Insurance Working Group

Organization of South Asian Canadians

Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, Ontario Region

Ontario Committee, Communist Party of Canada

Martin Silva

Aboriginal Urban Alliance of Ontario

Ontario Metis and Aboriginal Association

Indian Commission of Ontario (Aboriginal Peoples)

Ad Hoc Committee of Women and the Constitution

Afternoon sitting

Science for Peace

Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto

Toronto Injured Workers' Advocacy Group, Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups

Canadian Parents for French (Ontario)

Michel Oullette

Citizens for Public Justice

Canadian Bar Association -- Ontario, Association du Barreau canadien -- Ontario

Ontario Teachers' Federation, Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario


Council of Canadians

National Congress of Italian Canadians

Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind

Coalition of Visible Minority Women, Congress of Black Women of Canada

Ontario Federation of Students

Fédération des étudiants et des étudiantes de l'Ontario

Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation

Fédération des enseignantes-enseignants des écoles secondaires de l'Ontario


Chair: Silipo, Tony (Dovercourt NCP)
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

Also taking part:
Cunningham, Dianne E. (London North PC )

Clerk pro tem:

Brown, Harold
Freedman, Lisa
Deller, Deborah


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

The committee met at 0913 in room 151.

The Chair: I call the meeting to order. This is a meeting of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. We are proceeding with our hearings across the province, this being our fourth week of hearings; we are, today and tomorrow, here in Toronto at Queen's Park. We have a number of organizations to hear from this morning and this afternoon. We have set aside this evening to hear individuals, and we will continue our hearings tomorrow with both individuals and organizations.


The Chair: We want to begin this morning by calling the Korean Canadian Youth Federation, Richard Lee and Jae-Gul Kim, to come forward. I just remind you, as we will the others, that we have allotted up to 15 minutes for each presentation. If you could leave time within that for questions, we would appreciate it.

Mr Lee: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the standing committee. My name is Richard Lee, and this is my colleague, Jae Kim. We are representing the Korean Canadian Youth Federation this morning.

It is one of the virtues claimed for a liberal democracy like Canada's that it has discovered ways in which dissatisfied groups can obtain redress for their grievances without resorting to civil disobedience or violence. But is has become obvious recently that the incidence of these very activities is an increasingly important and disturbing aspect of political life in Canada. I am, of course, referring to the recent Oka warrior incident, where the native people of Canada have chosen to adopt a strategy of confrontation in order to challenge the dominant forces in society.

I would like to stress that the Oka crisis did not originate simply from revolutionary romanticism. On the contrary, it derived mainly from a correct conviction that techniques of influence which are legitimate according to the mores of liberal democracy are impotent in relation to certain objectives, or when used by native Indians in particular. Witness, for example, the ineffective negotiations of the Meech Lake accord. We, as Canadians, were in the process of amending our Constitution and we let ourselves be taken hostage by one single province, without addressing the plight of our native inhabitants.

We, the members of the Korean community, and by extension of the ethnic community in Canada, find it extremely ironic that here is Canada today attempting to solve the French-English political schism, when we as a conscientious society have outright ignored the issues that our native brothers, the original inhabitants of Canada, have been voicing for as long as there was a country in this land.

We, as Canadians, take tremendous pleasure and pride in being considered more humane and socially enlightened than most other nations. Until the recent Canadian involvement

in the Gulf war, our nation was respected throughout the world as a bastion of peace and social justice. Our Canadian government historically has tried very hard to help less fortunate Third World countries to develop and overcome poverty through foreign aid, loans and technical assistance. I believe it is a wonderful thing to give, when we can afford it, despite the fact that we have a $300-billion federal deficit. Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, do you not find it hypocritical that we are helping other nations to become like us, while our fellow native Canadians are living in Third World conditions?

Of course, we can argue that foreign aid by our federal government has been decreased. By all means, we can say that our federal government has established reserves where native Indians can live happily ever after. How do they live? They live in Third World conditions. And why do they have to be alienated from the rest of society? Our state policy towards natives lacks an attempt to integrate them in the daily activities of our society.

We as Korean Canadians are concerned about our own community concerns, but we believe native issues are more pending than any other minority concerns in Canada. We urge the government of Ontario to play an exemplary role in increasing awareness of native issues, as well as urging for the establishment of a binding, non-partisan arbitration board composed of regular citizens, both natives and newcomers -- for all of us, except the natives, are in fact newcomers to Canada.

On this note, I would like to leave the floor to my colleague, Jae.

Mr Kim: Good morning, ladies and gentleman of the committee. I would first like to take this opportunity to say that both Richard and I appreciate this opportunity to speak with you about our concerns about the current situation we are faced with in Canada.

I feel, and I believe most Canadians would agree with me, that this standing committee is long overdue. The closed-door policy which we experienced with the Meech Lake accord and with the free trade agreement, agreements which deal with the future of all Canadians, was a contributing factor to the high emotion we often see today when Canadians debate the issue of the future of this country. While in a fully functional, representative democracy there would be the need for occasional citizens' forums like this, the existence of this forum represents less the vitality of the decision-making apparatus in Canada and instead represents more the failure of the federal government's policy of closed-door, so-called nation-building. As a young person, I am concerned that the voices of young adults under the age of 30, like myself, will only be a whisper compared to the voices of older adults who are in a position, due to acquired power and money, to be better heard.

I came to Canada in 1968 when I was five years old. I am, by all accounts, a second-generation Canadian of Korean descent. My parents chose Canada over the United States, over Australia, over South Africa, over Europe, because they knew of and believed in the special promise of Canada. Canada, they knew, had a tradition of tolerance, of farsightedness when it came to international politics, and geographically as well as psychologically a sense of the realization of possibilities endowed to it in part by the vast size, touching on three oceans, of this country. This is a country with a tradition of respect for others.

Much is made of the fact that one of the strongest reasons people from other nations come to Canada is economic -- indeed, this is one reason all our forebears used in deciding to come to this country -- but very little is made of the fact that these new Canadians chose Canada over other nations.

In the 1950s, Canada was decidedly British and French in its people and its heritage. But from what I know from high school history, with the larger influx of new Canadians from the mid-1960s onwards the federal government started promoting the idea of a multicultural Canada. It was not long after this began, as well, that the Official Languages Act designated English and French as the two official languages of Canada, promoting a bilingual Canada.

Both multiculturalism and bilingualism are positive ideas for Canada. Bilingualism has not been achieved in this country. It has not been achieved because of the lack of political resolve and vision to complete the task of making this country truly bilingual. I believe strong leadership in educational reform in this country at the national level -- that means national standards and benchmarks -- is desperately needed. In an increasingly pluralistic world, a world shrinking significantly even as I speak, Canada does best by embracing its future, and I believe that this future is best served by national bilingualism. French and English are two of the major languages of the world, and Canadians will communicate, understand -- because learning a language includes learning a different cultural perspective -- and grow with the rest of the world effectively.


Multicultural policy in this country is also riddled by rhetoric, hypocrisy and the lack of true political resolve. By multiculturalism, I mean the idea of people of different cultures living, working and sharing their thoughts and experiences together as citizens of a just society. As an idea. I believe multiculturalism is progressive and part of the answer to our increasingly pluralistic world. Indeed, we are the experiment for the future of the world. But as a policy as practised by the Canadian government, multiculturalism, like the policy of bilingualism, is not enough to address the issues of the Canada of tomorrow.

Multiculturalism as we know it maintains segregation and prevents the development of a realistically represented Canadian identity. Multicultural policy says that all Canadians are part of a cultural mosaic and that all are equal.

But often, Canadians of British and of French descent, including those in government, are more likely than not to consider themselves the only group of people who genuinely belong here in Canada. The natives are forgotten, not really true Canadians, and so are the "ethnics," for they are not really true Canadians either. For most Canadians, if you are of anything other than French or English descent, you are of ethnic origin, an immigrant, and therefore you are "multicultural." Present policy does not reflect that multiculturalism as an idea should apply to everybody.

I get the impression sometimes with regard to the issue of multiculturalism that to "true" Canadians the extent of it means attending local quaint cultural events a few days of the year so they can pat themselves on the back and point out to themselves just how neat it is that all these interesting people live in their country. Your family could have been in Canada for generations but you are still considered ethnic by both the politicians and the people on the street. As an ethnic, you are in truth a second-class citizen, because the "original" Canadians, the people who have defined the multicultural mosaic for you, have decided not to consider themselves ethnic. They feel that they themselves need no hyphenation.

That a government populated by a certain race or races of people can consciously or unconsciously bias itself towards its own people or peoples of the same colour can be seen in the example I observed a while back of US chief of staff Jim Baker being asked by television anchor Ted Koppel after the opening of the intra-German border about the possibility of refugees from East Germany being welcomed into America. This was on national TV Without hesitation, Jim Baker replied affirmatively and positively. Considerations of the political implications of his statement aside, to be honest I have trouble believing that Jim Baker would have said that if it happened to have been mainland Chinese refugees pouring into Taiwan instead, or even Central American refugees.

To give another example, closer to home, recently Canadians of Japanese descent, as we know, who were interned by the Canadian government during the Second World War received compensation from the government, but they received it through the ministry of multiculturalism. Is compensation of interned Canadians of Japanese descent an issue for the Ministry of Multiculturalism or for the Ministry of Justice? The government certainly has decided that this is not a Justice matter but a matter about being an ethnic. Is Multiculturalism the pot where you throw all your so-called ethnic issues? Or is there a greater point, a point about being Canadian, that is missing?

What is a Canadian? If you believe the government, there is only one type of Canadian, and that is hyphenated, that is, Canada is a multicultural mosaic populated by peoples retaining their own cultural identity while working and living in harmony. This is not realistic. The reality is that some Canadians believe they are more equal than others and present multicultural policy supports this reality rather than a more egalitarian solution.

On the other hand, it is noticed about the interaction of ethnic community leaders with the government -- I get the impression sometimes that it is pork-barrel politics. People just want their piece of the action. There are problems on both sides of this issue.

A new vision of Canada is necessary, a Canada full of Canadian faces. This new vision of Canada must include a truly equal place for all Canadians. Multicultural policy, by its implicit message of segregation, is failing Canada's promise to be a land for all. We have forgotten that we need caulk to hold the tiles of the mosaic together. This caulk has to be the essence of being Canadian. We must think about Canada as it is now and as it will be in 25 or 30 years, and multiculturalism and thinking that out is an important step. How will the makeup of Canada change? What will being Canadian mean then? We are right now building for the future.

As a young Canadian, I am concerned about our present situation. People seem frustrated, without vision, without an answer. There is a lot of deep emotion running in the country. This must be toned down. I feel we have to cool some of the rhetoric and take some time to reflect on the basics of what it means to be Canadian. Perception is often reality and we must change our perception of what it means to be Canadian and what Canada means to us.

The Canadian tradition of respect for others, tolerance and compassion, has, among other things, allowed us to create social programs that are the envy of the world. I often get the impression that it is these social programs that make us Canadian. In fact, it is the other way around. It is our attitude behind these programs that makes us Canadians. Canada is a distinct society in itself. We often seem to forget this, feeling swamped by our neighbour down south. It is a country to be proud of, and indeed I am proud to be a Canadian.

The Chair: Thank you very much, gentlemen. There are a couple of questions. If we do them both briefly, we can get through both.

Mr Bisson: Have you been watching the proceedings over the parliamentary channel over the past while?

Mr Kim: Not really.

Mr Bisson: I will pass my question on, then. You would have had to have seen --

Mr Beer: Thank you for coming head on into this question of multiculturalism and how we define it, what we mean by it, because as we have gone around, one of the questions next to the issue of bilingualism has been what people mean by this term "multiculturalism." Some have even said to us that perhaps we need to get rid of it and come with another word, interculturalism or something, that can better express what it is we are trying to do, because we seem to have so many different kinds of meanings.

The part I think we have to really get our hands around is that there is a variety of services and programs government needs to offer to those who in the first place have newly come to the country, and I think there is a broad acceptance around those kinds of programs. I guess where we get into difficulty with the broad population is after that, what? Some people would simply say, "We don't want any hyphenated Canadians," but behind that is the sense that they really just want one kind of Canadian, that there will not be the diversity we feel is important.

Do you think we need to have government departments focused specifically on multiculturalism, that would bring together all of the different programs? Or is what you are saying that you want to see that reflected throughout the government so that, as you were saying before, whether it is through the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, Education, that reality of multiculturalism is reflected there? Where is the balance between needing perhaps a special body focusing on particular issues and problems common to those who have more recently come to the country and may need certain kinds of assistance, whether in terms of language training or whatever, and getting this broader acceptance? It seems to me that if we do not solve that dilemma we will continue to have problems around what multiculturalism means.

Mr Kim: Multiculturalism being put into the ministry right now is -- I did not get much sleep last night.



Mr Beer: Is that where we should be focusing?

Mr Kim: Part of this business of letting immigrants come in and then acculturating them -- is that the responsibility of a Ministry of Multiculturalism or is that the responsibility of the Department of Employment and Immigration? Can that be taken care of there?

What exactly is the role of the Ministry of Multiculturalism? I believe in the promise of multiculturalism. I do not believe in this present policy. I would like to see a reworking of the policy to take in a new factor, that 25 years ago we had a big wave of new immigrants come into the country, especially immigrants of visible minorities.

We are at the stage now where the types of programs that the Canadian government offered through the Department of Multiculturalism and so forth were quite acceptable, the level quite acceptable for the first generation of people. What you are seeing with Richard and I are people who are somewhere in between the two cultures, but it is not acceptable to us because we want to participate fully in the Canadian mainstream, whereas our parents I think were satisfied with less.

So the question is a matter of, what is going to happen in the next 25 years when you have a lot of these second-generation immigrants, second-generation Canadians coming of age? What are you going to do? How is the policy going to reflect this fact? I think multiculturalism as it stands now is not enough. It is certainly not enough for me.

Mr Lee: There has been a lot of criticism about the policy of multiculturalism in the sense that it is a policy of appeasement in order to quiet down ethnic disenchantment with the programs. I believe that you do need a multiculturalism policy, but then what the Multiculturalism department of each provincial and federal government should be doing is to educate and increase the awareness of our issues along with the other ministries and not just concentrate on the Ministry of Multiculturalism.

If we have a problem with the Ministry of Justice or the ministry of -- I do not know, whatever ministry you have -- the Multiculturalism department should be in charge of interceding on our behalf and facilitating our access to the decision-making processes, rather than segregating us and placing all our concerns and interests only in the Ministry of Multiculturalism.

Mr F. Wilson: Could I have time for a question of this group?

The Vice-Chair: We ran out of time, unfortunately.


The Vice-Chair: The next up on the agenda is the Chinese Canadian National Council. After that we are going to be calling up Mr Dorion and Mr Marchildon.

Mr Yee: Thank you, Mr Chairman. My name is Gary Yee and I am the national president of the Chinese Canadian National Council. Beside me is Amy Go, the national vice-president of CCNC. Amy will begin the remarks.

Ms Go: The Chinese Canadian National Council is an umbrella organization with 29 independent member organizations covering every province. At the local level, our member groups are active and diverse in many areas, including social services, culture, recreation, heritage language and advocacy. At the national level, we focus on advocacy and human rights and race relations.

I never thought our nation would come to this. I speak personally and for many others when I say I cannot imagine a Canada without Quebec, and yet this a real threat that we are facing now.

Although we are being hit with bad news on many major fronts, I still prefer to see the bright side. A poll reported in the Toronto Star earlier this week showed 42% in Quebec favoured separation and 42% opposed. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised. My impression was that the vast majority of people in Quebec wanted out of Canada. However, let us not underestimate the real and legitimate discontent that is being expressed. At the same time, we cannot and must not ignore the significant concerns of other Canadians, including those of non-English and non-French backgrounds.

Out of adversity and challenge can come substantial opportunities. What the crisis of Canadian unity is forcing many Canadians to do is to consider the future of this country and the many important issues at hand, including those raised in your public discussion paper, Changing for the Better.

I just want to begin with some fundamental points.

First of all, we are all Canadians. I wish I did not have to state the obvious, but it is sometimes necessary. Yes, we are Chinese Canadians but we all share the same concerns as everyone else, whether it is about the economy, the environment, day care, traffic or other matters.

Very often I am being asked by my white Canadian friends, including those in the media, "Where is the best Chinese restaurant in town?" And very often during the Chinese new year we are called, "Is there going to be a dragon dance in Chinatown?" Or in the recent newspapers you have seen a lot of reports on the violent crimes in Chinatown. Then you would get calls such as: "So, are there any Asian gangs? What do you think of the Asian crimes?"

Very often we get all these questions, but rarely do they call us: "What do you think of Quebec? What do you think of the situation Canada now is facing? What do you think of Canadian unity?" We are always being seen as Chinese, not as Canadians.

I just want to make it very clear that we are Canadians and we share the same concerns as any other Canadian in the street about our unity, about the Quebec situation, about the first nations situation and about any other environmental issues that we all face.

In addition to these concerns that impact on Canadians regardless of our background -- of language, of our cultural heritage -- we and other racial minorities have particular needs and issues which are of specific relevance to us. These would include employment equity, racism, human rights, language and cultural barriers, immigration, equal access to services and so forth.

Because of these particular concerns, the Chinese Canadian National Council has taken a number of initiatives in the human rights and race relations field, including advocacy, education and research. CCNC has always made representations to both provincial and federal levels of government about the Meech Lake accord and multiculturalism policy.

For example, with respect to a number of issues raised in Ontario's current public discussion paper, CCNC has come out in favour of maintaining national standards and a strong Charter of Rights and Freedoms, supporting the rights of the aboriginal peoples and recognizing the status of the two official languages in conjunction with Canada's multiculturalism policy.

Mr Yee: I would like to add with respect to bilingualism in Quebec that really, as a minority, we feel empathy towards the Québécois, and I think we have to show Quebec with our actions and our words that we want Quebec in this country, that we need Quebec in this country. It is so obvious, to me at least.

I think also the message has to be clear that this must be within the framework of a strong and united Canada.

From a very personal bias, I see that we need a strong federal government. I am quite concerned about the regionalism that is occurring and certainly I do not feel the current federal government has taken any steps to strengthen, whether it is national symbols or federal powers. Indeed it has done the opposite.

In this matter of supporting national standards and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I think once again our position there arises out of our vulnerability as minorities. The Chinese Canadian community has especially been singled out for unfair and racist treatment in the past. I think many of you may be aware of the Chinese head tax, for example, imposed from 1885 to 1923; $23 million collected, in those days' dollars, worth about $1 billion today, from Chinese immigrants to Canada. No other group was forced to pay any entry fee like this to come into Canada.

Then, even worse, from 1923 to 1947, which is not that long ago, no Chinese were allowed into Canada. These were deliberate, racist acts of Parliament, our own politicians, as recently as some 40-odd years ago.

Really, our community lost several generations and we still have about 1,000 surviving head tax payers now who went through tremendous hardship, being separated from their spouses and their children for decades. I think this past touches many of us personally in the community, including myself.


But despite this past, and in fact as proven by this past, we share your commitment to this nation, and it can be seen that immigrants in particular do not take Canada for granted. We are willing to make accommodations. I have no problem acknowledging Quebec as a distinct society or accepting the status of two official languages or recognizing the diversity of regions and balancing regional disparity or promoting aboriginal rights. In fact, these are the things that help to define Canada and that make me proud to be a Canadian.

But of course there is also multiculturalism. Maybe it is a misused word and maybe it should be replaced. It has been the official policy of Canada since 1971, and from its roots in recognizing cultural diversity, I think it has evolved well beyond song and dance.

For racial minorities in particular, the emphasis on cultural diversity failed to impact on the areas that affected us in our daily lives: jobs, political power, education, policing, access to services and all those important things, and therefore race relations policies began to develop often as part of multiculturalism policy. I think one of the current debates going on is, should race relations be a part of multiculturalism policy or should it stand on its own as an issue of justice and human rights?

Regardless of this debate, the reality of Canada is that we are ethnoculturally and racially diverse and will become more so. There is no mainstream; we are all a part of the mainstream. Despite that, for racial minorities, we can never, ever escape the fact that no matter how large our numbers grow, no matter how integrated or successful we become, we will always be visible. Therefore race relations issues and, to a lesser extent, multiculturalism issues in general will play an increasingly important role in the future of this country, and really, you ignore it at your peril.

There is also a legitimate fear that regionalism and local loyalties may hinder the compromises that are necessary to unite a country. I think people have to realize that, in the same way, racism and ineffective race relations policies will hinder the unity of this country also.

Let me give you my theory of community development, of when people feel they can reach out. I think this was touched upon in the issue paper. It is more natural for people to feel closer to things that are familiar to them, that are close to them, that they have some control over, whether that control is real or apparent. For example, we might feel more comfortable with city hall or Queen's Park than Ottawa. We may start our community involvement in our churches or in our school or in a local community group before branching out to wider society. I think different people in different communities are at different stages of development or reaching out, but that is what we need to help save this country. We need more people to reach out, to spread their networks. That will make for a stronger community, a stronger neighbourhood, a stronger city, province, and ultimately a stronger nation.

But that is not the reality. Let's look at the reality. What do you need to reach out? What do you need to look beyond yourself? Sure, we can reach out. I can reach out; you can reach out. But that is a luxury for those who are struggling to get by in their daily lives. Reaching out is a discouragement for those who make the effort and get rejected in return, or see no impact whatsoever. Reaching out is an insurmountable challenge for those without access or power or the means to be heard. Reaching out cannot be expected from those who have no sense of belonging or who have experienced racism and injustice.

If we want a strong nation, a mature nation, a nation where all people can act and think beyond their everyday surroundings, then we must be prepared to have an equitable and just society. As Canadians, we can be and we are model citizens and we will work hard to keep this country together. But we demand nothing less than to be free from racism and discrimination, to have employment equity, equal access to services, effective and sensitive policing, access to political power and recognition as full and not marginalized members of this society. Beyond the current pressing English-French and Quebec separation debate, this is the future of Canada that we must face.

Nous devons tous participer aux discussions sur l'avenir du Canada. Merci.

The Vice-Chair: Thank you very much. We have a couple of questions. I would ask you to be brief as much as possible or else we are going to go over.

Ms Churley: Thank you. I just want people here to know that I have the privilege of knowing Amy, and Amy is one of the activists who has done incredible amounts of work for the Chinese community and beyond the Chinese community in Toronto. I do not know if people here are aware of who you two are, but I am.

You mentioned the fact that a lot of people -- and I think that is a problem that politicians have sometimes too -- see Chinese Canadians or other ethnic groups as not having any interests that the rest of us have, like taxes and the environment, and I think it is important that you pointed that out.

The question I would like to ask you is, we have heard from a number of multicultural groups across Ontario, and some of the younger members in particular, who are fairly integrated into society saying that they do not see any reason why they should get any special attention, that there should not be multiculturalism, for instance, that it furthers the ghettoization of ethnic groups. I am just wondering what you have to say to those people, what you think about getting rid of ethnic programs and multiculturalism.

Ms Go: Actually, I would analyse that from several angles. First of all, we racial minority groups, visible minority groups, are very often subjected to the same kind of reports, the same kind of influence that other Canadians at large are subjected to. Our views on racism, on multiculturalism, are very much influenced by what we read in school, the education system, how the media portrays us and how the policies sort of convey the messages to us.

This is to say that racial minority groups are not different in our influences, so I am not surprised by members of our communities who belong to racial minority groups who believe that we should not be treated differently and sometimes they would not recognize the needs that particular members in the group would face. But at the same time, we have to recognize the history and how they have experienced all this impact.

As Gary has mentioned, the multiculturalism policy has been extremely ineffective in how we deal with the issues that racial minority groups confront, particularly in the areas of racism and race relations. So part of that would then make the communities feel disenchanted, discouraged and it would lead them to believe that since the policies are so ineffective, we might be better off without them.

So I think there are two reasons that I can think of when people from racial minority groups raise those issues. But my view, and I am sure Gary and members of all communities would share the same view, is that multiculturalism should be distinct from race relations and racism is the key issue that we are trying to address now. There should be anti-racism policies. Multiculturalism right now is a coverup, is diluting the issue of racism in Canada. So we need to address that racism; we need to address race relations. It is very important to separate those issues, and then looking at multiculturalism, we should look at the issue also of differential access to power, access to services and access to participation.


If we want to have a true multicultural state, then we need to look at that different power that each group shares and address that. So having an anti-racism policy and also addressing the issue of access is what we want. You may want to still call it multiculturalism, but we do not want the existing multiculturalism policy. We want a policy that addresses our needs. There are needs that are unique to our community, such as language barriers, and we cannot and we should not undermine those needs. Racism is also a key one that our communities are facing, as distinct from other groups.

The Vice-Chair: Can the Chair ask you to sum up a little bit, because we are running behind and there are other people to present.

Ms Go: Actually, I think I have basically answered your question. Have I?

The Vice-Chair: Thank you. I am sorry about that, but we are running behind.

What we are going to be doing -- as you may be aware, for those of you who are on the list to present, we are falling somewhat behind -- is that I am going to have to be fairly stringent as far as time is concerned. When a person gets near to the end of time, I am going to give you one minute and ask you to sum up within that time. If there is not time for questions, there will be no questions; and if we are into questions, I will do the same thing.


Le Vice-Président : Okay, next are Basile Dorion et Vince Marchildon. C'est en français ?

M. Marchildon : Oui. On fait tous les deux notre présentation en français.

Le Vice-Président : D'accord. J'ai ici sur mon horaire dix minutes, d'accord ?

M. Marchildon : D'accord. Je vais tout raccourcir et merci de me donner du temps. J'aurais voulu vous parler de toute une gamme de sujets très importants en ce qui concerne notre province. J'avais même préparé -- et j'ai passé des heures à le préparer -- ce que j'allais vous dire mais au fur et à mesure que les audiences se déroulaient à travers la province, j'ai senti un besoin urgent de tout changer dans ma présentation.

Il faut encore une fois absolument que je vous parle pour moi d'un secteur dans notre société qui ne cesse de poser des obstacles à notre pleine participation a l'élaboration d'une mise en oeuvre pour un Ontario fort et prospère dans un Canada uni. Aussi longtemps que ces gens-la poseront leurs objections, nous ne pourrons jamais procéder à la prochaine étape de notre dialogue.

Il me fait mal d'entendre ce secteur de la population m'accuser de manquer de ferveur envers le Canada. Ce dont on me reproche souvent -- et j'ai passé trois heures à défendre la Loi 8 à une ligne ouverte radiophonique dans la péninsule du Niagara l'année dernière -- c'est d'être un Canadien à trait d'union.

C'est ironique mais c'est en lisant Shakespeare à l'école que j'ai trouvé une phrase qui a toujours formé la base de ma philosophie de vie : «To thine own self be true». C'est l'année dernière à cette émission de radio que j'ai finalement trouvé une réponse à tous ceux qui voudraient mettre en question ma ferveur canadienne parce que j'ai passé presque tous les jours de ma vie à me battre pour être un Canadien, à négocier mon canadianisme. La réponse que je leur donne maintenant, peu importe qui me pose la question, toujours en français : «Je suis Canadien». Dans cette réponse il n'y a aucun trait d'union.

Les gens dont je parle ont le mot «préservation» dans le titre de leur association. On sait de qui je parle. Si je pouvais accepter la moindre sincérité et honnêteté dans ce qu'ils me disent, je pourrais m'asseoir à leur table et partager tout un vécu de ce que ça veut dire que de préserver quelque chose qui est en voie de disparition. J'aimerais donc pouvoir m'asseoir à leur table mais je doute de leur sincérité constamment. Je vous donne seulement deux exemples pour terminer.

Ces gens-là se lamentent de la disparition de traditions canadiennes qu'ils attribuent a la présence d'immigrants dans notre société, et du même coup ils seraient prêts eux-mêmes à contribuer à la disparition d'un ingrédient essentiel à la tradition et à l'identité canadienne, c'est-à-dire de l'élément français. Je me suis senti envahi par la haine à Orillia qui est dans mon territoire. Je me souviens que là il y avait une dame qui parlait justement des immigrants et elle a attribué la disparition de son «Notre Père» dans les écoles à la présence d'immigrants. Chose intéressante, c'est que dans le «Notre Père» on parle de «notre pain quotidien», et à l'entendre parler, nous devrions nous contenter des miettes qui tombent de sa table.

Je voudrais un jour revenir à votre table et parler sérieusement de ce qu'il faut pour un Ontario prospère et fort dans un Canada capable d'assumer ses responsabilités sur la scène globale. Mais avant d'aborder cette étape importante dans notre dialogue, il faut absolument que ces gens-là se rendent compte que leurs paroles n'auront jamais plus d'effet que cette mauvaise graine qui est allée tomber sur un sol rocailleux. Il faut absolument que nous nous sentions valorisés comme citoyens avant de pouvoir procéder à cette étape si importante dont je parle.

Pour terminer, ils veulent nous dire que la Loi 8 a eu lieu pour impressionner le Québec et que si le Québec partait, les services en français prendraient aussi vite la porte. Est-ce que nous, francophones, n'avons une valeur que dans le rayonnement du Québec ? Est-ce qu'il faut toujours que nous soyons tenus, disons, en otage quand il y a des jeux politiques ? Est-ce qu'il faut toujours que ce soit nous l'enjeu ? Montrez-nous que vous nous avez à coeur. Il n'y a rien qu'un Québec indépendant aimerait mieux que de voir un exode de francophones fiers et convaincus vers ses portes. Nous serions sûrement considérés des immigrants de première classe. Mais je ne veux pas partir. Je ne veux pas partir parce que mon chez-nous, c'est ici en Ontario.

Permettez-moi d'être ce que je suis. Aidez-nous à vous aider. L'épanouissement de notre langue et de notre culture relève du leadership de gens comme vous qui sont conscients que la qualité, et je répète, la qualité d'une démocratie se mesure par le traitement qu'on accorde à ses minorités. Le moment du grand geste est venu dans notre province pour que, une fois pour toutes, nous puissions faire taire ces langues de vipères et parler ensemble d'autres choses qui sont très importantes.

Alors, le moment du grand geste : je vous demande de fortement considérer de déclarer cette province officiellement bilingue pour que nous avancions ensemble vers d'autres paliers. Je vous remercie.


Le Vice-Président : Merci beaucoup. Monsieur Donon, il vous reste environ trois minutes.

M. Dorion : Merci. Je m'appelle Basile Dorion. Je suis natif de Lafontaine, tout près de Penetanguishene. Je travaille présentement comme agent de développement pour l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario chez nous. J'ai été conseiller municipal de 1973 à 1977 et je suis présentement, depuis 1977, au Conseil scolaire de Simcoe comme président de la section de langue française.

For expediency and comprehension, I will apply my translation skills to work so that I can get through this as quick as possible, and if there is time, we would welcome questions.

I have left with the clerk two other presentations of people from my area. I have left them with the clerk and I will not expand on them.

I am happy to be able to present my ideas and views this morning. We believe that Canada not only can survive but can flourish if there is a will and a leadership there on the part of our leaders to manifest that.

By visiting Sainte Marie des Hurons in our area you will notice that we, as a francophone community, are not newcomers to Ontario and we have been there for 350 years. The community I represent, like myself, is made up largely of families that have been there since 1850 or 1860 -- approximately. I am very happy and proud that my great-grandfather Dorion was baptized in Penetanguishene in 1868 and that my maternal grandparents, the Chrétien side of the family, have been present on the shores of Georgian Bay since that time also. I think it casts no doubt on the fact that we are truly full-fledged Ontarians. How often will I be told, "Go back to Quebec"? Mr Chairman, my home is Ontario.

As a community we have gone through a lot of very difficult times, be it with regulation 17 of this province, going back through all kinds of conspiracies and crises, and yet we have survived all of these things, even though some groups or individuals wanted our linguistic and cultural disappearance. We have worked hard over the last 20 years to have all kinds of local institutions for our community with social clubs, cultural centres, our schools --

The Vice-Chair: You have one minute left.

Mr Dorion: -- our community radio station and all of those things, and we want to continue having that. I cannot insist too much on the necessity of the provincial government to financially support our francophone organizations. Investing in Franco-Ontarians is investing in Ontario. We are very anxious to have at least as much as what the Anglo-Quebeckers have.

I think what is really lacking in this country is leadership, a leadership to really stand up to intolerance. I get very frustrated when I see some of our leaders, like Jean Chrétien, like Brian Mulroney, talk about the fact that there is no intolerance in Canada. I wonder where they are living. I think Ontario must play a leadership role.

I have left in my brief, and I will not have time to go through them, eight recommendations that deal with the three founding nations of this country -- that is, the anglo-phones, the francophones and the native people -- and also with regard to our multicultural society.

In summing up, I believe that Canada is worth saving and that Ontario can play a major role in this exercise. I believe that much more can be done on the federal scene to assure the respect and rightful place of our English, French and native communities. I know that Ontario can do much more to assist its francophone population in assuring its respect and continued development. I count on you and all my representatives to stand up for all of Canada, not only its individual pieces.

My ancestors and my Franco-Ontarians have survived through very difficult odds in this province. We have done so because Ontario is our home. Ontario is a part of Canada and we have faith in the future. If all of the above reasons, among others, do not show a clear commitment to Ontario and a clear commitment to Canada, then I guess there is no commitment to Canada and to Ontario. Merci beaucoup.


The Vice-Chair: Next up on the agenda is the National Action Committee on the Status of Women and the Unemployment Insurance Working Group. We would like to apologize for running a little bit late and we realize that you have some time lines that you have to hold yourselves.

Ms Ritchie: Thank you. My name is Laurell Ritchie and I am here on behalf of the employment and economic committee of the Nation Action Committee on the Status of Women, comprising some 500 organizations across Canada.

I am going to turn now to Armine Yalnizyan, who will lead off the discussion and identify herself.

Ms Yalnizyan: Yes, I would like to say that I am representing the Unemployment Insurance Action Group, an ad hoc group that got together to fight the implementation of Bill C-21, the national legislation to change the Unemployment Insurance Act.

When we come before you this morning -- and thank you for the opportunity to do so -- we are not addressing political unity issues but the issues surrounding the social and economic strength of our nation. We feel that in Ontario political separateness or unity is not the only issue of concern to the people who live here and we feel that there is a real temptation right now for the provinces to bite the bait that the federal government is setting out for increasing provincial powers, especially tempting given the context of the current budget.

We believe that the nation is not just an economy, though it is very important -- the numbers of jobs that are generated, where they are, the types of jobs and what they earn -- but we believe that perhaps a greater expression of what you could call a national will is the way people care for one another. I know that sounds very sentimental, but I think that the concrete expression of the way people care for one another is the type of social programs we have in place.

