Thursday 28 February 1991

Evening sitting, Committee room 151

Michael Dean

Robert Maule

Dorothy Whitworth

Barbara Yurkoski

Willowdale NDP Federal Constituency Association

Julio Schincariol

David Louie

Alex Perlman

Gordon Turnbull

Patrick Kutney

John Sommers

Ron Lamb

Helen and Bill Robson

Vera Walton

Dudley Francis

First Nations Student Union of Osgoode Hall Law School

Rudy Lak

Martin Jaeger

Kirk MacGregor

Robert Arnone

Patricia Semach

Pierre Blevalant

Richard Comber

Robert Mortimer

Albert Tuchel

Jasper Kujavsky

Frank Naccarato

Tadeus Lipinski

Lewis Eisen

Tim Whitehead, Daniel Schwanen

Monica Stritzky

Shaul Ezer

Harold Beatson

James Boles

Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television anal Radio Artists

John Hopkins

Edith Silver

Nola Crew

Bill Belliveau

Stephen Johnson

Bozena Kolar Eisenhauer



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, in part, resumed at 1914 in room 151.

The Chair: I call the meeting to order and welcome you all this evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Tony Silipo. I am the Chair of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation. We want to welcome you to this evening's session here in Toronto.

This is the continuation of our hearings across the province, ending up today and tomorrow here in Toronto. Because of the number of people who were interested in talking to us, as you can see, for this evening we have had to divide the committee into two halves. I will be chairing this half and the Vice-Chair is chairing the other half of the committee in another room in the Legislature. These proceedings will be shown live over the parliamentary channel; the other proceedings will be taped and shown, I think, tomorrow afternoon. We have done that to accommodate as many people as we possibly could in speaking to us, to respond to the demand there has been for people to speak to us.

Also, as I think people know, but it is probably worth while to underline at the beginning, we have had to establish a five-minute deadline for people. We are going to have to be fairly strict with that, because we do have more than a full list of people, and in fact we have other people who are on a waiting list in ease we are able to get through the list any faster. We will sit for the next three hours and get through as many people as we can and do the best we can, but we ask for and appreciate your co-operation in that as well.


The Chair: Without further ado, let me call Michael Dean as the first speaker to come forward.

Mr Dean: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Michael Dean, private citizen. I represent no special-interest group. I am just speaking on behalf of most of the people I know and myself.

I came to Canada 24 years ago. Since that time, I have seen almost constant friction between French and English Canada over language, government contracts or just power plays. You cannot have two masters. Double authority and peace do not go together; the two will always be in conflict. When the issue of ultimate authority is not clear and singular, there will always be unrest and instability. Duality divides, language divides, division weakens. We must unite at all costs. A house divided within itself will never prosper, and unless we get our house in order we will not be able to compete with the emerging giant economic threat in blocs like the European Community and the Pacific Rim. We must start preparing ourselves for the 21st century right now.

We support the position that Confederation should be maintained, but that it can only be maintained by a clear commitment to Canada as one nation, in which the demands and aspirations of all regions are entitled to equal status in constitutional negotiations and political debate and in which freedom of expression is fully accepted as the basis for language policy across the country. Should these principles of Confederation be rejected, Quebec and the rest of Canada should consider whether there exists a better political arrangement which will enrich our friendship and respect our common requirements by mutual consent and for our mutual benefit.

Government: We support the principle of allowing constituents a recall procedure against an MP who they feel has violated his or her oath of office. We believe public policy in a democratic society should reflect the will of the majority of the citizens. We also believe in the common sense of the common people, their right to be consulted on public policy matters before major decisions are made.

We support the re-examination of MPs' and senators' expense allowances, free service, staff privileges, limousines, in light of private sector standards and in light of the failure of MPs to reform the House of Commons. Until a balanced budget is achieved, the salaries and expenses of government MPs and their officers should at least be frozen.

We support a general program of expenditure reduction until elimination of the deficit or the debt is achieved, characterized by cuts in spending on parliamentary institutions and party caucuses, thick layers of middle management in federal administration, foreign aid, grants to interest groups for the purpose of political lobbying, subsidies and tax concessions to business and federal pet projects such as official bilingualism and multiculturalism.

We oppose the current concept of multiculturalism and hyphenated Canadianism pursued by the government of Canada and would end the funding of the multicultural program. We support the preservation of cultural background as a matter of personal choice: Whether or not an ethnic group preserves its cultural background is the group's choice. Most special-interest groups should be financed by the people they benefit and not by the taxpayer.

Immigration: Canada's immigration system is a mess. For more than a decade, it has wandered aimlessly from crisis to crisis with periodical promises of reform and amnesties to solve the problem of illegal residence. The views of ordinary Canadians have been largely ignored while immigration agents, lawyers and special-interest people have grown fat on our folly.

For every nation, there comes a time when these people must stand up and be counted, a time when the people and not the politicians must control the destiny of the nation. We have seen a spectacular example of this in Eastern Europe. We say we are a democracy, but a country is not a democracy simply because it gives the right to people to elect representatives. These representatives must do the will of the people. Probably the most important question we will ever ask ourselves is this: Who do we want to represent us in the next constitutional battle? Do we want the present inmates -- 1920

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

Mr Dean: Do we want one of the other two parties, who also supported the Meech Lake accord unconditionally, one of which wants to take us back into the future and the other down the path of socialism? No way. We have had enough. We must build a new Canada. We must seek reform. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Robert Maule, and I will be calling Dorothy Whitworth after Mr Maule.

Mr Maule: Thank you, Mr Chairman. You and the other committee members look remarkably fresh considering all the things that have been going on.

My name is Robert Maule. I am a graduate student at the University of Toronto. I grew up in Toronto, though I have worked summers on the Trans-Canada Highway in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I spent 10 years living in Vancouver. I have done two summers of research in London, England. I studied one summer in Madison, Wisconsin, and I lived for over two years in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and most of my comments are going to be based upon my background.

My great-great-grandfather came to New Brunswick in 1805. He was a captain in the British army and had transferred to the New Brunswick fencible infantry. At that time, New Brunswick was one of the colonies that made up British North America. The political, social and economic unity between the colonies of British North America was slight.

If the Allaire report is an indication of where politicians want to lead Canada, then it would seem that we are heading back in the direction of loosely connected political entities not unknown to my ancestor.

In any case, he left British North America in 1810 to pursue his military career in Great Britain. My great-grandfather came to Toronto in 1870 to serve as a deputy sheriff. He had been a captain in the British Imperial Army, he had fought in Crimea and in India during the mutiny. The British North America of his grandfather's day was confined to Newfoundland. By 1870, the former British colonies, with the exception of Newfoundland, had coalesced into a dominion under political leaders who decided that Canada should be a constitutional monarchy with a strong central government.

From 1867 until the present moment, that system of government has served its citizens well. Canada has one of the highest standards of living in the world. It is not subject to periodic coups by the military as experienced in Thailand nor are its citizens subject to the misguided and rapacious policies that many people in Burma endure under a military dictatorship.

Certainly, Canada is not perfect. We do have problems. For example, geographic and demographic patterns have led to so-called have and have-not areas. In addition, the Canadian veterans who suffered torture and deprivation in Japanese prisoner-of-war camps during the Second World War have not attained any government support in their quest for compensation from Japan, but by and large the evolution of Canada has been a great and glorious achievement.

In the rush forward to alter our institutions, many people have lost sight of our traditions and what they symbolize. Responsible government, equality under the law and freedom of the press are but some of the benefits. Yet the most dynamic and powerful social force in this century has been nationalism. This notion of nationalism may prompt Quebec to leave Canada, but what is to be done?

On the one hand, we cannot force Quebec to remain within a political structure that it wishes to leave. Ultimately, the final decision rests with the people of Quebec, but if Quebec does decide that no, it will not establish itself as a sovereign state, Canadians have reason to be pleased. However, to retain Quebec, politicians must guard against weakening the powers of the federal government in the way the failed Meech Lake accord would have done. All provinces must have the same powers and must be treated equally. If Quebec does decide to leave Canada, the rest of Canada, as nine provinces, can and will survive. The adjustment may be difficult, but Canada will make the adjustment.

Obviously, certain programs fed by the taxpayers, such as bilingualism, will not be viable any longer. The number of French-only speakers in a Canada without Quebec would be too small to warrant the cost in bureaucracy now involved in running this program.

What other changes might occur? Senate reform may be one area available for a manoeuvre. Our fellow member of the Commonwealth, Australia, can serve as an example of how an elected Senate functions in relation to responsible government. Needless to say, whether Quebec remains in Canada or not, our form of government, the constitutional monarchy based upon the British parliamentary tradition, must be protected. We understand the system and we have operated it efficiently.

One of the key problems I have found does not lie in the weakness of our parliamentary system but in the weakness of our educational system. We must be the only country in the world that does not teach its students who the head of state is. People who only take one history course and one geography course in high school can hardly be expected to understand the working of our political system, let alone be able to make an intelligent comparison of our system with those that are operative in other countries. See to it that the youth do not grow up little-minded. Have them remember Macaulay's fine words, "A people which take no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants."

Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Dorothy Whitworth, and following Ms Whitworth I will be calling Barbara Yurkoski.

Ms Whitworth: Mr Chairman, members of the select committee, Canadians are overgoverned yet poorly represented by their elected members. Residing in North York, I must support six layers of government, with virtually no input into the system despite my efforts. The Fathers of Confederation promised us peace, order and good government.

One wonders how they would view Canada today. Who do our politicians serve? All too often, personal gratification and power are paramount. With a huge national debt and a constitutional crisis brought on by their actions, it is akin to Nero's fiddling while Rome burned.

In 1967 we celebrated Canada's centennial. I remember a proud nation, including my family, singing, "Canada, now we are 20 million." Our national debt was $28.5 billion. The 1991 population is 27 million, and that debt has soared to $400 billion. Why? How on earth did we allow ourselves to get into such a mess that a third of every tax dollar goes to service the debt -- not to pay it now, just to pay the interest? We must review the monetary policies and programs of that period and learn from those mistakes. Canada is fast becoming another Argentina, a Third World country. Who has the backbone and the guts to apply the brakes? It has to be the people, for we can no longer trust our politicians. They have failed us and failed Canada.

If a new Constitution or major amendments are required, a constituent assembly must be convened, with each and every clause ratified by Canadians through referenda. No package deals allowed. This will take time and patience, but the end result will beat rolling the dice.

My own recommendations: Maintain a strong central government; direct election of the Prime Minister and premiers; accountability of all elected and appointed officials, with a mechanism for recall and/or impeachment; a fixed four-year term federally and provincially; aboriginal land and treaty rights settled in full; Yukon and Northwest Territories achieve provincehood; remove trade barriers between provinces.

On the local scene, I would like to see the Metropolitan Toronto council be disbanded and co-ordinated services managed by a committee from the current municipalities. One exception should be a publicly elected chairman.

On the education scene, math, science, history, geography, English and French must be made national -- underline "national" -- mandatory subjects from kindergarten to graduation. Compulsory biannual testing of teachers is also necessary.

My local concerns are the crime rate that is escalating in Metro Toronto and police who recently admitted that they have lost control over certain sections of the city. We are becoming a carbon copy of New York despite the valiant efforts of our police force. Strong measures are necessary to regain our city from the criminal element.

I am still shocked by the high number of illiterate graduates after 10 years of passing through the public school system. Back to basics in reading is essential. Unproven methods are stealing our children's future.

I am also mad at this province that dictates mandatory programs in the North York school system and yet does not provide one penny for education in that city. What a nerve. It is a bloody nerve, actually.


As we approach the 21st century, communications are of the utmost importance, and internationally the English language has become the accepted vehicle. It is the language of science, aviation, commerce, our biggest trading partner and the new united Europe. Canada cannot afford two official languages. The cost is too great, not only in dollars, but most importantly in its divisiveness. Canada's politicians have become adept at institutionalizing divisiveness, and then wonder why there is a lack of unity. We must remove all artificial barriers. We need more common threads to bind us. Additional languages can survive and flourish in Canada if individuals have the determination to maintain them by their own efforts and cost. I have many neighbours who are living proof of that philosophy.

In 1989 the admitted cost of official bilingualism at the federal level was $1.7 million per day, and I have that in writing from Senator Lowell Murray. Perhaps Mr Beer could inform us of the cost of Ontario's French Language Services Act. Please remember that it is the same pocket that all six levels of government have their hands in. It is not a bottomless pit and taxpayers, unlike politicians, cannot give themselves salary increases.

I have been appalled at the number of self-interest groups that have appeared before this committee. This process should be for the individual person whose main concern is for the welfare of Canada. Also, politicians who have been constantly given the benefit of a platform for putting forward their views and have even been given extra time.

We are constantly reminded that we are and need to be tolerant. This conditioning over the past 20 years has left too many Canadians bemused about their ability to challenge their leaders or the system. If we had not been so tolerant, we would not have a debt of the amount that we have today.

All Canadians should participate in establishing our future spending priorities. Many current expenses should be slashed until we have got our national debt under control. The groups having special interests which fall outside our priorities will have to be creative in self-funding their own causes.

Conclusion: Canada is in for a tough time. Constitutional crisis, recession, mounting unemployment, national debt and many other concerns will take their toll on us. However, Canadians have known previous hardships and survived many conflicts, including the Great Depression of the 1930s and two world wars. We must stop this constant navel-gazing which has become a national obsession. Canadians must act in a responsible manner and forgo some personal wants for the greater good of a stable and united country.

The Chair: Barbara Yurkoski is next.

Interjection: Mr Chairman, I must rise in protest at this moment after that wonderful presentation by that lady.

The Chair: I am sorry, sir.

Interjection: I am sorry too because I want to speak on behalf of all the people tonight that will not get a chance to speak, sir. An awful lot of money has been put into this and it is being handled very poorly.

The Chair: You are entitled to your opinion, sir. We are going to carry on.

Interjection: I was scheduled to speak at 2 o'clock this afternoon --

The Chair: Sir, we are not going to be able to carry on this way. You are going to sit --

Interjection: Well, we are not going to be able to --

The Chair: Sir, you are going to sit down or you will be escorted out of the room.

Interjection: I am on my way out, sir.

The Chair: All right.

Interjection: I would not rise in protest if I was not. I came here to impeach Brian Mulroney --

The Chair: Brian Mulroney is not here, sir.

Interjection: -- and I find myself having to impeach this committee.

The Chair: Sir, please sit down or leave the room. Ms Yurkoski, carry on, please.

Interjection: Sir, I will leave the room at your suggestion and tomorrow I will go to the Ontario Human Rights Commission --

The Chair: You can go wherever you please, sir.

Interjection: -- and I will launch a protest that I have been discriminated against as a Canadian citizen by this committee.

The Chair: Sir, we have tried our best to accommodate as many people as possible.

Interjection: You gave me a period of 2 o'clock this afternoon.

The Chair: We did not give you a period of 2 o'clock, sir.

Interjection: Yes, I was.

The Chair: Let's carry on. Ms Yurkoski, go ahead.

Interjection: There are an awful lot of people that were assigned 7 o'clock tonight who will never be able to speak also, sir.

The Chair: I will be calling Anne Adelson next. Go ahead.

Ms Yurkoski: Thank you.

In the booklet prepared by the Ontario government to introduce this committee, the Premier invites us to talk about values. This is a --

Interjection: I apologize to the Canadian taxpayers and the Ontario citizens who are watching at this moment, but this protest --

The Chair: Sir, I really do not want to have you escorted out of the room. Would you please just sit down or leave the room? You are interrupting a speaker.

Interjection: We must accept your schedule --

The Chair: You are interrupting a speaker, sir.

Interjection: I am interrupting the process, sir.

The Chair: Sir, leave please or sit down.

Interjection: I came here and I was scheduled at 2 o'clock this afternoon. I came to speak on behalf of 30,000 people.

The Chair: I am really sorry, sir. I do not want to resort to this, but we cannot have the meeting interrupted in this way.

Interjection: When somebody grabs you, it is an assault. You understand that. Excuse me, I will leave the room on my own speed. Yes, sir.

The Chair: All right. Go ahead.

Interjection: But I will launch that protest with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

The Chair: Sir, you do whatever you wish. Go ahead.

Interjection: It's a lot of money and a lot of hard work. Do you know how hard people fought for this freedom?

The Chair: Let's try again.


Ms Yurkoski: In the booklet prepared by the Ontario government to introduce this committee, the Premier invites us to talk about values. This is a difficult topic because it is inherently subjective, but it is an important one because our political institutions incorporate our values. Politicians can provide leadership by making us reflect on these values, but in a democracy the role of politicians and bureaucrats is to apply their political and technical expertise to serve the people. They should not expect to impose their values in a matter as fundamental as constitutional change.

During the Meech Lake debate, the Prime Minister said that without bilingualism Canadians would have no identity. Before I comment on this, I want to make it clear that I accept the special status of the French language and culture in Canada, but when I think of Canada, I think of much more than bilingualism and I am afraid that these other qualities are endangered.

That is why I am taking this opportunity to tell my provincial government about my concerns for the future of Canada.

Canadians are characterized by subdued nationalism, but I think it is a mistake to equate this with a lack of feeling for Canada as a distinct society. To me Canada is a country that combines the American values of freedom and equality with an acceptance of a bigger role for government in improving the quality of life of all its citizens.

It is also a country with a real respect for individual, cultural and political differences, a country where diversity of opinion is respected, and until recently has been seen as a peacemaker and a country with an independent thoughtful foreign policy.

A country is not a magical entity but the sum of its people and their values, and if people's thinking and circumstances change, the nature of the country can change. It seems to me that Canada has been changing in some ways for the worst.

In particular, I sense that concern for the quality of life of all Canadians is being replaced by calculating self-interest and that many of our political leaders have become role models for this ideology. Even Confederation is treated as little more than an economic union to be discarded if there is no economic gain for the individual province.

As my contribution to this committee's attempt to understand the values of Canadians, there are three points that I want to emphasize.

First, I do not admire politicians who treat political life as a high-stakes poker game, nor do I admire those who use a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis to assess political issues as if they were not affecting the lives of human beings. I want political leaders to show concern for the quality of life of all Canadians, to combine an awareness of practical realities with an understanding of human needs and a vision of human possibilities.

Second, I want to be a citizen, not a subject. I was deeply angered by the high-pressure tactics employed in the Meech Lake affair and by the attempt to label all those who were concerned about the accord's effects on Canada as bigots. I do not want to see fundamental constitutional issues decided in federal-provincial conferences where politicians who are elected to deal with provincial matters are insulated from the wishes of the electorate. Senate reform, referenda, forums such as this one and perhaps a constituent assembly are viable ways to give people more input into government.


Finally, my third point, while some change in our political structure is unavoidable, the federal government must retain the political and economic powers that make Canada a nation. I wish that Canadians would accept the historical, legal and social reasons for giving the French language special status in Canada, and I understand that lacking this acceptance, Quebec must have special powers to preserve its language, but I am opposed to any plans to transfer to all the provinces the kind of powers Quebec is demanding.

I do not have time to go into detail about the federal-provincial division of powers, and in any case I am not an expert in this area, but I believe it is important to distinguish between, on the one hand, the goal of increasing the role of the provinces and regions in matters that directly affect their lives, and on the other hand, the consequences of encouraging regional thinking, special interests and counterproductive competition between governments.

The federal government must have the power to maintain standards for social programs and to co-ordinate development if Canada is to be a nation.

The Chair: Can you sum up, madam.

Ms Yurkoski: I am. I do not claim to have anything original or surprising to say to this committee. In fact, I hope what I have said is not surprising at all, and I hope that you are hearing it from so many people that it cannot be ignored. I hope that a substantial number of Canadians see their country as more than a union of economic advantage and that this committee will hear from people who want to continue to build a country in which bilingualism is only one of the qualities that makes them happy to be Canadian.


The Chair: Could I call next Anne Adelson, and following Ms Adelson, I will call Julio Schincariol.

Ms Adelson: I am speaking on behalf of the Willowdale NDP Federal Constituency Association. One of the earlier speakers suggested that special interest groups or political parties are somehow suspect. We think that our involvement in politics is a demonstration of our concern and our commitment to the issues over the years.

So without discounting the value of individual contributions, we think that groups have a part to play as well.

We are responding to your invitation to discuss a new Canada. We agree with your characterization that Canada is at the crossroads. The crossroads, as we see it, pose both unique dangers to the future but also unique opportunities for development. Certainly we do not see the status quo as an option any more. But we would like to consider the present situation and we believe that this constitutional crisis that we have now was neither inevitable nor necessary and it was caused by the current federal government.

Unfortunately the Meech Lake fiasco has caused rifts and exacerbated tensions in Canada to such an extent that we truly wonder if we still have the necessary consensus of values to keep the country together. These threats to our nationhood are coming in the context of an increasingly competitive economy globally and a federal government whose political agenda appears totally tied to continental integration.

But beyond the dangers we see opportunities. Someone remarked recently that Mulroney has achieved what no previous Prime Minister in Canada has been able to do, and that is to politicize the Canadian public. Maybe we can recognize that the original consensus that allowed Confederation was a negative one, not American, and perhaps now this current situation is acting as a catalyst for Canadians to really discuss the values we share.

At this point, I must say I agreed with a lot of what the previous speaker said and I think a number of Canadians are searching for values. Certainly we do not want to see Canada break up or Quebec leave Confederation. Some of us feel that the survivability of any parts of a divided Canada are less secure than others, but we certainly share a desire to keep Canada together.

We like the way that you have characterized the discussion around values because we think that values are what define Canada. We should continue to support and push the values that we have established, like sharing the wealth, economic management to serve the needs of people, protection of the rights of minority groups and minimum standards of basic necessities for all Canadians.

When you look at Canada, it really does not make sense as a geographical or economic unit and it does not really meet the definition of a nation-state either, so it only makes sense politically. If we stay together, it is primarily on the basis of our shared values. We believe that the new Canada will be based on this common vision we develop through dialogue.

We also feel that the fact that Canada is not a finished product is actually an advantage rather than a problem. There is a great potential in being an unfinished, young, adolescent country, and we hope that the model that we can become in maturity will be a positive one for the world. We think the world needs Canada badly.

We think we could set an example for the world to create a nation where at least two, French and English, nations can live in harmony, and we think it would be a terrible pity if we could not get it together in Canada. Where else can they do it? We really feel this strong need to do that. We also think we could provide a great impetus to international understanding and co-operation if we really dealt with the multicultural face of Canada.

Democracy is a principle very important to Canadians. A number of the speakers have said this before, and certainly dealing with the Constitution we want to make sure the Constitution belongs to the people and not the politicians. I have to add a note here. We applaud your contribution through these hearings and through the discussion paper. We feel that we should not have treated the overwhelming public response as such a problem, rather see it as the need that exists. I was upset that that man had to be escorted out by the police and I hope in the future we can look for more creative solutions to people really wanting to speak. One of the solutions is one that you have taken up tonight, which was splitting the commission into two groups. It seemed like a logical idea to us.

We would like to see Canada become more independent and also more interdependent on other countries besides just the United States. We need more self-sufficiency in our national economy and we believe one way we can do this is through a much bigger immigration policy, together with a commitment to absorb new immigrants and tackle the problems of racism.

As far as the roles of the federal and provincial governments are concerned, we believe there is a need for a strong central government to speak up for the nation as a whole, and to encourage and preserve national unity and to uphold the values and principles we share for all Canadians, no matter where they live.

We also believe that the present federal government has failed dismally on all these counts and has divided Canadians as never before, French against English, women against men, the different provinces against each other, the aboriginal people against the rest of Canada. We have seen our national institutions demolished, and these were institutions that were created to enhance Canadian unity. I am thinking of the CBC, Via Rail and now Terminal 3 at Pearson International Airport.

The other thing that causes us alarm is the spending cuts in transfer payments just announced in the budget by Michael Wilson. We feel these cuts are bound to exacerbate regional divisions and also that they pose very real threats to essential programs for Canadians. Surely this is one of the most important of our shared values.

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

Ms Adelson: Okay. We think there should be a law against this. In fact, we think some values and principles are so important to Canadians that they should be entrenched in the Constitution, not left to particular governments to treat them or not treat them, as they will. We believe the Constitution is something that no government in Canada should be allowed to use for its own political purposes. It belongs to the people. It has been built up with our values we have created over the years, and we certainly do not want to see a repeat of the kind of crisis we have now through inept management by government.



The Chair: I call then next Julio Schincariol, and following Mr Schincariol I will call David Louie. Go ahead, sir.

Mr Schincariol: Good evening, Mr. Chairman, and hello to all of the committee members. Thank you very much for allowing me this time to present.

I know the committee has been travelling for the last month and listening to people all over Ontario and hearing their concerns on the French-English language issue and aboriginal issues, and all of these issues seem to look at language rights specifically.

However, deaf people in Ontario really feel very much left out of the discussion. We are talking about spoken languages, French, English, aboriginal languages, and yet there is a group of people who are very separate from that who are also Canadians who are deaf, and we share very serious concerns about our own language and our own culture.

The Canadian Association for the Deaf was founded in 1904. Dr Verditz at that time said, "As long as we have deaf people on earth, we will have sign language," and that quote talks about language rights and has been a part of our history for over a hundred years. I think the time is right now for me to come here and speak to all of you and to emphasize to the committee this issue.

Maybe you are aware of some of these points and maybe you are not. Through your travels across the province, I know you have heard a variety of different people and I know deaf people have spoken to you as well, so you may be familiar with some of what I am going to say tonight. However, I feel I need to follow up and also to speak myself.

1. Government communication and accessibility is a must. We must have that provided in American sign language. Often you see government publications and advertisements in a variety of different languages, Greek, Italian, French, yet nothing is put out in American sign language, there is nothing available for us. When I talk about sign language, I mean both American sign language and LSQ, langue des signes quebécoise.

2. In any government business issues, interpreters must be provided. It is not only for the benefit of deaf people. Interpreters benefit both deaf and hearing people, allowing us to get together and to communicate with each other.

3. TV programs that are government-funded should have interpreters in both ASL and LSQ provided. There should be full access to government-funded TV programs. Often we see programs that are funded and there is absolutely no way for deaf people to access that information. We too want to know what is going on in the world.

4. Deaf and hearing people pay the same taxes. However, information access is certainly greatly unequal. Why are we paying the same taxes if we cannot access the services? I would recommend that the government establish a committee that includes deaf people as well as government representatives to talk about communication accessibility.

ASL and LSQ are a fact of deaf people, and it is time the government recognized those languages. The government does not understand what ASL and LSQ are. They do not respect the language and they do not respect our culture, so we are very separate. Again I would recommend the establishment of a committee that would look into the possibility of having ASL and LSQ and deaf culture entrenched in legal terms, similar to Bill 8.

The general public in Ontario, of course, uses telephones to communicate, as I am sure everybody sitting around here does. Italian people can use the phone, other cultures can pick up a phone and call people, but deaf people cannot. We have to pay additional money out of our own pocket to pay for TTYs. That again is not equal access. I would recommend that Bell Canada be told that it must provide a telecommunications device for the deaf to deaf people so we are only paying for the same service and the phone system is accessible to us also.

On the issue of education, which, of course, is a very critical issue for deaf children in Ontario, I think we can draw parallels between francophone children and deaf children. I would recommend that we establish a system that allows deaf children to have access to education through ASL and LSQ, just as francophone children are allowed into schools where courses are taught in French; it includes their language, includes their culture. That is a model that should be used for deaf education also so that we can have our language and culture used in the school.

But then we move on to university-level education. The only place there is a university for deaf people is in the United States, so Canadian students wanting to go to university are forced to go to the States to get that education. Canada has no such facility for deaf people. I would recommend that we establish a university where students can access classrooms and classroom information in ASL and SQ at a university level and that that should be done in Ontario.

The deaf community's perspective and the medical professional's perspective on cochlear implants are in complete opposition. I would recommend that a government committee be established that has representatives from both the medical profession and the deaf community to look at the ethical and moral issues and that both of these representatives be involved. Young deaf children are currently being implanted with these cochlear devices, yet there is absolutely no substantial proof that in any way it enhances their lives, so I would recommend that we put a moratorium on the continuation of implanting young deaf children.

The recommendations I have brought up this evening reflect very serious concerns by deaf people in Ontario, and I would ask you to respect their language and respect their culture in the same way that other languages and cultures are respected in this country. Thank you.


The Chair: I call next David Louie, and following Mr Louie, Alex Perlman.

Mr Louie: The party line does not belong in a democracy. Elected officials must be accountable to the people who elected them. Representation must be fair and equal for all regions of Canada.

1. Let every native reserve be its own riding for a seat in the House of Commons.

2. Senate elections shall be held exactly two years after federal elections.

3. Every candidate for a seat in the House of Commons, in the Senate or in the Legislative Assembly shall run as an independent, with no affiliation to any political party. There shall be no political parties in the federal, provincial or municipal levels of government.

4. Elected members of Parliament shall hold two votes, one to select the Prime Minister and one to select the Speaker of the House. The runner-up to the Prime Minister-elect will become the Leader of the Opposition.

5. The Prime Minister will form the government by choosing members of the Parliament to be in his cabinet. The Leader of the Opposition will do likewise to form the shadow cabinet. The rest of the MPs will hold the balance of power.

6. In the Senate one vote shall be held, and that is to select the Speaker.

7. Senators shall align themselves from bill to bill according to the opinions of their constituents.

Pat Carney has recently proven that party members do not always agree with party policies. When Lucien Bouchard was sitting on the government side of the House of Commons, he defended the government's policy of high interest rates. Now, sitting on the opposition side, he criticizes it. Alex Kindy and David Kilgour have proven that party-line politics and constituency representation do not mix well in the present government. It rules by party line, not by constituency representation. The 10 December by-elections have proven that, by midterm, opinion is changed. This is why I propose Senate elections two years after the federal elections.