I think it is no secret that we take great Canadian pride in especially three social programs -- medicare, pensions and unemployment insurance -- which have really marked the progressivity of our nation and our ability to care for one another across great, vast differences in cultural and economic regions.

I would like to point out to you that it is not just sentimentality. This is something of an abstract longing, but the desire, especially for a comprehensive Unemployment Insurance Act, came out of a broad social consensus which emerged out of a failed social experiment that people who are still living experienced. I am referring to the Great Depression, where market forces reigned supreme and were the sole arbiter of what people did with their working lives and, by extension, with their entire lives.

People rejected that as the sole mechanism of treating workers, rejected the notion of labour as simply a commodity, and demanded throughout the 1930s, and finally was implemented in the 1940s, some form of social insurance where we could pool the risk across different regions of the country and really take care of one another in times of economic despair.

When the Unemployment Insurance Act came in, it was accompanied not only with this notion of pooled risk but also a financial guarantee from the federal government that it would do its utmost to prevent the kind of economic conditions that led to the Depression. The unemployment insurance demands and the legislation that came about, the act that was implemented and the program that has been extant for 50 years, was based on a collective experience.

Nobody wants to relive that experience again -- I think that is fair to say -- yet the federal government has denied the experience, wiped it from memory and rammed through legislation which was not an expression of popular will and which was only implemented after the federal government circumvented and closed down every democratic process available to the people of Canada.

Now we are being force-marched down the same road that we were walking down in the 1930s. We are watching history grimly repeating itself, with record numbers of employables on welfare rolls and we are being asked to repeat that same social experiment again. I ask Laurell to give you a brief history of what it is that we are trying to avoid.

Ms Ritchie: Yes, it seems that there is some collective amnesia operating within this country right now about what the good old days were like before we had this very important social insurance system within the country. Prior to the 1940s, jobless workers had only emergency relief welfare to turn to, which came through the municipalities, those that did deliver it, and only in a few situations did the federal government step in. About the only example we can really point to is a program of unemployment insurance for those returning servicemen from the First World War.

With the 1930s depression and escalating unemployment, those municipalities cracked under the strain of the welfare load and, in turn, there was public revolt waiting in the wings. At the same time, coming at it from a slightly different angle, economists, politicians and business people started to worry about the lack of money circulating within the economy, given the stagnation and the instability. What we had in 1935 was Prime Minister R. B. Bennett introducing for the first time an Employment and Social Insurance Act. Now this act actually invaded, at the time, provincial jurisdiction over labour and social welfare programs and there was then a six-year period while constitutional amendments had to take place to allow the federal government to play a role. So it was not until 1941 that Canada had a functioning Unemployment Insurance Act, as it was renamed.


There are two very important underlying principles for Canada's unemployment insurance system. First of all, it is a national system that pools the risk across all regions; that is, it establishes national funding arrangements and national standards for qualifying for benefits. This in fact presents an in-built equalization feature to this social insurance scheme. It is unlike commercial insurance schemes which normally require those who are most likely to encounter the risk -- in this case, unemployment -- to pay a higher cost and to meet higher standards of eligibility. We did not take that route. We took the social insurance route, pooling the risk.

Second, the other very critical feature of this is an explicit acknowledgement that the federal policies or lack of them played a significant role in the rates of unemployment across the country, and as a result there was a federal contribution when unemployment got high, when there were certain trigger levels for federal contributions, so that it was not just employee and employer contributions. What this did was create not only a penalty where the federal government was not providing proper programs for job opportunities, but an incentive for the federal government to do better in the future.

Now we are going to ask you to look at and contrast this with what happened in the United States with its unemployment insurance program. It is the only country in the industrialized world that does not have a national scheme, one that puts into it federal, public purse moneys. What has happened there is that there is no pooling of the risk. Every single state has its own program. The standards vary widely according to the individual state's economic health at any one point in time.

A worker in West Virginia, which has one of the worst unemployment rates in the US, has in turn one of the worst unemployment insurance programs. New York state: The worker is more likely to receive benefits.

Overall, only one out of every three jobless Americans can get access to their unemployment insurance scheme. As well, as this is important for the women of this country if we are going to examine a comparison, only five states provide maternity or parental benefits. What we have seen in the US is further erosion in the 1980s. It has reached the state where states with high unemployment exhaust their state trust funds of payroll taxes so quickly that cutbacks follow very soon thereafter. The poorer become poorer and there is a vicious circle of cost cutting built into the system.

What has happened with the federal government's Bill C-21 last year is that we have come full circle. We are now going to join the only other industrialized country in the world that does not contribute from the federal coffers. And although the federal minister, Barbara McDougall, tried to defend this in the introduction of Bill C-21, what she did say was very explicitly, and we have the text of her statement here, that those programs in the US are simply a hodgepodge of state programs and she argued that there was nothing there to even harmonize with. But in fact C-21 is setting up a situation without federal funds where it is has been essentially privatized. That program has been essentially privatized. It is set up for return to the provinces and I would argue, in the end, to move to commercialized principles rather than socialized principles of unemployment insurance.

Furthermore, C-21 has, with its drastic cutbacks, been an endeavour to erode the expectations of Canadian workers. This is particularly important for women in this country. Because of the nature of our jobs and the part-time work, seasonal work and so on, we are more likely to have to turn to this important system, and certainly for parental benefits.

What we have seen this week with the new budget is a literal time bomb. What happened in the United States is that with escalating premiums, no contributions from the public purse, employer organizations call for more and more cutbacks in the system and what we are seeing now is a loading of the deck to ensure that lobbying takes place in short order over the next couple of years. By 1993 if we do not find some political will in this country to reinstate this very important program with federal contributions, we face the same future that our American brothers and sisters in the workforce confront.

Ms Yalnizyan: I would just like to add that C-21, by withdrawing federal contributions and effectively dismantling the program, and again eroding people's expectations, offers a deadly combination with Bill C-69 because now we are getting more and more people having to turn to welfare, and we are just seeing the thin edge of it right now in Ontario. Bill C-69, as you know, caps contributions to the social assistance plans. So what you are doing is forcing people to go on to an even more pitiful social safety net, and that social safety net is getting torn right out from under them.

What can we do in Ontario concretely? What is it that we are asking you to do? I guess how we are asking you to view these programs is that this is an expression of national unity, that medicare, UI, pensions, social assistance, etc, are the paramount mechanisms to concretely rethread a national fabric which is being torn apart right in front of our eyes remarkably quickly.

In the case of unemployment insurance we would ask you, since every extra-parliamentary measure that we have used has failed to get through to this federal government, to negotiate a restoration of federal contributions which is an absolute minimum condition for the maintenance of this system, and to indicate to the federal government a clear commitment to national programs that support these principles of equalization of risk, of pooling risk, of providing for one another and caring for one another.

We believe that these concrete programs that now exist that are in the process of getting dismantled are the things that we have to be actively fighting to save at a time when they are being dismantled brick by brick in front of our eyes. We would ask you to do that on behalf of us as Canadians and as Ontarians.

The Chair: There is a little bit of time left. Are there any questions?

Mr G. Wilson: It is of course a really dismaying picture that you are portraying here. I was wondering what the ramifications of this are. You say there is politically little that can be done, or appears to be able to be done. I am just wondering about the frustration and despair that this raises and what are the outcomes of this. For instance, is that a good politically organizing atmosphere to work in or does that lead to, say, the discrimination that some of our other presenters have mentioned? Would you say that this is something that fosters a lot of acrimony rather than positive things?

Ms Yalnizyan: At the national level of the UI working group, which was a series of groups brought together across the country, it was amazing the momentum that was built up in terms of bringing very diverse groups of people together to push, to say, "Let's reflect on the history we've had and not walk down this road again."

What was very dismaying was the way the democratic process was shut down. The only way that legislation got through was that the Speaker actually broke all previous rules and a deal was cut to push this legislation through. There was nothing in the democratic process that would have indicated that would have been the outcome. So it is very dismaying that we are operating at a federal level where nothing that you can do through the normal channels makes a difference.

On the other hand, once you have got this legislation rammed down our throats, as Laurell was indicating, the type of forces that are unleashed and the time bomb that is in place is going to really increase intolerance between regions because they are going -- Ontario right now is not doing that well, but let's take us back 18 months ago when the biggest drain on the program might have been fishermen's benefits in the Atlantic provinces. How long is a system that is privatized, with premiums that are increased by 24% just after they were increased to historic highs three months ago, how long are people going to accept "subsidizing" a very difficult economy in the Atlantic provinces?

If we do not have a national system of regional development and supporting these various types of economies with a plan of diversification and economic health, that system is going to go by the wayside. I think that is quite clear.


Mr Beer: I think you have done one very valuable thing today, which is to underline the connection between a lot of the changes that have been taking place in Ottawa with respect to national programs through things that have happened in the budgetary process, where perhaps people do not recognize exactly how much they are linked to what we are all about, which is looking at the country, looking at the role of the Constitution, looking at national programs. I think that is one way in making clear to people that this exercise is not some sort of airy-fairy philosophical debate, but that we are talking about the blood and flesh and sinew of this country, and that these programs are part of it. I think we have heard this a couple of times, but certainly this morning you have put it more directly and emphatically than anyone else has. I think we have heard that message and we are really going to deal with it in this committee. I just wanted to underline that point in terms of what you said this morning.

Ms Yalnizyan: It is wonderful to hear that.

Ms Ritchie: We will leave some materials with you that describe what has happened in the US for American workers so you understand the slippery slope we are headed down.


The Chair: Could I call next, from the Organization of South Asian Canadians, Audi Dharmalingham, Bala Nambiar, Malika Mendez, Murad Velshi and Sirish Sinha. Welcome, Mr Velshi, a former MPP at Queen's Park.

Mr Dharmalingham: My name is Audi Dharmalingham. I have with me to my immediate right, Malika Mendez and on the far right, Bala Nambiar. To my left, usually Murad does not sit on the left side, but he is Murad Velshi. We are very happy to have this opportunity to make the presentation. There is one small mistake in the submission made. At the end of page I there is a very crucial line missing. It should read, at the end of the line --

The Chair: If you would just wait a second, sir, with that correction, the submission is just being distributed now. Could I also, while we have this brief pause, point out to people that there are translation devices available. I believe they are either at the back of the room or outside and that will facilitate people being able to have access to the interpretation, both English-French and French-English, so members of the public are welcome to get those if they wish to assist in the presentations.

Mr Dharmalingham: At the end of page 1, it should read "deliberately shut out from channels of participation in any of these discussions about the future of this country." That is what you should add. I am asking Miss Mendez to present the brief.

Ms Mendez: We would like to thank members of the select committee for giving us this opportunity to make known some of our views concerning the future of this nation and Ontario's pivotal role in shaping that future.

Who are we? The Organization of South Asian Canadians, or OSAC, is an association of community groups and individuals in Ontario. We have been, for the past several years, active in profiling and promoting our community's political, economic and social goals. South Asians represent those of us settled in Ontario with origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is estimated that we number at least 500,000.

Our community is well aware of the political efforts that have been undertaken in the last two decades to bring the two founding nations together. While the English and French politicians at the federal and provincial levels dominate and literally control the diatribe, the native population and other citizens, including those of us who make up the multicultural reality of Canada, have been virtually and deliberately shut out from channels of participation in any of the these discussions about the future of this country, and more importantly ourselves. There was never a plan or a process to include us. For the gamblers who rolled the dice, we simply do not exist.

It took an Elijah Harper and military intervention at Oka, Quebec, this past summer to shed the scales that blinded politicians at all levels. Now the Spicer committee, quickly formed to gauge the national sentiment, looks like an addendum, an afterthought, to a well-hidden agenda that bombed at Meech Lake.

It must be pointed out that given the many complexities surrounding the issue of national unity, the hurried consultations and discussions, including these quick hearings by Ontario, do not lend themselves to a thoughtful and reflective process of participation of citizens to articulate our visions for the future of our adopted homeland. These deliberations must be given more time. However, we are grateful that in Ontario a process has been found and we feel as if a window is now open for us to begin what we expect to be a meaningful process of communication.

Given the short time available and the immense challenges that one faces in prescribing unity solutions, we have decided to limit our attention at this time to the most pressing problem facing our community, which parallels some aspects of the Quebec syndrome. Underlying all the frustration, mistrust and fear in Quebec is the discrimination that Quebeckers have endured under policies and practices of other governments, provincial and national, controlled by the anglophone majority in Canada.

Although measures were taken from time to time to uphold and declare human rights, equal rights, cultural preservation and language rights, the mindset that managed to alienate an entire province within this country for decades continues to manifest itself today in so many different ways.

Our community represents a significant number of the members of the visible ethnic minority in Ontario. We have all arrived here with the intention of contributing our utmost to the economic welfare of this nation, thereby bettering ourselves and the communities that we live in. But we have found and continue to find that almost at every turn we make to achieve progress, there is always an unseen and unwritten set of conditions of discriminatory practices to keep the visible ethnic minority out of the mainstream of events and opportunities in Ontario and in other parts of Canada. These practices of discrimination are deliberate, systemic and institutional.

Recent investigative work by Allen Borovoy of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association reveals that many placement agencies connive and co-operate with employers in their referral and recruitment practices to screen and keep out visible minority candidates. We know that this does not come as a surprise to the select committee members, because this issue has been well-studied and documented in the last little while. Politicians of all stripes are well aware of this problem and some have even developed a high degree of tolerance to this cancer of racial discrimination in our society.

Our main concerns regarding the fostering of national unity are the uncertainties and the unhappiness that we, as individuals and groups, experience with regard to our future in Ontario and in Canada. We are frustrated with and agonize over the lack of employment equity and the underemployment of our people in the workplace. When equal opportunity for work and advancement in professions and trades is taken away from those who struggle to make a future for themselves, one takes away the most precious qualities in human life that make the difference between success and failure: initiative, drive and industry.

What we face in Ontario and in Canada is not equality of opportunity, but a hierarchy that practises traditional and deliberate discrimination against visible minority groups. If our deep-seated, job-related concerns and aspirations are not fairly and justly met, we fear that the prevailing conditions may create disaffected pockets of visible minority groups in Ontario that parallel the disaffected groups in the Quebec of yesteryear.


An account of the inequities in employment opportunities would be incomplete without drawing your special attention to the additional barriers facing the women in our community. Three pieces of information that are pertinent to Canada and Ontario are provided to illustrate this point.

Fact: Visible minority women make up approximately 60% of the visible minority workforce.

Fact: Approximately 76% of clerical or unskilled positions are held by visible minority women, many of whom have professional backgrounds.

Fact: Visible minority women are paid a third less than visible minority men, who in turn are paid less than their white counterparts.

This profile of minority women closely reflects the profile of South Asian women. The plight of visible minority women is the plight of South Asian women.

Employment equity in Ontario: Under the provincial employment equity initiative, five target groups are identified: the disabled, francophones, natives, women and visible minorities.

A secretariat reporting to a minister of the crown was created for the disabled to look after their special and specific needs; for the francophones, the Office of Francophone Affairs; native affairs are now the responsibility of another minister of the Crown; and for women, the Ontario women's directorate reporting to a minister. Four of the five disadvantaged target groups have representation in cabinet. Visible minorities alone have none. Why?

The roles of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the race relations board are limited to the enforcement of statutes through negotiation or prosecution after the fact, and are not designed to be proactive.

What do we want? Justice and equality demand that the government of Ontario remove all the inequities so the visible minorities in the province need not wait as long as the natives and francophones to attain equal rights and recognition.

In this regard it is essential that:

1. The employment equity commission immediately undertake steps to prepare for the enactment of an employment equity act with clearly defined targets and time lines set for visible minorities to achieve employment equity in the Ontario civil service, the broader public sector and the private sector.

2. In Ontario's proposals for changes defining a new Canada, employment equity be given the highest priority for entrenchment in the Canadian Constitution.

In conclusion, may we commend the government of Ontario for initiating public discussion of Ontario's role in the Canadian Confederation. We also urge the government of Ontario to continue its leadership role in helping the people of Ontario to focus on national and constitutional issues.

Mr Nambiar: We are convinced that by and large the thinking people of Ontario who matter in today's Ontario are fair and would like to do things right. If something is not done right, we would like to think it is perhaps more by default and apathy rather than by deliberate and wanton action. That is what gives us the confidence that our just causes will be heeded.

We are asking for justice and equity, not only for ourselves -- that is, the first generation of new Ontarians -- but even more for the second generation, many of whom were born and brought up in Ontario, went to some of the best schools in the country and in the province and have participated in almost all areas with other Ontarians and have held their places. If there are no role models for them to emulate, and if on the other hand they perceive latent or patent discrimination by the establishment, you can well imagine not only their frustration and negative feelings at the micro level but equally at the macro level, the waste of resources by their potential not being used to the fullest. This, we feel strongly, will be a major impediment to Ontario securing its future in the international economy.

The Chair: Thank you very much. I have two quick comments on a couple of points you made. Thank you, first of all, for the presentation and bringing to our attention your perspective in a very clear way.

On one of the points you made about the process and the seeming nature of how fast we are going through this -- although it is fascinating for us to hear that, given the number of locations we have visited and the number of people we have heard from, which must be nearing the 500 mark by now, or will today or tomorrow if it has not already -- I wanted to say to you that we recognize, notwithstanding that, that there still needs to be a great deal more discussion and other opportunities to allow the people of the province input into these decisions.

I think the trick is to balance that with the continuing calls for a sense of leadership and a sense of direction on the part of our government as well, and on the part of the leaders of the province. We are confident we can find the balance between those two, and we will in the second stage of our work structure ways to make sure the discussions do continue, so this is not a one-time opportunity. There will be others.

The other thing I wanted to say is in response to your point about the fact that visible minorities have no access through a particular minister or ministry. I may be wrong, but my understanding is that they do through the Minister of Citizenship. I think that is one of the responsibilities attached to that. But there may be perfections to that which need to still be developed. That is not trying to argue with your point on that.

Mr F. Wilson: We have had many presentations by ethnic and multicultural groups over our journey through the province. They have been very confident, very passionate and very consistent and hopeful that our nation can be saved, that there is salvation for Canada. But in a few of them, yours in particular -- perhaps it is my awareness that is making me focus on this this morning -- there has been an underlying feeling we have been getting that because of the previous tendency to use multiculturalism as a political football, to make mileage and gains out of it politically, there is a chance that perhaps the ethnic groups within our province may be getting a feeling of cynicism towards the system.

I do not want to give this any more credence than it does have, or I do not want to make an alarmist question out of this, but as you have directed yourself towards that I wonder if you would elaborate. Is there a possibility, because of the way we have handled the multicultural issue from the top down, or from the controlling ethnic group down, or whatever way you like to put it, that cynicism could arise within the various groups and perhaps negate the whole process by having them turn inwards or turn away from the system? Is that a possibility?

Mr Velshi: I think we have to differentiate here between what multiculturalism stands for and what employment equity stands for. One of the previous delegations I was listening to also mentioned this, that one has nothing to do with the other. Multiculturalism is a subject for discussion at another time, and it is a very lengthy discussion, I dare say. There is no sense getting into that now because we are not going to be discussing multiculturalism here. We have left it out deliberately just to let you know that there is no connection between racism and multiculturalism. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. There are certain aspects of multiculturalism I may not like and which Mr Dadamo may like, but we have not discussed that so we are not able to answer your question the way you pose it.

Mr F. Wilson: Allow me to rephrase it, then, because I think it is important. Let me put it in context this way. We are finding that the so-called majority, the European majority or the white majority or whatever, is very cynical about the process. They have actually turned off as far as connecting with government is concerned. They do not think it matters. Previous presenters said that using the system just has no effect any more. I am wondering if that could become a prevalent feeling within the ethnic communities, the visible minorities, whatever phrase you wish to put upon them.


Mr Velshi: Multiculturalism works well for ethnic communities. I am not talking just about visible minority communities: The Ukrainians and the Italians and just about everybody benefits from multiculturalism by getting grants. I am not too sure that is how multiculturalism should work. I think there should be transculturalism. If grants are given it should be for one community to meet another community. I do not think it is working the way it is meant to work. That is my viewpoint, again, and it may not be the viewpoint of this committee. Yes, some people are cynical about multiculturalism in a big way, because it is definitely isolating people. It is making them look inward. What you need is something to turn them around and look at the other groups.

But whatever multiculturalism does, it still does not allow us our job promotions, our entry into the job market and those things, and that is what we are talking about. I feel personally that if employment equity were initiated by enactment in the Constitution half our problems would be over. We are so busy trying to survive that we are not able to look at anything else right now. There is a lot of frustration in the visible minority communities. We see people bypassing us in jobs, we find entry-level positions are not available to us. The big positions we do not even see; they are somewhere in the stratosphere as far as we are concerned. What is happening to those? Talking about employment equity, if 7% unemployment is prevalent in Ontario then the blacks should have the same percentage, 7%, they should not be at 14%. We should not be at 10%. We want to be at 7% also, like everybody else in this country.

Ms Mendez: To answer your question, if any political process does not result in something useful for the community, then of course there will be cynicism and turning away from that process, just to answer your very important point. Cynicism will set in if the process is not going to work.

Mr Dharmalingham: Could I add to that, Mr Wilson, that the way multiculturalism came into being -- we form the new generation, the third sector or the third factor as they call it. Even when the idea came, the idea was that multiculturalism would address the equality issue, but it never came. It became a song and dance. If you talk to people in the community, half our people, they will say, "Multicultural song and dance, we are tired of that." What we want is an equal share, an opportunity to participate. There is enough talent in the community. In the area of multiculturalism, if people are given the opportunity to feel they are Canadians and still maintain their heritage, and still compete with anybody else and have the job opportunity, then it should work, but it is not happening. It is nice on paper, but in practice it is not.

The Chair: We will end at that point. Thank you for your presentation.


The Chair: I call next the Ontario region of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, Sheldon Godfrey and Jamshed Mavalwala.

Mr Godfrey: While our brief is being distributed, may I introduce myself. I am Sheldon Godfrey, and this is Dr Jamshed Mavalwala. We are here on behalf of the Ontario region of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. It is very unusual for us to be delivering briefs to any level of government anywhere. With that, I will turn it over to Dr Mavalwala.

Dr Mavalwala: The Canadian Council of Christians and Jews is an organization of people of goodwill that was founded in 1948 as a result of anti-Semitism and the Second World War. Its Ontario region, which we represent, was established in 1979. According to the founding documents of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews, "It is an association of men and women who seek by educational means to promote justice, friendship, co-operation and understanding among people differing in race, religion or nationality." It derives its financial support from major corporations, as well as the public at large across Canada.

The council was originally established to fight anti-Semitism in Canada, although its programs today are directed, through educational means, to create an understanding so that discrimination against any minority cannot take root. According to our organization's statement of purpose, we exist to build bridges between different communities. The Canadian Council of Christians and Jews serves as Canada's major sisterhood-brotherhood organization.

Why are we here? Our council does not take political positions and will intervene only if serious questions of principle are involved. We are here because some of the suggested agendas for constitutional reform deal with vital aspects of Canada's future and require a response from the perspective of equal rights. If handled negatively, the constitutional reform proposals could raise the question of a reversal of 200 years of precedent that have resulted in legal equality for people of all cultures in Canada. Viewed positively, we have an opportunity at this time to examine some of the principles that make our country united and to build on those principles.

Our council has found fertile ground for its mandate in Canada to a degree that appears not to have been possible in any other country in the world. The Canadian council is a larger, better-supported organization than its counterpart in the United States. The International Council of Christians and Jews frequently looks to the Canadian council for leadership. There is no doubt that Canada's advanced policies of respecting the diverse cultural backgrounds of its citizens is the reason the Canadian movement is at the forefront of the other organizations.

Canada has been described as a mosaic rather than a melting pot. At the same time, there can be no doubt that Canada owes at least a part of its distinctiveness to the French fact.

Mr Godfrey: If I may continue, I would like to spend a moment just getting back to first principles. We cannot take our history for granted. Although there have been instances, deplorable instances, of lack of human rights that you heard of in some of the early briefs, our early history has created Canada as a different kind of place. From 1760 onward Canada developed as a different country from those in the old world, in which one culture was superior or a state culture, and other cultures were considered as second-class citizens.

Long before the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted in 1982, this country was in the forefront of granting equal rights to different cultural groups, developed by precedent over the past two centuries. For example, as early as 1774, the date of the Quebec Act, Catholics in Canada, unlike the Catholic minority in England, were given full civil rights, which applied in Ontario as well. In 1791 Catholics in Upper and Lower Canada were given full political rights by the Constitutional Act and in fact formed majorities in the Legislature of Lower Canada. England, the mother country, did not grant Catholics equal rights until more than a generation later when the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed in 1828.

We were similarly more advanced than the United States. By the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, none of the 13 American colonies allowed Catholics equal civil or political rights.

Ontario was at the forefront in other areas as well. It followed Denmark in 1792. Denmark was the first nation to abolish slavery, or to stop the trade in slaves as a step towards abolishing slavery. Upper Canada in 1793 had just been formed and it took steps towards the same effect; much earlier, again, than both England and the United States. The slaves were not finally emancipated until Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The underground railroad, known to Americans as the secret route to freedom for those who were escaping slavery, had its terminus north of the American border in Canada. Uncle Tom's Cabin, the place of refuge for runaway slaves, immortalized by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was actually in Dresden, Ontario, and still survives today as a museum, although its continued existence is threatened because of lack of awareness of some of the things we take for granted.

There are other examples of Canada's advanced status in the issue of equal rights. Canadian Jews were given rights to hold high government office by commission in Quebec in the 1760s, long before any similar instances in the United States or in England. Laws were passed in some of the Canadian colonies giving Quakers equal civil and political rights, again long before the same were granted in England. It should be noted that the Legislature of Lower Canada, now part of the province of Quebec, of course, gave equal rights to Quakers at its very first session in 1792.

Although Canada is a young nation, it was one of the first countries in the world to evolve to accept the principle of equality of minority cultural groups, rather than merely tolerating them. It is a new kind of nation. Unfortunately, equality has not yet been perfected. As I said a few moments ago, there have been deplorable instances where different cultural groups have received less than equal treatment -- the tax on Chinese immigration, for example, as one of the earlier presenters mentioned. But all such groups have legal equality, and, of course, additional barriers are now in the process of being removed. Canada has evolved as a new kind of country in the world, a country where there is no cultural majority but where a number of different cultures live in mutual respect. Canada is, in a way, a model for the world to come. We are unique. That is why our organization thrives here.


I have to spend another moment on the question of what is a nation, because some of the misunderstandings that have arisen about the direction of the Canadian nation come from the fact that we do not speak the same language, and that the English word "nation" and the French word "nation" do not necessarily have the same meaning in Canada's two official languages. Some dictionaries, for example the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, explain this distinction more clearly.

"Nation" in one sense, in a political sense, can refer to an area that has boundaries, a territorial sense, a political sense, and it may encompass people of different cultures and different peoples, not necessarily a majority of any of those. That is how we think of Canada.

There is another view of "nation." This is an ethnic idea. It is an idea where religion, language and culture are one, where one nation is superior to others. It does not necessarily have to have political boundaries, as in the old days Henri Bourassa used to speak of the French nation as running from coast to coast and the right of people of French culture to have rights from coast to coast in Canada.

But that is changing and what is happening now, this second kind of nation is honing in on boundaries of the province of Quebec, in some cases at the expense of those of the French nation in the second kind of sense outside of it. In this second kind of nation, people of one cultural group that outnumber the others attempt to make geographic boundaries to enclose themselves. While Canada has been the homeland of all of us, the French Canadians and other cultural groups, French Canadians within the province of Quebec, despite their large minority of other cultural groups within the province, have been developing a concept of distinct geographical entity, and this second kind of nation is now being combined with the first in a way that may create a situation where one group will be the dominant culture and the others will be merely tolerated, or second class.

Dr Mavalwala: Compounding the problem is the use of the rhetoric which is designed to achieve political aspirations rather than to state historical facts, thereby making it more difficult to find solutions to national issues. Such a term is "the two founding races." It implies that two groups have a better claim to special status than others but leaves many questions unanswered. According to available information, the two founding races formed no part of Canada's history. "Race" is a term not clearly understood in the Canadian context. There is no relevant "founding" that anyone has indicated. The number of founding races, if any, is also open to question.

Canada's founding races have never been clearly defined. Throughout much of its history, Canada had an overwhelming majority of native peoples. Many of the English in the 1750s and 1760s were in fact German protestants who had come to British North America seeking religious liberty. The town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia was German-speaking for many years. One recent study has determined that more than 10% of the English in Quebec in 1764 were in fact Jewish.

These statistics do not mean that there should be a revised four- or five-founding-races theory, with each race being entitled to special status. The first official use of the term "two founding races" came not in 1763 or in 1867 but in 1963, when it was used in the wording of the terms of reference of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, suggesting initially that an equal partnership between the two founding races was a fact. The B and B commission reported opposition to this statement at its hearings, but was obliged to proceed regardless of objections to the wording of its actual terms of reference, which had not been open to question in advance by the public. The final report of the commission recommended that Canada should be officially bilingual, which meant that federal government services would be available across Canada in two official languages.

The commission did not make a determination of whether Canada was made up of two founding races and did not recommend that Canada should be officially bicultural. Instead, in 1971 the federal government announced the adoption of a multicultural policy based on fair play for all. According to this policy, the government "will seek to assist all Canadian cultural groups to continue to develop and contribute to Canada, the small and weak groups no less than the strong and highly organized."

Canada's multicultural policy is an acknowledgement that the country is not and was never made up of "two solitudes," another example of rhetoric. Possibly the majority of Canada's population is neither of English nor of French culture.

Mr Godfrey: There are continuing examples of the use of rhetoric that make things difficult. I heard a presenter earlier today talk about Canada's three founding races, or he might have said three founding nations, and I understand according to press reports that the same was said at your other hearings previously. I noticed one in Toronto. Last week, one of Ontario's cabinet ministers, in an address to the public, referred to Canada's two founding cultures, thereby giving the term a status denied to it by the B and B commission as well as the federal government's multiculturalism policy, and of course by the province of Ontario as well.

The recognition of Quebec as a distinct society in the proposed 1990 constitutional act was to have been the first official recognition in Canadian history of an ethnic nation of the second kind in Canada. Without constitutional restraint or definition, the distinct society could be devoted to preserving and protecting the rights of one culture in Quebec in precedence to those of others.

The majority in the province of Quebec has a great need to know that its culture is not going to be threatened. However, in having the language law enacted three years ago, Premier Bourassa reversed the long-standing rights of other minority cultures in Quebec to express themselves freely on commercial signs and did not appreciate the danger to equality for minorities. This action was out of sync with the tradition of expanding equal rights in Canada and will hopefully be repealed in the future. If Quebec is to have cultural expression for its minority, at the same time its government must ensure that it is the guardian of the rights of all its Canadian citizens, not merely those of the cultural majority in that province.

In the rest of Canada, the same rule must apply. All cultures, including that of French Canadians, must continue to have equal rights of preservation. However, by accepting Quebec as a distinct society, especially with the presence of the "notwithstanding" clause in the Charter of Rights, the precedent is being set for other distinct societies to emerge and create a second or unicultural kind of nation in other provinces and regions as well.

We are one country. We must have one national standard when it comes to freedom and equality. A constructive approach to resolving constitutional dilemmas is not to be found in expanding the number of groups entitled to special status and breaking up the national standard. Rather, the ideal of protecting the rights of all cultures and individuals should be entrenched in the Constitution, providing unequivocally that the protection of group rights is not at the expense of the rights of individuals.

It is our suggestion as an organization of people of goodwill that to do otherwise would be a fundamentally restrictive change in the nature of the rights of Canada's cultural groupings, not in accordance with the traditions of this country. The risk is that today's special status for some could be tomorrow's second-class status for others. In attempting to save Canada as a geographic unity, you must not change the basic philosophy and the ideals of the country so significantly that its raison d'être, its tradition of freedom and equality for all cultures, is diminished.

In January 1790, immediately after the French Revolution, one cultural group petitioned the National Assembly of the new French republic. The words of that petition have as much meaning today as they did then:

"The word `toleration,"' the petition ran, "which, after so many centuries and so many acts of intolerance, appeared to be a word full of humanity and reason, is no longer suitable to a nation that wishes to firmly place its rights upon the eternal foundations of justice. America, to which politics will owe so many useful lessons, has rejected the word from its code as a term tending to compromise individual liberty and to sacrifice certain classes of men to other classes. To tolerate, in fact, is to suffer that which you could, if you wished, prevent and prohibit." Not the same as "equality."

You must not, as our representatives, allow cultural groups in any part of the country to be more than equal or less than equal, or any Canadian to be merely tolerated. To create a "distinct society" in any part of the country could have that effect.

Canada is unique among nations. Its fabric has evolved from modest beginnings. Our history, our freedoms, must not be taken for granted. Canada belongs to all of its citizens and has no classes of citizenship. Equal rights are the birthright of all of us. The nation of Canada is irreplaceable. It is worth all our efforts to help it grow and flourish. No matter what form constitutional amendment may take or what powers are to be transferred between the federal and provincial governments, the substance of the Constitution must continue to he the rights of each of us to equality throughout the land. That is the reason for Canada's existence. It cannot be compromised.

It is in the nature of politics that political leaders tend to resolve issues by finding consensus among competing interest groups, rather than by leading the public to solutions based on a clear understanding of where we should be going. That tendency will not work this time out. Canada needs politicians who will lead all of us towards an ideal, not find the lowest common denominator among interest groups in order to make a constitutional deal.

You on this committee are in a crucial position to enunciate and clarify what the Canadian nation is. You must help build trust among all cultures so that all the people of Canada can be secure in their historic rights. This may be our last chance to retain the equal status for all that historically has made Canada "the true north strong and free."


Mr Beer: Thank you very much for your presentation. The council always ensures that we have to face the core issue.

I would like to play it back to you, because it seems to me that you really have put your finger on one of the critical issues, which is individual rights as we have come to know them and how we go about, if we should at all, protecting group or collective rights. I guess from a practical point of view -- and the question I would put to you is this -- we still have in this country one province in which the language is different from the rest. It is French, and francophone Quebeckers see that they have a problem with respect to all of North America and they believe there must be certain protections that are linguistic -- but linguistic protections inevitably flow into cultural protections -- and that has to be recognized in the Constitution. Now, how do we reflect that kind of day-to-day reality while at the same time reflecting I think all of the principles in your paper, to which I think those of us in Ontario would want to pay full heed? Yet it seems to me that somehow we have to find a way that will honour both of those.