My proposal emphasizes constituency representation, which is democracy. Elected members answer to their electorate only. My proposal forces every candidate running for a seat in the House of Commons to have his or her own national policy. Each member, from native to separatist, has an equal chance to become Prime Minister. Therefore, his policies must address Canada nationally and regionally. Party puppies, such as Harvie André, Kim Campbell, Benoit Bouchard and Mary Collins, will become obsolete because they will not be able to stand on their own.

No bill shall pass through the House of Commons with the same ease that the free trade agreement, the unemployment insurance bill, the goods and services tax, the Meech Lake accord and the abortion bill did. Our armed forces would not have been so hastily committed to war. I do not care if these policies of the Tory government are good and would make Canada into the most successful country in the world. The arrogance of his ministers and the fact that Mulroney rules by dictatorial decree are blatant abuses of democracy.

When alcoholic fisheries ministers sell off fishing rights to other nations, when rancid tuna is accepted and passed on to consumers, when the business development minister gives loans to strip joints while explaining that the GST is needed to fight the deficit, when junkies become senators, when cabinet ministers resign in the face of scandal, knowing they will later be promoted, and when the Prime Minister's wife takes $10,000 air trips to Europe on taxpayers' money, we citizens must seriously reconsider the privileges of the people who run this country.


My proposal focuses on making the government accountable to the people who elected it. I am not satisfied that calling another election will be the answer to Canada's frustration, because the mechanism of party-line rule is still ingrained in our system of government. I do not point the finger specifically at either Jean Chrétien or Audrey McLaughlin, that they will rule Canada as tyranically as the present leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, but I do stress that the potential is there as long as the party system is the basis for governing Canada. Imagine if Peter Pocklington had won the 1983 Tory leadership race.

The most fundamental mistake Canada can make is to have education under provincial jurisdiction. The province is governed by regional requirements. Education is a national concern. It is taken seriously in Japan, Korea and Sweden, to name a few countries. Even communist China and Nazi Germany know the importance of education. In Canada, in Ontario, we trivialize the education system by trading schools between the public and private sector as if they were hockey cards or items in a flea market.

Graduates from Quebec are required to successfully pass all their courses in the French language without English-language requirements. Graduates from British Columbia are required to successfully pass all their courses in the English language without French-language requirements. The learning and teaching of another language is a learning, teaching and understanding of another culture. The single most important subject, without intending to sacrifice math, science or history, is that of languages.

My proposal is this:

1. The public education system shall be a federal responsibility.

2. English and French shall be taught concurrently, but as two separate classes beginning in grade 1.

3. Teachers shall be free to choose any of the official languages to instruct.

4. Other languages should be offered as optional courses.

In an overview of national unity, the decentralization of the federal powers and the separation of Quebec bring the disintegration of the rest of Canada and its absorption into the United States. I am not being irresponsible by stating this. I am putting out what will be. This is the goal of the American-funded PC Party of Canada. Look at the effects and ramifications of PC policies. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Louie.


The Chair: Alex Perlman. Following Mr Perlman, I will call Gordon Turnbull.

Mr Perlman: Good evening. I understand I have five minutes to present to the committee. What I would like to do is to leave some time in case there are any questions, so you understand what I am trying to present.

Basically, my presentation has to do with democratic reform. The way I have characterized our current system is one of periodic democracy. It seems to me that it is periodic because we have the opportunity every four or five years -- sometimes more often, but generally in that period -- to elect a new federal government, similarly a provincial government. Also, we have our municipal elections periodically. As we all know, many promises are made in an election campaign, many of which are not fulfilled. But once a majority government is elected, the public has very little power to do anything to change what is taking place. We have just seen that in terms of the GST. We all know the majority of the Canadian public was against it, yet it went through, and I do not see that as being democracy.

What I am suggesting is a form of ongoing democratic process whereby the constituency at each level of government has the power to directly affect government policy. I do not know what kind of percentage would be looked at. Obviously, it will be a maximum of 50.1%, but I think some smaller percentage would be more practical in terms of a group of the population putting forth its views, either being opposed to some government policy that is now in effect or being proposed, or proposing a new policy, so that in a situation such as the one I have pointed out with the GST, where you have a majority of the public against it, they can voice their opinion through a petition or some other means, and that a process can be set up so a referendum can be held.

I give in my outline here an example of a process that could be used. With the technology we have at this time, it would be very easy to facilitate that process by giving each voting person a personal identification number with which they vote in combination with their social insurance number on toll-free telephone lines and bypass the great cost we undergo each time there is an election. In this way, they could voice their views about a policy that is going to be imposed or to change something which is currently in effect.

The last section I have has to do with information obviously. The government of Canada said many times: "The public doesn't understand the GST. That's why they're against it." I personally find that to be an affront to my intelligence. I read the documents very carefully, I understood them better than a lot of people on the information lines, and I was very much opposed to it.

The information sessions I am suggesting would make some means available, whether it is through the CBC -- hopefully it will still exist -- but some means whereby people who are for a certain policy and people who are against a certain policy can make those views known so that all of the public can be well informed and thereby make their vote and not have to wait until another election. Mulroney says, "Three or four years down the road people will change their mind." Even though now he might only have 15% popularity, what is he going to do three years down the road? We have all seen spending rise prior to an election. Is this any way to run a country?

The proposal I am making has to do with giving input all along the way so that in fact it is an ongoing democracy. I welcome any questions or comments here.

The Chair: We will be able to allow one very brief question and a very brief answer.

Mr Offer: Mr Perlman, thank you. We have heard many presentations dealing with the whole question of referenda. Briefly, do you see any potential difficulty when one uses a referendum in a matter where the policy revolves around the protection of a minority interest?

Mr Perlman: I was thinking about that, and my view is that in our country people value the rights of the individual, and certainly the minority has to be protected. There is no guarantee in our current form of government that the minority is going to be protected, and I think that question is relevant in the current form of government just as well as it would be in referenda. I think the information in terms of voting for or against an issue must incorporate that point.

The Chair: Thank you very much, sir.


The Chair: Gordon Turnbull. Following Mr Turnbull, I will call Patrick Kutney.

Mr Turnbull: Mr Chairman and members of the select committee, I was unable to reduce my paper to five minutes, therefore I will submit my paper and will speak only about the major items that are contained therein.

In my opinion, one Constitution must be developed that is acceptable to most Canadian citizens whether they are French, English, aboriginal or immigrants from other countries. The Constitution must apply equally to all people from Newfoundland to British Columbia and from the US border to the tip of the Arctic. The concept of equality to all citizens in all 10 provinces and two territories is the mandatory concept that I feel must be embodied clearly in the Constitution. Inequalities such as the Meech Lake fiasco are not acceptable.

In Ontario, we have for generations tried to teach all of the students French and English to promote bilingualism. When I was at Jarvis Collegiate 38 years ago, we were taught both languages. Our travels to Quebec and French areas of Ontario showed that this knowledge was inadequate; therefore, when our children came along, we voted for French instruction starting in grade 1. All four of my children have finished this curriculum.

At the same time as we in Ontario were trying to teach our children about the French language and culture, we read in the newspapers and see on television that Quebec is passing laws prohibiting students from speaking English in the halls of their schools. Laws are passed in Quebec prohibiting businesses from putting up signs that are not in the French language. The federal government does absolutely nothing to ensure that the English people living in Quebec have equal rights; therefore, we have an exodus of English who choose to flee rather than put up with these laws.


This is not the equality we want for Canada. The revelations in front of this committee of Mr Mulroney's "Franco bank" are shocking, to say the least. This discrimination by the federal government is definitely not the equality we want for Canada.

If special status is going to be negotiated for Quebec, then I feel that special status must be negotiated for the remaining nine provinces and two territories. In my opinion, special status for Quebec or any province is unacceptable.

Government leadership: The time has come for governments at all levels to start to lead instead of bowing down to all citizens and non-citizens who have nice-to-have shopping lists. Governments must realize that there is a limit to how much money we can pay them. In 1990, the Fraser Institute stated that we worked until 8 July just to pay taxes. With the addition of only the 7% GST and the 1% additional provincial tax, the people of Ontario will work in 1991 until the middle of July just to pay tax. This is outrageous and shows a complete lack of leadership in government. The time has come for all levels of government to cut back on spending or they are going to face a general tax revolt.

Therefore, the revised Constitution must include a means to reduce the term of office of politicians such as Mulroney and Wilson before they completely destroy Canada.

The Senate: The recent passing of the GST by the federal government and by the Senate has highlighted the fact that the Senate is a useless body that is nothing more than a place to put patronage appointments. The fact that appointments continue as long as a person lives is outrageous. The Senate may only need to be overhauled, with some suggestions such as equal representation from each province having merit. However, in my opinion the Senate is a totally useless part of the bureaucracy that should be eliminated with the new Constitution.

Symbolism: Colonial days are long over and the time has come for Ontario to have its own flag that does not have the Union Jack or the coat of arms. The flag should be distinctive, such as Quebec's, and should not contain any symbols from the English monarchy. This would be a good way to start with the new Constitution.

Trade: If we are to continue the existing trade arrangements that provide such an enormous part of our economy, I feel some corrections must be made, and I am only going to pick out two:

Items that are imported into Ontario from countries, provinces and states that do not have environmental protection laws at least comparable to ours should be charged a percentage environmental charge that would go directly to our program and help reduce the burden on our industries. This charge would be a variable amount depending on the differences in legislation.

Countries, provinces and states that do not have similar worker protection codes and worker protection systems should similarly have a charge on items imported into Ontario, with the proceeds going directly into the workers' compensation fund. It is totally unacceptable that jobs should be lost to outside manufacturers who do not have similar laws to Ontario's.

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

Mr Turnbull: Okay. Just one last thing. Quebec after separation: The people of Quebec should be told that they do have something to lose. Quebec must take its share of the national debt. Quebec ought to be told that it no longer will be getting billion-dollar equalization payments. The south shore of Quebec should not be transferred to the new country, as a link such as this must be kept by the rest of Canada so we can continue without Quebec. The area of Quebec around Hull that houses the federal government buildings must remain in Canada. An audit must be completed of all federal government properties and lands. Payments must be made to Canada for the appraised value. No consideration should be given to turning over Labrador to this new country. Agreements made between Newfoundland and Quebec regarding hydroelectric power should be voided.

Mr Chairman, thank you for allowing me to present my ideas before the select committee.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Patrick Kutney, and John Sommers will be next.

Mr Kutney: I can race through this and get through it in five minutes, or if you want I could be more leisurely and take about six. Your choice.

The Chair: We prefer that you not race through it because it does cause problems for the interpreters. If you could trim some of it and give us salient points, that would be preferred.

Mr Kutney: Okay. I feel like a firefighter who can only save one child from a burning school. In five minutes I will try to deal with just a couple of aspects with regard to Ontario, Canada and the Constitution.

The role of this committee and this province in continuing Confederation is of monumental importance. The national perspective will have to come from the various provincial commissions, as the Spicer commission is so badly structured that the chance of something meaningful coming out of it are bleak. We are asked to meet in discussion groups to answer their 14 questions, many of which have little to do with addressing the mess we are in. An in-depth analysis is impossible and most answers will be glib. There is no opportunity to meet with commissioners and the chances of a brief being read are remote. It is consensus on a shallow level. Anything out of the norm will be rejected before it even gets to the commissioners.

This committee will give its interim report on 21 March and a final report, I believe, in June or July. What happens in spring? I hope we can learn at some point tonight or in the next few days how this committee will function until summer. There is widespread consensus that the closed-door policy of constitutional negotiations is not acceptable. We can never go back to the way it was. The way Ontario is going about it thus far is the way to go. In the Meech Lake talks, the time for having committees, listening to the electorate, was between Meech Lake and Langevin Block.

The select committee on Ontario in Confederation will be considered a closed-door committee if it does not reflect the briefs put before it. It will be a closed-door committee if the report consists solely of the committee members' preconceived notions of what Canada's reality is and what its future should be. It will also be a closed-door process if it embodies the line of your respective leaders or that of your federal counterparts. This committee must accept the intelligent, reasoned recommendations of the public and discard those briefs from special-interest groups that are born of self-interest and those briefs that rise from racism or bigotry. By acquiescing to your leader if his line of thought differs from that of us, you may curry his favour until the next election but you may sacrifice the country.

As elected officials we accept that you govern as you see fit on almost all subjects. We may complain and lobby and punish you at the ballot box on legislation we feel strongly about, but the future of Canada in constitutional terms is no longer your exclusive purview. We are partners now and we, the public, must be consulted and listened to at every step in the constitutional process. We expect you to invite us again after the interim report comes out. We are all working for the preservation of Canada and one that includes Quebec as a province equal with the others.

Now I will turn to Quebec, the flashpoint of the whole debate. It has not been proved -- and the feeble attempts have been scarce -- that the francophones of Quebec have been ill served by Confederation and the federal government. On the contrary, it has been past Quebec provincial governments under the premierships of Duplessis and before him Taschereau who repressed the dreams and aspirations of the francophones of Quebec. To some extent the church and English business leaders of the past also relegated the Quebec francophone to servitude. A few decades ago the language of the Quebec civil service was English.

The rejection of Meech Lake was not a rejection of Quebec by so-called English Canada. It was a rejection of special powers for one province; a further devolvement of federal powers to the provinces; the threat to the equality provision of the 1981 Constitution; the threat to shared-cost programs; the ambiguity of the court, etc. The hate that is generated towards Quebec is really misguided. It is not the Québécois who are scorned but inward-looking Quebec provincial politicians, the academics, the francophone media and some of the federal politicians, the so-called elite.

What is the unilingual francophone in that province to think when he is bombarded with brutal messages of rejection or that English Canada does not care? On that matter, try to find English Canadian dailies or Maclean's or Saturday Night in most places. You cannot buy them, but you can get US dailies or Time or Newsweek or People.

Despite some politicians' assertions to the contrary the Quebec government cannot negotiate bilaterally with the federal government on constitutional matters. The other provinces must be at the table. I would welcome the input of the first nations and the territories at the table.

The Ontario committee and government must reach out to Quebec. We love Quebec and we want it to stay in Canada, but not under sovereignty-association. Do you accept a Quebec that can decide in the federal government what legislation it does not like that deals only with the other nine provinces? Nor is giving most federal powers to the provinces the solution. This argument is more difficult in view of the ongoing cuts in transfer payments, but this government is very unpopular and will not be there for eternity. Canada is already approaching unworkable.


I am reminded of an incident during the 1987 provincial election. A friend of mine, who was an MP at the time, was lobbying an Ontario cabinet minister to reject Meech Lake. That minister's reply was: "How can I say no? They" -- meaning the feds -- "gave us the store." You may be able to run our province better than the federal government, but you are dreaming in Technicolor if you think you can run the rest of the country better. Separation is hardly more palatable. The unravelling of the rest of Canada would, I fear, be inevitable.

The Chair: Thank you. Let me just make a comment, sir, to you and to all the others who are here, that we also understand very much the need for the process of discussion to continue. In direct answer to your question about the second part of the process, it will include some form of continued dialogue with the people of the province. We have not structured it yet, but we know we need to do that and we will be doing that.


The Chair: John Sommers, and following Mr Sommers, Ron Lamb.

Mr Sommers: Mr Chairman and members of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation, Premier Rae provided interesting information and questions in the booklet titled Changing for the Better. As a provincial Premier, Bob Rae is looking for an Ontarian response. I personally feel the problem is much larger and prefer to address my response as a Canadian who by choice lives in the province of Ontario.

First, let me say there is too much government. There is too much duplication of effort by both elected members of the various levels of government and their bureaucracies. The result: high cost of governing which does not always meet the needs of the people and the country.

On the provincial and federal level there is very little spirit of co-operation. For the opposition the name of the game is to discredit the government at every opportunity, rather than offering constructive criticism and alternative proposals worthy of debate. By the same token, government takes the attitude that only it knows what is needed, and it dislikes to consider anything proposed by the opposition. While municipal councils are not elected along party lines, they tend to form support groups within themselves: "If you support me, I'll support you."

These methods are not right for Canada. When one watches some of our elected members in action on TV or reads their comments in the press, one wonders if they are not hindering the democratic process rather than making a positive contribution on behalf of the citizens they represent. As to the Senate, it is seen to` be totally out of touch and unnecessary.

Under this scenario, how can one expect Canadians to feel? We live in one of the most highly taxed countries in the industrialized world, yet per capita our deficit is higher than that for most other industrialized countries; as a matter of fact, higher than that of some Third World countries

Yes, Canada, for these reasons and those still to be mentioned, is ready for a new Constitution. Everything must be on the table and nothing should be sacred. In a country with the geographic breadth of Canada and somewhat limited population, is there any advantage in having 10 provinces plus two territories, particularly when some of the smaller ones rely so heavily on federal transfer payments? I suggest it would benefit the regions and the country as a whole if, for example, the Maritimes and Newfoundland become one province. They would reduce administrative expenses and, representing a much larger population, would probably win more battles with Ottawa collectively than they now do individually. It might also encourage a greater level of co-operation between the provinces.

The new Constitution must ensure that the governing parties in both federal and provincial governments represent at least 50% of the votes cast. Federally, to make this possible, some provinces may have to lose seats while others might gain seats. Any loss of seats could be offset through an elected Senate. The new Constitution is one which would foster a new degree of co-operation between the various levels of government to assist in developing a truly national identity.

There are some areas over which the federal government should have exclusive responsibility, such as monetary policy, defence and trade. Other areas such as health, pensions, immigration, welfare and education should be the joint responsibility of the federal government and the provinces. Together they would establish direction and goals. The federal government would raise the funds for these programs through taxes and special levies such as the CPP and make transfer payments to the provinces that they might implement these joint programs.

What impact would these changes have?

1. Reduced direct federal responsibility resulting in fewer ministries and reduced bureaucracies.

2. Increased direct responsibility for the provinces.

3. National standards of education, ensuring equal opportunity and mobility of students between provinces. Education programs geared to meet the needs of the 1990s, that Canada might have its fair share of research and high-tech positions, without which Canada could become a have-not country.

4. In this scenario there would no longer be a role for locally elected school trustees.

5. Reduced costs would enable governments to allocate more dollars to reducing their deficits, which over the long term would mean lower taxes.

6. The establishment of a capital district encompassing those areas which are predominantly home to government. Both Ontario and Quebec would be asked to cede these lands to a new district which might be known as Ottawa-Hull, the capital of Canada. This new capital would belong to all Canadians with a locally elected council to be responsible for municipal affairs.

Time does not permit me to go into some of the other areas, but I hope you will have a chance to read my complete presentation. In closing, I would say that in spite of the fact that Ontario would seem to be the most heavily taxed province, it is still a great province within Canada in which to live. Change is in the wind, and Ontario, together with other provinces, territories and native people, will have to work together to find a solution. It will be a matter of give and take if we hope to hold this country together.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Ron Lamb, and following Mr Lamb, Helen and Bill Robson.

Mr Lamb: I would like to take the opportunity to thank you, first, for allowing me to have the time. I guess I am what you would call one of those special-interest groups: It is called Let's Just Quit, which is a society that says let's just quit bickering and fighting, let's get on with the job of building the country. I believe that someplace along the line we have to get on with the job. I think we have to look at Ontario as a future country too, and I think we are going to really have to look at Ontario taking the lead and being the mainstay of Canada after Quebec leaves Confederation.

I have done some cost checking. For TVOntario services alone it is $66 million a year for 6,000 hours a year in French and 6,000 hours a year in English. If you take the $66-million budget given to TVOntario by this government and you break it down into viewers, counting every person viewed, the cost for the French side would be $19,000 per person a year. If you break it down on the English side, it would be $4 a year. Those figures were supplied today by the CEO of TVO.

So let's get on with the job. One of the areas we think we have to get into is that we are really going to have to start feeding our people; or the area of sending people to Iraq. We believe Ontario wants to propose in the new Constitution equal rights for women and men; that a Prime Minister of Canada be born in Canada; that there be a mechanism embedded in the Constitution for the impeachment of the Prime Minister, senators, premiers and cabinet ministers. Examples might be a dereliction of duty to office, treason, embezzling, war crimes and murder. We also believe all votes in both houses at the federal level and also votes in the provincial governments should be free votes.


We would like to see a Senate formed with two members from each province elected, with equal powers to the House of Commons. You may say, "Well, we will go on with the dichotomy where either side would be stalemated." No. I believe that if it came to the point where it took 60% of the people in the Senate to pass a bill, people would look a little longer before they put a bill before it, even before the House.

Increasingly, we are seeing governments at all levels doing what they think is best for the people, instead of what the people tell the governments to do. We as Ontarians value our politicians only as long as politicians do as they are directed by the democratic system.

How can we Ontarians secure our future in the international economy? We can secure our future in the international economy by being more creative in the sciences, physics, mathematics, electronic engineering. Also, we have to develop excellent skills for marketing products created and extremely stringent quality control requirements. We can seek our future in the international economy by developing our own huge depositions of natural resources. We can secure our future in the international economy by allowing the marketplace to decide which products have to be labelled in what languages. All one has to do is to look at the Japanese market to learn one very important fact: The Japanese do not require their manufacturers to label all products in two languages in their home markets.

What roles should the federal and provincial governments play? The federal government does not have a role. How does the federal government have a role when it is $400 billion in debt? They are bankrupt, morally and financially. Some of the figures I have in front of me also -- if I might just go to an aside for a second. The 200,000 Iraqis that were killed in Iraq -- it cost us in the neighbourhood of $1.2 billion. So every Iraqi who was killed, looking at a cost factor, it was $5,000 per head.

The Ontario government's role is to lead by example. The Ontario government should introduce legislation on a minimum 22% tax and no write-offs. Do away with the 8% sales tax and a 7% GST and allow the social net to fund the people who require assistance. The Ontario government should be bringing the educational training levels up beyond any that we have seen to this point.

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

Mr Lamb: We have to better fund apprenticeship programs. We also have to stop paving, concreting and grassing over our agricultural lands. Above all things, we have to be able to feed ourselves. Increasingly, we are becoming dependent on offshore food imports. There again, I would like to break away from my notes for a second.

The Chair: Sir, you are going to have to do it very quickly.

Mr Lamb: Very. I would like to suggest that in the case of land speculation, houses, a person has to stay in a house a minimum of three years. If that person sells the house within that three-year period of time, a 25% surtax be put on it. That would stop the burgeoning growth of development of the agricultural lands in southern Ontario.

How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples?

The Chair: I am going to have to cut you off at that point.

Mr Lamb: Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: Could I invite next Helen and Bill Robson. Following that presentation, I will be calling Mrs Vera Walton.

Mrs Robson: Mr Chairman, members of the select committee, fellow Canadians, a state of crisis seems to be a constant Canadian characteristic. At the same time, tradition and history seem to lead many Canadians to take a wait-and-see attitude, expecting that things will work out or be worked out for them. But thoughtful Canadians have to be alarmed by recent developments which threaten the country and our wellbeing to a greater extent than is commonly realized.

The upsurge of separatism in Quebec, spurred by the rest of the country's apparent rejection last June, is the most obvious threat to Canada's existence. Equally disturbing is the mounting irritation with Quebec among other previously uncommitted Canadians. Perhaps worst of all is the growing sense on all sides that the country is not worth the fight, that we might as well give up and that painless separation is possible. We believe that they are most definitely wrong.

We would like to emphasize what is right with Canada as it is. Canada is one of the world's most favoured countries. It is democratic. It has a history of openness, high standards of opportunity and freedom, a history of evolutionary rather than revolutionary political and social change, a deep respect for and faith in the rule of law, a society marked by tolerance and opportunity for merit to advance. We have an energetic, hardworking, productive population, mostly made up of immigrants and their descendants. Also, we have a bilingual nature which, imperfect though it may be, is one of the country's most important characteristics and in fact a precious asset. In short, it is a country well worth preserving whole.

At the same time, we cannot ignore what is wrong with the nation, with the state of Confederation. Quebec has its grievances, and we know that to be one of the foremost problems at this time, but the nationalist tide rises and ebbs. Much of the current feeling in Quebec is a short-term reaction to the failure of the Meech Lake accord. There is diversity in Quebec. It is not a society that has turned its back en masse to the rest of Canada. Some sort of recognition of Quebec's distinctness is going to be required, unpalatable though that may be to many Canadians, including ourselves.

At the same time, the growing strength of the Reform Party in the three westernmost provinces is a clear signal that other parts of the country share Quebec's frustrations. These frustrations reflect a belief that the policies of the central government are not responsive to the desires and needs of people outside central Canada, which brings us to our first main point, that there is a declining sense of community throughout the country, as particularist sentiment reigns in Canada.

The next main point is that Ontario seems to be the odd province out. From Ontario's perspective, is it not striking that many of the grievances expressed by both Quebec and the west arise from issues on which they have found themselves in opposition to Ontario. We believe the emphasis of the select committee on the social and economic interests and aspirations of the people of Ontario may be slightly misplaced.

If Ontario cannot benefit from Confederation without making losers of other parties to the contract, we will in the end have very little to discuss. Ontarians would be better advised to enter a new round of constitutional discussions asking not only what Canada can do for Ontario but also what Ontario can do for Canada.

Mr Robson: This is a tag team effort. One of the reasons that we feel regional squabbles are so frequent and fierce in Canada is that we have no way of dealing with them in our representative institutions. Instead, we have come to depend on a process of executive federalism, federal-provincial conferences for constitutional changes and minor details as well. There is no accountability to this process and there is no political legitimacy to its results. A clear example of that was one of the key points in the minds of many opponents of the Meech Lake accord: It was the process by which it was reached. The people involved had no mandate to do what they did.

Executive federalism also tends to produce an agenda that is framed in terms of the competing interests of the federal and provincial governments. The possible role of municipal governments in enhancing Canadians lives is completely overlooked and the character of a Constitution as a contract between the government and the governed is totally lost to view.

The situation of aboriginal peoples in Canada is obviously a very complex and emotional one, with a lot of right on both sides, but one thing that is safe to say is that the existing division of federal, provincial and municipal powers does not leave a niche in which it is easy to solve these problems.

What we feel is necessary in order to break this logjam would be a constituent assembly, and in order to produce this sort of assembly which would escape this straitjacket that we have got ourselves into, we feel that unlike some proposals for an appointed assembly, it is important to have an elected one. If it is appointed by provincial governments or by the federal government, you will have delegates who are beholden to one or both levels of government and we are going to have the same type of problem sorting out the battle between interests. The process of election could certainly be left to the provinces, however. In Ontario's case, in our brief we outline a proposal for proportional representation within the province.


What would the agenda of such a conference consist of? It would obviously have to deal with the question of language and Quebec's place in Confederation. As Helen indicated, we have some problem with the idea of distinctness for Quebec, but perhaps the best approach in terms of selling it in the rest of Canada would be to define that in terms of language and make it clear that the promotion of French in Quebec is analogous to the promotion of English in other parts of the country as the language in which the business of everyday life is carried out.

Another obvious topic is Senate reform. There is a consensus, I am sure, among everyone who has appeared in front of this committee that we need an elected House and to abolish the current structure.

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

Mr Robson: Perhaps I should not presume to say too much about what a constituent assembly would do; after all, it has to be given a pretty free rein to make its own agenda. It has to address the question of the division in powers of Canada. We have too much overlap. We have the federal government trying to tell the provinces what to do, the provinces telling municipalities what to do. There is no accountability in the process.

We look at health services and we regard that as an appropriate provincial area. The feds do not have to tell them what to do; the provincial voters will tell them what to do. Medicare started in Saskatchewan. The provinces will know pretty quickly if the voters do not like what they are doing. So we have to rethink the division of powers. We have to rethink the division of taxing power as well, because we feel, and I am sure some with experience in municipal government will agree, that the municipal governments have an enormous impact on quality of life. They have no resources of their own to carry out their responsibilities.

Just to recap a constituent assembly, we would urge the Ontario government to lend its support to such a step. It is a leap of faith, but a leap of faith is what Canada may need right now. History offers many examples of successful reforms through assemblies like this. There is no reason to think Canada could not succeed where others have succeeded. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: Vera Walton. Following Mrs Walton, I will be calling on E. Peters, D. Francis and J. DeSouza.

Mrs Walton: Good evening. I hope Quebec will stay in Canada. We both have too much to lose by separating. We would lose a vital part of our country and Quebec would lose by being diminished. They would have to start from scratch, build their own banking systems, currency, customs and post office, arrange pensions, and evidently they will not receive any equalization payments.

So much of what is troubling Canada today has its roots in bilingualism. Bilingualism has failed because it has tried to alter the natural behaviour pattern of our country. There was an ancient law that a group cannot change a nation against its will. The groups can cause disasters often and disturbances, but in the end the natural, underlying characteristic of the nation will prevail, as we have seen in Europe lately.

Language is very important. It is the linchpin of our society and perhaps the most important thing we have. We know Quebec is French. Their preference is for French and French only. They recently brushed aside a Supreme Court ruling about the bilingual signs in Montreal.

The politicians talk of the unity of one Canada. In actual fact there are two nations here and always have been, English and French. Each one of us finds it difficult to function in the other society, and it was hard for us to be forced to learn a second language in order to have certain jobs. Bilingualism is not a unifying force. A great number of us could not learn French, so we were not able to have careers above a certain point in government, civil service, armed forces, Air Canada and some 300 other businesses. Bilingualism has been with us for over 23 years, so has been well tested.

The bedrock character of Ontario is beginning to assert itself. Last year some 40 or so cities and towns declared themselves unilingual English because they just could not afford to pay any more money for French services. Our then Premier, David Peterson, a popular Premier with a large majority, became a victim of bilingualism after promising to make Ontario officially bilingual. We know how badly he was defeated. It was an Ontario version of a long, hot summer.

Of course there are other things wrong with Canada and for the first time in our history we have lost control of our immigration. In the past, people who wished to come here had to be pre-screened. Now so many can simply come here, hire their lawyers at our expense and stay here for years or for ever. Among the desirable ones, now we get a lot of undesirable people.