I do not have the answer to that. But would you agree that this is a problem that we have in trying to deal with the current constitutional problem in relation to Quebec? Do you see a way of providing the protection they believe they need, as well as honouring the principles that you have set out in your paper?

Mr Godfrey: The paper is our position, so our answers are personal, of course. If I can respond to that, I think the problem in Quebec is that it moved backwards with respect to individual rights. I do not know whether that answers your question particularly.

They are part of Canada. They have the same principles that we do. Canada is officially bilingual. Quebec is of course unilingual, but it moved backwards with the language law. That is the problem. The direction should be towards expanding rights, and not making them second-class rights but making them equal rights.

Dr Mavalwala: May I just add an addendum, and this is again, as Mr Godfrey has said, a personal response to your question, Charles -- Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Charles.

Dr Mavalwala: It is agreed that there is an enormous connection within the lives of people within their so-called culture, which includes their religion, their language and a whole series of other traditions, and a minor element of that cultural tradition happens to be ethnic food and ethnic dance, as has been pointed out by Mr Dharmalingham. If we are seeking here a solution to the fact that people in this country speak different languages and that a large number of people in Quebec speak one specific language, French, there are other models in the world where governments have dealt with multilingualism. We may not have dealt with multiculturalism as best as we could have, because we have ended up, instead of dealing with multiculturalism, really dealing in somewhat negative ways with multi-ethnicity.

Maybe the question that you are posing here should also make us further think about the dangers of trying to deal with the presence of two languages, or the French-language fact in Canada, and make us a multilingual society, rather than trying to seek solutions such that we end up dividing the country. Not many people want to see the advantages of being multilingual, but the price of being bilingual.


The Chair: Could I invite next the Ontario Committee of the Communist Party of Canada. Go ahead.

Ms Rowley: Perhaps I could introduce myself first.

My name is Elizabeth Rowley and I am the Ontario leader or provincial secretary of the Communist Party.

Before reading the submission that we have prepared today, I would just like to make two brief comments, if I may, based on the opportunity that I had to listen to some of my predecessors in this chair, and those are the following.

First of all, how one would define a nation? It seems to me that it is incumbent upon us to use the language of international law. "Nation" has a specific meaning, whereas "distinct society" has no meaning whatsoever, which is one of the reasons I think that it was quite proper that the Meech Lake accord failed, because it had no meaning in terms of any recognition of the right of Quebec to self-determination.

Ladies and gentlemen, at the outset, and on behalf of the Ontario committee of the Communist Party, I would like to thank the committee for this opportunity to speak to the crucial question of how to redress the unequal union of English-speaking Canada, Quebec and the aboriginal peoples of Canada.

This is the burning issue that has alternately flared and smouldered ever since the defeat of the French by the British in Quebec over 200 years ago. The origins of the coercive and oppressive relationship between English-speaking Canada and Quebec are in a military defeat. They are the relations of victor over vanquished.

Though two centuries have passed, the fundamental nature of this relationship has not changed significantly, despite considerable effort to camouflage it with the Trudeau policy of bilingualism and biculturalism, and more recently with the "distinct society" clause in the failed Meech Lake accord.

Even as recently as 1970, Quebec was occupied by federal troops under the War Measures Act to "apprehend an insurrection."

Never a marriage of equality, nor a partnership arrived at voluntarily, the British North America Act and Confederation of 1867 were instruments designed to permanently entrench Quebec's unequal and subjugated union to English-speaking Canada within the context of a strong and centralized Canadian state.

Even today it is not democracy that motivates the federal government in this once more burning debate on the future of Canada and on the relationship between English-speaking Canada and Quebec. The Tories' interest is not in Canada but in continental integration, in maximized profits, where "Canada is merely a motley collection of provinces unified only by the private sector, and that the weakest among us must look after themselves."

Similarly, the history of Canada's aboriginal peoples is one of subjugation and genocide. As statistics given in the select committee's discussion paper show, the social and economic conditions forced on to Canada's aboriginal peoples are so shockingly far below the national average that the United Nations is now actively interested in the conditions and the wellbeing of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. The conditions inflicted on aboriginal peoples are the result of a systematic policy of genocide which has been pursued for hundreds of years by both Liberal and Conservative governments and their predecessors in all parts of Canada.

The entire history of Canada shows that in order to achieve genuine Canadian unity -- that is, an equal and voluntary partnership of each of Canada's nations in a new confederal pact -- there must be a sharp break with the past and, we can say, with the present.


Unity that is predicated on force, coercion and inequality is anathema to the democratic aspirations of peoples everywhere and in particular to those united by such bonds.

In such conditions, furthermore, democracy and the democratic rights of all are in jeopardy, as the proclamation of the War Measures Act in 1970 explicitly showed. The War Measures Act eliminated the right of habeas corpus, the right of due process and other fundamental and democratic rights of all Canadians irrespective of guilt or innocence.

This is the case in Northern Ireland, in the Middle East and in South Africa, where a virtual state of war and occupation has existed for years. This is the result of national oppression, combined in South Africa with institutionalized racism, apartheid.

This is also true in other countries, in fact increasingly so, as global restructuring, a result of the scientific and technological revolution in the productive forces, rapidly and profoundly affects relations between nations and states and between national and international bodies, including relations between nation states and transnational or supranational corporations. Indeed, the urgent demand of the newly developing countries -- as distinct, by the way, from Mr Bush's demand for a new international economic order -- is based on the growing inequities and disparities between nations and states, which like the Third World debt are a threat to democracy, to peace and to the wellbeing of all nations.

It is also true in Canada. Unless Canadians are prepared to eschew democracy, and once again let matters be settled with tanks, in Quebec or in Oka or perhaps somewhere closer, the only democratic solution is to recognize that Canada is a multinational state and constitutionally guarantee the right of each nation, that is, of English-speaking Canada, of Quebec and of the aboriginal peoples of Canada, to self-determination up to and including secession, and that is a term which is understood in international law.

In other words, a voluntary equal partnership of nations in one state is only possible if each is guaranteed the right to determine for itself the form of sovereignty it will exercise. Secession or separation is only one form in which sovereignty, that is, self-determination, can be expressed. Sovereignty can also be exercised within a con-federal arrangement, provided that the mechanisms are created to guarantee genuine equality among the partners, including in the first place mechanisms which can guarantee the exercise of the right to secession.

As in a marriage, we can say, the right to secession, that is, the right to a divorce, the right to leave, which must include the legal mechanisms for exercising that right, is also at the same time the best guarantee for a continued voluntary partnership.

Legislative mechanisms might include, for example, two legislative chambers, one of which would be comprised of equal representation from each nation and one of which would be comprised geographically by population across the country, such as the House of Commons which presently exists. To become law, legislation would have to pass through both chambers.

The Communist Party of Canada has fought for recognition of Canada's multinational character and for the right of nations to self-determination up to and including the right to secede for almost 70 years. We will continue to fight for a democratic solution to the national question in Canada, while continuing to fight for Canadian independence, for peace, for jobs and for an end to the neo-conservative Mulroney government which has done more to divide and balkanize Canada along regional, national, religious, economic, social, sexual, racial and cultural lines than virtually any previous government in Canadian history.

If for no other reason than to stop the sellout of Canada, to safeguard and strengthen democracy, English-speaking Canada, and Ontario in the first place, must reach out with a new approach to Canadian unity and with a new understanding of the national question in Canada.

In Ontario, it means that the government must undertake as an urgent priority a mass, province-wide educational program designed to inform and educate Ontarians about the national rights of Franco-Ontarians, as a national minority living in English-speaking Canada, with rights to education and services in the French language wherever numbers warrant; and of aboriginal peoples to education and services in their languages wherever numbers warrant, as well as to affirmative action programs to raise living standards rapidly and across the board.

It means that the democratic rights of ethnic minorities to protect their heritage, language and culture and to pass it on to their children and grandchildren must also be protected through special after-school programs in schools and community centres, through funding for cultural and heritage programs.

The widely held idea, which is also pushed by right-wing fringe groups like the Confederation of Regions that this is either a question of unwarranted privilege for francophones or a form of compulsion or coercion on English-speaking Ontarians needs to be immediately addressed from the point of view of the national rights of the francophone minority in Ontario. Nothing less will do.

The government must also utilize such a campaign to expose and uproot the bigotry and racism that is growing at an alarming rate, particularly in northern Ontario, against both the aboriginal peoples and francophones. This means legislation banning groups like the Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada -- and its president Ronald Leitch -- which is openly fanning the flames of bigotry, racism and chauvinism, which has contravened the Criminal Code's hate laws and which is almost singlehandedly responsible for the backlash against the provision of provincial services in French in designated municipalities. Everyone remembers that last year, I think.

The government should also act to immediately remove the racist professor, Philip Rushton, at the University of Western Ontario, who is funded by neo-Nazi groups in the United States and who even former Premier David Peterson recognized as a real scourge.

Further, the government should take steps to delink the funding of separate schools through grade 13 in Ontario with the issue of French-language schools for francophones in Ontario. These latter are not religious schools. They have no connection to the separate school board. To the contrary, they are administered by public boards of education elected by French-speaking public school supporters.

In fact, Bill 30 should be rescinded because, as is the case in Essex county most recently, the bill has the effect of splitting desperately needed funds for education. It splits school buildings, it splits kids and it splits communities along narrow religious and national lines. Instead of Bill 30, Ontario needs funds for French-language education, for schools, for a college and for a university, which is a right that should be met.

Of course the national question is not a provincial issue, though the effort of some to box it that way is confusing to many. Ontario's willingness to speak up and to point out that Quebec is a nation, not a province, and to ensure that the national rights of the francophone minority in Ontario and the rights of the aboriginal peoples are protected are important steps. We urge that they be taken now.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation.


The Chair: We have another insertion into the agenda at this point. I just note for the members of the committee that the Alliance of Portuguese Clubs and Associations scheduled for later will not be appearing, but one of the members from that group would like to speak to us briefly, Martin Silva, councillor of the city of Toronto, and then there is another addition to the agenda following that.


Mr Silva: I arrived in Canada on 11 August 1968. I voted for the first time in a provincial election in September 1973. I had acquired the right to vote in my adoptive country even before the country where I was born had given its citizens the right to vote. Since then, every time that I go and exercise the right that was given to me in my adoptive country, it has become a very emotional experience for me.

In 1985, I ran for elected office for the first time and was elected separate school representative on the public school board in the city of Toronto. My adoptive country had not only given me the right to vote but also allowed me to participate in the political and decision-making process.

Friends of mine who chose other countries in the world to live tell me how those countries treat their imported workers. When I tell them of the opportunities here and how anybody arriving in Canada can the next day find a job, buy a house, start a business, acquire citizenship in three years and then vote, run for office and become part of the government, they cannot believe it.

That is what makes this country unique, the capacity to treat every human being as an equal and to allow all races and creeds to live together in harmony. I know that we still have a way to go but we certainly are further ahead than many other countries in the world. We have to preserve this uniqueness. Furthermore, we have to make it more inclusive.

There is one group of citizens who were here before all of us immigrants arrived and who have not been given the same opportunity. Because of historical factors that preceded us all in this room, they were put away in reservations and their rights and opportunities severely curtailed.

When the first white men arrived on the shores of this nation, they brought with them a philosophy of conquest and domination that was prevalent at the time. They had superior technology, and we all know that superior technology makes for very uneven wars. The native peoples lost the war, and since then there was no United Nations to liberate them, they have been treated as vanquished ever since.

We now must rise above the historical context that chains us and we must redress that situation. We must extend to the aboriginal peoples the same opportunities that are granted to all the other individuals who arrive from every other nation and are welcomed into this country.

I am not a constitutional expert to be able to suggest the way to do this, but it must be done. Many times in the past, the main arguments against extending certain rights to minorities have been those of a financial priority. Those arguments, much as the philosophy of conquest and domination prevalent at the time of the arrival of the British and the French, must be overcome. No one in today's Canadian reality would suggest that education, health and housing should not be extended to every individual in every corner of this province just because it would cost a lot of money.

We must find the same will, financial and political, to extend to the aboriginal peoples the same opportunities enjoyed by the descendants of the two conquering nations and by the members of every other nation that has arrived in the meantime.

We must ensure, in order for our civilization to attain the next level of development, that our minority aboriginal population is not denied anywhere in the province the opportunity to get a decent education, find a job, buy a house, start a business, vote and run for office. And we must go further. We must educate the other cultures, both the prevalent and the minority, to accept and enforce that right, because a right given to a group in a minority is useless, if the majority is not willing to recognize and enforce that right.

In conclusion, Mr Chairman, I would like to extend to you and your committee the best wishes for what is a difficult job, but at the same time an opportunity, what we can call a once in a history time opportunity, to do what no one has been able to do before in correcting a most grievous wrong perpetrated upon our aboriginal peoples. May the Great Spirit illuminate your deliberations and guide you to a most satisfying solution.

Mr G. Wilson: It is a fascinating account, Mr Silva, and also the recommendations you make, but I was wondering, in your experience, how do you account for your recent arrival, say, and your success in getting your present position? What is different? Support in the community, for instance, or your own initiative, or what would you put it down to?

Mr Silva: Well, it has run in the family. When my father used to visit, he used to compare himself to the doctor of the village and say: "The fact that I went to Canada made me just like the doctor in the village. I have a house, I have a car, I have a television." He measured his progress in life by the material possessions that he had been able to acquire by coming to Canada and being able to work and earn a living.

In my case, I must say, and I am sure that MPP Marilyn Churley would agree, that being white, male and able to speak English have been quite helpful in my achieving what I have achieved. But I must admit that part of it is also due to the way that this country has evolved. Even when the minority is only an audible minority -- you can only notice that I was not born here when I speak, through my accent -- on the whole, minorities in Canada are better treated and better accepted than they are anywhere else in the world. For that, we are thankful.

As I said, we still have some more wrongs that need to be corrected and I am sure that here in Ontario we are in a position to take the leadership in addressing those wrongs and making Ontario the perfect society to live in.

Ms Churley: I just want to welcome my ex-colleague from city hall.

Mr Silva: We miss you.

Ms Churley: Do you? We will talk about that later. I miss you too.

Your presentation was very interesting, and I would just like to thank you for coming down and sharing that with us. I do not have a question. I just wanted to specifically welcome you.

Mr Silva: Anything to get away from the city hall.

Mr Bisson: I have a very quick question. We have been hearing a lot from people across the province, and probably more so since this last week, about how people see a vision of Canada as developing in the direction of one language, one culture, one flag, one everything, and everything the same and that way it will be all unified. As a citizen of this country, how does that make you feel and what do you think that will bring if we were to go that path?

Mr Silva: I think it would be wrong. For example, I speak English at home, yet my son goes to Portuguese school at night and learns Portuguese. I am originally from Portugal. That gives him the opportunity to go back and visit his grandparents and communicate with his grandparents as if they are still part of the family. Had we evolved in the route of going towards one language, my son would have lost part of his family and would not be able to communicate with his grandparents.

I have the opportunity to travel in various countries and I always manage to get along, whether it is with my poor Spanish or with my Portuguese or with the rudimentary French that I speak or with the accented English. Having more languages is not something that occupies a place in my mind; it is something that just makes me more functional. I think that in today's world, when international communications make it possible for, for example, television programs to enter our homes in just about every language that is spoken in the globe, a country that has many languages will be able to survive in the international community.

This is from a macro vision of the country as a country that will be able to communicate with any other country through its own citizens. But for individuals I think that sometimes, for example, when I go to Quebec, there are certain words that have no translation in English simply because they have a specific meaning in French. If we manage to preserve that respect for people who speak other languages, we will be able then to increase that to having the same respect for people who are of different colours and of different cultures and we may become, at one point in time, perfectly free of any racist feelings that sometimes human beings are prone to harbour unfortunately.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Silva.



The Chair: I call next Andy Rickard from the Aboriginal Urban Alliance of Ontario.

Mr Rickard: Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to make a brief presentation here. As you might recall, I gave you my own language presentation in Timmins when we joined there last 11 February. I did that not to be what you would call a smart-ass or anything but to demonstrate to you that there are more languages than French and English in this country, and I think I have been successful in doing that. Because you do not have the technical facility to translate my language, I will speak to you in English so it will be a lot easier for all of us.

I represent the Aboriginal Urban Alliance of Ontario today from a different perspective altogether. In order for us to deal with the constitutional challenges, we also have to equate it with economic strengths and considerations. I am paraphrasing my presentation, because I am trying to save time as much as I can. As a Canadian of aboriginal ancestry, I believe that until we resolve the questions of the constitutional framework and the economic stability of this country, it is almost impossible to deal with our own issues that we often call aboriginal issues.

We also have to relate in terms of regional disparities, even within this province. When you look at me, you probably think: "This guy is going to talk about aboriginal rights. He wants his land back and all that." As I told you in Timmins, we do not want our land back. It is a hell of a mess right now. I want to cheer you up, because you look so serious. Relax, take it easy. It might have been boring for the last few weeks, but I hope your conclusion this week will be conducive to a good consultation involving as many Ontarians as possible.

The Chair: It has been anything but boring, Mr Rickard.

Mr Rickard: There are four areas I would like to articulate on by raising questions rather than making recommendations. Some of the people here know that northern Ontario is further north than Bloor and Yonge streets; I came to that conclusion after 10 years of travelling through this province. I also know that the power structure of this government is centred right here, where we are right now. Being a student of politics, like many of you inside here as well as outside, I have got accustomed to watching the various regimes operate here, from the Conservatives -- you have heard of those guys. That was supposed to be a joke, by the way.

Mr Eves: Some of us are still alive.

Mr Harnick: Thanks.

Mr Rickard: The Liberals, of course, came on stream, and we now have the NDP government. When I say there are disparities, I speak not so much as an aboriginal person but as an individual who lives in northern Ontario who happens to be an aboriginal person. When I refer to economic strategies or something to that effect, I am not talking necessarily of transfer of ministries to the various parts of the province, which is a good idea, I suppose. I am also not talking about financial bail-outs or tax breaks for various corporations or companies throughout this province. I am talking about more energetic, fundamental considerations, which I will address in the form of questions.

For example, in northern Ontario it is said that in 1981 about 163,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 lived there. Five years later, there was an indication of a net loss of 25,000 in this same age category. That is about a 15% net loss, or brain drain, as I call it. What kind of strategies will this province undertake to deal with this serious situation?

I would also like to address a point of some of the areas I come from. For example, in the area of Timiskaming between Matheson, Kirkland Lake, Tri-town and Temagami, we have an unemployment rate of 30%. As we well know, the national 9% or 10% unemployment rate brings out crisis proportions to every person in this country. I have often wondered why this should happen in this great province of opportunity. For example, look at the people of Kirkland Lake and area. It is dividing the community, because the only immediate opportunity we have to consider, which has an environmental aspect, is the garbage. Your garbage is our economic opportunity. Surely there have to be people here with the capacity -- when I say people, I am talking about people being put in government here as well as federal -- to develop some strategies of economic stability. Surely that cannot be that difficult.

I also would like to point out that although I may deviate from the constitutional aspect of leadership, there is an economic issue that has to be balanced in relation to the overall framework of a good strategy. So I ask, what is Queen's Park going to do about a lot of these areas? What is Canada going to do?

In terms of diverse provincial transportation facilities, the high cost of living, I often wonder, as a northern Ontarian, why we have to put up with this. Why should beer, liquor and wine be the only commodities that are the same price here in Toronto as they are in Port Severn? Those are the challenges. There has to be a more balanced price system, a good structural price system for this province.

I also want to refer very briefly to the misconception of the French and English as the founding nations of this country. We continuously hear this. Somebody said we lost the war. We did not. We have not yet begun to fight for socioeconomic and legal equality. Our people, under section 91, class of subject 24, and section 35 respectively, of the Constitution Acts, are the only identifiable racial group in the Constitution. Hence, the only logical sequence to this process is that we should be recognized in our Constitution as a founding, distinct nation as well, because we have no memory of where we come from, although I jokingly say sometimes that we skated across the Bering Strait on our way back from China. That is supposed to be humour again, so relax.

Therefore, when I look at the next point, nation-building in 30 minutes -- I do not say that to be facetious. How can you build a nation in 30 minutes? Maybe this is a miraculous event unfolding in this particular area. After this show is over today, or this week, what happens in the process? When will we get involved again? The next federal election, the next provincial election four years down the road? Whatever the result, in my opinion it will be a long time before I come before you again to indicate what my wishes are in terms of constitutional changes.

As far as the report of this committee is concerned, what happens to your findings? How do you compile the various complex, perhaps, presentations you have heard for delivery? Who will deliver the message? The committee, the whole Legislature, the Premier, the cabinet?

The other thing I also wanted to consider: The next time a group of men gets together in a back room to try to develop their own conception of national unity, I think there have to be some considerations thought of. For example, women, youth, and other real Canadians should be involved in the process to reflect reality and common sense for national reconciliation or nation-building, direct participation on their part.

We hear there was a meeting of minds. I believe the first criterion for a meeting of minds is that you have to be qualified to participate in that process. I do not say that to be facetious, again. I want to reflect that a lot of Canadians in this country can have very intelligent input into the process of constitutional strength and the development of this country.


I say as well that there should be no more closed-door meetings ever held to decide on national issues without involvement of community-based Canadians.

Finally, I only have time to make one recommendation. For the sake of continuity, for the sake of genuine involvement and consultation, I suggest that you recommend to your Premier and cabinet that a less formal, quasi-formal Ontario in Confederation body be set up to continue soliciting the views of Ontarians and other people and to represent the diverse characteristics of this province from the private sector, public sector and the various other multicultural elements of this province. That is the only way we are going to have any significant input. If we do not have that, I am afraid this involvement becomes almost totally meaningless in the sense of substance, the development and implementation of the rebuilding of Canada.

All Ontarians must be involved. That is the bottom line, I believe. The demands and challenges required in nation-building are too important to be left to politicians, to be left to bureaucrats, to be left to lawyers -- although I respect lawyers. My friend behind here is a good lawyer; he is an exception.

I would just like to leave you with one message, and this reflects the cultural aspects of my people. Somebody borrowed it along the way. It simply states: "Do not follow me; I may not lead. Do not try to lead me, for I may not follow. But I want you to walk beside me and be my friend." That way, we will ultimately reach that -- I do not say Utopia -- level of coexistence that will be healthy in this country.

In conclusion, I wish to thank you very much for being part of this. God bless each and every one of you. May your conclusions come to a very beneficial effect for all people. Thank you for hearing me out.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Rickard. There is one question, if you will hold on for a second, but let me just say to you that we are very conscious of the need, as you pointed out, for the discussion to continue. We have never presumed that even with the extensive hearings we have held we would be able to find all of the solutions in this process, and we will be looking at ways in which we can continue the discussion in the weeks and months to come.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think you have many unique aspects to your presentation. First of all, I think you are the only person who has come before us twice. I did not think I would see you again when you said that in Timmins; I thought you were fooling that night.

Second, I think you are the first man who has mentioned that more women need to be involved. If you have been following the hearings, you likely have seen that the native women have been presenting some very poignant briefs to us, some very direct challenges, as you have done this morning. So you within your own communities must be providing some very strong opportunities for leadership, and we have seen that right across the province, whether in Cornwall, Sudbury, Thunder Bay.

I also want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because the native community is the only community that has prayed for us, at least openly, in our presence and have told us they are praying for us. I think that is significant.

I want to say one other thing. When you challenged the select committee to continue, you may remember that in the last Legislature in 1987, a select committee on education was created. That committee became, really, almost a standing committee because its mandate was renewed on four different occasions. I had the privilege of serving on it for the entire time of three and a half years. So that is very possible this time. You are the first person who has suggested that such an event may come again. If you could -- and you must have done some intent thinking -- can you name the first three items you would want to see on the agenda if we ever achieve such a thing as an Ontario in Confederation council?

Mr Rickard: I believe that royal commissions, committees, have a tendency to exist on their own by the fact that it is something unclear in terms of dealing with issues or challenges. My perception of this particular structure would be sort of a sunset involvement on specific matters, for example, how all the special considerations may be molded into a provincial strategy from Ontario in furtherance of the ongoing constitutional discussions. In other words, you would have more than just your cabinet or your party -- I do not know what party you are from; it does not say here.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I am from the Liberal Party.

Mr Rickard: Okay. That you will have a recourse of accessing not only special interest groups but the variety of all the collective groups in this province. Exactly how that would be set up would take me more than I can justly answer.

Mrs. Y. O'Neill: I understand what you are saying.

Mr Rickard: However, if you have any connection at Queen's Park, I would be glad to provide a strategy for you.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: So that would be certainly one of the items on the agenda that you would like us first to consider, how we can continue involvement of people in a real systematic way.

Mr Rickard: Thank you.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I thank you so much for your challenges and for your prayers and thoughtful presentation.


The Chair: I call next from the Ontario Metis and Aboriginal Association, Olaf Bjornaa, Chris Reid and Henry Wetelainen.

Mr Reid: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Chris Reid. I am the self-government co-ordinator for OMAA. On my immediate right is Olaf Bjornaa, OMAA's president, and on my far right is Henry Wetelainen, OMAA's first vice-president. I am going to say a few introductory remarks and turn it over to Olaf, and then I will make a few concluding remarks.

I want to say at the beginning that we were under the impression until we came today that we would have half an hour, and we see on the agenda that we have been asked to speak for only 15 minutes, so we will try to keep within the time frame.

We have left with the clerk a copy of our presentation called OMAA's Forgotten People. We are not going to read from the presentation. We will leave that with you and we will try to highlight the main points in it.

As Olaf will elaborate on in a minute, OMAA is an umbrella organization of off-reserve native communities in Ontario. Our constituents are both Metis and Indian. Some people, in fact, are both, because we do not accept the Indian Act definition of who our people are. A person may be a registered Indian under the Indian Act and nevertheless be a Metis and vice versa.

Our people have existed as self-governing communities since long before Canada and Ontario had a Constitution. That goes as well for our Metis communities as for our Indian communities.

Since roughly the mid-1700s there have been self-governing Metis communities in Ontario. These have been joined over the years by Indians who have been forced off reserves through the effects of the Indian Act, through the denial of status under the Indian Act, and through economic necessity and through the effects of the residential schools.

At this point in our history, there are 250,000 aboriginal people in Ontario. Of these 250,000 about 50,000 live on reserves. Those 50,000 are represented by the band councils registered under the Indian Act. The other 200,000 aboriginal people, of whom about 160,000 are Metis and non-status Indians by self-identification, are not represented by these band councils. In fact, they cannot be because the Indian Act specifically forbids off-reserve Indians and Metis from participating in band politics. Section 77 specifically says that only Indians ordinarily resident on a reserve may run or vote in band elections, so the other 200,000 aboriginal people are not represented by band councils.

Unfortunately, the policy up to today and still today of both the federal government and the government of Ontario is to all but refuse to recognize off-reserve aboriginal peoples. When the provincial government deals with aboriginal affairs, 99% of the time it deals with band councils. This is easy, it is convenient, because the federal government recognizes some constitutional responsibility for dealing with band councils. The federal government unconstitutionally denies its obligation to deliver services for off-reserve aboriginal people or to pay for those services.


The province could respond in one of three ways to that federal government approach, which has been consistent for the last 100 years. One option would be to resist that and try to force the federal government, through whatever means it can, to acknowledge its responsibility to all aboriginal peoples.

A second alternative would be to acknowledge a provincial responsibility, let the feds get away with off-loading their responsibilities and pick up the responsibility for negotiating with off-reserve aboriginal people and delivering quality services to our people.

The third option is to do nothing, to simply use the federal off-loading as an excuse to say: "This matter is too complicated. It is too big. We cannot do anything." Unfortunately that has been Ontario's position and it still is today.

There are many options available to us, but unfortunately, up to now the province has chosen to find ways not to deal with us instead of finding ways to deal with us.

The policy of Ontario, despite all the denials, and the policy of the federal government is still assimilation. Nobody will say that explicitly any more. Nobody will come out and say that the policy is to assimilate aboriginal people into non-aboriginal society, but in practice that is what it is.

You can name any issue, any sector of our society, any sector of government policy, be it justice, child welfare, education, any matter whatsoever, and there is absolutely no place for our people in this society.

There is no recognition of our right to have any role in deciding how our children are educated, no recognition at all of any right to decide how our children are cared for in the children's aid society system, no recognition at all for a role for off-reserve aboriginal people in the justice system. I could go on and on. It is the same in every respect.

Even in Natural Resources, the unique and special relationship of aboriginal peoples to the land is denied in practice. Again, you will not find a politician saying that. They will all say, "No, assimilation is not the policy," but in practice it is.

The results are clear. The Metis language, for example, called Michif, is dead in Ontario. It has been extinct for decades now and it may not be revivable. The Indian languages of off-reserve aboriginal communities are quickly dying.

When we try to address this issue with the Ministry of Education, we are told: "Well, we have pilot projects. We are dealing with some band councils. Maybe when those are finished, we will talk to you." So we cannot even get negotiations going at this point to try to protect and preserve our cultures.

In this respect, again, it is simply a concrete example of the assimilation policies which continue today.

I am going to at this point ask Olaf to tell you a little bit more about OMAA and then I will try to add some suggestions for further work that we can undertake.

Mr Bjornaa: OMAA was founded in 1971 or in 1972. The reason why it was formed was because we know the Constitution of Canada has been a burden to our people. Specifically, we have not been a burden to the Constitution; the Constitution has been a burden to all our people.

Education, jobs, you name it, our economic development, have been taken away from us. What have we got left? So I want you to know around this table here that this Constitution that has been here has been a burden all our people, all our children, and it is still here. Until you realize and straighten this up that we are a distinct people here, we are not leaving. We have been pushed as far as we can be pushed. Now is our time to get up and speak, which we have been doing.

Each time we seem to come out and speak on our rights and stuff, we seem to be called radicals, you name it. We did not take anything from your society. You took from us. You took our children's rights away, adopted them out, took their homeland away from them. You took their native culture away from them. What more can you take away from them?

I really feel if you cannot change this Constitution and look at us as native people, there is nothing here at this table. OMAA has taken form as a united group, a very strong group. We are doers. We went out and accomplished the impossible things that you left us to do. A lot of our children we worked hard to put through school to better them. This Constitution of Canada did not do it for us; we did it.

Our grandchildren: Even yet today I have my grandchildren ask me who they are. What is their culture? I have two cultures. My father was white; my mother was native. What am I going to teach these grandchildren? This Constitution and this government must stop and look and say, "Look, we are not leaving; we are here."

OMAA is broken up into five regions. In the five regions we have presidents, boards of directors, that are out there trying to explain to our children and our grandchildren to come, "There is something here in this land for you."

Welfare cheques we do not want. We have always had pride. All we are asking this government to do is give us our pride. We are not asking to become cultured people. We have been here. This is our culture. They found ways to put out millions of dollars for different cultures. We are here. We are not leaving. If we leave here, what are we going to call home? There is no place for home but here in Canada.

Really, I am very disappointed to talk to my children and my grandchildren and say, "This is Canada, our proud homeland." What have they got to be proud of?

OMAA now has brought some things to our people, some pride. We have worked hard at it, very hard. Every hurdle we have had, we have had to climb a hill. Each time we seem to get to the top of this hill, there is something to push us down: "We are sorry. The Constitution says you cannot do this." "We are sorry. There are not funds here for you." But yet we see big companies that we know are going bankrupt and the government comes in and bails them out for how many millions of dollars.

This child here, if it had a good education, had a good homeland here we could be proud of, then we are doing something here. I could look back and say that I am proud of the government that is here. My mother went to a residential school. The stories she told me were not very good.

I really believe that around this table people sleep good. Every day this Constitution, the way it sits, has been a burden. It has been a burden to me, my children, my grandchildren and theirs to come. Until they can do something to change this and make this thing better, what have we got here?

I could go on here all day, but we have not got the time. Really, 15 minutes is not very much time to talk about your life for your people.

We are here. We are not leaving and we are not a burden on you. That is one thing I want -- around this table here, we are doers and we are going to keep on and we are not leaving.

Perhaps Henry would like to have a few words.

Mr Wetelainen: I guess the point that we are trying to make is that our communities, which are spread across this province, are mixed. We are mixed bloods a lot of us. We are proud of our white heritage, but we are also proud of our native heritage.

We have a unique view of this country. We have a unique view that we were the first ones to respect the other races. We intermarried constantly. Our roots are deeply entrenched with the land and a respect for the land and we think, as caretakers of that land, we shared it with the dominant society. The dominant society has neglected that land and its joint sharing.

What we are trying to say to you is that the communities that we represent definitely want to work in a partnership. We want to sit down and discuss it with you as equals. We want to sit down with the French people and discuss it as equals.

When the referendum in Sault Ste Marie was passed, it hurt us too. It hurt us deeply because we knew that if a society as large as the French community can be put down, so can we. We have known it for years.

Our languages have been destroyed. The federal government has systematically destroyed our culture. One of the proudest moments I have ever had was when we had a traditional powwow back on our reserve and there were Metis and non-status communities. The people who brought the flag of that nation out were non-status living off the reserve. We have kept our culture alive. It is something you cannot take from us.


We have put the challenge forward that we are willing to work. We have a complex problem. As Mr Rickard said before, the process must continue; it cannot be a 15-minute session jammed between a number of other presentations. We are a founding people. We are the people here waiting, and we must work out a process.

Your government has made numerous commitments to us as aboriginal people and we are throwing that challenge back to you now. We have speeches upon speeches of commitments made to our people. We came from a self-government discussion in another building down at the Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre just a few minutes ago, and government of Ontario officials were still standing up there trying to figure out what position they are putting forward today. It was not good to see that. We do not think there is a commitment yet from this government. Your commitment that you give us over the years has not been translated down. We are still talking to those walls. We are not being listened to.

We have put position papers upon position papers in front of your governments, successive governments, the Conservatives before that, the Liberals and now the NDP. We are just asking to be heard; we are asking that you listen to our viewpoints. We cannot tell you in 15 minutes what they are, but those papers are there and those positions are there and we are expecting that we will be treated as equals.

Mr Reid: As you can see by now, we are not proposing any specific amendments to the Canadian Constitution. We do not think that is in fact even necessary; it might be nice. We would be thrilled if Canada and Ontario would simply obey the law as it is now.

The law of Canada now, the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, has a section called section 35. There is a Supreme Court of Canada decision, the Sparrow decision, from last year which dealt with that section. We would be thrilled if Ontario simply understood, even without Canada, to implement section 35 along the lines of the Supreme Court of Canada's reasons in the Sparrow case.