Instead of Canada going through separation and tearing ourselves to pieces, fighting a great deal of ill will, could we not stay together as a country but without bilingualism? Let bilingualism go. Let Quebec live completely in French -- it will anyway -- and let the rest of us live in English or in any language we wish. Give us all a little freedom to be ourselves. Then one day, if we can settle this peaceably and God willing, we can meet one another as fellow countrymen, as Canadians, unhyphenated Canadians. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call next E. Peters, D. Francis and J. DeSouza.

Mr Francis: Mr Chairman, I am Dudley Francis, speaking on behalf of my two colleagues Joe DeSouza and Eric Peters. We are immigrants from India and belong to a small community known as the Anglo-Indians, an English-speaking ethnic minority. We came to Canada at various times during the past 30 years, mainly for economic reasons, and we are proud to be citizens of this great country. However, we are deeply saddened to read and hear that the people of Canada, more especially the descendants of the founding nations, seem to an increasing degree no longer to care for the unity of their country. Increasingly they talk glibly of separation and division, of becoming part of our neighbours to the south.

Our native country of India consists of 26 provinces, with people who speak many languages and dialects and have different cultures and religions. Yet despite separatist tendencies and even separatist movements, a central government with strong powers under a single constitution continues to fight for a united country. Our neighbours to the south even fought a civil war to keep the north and south together. Unfortunately, too many of our politicians, business people and even ordinary citizens seem to accept or acquiesce to the possibility of a divided country.

Unity is a close mesh of many factors, economic as well as non-economic, and many of both are being dismantled or destroyed. We submit that the people of Canada are not prepared to allow the breakup of this great country. It is only in recent weeks that the Prime Minister of Canada, after keeping silent for too long, spoke out openly that he would not allow Canada to be dismantled. He promised a restructuring. This was a message which should have been given to the nation from day one when the Meech Lake accord failed. We, however, insist that this restructuring must not weaken the political fabric of Canada.

Now we come to the nub of our presentation. We reiterate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Once the Constitution enshrines the role of the provinces in Confederation, it is imperative to consider this historic role in the context of a fast-changing economic and political world. The role of the federal government should not be weakened in the framing and implementing of policies to knit together the various regions of the country into a cohesive and vigorous Canada, ready to meet global competition.


Based on these objectives, we favour minimal changes in the existing division of powers as between federal and provincial. This would not preclude some devolution of subjects by the centre to Quebec to strengthen its cultural and linguistic identity. We support some extension of the Charter of Rights, especially relating to women and native peoples, but consider that the "notwithstanding" clause should be deleted. Reform of the Senate on regional and elected lines is favoured.

However, it seems to us that based on failed negotiations in the recent past, the present amending formula in the Constitution, sections 38 and 42, is too complicated and impractical. The opting-out and unanimity provisions may well prove to be emasculating. We therefore suggest basic amendment of this formula. If this cannot be achieved nor agreement reached on a division of powers, especially by Quebec, we feel that serious consideration should be given to setting up a constituent assembly.

Such an assembly would comprise representatives of all the provinces and territories, native peoples and other ethnic groups, women's groups, business, labour, religion and professionals. This assembly would be instructed to enshrine in the Constitution the fundamental rights of citizens as embodied in the Charter of Rights, to draft the division of powers between federal and the provinces, the role and composition of Parliament and the provincial legislatures, designate the language or languages which would be the official language or languages of the country.

Last but not least, the assembly should enumerate the guiding principles and objectives required to be promoted by the government for the good of all citizens, with broad-based representation and constitutional expertise and not by professional politicians alone. Such an assembly can provide a workable and effective Constitution.

Finally, in the meantime, whichever constitutional route is followed, the federal and other governments must make Quebec interests understand firmly and clearly that they are either in or out. If they decide to stay in, they have to abide by the provisions of the Canadian Constitution and the requirements of the federal government.

If they decide on out, they may exit only after all federal, legal and monetary obligations are met in full. No form of sovereignty-association is acceptable. Quebec must establish immediately its own central bank, currency, defence, postal services, etc. Quebec must also accept its proportionate share of the national debt. All Québécois federal employee services should be terminated without compensation for unfulfilled future employment.

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

Mr Francis: Finally, if Quebec is to secede it must be on mutually satisfactory terms. They must pay an equitable price for their choice. They must not be allowed to separate at our expense. However, we are still optimistic enough to believe that Canada will survive and prosper as a whole united country. Long live Canada.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: I invite next the native law students of Osgoode Hall. Following that, I will be calling Rudy Lak.

Mr Christmas: Good evening. My name is Bernd Christmas and I am speaking on behalf of the First Nations Student Union of Osgoode Hall Law School. The question we would like to address is: How can we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples?

We, the First Nations Student Union of Osgoode Hall Law School, believe that justice for aboriginal peoples will ultimately be achieved the day our rightful place within Confederation is finally recognized. Such recognition will be achieved once Canadians have become aware of the existence of our rights as the first peoples of this land, and once Canadian institutions have been reformed to accord with this reality.

An example of the lack of recognition we experience is contained within this public discussion paper itself. In the discussion of the tradition of diversity on page 7, reference is made to "the existence within one country of two of the world's great languages...multiculturalism," and to the fact that "this diversity had its origins in the first encounter of aboriginal peoples and that this diversity has since been amplified by immigration."

In our view, the fact that we are not referred to among the two great languages, ie, the two founding peoples, and the reference to first nations as an example of the diversity amplified by immigration, has implicit within it the notion that we are an immigrant group within Canada. We are not an immigrant group. We are the first and founding peoples of Canada.

Sections 25 and 35 of the charter specifically recognize and guarantee our special position within Confederation. Any statement with a potential reference to our peoples as an immigrant group, whether accidental or not, is a failure to recognize our reality. The kind of long-term understanding needed in order for Canadians to recognize first nations as sovereign entities will come only through sustained reform of all Canadian institutions.

Perhaps nowhere is this reform more urgently needed than in the legal system. Our contact with the legal system in the areas of criminal and family law has reached staggering proportions. For example, the most common offence for which both native men and women serve sentences are liquor-related. The higher the native population in a given area in Ontario, the higher percentage of native admissions to jails.

In the Kenora provincial correctional facility, 95% of jailed women are native. The predominant ages of the native persons jailed are young adults between 21 and 30 years of age. In comparison to non-Indian young people, Indian youths were two and a half times more likely to be placed on probation, four times more likely to be committed to training school, four times more likely to be admitted to a children's aid facility.

Yet, from our experience, law students at Osgoode Hall are not being trained to deal with this reality. The law schools are usually completely unaware of the problems first nations have with the system because of the low priorities these issues are given in our legal education. Professors refuse to discuss aboriginal rights and constitutional law. Aboriginal title in the law of property is a mere afterthought. The problems we face with the criminal law are never discussed. Yet these same professors-lawyers will play a critical role in the discussion of aboriginal rights. They will sit in judgement on the meaning of the laws, they will advise government ministries, they will sit at the first ministers' constitutional conferences on aboriginal rights.

It is with these observations in mind that we propose that this committee recommend that the government of Ontario issue a directive to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to immediately address this issue at all levels in order to have a meaningful and practical impact.

We further recommend that an inquiry into legal education be made at Osgoode Hall specifically. We propose that the inquiry be made into curriculum, teaching methods, the lack of aboriginal professors and the establishment of an aboriginal intensive program.

With regard to the specific areas, ie, the curriculum review, law students are not being prepared for the coming changes to Canadian Confederation with the entrenching of aboriginal and treaty rights under sections 25 and 35 of the charter. There is now a recognition of the special constitutional position of first nations within Confederation. The recognition of sovereignty will have major impact on all areas of law. New issues of jurisdiction and native jurisprudence will enter into the discussion. As well, with a recognition of aboriginal title, new challenges to existing concepts of land ownership will arise. This concept is complex and must become a full part of any discussion of property. Problems in the areas of criminal and family law must he pointed out as well to students.

With regard to teaching methods, we should examine how professors are dealing with first nations people. This means we must look into the reasons professors will use hypotheticals where students are asked to think of themselves as colonizers and to consider the most effective way to use the law to oppress indigenous peoples. Racist questions like these should never be asked but recur with disturbing frequency.

In the area of first nations professors, to date there is not one professor of first nations ancestry teaching at Osgoode Hall. It is crucial to the learning of the aboriginal perspective that these students be taught by a first nations professor.

On establishment of an aboriginal intensive program, Osgoode Hall Law School prides itself on being innovative in making legal education relevant to disadvantaged groups in the form of intensive programs that immerse students in the real world of legal practice. An intensive program in the area of first nations should be a priority, especially in light of other equality initiatives under way at the institution. The first nations community as a whole should have input in this process. Many local and national organizations would receive direct and immediate benefits from an intensive program.

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

Mr Christmas: As well, they would make legal education relevant to the first nations students. The above we respectfully submit.

The Chair: Thank you.



The Chair: I invite next Rudy Lak, and following Mr Lak, Martin Jaeger.

Mr Lak: Mr Chair, MPPs and the select committee, it is an honour for me to be here tonight to present my views. I have a couple of things I would like to talk about in terms of Canada and its citizenry. I would like to touch on some things I have been thinking about myself. First of all, I have some concerns about where we are going as a country, and I think the people of Canada need to have an opportunity to express themselves.

My name is Rudy Lak, and I am a deaf person. I am a leader in the community, and I have been involved heavily with the sports associations of the deaf here in Ontario. Presently, of course, there is the world winter games of the deaf being held in Banff, Alberta, and the opening is very soon. We are going to be opening that; we have candles. I just wanted to announce that. We have various countries coming to Canada with deaf representatives. We have skiing and a variety of things. It would have been nice for me to be there, but I could not go. Anyway, here I am presenting before you today.

Some of my concerns I would like to talk about have to do with people who come to Canada and speak English as a second language. It is a real concern to me. As I meet people, whether they be Italian or whatever background, I recognize the difficulty they face as parents. For example, my family is from Lithuania, so my family had English as a second language. I come from that experience, so I have seen their frustration as well as the frustration of other people who have had to come to Canada and face the barrier of language.

I know that in Quebec, French is the second language, but when you sometimes go to a variety store or various other places in your neighbourhood, you often will see shopkeepers who may be from Korea or various other places. We communicate with a lot of gestures and we do not have any problems communicating. Often we will write notes back and forth. We both face that similar kind of frustration when it comes to communication, but I think it is something we need to recognize. It is something that certainly has caught my attention when you look at the kinds of things that happen.

For example, you can see in Korea airline pilots who speak many languages, and then they come to Canada and are told they have not got the qualifications or they cannot do this or they cannot do that, and they use English or they use language as a barrier. They say "Canadian experience." But I think if you look at the people themselves and give them an opportunity to improve their English, people can participate.

I think we need to allow the public to learn more. In our community, for example, we have 15 people who can teach sign language, and often they apply for jobs in the public schools to teach some of their language and get turned down. This is an example from our community. We have the technology and the ability to improve access for people, not just for deaf people but for anyone who comes from a minority where English is a second language. It is an untapped resource. You need to be able to have things available.

For example, on TV you can have captioning or little words across the bottom of the screen, but when you are talking about going to other parts of the province where maybe they speak another language, where you have a small population, there are still ways to get around that. When people come together, I think we can find ways to improve services, for example, offering courses or other kinds of ways so that people who want to move from Quebec to, let's say, Markham or other parts of the country can interact. I think we could do that through technology, if we had surveys or something where we could count how many people want or require the service. I think that is something the government needs to look at, and take a look at providing courses and get people out to register for these things. Whether you are Italian or whatever, I think you need to be able to develop the kind of resources for those people so they can participate.

There is a wealth of resources out there. A lot of people come to this country from many different places, and of course immigration is increasing. We need that. But people when they get here are told that English may be a problem for them. They may come from Asia, they may come from Europe, wherever, but the point is that we need to be able to improve resources in order for them to maximize their potential. This is something similar to what deaf people face.

As well, I would like to talk a little about the cultures in Canada. Of course, Canada is not just one culture. There are many.

Another point that really disturbs me now is the role of Canada in the world. Canada is a beautiful country. We are one of the largest countries in the world. We have lots of food. Our environment is wonderful, although it needs to be cleaned up. We have lots of cultures out there. The world as a global village is getting smaller, and I think the world looks to Canada for leadership. If you look at the size of the Soviet Union and you look at the size of other countries, if you look at what happens in Japan, for example, or other places, I think they have some things we could learn from. Still, people look to us for leadership. We are one of the members of the seven, the economic powers that run the show, and we need not to spoil that.

In regard to the defence of Canada, it has disturbed me that our navy and our armed forces have been left to deteriorate and that we have not kept up our commitments.

Prior to this Persian Gulf crisis, I do not think our armed forces received very much. We still had a lot of old Second World War machinery in operation, and I do not think this is something that befitted our country. As a committee --

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

Mr Lak: Okay, I will wrap up quickly. If you look at the role of Canada, it is embarrassing that some of our institutions have been left to fall lax. If you look at 1975 or before, when some of the other governments were happening and before the Persian Gulf crisis, we used to have great pride in our institutions, and I think this has deteriorated. I think people are now applauding because we are finally doing something, but we have some embarrassing marks on our record; for example, Oka and some of the other things that have happened in the recent past. I do not think we have the credibility we once had. We need to take a look at our country and make it a place we are proud of and make it a country where we do not say: "Well, it's your problem. It's not my problem."

I guess that is all I wanted to say. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. I hope you understood my points.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: I call next Martin Jaeger, and following Mr Jaeger, Kirk MacGregor.

Mr Jaeger: Mr Chairman, good evening. I have a short talk of about four minutes, so if there are any questions, you will have time.

I am here to discuss section 93 of our Constitution. It is a carryover from the British North America Act and it is written in archaic language. In simple terms, section 93 provides that in Ontario and Quebec respectively, the state will fund Roman Catholic and Protestant parochial education. I am delighted that the RCs and the Protestants were able to work out a deal that kept them from each other's throats; it still gives me pleasure that they were able to do that. But the deal had its unsatisfactory aspect in that it made no provision for giving other groups like treatment. Specifically, the deal had no provision to fund schools oriented to native religion, it had no provision to fund schools oriented to other religions practised in Canada and it had no provision to phase out the privilege granted to RC and Protestant parochial education.

We are here discussing how the Constitution can be improved. One way is clear. Eliminate this provision for preferential treatment based on religion. Let the government of this province treat people of all religions the same.

Our politicians have served us very badly on this issue. Over the past few years they should have been sensitizing Ontarians to the need for change. Instead, last year Mr Rae, reasoning more badly than a turnip, appeared on TVOntario to assert that funding RC education in Ontario was a good thing and that similar funding for other groups would be a bad thing. During the last Ontario electoral campaign, Mr Peterson studiously avoided the issue and Mr Harris would only state that dealing with the question was not a priority.


The discussion paper at hand does not concern itself only with Quebec or the division of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments. I refer, of course, to this paper put out under the hand of Mr Rae. The discussion paper, page 7, points out that the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, ethnic origin, race, colour or gender. But religion is not on this list of prohibited discriminations mentioned in the document because the Constitution itself sanctions discrimination on the basis of religion, and Ontario chooses not to mitigate the effect by extending the privilege granted to our education in this province.

How can this province, how can you as a group of legislators, insist that the people of Ontario not discriminate when the very Constitution of the country sanctions discrimination on the basis of religion and Ontario legislators refuse to do anything about it?

By the way, if the discussion paper can pat Canadians on the back for having prohibited certain forms of discrimination, why cannot the document display intellectual honesty by recognizing that we still have a problem with respect to discrimination based on religion?

Why is the government of Ontario concerning itself with the constitutional problems of the country at large when it will not even recognize, let alone deal with, the constitutional problem of the province?

Mr Chairman, we have begun badly with a discussion paper that distorts by omission. You members of the committee have the responsibility and the power to be more intellectually honest than the document at hand, than was Mr Rae. Do it. Section 93 has to go, and your report is a good place to start the task.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. We will proceed with the next speaker in that we are behind time.


The Chair: Kirk MacGregor, and following Mr MacGregor, Robert Arnone.

Mr MacGregor: Going along with the title of the discussion paper, I shall go straight from the heart about what I would regard as changing for the better. What I would like to see in Canada is two trends. One is towards a unified country that really feels like a country, where everyone is coming to regard themselves as Canadians far and away first, and anything else third or sixth. I do not consider myself an Ontarian or a Scottish Canadian or any such thing. I consider myself a Canadian. I would like to see all levels of government in Canada and related things like constitutions working towards a unified Canadianness.

The other thing I would like to see is a move in the direction of citizenship for all. I do not mean the whole world, but that all Canadian citizens be treated equally in law and custom with no special privileges for any certain groups.

In moving towards these two objectives, the thing that would strike me as being desirable is modification of the Constitution to remove features that prevent this. One obvious example is the numerous references to French and English in the Bill of Rights. There is a natural tendency for people in one country to evolve towards speaking a single language, and the Constitution should not prevent this.

As for the people who feel they exist to serve a language or a culture, I can only say that I think languages and cultures exist to serve people, and as a descendant of various people who did not speak English until a few centuries ago, maybe even more recently than that, some of whom were brutally crushed by the English, notably some of my father's ancestors, all I can say is that acquiring a Canadian identity is ample recompense for losing whatever past identities existed in the Scottish Highlands and elsewhere that my ancestors came from.

It is not possible to create something new without something old disappearing to make way for it, and life is an endless cycle of this sort of thing, as all cultures and nations change. I think we should embrace change in the direction of becoming more unified.

There are, of course, two significant groups that are trying to push in opposite directions. One of these is Quebec. I would rather see them go their way and do what is important to them so that the rest of us can get together as a unified country. Perhaps the best approach is to create a government of English Canada and negotiate some sort of sovereignty-association with Quebec and with the national government over that. One thing I have always regretted is that English Canada splintered and cannot speak with a united voice.

The second major dissenting group is the aboriginal peoples. I guess one position they to some extent take could be summed up by saying that because all of my ancestors were at one point conquered by Rome, I and my descendants should for ever after receive special favours from Italian Canadians because of that. All I have to say is that I am opposed to perpetual special favours for any group in Canada. Local government, clarification of land title, changing of Canadian law to incorporate good ideas from Indian customs and spending however many billions of dollars it takes, all of these I am in favour of, but special status for any racial group I am opposed to.

That about sums it up. I would like to see Canada get away from the divisions that have plagued it for all its existence and start evolving towards being fully a country.


The Chair: Robert Arnone, and following Mr Arnone, Patricia Semach.

Mr Arnone: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I hope to be brief in order to field a question or two at the end. Rather than detail my concerns on the constitutional crisis in this country, I will attempt a brief summary of them, as well as review events leading up to the present situation as I see them.

First, it is important to note that my generation of Canadians has not known a Canada without a Quebec issue. That is, from the FLQ through the Parti québécois and subsequent referendum, and now the failed Meech Lake accord and resultant Allaire report, I have witnessed varying degrees of Quebec discontent.

I think it is safe to say that at times during Lévesque's separatist government we all felt that the nation's fate was questionable and unstable. But almost as quickly as that threat appeared, it was neutralized with a no vote in the 1980 referendum. I think that at that very vulnerable point in Canada's history, Canadians everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Pierre Trudeau feeling that the timing was right and, truthfully, aware of the twilight setting on his political career, attempted the very noble task of bringing Canada's Constitution home. Failing to draw Quebec in, he was confident that, with the eventual demise of the separatist movement, Quebec would join the rest of the nation and enter into a new Constitution.

Trudeau, however, had not considered the possibility that a less experienced and, some will argue, a less competent leader would pick up where he left off. Unfortunately for Canada, that was the case, and today we all agree that the process towards the Meech Lake accord was flawed and the leadership necessary to see it through was not evident. Now we are at another impasse, another period of vulnerability and instability where Canada's future is in jeopardy.

But what separates this current period of Quebec turbulence from others, and has certainly created a more desperate atmosphere among those who consider it essential to keep this nation intact, are three main points.


First, the current economic situation is allowing few the optimism necessary to see this crisis through, and is threatening many with poor judgement, haste and irrationality. Second is the absence of a strong federal leadership, which is the essential ingredient for a unified and determined federalism, a federalism that puts Canada first above all else, a federalism that does not walk away from legitimate native issues and can firmly and fairly deal with the problems and concerns of all provinces. The final point is the Allaire report itself, which has reintroduced and reinforced the unsettling implications of Quebec sovereignty and has in effect offered little more than an inflexible ultimatum to the rest of this nation.

As such, this committee, as I see it, has no option but to lend its recommendation to a stronger federal commitment towards a unified nation, and it must therefore reject this document. I am confident that improved economic conditions and improved federal leadership will see us through this impasse. Of course, there is always room for fair and equitable negotiations between the federal and provincial governments and between the provinces themselves, but there should be little tolerance for ultimatums and minimum demands, especially when the future of Canada is at stake.

It is time Canada started building on its constitutional foundations. The problems inherent in distinct cultural preservation and national unification are ongoing and certainly negotiable, given proper judgement and diplomacy, but they are not to he negotiated with inflexible deadlines and ultimatums. I just want to say this: I appreciate and encourage the creation of this committee and others like it and I truly wish you the best of luck.

The Chair: Thank you very much, sir. We will just carry on.


The Chair: Patricia Semach; following Ms Semach, Pierre Blevalant.

Ms Semach: First of all, I would like to give you a little personal background. I am a new Canadian. My family immigrated to Canada from Hungary and Czechoslovakia on my mother's and father's side of the family respectively. When my father reached Canada's shores, he was fluent in five languages, none of them being French or English, yet he has grown to love his adopted country despite language and cultural barriers. My family is a small part which makes up the Canadian mosaic.

I discovered, while reading a passage in the Bible, that it paralleled the description of the Canadian family. It goes as follows:

"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, `Because I am not the hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, `Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smelling be?"

This can be likened to the Canadian family in that each region of Canada is diverse from each other, but our diversity should act as our strength if we recognize the potential for our differences complementing each other to work together for the common good of the Canadian federation. The passage continues:

"But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern to each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it."

These last few verses have been personified in Confederation. Prince Edward Island is the least of the Canadian provinces with regard to its population and geographical size, but it is great in that its capital served as the birthplace of Confederation. The native communities of Canada comprise 1.3% of the total population, but this small community represented by one man, Elijah Harper, stopped the passage of the Meech Lake accord because he felt that the grievances of his people were not addressed in that constitutional reform package. Clearly we can see that Canada as a whole is dependent upon smaller communities within itself for its wellbeing. We should never look at each other in terms of sheer numbers. Mutual love and respect fosters understanding between any people. These qualities should be utilized in any further negotiations with each other.

As far as the federal government goes, the present Conservative government has shown itself to be incompetent and untrustworthy in dealing with Canadian issues. The Conservative policies of dismembering and eroding our national institutions, which all Canadians cherish, illustrates this point well. Also, Michael Wilson's latest budget threatens our national standards in health and social programs. Therefore, Ontario, as the strongest province, must assume the leadership role in future constitutional negotiations.

Canada is full of symbolism. There is a bronze statue of Samuel de Champlain in Couchiching Beach Park at Orillia heralding him as the father of Canada. Ironically, Orillia is also the site where this committee met fierce opposition to one of Canada's national symbols, bilingualism. I believe this is another area where Ontario can and must take a leadership role. I am pleased to say that this government and the previous one have made great progress in assuring the equality of our two official languages. I believe that the dualism which now exists has polarized and divided us. Bilingualism means you can speak to the other and share a sense of belonging. The Ontario government should be promoting and recognizing the merits of bilingualism to the Ontario community and to Canada as a whole.

Economically, Ontario should encourage and restore former east-west relationships. To that end, I believe trade barriers between provinces should be removed. Unfortunately, the present federal government has taken the position to weaken the Canadian Confederation by promoting stronger north-south links. I believe Ontario can strengthen its position in the Canadian economy by strengthening and expanding the joint Ontario-Quebec marketing initiative focused on promotion in Europe.

The Chair: If you could sum up, madam, please.

Ms Semach: Okay, I am just closing. This would lessen our economic dependence on one market economy, namely, the United States.

In closing, I would like to mention the title I gave to this brief, The Canadians Who Wouldn't Be, for the reason that some Canadians reject our national symbols, such as multiculturalism and bilingualism. These two facets of Canadian culture are the backbone of our society. Pierre Trudeau said it best when he said:

"The success of our efforts in the first century following Confederation was promising, but by no means complete. We created a society of individual liberty and of respect for human rights... .Thus, from generation to generation there has been handed down the belief that a country could be built in freedom and equality with two languages with a multitude of cultures. I am confident it can be done."

I too am confident it can be done if only we recognize Canada's full potential and we as a people strive towards that excellence through co-operation, mutual love and respect of one member of the Canadian body for the other. Thank you very much.


The Chair: I call Pierre Blevalant; following Mr Blevalant, Richard Comber.

Mr Blevalant: Mr Chairman, committee members, some 35 years ago I had to make a momentous choice. t was whether to follow an emotional tug which would place my family in Montreal for the foreseeable future or make a businesslike decision to settle in Toronto. Despite being a young idealist, pragmatism triumphed and we adopted Toronto as our home. Being Canadian by choice rather than by birth has made us extremely appreciative of the history, culture, tradition and potential of this country, but it also causes us to despair of the current directions in which Canada is being taken by our government.

Having been in international trade for several years prior to arriving in Toronto, I had been used to the European practice of that time: You wrote in your own language and received the reply in the respondent's own language. Paris to London was in French, Oslo to Milan was in Norwegian, Hamburg to Madrid was in German and so on. If there was a chance of difficulty in accuracy through the translation process, then English would be used, especially as this was in engineering and precision was vital. Gradually, as the trade moved beyond the continent and Asian tongues were encountered more frequently, English filled the need for a common language. Nowhere did that mean that a native language was lost, nor did it cause the abandonment of a culture.

It has, therefore, been somewhat amusing to watch the frantic antics of many Canadians pandering to the demands of one segment of its population. Not so amusing was the senior citizen's experience when, having written a federal ministry, he received a curt demand from that ministry's Trois Rivières office to write "en français."


Ironically, in preparation for the 1991 European transition into greater unity, France has now made English mandatory throughout its school system. No, it is not bilingualism, just a means of ensuring that citizens of future generations will be prepared to meet the demands of supranational and international realities. Maybe the paranoia of the de Gaulle years, when Americanization of the language was so traumatic, has been overcome.

I also find great irony in Canada's pursuit of "unity through diversity." This cornerstone of our multicultural policies is an oxymoron that should be thrown out in the same way that our European cousins are having to cast off the barriers of overblown state egos. It is not a painless task -- you can ask Margaret Thatcher about that -- but multinational interdependence demands that we remove all artificial barriers.

The gathering of free trade zones has involved Canada twice in recent years, yet we still cannot claim to have free trade within our national boundaries. How long are we going to keep adding to our self-destructive mechanisms? I refer to interprovincial trade, bilingualism, multiculturalism, patronage and unbridled political control.

During the Meech Lake debacle, in which we saw the ultimate downfall of an elitist group's stranglehold on power, some glimmer of hope was kindled. There was a realization of the need for the general populace to be involved and a belated understanding that Canadians wanted input into the decision-making process, especially in matters affecting their own governance. We saw the Charest commission, Ontario's select committee 1990 hearings, followed now by so many others, including this committee. Unfortunately, too many of these processes are manipulated by the people who are to summarize opinions and draw conclusions or by their staff, as well as by any highly organized special-interest group.

Despite the flaws, a clear message should filter through to any discerning person. It is most vital that this message be recognized. Canadians not only want to be heard; they now insist on being fully involved in the process. Most of us no longer trust our politicians. We now seek to achieve a true democracy, not the representative democracy which then begat executive democracy, another Canadian oxymoron.

It is high time we eliminated the first ministers concept and instituted a constituent assembly to examine constitutional changes to permit Canada to enter the 21st century in a revitalized sense of unity and pride. The recommendations of that body would require ratification by the Canadian people to become enacted. One prime concept we need to reintroduce into our governments and elected or appointed officials is responsibility, with its cohort accountability. This would then need some mechanisms such as member recall, impeachment, referenda and constant citizen input.

You have heard praises of the German and Japanese constitutions. While some have extolled the trilingual Swiss success, others espouse the melting pot of the United States of America, while France's basic principles have been lauded. I do not hesitate to recommend that we beg, borrow or steal the better elements from all of those, but I sincerely hope the operative words in any new Canadian approach will be, "We, the people."


The Chair: Mr Comber; following Mr Comber, Robert Mortimer.

Mr Comber: I want to congratulate the committee, Mr Chair, particularly on your durability over the last four weeks. I imagine this has been a very tiring, though I hope somewhat rewarding, experience for you all. Your work is of the greatest import. I wish I could give you all the answers you have been looking for in the five minutes I have. I cannot do that, but here are some some thoughts to assist your work, I hope.

Canada as we know it has failed. A last desperate attempt to shoehorn Quebec into a structure that deals with all of Canada's component provinces as essentially equal and similar organisms ended in ignominy last June. Quebec rapidly thereafter made it clear that unless Canada was prepared to become a loose union between a largely sovereign Quebec and one or more other, presumably Anglo-Canadian, components, Quebec was prepared to move swiftly to full independence while leaving the door ajar to permit the early negotiation of some sort of special arrangement between an independent Quebec and Canada.

Powerful group after powerful group in Quebec have supported one version or another of this vision of the future. The waning minority opposing it principally represents minorities itself and those with special interests in maintaining a more traditional Canada. Opinion surveys in Quebec consistently show support for sovereignty-association nearing two thirds, with over three quarters of francophones voting with the majority. In all likelihood, Québécois will opt for sovereignty-association in a referendum to be held some time between mid-1992 and mid-1993 with full sovereignty to come into effect no later than 24 June 1994.

Before that time, another federal election will have been held, and Canadians outside of Quebec will have had a new opportunity to express themselves as to who they wish to negotiate with Quebec on their behalf. Regardless of how well various provinces and other participants may play their hands, it is likely that the central authority in Ottawa will co-ordinate and spearhead the Canadian side in any negotiations with a sovereign Quebec.