It should shock people that we are by no means certain that will happen at all. There are plenty of court decisions, Supreme Court decisions that are ignored by both governments now which could be implemented. The Canadian government has consistently violated the Constitution even while it talks about one law for all and aboriginal people have to be subject to the same law as everybody else. They conveniently ignore the supreme law of the land, their Constitution.

We have proposed specific ways of doing that, as Henry said. We filed with the clerk this morning, in addition to our paper called Ontario's Forgotten People, a copy of a discussion paper drafted by staff of the Ontario native affairs secretariat. It sets out accurately one of OMAA's proposals for establishing a process to implement our people's right of self-government.

It is very simple. We have proposed a simple, streamlined process called an aboriginal claims commission which would facilitate the negotiation of claims by offers of aboriginal peoples based on their rights. It would he an inexpensive system and we think relatively quick. We are agreeable, for example, to submitting through this system to arbitration. If Ontario was really interested in justice, we think it would as well. Arbitration is only one option. Mediation is another. We prefer negotiations. We have consistently been asking for negotiations, as Henry and Olaf said.

There are several other options available to implement our aboriginal and treaty rights. The Constitution contains many amendment formulas, many ways of implementing amendments which could flesh out or detail what section 35 means. We do not expect the federal government to take the lead in this matter. They have in fact said that they will not. Ontario could. Ontario could call a conference on aboriginal constitutional reform, invite the representatives of aboriginal peoples and invite the other provinces as well. This could lead to an amendment to the Canadian Constitution, if it is felt that is necessary, using the section 38 process.

Alternatively we could investigate an amendment to the Constitution under section 43. This is a constitutional amendment which affects only one province. Using section 43, the federal and the provincial government could do that together with the aboriginal peoples without the other provinces involved. There is no reason why that cannot be done. Ontario could amend its own Constitution under section 35.

We are willing to work under any of these options. As Henry said, we have tabled -- I cannot count the number of options, the number of proposals that we have given Ontario to negotiate with us and up to now all we have got are excuses as to why it cannot be done. We realize that there are difficulties with any negotiations process, but all we are asking for is a genuine commitment to find solutions. As we said, why not submit the outstanding issues that we think are difficulties to an arbitrator? We will agree to that, and start with a mediator, even, if you are not happy, with arbitration; then go to arbitration. We realize there are risks in that for us, but we feel we have got nothing to lose. Up to this point, absolutely nothing has happened but talk.

I do not think we have to say any more than that. We cannot say much more than that without getting into detail on any one specific point. We wanted to give you an overview of our position.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. Let me just say, before we move on to the next group, that as I said earlier, I think we are quite conscious and we do not for a minute presume that we are going to be able to resolve all of the outstanding issues in the short time frame that we have, but I think that you very clearly put before us the main thrusts of what we need to do and, I think, the details we obviously need to pursue and that need to be addressed.

I know that native peoples have received commitment after commitment, and I think we are all conscious of that and we are conscious that it is going to take a lot more than just continuing good words to deal with these problems. Certainly in our hearings across the province we have heard a great deal of support for continuing to deal, or maybe even in some ways beginning to deal, with the issues and the injustices that have been perpetuated against native peoples.

I think that we can take heart that not only native peoples, but non-natives have come before this committee and very clearly said to us that this is an area we need to focus a lot of attention on. I hope that will also assist us all in being able to move to rendering some form of justice there. We obviously know that the discussions need to continue, and as I said earlier we will do our best to ensure that they continue.

Mr Wetelainen: I guess one thing we would like to do is thank the people who have come forward with their support, from the non-aboriginal community. We respect that and we think the support is there and is very strong across this province. We have had a lot of misunderstandings in the past and I think now is the time that we start to sit down and negotiate those things, and we thank them for their support.

The Chair: Absolutely; thank you.

Mr Bjornaa: I think one other thing is that Bob Rae has made some strong commitments towards native people. We are proud to hear that and we want to thank them for at least looking at us and seeing what we can do.

Mr Reid: Thank you, as well, and keep in mind one thing. I notice that Harry Laforme and Kim Fullerton are here from the Indian Commission of Ontario (Aboriginal Peoples), and I suppose they will be talking to you later. I just wanted to be sure that you understand that this is an example of a forum our people do not have access to. It is only the registered bands that have access to any of the existing processes for claims negotiations. What we have proposed is an alternative for our people.

The Chair: Could I call next representatives from the Arab Women's Network? Is there no one here from the Arab Women's Network? All right, we will go on and come back to them. From the Ad Hoc Committee of Women and the Constitution --

Ms McGraw: They are just coming. Could the Indian Commission of Ontario here go ahead of them?

The Chair: Well, I was told to put them down later on, which was why I have skipped over them.

Ms McGraw: Yes, I understand that.

The Chair: I would be quite happy to invite the people from the Indian Commission of Ontario to come forward.

Ms McGraw: I am sorry, but would it be possible just to switch those two?

The Chair: I am sorry. Whom should I be calling next?

Ms McGraw: Perhaps it could be the Indian Commission of Ontario and the Ad Hoc Committee of Women will present after them.

The Chair: That is fine; yes.



The Chair: From the Indian Commission of Ontario (Aboriginal Peoples), Harry LaForme.

Mr LaForme: You have heard about the Indian Commission from Chris Reid, but I also wanted to point out, and it was confirmed by Mr Rickard on his way out, that I was the one lawyer he has respect for. I am happy to deliver that message as well.

The Chair: Mr Harnick and I had to resist that.

Mr Harnick: Are you getting ready to go back into private practice?

Mr LaForme: Maybe. First of all, I would like to introduce Kim Fullerton. He is counsel with the Indian Commission of Ontario, and he kindly agreed to attend here with me and hold my hand.

What I would like to say, first, is that I am here not only to provide you with a little information about the Indian Commission of Ontario -- I intend to do that -- and I do not know whether I can give you any answers to this constitutional dilemma, if I can call it that, but I think what I would like to do is leave you with some things to think about.

As I indicated, I am here as more than just the commissioner of the Indian Commission of Ontario. I am a member of the Mississaugas of New Credit first nation, which is just outside of Brantford, and my father is currently the chief. You may have seen pictures of him on a magazine called Business Journal, and he is quite the celebrity these days. I litigated on behalf of Indian clients for about 10 years on issues like constitutional questions, land claims, hunting and fishing rights, treaty rights, aboriginal rights, all of it, until June 1989, when I was appointed commissioner to the Indian Commission of Ontario.

That commission is set up through joint orders in council from the Canadian and Ontario governments, and I am appointed the same way, through joint orders in council. One of the things we like to tell the participants is that our role is to represent issues that are of common concern to the governments of Canada, Ontario and the aboriginal people, or, more specifically, of first nations in Ontario; "first nations" for the most part is a synonymous term with "bands" as defined by the Indian Act. That is our role. We help identify those issues and help the parties find ways to resolve those issues. As the previous speaker, Mr Reid, indicated to you, that is for the most part a process of mediation, and we like to characterize and function in that capacity, as mediators.

One of the things we do find difficult, however, is the role of the commission as being one of fair and neutral. We like to consider ourselves more fair than neutral. We have at times been accused by representatives of different bureaucracies of being biased, and I suppose we will accept that, that we are in fact biased. The counsel, both Kim Fullerton and Michael Coyle, were asked to join the commission by me for that reason. We are biased, and we are biased towards the issues themselves.

We do not think it is fair, for example, and we do not think the role should be neutral where you identify a problem, where you know what the answer is, and then for various reasons the parties cannot deliver on those answers. If I am unhappy as the commissioner because that cannot happen, or because the parties refuse to allow that to happen, then I accept that I am biased in that sense.

I would also like to point out that one of the things we bend over backwards or is to try to be, through that process, as fair as we can possibly be. We believe our role must be also to make that forum for discussion and resolution an equal playing field. That means that if first nations are at that table and they do not have the ability or the resources to represent themselves the same as government officials who come to the table, then we hope to some extent we can equalize that process.

It is through that process that we see a lot of the problems that are dealt with for the first nations of this country and, more specifically, this province. The current Premier has characterized it -- and I have done so in the past -- as a ping-pong game. We see the jurisdictional hassles that take place over aboriginal people. Classic examples are education, fishing or policing.

The argument goes that policing is a provincial responsibility under section 92 of the Constitution Act. That includes Indian reserves, that includes the province, the administration of justice -- that is what it is characterized as -- and therefore it is a provincial responsibility to provide the answers to inadequate policing in Indian communities. The response from the province at the table is that, no, that deals with Indian reserves, and that is a federal responsibility under section 91, class pf subject 24, so the debate goes on like that on virtually all issues.

It is not an answer, by the way, to say that the ping-pong game is going to stop. That is not the answer, because we have exchanged ping-pong now for tag. What happens now is that the parties come together and say, "If that's the policy of the provincial government" or: "If that's the policy of the federal government, then we're not going to go beyond that. If the federal government can only deliver so many dollars to this program, then we certainly can only deliver the same thing, and if that means building slums that are equal to the slums we have built in the past, then that's what we're going to have to do." That is not an answer. That may not be a ping-pong game any longer, but it is not a game that is acceptable nor is it a game that allows the answers.

There is one answer, in my view, to all of it, which perhaps goes to the constitutional question, and that is to rethink the notion of what aboriginal people in this country are. They are not an ethnic minority in the true sense of the word. They are the first citizens, and they are in fact people this country ought to take a lot of pride in. They ought to give a lot of respect, because if it were not for them this country would not even be here. That respect then translates into these notions of equality and rights.

I am sure it does not come as any surprise to any of you that when you talk about Indians exercising their aboriginal and treaty rights, for example in fishing, it enrages user groups. They say: "Why? Why should they have any greater rights than we do? If we have to get a licence, if we're subject to quotas, then why aren't they?" I understand that there are reasons for quotas -- conservation obviously is the most significant -- but we have to rethink that notion about equality. In other words, equality is not about people wearing the same suits and walking the same streets and speaking the same language and being subject to the same laws. That is not equality; that is automatism. Equality is about respect.

My version of equality, and I have heard other people say the same thing, can take a different approach. What is wrong with equality in the sense of saying every person has the right to preserve his culture and his language? What about that? That is something that should be equal, and in order for that to happen, you see, it means that different groups must be treated differently. The example was used in an article recently that in the case of Quebec, for example, to protect their culture and language they may need to increase immigration into their province; that is the way they might be able to deal with that. For first nations and their reserves, it may be just the opposite:

They may find it necessary to limit immigration into their communities, and that is how they would preserve their culture and their identity. That is what it is about, and the Constitution must reflect that and must allow for that.

We cannot continue the way we are. Quebec will tell you, for example, that it allowed the rest of Canada to deal with the preservation of its culture, its language, its identity as a distinct society, and it did not work. Well, I can tell you that the aboriginal people of this country are in the same situation. For over 200 years they have said the same thing: "We have left it up to the governments of Canada and the provincial governments. It hasn't worked."

The hundreds of languages we had are now down to 52, and they are dying off. Cultural identity in some cases is lost. In my reserve, for example, we do not know what our culture was all about. Our language is dead from our community -- that is a shame -- and it should not be. But that is what that is about. You ask, how does that translate? The notion of self-government, I know, is one that often times almost causes apoplexy in people. It should not, and there is a reason it should not. Because the aboriginal people of this country are not talking about sovereign enclaves -- for the most part they are not -- where they can have tanks and they can have their own armies and their own police forces -- well, certainly police forces. But it is not about sovereignty in that sense of the word. It is not sovereignty in the sense that they do not want to be a part of Canada, and you only need to reflect on the history of this constitutional patriation to understand that.


In 1981, the aboriginal people of this country made a conscious decision to deal with the Constitution and the provisions that went into the Constitution. They assisted in the drafting of section 35. The other option was, "Forget about your Constitution; we don't care what you say about us in your Constitution because we aren't bound by it," but they did not do that. They wanted to partner with Canada. They wanted to be partners in Confederation and they said so in 1982 and they worked hard thereafter for years to take that one step further and entrench the right to self-government in the Constitution. That process failed, but that desire is still there to have self-government entrenched in a Constitution, because it is only in that way it will work.

What we talk about today in terms of self-government under policy requires enabling legislation, for example. That is what the Indian Act is. The Indian Act is enabling legislation for self-government in Indian communities. It does not work. The only way to properly respect and identify the right -- and if this government of Ontario truly believes in the inherent right to self-government of aboriginal peoples it should work towards the entrenchment of that in the Constitution, because that is what it is going to take and nothing short of that is going to suffice. I do not care how attractive self-government negotiated through enabling legislation is. It is still government that is granted and not recognized, and that is important. The Constitution in this country should have as its theme integration of multiculturalism and not assimilation of all peoples. That is what the theme should be.

What is the role of provincial governments in this province? I think it is basically twofold. I just touched upon one, that is, to ensure the entrenchment of aboriginal self-government in the Constitution. I think more fundamentally -- that was touched on by the previous speaker -- there is one other role the province can play; that is, to give true meaning to section 35. Unfortunately, the courts of this country and the Supreme Court of Canada are ahead of the governments in terms of what they interpret the rights of aboriginal people to be, light years ahead. Government and bureaucracies do not seem to be able to catch up. But you can and you must try.

For example, you want to give respect to aboriginal peoples and recognize their rights? Stop arresting them for fishing pursuant to their aboriginal and treaty rights. Appreciate their rights to regulate their own communities, and when they say gaming on an Indian reserve provides an economic base to that community and provides some kind of social activity that is meaningful and has benefits, quit arresting them for having bingo games. I mean, we have to be able to find ways to do that, and that is the way to do it.

If you are going to give true substance, then do it. Do not turn the ping-pong game into a game of tag. That is not the answer. If you really believe in the inherent right to self-government, and if you believe in the respect and true meaning of treaties and aboriginal rights, then you have an opportunity to do something about it, and to do less is shirking your responsibility.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr LaForme, for your presentation.


The Chair: I call next the representatives from the Ad Hoc Committee of Women and the Constitution. Just for the record, it would be useful if you could identify the people who are here before us.

Ms Hill: Certainly. We are the Ad Hoc Committee of Canadian Women and the Constitution. My name is Lynda Hill. To my right is Linda Nye. To her right is Romily Perry. To her right is Shana Wong. To her right is Marion deVries.

Marion and Shana will be reading some statistics over the course of our 15-minute presentation. We have a number of questions that we would like to pose to the panel. We understand that you are operating under some time constraints. We have 15 minutes to do this, so I will keep my eye on the clock. If you could proceed with the first question, Linda.

Ms Nye: Thanks very much, Lynda. It was true for us all during the three years of the Meech struggle and now appears to be true for us again in facing this tremendous challenge of building a new Confederation that what we are offered by our governments are hearings as the only process, or certainly the best process and the first process, and these hearings are government staffed and government scheduled and government controlled. What we want to know is, what alternatives have been considered and are there on the table right now other than these kinds of hearings?

Mr Bisson: You are asking anybody on the committee?

Ms Nye: Anyone.

The Chair: No. I can try to answer if that is the way in which you want to try to do the process. I said earlier today, although you may not have been here, that we recognize that this first stage of our process is only a first stage of a process that we know needs to continue. We recognize that in this first part, even with the extensive consultations and the number of people that we have heard from, we cannot presume that we are going to hear from all of the people in the province who want to be involved in these discussions. We are conscious of that. We do feel that we have been getting at least an initial sounding from the people of the province on the various issues.

We will be looking at structuring the second stage of our work in a way that will allow groups of people to hopefully come together and to talk not only with us but with each other. I cannot be any more specific than that because we have not discussed any of those specifics. But we have talked informally about some process of bringing people together from different constituencies and we are quite conscious of the fact that in the people who have appeared before us, while there have been a number of women, there have been many more men who have appeared before us. Obviously the concerns that women have in this process and in the process of the Meech Lake accord are something that we are aware of, and I think it is something that we will do our best to try to address in the process of the next stage of our work.

As I say, we will be looking at some options, including some conferences or meetings or other ways of bringing people together, but that is as specific as we are able to get at this point.

Ms Nye: Thank you.

Ms Hill: Okay. Next question?

Ms Perry: You did say just now that you were thinking of other ways of dealing with this process and you were going to bring groups together to talk. Well, the idea we are trying to get across is that you are always making those decisions. You are the select committee. If we are going to have a select committee, who do you really think should be selected to sit on that select committee? Should they be representatives, as they are now, from the Legislature or should they perhaps be representatives representing the community?

Ms Churley: What I would like to hear, because I have been grappling with this as one of the female members of the committee -- certainly what was involved in the Meech process -- and what I am hoping to hear from you are some suggestions, and you are getting on to that in terms of your questions, but to suggest to us some ideas for how we can make sure that this process is inclusive and that women are involved as well as aboriginals and the disabled. I am really hoping that you will give me and the rest of the committee some suggestions today as to how we can best do that.

Ms Perry: If you keep asking us questions when we badly need some information from you, we think you should have been asking these questions of yourself a long time ago.

Ms Churley: We are, and we want some suggestions --

The Chair: That is fair enough.


Ms Perry: We have gone through a process ourselves with trying to find out what the women of Canada think about their country and how they would like to participate in it. Last September we started a process whereby we would put together a discussion paper and send it across the country to women and invite them to hold coffee parties, dinner parties, pizza parties in their own homes starting 14 February and answer the questions on the discussion paper and get back to us.

We spent a lot more time than this committee did on preparing for it. We sent out resource materials on limited funds and limited time. We just started. We started on 14 February and it is open. We have not closed the board. They are allowed to get back to us on their time schedule and then we will get on with looking at what they said and go from there.

The Chair: All right. Let me be clear then, and I'm trying very hard not to be defensive about this, that we did not design this process. We are here because we were appointed to be members of this committee.

Ms Perry: Did you question it?

The Chair: We understand that there are flaws in the process that we are embarked upon.

Ms Perry: Do you know how many years we have been hearing this? "There are flaws in the process."

Ms Nye: You have to understand that to be asked under these same circumstances to present again -- maybe we can help you by telling you that what we intended to do this morning was to ask you a series of questions that were the same questions that we were asking ourselves about you during these last two weeks when we have desperately tried to find time to get together to do something. The first question that we asked ourselves was whether we should bother.

We thought, first of all, that what we would do is we would gather up all of the presentations that we have made over the last four years -- no, make that since 1980, and we would say: "If you want to know what women think, here. Read them and this time pay some attention."

The second thing we thought of doing was dressing up in men's clothing. That is how frustrated we were feeling.

The third thing we thought of doing was dressing up in women's clothing from the various decades and telling you our stories from 1867, when the Fathers of Confederation put Confederation together without us, and then telling you the stories of women after the First World War, after the Second World War and telling you the stories of women right up to 1987, when we were handed a document that introduced to us the modern Fathers of Confederation. And those are not our words; those were the words of the 11 men who did it once again without us.

Now here we come into 1991, and what we believed very strongly after the Meech Lake amendment process divided us so badly -- and we do lay the process that divided us so badly squarely at the feet of a government. What we believed was necessary was that people, women and men, had to begin to talk, begin the discussion, of what kind of Canada we wanted today. We had to even put the Constitution and the charter aside for a moment and we had to talk. So we decided that for women, that is what we would do. We would try, as the ad hoc committee, to be a catalyst and we began that on Equality Eve.

Now, on Friday 1 February I received by courier a document from the Ontario government, from this committee, that said it was a discussion paper. And when I received this document, I also received with it the news that the hearings would start on Monday and my reply was, "And do they end Tuesday or Wednesday?"

In the middle of that, of course, we were up to our ears in making Equality Eve happen, so we could not even address any of this until after 14 February. So we have had less than two weeks to try and pull women together who even just belong to the very active part of the ad hoc committee and forget any other women, and most of those women could not make it to the very few meetings that we tried to call. We have just gone through a very painful and stressful process over the last two weeks, because it is all the same to us. What the women on either end of this group are going to be doing and have been doing is reading to you the statistics of our lives, because they are the realities of our lives. And now what we are feeling and seeing is that even this new Confederation is going to be done without us.

When I read that discussion paper, do you know how hard I had to search to find anything on women, about women's lives? I believe there is one line. Do you know how that feels after all of this time, when all you are asking for is a chance to be part of it, a chance to create that future that belongs to you too?

We came before the Beer commission and we said to all those people, "You are the members of the Legislature; we are not." It is not enough to us to say to us that this is not your process; you are only doing your jobs. You know?

The Chair: That is not what I was saying, but I will comment more on that later.

Ms Nye: We need you to stand up and say no, and one of our questions to you then is around your discussion paper. Why do you prepare a discussion paper, first of all, without us, as it appears to have been done? Second of all, why do you give us no time to discuss it before you want to hear from us?

The Chair: Again I think we could get into a long back and forth about some of these things, but just to clarify -- and I realize that anything that even explains this might sound again like it is being defensive -- the discussion paper was not prepared by the committee members. The discussion paper was prepared by the government. We again all realize the problems --

Ms Nye: I am sorry. What does that mean, "by the government"?

The Chair: It means that this is a committee of the Legislature. It obviously is made up of government members and opposition members. The committee itself did not set up the discussion paper. That is not to say that we agree or disagree with the content of it and the process, but just for the record, that maybe needs to be clarified.

We realize again that there are problems in terms of that there was not much time between the time that the paper was available and the time that people had to start speaking to us, but I think we just want to underline again that we do not see this process of this month of hearings as being the only opportunity that we are going to give or that the people of the province are going to have to address this issue.

Ms Nye: Do you even see that you are the people who should come up with the process?

The Chair: No, and I was trying to get to saying that in fact we do not see that we are the only ones who are coming up with the process. In fact one of the things that we have been picking up as we have been going along have been some very clear wishes and some very clear expressions of a different process that should be put in place.

Ms Nye: And have you read the reports of the past constitutional hearings?

The Chair: I have read some of those reports --

Ms Nye: And their recommendations on process?

The Chair: The committee members have access to those reports, and I think that we felt that it was important initially to give people across the province an opportunity to talk to us. I should say that this committee has done a more extensive canvassing of people's opinions than has ever been done before, so we are making some progress in that.

But we are the first to acknowledge that there is a lot more that needs to be done. We have had, I think for the first time as a committee of the Legislature, people who have been working with us do some outreach into the various constituencies, including women's groups, to ensure that more and more people from the different constituencies that make up Ontario actually did come before us and speak to us.

Ms Nye: Those people were appointed one week before your hearings started.

The Chair: Yes.

Ms Nye: Do you know how much time it takes to even reach groups?

The Chair: I understand that, and what I am saying is that we are not disagreeing with your criticism of us on that. All right?

Ms Nye: But why did you agree to this process then, when you cannot get from us anything but --

The Chair: For two reasons: One, because things are happening across the country and we need to begin to deal with those realities, and second, because we saw this, as I have been saying and saying again, as one part of an ongoing process.

As I say, without trying to sound defensive, we accept the criticism that you have put before us and that other people have put before us -- other women and other men, in fact; men from various other constituencies as well -- and we know that a different and more enlarged process needs to be put in place. What we would like from you, quite frankly, is your advice about how we can do that more effectively.


Ms Perry: Our questions that we were going to just read to you were definitely, hopefully, going to put some ideas into your heads about how the process should happen and take place. First of all, we do not believe it should be a select committee of members of Parliament or members of the Legislature; it should be people who represent their community. Part of the reason we have come to this way of thinking is that we have been through a number of these hearings and we have seen what happens. Basically you are responsible to your Legislature; you are not responsible to the people. You may represent your individual ridings, but you do not represent the people of the province.

There are no native people in your party. Therefore, there are no native people sitting on the committee that is supposed to be talking about their issues. You cannot understand the community unless you have the community talking to itself. The community has to come up with the rules for the process and the discussion paper in itself. We know what questions to ask our own community, our women's community, because we live those lives and we know what is top of our agenda.

Getting to agendas, one of the most frustrating things for us on this level too is this time commitment that is plugged in all the time. We went through this with the last hearings. The time was so short. Then what happened? The reports were just sort of shelved and left on their own. Now you have another committee and it has to happen this way. Whose clock are we working by? Since when did the dismantling and reputting together of Canada take place in a matter of months, within a year? How are people going to feel a sense of ownership of their country, of their Constitution, of their Charter of Rights, unless they understand the fundamental principles behind all of this? How are they going to feel ownership if they have not been able to participate in the building process?

Ms Nye: We know that for many of you anyway this is your first hearing, and not for some of us in a long list, and we do believe that you would like to do something useful. What we do not believe is that you understand the situation for community groups even when you are asking us to help, to be part of the process, to give you some information.

To call hearings and set up outreach people within a very short period of time and to have very little in the way of resources is to really show a great deal of disrespect to those of us in the community who are trying, in the time that we have left over from some other things in our lives that we would like to do, to come together and to participate. For women this is extremely difficult because we are not yet a very great percentage of the legislatures or even the bureaucracy, and certainly not of any of the decision-making and policymaking bodies.

When it comes time to do something like this, build a new Confederation, we do not want to have to spend time coming together to be enraged about this process and enraged that we are not given enough time and enraged that we are not given enough process and enraged that we are not even consulted about the process.

We want to come together in the little time that we can make available to each other to talk first of all among each other, and then among the broader community. We are doing that but you have to understand -- I know it must not be the most pleasant of tasks to be on the defensive, but we really do believe that there is not much defence for this after all this time, that in fact there really is no defence for a government that gives people a discussion paper and no time to discuss it.

Most of the women's groups received the discussion paper after you started the hearings. You started up north. I do not know what chance those people had of getting the paper, getting together, so what you hear from is not even the groups. You hear from, as we introduced ourselves, a select committee of the ad hoc committee. We have not had time to reach out to our members, even those just within Ontario.

What can we give you today besides our frustration, our pain, and somehow one more attempt to say: "Will you please hear us? Will you, as members of the Legislature, not take part? Will you stop this? Will you say, `Listen, it's a good idea that we start to wander around the province and listen to Ontarians, but it's not a good idea to do it this fast and this quickly?"' It is a good idea for Ontarians to come together and talk, and it is a good idea for the government to give them the resources they need to do it. It is a good idea for Ontarians to think about Ontario and Canada and what this new Confederation should look like or could look like, but it is going to take a while.

It takes longer than rent control, but do we see it given longer than rent control issues? It takes longer than anything, I would think, because it is bigger than anything else. We are at the point, unfortunately and sadly, that we are more divided than ever. Our assumption is it is going to take longer and that what builds community is what is needed, and rushing us and stressing us and angering us and not giving us a chance to do what we need to do and not giving us the support that we need in order to do it, is not the way.

We know the kind of money that has gone into this committee and we say, "Well, you know, I mean, what can we do?" We also thought of just coming in with all our pile of briefs and dusting them off and saying, "We'll just read them to you because we have not changed our minds."

We cannot give you some of the things that women are thinking about with this new Confederation because we have just started. What we can ask is that if you have a 21 March report, and I do not know how you are going to do a decent report in 20 days, I do not know how you are going -- who is going to write this? What will it say and who will decide what it says? How much time do you actually have to write it when you have to translate it? We have the same questions about your report as we did about the discussion paper. How many languages are enough? Are English and French enough?

Ms Perry: Is print enough?

Ms Nye: Is print enough? One of our active members is Liz Stimpson, blind, she was called a week after the hearings began. She had to pull out all stops in order to get 15 minutes with you tomorrow morning and believe me, if you think we are a little put off, you ain't seen nothing yet.

She had to ask that it be sent to her on tape. It was not ready on tape. She knows that what somebody had to do was run off in a corner and read it into a tape machine and send her a tape very quickly. That does not do for people who need it in other forms, other than print and tape, and these are Ontario citizens. We are all Ontario citizens and women are half of every group you can name. So we have double jeopardy and double needs, in that sense, and sometimes triple and quadruple.

This report: Can you by 21 March have it out in all of those forms? Can you have it vetted by the community? Or will it in fact be the only thing that we think you can do, and that is to stand up and say, "What Ontarians have told us is that this is not the way to go about it, that the deadline is not the deadline, that we have to open up a process that takes as long as we need, that if it takes two years" -- and surely corporations make two-year plans; surely a country can make a two-year plan and take the time to build a process that is inclusive and democratic rather than this one that we find is exclusive because we cannot find the time and the resources we need, and we are not given the time and resources we need to participate.

Ms Perry: We do not have faith in these committees any more either.

Ms Nye: We could not get some women to participate. We called the Ad Hoc Coalition of Visible Minority and Multicultural Associations, the women's groups in there, and they just said, "Why?"

Ms Perry: That is my point.

Ms Nye: "Besides," they said, "we can't do this. You've got two weeks, forget it." They did not know that the committee hearings were on. They did not know they had already started and they sure were not happy to hear when you were finishing and they would not participate with us. What you do even by this process is you break down community and we believe that building a country has to do with building a community, the same as we believe that Constitution-writing and charter-writing is building community. We want to build it with you, but you are not giving us what we need and you are not standing up and saying no to something that is worse than neutral.

Ms Wong: [Remarks in Chinese]

Ms Perry: I have to go and pick up my children. They have been waiting outside the school for a while now. Thank you.

The Chair: Okay; thank you very much.

Ms Nye: Shana, why do you not make your statement?

Ms Wong: I have been reading some statistics in my mother tongue. If you feel angry or frustrated because you did not understand what I was trying to say, maybe you will understand the people who are left out of this consultation process because of language or other restrictions.

Ms deVries: I have been reading statistics too, although not as many as I wanted to. I was sort of giving you historical statistics, the point of which is that things have not changed very much in the last 100 years for women in this country, and for minorities. They have changed a little bit, but it is happening too slowly and we think that by opening up the process and by giving people the opportunity to talk to each other, maybe in community weekend conferences -- I think Linda is going to talk about her idea of the people's commission, rather than the politicians' commission. Give us the resources, give us the money, give us the computers we need and that type of thing, so statistics, you have seen them all before, read them again if you need an extra jolt, but let's get down to work.

Ms Nye: In fact, Moira Armour and Pat Stanton, who created this incredible chronology of statistics, Canadian Women in History, have asked us to leave a copy with you. They are also available at the Toronto Women's Book Store for $25, but she made me promise that I would not ask you for the first $25, so it is a gift from us so that you will have it in your resources. We will, as quickly as we can, write out for you these questions that we have for you that we would like asked before things start, rather than after.

We will give you copies of our presentations to the other commissions so that you can see what, at least to that point in time, many of us were thinking and believing, but this is a new question and we have had an incredible life of statistics. I do not know whether you believe this, but it is really not fun to have to come and rant and rave. We would really like to be invited to participate. We are not prepared to let the future be designed without us.

We look at the statistics, even of building this country, and we go from 1867 right to this year and we are saying that we have to be much more creative and open and there has to be much more discussion and dialogue, and that more of that has to be put into the hands of the community, with the support of the government, so that we are working with you. I leave you with it.

The Chair: Could I check to see if our last presenters are here, l'Association des centres pour aînés de l'Ontario? It has been indicated that they may not be here this morning. All right, that concludes then our morning session. We will recess till 2:15. The first group for this afternoon has asked to be put at the end of the afternoon session so we will be able to come back at 2:15, but we would like to try to start as promptly as we can please.

The committee recessed at 1255.

The committee resumed at 1426.

The Chair: I call the meeting to order. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We are pleased to resume our hearings this afternoon from the Legislative Building here in Toronto. This is the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, and we have a full day of hearings today, this evening and tomorrow as well, to conclude our hearings on Ontario in Confederation.


The Chair: We are going to start without any further delay. I call Science for Peace to come forward. I will just remind groups presenting of the time restraints we are working under and the 15 minutes we have allotted for each group.

Dr Valleau: Thank you for the opportunity to appear. Science for Peace is a nationwide organization of physical and social scientists dedicated to ensuring that scientific methods be applied to bettering the lot of people and not to waging war. Founded 10 years ago, Science for Peace does research and attempts to inform the government and the public on a broad range of issues involving world and national security, disarmament and environmental degradation, where our professional expertise allows us to make a contribution.

We want to raise with you a couple of constitutional considerations bearing on the threats of war. This may seem somehow slightly peripheral to what is naturally at the core of your deliberations, namely, the relationship of Quebec to the rest of the country. However, now, when Canada is re-examining its constitutional structure, is presumably the moment to raise our questions. Nor are they irrelevant to the central Québécois problems, as memories of the two great conscription crises will confirm, for they form part of the compact which defines us as Canadians.

The Gulf war has highlighted some of these issues and recalled some basic legal and moral problems which we want to raise with you now. I will discuss one of them and Professor Eric Fawcett, our executive vice-president, will add a few words afterwards.

What I want to mention is the way we decide to go to war. No other national decision is more grave, as it concerns the death and suffering of both Canadians and others, and also irrevocably alters Canada's relations with the other nations of the world. Indeed, if the world is long to survive, war must very quickly be rejected as a means of conflict resolution.

Yet we have the situation that the government can make the decision to go to war unilaterally without so much as securing the approval of Parliament beforehand. This is surprising to most Canadians and disturbing. There seems to be a requirement that Parliament ratify a formal declaration of war after the fact, but we have recently seen how unrealistic that is as a safeguard once Canadian forces personnel have been committed. The decision to wage war is far too serious to be treated in this offhand manner. It may be recalled that the role of the Canadian forces in the

Gulf was initially only in support of the UN trade blockade of Iraq, but was gradually transformed into the bombing of innocent victims. Yet for many months the government refused even a parliamentary debate on the subject.

The conditions under which Canada might wage war should, in our opinion, be spelled out carefully in the Constitution. At a very minimum, Parliament should have to declare a war before Canadian troops are deployed for action outside our borders. A broader debate on this subject is desirable, however. Is a parliamentary decision adequate, in fact? The war decision is so grave that greater safeguards should perhaps be considered. It is grave in two important ways.

First, the decision is really, especially with modern weaponry, that of burning people alive, of people dying in agony, of bloody, mangled children and dead mothers. It is also a decision to risk disastrous damage to the ecosystem on which our future health and even existence depend. This is the moral dimension of the decision. It demands the most careful and considered balancing of these horrors against their supposed benefits before the choice of war should be made.

Second, some decisions are political in the sense that the resulting policies, if we do not like them, can presently be reversed by a new government or even by the old one. Once the nation has gone to war, however, its status in the world is permanently altered in a way we cannot afterwards choose to reverse. The ground rules under which we operate have thereby been changed. In this respect the war decision is itself like a constitutional change. Perhaps, as for constitutional amendments, greater safeguards and parliamentary decision are needed to safeguard our future and the life and safety of our citizens and of others.

As we say, a wide-ranging public debate on these questions is long overdue. Our brief draws attention to a number of associated questions, including one very basic one:

Would Canadians favour a constitutional requirement which forbade Canada from sending armed forces outside our own boundaries, except perhaps under a unified UN command for peacekeeping purposes? The nations of Germany and Japan have such requirements in their constitution, and it is pretty clear that it does not reduce their security and enhances the security of the rest of us. There are two other aspects of this not addressed in our brief that I would like to raise briefly. One concerns Canada's association with such collective security arrangements as the North American Air Defence Command and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. As presently constituted, they represent a quite extraordinary surrender of our national sovereignty, for it is clear that Canada could be committed to war without even so much as the government's approval. This interpretation is confirmed by the events of the Cuban missile crisis, for example, in which Canada's forces were mobilized into action against the wishes of the Prime Minister and before any decision by the Minister of National Defence. Express constitutional safeguards are required against such a surrender of sovereignty in so important a matter in time of peace.

A second matter concerns internal security. Most of the country was dismayed to see at Oka last September that our army mobilized against our own citizens, apparently on the simple request of a provincial government, in what was essentially a matter of policing. The potential for repression is all too obvious. The decision to use military forces for internal operations, like that to wage war, needs to be brought under strict and more restrictive constitutional safeguards.

Dr Fawcett: I should like now to discuss another related matter which is also of concern to Science for Peace, that of conscientious objection to taking part in violence. It appears that the right to such status should already be ensured under section 2(a) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteeing freedom of conscience. However, the area still appears somewhat grey, especially with respect to members of the armed forces.

I refer you to the appendix on the last page of our brief, which is an article by Michael Valpy in the Tuesday 29 January Globe and Mail based on the research of Toronto lawyer Marlys Edwardh:

"Members of the Canadian Forces cannot avoid going to war by claiming conscientious-objector status... .The Criminal Code imposes penalties of imprisonment for anyone who assists deserters or people absent without leave from the military, or who in any way advises, counsels or seduces members of the armed forces to refuse duty... .Counselling or advising, moreover, includes the actions of anyone who `publishes, edits, issues, circulates or distributes a writing' urging members of the armed forces to refuse duty or to be insubordinate or disloyal.

"It requires no political acumen to predict that eventually some group opposed to war will publish a pamphlet or leaflet urging members of the armed forces" -- for example -- "to refuse duty in the Persian Gulf."

It is perfectly conceivable that a young woman or man would be willing to join our forces with a view to defending Canada's shores but find it morally unacceptable to be sent overseas to kill innocent people for a cause that she or he considers insufficient or entirely inappropriate. The soldier needs to be accorded respect for that opinion and the possibility to refuse regarding such a role. This protection needs to be guaranteed. So does the assurance that in the event of conscription no conscripted person be required to carry out duties which she or he finds morally unacceptable. The question may be raised about the viability of the traditional army under such guarantees. So it should be.

There is a further legal and ethical problem lurking here. Under the legal apparatus that we all accepted for the Nuremberg war crimes tribunals, each person became liable for the legality and moral acceptability of his or her personal actions, whatever the orders he or she might receive. In the light of this, it seems doubtful that citizens can be asked to carry out orders they may find objectionable. There are difficult legal problems here on which legal advice is required and which we have not yet adequately researched. The legality of traditional military discipline appears to us to be in serious question, however. We thank the committee for its attention.

Mr Winninger: I will direct the first question to Professor Valleau. I must commend the work you do on behalf of Science for Peace. I would ask this question, however. Much of the modern weaponry being used is a product of scientific and engineering research. Many scientists work on research contracts with the US Department of Defence and Canadian ministry of defence, in university and other environments. I am just wondering how your profession is coming to grips with that conflict within the profession. On the one hand, people like you are moving towards peaceful conflict resolutions, whereas others are actually engaged in research that enhances our ability to conduct warfare and take lives on a massive scale.

Dr Valleau: I am completely in sympathy with your question. Of course, it is a big issue within the scientific community, one that is remarkably hard to come to grips with. For one thing, the records are not very available to us for most of the contracts you mention and it requires tremendous effort to ferret them out, as we try to do.

Some things we have done: We have addressed the local universities with respect to their policy on such matters, with a mixed reception, but at least we have written assurances that both York University and the University of Toronto and some other Canadian universities will not allow members of their faculties to accept contracts for which it is possible to classify the results of the research. I hope that is indeed being implemented as well as assured.

There was also attempt by the ministry of supply and services to force people who had Canadian government contracts to pass security checks a few years ago. As a result of vigorous lobbying in the university, the University of Toronto rejected that successfully; the government simply backed down. But I guess this is a question of ongoing surveillance and the attempt to gradually shift the attitudes of both government and the profession.

Dr Fawcett: I might add that our president is Professor David Parnas, computer scientist at Queen's University. He is a celebrated computer scientist, and one might say he is notorious also as having resigned from the highest-level battle planning committee of computers in SDI, the strategic defence initiative. The reason he resigned was not because he had moral objections to working for weapons systems but the moral status of the committee of which he was a member. He maintained -- and subsequent developments in SDI have shown and vindicated that belief -- that every member of that committee knew that SDI would never work, the computer systems could never be developed. Furthermore, he still maintains that he does not object in principle to working on weapons systems; it is the manner in which the whole military-industrial complex is manipulated, and its ends are often at variance with those of the country. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We will move on to the next group.



The Chair: I call next the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto.

Dr Doyle: My name is Robert Doyle; I am senior program director of the social planning council. With me is Susan Zytaruk, a board member and chair of a committee called greater Toronto area in transition. I will start out by making some comments and then Susan will pick it up and we will throw the ball back and forth.

First of all, we want to say that the Social Planning Council of Metro Toronto is a social planning body supported by the United Way and by Metro council. We are governed by a committee of 40 members from the community and we work from a Metro base to address social policy issues affecting Metro.

In social policy it is important to look at principles, to look at objectives, and to look at the effects of all policies, whether they are economic or environmental as well as social. Social policy has to do with equity, it has to do with distribution and redistribution of social benefits, and also compensating people for changes, that is, compensating victims, you might say, for changes which are wrought by various other policies. We see social policy as including economic and social objectives, and social policy deals with the welfare of all citizens. It does not just deal with the poor but with the welfare of all citizens, so we do not want to talk simply in the sense of welfare or social assistance but the welfare of the community.

I want to comment on a couple of areas, one of which I would call common purpose. Second, Susan is going to talk about the impact of social and economic policies, including some of the recent announcements such as the federal policy yesterday, and also multiculturalism.

First, on common purpose: What is the nature of government's responsibility to promote social justice and equity? Why do we have governments? St Augustine said that governments without justice are nothing but bands of thieves. Confederation is not simply a legal document or an agreement among governments, as we saw by the discussions around Meech Lake. And as the Citizens' Forum on Canada's Future is now hearing, Canadians do not simply see Canada in terms of structures, but of common bonds, traditions and purpose. We are concerned in the social planning council, as a citizens' organization, that this sense of purpose is being lost in Canada by decisions of various governments, especially the federal government.

What common purpose is there when our national standards and our national programs and institutions are being gutted and dismantled, when national standards are being eroded? What national purpose is there when the federal government simply shifts its financial burden to the provinces? We need to recognize that a social contract exists between people and governments in Canada and that many people insist that this social contract be honoured and maintained. Ontario must continue to take leadership in maintaining some semblance of national purpose and to engage other provinces and the federal government in maintaining some degree of national programs and standards.

Ms Zytaruk: The political union of this country is inextricably linked to the economic and social wellbeing of its citizens. This unity is fuelled by inequities in the wellbeing of individuals and communities. Increasing economic and social disparities across the land are creating discouragement, dissension and even despair.

The current federal government policies are tearing away at the social fabric of this country and are actively promoting conflicting regionalism. When the people are no longer well-served by one level of government, they, in true free-market fashion, go shopping for another, and there is a risk of this country eroding into five mini-states: the Yukon and Northwest Territories, the western and prairie provinces, Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces. The only national peoples will be the first peoples, and their survival in a broken-down country is questionable.

None of these mini-states will be able to maintain the economic, political and social status of Canada as we know it today. We in Ontario probably have the best chance of surviving as an autonomous entity and therefore must provide leadership to ensure that Canada survives this constitutional crisis in a way that recognizes cultural and linguistic differences without further undermining the economic and social wellbeing of its citizens, particularly its vulnerable citizens.

Further, decentralization, as is being promoted by Bill C-69 and by the latest federal budget, undermines our essential services. Universal medicare, unemployment insurance, pensions, post-secondary education, social housing, child care, family benefits are all being eroded by the federal government's economic and social policies.

We look to this provincial government to provide leadership at this difficult time by responding to the needs of its citizens, by encouraging the other provinces to do likewise and by mobilizing provincial support to bring pressure on the federal government to stop the dismantling of the land.

We recognize the economic stress the province is under, but we ask you not to pass the brunt of this economic stress on to families and communities that are already having difficulty coping. The decision announced by the Minister of Community and Social Services yesterday that the SARC reforms will be delayed as a result of curbs on federal contributions are truly regrettable. The SARC report has well documented the inequities of the current system and these inequities are only being heightened as more and more people become dependent on the community for support and are then condemned to living in poverty.

The municipalities are reeling under the impact of trying to pay for 20% of the cost of general welfare benefits. Intolerable and unacceptable choices among vulnerable groups are being made. Yesterday the commissioner of social services in the region of Peel announced that funding for social assistance budgets would be taken from funds for child care and services for seniors because these are not mandated services. The most vulnerable members of our society, the elderly and children, are being expected to carry the load of inadequate economic and social policies.

This seems to be how truly the trickle-down theory of neoconservative economic policies really work.

Here in Toronto, the food banks are seeing more and more unemployed and working-poor families lining up for rations, and apparently now for a family, for three days, it is two eggs and two cups of powdered skim milk.

We urge this government not to forgo its goal of eliminating food banks. We urge you to follow through on your planned reform of the social assistance system. We urge you to initiate economic reform, with labour market policies that promote employment. People in this country want to work. Job training programs, child care subsidies and community development programs are key components of such employment strategies.

We urge you to provide leadership to your colleagues in the other provinces to support national standards in the field of health and social services. In response to the federal budget, the Quebec health and social services minister announced that he has resolved to fight for exclusive provincial power in the field of health and social services and is calling on the other provinces to do likewise. We are very concerned that without national standards and given the growing disparities in the capacity of provinces to adequately fund services, that the quality, accessibility and availability of health and social services will be seriously diminished and will vary drastically across the country.

Our universal programs have been a unifying force and their loss will acutely aggravate the existence of have and have-not regions and accelerate the balkanization of this country. Having been rejected by one nation, marginalized regions will be vulnerable to takeover by another. As this federal government pursues social and economic policies to adhere to the same level playing field with our American neighbour, it will soon find that fewer and fewer shirts of the players in that field are sporting the maple leaf.

A strong, vibrant and unified country depends on strong, vibrant individuals and communities supported by a safety net of social supports. Ontario must seek to provide those supports for its citizens and bring pressure on the other provinces and the federal government to do likewise.

Dr Doyle: I just want to make some comments about multiculturalism. As we know, Canada and Ontario certainly are multicultural societies, and Canada has a good legislative and policy framework for multiculturalism. We have the Charter of Rights, we have a multiculturalism act that many other countries are very interested in. Canada has a multicultural program. Ontario has a multicultural strategy. The problem is, however, that neither the program nor the strategy is a program or strategy. They are really a set of unco-ordinated and sometimes ineffective projects and initiatives.

Confederation, in our mind, will not be a living reality unless citizens feel that they are allowed to make a contribution to the community and to be given an opportunity to become genuinely involved in its life. People, we think, and people whom we talk to from various cultural and racial communities, are not willing to accept any more hollow programs and strategies that have no significant impact on their lives.

I had the fortune of being in Australia last year, and the double fortune of being there during the Canadian winter for four months at the office of multicultural affairs in the department of the Prime Minister, and I was able to look at a number of initiatives that were happening across the country. One of the things that I thought was quite interesting is that multiculturalism in Australia is being promoted in terms of three interrelated goals. One has to do with social justice, another has to do with economic development and a third has to do with cultural factors. So multiculturalism as a program and as a policy has then three goals, which are economic, cultural and justice.


Also, they have a federal national strategy on access and equity and a federal strategy that is linked into what the states are doing in terms of access and equity, and at each departmental level, departments have to produce plans about what they are going to do in terms of multiculturalism for the year. These plans are published so that they are openly available to people in communities, so people are aware of what is planned. They can monitor them, they can evaluate what is being done and they can continually advocate with government what should be done in terms of multiculturalism and making it a reality in their lives.

Unfortunately, in Canada this is not done. We do not have any real public accounting, we do not have any planning beforehand and we do not have any openness in terms of the system. So what we propose in terms of making multiculturalism a reality in this province and in Canada is that some of the ideas that are being developed in other places perhaps can inform us in making, you know, better programs and policies in the future.

We will just stop there at this point.

The Chair: Thank you very much for the presentation. Questions? Mr Beer.

Mr Beer: Thank you very much for your presentation. You are the second group today that has talked about the erosion of the federal involvement in the broad range of social and health programs and clearly one of the concerns there is the implication of that, as you say, for national standards. In a sense, it is like amending the Constitution, except in a different way. I am wondering, do you see any sense among other councils such as your own, the Ontario council, those in other provinces, that there is a coming together, a kind of lobby that would be able to develop to really raise this to a much higher level of consciousness with the general public? I think we tend to look at budgets, and we know they affect us, but we do not see them necessarily reaching as far as some of the changes in the last couple of years, which really do hit at the ability of the federal government to have a role in national standards, whether we are talking the post-secondary level or in health care or in social services. I am just wondering what you see from your perspective, both where Ontario should be going and what kinds of things you and your colleagues can do to try to change the direction.

Dr Doyle: Well, just in relation to Bill C-69, which Susan mentioned, which was the bill to limit the increases to Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta around these programs, there was a lobby that was organized by five national organizations, including the Canadian Council on Social Development, the Vanier Institute of the Family and the Canadian Council on Children and Youth and others to do that, and it was through those connections that we became also involved in work around Bill C-69. So there is kind of a loose, in one sense, national network to do that.

In Ontario we do not have the same -- well, we have a number of social planning bodies across the province, but a lot of these social planning councils are not staffed. They are not in a very good financial position. They have not been supported financially and they are not receiving provincial funding. So one of the things that we would want to encourage is that -- and perhaps I will take this as an opportunity to do so for my colleagues -- we want to have discussions with the province around developments, around making the kind of councils which we are, as community councils, stronger in terms of communities to be able to do that kind of lobbying.

Ms Zytaruk: I think there is increasing coalition-building among disparate groups, beyond just trying to respond to the tremendous inequities they are experiencing. I think one of the best public education tools has been the food banks. People see the people lined up at food banks and are seeing their neighbours, so there is this increasing awareness that things are not okay. There is that increasing awareness and need that the government needs to intervene, that the free market is not doing what people propose it can do.

The Chair: Okay, thanks very much. We will end there.

The next group is the Toronto Injured Workers' Advocacy Group.


Mr McKinnon: My name is John McKinnon. I work with a community legal clinic, Injured Workers' Consultants. I am here today on behalf of the Toronto Injured Workers' Advocacy Group, which is a group of legal workers from the community legal clinics in the Toronto area who work on workers' compensation cases.

Also with me today from the legal clinic system is Airissa Gemma, who is a community legal worker with the Industrial Accident Victims' Group of Ontario, and Karl Crevar, the chairman of the steering committee for the Ontario Network of Injured Workers' Groups, an umbrella group of injured workers' organizations from across the province.

Mr Chairman, I would like to thank you very much for agreeing to hear from us today. When I called yesterday to confirm, I was quite surprised to find out that I had apparently already called to back out of the presentation. But as you can see, that is not the case and we are pleased that you are going to hear from us. Our presentation will not take too long. We can complete our submission in 10 minutes and if there are any questions, that is fine.

We are pleased that the committee is taking a broad view of the constitutional issues and is prepared to consider the views of all people. Today we want to deal with one issue which from your perspective I am sure is a very narrow one on the constitutional scene, but we would like to talk to you about the way that we treat people with disabilities. Specifically, we would like to talk to you about the way that we treat people with workplace disabilities.

Now this, in terms of the issues that you have before you, relates to the values that we share as Canadians and to the roles that the provincial and federal governments should play. We work with a group of people, like other minority groups, who have not been treated with the respect that they necessarily deserve. Much of Canada that we know was built by the hands of workers from many cultures and in the course of building the roads and the railways and the subways and the mines and the buildings, the factories, many workers were injured, many of them seriously. Many of them will never get back to work again and many of these injured workers are compelled to live in poverty. Canada has not treated these injured workers well.

As Canadians, we think that it is well established that we have a social responsibility for the disabled, and through the establishment of provincial workers' compensations boards, we have acknowledged a special responsibility of employers for people who are injured in the course of their employment. Federally, we have established disability benefits under the Canada pension plan, but in creating this so-called safety net, we have left gaps so large that great injustices often result.


We want this committee to be aware that the federal and provincial systems are not well co-ordinated and this is a particular problem for injured workers. Furthermore, we want the committee to be aware that there is no legal consensus about non-discrimination on the basis of work-related disabilities. Provincially, in the Ontario Human Rights Code, we find that "handicap" is defined to include a disability resulting from a workplace injury and covered by workers' compensation. The federal human rights code and the Charter of Rights are not so clear. In addition to this, we are finding that federal employers whose workers are covered by the provincial workers' compensation boards are now taking the position that improvements in workers' compensation coverage such as the re-employment provisions in the current Workers' Compensation Act are not applicable to the workers of federal employers. We would like to see a consistent federal and provincial approach to people with disabilities, and specifically to people with work-related disabilities, and we would like to see provincial workers' compensation coverage for all the workers who are employed in this province.

We would like to comment on a couple of specific problems, something which you may not be aware of. The Canada pension plan discriminates against the disabled. Other benefits under the Canada pension plan are available any time after the contributor has qualified, but disability benefits have to be applied for within roughly five years of ceasing to work, or you lose them. That is not the case with, say, the death benefits or survivors' benefits. If your spouse was to die tomorrow, or yourself, and your spouse was not aware of the benefits, they can be applied for 10 years down the road, or whenever. Once you have qualified, you can get them; the same, for example, with the old age security. Once you have made the contributions and you have hit age 55, 60, whatever, you can take it whenever you want it. You can take it at age 65, you can take it at age 70. You do not lose it once you have made the contributions and hit the basic qualifying requirements.

But it is different with disability benefits and this is unfair in particular for injured workers. As you, I am sure, are aware, many injured workers with serious disabilities struggle for years in establishing their claims at the compensation board and they are completely consumed by that task, to keep their workers' compensation entitlement. Finally, after some period of years, they are dumped on to a small pension and they find they cannot live on what the Workers' Compensation Board pays them, so they look to the Canada pension plan disability pension. But they are denied because they have not been earning income and making contributions for the years that they have been fighting with their workers' compensation claim. Even if an injured worker tried to make contributions to the Canada pension plan out of his or her temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits, that would not be allowed. It is not permissible under the terms of the legislation, so there is no way out. A federal-provincial co-ordination could ensure that while an injured worker is on compensation provincially he or she is not running out of entitlement to a disability pension federally. These delays arise in a number of circumstances.

Ms Gemma, who has been representing injured workers for the past 10 years, can give you a clearer appreciation of how injured workers can be delayed in their applications for Canada pension plan.

Ms Gemma: Oftentimes when a worker becomes injured, there is an expectation that he or she will eventually return to some form of gainful employment. When they are on compensation, they usually are involved in a rehabilitation program where the expectation is for them to return to work. They are not encouraged by the compensation board employees to apply for Canada pension until the realization that their injury is going to be permanent and they cannot get back to work. They finally realize that the limitation period has run out, the five years; the five-year period has expired. They are also told by some board employees and by some advisers that if they do apply for Canada pension disability benefits it may interfere with their compensation benefits. This is just not the case.

It used to be, if a worker was involved in a rehabilitation program with the compensation board, he or she would be entitled to a supplement. If at the same time the same worker would apply for Canada pension, the supplement portion of his payment would be affected; that is, he or she would be denied the supplement. So that was the case a few years ago.

The other line workers are getting is that if they receive Canada pension now and return to work at some point in the future, they risk the chance of receiving Canada pension again if they should need it in the future. It is not the fault of the board particularly; it is the fault of the system that injured workers, by the time they realize they are not going to be able to get back to gainful employment, are usually out on a limb and cannot go back and ask for Canada pension.

Mr Crevar: Just to give an example of how injured workers fall into this trap, I will use my own scenario. I was injured back in 1983. I returned to work for an additional four years, and I had to go off work in 1987. Since then, I have applied for workers' compensation. I am still awaiting a claim, by going through the workers' compensation system, and, dealing with other injured workers, I know what they are going through because I am going through the same process. At what point in time, not knowing whether my claim is going to be accepted, do I request for a Canada disability, and, with all the pros and cons within the system, whether I am entitled to it or not?

There are a number of injured workers in this province, as well as across Canada, who are running into that same scenario, and this is an area that must be addressed and must be addressed quickly and clearly so that the workers can be compensated in that regard.

Mr McKinnon: I can tell you, even the workers who are careful enough to go out and apply for Canada pension plan disability as soon as they have their accident often find themselves out of luck too. I could give you specific examples of injured workers who have, because they applied soon after their accident, been told by Canada pension plan: "I'm sorry, you're not disabled enough. Surely you'll be able to get back to some kind of work," and they accept that. They are not people who have grown accustomed to fighting the government and fighting the system. They fill out the application and make an honest effort. They apply and are told, "No, you don't qualify," and that is it, they go away. Five years down the road, when their workers' compensation benefits are reduced, again, they cannot get the Canada pension plan. They have not appealed their decision within the time limit, and they are out of luck.

The other aspect we wanted to point out to you is that the Workers' Compensation Board takes an illegal approach to Canada pension plan benefits. Under the new wage loss compensation system of the Workers' Compensation Act, a worker with Canada pension plan disability benefits will be deemed to have income both from the Canada pension plan disability pension and from the wages that would be paid in work the board considers suitable and available. This is legally wrong in a couple of ways.

First, Canada pension plan disability and working are mutually exclusive. If you can work, you do not get Canada pension plan disability benefits. The CPP pays either full benefits or nothing. There is no partial disability under the Canada pension plan. The Workers' Compensation Board in Ontario ought not to be deeming injured workers to be doing something that is illegal under the Canada pension plan in order to save money on workers' compensation benefits.

The second aspect which, in our submission, is illegal in the approach taken by the Workers' Compensation Board is its attitude towards people on Canada pension plan disability pensions. The Canada pension plan disability pension is payable to people who are unable to engage in gainful employment permanently, or at least for a prolonged period of time. Once their doctors have made this determination and the Canada pension plan doctors have agreed with it, it is unrealistic and unfair for Workers' Compensation Board adjudicators to be considering them to be earning income from jobs the compensation board thinks might be suitable and available.

From the perspective of the injured worker, he is being pushed and pulled by the government at the same time. One government is saying they will never work again, the other government is saying there are suitable and available jobs out there, and simply by some provincial acknowledgement, some provincial respect for the decision under the Canada pension plan, this dilemma could be avoided.


I also wanted to mention the case where some Canada pension plan benefits can properly be considered income for the purpose of the wage loss benefits, but the Workers' Compensation Board does not take into account the fact that the Canada pension plan is partly funded through employee contributions; in that way, part of the benefits the workers receive are the same as private insurance they purchased on their own. The compensation board does not take into account privately purchased insurance benefits when it is calculating an injured worker's wage loss, so it ought not to take into account the portion of the Canada pension plan disability benefits that are paid for by the worker's own contributions. That is the nub of the problem, and perhaps I will let Mr Crevar wrap it up.

Mr Crevar: I would like to point out that there was an agreement made back in 1914, 1915. That was the establishment of the Workers' Compensation Board, and it was established to provide a no-fault insurance scheme. What we have seen over the years is that for the worker who is injured or disabled in the course of his employment, compensation has been drastically reduced, and more recently, as I am sure you are aware, Bill 162, which was implemented in 1989. In many cases, as my colleague Mr McKinnon has pointed out, the deeming factor is being used. I still do not understand how you can deem a job that is not there. I really do not understand that.

Just to conclude: All people with disabilities deserve greater care and respect than our laws presently provide. The workers who lost their health or their lives in the process of building this country should not be forgotten. In a lot of cases they have been. You may have thought there were organizations in place that take care of injured workers. While we do have organizations that try to address the needs, the reality demonstrates that there are some gaps that have tragic consequences. In many cases, the lack of consistent, co-ordinated support for injured workers dumps them into poverty. This, again, is the limited pension that is awarded and the insufficient compensation benefits they are getting, which puts them into the poverty category.

Injured workers and disabled people are reduced to a small pension by the WCB, which becomes too late to qualify for the CPP disability. They in turn, through that whole process, lose their homes, their dignity and often their families, and in a lot of cases, I am sure you have read in the past, have even lost their lives in the form of taking their own lives.

There is a very clear problem, one that can be resolved by the federal-provincial arrangements, and we hope this committee will take a good look and take some action on this matter. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much for the presentation. While we may not be able to address the specifics of the problems you brought before us, I think it is useful for us to have that perspective so we can make sure that that is addressed in relation to all of the other issues we are dealing with.

We are almost at the time. There are two people who have questions. If we can do both answers and the questions very quickly, we can try to get through them.

Mr Bisson: Mine is basically just a yes or no answer. I am not going to get into any explanation of the situation. You said in your brief that one of the things you see as a possibility is that the workers' compensation system would be a federal program. Is that what you are advocating?

Mr McKinnon: No. We are advocating --

Mr Bisson: Okay. I understood you to say that, and I was just wondering if that would not create a bigger monster than we already have now.

Mr McKinnon: I think so.

Mr Harnick: I have had some experience prosecuting actions on behalf of injured workers at the Workers' Compensation Board. One of my observations, having done many of them, is that because legal aid is not available, there are so many people who have to go there and are essentially unrepresented, that the system breaks down because of it, or certainly people feel they are not getting their day in court, so to speak. Have you had any discussions with the Attorney General or with some of the workers' compensation people, the Ontario legal aid people, to see about extending the legal aid plan to cover workers' compensation?

Mr McKinnon: There are two parts to that. On the legal aid plan, the legal aid plan in some cases will give certificates for appeals of workers' compensation cases now, on the basis of a legal opinion. The legal aid plan does fund community legal clinics such as ours, but the demand is far in excess of what we can cope with. On that note, Mr Crevar has had some experience with trying to expand the system.

Mr Crevar: We are approximately 20 injured workers' groups in Ontario. We are attempting to establish funding so we can service the injured workers in that respect, service them through the system itself to assist them. I do not know whether you are aware, but the last figure I have is that there are approximately 500,000 cases of injuries reported in a year. Some of those cases that were reported, I believe 120,000, are on permanent pensions. So there are many people caught in the middle, and to date there are people who should have been compensated properly who were not, and we are trying to establish the funding through any process so we can service them.

Mr Harnick: I hope you are successful.

Mr Crevar: So do we.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next Canadian Parents for French?

Mrs Finlay: Thank you very much. My name is Jan Finlay. I am the president of Canadian Parents for French (Ontario).

Some of you have heard the Canadian lightbulb joke, "How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb? None, because Canadians like things the way they are."

There is no truth to that joke these days. Canadians do not like things the way they are. The truth is that there has never been any truth in that joke. Canada started because Canadians did not like the way things were. It has changed and evolved because Canadians, from MPPs to Canadian Parents for French (Ontario), are willing and are able to change the way things are.

Canada will continue to change and evolve. Today, we hear discussion about regionalism, the division of powers among federal, provincial and local governments, topics more of interest to lawyers and constitutional experts than to anyone else. Underlying the quarrelling, the argument and the debate we are hearing today is a sense of hopelessness, a sense that Canada has never worked and never will work. That hopelessness, that sense of tired resignation to a fate that cannot be controlled, is new and suggests that Canadians either do not know or have lost sight of their own history.

We Canadians seem to have forgotten the origins of our nation. At Confederation in 1867, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia joined together to create a nation. The odds against that nation succeeding were immense. The four provinces were lightly populated, had little in common, were separated by language, by culture and by religion. What brought them together was, in the words of George-Étienne Cartier, the knowledge and determination that by joining together we could become a great nation.

To those who say Canada does not work, I ask: Is Canada not one of the most prosperous nations in the world? Is Canada not one of the freest nations in the world? Is Canada not one of the most decent, most tolerant nations in the world? Is Canada not one of the best-governed nations in the world?

It is no accident that Canada has become one of the most envied nations in the world. It has happened because men and women had a vision, a vision of a country that was united, which was far more important and far better than all the things that might divide it. It was a wider vision, a vision of a country that was stronger than its petty quarrels about divisions of power, a country that was stronger than bickering about whether there should be one or two languages on a box of cereal.

Since the 1860s, generations of Canadians have kept faith with that wider vision. Today, there are thousands upon thousands of Canadians who have a wider vision of Canada and who are working to make that vision a reality.


Canadian Parents for French is an organization of men and women who believe in tolerance, understanding and mutual respect among Canadians. We recognize and support French and English as Canada's two official languages and we believe young Canadians should have the opportunity to become bilingual in French and English. Canadian Parents for French and Canadian Parents for French (Ontario) work voluntarily to promote educational opportunities for young Canadians to learn the French language and to create and to promote opportunities for young Canadians to use the French language. Our primary focus is French as a second language.

We are neither francophone nor anglophone. We are neither bilingual nor unilingual. We are Canadians united in a wider vision of Canada as a country of two official languages, a nation tolerant enough to support a linguistic duality and a nation young enough and daring enough to achieve it.

On a more personal level, we believe, with Canadian author Antonine Maillet, that learning another language makes you bigger, gives you a wider vision and makes you feel subtleties you do not feel in just one language.

We believe that stronger communities across the country in both official language groups will enrich the country culturally and in other practical ways. If we can share two languages, we can grow stronger together. In pursuit of that strength, in 1988 Canadian Parents for French (Ontario) started a special campaign to promote community awareness of Ontario's provincial legislation providing services in French. We have actively and successfully campaigned against the efforts to have municipalities declare themselves unilingually English.

Our wider vision of Canada is shared. In the fall of 1989 an Environics poll showed that 74% of people in Ontario want their children to learn the other official language. In Toronto alone, support for that second-language education reached 81%. Across Canada, more than one million young people are learning French as a second language in schools. More than 124,000 of these young people attend 845 schools across the province offering core French and French immersion. Immersion is not an easy choice, but it is a choice.

We believe Canadian families express their vision for the future through the choices they make for their children. Outside these committee hearings, away from Parliament and legislatures and forums, Canadian parents and their children are choosing a unique Canadian future, one based on a vision that is our heritage from Confederation.

Canadian Parents for French (Ontario) works to make French a living, vital part of the lives of students who have chosen this wider vision. Every year, with the Ontario Modem Language Teachers' Association, we co-sponsor the Ontario Concours d'art oratoire, a French-language public speaking competition. Across Canada, more than 55,000 young Canadians, from grade 2 up, compete in class, school, board, regional and provincial and territorial speak-offs. Every spring, 60 secondary school finalists take part in Le Festival, a weekend gathering at which these young anglophone and francophone Canadians share their thoughts and concerns and hopes for the future of their country, using French as the language of communication.

In the past three years, hundreds of students have taken part in Canadian Parents for French (Ontario)'s RendezVous program. During these weekends, anglophone and francophone students in grades 7 and 8 from across Ontario get together to have fun in French and to bridge the gulf between the two cultures.

Throughout Ontario and throughout Canada, there are countless summer camps, book fairs, concert series, plays, films and activity days in French, organized and run by CPF volunteers.

I have talked today about a wider vision of Canada. I have not used the phrase "wider vision" by accident. It is the title of a video produced by Canadian Parents for French and TVOntario. A Wider Vision shows Canadians taking part in these activities and living Canada's heritage of linguistic duality, in full, every day. I have brought a copy of the video to leave with you that you may peruse at your own leisure. It is wonderful. It shows kids, adults, everybody working towards living in French.

These young Canadians and thousands like them share and live the wider vision of the 1860s, the wider vision of a nation that is greater than the sum of its diverse and varied parts. They share the wider vision of parents who volunteer their time to make the promise of linguistic duality a reality.

Listen to the young people who speak to this select committee and to other committees and commissions studying Canada and its future. They are positive about Canada's future. They share the daring youthfulness that created a nation in the face of immense odds. They have an open-minded, open-ended view of Canada. They are the leaders of Canada tomorrow, and they are already, today, telling us and showing us that they are committed to the idea and the ideal of a nation of Canada, a nation, "Ad mari usque ad mare, d'un ocean a l'autre."

We have a responsibility to their future and to Canada's future. Let us not shirk that responsibility. Let us not play into the hands of those who, in D'Arcy McGee's words, were only concerned with their own insignificance. Let us continue with a wider vision that created Canada in the 1860s, which has sustained Canada and which will continue to be its strength.

Mr Beer: Thank you for your presentation. Let me reiterate publicly my thanks to Canadian Parents for French for all the incredible work it did last year at the time a number of municipalities were considering unilingual motions. Sometimes Canadians and Ontarians forget that for all those who did pass some form of unilingual bylaw, in fact there were many, more than 50 or 60, which have a variety of bylaws the other way that were expressing support for linguistic duality, and that was in large part due to the work your organization did.

We are also delighted to get a video. We now have two videos. In the last select committee, we had a rock video that was actually presented, but this, I am sure, will be well worth watching.

Mrs Finlay: It is calm and peaceful and shows parts of the whole country.

Mr Beer: I wonder if you would share with us, in terms of the work you are doing in expanding the various programs for elementary and secondary kids for French immersion and various offshoots of that program, what are the challenges you now see. In a sense, the program is well launched, we are into the secondary school stage increasingly throughout the province, but what are the major challenges now before that program from the perspective of Canadian Parents for French?

Mrs Finlay: In terms of challenges we face this year, we are looking at teacher shortage, making sure we have enough teachers to teach all of the programs. Not just immersion: We have to remember our core students and to make sure there are qualified core teachers out there to teach our children and to teach them well, to make French come alive in the classroom. As I look around the board table, I am quite sure that most of us here are products of the good old: "Here is the book. Read it." Now, you are 15 years old. Stand up in front of your peers and try and say what you have just read without any role models. We are trying to make sure those things do not happen. French can be alive in the classroom, and we are trying to make sure it does come alive in the classroom and that it comes alive after 5 as well.