Quite apart from such negotiations and our concern with the matter of Quebec, whether we remain in some form of association or federation with Quebec or not, it is essential that we immediately begin to restructure English Canada so that it will work effectively politically, economically, socially, culturally and internationally. A number of additional problems must be addressed:

1. In a Canada without Quebec, or merely loosely associated with Quebec, Ontario is much too large and dominant to permit a federation to successfully function. Ontario, as now structured, cannot permit itself to be part of a parliamentary structure where its voice would be identical to that of every one of eight to 12 other members of the federation. Ontario has almost half of the population of what would be the new Canada and cannot be content with 10% or less of the political power. This necessarily means that a triple E Senate and other similar formulae for reform would not work unless the other components of the new Canadian federation coalesced into two or at most three other components, what you might call megaprovinces, or unless Ontario was broken up into four or five new components, what you might call microprovinces. I sense that Ontario is becoming ever more difficult to govern effectively and ever more regionally disparate itself, and would therefore prefer the latter option.

2. Another essential factor in restructuring Canada is to fully accommodate the aboriginal peoples in any new constitutional arrangement. The Ontario government and others have talked of extending municipal status to reserves, but this is reminiscent of using Band-Aids on a haemorrhage. Nothing short of providing for full and equal status for Canada's aboriginal peoples, through the establishment of one or more geographically non-contiguous provinces, can be expected to provide a long-term solution. The alternative of providing an insufficient answer and watching reserves or groups of reserves follow Quebec's route to independence would be tragic and catastrophic.


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

Mr Comber: I am at the end of my time? Well, I will just let you people read the third and fourth sections then, and thank you very much for hearing me. I appreciate the constraints you are under for time, and I hope that what I have said will be of some small use to you. Good luck.

The Chair: Thank you, sir.


The Chair: Robert Mortimer; following Mr Mortimer, I will be calling Albert Tuchel.

Mr Mortimer: Ladies and gentlemen, members of the select committee, Mr Chairman, the country is in a troubled time, but where does Ontario stand? We all have our viewpoints on this matter, but unfortunately many comments which erupt at stress-filled times have an edge of intolerance. Something should be done to quell these bigoted views, which in actuality do not reflect those of the silent majority of Ontario. Instead, the vocal minority gets most of the attention. I am here today to give you a sample of the other side.

I stand before you a unilingual anglophone. I am not affiliated with any group, organization or political thought. I am here on my own, an ordinary English Ontarian, to state that this province should become officially bilingual. I have come to this conclusion for many reasons, not the least of which is to portray a leading example of tolerance and understanding towards Quebec during this constitutional crisis.

Our country is on the brink of destruction, and history may never forgive us if we allow it to happen. But if worse comes to worst, I hope we will not abandon Ontario's 540,000 francophones. We must ensure that our French population does not come under siege. Ontario's francophones must not be punished because of the breakup of this country.

I remind you of the very words of Premier Rae, who, when he made this statement four years ago, was the official Leader of the Opposition in Ontario's Legislature: "Ontario can do an immense amount for national unity by taking that next step.. .a step that would include and recognize French as an official language in this province, and one that would guarantee those rights in the Constitution."

Becoming officially bilingual would be a great gesture towards easing the language tensions of this country, much like the stance this commission took by holding its Sault Ste Marie hearings in French and English in the very chambers where the city council voted to become officially unilingual. Sault Ste Marie, a city with French roots, dealt a major blow to the linguistic balance of this nation in January of last year, a day that will live in infamy among francophones nationwide. By becoming officially bilingual, Ontario would be seen as a leader in quelling the intolerance symbolized by that motion.

Canadians, as a whole, should stop concentrating on topics that divide us, and take a more positive approach. Statements like, "Let `em go," and "Good riddance," in referring to the possible separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada, are not constructive. Also, and I blame the media for this, the constant referring to Quebec as French Canada and the rest of the country as English Canada does nothing to help Canadians truly understand their country.

In my mind, the key to a better understanding of each other is education. I am a product of Ontario's educational system, one in which French-language classes are mandatory up to a certain level. After years of French in my school curriculum, I unfortunately cannot speak the language. Improving the quality of French education in Ontario's English schools should be top priority. Also, every child in this province should have the right to French immersion schooling.

On the other hand, French education for Ontario's francophones should be strengthened. Ontario's first French college, Ia Cite collégiale, has just opened its doors. We must not stop there. Ontario needs a French university. Bilingual universities do not adequately do the job. If we give every child the opportunity to study in French, as well as free official languages training to any and all adults, I believe the intolerance we see today will greatly lessen.

On the subject of our founding people, Canada's natives, I wish to see a proper addressing of all wrongs done to them in the past. We have recently mended wounds with some cultural groups interned in the world wars, yet natives were once again overlooked. How long can they possibly continue to be ignored? Outstanding land claims must be addressed and I feel natives should be granted the right to some sort of self-government. It is time we swallowed our pride and did what is just, thereby closing this dark chapter in Canadian history once and for all.

In conclusion, granting Ontario official bilingual status will not harm anyone. It will not affect municipalities in any way. What it will prove to be is a gesture of great importance, an action that will be of great influence and value in the days to come. It will enable Ontario to have a leadership role in future constitutional talks. A bilingual Ontario would be a role model for the rest of the country, and, God knows, that is what this country needs today.


The Chair: Albert Tuchel.

Mr Tuchel: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, the abundant facts, the figures and opinions practically preclude the option of saying anything new on the issue of constitutional matters. Notwithstanding the reality, the duty of a citizen is to try. The basic essence of constitutional debate is to fathom the soul of the nation, to define and articulate the will of the people.

It does appear to this observer that our national Rubicon has been crossed with Meech Lake. Much of constitutional discourse has centred on the question: What does Quebec want? It is the wrong question. The proper question is: What do the proponents of independence in Quebec want and why are they making such rapid progress? They want "liberté, fraternité, égalité." That is right. The ideals that powered the French Revolution are not dead, and they are raising their head in Quebec.

Exactly what do these Canadians want? The first priority is a massive infusion of intelligence into the corridors of power. They labour under no illusions. In order to further their linguistic, cultural and economic prosperity, they need political, economic and financial power.

Basic questions without preconditions -- no sacred cows -- belong on the table and demand answers. For instance, do people exist to serve the state or does the state exist to serve the people? A similar definition applies to governments and corporations. A simplistic transfer of power from federal to provincial jurisdiction does not do justice to the issues involved. Only a radical redirection towards what ends governmental power is used will suffice.

Independence-seeking Quebeckers reject government by some people, for some people, against the rest of the people. Resolutely they seek to embrace the original version of the above quotation. The obsolete classes have difficulty understanding this, or perhaps they do not want to come to terms with this reality.

What then is expected of governments? A resolute devotion to economic justice to curtail the spiral of criminality; persuasive action to get the custodians of public wealth to exercise their obligations with prudence and compassion; resist and correct the division of society into upper and lower tiers; acknowledge that the maintenance of the exploitative aspects of society requires excessive bureaucracy.


Profit is important. So is the prophet, even if it happens to be the frogs who, by their mass disappearance, tell us they cannot cope with the chemical attack unleashed by us. Excessive land and resource ownership concentration divides the populace neatly into puppets of those who own and wards of the state who are unable to do things for themselves. Curtail the waste of intellectual capital, manhours and materiel towards destructive ends. Abolish the economic travesty of capitalizing the commercial value of land on an annual basis. Devise a mechanism that will be effective to keep profits generated locally at home. No nation remains healthy for long without this vital lifeblood.

A reordering of priorities, from job creation, with its destructive connotation, towards a more creative goal of market creation, is required; courage to deal with the cause of inflation instead of fighting only the symptoms with interest rates and tight money. What is needed is to show real political leadership without the substitution of fiscal manipulation in its place.

These are some of the issues, by no means all, that have to be considered openly, with honesty, if our national fibre is to grow increasingly stronger. These are not just concerns of Quebeckers. They are concerns of Canadians from coast to coast. Indeed, they are global concerns. `Vive Canada libre.


The Chair: I call next Jasper Kujavsky; following that, Frank Naccarato.

Mr Kujavsky: Mr Chairman, as I look around this room and I consider all the questions that you have considered, I think that after all the commissions have answered and all the editorial writers have written their columns and all the citizens have spoken and all the pundits have given their opinions, the fundamental question that Canadians will have to face will be decided on one day, one day in Quebec.

Un jour, dans la province de Québec, ce seront les Québécois qui vont faire et prendre leurs décisions sur leur avenir eux-mêmes. Je respecte leur droit de prendre cette décision mais ce ne sera pas comme c'était en 1980 avec une décision sur une question compliquée, un mandat à négocier, la souveraineté-association avec un autre référendum. Cette fois, ce sera sur une question claire : voulez-vous établir un État souverain ?

Do you want to create an independent Quebec? Quebeckers will decide that. I think the most important thing this committee can do in Ontario is make very clear to the people of Quebec and to lead the debate in the rest of Canada as to what the answer should be to the question Quebec has fairly laid down to us: What does Canada want? We have always asked: What does Quebec want? They fairly ask and they lay down the gauntlet: What do you want? Let's answer them.

We have seen many options. I have heard in front of this committee four in particular. Perhaps we will see an independent Quebec and the rest of Canada disintegrate, even into the American orbit. Perhaps we will see the "community of Canadas" approach, or even the Allaire report, independent regions or provinces in all but name. Then there are the two options which include a unified Canada where, yes, we complain and we have our problems in this country, but we are members of a family and we will sit down, we will argue about it, we will come up with a resolution; or Quebec will take the decision to become independent, and then we will have to deal with that situation.

Sovereignty means sovereignty. It means control of your borders, control of your politics, control of your economics, control of your culture, control of your defence and foreign policy. We respect the right of Quebec to take that decision. Why would it want us to do anything else but treat it like a sovereign country, a sovereign state? When they have weighed all the options, I hope they say no, but let them know Ontario's response. This is the biggest province in Canada, the economic heartland of Canada. Given the fact that each one of you will sit in the Legislature at the time, I presume, that Quebec takes its decision, I hope each one of you will take the position that you will fight for a united Canada with or without Quebec; that if Quebec stays, we will figure out what has to be done, but if Quebec goes, then Ontario's preoccupation and priority will be the keeping together of a united Canada from sea to sea to sea. We will remain an Atlantic country, a Pacific country and an Arctic country; we will be nine provinces plus, I hope, new provinces in the north, as we finally figure out how to take care of our northern population and our aboriginal peoples. Quebec should recognize that it can be in or it can be out, but Ontario will take the position that a united Canada will still be our goal.

Let us recognize that we should do all we can do to fulfil what Laurier said was our destiny. But if that is not to be the case, and Quebeckers are to make the decision after a crystallization and a focusing of the issues upon which they will take that choice, if they go for independence, let them know the priority of the rest of Canada will be that we become all we can be in recognition of the fact that we will never be all that we could have been.

I hope that is what this committee will take from this process, will make a strong argument for Canada and will do all it can to make sure that when the referendum campaign comes, the historians will not write in answer to the question, "What does Canada want?" that we sat silent, that we answered that question, that the answer is put clearly and that Quebeckers make their own independent choice on the basis of clear options and clear consideration of the issues.


The Chair: Frank Naccarato; following Mr Naccarato, Tadeus Lipinski.

Mr Naccarato: Good evening, Mr Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak tonight. In our relatively short history, Canada has become one of the world's most prosperous societies. Canadians enjoy an enviable standard of living, our economy is counted among the top handful in the world, and we are a worthy player in world affairs. Furthermore, the progressive and democratic principles at the core of our society continue to draw hundreds of thousands of immigrants to our shores each year. For these reasons, I believe the essential concepts of Confederation have been successful.

The painful events of 1990, however, have shown that changes are clearly in order. I am convinced the delegates at the Charlottetown conference always intended for Confederation to be flexible and responsive. With this in mind, I think the needs of Quebec, the Atlantic and western regions and native Canadians should be accommodated within a restructured Canada.

In this vein I would like to address four areas of concern: the role of the federal government, Quebec in Confederation, regional representation and, finally, aboriginal peoples in Canada.

The role of the federal government: When this debate is finally resolved, we all expect a new Canada in which power has been disseminated to the provinces or regions. It must be made clear, however, that any arrangement resulting in an ineffective, schizophrenic government in Ottawa is unacceptable. Furthermore, the Canadian social contract must be respected. No province should expect to be enriched by Confederation while refusing to participate in it. For these reasons, all forms of sovereignty-association should be rejected.

For the purposes of decentralization, I suggest the following guidelines to determine the role of the federal government: First, Canada must have a single, unified voice in the international community, especially in the areas of foreign policy, defence, trade and commerce. Domestically, the federal government must have undisputed authority in such national institutions as the Bank of Canada, the post office, criminal justice, unemployment insurance, administration of chartered banks and equalization, as well as many others.

I also contend that there must exist a body of fundamental rights and freedoms that apply everywhere in Canada, without exception. This implies no "notwithstanding" clause. The government of Canada should also be empowered to set national goals and initiatives, as in high technology, research and development, commerce and social programs. Finally, the government of Canada should retain the power to set national standards in some provincial jurisdictions, such as health and education.


Moving on to Quebec in Confederation: In my opinion, the Meech Lake accord failed because the reasonable viewpoints of Canadians were totally bypassed in the debate in favour of politicians with their own agendas. The air became so poisoned with rhetoric and intolerance that it became impossible for one side to appreciate the other's position. In Quebec, any concession became a humiliation. In English Canada, people felt threatened by a so-called French domination. The result is that English Canada still fails to understand that the French culture in Quebec is threatened by the surrounding sea of English in North America and by immigrants who choose English over French in their host province. Conversely, Quebec continues to be impervious to suggestions that it cannot in good conscience use the argument that Confederation does not work for Quebec when it continues to receive more and more federal plums.

Both viewpoints have validity. In the spirit of finding a workable solution, I would propose the following: First, constitutional recognition of Quebec's distinct society; however, within the context of certain fundamental and universal rights. During the Meech debate, Quebec's distinctiveness was never questioned; rather, it was the refusal to clarify how the distinct society impacted on the Charter of Rights that contributed to Meech's demise. There should also be a transfer of linguistic and cultural jurisdictions to the provinces except those that are of clearly national interest, such as the CRTC and national museums. It only makes sense to move such powers closer to the people. Last, there should be an effort to minimize administrative overlap between federal and provincial governments. This would not only improve federal-provincial relationships but would minimize wasteful federal spending.

With regard to regional representation: To improve the democratic representation of the regions in the federal scheme of government, I would make the following recommendations: There should be a guarantee of regional input to national economic policy, perhaps through constitutional entrenchment. This would give the regions the voice they desire in important policy while maintaining the federal authority. Second, I would transform the Senate into a House of Regions that will represent the west, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic region equally. This House will have limited jurisdiction to make laws independently of the House of Commons that affect some interregional concerns. Finally, I would make Supreme Court appointments subject to approval by the new House of Regions.