The other issues we see right now are board reviews, because boards are now taking a look at their programs and trying to decide whether they have been successful in the things they have set out to do. Increasingly, it is becoming a wonderful thing, I think. The boards are finding out for themselves through these reviews that, yes, (a) immersion is working, and (b) the programs are financially viable, that they are not programs taking moneys away from other programs.

The other thing is to do outreach into some of the communities, through our book fairs and all of those activities, to bring French to the communities which do not have it. I live in Ottawa, so I have Utopia. I am very upset that I am only unilingual. I can only overhear half the conversations on the bus in the morning and it is really disappointing. I am working at becoming bilingual. I do not think I ever will be, but I would like to have at least a facility with the language.

My children and the children of those parents who belong to Canadian Parents for French are working towards being as bilingual as they wish. Bilingualism is a choice. We do have to remember that, and we just want to make sure that choice is there for those who want to choose that choice.


Mr G. Wilson: You touched on my question, which was the outreach. Before I get to that, on page 2 you asked some questions that I think you mean to be rhetorical, but I think they do have answers. In fact, we are getting them from many people who present here. When you ask, "Is Canada not one of the most prosperous nations in the world?" it might be true for a lot of people, but a significant number in our province do not feel it is as prosperous as some people think. The other question, "Is it not one of the freest nations?" Again, it is still not free enough for a very large number of people in our province.

I am impressed with the hopefulness of your vision, but for those who do not share it, for the reasons that these questions in part address, how do you reach out? Is there something more you could say about how you can reach parents of kids in the community to encourage them to share your vision about the need for French-language instruction in the community and the benefits that can follow from that?

Mrs Finlay: We are doing the best job we possibly can with the funding available to us. As you realize, fiscally, everybody has a problem these days. Mr Wilson just came down and he really has a problem and consequently the rest of us will as well.

Through our bringing together of children, both francophone and anglophone Ontarians -- I really hate to qualify those; I would prefer to think of everybody being a Canadian or being an Ontario-born person -- we are showing the children that they are one and the same. Because one is francophone and one is anglophone does not change who they are in terms of being good or bad. They are kids.

It is going to be very difficult to change the attitudes of adults. I think you yourself will realize that you have certain attitudes, and no matter how much you and I may have a discussion in the hall, I probably will not change your decision as to how you stand on that issue. So we are working through our children because they are the leaders of tomorrow and they are the people who are going to be governing our country in 20 years. The people who are against the French language today by and large are adults, and they are adults who have reached the stage where no amount of outreach is going to change their attitude. In terms of showing tolerance towards the younger children, this is where we put our focus.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


M. le Président : I call next l'Association de la presse jeunesse ontaroise.

M. Ouellette : Mon nom est Michel Ouellette. En fait, je suis ici à titre personnel et non pour l'APJO. Il y a eu confusion, apparemment. Je travaille pour le magazine Cl!k, un magazine qui est parrainé par l'APJO et deux autres organismes.

Donc, c'est à titre d'individu que je me présente aujourd'hui devant cette commission. Je suis Franco-Ontarien, né à Smooth Rock Falls dans le nord de la province. J'ai beaucoup voyagé au Canada dans le cadre d'un programme d'échanges pancanadien. J'ai eu l'occasion de rencontrer des jeunes Canadiens de différents milieux et origines. Suite à cette expérience, j'ai été accueilli dans des familles en Nouvelle-Écosse, en Alberta et au Québec. Ces voyages et rencontres ont contribué à ma compréhension du Canada et de ce qui nous unit et de ce qui nous divise.

Dans le document de discussion Changement et renouveau, invitation à parler d'un nouveau Canada, vous proposez plusieurs sujets de discussion. Bien que tous ces sujets soient importants, je crois que la question linguistique nécessite une plus grande attention parce qu'elle constitue une véritable menace d'éclatement au pays. Cette question sera donc au coeur de ma présentation.

Cependant, je crois fermement que nous devons agir dans les plus brefs délais et avec un esprit de respect en ce qui concerne les revendications des peuples autochtones. Les événements de l'été passé à Oka ont souligné notre ignorance et notre incompréhension au sujet des revendications territoriales autochtones. Pour moi, ce conflit armé m'a force à repenser ma vision de l'histoire du Canada et ma vision du Canada actuel. À qui appartient le Canada ? Les peuples autochtones sont les grands oubliés. Nous devons corriger cette situation.

Je vous offre quelques suggestions. Peut-être devrions-nous réapprendre notre histoire et mieux tenir compte des contributions des peuples autochtones à l'évolution du Canada. Il faudrait aussi que cette réalité que des peuples vivaient sur le territoire actuel du Canada avant l'arrivée des Européens soit reflétée plus concrètement dans nos institutions nationales. Présentement, nos institutions reflètent plutôt nos liens avec le Royaume-Uni. Peut-être devrions-nous remplacer le sénat par une Chambre des peuples autochtones. Peut-être que le gouverneur général du Canada devrait être un représentant des peuples autochtones. Symboliquement, ça soulignerait la préséance des peuples autochtones dans notre gouvernement. Ce symbole est peut-être plus juste que celui d'un représentant du pays colonisateur. Quoi qu'il en soit, il faut aller au-delà du symbolique et démontrer concrètement notre volonté de reconnaître la situation spéciale des peuples autochtones et de contribuer à l'épanouissement de leurs communautés.

Pour ce qui est du multiculturalisme, je crois que nous devons augmenter les échanges entre les groupes ethnoculturels. Nous devons promouvoir l'intégration de ces groupes à la culture canadienne et il faut éviter les ghettos culturels. Il est normal que les membres de groupes ethnoculturels se rassemblent pour s'entraider et maintenir une identité qui leur est propre. Mais il faut favoriser la participation de ces groupes aux groupes majoritaires ; il faut briser les barrières entre les groupes.

Si je reviens à la question linguistique, c'est un problème épineux et douloureux pour plusieurs. Pour moi c'est une question à laquelle j'ai été confronté dès le secondaire. En effet, c'est à ce moment-là que j'ai pris conscience des injustices commises envers les francophones hors Québec. Chez nous, il a fallu qu'on se batte pour obtenir des cours en français. Les francophones constituaient plus de 60% de la population étudiante de l'école secondaire. Cependant, on n'avait droit qu'à 30% des cours en notre langue. Ça se passait en 1977. Aujourd'hui la situation a change. La communauté franco-ontarienne s'épanouie. Nous avons deux conseils scolaires et un collège de langue francaise. Il y a aussi la chaîne francaise de TVOntanio. Il y a plusieurs organismes et institutions voués à l'épanouissement de la communauté franco-ontarienne, et nous avons aussi la Loi sur les services en français, la Loi 8. Il faut se réjouir de ces acquis.

Cependant, certains groupuscules en Ontario voient ce développement de mauvais oeil. On soupçonne les francophones de vouloir par des moyens détournés usurper le pouvoir anglophone. «Bilingual today, French tomorrow», pensent-ils. On aime comparer la Loi 8 aux lois 101 et 178 du Québec. Ce sont bien deux choses très différentes. Une comparaison de la communauté anglo-québécoise et la communauté franco-ontarienne illustre très bien l'écart entre ces deux minorités. Je ne veux pas défendre les lois québécoises ici, je préfère défendre la loi ontarienne, mais à mon avis l'Ontario devra faire plus pour la communauté franco-ontarienne. À quand la pleine gestion de nos institutions scolaires ? À quand l'université franco-ontarienne ? À quand les autres collèges de langue française ?

À ceux qui s'offusquent de voir le Québec affirmer son caractère distinct et qui s'empressent de parler des efforts en matière de bilinguisme en Ontario, je réponds que l'Ontario est toujours une province officiellement anglaise. Oui, il y a beaucoup d'anglophones qui apprennent le français et qui le parlent. Il y a aussi bien des Québécois francophones qui apprennent la langue de Shakespeare.

L'indépendance du Québec, maintenant. La façon dont je vois l'évolution du pays est que le Québec, depuis plus de 20 ans, transforme ses institutions et sa société de façon à les rendre plus représentatifs de sa réalité -- c'est-à-dire que l'on parle français au Québec -- tandis que dans les autres provinces on accorde des services et des institutions aux minorités francophones, souvent après des années de revendications, ou on abroge certaines garanties constitutionnelles pour l'usage du français. Le désir d'autonomie et de statut spécial du Québec est perçu comme une menace par les autres provinces dites anglophones. On ne veut pas reconnaître le caractère distinct du Québec. On accepte de le reconnaître seulement si on obtient les mêmes pouvoirs que le Québec et cela mènera possiblement à l'éclatement du pays.

Je crois qu'il est important que le Québec puisse défendre et promouvoir son caractère distinct. Je crois que le caractère distinct du Québec est un grand atout pour le Canada. La survie d'une culture française nord-américaine est une richesse dont nous devrions tous être fiers. Dans le même ordre d'idées, l'épanouissement des cultures autochtones est une richesse inestimable, tant pour le Canada que pour l'humanité entière.

Le désir d'indépendance des Québécois s'alimente dernièrement d'un sentiment de méfiance envers les anglophones du reste du Canada qui ne semblent pas comprendre les besoins, les aspirations du Québec et des francophones. L'image d'un drapeau brûlé et bafoué est devenu un symbole puissant, tout comme les déclarations d'unilinguisme anglais de certaines villes ontariennes.

Dans ce débat, deux visions du Canada s'affrontent un Canada bilingue d'un océan à l'autre ; et un Canada avec deux grandes composantes, un Québec français et des provinces anglaises. Que se passera-t-il avec le Nouveau-Brunswick, la seule province officiellement bilingue ? Le premier cas semble utopique et irréalisable. Le second est la traduction de la réalité actuelle. Mais dans ce cas quelles seront les garanties pour les minorités tant francophones qu'anglophones ? Le réaliste et l'idéaliste se rencontrent. J'aimerais croire qu'on optera pour l'idéaliste. Il me semble que poursuivre un rêve est plus enrichissant.


Et Ontario ? Ontario doit jouer un rôle de premier ordre dans ce débat. À cause de l'histoire et de la géographie de notre province et du fait que l'Ontario est la province la plus peuplée, l'Ontario doit faire preuve de leadership. Ma suggestion : adopter le bilinguisme en Ontario, possiblement tenir un référendum en Ontario sur cette question. C'est risqué et dangereux mais si la population de l'Ontario se prononçait en faveur du bilinguisme, ce serait là un geste plus puissant que n'importe quel autre pour démontrer au Québec que les anglophones sont prêts à faire un pas pour rejoindre les francophones.

Si on décide de rejeter le bilinguisme, il faudra quand même que l'Ontario maintienne et améliore ses services à la communauté franco-ontarienne. Nous les Franco-Ontariens ne sommes pas en voyage dans la province. Nous y sommes depuis des générations. Certes, la tenue d'un tel référendum fait peur. En tant que Franco-Ontarien j'y vois un débat qui voudrait essentiellement décider de mon droit d'exister à part entière dans la société ontarienne ou de vivre dans la pénombre et l'invisibilité. J'entends déjà les propos et je frémis d'indignation. Cette situation, je l'ai vécue à maintes reprises, notamment à Kapuskasing pendant le débat entourant la déclaration du bilinguisme de la ville. Pourtant, ne devrions-nous pas confronter directement les squelettes qui traînent dans nos garde-robes ? Un référendum n'est peut-être pas le meilleur moyen, nous en convenons, mais le Québec nous y oblige presque. Les Québécois, en décidant de leur avenir, décident également de l'avenir du pays. À nous de poser des gestes aussi qui feront preuve de détermination et de courage.

En guise de conclusion, je voudrais simplement dire que toute cette remise en question du Canada suscite un débat nécessaire, mais le vrai défi sera de voir clair dans ce brouhaha collectif. Je vous remercie de votre attention.

M. Beer : Merci pour votre présentation et surtout pour vos commentaires sur l'idée d'un référendum du point de vue des francophones de la province. Je pense que c'est la première fois qu'on entend parler d'un référendum sur le bilinguisme d'une telle façon. J'aimerais poser une question sur cet aspect.

Au Nouveau-Brunswick, comme vous l'avez mentionné, on a un système de bilinguisme officiel et là, au point de vue de la géographie de la province, c'est différent de notre province et aussi du Québec. Au Québec il n'y a pas de bilinguisme officiel mais quand même l'anglais a beaucoup de droit d'usage. En Ontario, encore une fois, c'est peut-être basé plutôt sur le territoire, avec une sorte de programme de districts bilingues, de régions désignées. Selon vous, l'importance pour l'Ontario de se déclarer officiellement bilingue, est-ce que c'est plus important que de continuer à développer les services sous l'égide de la Loi 8 ? Est-ce que le Québec va vraiment réagir à une telle déclaration, est-ce que ça a une importance pour le Québec ? On sait que faire cela va certainement causer d'autres problèmes. Mais pour développer la politique linguistique de notre province, quelle est la meilleure façon maintenant de procéder dans cette question ?

M. Ouellette : Je suis certain que dans certaines régions il y a de grandes concentrations de francophones ; la région désignée c'est le cas. C'est vrai qu'à ce niveau-là le bilinguisme devrait être là de façon très concrète et très réelle. Si j'amène la question du bilinguisme en Ontario, pour Ontario dans son ensemble, c'est peut-être ma naïveté, mais en grandissant je croyais vivre dans un pays bilingue. Il y a toujours cette dichotomie entre vivre dans un pays bilingue et vivre dans une province unilingue. À un moment donné il faudrait que les deux se rejoignent. C'est un peu ça. Je pense que si on accepte de vivre dans un pays bilingue, le pays est bilingue ou bien il ne l'est pas. Je pense que je ne peux pas tellement vous indiquer des façons d'articuler tout ça, mais je pense qu'il y a besoin d'avoir une reconnaissance plus grande du bilinguisme en Ontario. Je suppose que ça pourrait se limiter à certaines régions si on veut, mais je pense que c'est en termes d'articulation plutôt que de principes.


The Chair: I call next Citizens for Public Justice.

Mr Townshend: My name is Roger Townshend. I am chair of the board at Citizens for Public Justice, a national organization of citizens dedicated to promoting justice in Canadian public affairs. For the past decade, we have been involved in such issues as aboriginal rights, energy policy, the Constitution, the environment, human rights, socioeconomic policy and social welfare policy. With me are Harry Kits, executive director, and Tim Schouls, who is a researcher at our organization. We have an opening statement which is going to be given by Mr Schouls and Mr Kits; Mr Schouls will begin.

Mr Schouls: Canada is at the crossroads. We confront our last opportunity to demonstrate mutual respect for the diverse peoples, regions and communities which make up Canada. Racism, regionalism and religious and ideological strife are rending the very fabric of our nation.

The violent events at Oka last summer bring into sharp relief the deep divisions which run through our society. As aboriginal peoples themselves have said to the Charest committee: "Aboriginal rights and peoples are not even given the benefit of preservation in either Meech Lake or in the New Brunswick additions. All we would get is a `not affected' clause. That is not even assimilation. That is dismissal."

Canada's persistent constitutional neglect of aboriginal rights may well spell the cultural genocide of aboriginal people and the further dismemberment of Canada. As aboriginal peoples say, "If one sector of society is stripped of a right it now enjoys, then democracy and justice is threatened for all." Indeed, if we want Canada to be a nation that is strong and free, our task is, as Premier Rae stated, "to fight inequality, to promote justice and to guard against institutional arrogance and the abuse of power wherever we may find them."

A unified Canada hinges on whether we will deal justly with aboriginal nations. Doing justice to the aboriginal peoples must be our first step towards building political community in Canada. Aboriginal nations can contribute a great deal to our common understanding of how to live together in this country. We need to respect them. We need to learn from them. We must not ignore them as we did in the previous constitutional discussions. Securing a rightful place for aboriginal nations will be the litmus test for whether we can generate mutual respect and responsibility among all Canadian citizens and communities.

In the Constitution Act of 1982 Canada committed itself to recognizing and affirming the existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. We owe it to the aboriginal people to translate these words of wisdom into deeds of justice.

Accordingly, CPJ applauds the Ontario government's determination to make major strides in negotiating aboriginal self-government and in improving the quality of life of aboriginal peoples in Ontario. CPJ calls on the Ontario government to keep its promise to do everything possible for the sake of justice for all and a united Canada.

CPJ therefore recommends (1) that there be constitutional recognition of aboriginal peoples as a distinct, inherent and fundamental part of the country; (2) that aboriginal entitlement to self-government be constitutionally recognized and adequate resources be allocated to make self-government meaningful; (3) that the Ontario government take the lead in urging the other provincial governments and the federal government to make a priority commitment to a fair negotiation of aboriginal self-government, and (4) that aboriginal peoples be treated as bona fide partners in this constitutional process.


Mr Kits: Canadians are proud that this country has not become a melting pot but has maintained its multicultural character. Indeed, the charter itself states that it "shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians."

The key challenge, therefore, is how we will do justice to the diversity among Canadians. We must recognize that different peoples have different beliefs and wish to live in different ways. We need to find political and legal means to encourage and promote mutual respect and mutual responsibility. If there is the political will to protect such diversity, we will also find a political way.

In CPJ's guidelines for Christian political service, we declare that governments must not only protect the rights of individuals but also those of communities, whether they are faith-related, geographical, occupational, cultural or lingual. Governments must protect and promote the ability of such communities to exercise their own responsibility and prevent oppression by others. Such government protection requires more than merely allowing people to think as they like. It also requires providing essential resources for allowing people to act on their beliefs as distinct communities, providing their actions do not violate other peoples' legitimate rights or harm the public interest.

Canada must respect differences and support their institutional expression. For example, we already have worker co-ops, housing co-ops and alternative schools which think differently about how to run a business enterprise, how to develop good neighbourhoods and how to educate children. We should encourage the emergence of these groups through tax incentives, grants and other means, to make it possible for them to make their particular contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of Canada and Ontario. This would be one example of doing justice to the plurality of values that people possess within Canada.

In an address to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, William Davis, then Premier of Ontario, stated: "Pluralism, tolerance, diversity and understanding are not burdens upon the shoulders of this country, nor upon the shoulders of Canadians. They are part of what being Canadian is all about." Citizens for Public Justice fully agrees.

The challenge is to develop a political framework and a constitutional arrangement that entrenches the rights and encourages the development of distinct communities. Each can then make its contribution to the emergence of a dynamic society in which differences are cherished because they strengthen the entire mosaic.

Canada has made a starting point in this regard by enacting the equalization and regional disparities clause of the Constitution Act in 1982. Despite what appears to be an erosion of this commitment by the federal government in this week's budget, we believe this commitment should be strengthened and broadened to include non-geographic distinct communities.

CPJ is concerned first of all that the principle of mutual respect and mutual responsibility be accepted. Together, we must find ways of structurally implementing these principles on the basis of Canada's obligation to do public justice for all.

CPJ therefore recommends that your committee's mandate be expanded for the second stage of your work to include developing options for responsible political and legal responses to the many differences in values, beliefs, institutions and practices that are present in our country. We raise these basic human rights issues out of our commitment as Christians to public justice for all. We will expand on them in a brief we will be submitting later this week.

In conclusion, we quote from our aboriginal fellow Canadians: "This is a country of diverse peoples and cultures, and we must all find a home in Canada. For many Canadians, this country is a land of choice. For aboriginal peoples, it is our sole homeland on earth -- we have nowhere to go. Aboriginal peoples merely insist that we be allowed to enter the circle of Confederation with honour and dignity. We cannot accept being hostages any more."

For Citizens for Public Justice this fundamental challenge by aboriginal peoples is the litmus test of Canada's commitment to mutual respect and mutual responsibility. To the degree that Canada recognizes and affirms the aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples, to that degree Canada will also demonstrate its willingness to offer similar respect to other communities that make up the Canadian mosaic. Justice denied to some in Canada is justice denied to all.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Mr Eves: On page 2 of your brief you make, I think, a rather interesting comment with respect to Canada respecting differences in support for institutional expression, and you go on to talk about worker co-ops, housing co-ops, alternative schools and "encouraging the emergence of these groups through tax incentives, grants and other means." I wonder if you would like to expand upon that. How would you address or deal with the education system, for example, in Ontario in the light of those remarks?

Mr Townshend: That is indeed a fundamental organizing principle of the philosophy in which we operate, of encouraging this kind of structural diversity. Regarding education in particular, I will ask Mr Kits to address that.

Mr Kits: One of the things we have been heavily involved in is the education issue. As an organization, we are fully committed to looking for options for parents who want to choose alternatives within the public system or outside of the public system. We have been advocating a number of different kinds of policies with the Minister of Education. In fact, one of our colleagues is meeting with the minister this afternoon, asking for options which could be considered. They could be programs within the public school system around cultural and religious education, or alternative schools within the system which have some kind of fundamental religious or different pedagogical philosophy, or independent schools outside of the system. Personally, that is the choice I have made; my children go to a small independent school here in Toronto. One of the things we would be looking for is some kind of legal recognition that this is a responsible choice for parents to make in Ontario, and some kind of financial support as well, because right now we need to do that out of our own pockets as well as pay taxes to the public system.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for your presentation. I was interested when you were talking about human rights. Do you feel the human rights commission should be independent from government? And do you feel that if native rights are recognized in the Constitution then their rights will be improved?

Mr Kits: One of the ways of improving people's rights is to institute them in the Constitution -- that is definitely one of the ways. What we are particularly concerned about in general, though, is a feeling that people have about each other, a mutual respect and a mutual responsibility for each other. Some of the structural ways of doing this are sometimes difficult to put in place right now and figure out right now. We certainly would want to see constitutional rights, particularly for aboriginal peoples and very distinctive communities. The human rights commission, I think, has a very important role to play in making sure that a variety of communities can at least be heard, can put forward their case and can, perhaps, advocate for particular legislative or structural change which could occur.

The Chair: Thank you very much for the presentation.



The Chair: I call next representatives from the Canadian Bar Association.

Mr Manning: My name is Garth Manning. I am president of the Canadian Bar Association in Ontario. I am conscious of your time constraints and for that reason, if you can imagine any lawyer being brief, I will, to the best of my ability, be brief. Certainly I will relieve the tedium of your reading the first two pages of our submission, because it merely tells you who we are, 16,000 members throughout Ontario, the objects for which we exist and what we do.

In your discussion paper, which naturally anyone appearing before you has carefully read, you pose eight specific questions, each complicated by itself and, together, complex and intertwined.

L'Association du Barreau canadien -- Ontario considère qu'en raison de son effectif de plus de 16 000 membres, il serait impossible d'obtenir un consensus sur l'avenir du Canada permettant de représenter la position officielle de l'ABCO. Il est impensable pour vous, comme pour moi, de demander à 16 000 avocats et étudiants en droit ou même à leurs représentants élus au sein de l'association de se lancer dans un débat sans fin sur des enjeux compliqués et qui comporte bien souvent une forte charge émotionnelle.

À cet égard, les membres de l'ABCO ne sont probablement pas différents de ceux de tout autre segment ou groupe de citoyens de Ontario, voire du Canada, à l'extérieur du Québec. Il règne un sentiment de confusion et de frustration d'être apparemment incapable d'apporter une contribution personnelle, un sentiment de suspicion à l'égard des politiciens et des décisions prises sur un coup de dé dans des arènes auxquels la plupart d'entre nous n'avons pas accès et, probablement plus que toute autre chose, un sentiment d'incapacité à obtenir de sources sûres des renseignements fiables sur la raison d'être du Canada au cours des 123 dernières années et les répercussions des diverses options dont il faudra de toute évidence tenir compte au cours des 18 prochains mois.

Ainsi, chacun de nous doit composer avec ses frustrations, sa bonne volonté, ses préoccupations sincères et ses instincts mal informés. Cependant, la bonne volonté, les préoccupations et les instincts ne peuvent suffire et ne suffisent tout simplement pas.

Our parent organization, the Canadian Bar Association, which speaks for 38,000 lawyers, literally from coast to coast to coast, has this year created a special committee. The mandate of that committee is to examine processes for constitutional amendment in Canada. In doing so, it will examine the experiences in other federal states, including various countries in Europe, in Australia, Malaysia and India. It will not focus on a formula for amending the constitution, but rather on the processes designed to ensure that proposed constitutional amendments embody the aspirations and political will of the nation. In doing this, this committee will provide a non-partisan source of legal expertise which will inform and stimulate national discussion and public awareness of constitutional issues. The six experts on that committee come from both academia and legal practice from across Canada, including Quebec, and their report is to be in early next year. Obviously, you would agree with me that such an initiative, while constructive, is what I would describe as a technical, lawyer-like approach.

At our organization in Ontario, our approach will be different. On our executive committee, we devoted one recent special meeting to the discussion of the future of our country. In addition to that, we have had many informal sessions among our individual members. The overwhelming conclusion at this level is that there is a genuine and deeply held conviction that Quebec must remain in a changed Canada.

We decided that a resolution to the following effect be placed before our governing body, on whose authority we act, at its next meeting, which will take place on 5 April coming. First, we will institute a series of meetings between our members and our colleagues, particularly in Quebec, to exchange views, advance ideas and communicate, all in a constructive fashion.

Second, and probably more important, we intend to create a multidiscipline committee which will consist of two persons from each of the worlds of economics, political science, literature, the media, the business community and, if you can find any of them, constitutional lawyers who were not publicly involved in the Meech Lake debate. This committee, which has to report before the end of this current year, would concentrate on and analyse the perceived results, including economic, political, cultural and social, of every possible scenario which faces our country, from maintenance of the status quo to the worst possible scenario, which would be outright Quebec independence without economic association.

Clearly, the first part of what we propose to do is dialogue at the grass-roots level; the second to assemble nonpartisan information through a respected, capable and unbiased source on the perceived results and nuances of every possible constitutional alternative, and to place that information and those results not only before our 16,000 members but also, through them and through our association, before the entire public in Ontario. Only with such facts can residents of this province understand the issues and the various combinations of circumstances which would result from any one of them. An informed legal profession and an informed public obviously will have influence on their politicians on the manner in which the next 18 months are approached.

I emphasize, as I have done in my brief, that the contemplated steps we are proposing to take are subject to ratification by our governing body at its meeting next month.

Pour les raisons expliquées plus haut, l'ABCO n'a pas et ne peut avoir une position commune qui me permettrait de vous donner une réponse unanime à vos questions. Toutefois, si je perçois correctement le sentiment de l'ensemble de nos membres, bon nombre d'avocats croient fermement que c'est notre dernière chance de modifier la constitution, qu'il serait souhaitable que le Québec demeure au sein du Canada, qu'il faudrait renégocier la constitution et qu'il faut à tout prix tenir compte des points suivants.

The time is now, and is spurred by the Allaire report -- which of course you have all read -- and doubtless by the results of the Belanger-Campeau commission to follow at the end of March, which may make the Allaire report look almost tame by comparison. Change in Canada, as we know it now, is inevitable and it must occur. It is not impossible to reconcile the aspirations of Quebec, of the Prairies, of the west, of the Maritimes and of this magnificent province, but the process must be visible. Past differences must be left behind. In the words of the Christmas song that many of us here sing at a certain time of year, there can be no reciting of a ledger of who is naughty or nice, and certainly no endless recall of who did what to whom since 1867 or, indeed, since 1763. It is 1991, and our country is in peril and the time is very short indeed.

It is, I respectfully submit, vital that responses outside Quebec to the Allaire report not be hostile or overemotional. Rhetorical excesses on all sides must be avoided. It is to be made clear to Quebec that there is no homogeneous English Canada which has rejected, with the failure of Meech Lake or in any other way, the arrangements contemplated by that accord. We will all remember that governments representing more than 90% of the population of Canada ratified Meech Lake. It failed, for whatever reasons, because of one member of a Legislature and because of one Premier of a province. It is convenient for certain Quebeckers to say they have been rejected by English Canada -- convenient, but it is just not true.

I suspect that many members of my association would subscribe to the view that it is possible to negotiate, and that negotiation would include a redivision of federal and provincial powers, a recognition and protection of minority and multicultural realities, a new deal for our native people, the preservation of the Supreme Court of Canada and of a reformed Senate -- whether it is triple E or not is not germane to this particular topic -- and the maintenance of a Charter of Rights common to the entire country.


The public perception of lawyers is of a dull bunch; we are always, apparently, endlessly arguing technical points, arcane language and punctuation. While some of what my parent association and my own association is doing on proposing to do might be regarded as technical -- although, of course, it leads to hard information for public consumption -- do not, please, in hearing my submission, overlook either emotion or a real love of our country, both of which we share with our fellow countrymen and women and which, in the traditional Canadian way, it is not easy either to confess or to articulate.

To intrude a personal note, I myself am an immigrant whose first language happens to be English, and I have always resented and deeply still resent the anglophone and francophone labels which are so facilely bandied around as if every Canadian was born here and had to be one or the other. Since I arrived 35 years ago I have never been able to understand, and still today do not understand, the bigotry which exists on both sides of the Ottawa River, the hostility of certain groups with narrow-minded views, the failure to appreciate the obvious, that at least two languages and cultures broaden the mind, and the obvious fact that in this country we have a decent, democratic and mostly gentle Canada which is widely envied elsewhere. I do not believe there is any way at all to prevent Quebec's wish for more political autonomy, and outside Quebec we would indeed be foolish to underestimate its deep feelings and its will.

Since the failure of Meech Lake just eight short months ago, relations have deteriorated almost to indifference born of irritated ennui on all sides. Some outside Quebec just want it to go away; others believe there is no problem, or one easy to solve. History has shown, and I have given you some examples, that it is a common reaction in circumstances like we are faced with to deny it exists or just fail to face up to a real crisis. If indeed Quebec became an independent country, it will destabilize, in my respectful view, all of North America north of the 49th parallel. We in this province would be about one half of an abbreviated Canada's population, and we would represent a large chunk of its power and representation in Parliament. How would this be accepted in the west and in the Maritimes? And an independent Quebec would have its own problems, not only with its native population, who might not accept secession, but also internationally and with the rest of us.

Thus, the only alternative is to recognize the critical problems, openly to negotiate a much-changed Canada, for which the Allaire report provides only a point of departure -- and let us not deceive ourselves; the Allaire report will be adopted next week at the Liberal convention in Montreal with very few changes, I suggest -- and to retain Quebec within the new arrangements. Toughness will certainly be required, but heart, emotion and commitment must all play a part. Failure means disintegration; the only option to failure is reintegration, and for that, skills of a superlative quality are required on every side of the equation. Some of those skills are required of our government in Ontario and of its advisers.

I deeply hope your report will underline, if such be the case from what you have seen and heard over your last few weeks, that Ontario will work from commitment towards a changed Canada embracing Quebec and all of its other equally important constituent regions. While I cannot tell you that 16,000 lawyers and law students would endorse some of my clearly personal observations, my instinct tells me that many of them do and would.

I would like to finish, if I may, with something that is not in my submission but which may be found in the reports of this House in Hansard at the time of the Quebec referendum in 1980. If you are particular in looking it up, it was the evening sitting of Tuesday 6 May 1980. A then member of the Legislature had been referring to many of the reports which were then circulating and then he said, as quoted in Hansard: "I am equally tired with the tedium of the minutiae of constitutional debate among lawyers, political scientists and bureaucrats. Their logic is not the logic of politics." He went on: "The strength of Ontario may be the weakness of Confederation. We have our obligations in Ontario, as well as our opportunities. We have our obligations to the east and to the west, but more particularly we have our obligations to the people of Quebec. I have faith," he said. "that we will discharge them.

That member was a lawyer, and that member was the late Jim Renwick. It is not important that he was a member of any particular party. That had no significance at all. But it is quite obvious where he stood almost 11 years ago, and I hope everybody in this room and in the province which lies outside this room pays heed to what he said with such advanced prescience at that time.

Quoiqu'ils ne soient pas bilingues, j'ai fait aujourd'hui certaines de mes observations dans les deux langues officielles. Afin que je puisse bien saisir vos questions et vous mes réponses, je vous saurais gré de bien vouloir me les poser en anglais. Monsieur le Président, messieurs, mesdames, je vous remercie.

The Chair: I will allow at least one question, but let me first of all thank you for the presentation and also for the process that the CBAO is embarking upon. I think it is going to be quite useful to the members and certainly to all of us; I think the committee will be interested in following that process and getting whatever information comes out of that. That would be of use to us in our work, as a consequence.

Mr Manning: You can count on it.

Ms Churley: I think it is fitting that I get to be the one to ask the question here, because I am honoured to be representing Riverdale, which was, of course, Mr Renwick's riding. We are all very respectful and proud to have been represented by him, so I am pleased you quoted him.

What I wanted to ask you about is women's involvement in the process. You mentioned that you think one reason why Meech failed -- and of course there are other reasons -- is that aboriginals, disabled and women, as you know, in particular were, and felt, very left out of the process.

First of all, I know some women who are constitutional experts who are lawyers who swear they were left out of the process, who I might be able to recommend to you. But I wanted to ask you if you are considering that, because I think it is going to become a very important part of the process, that those people are involved in all aspects of the process from here on in.

Mr Manning: At the time of Meech Lake there were, as we all know, several constitutional advisers to many of the governments taking part. I know several constitutional lawyers who are women who were part of that process.

Ms Churley: I guess they are different from the ones I know.

Mr Manning: To that extent, they were as full a part as any other constitutional adviser who happened to be male.

In our association we do not differentiate. Of the 16,000 members, we have many men and many women. All of them take part to the extent they wish to. I can think of many of our members who do certain obligations within our association. In the many-faceted sort of work we do, I can think of some of our members who happen to be women who do it rather better than some of our members who happen to be men. I would like to think they come forward and volunteer on the basis of merit and not because of gender. But certainly, if the question you are asking me is whether within our association our women members are involved and are going to be involved in the process I have described, the answer is a very resounding, definite and truthful yes.

Mr Beer: As a non-lawyer on the committee, I can first of all assure you that as I look around at our Chairman, at Mr Winninger and Mr Harnick, they are scintillating and sometimes even imaginative -- anything but dull. I just wanted to clarify that on the public record.

The Chair: We can quote you on that, Mr Beer.

Mr Winninger: Flattery will get you everywhere.


Mr Beer: In your proposal for a series of meetings between your members and colleagues, particularly in Quebec, one of the things that has come before this committee is the importance of those other than elected representatives being involved and reaching out. Have you worked out how that is going to take place? I think it would be particularly interesting to us to know how you are planning to do that, because we have been looking at how in our second phase we might both encourage and get involved in a number of those kinds of programs looking at other major groups within society.

Mr Manning: We are already halfway there. I just came back yesterday from Regina, where the national CBA governing body was meeting for five days. There were as many representatives from Quebec as there were from Ontario -- which is not unusual, I hasten to add. In the informal discussions as president of my branch, which I had with my counterpart from Quebec and his senior people, we talked about the very points I have submitted to you today. And on the question you are asking me, we have already started to make plans and will see if they come to fruition: a meeting of our respective governing bodies in an informal setting in the western part of Quebec in the fall of this year. Also we will see invitations going out from lawyers in different parts of Ontario to different lawyers in Quebec and vice versa to come and stay with individual families on an individual basis just to see how we each relate to each other. In many cases we will not know our guest. This, I think, will be healthy. So yes, the process is already under way.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Manning. We are going to have to stop.


The Chair: I call next the Ontario Teachers' Federation.

Mr Archambault : Merci, Monsieur le Président. Je suis Guill Archambault, président de la Fédération des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario With me is Margaret Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the federation.

The Ontario Teachers' Federation represents 126,000 professional educators in the public education system of this province. Our membership comprises a well-educated segment of Canadian society, diverse in terms of ethnic background, domestic situation, personal values, religion, gender, language and political affiliation.

As an organization which is concerned with the provision of quality education, and which is founded and operates on principles of equity and equality, OTF has a direct stake in the current debate on national unity and its implications for education. OTF and its affiliates, in conjunction with teacher organizations throughout Canada, have devoted sustained effort to the evolution of education policies and practices which will respond to the differentiated needs of all citizens.

The Ontario government has a crucial role, potentially the most influential role, in the political and constitutional discussions which will determine the shape and nature of Canada over the next period of time. The federation perceives this role in terms of proactive leadership and forceful advocacy, as opposed to reactions and responses to the positions and agendas of other political jurisdictions, provincial and federal. Ontario, by virtue of its population, economic and industrial strength and many other factors, is in fact one of the key agents either for constructive reconciliation or for positive change. This province cannot be inert or passive or choose to reserve its political options while events unfold.

For many Canadians, federal politics is not associated with representative government in the public interest or with concepts of probity, integrity or enlightened leadership, although numerous examples of such virtues can be found. The more common association is that the political process as it has evolved and currently operates is ineffective and corrupt, alienated from the citizens it purports to serve, and predominantly focused on the elections, party factionalism and the seizing and retention of power through whatever means will ensure success.

There is an almost desperate hope that leadership will emerge from those who enter public life which will combine vision, purpose and basic integrity, and that the political system itself will permit the duly elected representatives of the Canadian people to in fact represent them. That these representatives number a great many women and men of honesty and dedication is beyond question. The restoration of public confidence in the probity of governments and the political process is absolutely essential to the future of this country. It is equally essential to accord respect to and restore the confidence of the great majority of politicians, and their eventual successors, who view political life as a personal commitment to positive change, and who bring the integrity of their private lives into their political duties.

The Ontario government must demonstrate immediate and vigorous leadership. While its prime responsibility is to the citizens of this province, this responsibility cannot be met without reference to the impending debate on federal-provincial powers.

The grounds for that debate, and the negotiations which will follow, are already being prepared at the federal level, in Quebec and in other provinces. Whatever value is placed on the practicability of exclusive authority, or authority-sharing arrangements such as those in the Allaire proposal, it seems evident that each province should now be engaged intensively in establishing its own position on those issues and should be working co-operatively with other provinces to ensure that change does not proceed from bilateral deals between the federal government and any individual province. Ontario has the status and the capacity to insist on a clean and orderly process for discussion of whatever adjustments and redefinitions of authority are necessary to preserve Canada intact.

The federation's position is that the Ontario government should directly involve itself in the movement to maintain a united Canada, with all its present component parts. We take pride in Canada and in being Canadians, and we believe the traditions and values which underlie the sense of Canadian identity still have force and validity, although they have been put under serious strain over the last period of time and have been weakened on occasion by the actions of our political institutions.

La Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants souscrit au concept d'un Canada qui soit constitué de manière à : premièrement, réserver à un corps législatif central, établi en moyen de consultation du corps électoral, les pouvoirs requis pour réglementer les questions qui touchent à l'ensemble du pays et notamment l'équité sociale et l'égalisation des chances ; deuxièmement, garantir le maintien des droits fondamentaux collectifs et individuels ; troisièmement, reconnaître la dualité linguistique découlant de la présence de deux peuples fondateurs ainsi que les droits spéciaux des autochtones ; quatrièmement, reconnaître le caractère multiculturel de la société canadienne ; cinquièmement, accorder aux provinces et aux territoires autorité et autonomie complète dans ce qui ne concerne pas l'ensemble du pays ; sixièmement, mettre en place des mécanismes permanents servant à déterminer l'autorité dont relèvent des questions précises ainsi qu'assurer qu'il y ait délibération et collaboration dans les domaines de compétence concurrente ou dont la responsabilité est partagée.

The continuance of Quebec in the Canadian federation must be ensured. While many Canadians have accepted the inevitability of separation, it has not been absolutely established that Quebec is irrevocably set on that course: The Bélanger-Campeau commission has not reported; the Allaire report has not been debated by the Quebec government; a referendum has not yet been held nor is likely to be in the near future.


A stated position in the Allaire report is that Quebec remain, but under a radically revised system of federal-provincial authorities and powers. Questions of constitutional recognition and protection of Quebec's distinctiveness have not been set aside but await a better process than the Meech Lake failure. The issue for Ontario is not whether the shopping list proposed by Allaire is acceptable, but whether the concept is valid and whether Ontario's interests and those of the country as a whole would be better served through such a reordering. There is a case to be made for the two largest provinces co-operatively exploring federal-provincial powers, with an attached understanding that Ontario will continue to support Quebec's cultural-constitutional aspirations. Ontario could well be the determining factor in Quebec's ultimate decision. There is still time for Ontario to assume a more active and encouraging role in this process. We believe the leadership in this province is appropriate to the task.

The rights of Canada's aboriginal peoples are also reflected in federation policy. Their particular place within the Canadian Confederation and the wide range of persistent concerns associated with that place have been under consideration during the life of the country without satisfactory solution. Aboriginal peoples must have a direct involvement in all political and constitutional discussions which affect their status and welfare. Special attention must be given to educational structures and opportunities, including the preparation of aboriginal teachers to manage and instruct in education situations. Opportunity should also be provided for access to social and legal counselling in every province. The process of addressing and resolving outstanding land claims must be greatly accelerated. In short, aboriginal people must have the full opportunity to define and develop a role in Canada which reflects their sense of tradition and culture and which gives them full equity with other Canadians.

Education in all its forms, and at all levels, is inextricably tied to the future of this country. Across the nation, the curriculum must be designed to develop a sympathetic understanding of our world, to promote a sense of national unity and interprovincial co-operation, and to inculcate an understanding and appreciation of the obligations, privileges and responsibilities of citizenship. The curriculum must be inclusive and reflect the roles and contributions of all Canadians, regardless of race, national and ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age or mental or physical disability. The process of equality-seeking and historical and contemporary analyses of inequality should be part of the curriculum. The value of both official languages to Canadian life and culture must be recognized.

Il devrait donc y avoir un office canadien de l'éducation financé conjointement par le gouvernement fédéral et les gouvernements des provinces et des territoires qui exerceraient les fonctions suivantes, entre autres : réunir, compiler et diffuser des renseignements à l'intention des autorités gouvernementales des provinces et des territoires ; promouvoir et appuyer un programme de recherches adéquats en éducation ; se tenir au courant des problèmes fiscaux et financiers touchant à l'éducation et donner des conseils aux gouvernements intéressés quant aux façons d'y remédier ; coordonner les activités éducationnelles des diverses autorités du gouvernement fédéral ; et finalement, élaborer une déclaration de principes communs en matière d'éducation partout au pays.

The federation is not disposed to comment in detail on the economic options which might be pursued by the Ontario government. The potential effects of free trade, globalization, the current recession, shifting monetary policies, the goods and services tax, large-scale emergency spending and the possibility of a separate Quebec, in conjunction with other factors, have created a complex and uncertain economic environment. We are aware of the urgent need to sustain a vibrant and competitive economic base if our people are to have meaningful work and the educational, social and health services they have come to expect.

L'objectif de première importance de l'enseignement public au Canada devrait considérer procurer à chaque personne, quels que soient les facteurs conditionnant ses besoins éducationnels, des chances égales de se réaliser au moyen de l'éducation. Un modèle de financement de l'éducation propice à la poursuite de ces objectifs devrait garantir, premièrement, une répartition des ressources financières et effectives en fonction des différents besoins individuels en matière d'éducation, abstraction faite des frontières géographiques ; et deuxièmement, une grande mesure de liberté, de diversité et de souplesse en ce qui touche l'organisation et la méthode d'enseignement ainsi que la matière enseignée dans le but de répondre aux besoins individuels. Le fardeau fiscal du financement de l'éducation devrait être réparti en fonction de la capacité de paiement, et on devrait dépendre davantage de l'impôt progressif plutôt que de l'impôt régressif.

Education is an investment in our collective future. The sense of common heritage in the midst of our diversity, which is so necessary to nation-building, is nurtured in the classrooms and schoolyards of this country. Our children show their faith in Canada on a daily basis. Their optimism should inspire us to ensure that they have a country to value and share.

I thank you, Mr Chairman, and I hope you have some good deliberations and good luck.

The Chair: Thank you for a most comprehensive presentation, which I think underscores the quote you have inside your folder and the important role of teachers in our community. We do have a couple of questions. We will be able to get through at least one.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Thank you very much for this presentation. We have not had a lot of teachers' groups come before us. We have had several francophone teachers in various locations across the north, and they were very good briefs.

I just wondered if you used this document or if you know whether your teachers are using it in the schools. We had hoped they might, and I wondered if you, as a federation, had used it or found it helpful. Your brief is much broader, but I just wondered if you could respond to that question first, and then I have a very short other question.

Mr Archambault: Yes, we have your questions and we have looked at them. We prepared our brief as focused on education mainly, but the other affiliates and the teachers also had your questions.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Has the Canadian Teachers' Federation got this as one of its high-profile items on the agenda now? You just heard the lawyers coming before us and talking about a rather creative way in which they are interrelating or planning to interrelate. Have you got something like that going with the francophone teachers or the Québécois teachers? I ask that because in Cornwall the challenge was put to us that this would be one of the most important ways in which we, as a committee, and others within our province, could help to create a better atmosphere for whatever negotiations or discussions are going to have to take place in the very near future.

Mr Archambault: In Ontario, our affiliates have been discussing the committee's questions. As to the Canadian Teachers' Federation, it will participate in the Spicer commission and it will be sending kits to all the children across the country so, there will be some action taken in the classrooms of the country on the Spicer commission.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Maybe you can encourage some of them to do some work on our document, which I think is better.

Mrs Wilson: If I may, the reason we did not respond to the specifics of your document, which we found an interesting document, is that we would have needed a research team to work for a month to respond adequately. It is a very thoughtful document.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I am glad you agree.


Mrs Wilson: You did not give us a long time to respond. We would be happy to take a crack at some of the questions more precisely and submit to you in writing in later stages. That was a very demanding document to send out to people, and rightly so.

The Chair: We understand. Thank you very much for your presentation.


The Chair: I call next the group, the representatives from Intercede.

Ms Hernandez: The strength and the real power of a country is not really measured by the so-called articulate leaders or politicians, or by the size of the budget, but by how we treat one another, whether they are immigrants or on temporary permits in this country. One such sector is the foreign domestic workers. Intercede is an advocacy and service organization that works for and fights for the rights of domestic workers. It has a membership of 2,000 women, and they have paid their membership dues every year. At each monthly meeting, you can have 400 women gathered at Cecil Community Centre.

Basically, the presentation of Intercede will focus on two principles: human rights, and also the service and employment sector of the whole legislation that holds this country.

Intercede strongly believes that the issue of human rights or human rights legislation, statutes, and facilities and social services should be universal and should be on a federal basis. We do not feel it should be given to provinces to implement per se. We believe a strong, universal program would be better for each and every one of us.

In terms of immigration, the foreign domestic workers are the only known workers required to live in with their employers for two years or so until they get their landed status. In terms of employment, the domestic workers in most provinces, with the exception of Quebec and Ontario, are not covered by the Employment Standards Act. In terms of social services, they are not able to access to social services, language and skills-training programs.

We see the domestic workers as the temporary answer to the day care crisis of this country. We strongly feel, because of their position in terms of employment, in terms of their immigration status, if the day care problems are not resolved or solved by different levels of government, this certain condition will pit women against women.

We also strongly believe the wholeness of this country can only be viewed by its integrity and dignity, and we feel that, with the domestic workers, this has not been translated fully in terms of legislation and practice. Thank you.

Mr Offer: I have a quick question dealing with the domestic workers program. You said that only in Ontario and Quebec is it subject to the Employment Standards Act.

My understanding of the domestic service program is that -- and I am not aware of the coverage by provincial ESAs -- there is a certain limit in terms of dollars, which is stated by the federal government and must be carried through each province: For instance, a domestic coming in on that program must get at least X dollars, of which a certain amount is attributed to room and board. I really ask this question just for my interest's sake. Is it not that the domestics coming in under that program will at least have some protection across the country in terms of a minimum wage?

Ms Hernandez: No, they are not covered by minimum wage, which varies in different provinces; but you are correct in saying that a certain portion is deducted from their gross salary for board and lodging and food. However, because of the vulnerability of domestic workers, and because they live in with their employers, they work long hours and are not able to claim overtime.

Mr Offer: So the problem you are bringing up is to make certain that the employers keep in line with the amount of hours a domestic should work each week as opposed to extending it throughout the evening and things of this nature.

Ms Hernandez: We have been saying that for so many years -- well, it is good to utter it again. It is not being practised consistently, but what I think is very important is to have a consistent application of this enforcement throughout the country and the different provinces.

Mr Offer: And you feel that this consistent application for the protection of domestic workers can best be served through federal legislation applicable from coast to coast to coast, basically, as opposed to province by province?

Ms Hernandez: On the condition that the federal legislation will pick the best legislation in the country. We do not want to have the poorest legislation applied to this particular sector. I just wanted to add too that domestic workers are not yet included in the Occupational Health and Safety Act of this province, and we hope they would be covered also.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next the Council of Canadians.

Mr Adolph: My name is Robert Adolph. I am a professor of humanities at York University and on the board of directors of the Council of Canadians. The Council of Canadians is 20,000 strong across Canada, with several thousand members in the Toronto chapter, which I chair. Our main concern is with issues affecting Canadian sovereignty. I cannot claim to represent our official position on constitutional issues, as we are still at work developing one. From my four-year involvement in the council, though, I feel confident that my views are typical of a majority of our members.

First, the council would like to express its thanks to the select committee for allowing us to speak before it. If we had had more of such democratic procedures when Meech Lake was being rammed through over our heads by the federal government, we might not be in the dangerous situation in which we now find ourselves.

Two tremendous issues have always dominated political discussion regarding the nature of our Canadian Confederation. The first is the relationship between so-called English Canada and Quebec. The commission has heard a great deal about this and related subjects already in the many briefs on issues affecting Ontario, such as bilingualism, economic and political relationships between Quebec and the rest of Canada, and so on.

The other great issue affecting Confederation has always been the relationship between Canada and the United States. Yet, speaking as a dedicated watcher of these hearings on TV -- I would regard myself as a veritable select committee junkie, in fact -- I have heard little about this question.

I am arguing here that the two issues are closely connected. They became, in fact, fatally intertwined on 22 November 1988, when Brian Mulroney and his Tories were re-elected, thereby ensuring the passage of the so-called free trade agreement. Two sorts of people greeted that event with great happiness. One, of course, were supporters of big business. The other were Quebec separatists. Their reasons were similar. Both realized that the FTA and indeed the entire economic agenda of the federal government represented a drastic surrender of government control over our destiny. The Tory program is the massive retreat from governance desired by both these groups.

Essentially, the FTA, the core of this program, is not really about free trade at all. Most trade with the United States was already tariff-free before the FTA, and the GATT agreements already gave us easy access into the global market economy. Rather, the FTA is a turning over of the control and planning of our resources and economy to large corporations, many of them foreign-owned. It gives foreigners, that is, Americans, virtually unlimited power to buy up our industries. No other country in the developed world allows nearly so much foreign control. In Europe they have a word for this surrender of sovereignty, and it is a term of contempt: "Canadianization."


Inevitably, this process has pulled our economy and culture south of the border, though not at all in the way the federal government intended. The federal government apparently thought, quite wrongly, that the VITA would open up a huge new market for Canadian business. With few exceptions, Canadians soon found out, however, that they could not compete against lower costs in the United States, as well as American trade barriers still in place despite the FTA. So Canadian industries have simply shut down and left Canada altogether, causing terrible job losses. This process will soon be accelerated if the FTA is extended to Mexico, with its $3-a-day wages, no environmental controls for businesses to pay for, and so on.

No part of the country has been hit worse by all this than Ontario. Both premiers Peterson and Rae realized that the FTA represents an economic disaster for our province. Even worse, related federal moves are unravelling the east-west ties without which Confederation cannot exist. I have in mind the weakening or privatization of Via Rail, the Canada Council, Air Canada, Petro-Canada, the CBC and Radio Canada International -- anything, in fact, with "Canada" as part of its name. And this morning driving in to work, I heard in Mr Wilson's budget -- my God -- they are weakening the RCMP. Heaven help us.

Our farm marketing boards, the basis of a national agricultural policy, are under heavy pressure and certain to be weakened or destroyed by "free" trade. Not only Confederation, but the very day-to-day quality of our lives will be undermined further by Bill C-69, which, no doubt to the delight of big business, will eventually eliminate federal assistance to social programs, leaving us not only with depleted services but no nationwide standards, and much worse is yet to come.

The forthcoming negotiations required by the FTA on subsidies to these social programs and other services -- or whatever is left of them after C-69 and Tory budgets, like the one this week, take their toll -- will force Canada and the provinces to scale them down to inferior American levels. In foreign policy, the crisis in the Persian Gulf has shown the world that Canada no longer has a shred of foreign policy independent of the nation to which it has sold itself.

Finally, as an example closer to home of how so-called free trade leaves us anything but free to shape our own destiny, Premier Rae's promised provincial automobile insurance plan could -- I emphasize "could" -- set the province on a collision course with the FTA. This conflict could be very interesting indeed. Go for it, Premier Bob.

For Quebec separatists, all this weakening of Confederation is obviously good news. It certainly strengthens their argument that Confederation cannot work and that Canada is not really a country at all. Furthermore, the FTA enabled the separatists to counter the argument that defeated them in the Quebec referendum back in 1980, that Quebec could not make it alone economically. René Lévesque never missed any opportunity to argue that under the FTA everyone in North America will be part of the same economic unit, and Jacques Parizeau makes the same argument today as a way to defeat the economic argument against separatism.

No one knows at this time what the future holds for Confederation. Will there be a restructured federal system or will a diminished Canada have sovereignty-association, whatever that is, with Quebec and perhaps with new sovereign nations of native peoples? Or will we soon be dealing with a new nation across the Ottawa River with whom we must form new economic and political arrangements?

The negotiations undoubtedly will be extremely difficult, but Quebeckers, native peoples and most other Canadians share similar democratic and humane values, and the final arrangement will, in the end, reflect them. What everyone seems to forget is that Canadians, Quebeckers, nonOuebeckers and native peoples have so much more in common than whatever it might be that divides them.

These future arrangements, however, will surely be more fragile than is the case now. As such, we will, all of us, be even less able than we are now to resist the northsouth pull of the United States. It is therefore all the more imperative, if we are to survive as a nation at all, that we must first throw out the present federal government and immediately abrogate the FTA.

We must also act to restore our hard-won unifying institutions that the federal government is systematically destroying. We must also ease trade restrictions between the provinces and set up serious national programs for the environment and research and development. Otherwise, Quebec will have every reason to leave a nation which, instead of developing coherent national policies, muddles along and lets multinationals and foreigners dictate economic policy. It is time we threw off our colonial past and started acting like an independent country.

Canada and Quebec can survive a stretched-out Confederation or even some form of Quebec sovereignty, but neither Canada nor Quebec can survive the FTA in an economic and political philosophy like that of the present federal government.

Lined up against any new revision of Confederation and the direction of genuine sovereignty will likely be the same unwitting but no less unholy alliance of big business and Quebec separatists that would like nothing better than to see a drastically weakened federal government. A great danger now is that a desperate Conservative government just might yield up virtually all its powers, as the Allaire report recommends. After all, such a move would be simply continuing its general decentralizing policies, whose centrepiece is the ETA. Such a surrender would satisfy big business, which always opposes government interference, except of course for bailouts, tax wnite-offs and the like.

It would also please Quebec nationalists and power-hungry provincial governments, as well as perhaps maintain the federal government's electoral power base in Quebec, if it stays in some form of Confederation. But it could well mark, for all practical purposes, the end of our nation and its culture. Such a hollow shell of a country could end up, if we are lucky, as a sort of Switzerland, which is run the way the Allaire report suggests for Canada, or a Czechoslovakia, with its two virtually autonomous parts. Because we are alone with the Americans here on this continent, though, we will more likely emerge as what Quebec separatists say we already are, a kind of North American Scotland, a pale or perhaps at times even amusing regional nuance of the United States, with only a few superficial trappings of nationhood, and maybe not even those.

While opposing such a fate, we in Ontario should be reminding our friends in Quebec to come to their senses and realize that a Canada weakened by the free trade agreement and other Tory policies, and by the resulting sovereignty or outright separation of Quebec, will also mark the end of Quebec and its distinctive culture too. For a supposedly sovereign Quebec will be in the same economic and political boat as Canada under the FTA. Once the fleur-de-lis waving and the singing of Mon pays in the streets ends, Quebec will wake up to find itself a tiny French ship in an immense North American sea. Its smaller economy will be even more vulnerable to foreign domination than Canada's. With luck, and thanks to its distinctive language and culture, Quebec could become for a while a kind of North American Ireland. More likely, under the FTA a supposedly sovereign Quebec will eventually dwindle into a North American Wales to Canada's Scotland.

Only when we realize what the future holds for us on this continent, with only the most powerful and energetic nation on earth for company, can we begin to work towards a revitalized Confederation. Again, members of the select committee, the Council of Canadians thanks you.

Mr Bisson: You were saying that you have been watching the committee hearings. One of the things I think the committee has been hearing a lot of is that people are mad. The overwhelming message is that people are somewhat disillusioned with the system of government, how government has been in some cases irresponsible or not listening to what people want. I think you struck something, and I just want you to expand on it a little.

If I understand what you are saying, and correct me if I am wrong, it is that part of the problem today vis-a-vis the problems we are having in trying to get the dialogue going between Quebec and the rest of Canada on reconciling the differences and accommodating whatever needs in the Constitution is that people are not looking at the issues straight or more clearly because they are so upset about the rest and have lost confidence in the federal government because of the dismantling of the Foreign Investment Review Agency, the free trade agreement, deregulation, privatization and all of those other things.

I just want you to expand on that a bit, because I think that is part of the problem. Not only are people fearful of what the situation would be if Quebec were to leave, but at the same time they are mad over where we have been going with federal policy and the losing of our rights as individuals.


Mr Adolph: There is nothing wrong with Canada. Canada is a wonderful country. The problem is the federal government. The country is fine; the government is terrible, what it is doing. They are systematically taking the country apart -- it is as simple as that. We have to kick them out and get rid of them and reverse their policies. They will say I am an old reactionary and fuddy-duddy. Hah! They have torn the country apart, and we have to bring it back together.

Mr Bisson: But what do we do now?

The Chair: Mr Bisson, I am going to have to move on. There are a number of other questions.

Mr Bisson: Just very, very quickly.

The Chair: Very briefly, please.

Mr Bisson: What do we do now? The reality is that we do live in a democracy and they do have another two years in their term. We are going to be going though this process where we need to sit down as a country and start talking about what we do with our Constitution. What do we do in the meantime?

Mr Adolph: We have committee hearings like this and we think very hard about getting rid of our government. In a democratic system, if we can get them out before their terms ends -- when does it end, 1992 or 1993? If we can just get these guys out of office. They are destroying this wonderful country and we have no other way of doing it. They are not budging. I do not know how to do that. I am not in politics. We may have to wait until the next election. Where are they now, 12%, 15%? They went up a little, 15%, 16%?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: You are very correct in your assessment that this subject has not been brought forward to us. Maybe you saw last night that the students from Peterborough talked a little about the American -- and I was rather impressed that they brought it. Do you think there is any hope? We have discussed from time and time and many people have brought to us the interprovincial trade barriers. But with the history of each province and the way this country was built, do you feel there is any hope that the interprovincial trade barriers can come down, and I guess my bottom line question, if the ETA can be reversed?

Mr Adolph: Can the ETA be reversed? There is a clause in it. It can be reversed in six months.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: But I am asking if you feel there is a political will -- do you see that across the country at all -- for interprovincial trade barriers being removed, or the ETA --

Mr Adolph: Everyone says it is a sort of -- I cannot

say motherhood issue any more -- a parenthood issue that they should be reversed. Everyone says this but nothing seems to happen. But to hold the country together is the obvious thing to do. Other things: a real environmental policy -- the Tory one is not a real environmental policy -- a better communications network between the provinces. There are so many things we could do. I do not know if there is political will. I think committees like this are doing very well to make people realize we have a huge crisis on our hands. Maybe that will get people to act before it is too late.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you for your presentation. I would like to hear your response to the Allaire report. In it, it still wants to maintain an economic association with the rest of Canada. I am curious what you think. Do you think we should make some kind of compromise in terms of economics?

Mr Adolph: A compromise of what?

Mr Malkowski: Following the Allaire report recommendations, they want some kind of economic association.

Mr Adolph: Well, the Allaire report, as I understand it, is essentially that the federal government would be reduced to have very few powers left. I assume all the tax moneys and everything would go to local governments and they would have the power; an extremely decentralized country. A country that works this way and rather successfully is Switzerland. The Swiss federal government deals with foreign policy, and practically that is it, maybe a few other things. It works in Switzerland. I do not think it would work in the United States, I do not think it would work in Canada, because instead of being on the crowded European scene with a lot of other countries, we are here with what Mr Trudeau used to call the elephant. It would be just us and them. So I do not see the country lasting except as a kind of nuance of the United States with some shadowy sovereignty. I do not see the Allaire report working much more than that. We are going to have to set up some kind of economic arrangements with Quebec somehow or other, no matter how we end up, but I do not see how -- I mean, what is a country? If a country has no control over its own economy, no control over its own foreign policy, no control over its own culture, do we have a country at all? Do we have, as I put it, a kind of regional shading, nuance, of the United States?

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Adolph.


The Chair: I call next the National Congress of Italian Canadians.

Dr Castrilli: I am Annamarie Castnilli, the immediate past president of the National Congress of Italian Canadians. With me today are Mario D'Ambrosio, who is the president of the Ontario region, and Gregory Grande, who is the president of the Toronto district.

We are pleased to be here today to participate in what we think is a very important dialogue at a critical juncture in our history. With an economy facing one of the most serious recessions in recent memory, with Canada involved in a major offensive in the Persian Gulf, with crises looming in education, in health care, in housing, in unemployment, it may not seem the most appropriate time to sit and ponder constitutional issues. Yet now, as never before, we need to focus our attention and our goodwill to the resolution of the often acrimonious debate this country has endured from its inception and which today threatens to tear the nation apart.

It is our view that Canada can and will endure. Much, however, will be expected of us as Canadians. While never forgetting this country's history, we must take an honest look at Canada for what it is. We must stop blaming one another for what are the perceived failures of the past. We must articulate the present reality in clear and unambiguous terms. We will have to determine what is most important to us and be prepared to compromise. We will need tolerance and clarity of thought. Above all, we must have a process for redefining ourselves which will be accessible and above reproach.

All of this, in our view, is achievable. Canadians are prepared to listen to each other's needs to be reflected in the Constitution and to look at options that will best amalgamate those perceptions in a renewed and more vigorous federation. They want solutions and have little patience for doomsayers and empty rhetoric.

It is also our view that we must begin to seek consensus on broad principles that define us as Canadians, and only after that has been achieved should we focus on specific items, policies and programs to make those principles a reality.

Our views set out in the brief before you are those of an organization which has for some time used its energies and resources in pondering our nation's constitutional history. Our views are grounded in the belief that, while nation-building is arduous and lengthy, accommodation is possible.

The congress is the umbrella organization representing the interest of over one million Canadians of Italian origin living across Canada. The Ontario region is one of seven regions of the congress, and its largest, representing over 600,000 Ontarians. The Toronto district is the single largest district within the congress, speaking for approximately 400,000 Canadians of Italian background. Our vision of Canada is predicated on eight principles which we feel must be considered in any constitutional renewal.

First, we must focus on the diversity of Canada. This country is no longer home to just two groups, but to people of many different cultural origins who consider themselves Canadians while at the same time wishing to retain their unique heritages. The duality principles espoused in the British North America Act are no longer applicable.

Second, the principle of equality must form the basis of the new Canada. Canadians do not feel that this is now the case. Even the supreme law of the land, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, imposes restrictions by guaranteeing rights and freedoms are limited by "such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. To enshrine such a notion in the Constitution, we submit, is to render equality meaningless. The advantage of proving what is demonstrably justified will always be to the state. We have seen evidence of this just recently. We therefore urge the elimination in the future of any language approximating the limitations described herein.


Third, we strongly favour the principle and practice of bilingualism, which we regard as more than an issue of language. It is central to the recognition of both our past and who we are today. French and English have been the mechanisms for communication for almost 130 years and have given us the framework for our laws. The legitimate aspirations of Quebeckers to maintain their own language should be recognized not only in that province but throughout Canada. We urge Ontario to commit fully to the principle of two official languages and thus to usher in a new age of bilingualism and understanding.

Fourth, multiculturalism has been practised in Canada since 1971 when the government of the day declared that thenceforth in Canada there would be two official languages but no official cultures. Multiculturalism was seen as a vehicle for national unity, fostering a sense of confidence in one's identity and respect for that of others. Section 27 of the charter guaranteed equality regardless of race, national or ethnic origin and required the charter to be interpreted in a manner consistent with the preservation of the multicultural heritage of Canadians. The Canadian Multiculturalism Act followed in 1987 and a bill creating a department of multiculturalism is expected to be given royal assent shortly.

Multiculturalism is now a fact of life in every part of the country, even Quebec, and is compatible with bilingualism. One of our greatest assets is that we are de facto a bilingual and multicultural country. There is no justification for thinking that multiculturalism is intended for Canadians of other than French or British stock or, worse still, for immigrants.

Multiculturalism is about the way in which we live with one another, about our obligations towards one another. It is at the heart of any discussion of equality and any strategy for the recovery of Canada. It must be understood as a tool for harmony that can bring Canadians together in respect and tolerance of one another's differences. But to achieve this, it must be given a proper definition that will speak to all of Canada's cultures and will say clearly that they are all equal before and under the law and have the right to equal treatment.

Fifth, in keeping with the central importance we attach to equality and multiculturalism, we are of the view that the rights and needs of the native peoples of Canada must be respected. Land claims must be settled and the aspirations of Canada's original inhabitants must be fulfilled. They must no longer be ignored in constitutional talks.

Sixth is the principle that institutional changes are critical if Canada is to be renewed. Ontario is a case in point. Not one government department, not one judicial district, not one commission, not one council comes even close to reflecting the multicultural composition of this province. Power is concentrated in the hands of a few. We must ensure equal access to these institutions in order to ensure that they will reflect the equality principles which a multicultural Canada must espouse if it is to survive.

We will also have to look at the type of institutions we have. There may be a need for Senate reform and to review the role of the monarchy, for instance. Nor should we require that all provinces have the same institutions. The needs of each province must be taken into account and appropriate structures fashioned in response.

Seventh is the notion of the division of powers, surely the most difficult area of constitutional renewal. Our preference is for a federal system in which national standards will prevail. The division of powers envisioned in the BNA reflected only two provinces and two linguistic, cultural and religious groups. That division has spawned a good deal of debate since 1867 and even more litigation. It is outdated and must be re-examined in the light of current realities. It is not beyond the ability of Canadians to devise a form of federalism which will support both the provinces' desire for increased autonomy and the role of the central government in setting national policies and representing all of Canada at the international level.

Eighth is the importance of economic considerations. Canada will not survive without the resurgence of our economy. To achieve this, we advocate a greater emphasis on education and research and development, on continuing the equalization that now occurs between provinces, on ensuring the productivity of our citizens by providing first-quality care to all.

Multiculturalism, too, is good business. With the growth of international markets, Canada now has an advantage unlike any other country. Canadians speak virtually every language in the world. We should encourage the retention of languages and the pride in one's heritage. We cannot afford to waste the opportunity which multiculturalism offers.

If we are to flourish as one nation, we must also abolish interprovincial trade barriers and we must cease these internal squabbles which will surely sap our energies and take away the focus we need for the economic battles ahead that we must win if we are to emerge as a successful nation in the 21st century.

These, then, are the eight principles we feel should guide our deliberations in the renewal of Canada. We will need tolerance, flexibility and patience if we are to reach a new agreement and live in relative harmony with one another. We must go back to first principles and find the common ground between us. We must build on the values we all share, being mindful of the past but never shackled to it. If we do, Canada will emerge as a just and renewed nation, an economic, political and social leader. We look forward to your questions and to working with this government on this important issue.

Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. It clearly elucidated certain principles which I must share with you. As we have travelled this province, there are principles generally shared by many people across this province, and your presentation well highlights some of those very important principles which we as a committee are going to have to deal with.

The principles you have brought forward seem largely founded on constitutional change, constitutional amendment or recognition, whatever. That is on one side. On the other, we have potentially, even at this moment, Ottawa and Quebec talking about a redistribution of powers provincially and federally, and that discussion might not necessarily require constitutional change. You have brought forward these principles which do require constitutional change. What is your reaction in the event that there is a bilateral agreement entered into with Quebec, basically settling the matter, leaving constitutional change and the principles which you have brought forward out of the picture? I would like to get your reaction to that. Certainly I believe it is important when we take a look at what the role of this province is in these discussions.

Dr Castrilli: It depends on the type of bilateral agreement the parties enter into. If it is an agreement that does not substantively affect the kinds of principles we are espousing, it is no more than another contract the federal government chooses to enter into with any party. If, however, the agreement entered into affects a significant portion of the population, even within Quebec -- I will remind you that a large portion of our community resides in Quebec -- and the minority rights of those individuals are threatened, or the equality opportunity of those individuals is affected, then we would feel very strongly about it. I would hope that the Ontario government at that point would look to that agreement and argue vigorously that it is an agreement which threatens national unity.

Mr Bisson: You raised a point in your brief that is rather interesting, and I went back and read it over a couple of times just to make sure I understood what you are saying. In the section of your brief where you talk about equality, you are saying that we should remove from the Canadian Charter of Rights the clause that says "such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." My understanding of that part of the clause is basically that a group which goes out and purports it wants to do something contrary to what a democracy is all about -- as an example, the group -- says, "We think it's our democratic right to be able to go out and hang whomever." That is what that clause is all about, to make sure that the Charter of Rights is not utilized to espouse something that is totally contrary to civilization as we know it. Can you explain that, why you are saying that should be removed?


Dr Castrilli: First of all, I think you are looking at the condensed version which I read. The brief you have before you in fact poses the legal argument, and I am sure your committee at its leisure will go through the legal provisions of our brief. Your interpretation of section I of the charter is certainly one that has been advanced before. But section 1, as you know, has also been used to quash the minority rights of individuals within a particular province, and I do not want to get into the specifics of the political decision.

I guess we would feel more comfortable with clearer statements about equality rather than limiting the equality provisions and leaving it in an arbitrary fashion, as it currently can be done, with respect to section 1. If we look to the example we have south of the border, where there is no such clause in place, the courts have nevertheless imposed certain restrictions so that the majority is protected. But it is only in very extreme circumstances; it is not at the political whim of the government in power at the time.

The difficulty with section I is that it binds too closely the protections that should be available under equality. I guess what I am arguing for is a different system of ensuing equality and -- I think what you are saying -- ensuring community standards. I think there are better ways of enforcing those community standards than through a clause of that nature, which truly restricts any meaningful interpretation of equality.

Mr Beer: As we have been going around the province I think it is fair to say that there is still a great deal of misunderstanding in some cases and just straight opposition in others to the dual aspect of being in favour of bilingualism and multiculturalism. Earlier this morning, in some of the presentations we were talking about the word "multiculturalism" and how it has taken on all kinds of different meanings depending on who is using it and so on and so forth.

In terms of this committee, what do you feel are the key things we need to explain about what it is, the openness of that term? What it is not meant to do is divide people or set up hyphenated Canadians and the like, which is a very strong view in different places. Do we need another word, another way to express this? Is this something your own organization has some difficulty with as well, in terms of perhaps how different generations look at it and see how it expresses their views of the country?

Dr Castrilli: First, let me say that if there is a misunderstanding of what multiculturalism is, what it is in law and what it is in practice, it is squarely the fault of governments, beginning from the very first government that enacted that policy, because there has never been any attempt to define what is meant. I think they have thrived from the confusion, quite frankly.

If you start with the statement that there are no official cultures in Canada, that surely must mean that all cultures are equal, yet people persist in thinking of this as an immigration policy, and we take great offence at that. I do not know how you say to a group such as ours, some of whose members have been here for 150 years, "You're still an immigrant because your last name ends with a vowel, and therefore you're multicultural while everybody else is either francophone or anglophone." Surely that does not make any sense.

It is a very long answer and I know we do not have the time, but in the material we have brought to you is included a brief which describes the history of multiculturalism. It talks about some of the legal principles we think ought to be embodied and was presented to the Senate committee on Bill C-93 just recently, which was the department of multiculturalism and citizenship, which, by the way, we objected to. The creation of a department of multiculturalism which would segregate 40% of the population is unconscionable. So we have tried to assist the committee in that regard and provide a framework for a proper definition. Thank you.

The Chair: Mr Beer actually touched on the point I wanted to ask, so we will leave it at that. I want to thank you once again for your presentation, both for the short version and the longer, more extensive collation of materials. Thanks again.

Dr Castrilli: Thank you, and we wish you much success.


The Chair: I call next the representatives of the society of the deaf-blind.

Mr Wadman: Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I have given you two papers. One I am presenting here in person and the other I have presented before. Use it as background information. I have entitled this paper Canada at the Crossroads and Deaf-Blind Persons. I am pleased to present on behalf of the Canadian National Society of the Deaf-Blind. To prepare you for the contents of my presentation, I wish to begin by introducing my group, the deaf-blind, through our accepted definition:

"A deaf-blind person is an individual with a substantial degree of loss of both sight and hearing, the combination of which results in significant difficulties in accessing information and in pursuing educational, vocational, avocational, recreational and social goals. Deaf-blindness is a unique disability requiring specialized services including adapted communication methods."

We depend on intervention services, defined as follows:

"Intervention is the provision of a professional service, paid or voluntary, to facilitate the interaction of a deaf-blind person with his environment.

"As a process of facilitating, the intervention can include translation, interpreting, transliteration, guiding and habilitation and rehabilitation teaching in the individuals' preferred adapted receptive communication methods."

With those remarks in mind, please note how I approach this presentation following the suggested guidelines of discussion.


1. "What are the values we share as Canadians?" As deaf-blind persons, we supposedly share the same values and human rights as everybody else. The key difference is that, being deaf-blind, most of us do not even know we have these values or rights because of the lack of information accessibility.

To sum this up, emphasis needs to be placed on the fact that deaf-blindness is not deafness plus blindness; rather, it is a singular and unique disability. The combination of hearing and vision loss compounds the information inaccessibility simply by making all auditory and visual information distorted, and we generally do not know of opportunities we can take advantage of.

Quoting on advocacy, one teacher who is also deaf-blind says advocacy is essential for deaf-blindness as it is not well understood by the community and, in many cases, is unheard of. This teacher repeats: Traditionally, advocacy has been done by hearing-sighted professionals who worked with deaf-blind people. Self-advocacy by deaf-blind individuals has been virtually unheard of.

2. "How can we secure our future in the international economy?" I will respond here by saying that we, the deaf-blind, can participate in this future only if information and appropriate services, namely, intervention services, are provided spontaneously and generously so that we can make decisions with the certainty of being in line with the mainstream of society -- and at a local level, at that, for if we do not have anything locally, how can we expect to have anything internationally?

3. "What roles should the federal and provincial governments play?" As most of our social standards are mandated downward from the government, both levels should establish departments of responsibility that provide guidelines and codes of ethics for the private sector to follow. As it is now, both government levels are providing confusion and inconsistency for deaf-blind persons in that funds available are being disproportionately and discriminately given to people who are not deaf-blind according to the consumers' perspective. In addition, both government levels are inconsistent in saying they want to hear from and help consumers, but in fact listen to service providers and ignore the consumers.

4. "How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples?" I know this issue faces the country as a whole. Our community has between 2,500 and 3,000 persons classifiable as deaf-blind. We could be considered a minority based on that label alone. Since deaf-blindness respects neither race, creed nor sex, such issues as this question poses are irrelevant. In fact, we could be called aboriginal people too. Stretching this into the area of integration, I wish to comment as follows.

Governments have a strong policy of integration. This is highly commendable, yet it is counterproductive where deaf-blind people are concerned. Are you surprised? Consider placing a deaf-blind person in a nursing home where nobody can communicate with him or her. That integration is just as effective as solitary imprisonment. On the other hand, when the housing project for deaf-blind persons is opened this winter in North York, the so-called segregation turns into integration, as the deaf-blind members of the community, feeling human, move out into the larger community. Respect that concept, please.

5. "What are the roles of the English and French languages in Canada?" This could be tied into the last question and comment. Add a list of languages, including American sign language, so as to make them officially recognized and therefore officially accessible for all. Singling out two major languages discriminates against all others. American sign language, adapted for deaf-blind persons, is used by 65% of our group.

6. "What is Quebec's future in Canada?" I do not know enough of the French history to participate fully in any discussion here, except to comment that Quebec teats its deaf-blind people in a different way from the rest of the country. The French government and other service agencies and associations label them "blind with a hearing impairment," thereby denying the French deaf-blind the recognition of their disability as a singular and unique disability, not part of any other. This so-called integration makes it difficult to find and help those who really need assistance as a direct result of deaf-blindness.

7. "What is the place of the west, the north and the Atlantic region?" In terms of provision of services to deaf-blind citizens, regions outside of Ontario are far behind. Ontario is even able to claim it is a world leader in provision of services to deaf-blind individuals. Unfortunately, there is no money and no resources available for the rest of Canada to duplicate this model.

8. "What does Ontario want?" To increase from a pseudo-luxury status to rightful opportunity access to employment, educational, recreational facilities, information and services beyond what is provided, at the rate of four to six hours of services per individual per week. Compare this with the fact that you have your eyes and ears 24 hours per day. Think, then, of our using eyes and ears only four to six hours a week through the provision of intervenors. Also, the fact that 54% of Ontario's directly served deaf-blind eligible employable are employed does not make a dent in the fact that more could be working and going to school.


To conclude, I want to emphasize the following: Relationships with other organizations tend to be strained primarily as a result of communication barriers. Deaf people shy away from touching; blind folks do not realize that touching for communication is even necessary. There are attempts at integration; barriers continue to exist. Most of the barriers are insistently attitudinal as there are so many methods of communication available.

Electronic networks are great; I am personally linked through the electronic network. Maybe four deaf-blind Canadians have access to computer equipment in Canada. England and Scandinavia are light-years ahead of us in this regard. The United States too has made deaf-blind consumers welcome on the open electronic systems. Socioculturally, this is not surprising. Other groups of disabled and minorities tend to do the same, that is, exclude others -- except electronically. The exception here might be Disability Information Services of Canada, a truly cross-disability electronic network with known and unknown disabilities. Again and again, deaf-blind people lose out with the inaccessibility to computers and training for the same.

It is necessary to recognize and respect us as we try to help ourselves define deaf-blindness, define intervention, access information, try to make ourselves useful and teach others how normal we really are. I hope this paper positively demonstrates how factors may be altered in order to create an appropriate climate in which we may pursue an acceptable course of progressive action.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Wadman. Thank you for reminding us very clearly and forcefully of some basic needs and principles that I think we need to keep in mind.

Mr Malkowski: Thank you, Mr Wadman, for your presentation. It was very comprehensive, and it made an impact on us. A state school for the deaf and blind program in the United States exists, but in Canada a school for the deaf-blind is not in a school for the deaf. My question to you is: What are your feelings on whether a program or school for the deaf-blind should be separate, or should it be part of a provincial school for the deaf?

My second question is, my understanding is that there is no training for intervenors in existence anywhere in Canada. You want us to have that entrenched in the Constitution or somewhere, that we can provide intervention training or training for intervenors in Canada.

Mr Wadman: They all have 20 hours first, in the beginning. The school for the deaf in Halifax, Nova Scotia had a deaf-blind program, had the door closed. People like myself, they escaped to the United States or the United Kingdom, and that was good because the standards for Canadian education really stink, and still stink.

But today there is the Atlantic provinces centre for hearing impaired program for deaf-blind persons, and the William Ross MacDonald School for the blind has a deaf-blind unit too. Then there is a unit in the R. J. Williams School for the Deaf in Saskatoon. But the trouble is that there has been fighting and inconsistency as to whether deaf-blind people should be served by the deaf or by the blind or by the hearing-sighted community. It has been controversial over the years, because in the United States they were split. Some are absorbed into the schools for the blind and others are absorbed into schools for the deaf. But basically deaf-blind people communicate as deaf and travel and live as blind. So you can argue for all you are worth which side of the fence you are on, but there is no program anywhere in Canada, or in the United States for that matter, that takes care of deaf-blind groups once they are out of school. In other words, if somebody becomes deaf-blind at a later age, which is often the case, he does not have the opportunity to go to night school or to university to receive further education, and adjustment to deaf-blindness courses everywhere are sketchy, not consistent. However, they are fortunate that Ontario again took the leadership, global, on provision of intervenors.

Then late last night, I found out that George Brown College has agreed to proceed with an intervenor training program. So that means, depending on the enrolment, 25 new intervenors can come out each year after the first two years. We need them so desperately. Since George Brown College is taking this lead and Sheridan College is also providing some high-quality communicator skills that we can use, I do not think the need to put this into legislation is viable.

Mr Eves: I would like to congratulate you on being an extremely effective self-advocate for the deaf-blind community. I think you have made every person, not only on this committee but across the province of Ontario this afternoon, much more aware of the plight of individuals in the deaf-blind community. Thank you.


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Wadman, on behalf of the committee.


The Chair: I will call next the immigrant and visible minority women's group. I point out to the committee members that we have, following this presentation, two more presentations before we can recess. Go ahead, madam, whenever you are ready.

Ms Benjamin: My name is Akua Benjamin and I am here representing this afternoon the Congress of Black Women of Canada, the Toronto chapter, as well as the Coalition of Visible Minority Women. Lest it be misunderstood in terms of my lone presence, I wish to preface my remarks by perhaps stating some of the things that were said this morning by the group of women who were here earlier, the Ad Hoc Committee of Women and the Constitution, and that is that the timing in terms of receiving the terms of reference for this committee's work came to us very late. What that means is that a number of women and women's groups representing black women as well as women of colour and immigrant women were not able to be here to respond. I fortunately happened to be one of the few members who, according to my schedule, could be here, but I am here representing many, many more women, and I want to tell you a little bit about that before I address or make my comments about the question that you are here for.

I want to thank you, first of all, for the opportunity to address the committee and to acknowledge that the consultative process for addressing these issues should at this point be made much more open and much more receptive to other groups, to other community organizations, because they too wish to be here today; they too wish to be part of this process.

The Coalition of Visible Minority Women is a provincial organization. We are composed of members who are new Canadians as well as second-, third-, fourth-generation Canadian-born women from 11 ethnocultural and racially distinct communities. As new immigrants, refugees and older Canadians, our experiences are quite similar because they are grounded in historic racist and sexist ideologies and practices endemic to Canadian society. Hence, the focus and task of our organization is to struggle for equal treatment and justice in all institutions and sectors of our society.

The coalition, as well as the Congress of Black Women, advocates on behalf of immigrant and visible minority women on issues of employment, skill streaming, language training, child care, health. Those include issues of family violence, reproductive rights, policing issues, education and other issues that affect the lives of immigrant and visible minority women and their families.

Our strategies for addressing the issues include advocacy, particularly with the provincial government, and along with some of the comments that were made earlier this morning, we too have been part of the consultative process in the past around constitutional reform, including the Meech Lake accord, the last Meech Lake discussions that were held here. We have undertaken and demonstrated pilot projects, we have been involved in public education and we work co-operatively with government agencies, private sector organizations and labour organizations. It is therefore in that context of struggling against racism and sexism in Canadian society that we frame our remarks on constitutional reform or on issues that affect Canadian unity.

There are three areas that we would really want to seek the unity talks begin to address. One is the whole notion that Canada is not simply a bicultural, bilingual nation but a nation comprising, first and foremost, the indigenous aboriginal peoples of this land. Canada also comprises people who are distinct by race, by culture, by religion, by language and by a whole host of other backgrounds.

The second framing of constitutional unity, we think, must include a recognition that racism and sexism are historically entrenched in our society, and while its impact is most experienced by certain minority groups, racism and sexism adversely impact on all sectors -- and I wish to underscore that: on all sectors, all institutions, all groups and individuals in our society.

The third context for framing the discussion, we think, should include a formula for Canadian unity which is not divisive but all-embracing and all-encompassing. Hence, unity must take into account notions of power, concepts of dominance, influence and control, as well as it must take into consideration concepts of subordination, powerlessness and disadvantage from many sectors of our society.

During the period of the Meech Lake debate there was a heightened awareness of the difficulty of uniting English and French Canada under the "distinct society" clauses that were being proposed. It took for us Elijah Harper's stance to bring to the attention of all Canadians that a sovereign Canada is more than two nations or distinct societies.

Not only do we feel that the aboriginal people's homeland must be recognized but that many minority groups as well have contributed to the development of Canada. These include the black loyalists, who are now resident for the most part in the province of Nova Scotia; Chinese and Japanese railroad workers; Italian construction workers; black women and Filipino women who are domestic workers in this country, as well as a number of other racial and cultural groups that have contributed to the development of Canada. This history and contribution of these groups must be given the recognition that is due to them in all sectors and institutions of our society.

We feel that concomitant with this focus must be legal recognition of the right to self-determination of the aboriginal peoples, as well as the right to equal treatment and equality for all and for all people of colour, ethnocultural as well as racially distinct groups. We feel that with such a recognition, this will signal the commitment to equality and equal treatment for all Canadians, including those who are most disadvantaged.

Sexism, and particularly racism, are often treated as a new phenomenon in Canada. They are often regarded as new issues that arose with the most recent immigrants to this country. This myth allows governments, institutions and society in general to respond to both racism and sexism in a very topical and ancillary fashion. This means that in the main, agencies and institutions respond mainly to critical racial incidents and focus mainly on victims of racism and sexism in a short-term, ad hoc fashion. This indubitably leads to a blame-the-victim syndrome and in the long run perpetuates racism and sexism in our society.


There must be recognition that our society is stratified by both race and sex, that it is not a recent phenomenon but historic, that it is endemic to all institutions and, while the evils may be exacerbated, when there is a greater influx of immigrants and refugees who are women and also distinct and of distinct racial backgrounds, racism and sexism play a role in the society by keeping groups divided for the purpose of maintaining the present social, economic and political status quo.

We believe that this understanding can lead to expanding our vision of methods for eliminating racism and sexism. Therefore any constitutional change, from the east to the west, from the north to the south, must go beyond what is presently enshrined in the Constitution of 1982 and that which has been promoted through the Meech Lake accord. It must go beyond individual acts, to a broader understanding of what these acts of racism and sexism mean to our society.

We believe that unity cannot be truly accomplished unless the imbalance of power, dominance, influence and control maintained by certain sectors and groups in society is shared with groups that are disfranchised, disadvantaged and outside equal access to goods and services of our province and of our country.

In particular, we again draw attention to aboriginal people, to immigrant and visible minority women, to domestic workers, to minority women, particularly in the garment and service industry, to racial minority youths and children, to single parents. These are groups that are among the poorest members of our society. Their needs are either paid little attention or, when addressed, they are presented in piecemeal fashion. These approaches help to perpetuate their condition.

We believe that addressing oppression and exploitation by rearranging power imbalances is a new formula for beginning to address unity, for beginning to eliminate subordination, beginning to eliminate powerlessness, oppression and exploitation for racial minority youths, particularly black students, who are marginalized by the streaming process within our school system. This practice means that the future generation of our youths and children will increasingly be left out of opportunities to advance to their highest levels and to make a valuable contribution to Canada. The ethnocentrism in our present educational system must be overturned in order that black and other youths can be valued and value part of the educational institution as it meets their needs and their challenges.

We recognize that the human rights codes and multicultural policies of all governments have proved to be very limited and inadequate at addressing issues like streaming, like inequality. Immigrant and visible minority women are hardworking, talented contributors to our society. They must be given opportunity to share and exercise their skills and talents with all of society.

Demographers know that Canada must increasingly depend on immigrants if it is to continue to develop. It is not simply the needs of the population that must be addressed. The issues of racism and sexism are key if we are, as a country and as a province, to work together in harmony and in unity. Racism and sexism must be eradicated, and our Constitution must include this type of focus.

Mr Offer: Thank you for your presentation. I have one question. You speak about issues of great importance being recognized within the Constitution, and I am wondering if you might share with the committee whether you feel the issues can be best addressed at a provincial level or whether there is the necessity for these issues to be addressed at a federal level.

Of course, one is sort of into a balance as to whether the federal government should be dealing with a standard across the country, keeping in mind that it will be up to the individual provinces to meet that standard or not, but I want to know whether you feel that the particular issues you feel should be found within the Constitution should be found within the Constitution on the provincial side or the federal side.

Ms Benjamin: The point I am trying to make is that our issues of racism and sexism are not new issues and they are not simply provincial issues. These are Canadian issues, so I think it behooves the federal government to address these issues, to have them as part of our constitutional framework.

I think that in a province such as Ontario where you have a high representation of minorities -- I believe the highest in the country is here -- program and policy development pieces have to be in place, but the province takes its mandate or its direction from a Constitution that enshrines the rights of all. To the extent that I think that racism and sexism are not -- excuse me, I am sorry, but I overhead a remark a minute ago as I was delivering my speech and I think it is very rude. I would ask if the gentlemen speaking can please be quiet while I speak. Thank you.

The point I am trying to make is that racism and sexism are not issues that just affect a minority. These are Canadian issues, so I think it behooves the federal government and the processes that we have to address that issue via the Constitution, and I think that any province will take its direction, its leadership, from a central government.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: I call next the representatives from the Ontario Federation of Students. Go ahead.

Mr Jackson: Thank you very much for the opportunity to present to you today. My name is Tim Jackson. I am the chairperson of the federation. Greg Elmer is the communications director for the federation. We would also like to thank Mr Silipo, who spoke at our general meeting about a month ago to student leaders across the province.

La Fédération des étudiants et étudiantes de l'Ontario représente environ 240 000 étudiants dans les collèges et les universités de la province. Elle a été fondée en 1972, alors ça fait à peu près 20 ans qu'on fait des choses pour les étudiants dans la province.

Post-secondary education is one of those areas that is very definitely both a provincial and a federal responsibility. What we would like to do today is explain to you why we feel the current funding arrangement is not working and leave you with four recommendations that we hope the committee, when discussing Ontario's role within Confederation and its relationship to the federal government, will consider.

While we are going to discuss primarily funding of post-secondary education, we did want to draw to the committee's attention some of our policies in terms of French-language support in the province. We have for several years supported both autonomous, unilingual francophone colleges and universities within the province, and we hope that this committee will play some sort of active role in ensuring the funding from the Secretary of State is guaranteed or, if the Secretary of State balks at funding for these institutions, that the provincial government will go ahead and continue to establish the French colleges it has already committed to and hopefully establish at least one francophone university within the province.


I would like to start at about 1967, which is the first time that the federal government made transfers to the provinces as opposed to directly to universities and colleges. At that time, the federal government, to all intents and purposes, provided 50% of operating expenditures. The province was required to spend money on colleges and universities and would receive a matching grant from the federal government. The incentive obviously was that for every dollar spent, it got another dollar from the feds. If the province did not spend on post-secondary education, it did not receive the transfer payment from the federal government.

In 1977-78, the established programs financing act was introduced. At that time, the federal government agreed to make transfers to the provinces for health care and education, but now the provinces were no longer required to spend that money on post-secondary education. The money can be spent on anything. One of the long-standing jokes has been that many a Minister of Colleges and Universities has said that every road leads to a university, when explaining why money that should have been targeted for post-secondary education was spent on roads and transportation.

Ontario currently ranks ninth out of 10 provinces in funding for a student. We think part of the problem is the way the funding formula currently works. The federal government transfers both money and cash but also tax points to the provinces. The provinces and the federal government have never been able to agree on what exactly the tax points represent and how much money they represent.

The current Minister of Colleges and Universities acknowledges that at least 73% of all money spent on post-secondary education in this province comes from the federal government. If you include the transfer of tax points, that amount goes up to about 93%, which suggests the provincial government is not really kicking in much at all. If we still had the matching grant system, Ontario would either be forced to spend more on post-secondary education or receive a much smaller grant from the federal government.

The current situation that Michael Wilson and Brian Mulroney have introduced since they took office has been to cut transfer payments to the provinces. On Tuesday they were again frozen through 1995. The transfer payments only grow if a province's population grows; not a student population, but a population. This is something that we hope the committee will address in future negotiations with the federal government, to ensure that growth of transfer payments, particularly for post-secondary education, is based on growth of student population, not growth of population as a whole.

The push to freeze transfer payments that Mr Wilson and Mr Mulroney have introduced and continue to implement simply leads to increased tuition costs within the province. The unfortunate thing is that, as these tuition costs go up, they certainly do not go towards quality of education, because there is less government money being kicked in. Students are paying more and more for less and less.

It is no surprise to us that whenever anyone talks about the current funding situation at colleges and universities, they refer to a crisis and they refer to a crisis that started about 12 years ago. The Minister of Colleges and Universities' advisory group suggests that we should be returning to the funding standards we had in this province of about 13 years ago. That is exactly the same time at which the funding arrangement changed, where the provinces were no longer required to spend money on post-secondary education to get money from the federal government and at which point the complete accountability mechanism was lost.

Although the federal government has cut the transfer payments, we do not believe the province of Ontario can simply blame the federal government. It must, of course, acknowledge what is happening, and I think this is similar to health care. Students are always put in this situation. We come to the provincial government and are told, "The feds aren't giving us enough money." We go to the federal government and are told, "They're not spending all the money at the provinces on post-secondary education that they should." We hope this committee will do something to try to ensure that students are not played off from one government to another, that some accountability mechanism is put in place.

We would like to leave with you four recommendations:

The federal and provincial governments must undertake a study of the present established programs financing formula and consider alternatives to this formula. Obviously, we would hope that that study would be consultative with faculty, with staff, with students, but the current system does not work. No one seems to like the current EPF funding formula and we hope you will take an active role in trying to come up with a new one.

We believe that this formula must include a mechanism for accountability of the provinces spending the money on post-secondary education, must represent and reflect student growth in the province and must guarantee some sort of cost-sharing between the two governments.

We believe there needs to be a federal post-secondary education financing act that would entrench national standards. By national standards, we mean making sure that student aid is the same in every province. Currently, there are 10 different student aid packages between the 10 provinces. We need national standards so that students can also be portable from one province to the other within the country.

Finally, we call for the establishment of a national council, made up of government representatives, both federal and provincial, post-secondary faculty, staff, students and administrators, to advise both levels of government. Obviously, the strongest of the recommendations is the first one, that we need to redesign the EPF funding formula, but we certainly hope you will consider all four in your report and in future dealings with the federal government.

Mr Malkowski: Your presentation was very clear. As we have been travelling around the province, we have been very much made aware of the needs of a college and university for the francophone community in the north. I would like to ask you two questions. First, how many francophone colleges and universities are there in Canada that you know of in existence? Second, which place do you think would be the best place to establish something like that in the province, and would that be a college or university?

Mr Jackson: The first question, in terms of how many there are, off the top of our heads we believe there are about 10. There are several outside of Quebec, several in the province of New Brunswick specifically. Currently, Ontario has one unilingual francophone college.

The Minister of Colleges and Universities has received a report recommending that two more be established, one in northern Ontario and one in southwestern Ontario. We fully support those recommendations. The one in the north, I understand, will probably happen. The government is balking a bit on the one in the southwest. It has been suggested that probably somewhere around the St Catharines area would be the best place, somewhere in southwestern Ontario, because I think there is a need for a French college. We have also called for the establishment of a French university in northern Ontario specifically as a starting point, but would also support one in the south.

Mr Malkowski: I would just add briefly, from the information we have been receiving, you realize that there is only one university in the world for deaf people and that is in Washington, DC, Gallaudet University. That was established at the same time as Canada, so you can imagine that if you had no francophone university or college in Canada, when Canada was growing as a country, I think that is a poor statement on us as a nation. But the point is that all cultures need to be valued in terms of institutions.

Mr Jackson: Yes, agreed. We have always pushed policy and pushed the government on issues for disabled students within the province of Ontario. There simply are inadequate resources. The University of Trent right now is a perfect example, where a student is taking the university through the courts, challenging it because of a lack of access for the student and we have backed the student 100%.



The Chair: I call then our final presenters in this session from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, Raymond Connolly and Neil Walker.

Mr Walker: I am Neil Walker, an executive assistant in the external policy department at the OSSTF, and with me is Ray Connolly, also an executive assistant in the French-language services department.

I would point out that OSSTF is very pleased to have this opportunity to speak with you. Canadian unity is a matter of some concern to us. You have received a copy of a press release that went out following the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice's response to the federal budget, and I would draw your attention to our president's remarks:

"What hope do we have of saving Confederation if major national symbols such as the CBC, Via and universal medicare are thrown on the garbage dump?"

We regret the small amount of time available to prepare submissions to this commission, but we would congratulate the government for this initiative which will lead, we believe, to maintaining Canadian unity at a time when all the provinces, as well as the Canadian government, are seeking the road to accommodation.

M. Connolly : La Fédération des enseignantes-enseignants des écoles secondaires de l'Ontario compte au-delà de 43 000 membres dont plus de 3500 enseignent en français, langue première, ou en français, langue seconde. Nous représentons également des psychologues, des travailleurs sociaux, des orthophonistes, des secrétaires et des professeurs suppléants qui oeuvrent dans les écoles de langue francaise.

En dedans de notre structure, nous avons un comité de langue francaise qui a été fondé en 1968 afin de permettre aux enseignants de langue française en Ontario d'obtenir des instruments pédagogiques qui favoriseraient un enseignement de qualité dans les écoles secondaires de langue française nouvellement créées. Par la suite, le comité s'est allié aux collègues anglophones de la FEESO dont la vision canadienne était semblable à la nôtre, c'est-à-dire une vision qui engendre la conception d'un pays uni sur un principe inviolable de multiples cultures à l'intérieur d'un Canada bilingue.

Mr Walker: OSSTF has contributed to the growth of its members who teach in French as a first language or in immersion French. The federation also has encouraged the development of the teaching of the French tongue both in Canada and at the international level. We have tried to bring help to teachers of such francophone countries as Guinea, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Zaire.

It is our policy, which we adopted in 1986, that the province of Ontario should declare itself officially bilingual by stating its intention to adhere to sections 16 to 20 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We believe that the presence of Quebec in the heart of the Canadian Confederation creates a healthy and enriching linguistic and cultural experience.

M. Connolly : En outre, cela crée un climat de compréhension, de tolérance et d'ouverture d'esprit face aux citoyens qui proviennent de divers pays ainsi qu'aux nations qui nous entourent.

Bref, notre réputation mondiale de peuple compréhensif découle en partie de la capacité de nos citoyens à s'accommoder, à se respecter, à fraterniser, à être solidaires les uns les autres grâce aux différences culturelles et linguistiques qui existent au Canada.

Nous espérons que le Québec choisira de demeurer au sein d'un régime fédéral. Toutefois, le choix du Québec n'influencera en aucune façon les francophones de l'Ontario qui y habitent depuis des siècles et qui ont défriché plusieurs coins de terre ici en Ontario. Au risque de nous répéter, les francophones de l'Ontario n'ont aucune intention de déménager. Ni leur maison ni leur âme ne sont à vendre.

Je devrais peut-être ajouter aussi qu'il y a des fois une fausse impression que les francophones de l'Ontario sont des gens qui sont venus ici récemment, qui sont d'ici du Québec. Par contre, il y a beaucoup de francophones qui sont ici depuis, comme je l'ai dit, des siècles, qui sont un peuple fondateur ici en Ontario aussi bien que les gens qui étaient un peuple fondateur au Québec. C'est un point que je pense est important à mentionner.

Mr Walker: The francophone members of OSSTF and other associations have contributed to the growth of the French fact in Ontario. They will continue to do so because they believe that quality education goes beyond the boundaries of a province or of a country. In effect, learning goes beyond political conjecture. It addresses the humanity of the individual. The teaching of two official languages reflects and at the same time creates the distinct culture of our country. We believe that this bilingual character of our province should continue to exist even if Quebec decides to leave us.

OSSTF insists that the Silipo commission consider the needs of the students and the educators who tomorrow must come to grips with a world whose boundaries are still to be defined and whose cultures intermingle. We wish always to maintain that distinctiveness.

M. Connolly : La francophonie de l'Ontario s'inspire de l'appui inconditionnel que le NPD a offert à cette même francophonie lorsque ce parti était dans l'opposition. Nous souhaitons que cet engagement saura se maintenir, s'affirmer et même s'accélérer tout au long de son mandat. La FEESO et le comité de langue française maintiennent le lien fédéraliste. Également, nous endossons l'aspiration de la communauté francophone à vouloir vivre ici en Ontario à titre d'égaux tel que reconnu par la Charte.

Nous reconnaissons aussi formellement dans nos politiques le droit des parents d'avoir une éducation dans la langue officielle de leur choix pour leurs enfants et nous croyons aussi que les autorités scolaires devraient fournir le nécessaire pour que cette éducation ait lieu.

Selon notre pensée, la commission Silipo ferait bien de recommander des écoles d'accueil subventionnées par le fédéral et régies par le provincial là où il existe un haut taux d'immigrés. Ces écoles d'accueil pourraient permettre à nos immigrés d'acquérir l'une ou l'autre des deux langues officielles du Canada de même qu'un aperçu général de notre culture canadienne.

La Fédération des enseignantes-enseignants des écoles secondaires de l'Ontario souhaite que votre enquête soit des plus fructueuses et conforme à notre vision d'un Canada uni s'ouvrant aux multiples cultures au sein d'un Canada respectueux de l'intégrité de ses peuples. Tel l'ont voulu les pères de cette grande Confédération.

Voilà le pays, voilà la conception, voilà le chemin à suivre pour cette commission.

Mr Walker: To conclude, we believe that our federation demonstrates the richness of our country. We represent many francophone employees who work in the public system and in a good number of the separate schools. We would like to see in Canada the spirit of solidarity and goodwill which are supreme among our members.

The Chair: Thank you very much for the presentation. Questions? Mr Wilson?

Mr G. Wilson: Thank you for your presentation. We have heard from -- at least in my short time on it -- a couple of delegations of high school students. I was wondering what your impression is of the flexibility of the system to respond to events like the constitutional crisis in Canada. Some of the students, for instance, did not seem to be that aware of conditions in Quebec or what, I guess, even their colleagues in other parts of the province thought about the situation. If they had that curiosity about what is happening, how easy is it to find materials on a short-term basis?

Mr Connolly: I think you are right. I think it is difficult to communicate to students. I do not think it is just a question of students; I think the whole of the Canadian people are suffering now from a difficulty of understanding people from various other parts of the country. I think it has been exacerbated by a lot of other conditions -- the whole free trade question.

Now, certainly, at a time when Canada is in a great constitutional crisis, our television is inundated by the war in the Gulf, which again brings students to a point, I think, of a certain level of frustration and an inability to take in all of the negative things that are happening now and I think it is very unfortunate that we have not had the opportunity to really concentrate on this subject as well as we should have, given all of the turmoil that has existed around it.

I certainly believe that it is our duty as educators to do the best job we can to communicate to the students the very serious nature of the ongoing struggle that we have had.

Mr G. Wilson: I wish you luck.

The Chair: That concludes this sitting for us. We will recess at this point for a short dinner break and come back, if we can, as close to 7 as we can, shortly after 7, to begin the evening session. We will need to ask the people in the audience, along with us, to also vacate the room for the break because our staff will need to reset the room for the evening sitting, because we will be breaking the committee into two parts for that purpose.

The committee adjourned at 1831.