With regard to the aboriginal peoples in Canada: In our efforts to reconstruct Canada we cannot ignore the fundamental issue of aboriginal rights. To this end I would like to propose the following changes that would result in greater justice and self-determination for native Canadians:

First, constitutional recognition of Canada's aboriginal peoples as a distinctive "characteristic of Canada," as well as Ottawa's obligation to help preserve aboriginal culture.

Second, creation of a "fast-track" mechanism to settle land claims. From almost all viewpoints, the resources allocated in this area are woefully lacking.

Third, the transfer of some powers to a government of first nations. These powers would include culture and education and they would be distinct from the local provincial powers.

Fourth, I think first nations should be given representation in the House of Commons. This gesture would allow native views as a collective to directly influence national affairs.

The Chair: Mr Naccarato, can you sum up please?

Mr Naccarato: To conclude, I believe there is a pause in the separatist march in Quebec. Recent public opinion polls and statements by prominent members of the Quebec cabinet have advocated renewed federalism. Even Premier Bourassa has begun to reverse his insistence on bilateral talks. This committee should recommend to the Premier that he use Ontario's special relationship with Quebec to open the lines of communication. I strenuously urge our political leaders to take full advantage of this pause in the separatist march to make a strong, reasonable case for Canada.

My greatest hope is that a Canada will emerge in which the English and French communities, each with a deepened sense of security in language and culture, will forge genuine and lasting bonds. My greatest fear, however, is that the voices of reasonable and generous Canadians will be lost in a storm of emotionalism and selfishness. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Naccarato.


The Chair: Tadeus Lipinski, followed by Lewis Eisen.

Mr Lipinski: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, my presentation, you will find, takes quite a different tack from the preceding ones, but I feel there is obviously a relationship.

Whenever we set out to partake in an activity, if you like, a game or a sport, anything from tiddly-winks to football, we go out with enthusiasm. We know the game is going to be played according to rules and those rules will be enforced.

The legal system of Ontario, and I expect in the remainder of Canada, is the single biggest obstacle in the way of people meeting their legitimate aspirations. That is the tragic reality, the tragic fact. We have a country which is so rich in natural resources that we have everything we can possibly need for our needs and for our pleasures. The one thing we do not have is a legal system which will deliver justice. One cannot look to the future in a system like that. None of the proposals for Canadian unity made by the numerous branches of the establishment offers us a focus for unity; none improves the prospect for the delivery of justice, not even justice according to the law.

The Charter of Rights and its appendix, the Meech Lake accord, were simply documents for the next attempted redistribution of power among those who are already wielding it and enjoying justice according to expectations. Those documents offered nothing for myself, my friends, my family and for you members who are not lawyers.

May I ask you a question, Mr Silipo? How many lawyers are there on this committee?

The Chair: There are three of us, sir, out of 12 members.

Mr Lipinski: Besides yourself, I take it, sir.

The Chair: I am incorrect, there are four of us.

Mr Lipinski: At least four. Mr Spicer of the federal committee on unity said that he hoped the Constitution would be written by the people, not by lawyers and politicians. Mr Rae says the decisions to be made about Canada are too important to leave to politicians, but he does not exclude lawyers, and there sure is a delegation of lawyers in this committee.


Mr Lipinski: I do not find that quite as humorous, Mr Silipo. I feel privileged to appear before this committee, but I do regret, object to and feel a little insulted to find that at least 33% of the members are lawyers. That hardly represents the Legislature, the people of Ontario or the people of Canada. The legal profession seems to be placing itself in position for the kill, even before the prey is conceived.

The legal system is supposed to be our servant. Instead it is our master, and the people are just fodder for it. We are left to writhe in confused agony like earthworms in a fisherman's bait tin. The legal system must be brought back into the hands of the people. That task, members of the Legislature here who are not lawyers, is in your hands.

The privilege of self-government simply has to be withdrawn from the legal profession. There is nothing uniquely professional in the application of law. Every good parent knows how to maintain discipline and how to mete out justice. It is mind-boggling how the most important function of state, which is the delivery of justice to its citizens, can be left in the hands of such a self-serving, rabidly free enterprise, self-governing group as provincial law societies of the provinces.

Speaking of Ontario, it is completely intolerable that 25,000 lawyers and judges in this province should hold one and all of us 9.7 million people to ransom at the first and slightest opportunity when we are thrust into association with them.

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

Mr Lipinski: Consider the case of Sinclair Stevens. The Magna Carta evolved in response to the kind of liberty the federal government took. Consider the contempt for us and our laws that was revealed in the language in their disciplinary hearings. Consider the legalistic machinations in the Starr affair, and the 50,000 charges which are being dropped in the courts of Ontario.

Members of the committee who are non-lawyers, you are in the majority. When it comes time to write the report on what you have heard, please follow your consciences and not the instructions and the advice of the lawyers. Thank you.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. I have to say that I was under the impression that those of us who are lawyers were elected to the Legislature as representatives of our constituencies and not as lawyers, but we will leave that as it is.

Mr Lipinski: Well, I could --

The Chair: No, we cannot get into a debate. I would love to, but we cannot.



The Chair: Lewis Eisen, followed by Daniel Schwanen and Tim Whitehead.

Mr Eisen: Thank you, Mr Chairman, members of the committee. My name is Lewis Eisen, and I would like to address myself to question 5 on the discussion paper, the role of English and French and, specifically, bilingualism in Ontario.

I was born in Toronto, anglophone by birth. I have no French family or history. I speak French because it enriches my life and because being bilingual opens doors that do not open being unilingual, both in Canada and in other countries in the world.

I think bilingualism is very much misunderstood. Many Ontario residents are functionally bilingual: Throw them into a supermarket in the deepest regions of French-speaking Canada and they understand enough and can read enough French and can speak enough that they can do their shopping in French. They are functionally bilingual, but many of those people would not describe themselves as bilingual, because they are not fluently bilingual.

That is a very high standard, and the government does not seem to make that difference. Instead of saying, "I have extra skills; I can also communicate in a few words in this other language," people say, "Either I can do it in French or I can do it in English and if I can do it in both, then I'm bilingual." I do not think that approach is correct, and the problem is that the Ontario government, when it comes to bilingualism, does not promote the notion that the two languages can go together.

There are two Ontario government stations in Toronto. Instead of having quality programming in English and French, there is an English station and a French station. If you want to watch English, you go to one station; if you want to watch French, you go to another station. The Ontario government has separate directory listings in the Bell Canada phone book under the blue pages, but instead of having a consolidated listing of all the ministries with an English line and a French line, under each heading it has an English set of pages and a French set of pages. You go to one, you go to the other, but the two do not mix.

Even this particular booklet, Changing for the Better, A Public Discussion Paper, there is an English side and, if you want to know the French side, you have to turn the thing around and come at it from another way and then you can look at the French side. There is a very important message there. When you are looking at the English, the French side is upside down, cock-eyed, and the same from the other way around. This is not a bilingual book; this is an English book and a French book that have been bound together. There is a very important message there, and I do not think that message is good.

I would urge this committee to make three recommendations specifically with respect to bilingualism in Ontario: First, that the government take steps to foster and promote the notion of linguistic compatibility rather than linguistic separation; second, that the government undertake to study how to improve the image of bilingualism in Ontario -- I am not an expert in sociolinguistics and the development of language policy, but there are people who are experts in that and I think it is time they were consulted; third, that the government should urge the federal government to follow suit, because the federal government has been just as guilty in separation of the language policies as the Ontario government.

I should add that what Quebec does with its language policies and the justice or injustice of its particular policies are not relevant. We are not kids playing a hockey game, saying, "If they're going to play rough, we're going to play rough." What they do with their policies is their business and no matter what happens with Quebec, Ontario should be looking to develop its bilingual policies in a fair fashion to its residents.


The Chair: I invite next Daniel Schwanen and Tim Whitehead, followed by Monica Stritzky.

Mr Whitehead: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, my name is Tim Whitehead. I am an anglophone, born and raised in southern Ontario. With me is Daniel Schwanen, a genuine francophone, one, moreover, from Quebec. Some time ago, we thought this difference in our backgrounds might allow us to find common ground, and if we could find common ground in our views of Canada and government in general, perhaps there might follow a basis for finding some of the solutions that the country so desperately needs.

In the months of talking this over, we did not manage to see eye to eye on everything. In fact, up until a few hours ago, I was still hoping Daniel would see the light, but no luck. We did find an awful lot of things in common. In particular, one of the things that troubled us greatly about the debate is that it is too often seen as a battle between Quebec and the rest of Canada, or French and English, and we think that is very misleading. We think we must see this as a debate about Canada, that Quebec has its problems, but the west has its problems and the native people have their problems. There are many problems with the status quo, and if we put it as a dichotomy, we will never find a solution. We must all be looking for common ground. Moreover, we see it too often as a crisis situation. We think it is very important that we see this rather as an opportunity to fix some of the problems the nation has and think of it as the constitutional arrangement.

Another fundamental view we shared was that the key here is good governance, in particular the ratio between government, whatever level, and the governed. These and other shared views caused us to think that maybe there were a couple of areas where we could make a contribution to the debate. Like us, Canadians share an awful lot in common, but there are misconceptions. We think the misconceptions are the basis for a lot of the problems we are having in reaching conclusions and solutions.

For example, we hear very often -- the committee has probably heard it -- that bilingualism is a major cause of the deficit. That is palpable nonsense. We also hear that Quebec is a major drain on federal finances. Fundamentally, that just is not true and the numbers are not there to show it.

We have a number of recommendations related to good governance. I will list them very briefly. There is transparency. Individuals needs to be able to understand how their money is being spent. We have some recommendations regarding representativeness, in which we see a basis for good governance. We see the need for respect for rights -- and we surprised ourselves in this, that we saw that the need for a strong Charter of Rights could only be achieved with the "notwithstanding" clause. We were somewhat surprised by that conclusion.

My final point is that we need efficiency in government; that deals with the overlapping of powers between the federal and the provincial levels, but also with how those powers are enacted. I pass over to Daniel.

Mr Schwanen: In the time you left me. We have agreed along those lines. We have agreed on a number of recommendations towards implementing better efficiency in government, which all Canadians badly need. Where a delivery of a program is best done at the provincial level, power or spending authority now shared between the provincial and federal governments should be attributed primarily to provincial governments. Welfare or manpower training or UI even could fall under this category. Both the delivery and the financing of shared-cost programs such as education and health services should be the exclusive responsibility of the provinces, and they should, of course, be able to raise corresponding amounts of money.

However, our aim is certainly not to emasculate the federal government. We propose two types of powers which should fall under the responsibility of the federal government. First, Ottawa should have the power to override provincial laws to the extent that they do not conform to Canada's international obligations or that they hinder free trade between provinces, which we certainly do not have at the moment.

Second, in areas which are under exclusive provincial control, the federal government could still get involved along the lines of the European model, that is, Ottawa could set up bureaus or secretariats and through these would be empowered to study and formulate recommendations for common social policies, improved co-ordination of fiscal policies, national standards, etc. The federal government would call periodic, publicly held conferences with provincial representatives to discuss these issues.


Over the long run, we would expect this process would result in the harmonization of social and economic policies across the country without coercion. If the government of any one province, say Quebec, decided to follow a different path in certain policy areas, this process would allow it to do so while allowing the rest of Canada to continue with perhaps greater integration in certain areas like education.

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

Mr Schwanen: We also have some recommendations on the process which would help us reach a new constitutional understanding, and that would be a constitutional convention which would be nominated along a process we describe in our brief.

To summarize, we believe that a country which works well, works efficiently, is a country where people can more easily live in harmony. That was just a quick summary of our thoughts and recommendations.

Je voudrais remercier he comité de nous avoir donné ha chance de nous exprimer. Merci.

The Chair: We have your complete brief and we will take a look at it.


The Chair: Monica Stritzky, followed by Shaul Ezer.

Ms Stritzky: My speech tonight is very brief, but it states my viewpoint on what I have seen so far. I believe the Meech Lake accord was the straw that broke the camel's back for this country. Up to now the people of Canada have been giving their tax dollar to the federal government, trusting it would make the appropriate decisions so that we can continue to survive emotionally, spiritually and economically together.

Unfortunately, the people have been let down again and only the privileged get to reap the rewards of our hard-earned tax dollar. One of these privileged groups appears to be the French, through no work of their own but rather by grovelling about how their people are not understood or are inhumanely treated. They continue to manipulate our federal government into giving them more federal and economic powers.

I have always been taught to believe that a person's self-worth came from hard work and the pride he put into his work, not by manipulating other cultures to give him handouts. With this in mind, I feel it is time for Canada to develop a new attitude, one in which the people have pride and respect for all the people in the country so that each person can develop his or her own self-worth. With this attitude, we can develop the competitive spirit needed so we can continue to compete with other countries on both economic and political levels.

Also, I feel it is not just Quebec which should define the so-called new Canada, but rather the new Canada should define what it wants to Quebec, involving, of course, all immigrant groups, and Quebec should define what it wants with Canada. Of course, in the future, my hopes are that Canada will remain together with all 10 provinces staying together in the Confederation, but not through blackmail. After all, it is not just French-speaking people who own Quebec; it belongs to all of Canada and all its Canadians.

If things continue to progress at the rate they are going, it will not be long before all our human rights are taken away from us. The unconciliatory is not what is required today. That is the method we have been using for the last 200 years which has brought us to this moment in time. I ask you, the politicians, to do what is right for the continual, positive growth of this country.


The Chair: I call Shaul Ezer, followed by Harold Beatson.

Mr Ezer: Members of the committee, including the lawyers, thank you for persevering to this late hour.

I think some consider that we are in a period of national crisis with disaffection in Quebec, the west and the native groups. I think we can also consider this to be an opportunity to create a new alignment of federal and provincial powers that would reduce overlap in programs between the two levels, decrease the overall cost of government and strengthen provincial control over regional matters while permitting Ottawa to concentrate on truly national issues. I think these reforms are necessary whether or not Quebec separates.

In terms of a new alignment of powers, I think this is one way to preserve the Canadian federation, and we need to recognize that it is both useful and necessary for Ottawa to reduce its role in many local and regional matters. I think what Quebec wants is probably similar to what the west wants, which is a bigger role in certain areas like education, manpower training, culture and communications, at least in local broadcasting. This means decentralization in regional areas. In my view, this is what was intended in 1867 and is what all of Canada, not just Quebec, needs at this time in our history.

At the same time, it should be recognized that it makes no sense for the provinces to remain involved in truly national issues. These include securities regulation, which is now a provincial matter, and it should be a national one, regulation of telephones or having overseas missions, as many provinces do. Further studies would identify other areas where powers may be swapped to achieve a more functional and efficient federalism. From a historical perspective, the Canadian Constitution gives the provinces a strong role alongside the federal government. I think this has been the case, and there is no need to change that because of the diversity and the large geography we have in Canada.

The second aspect of Canadian history we need to recognize is that there are two phases. From Confederation until about the Great Depression, Canadians looked to the provinces to deal with many of their problems. Then we went into the second phase at about the time of the Second World War, where Canada faced truly national problems like the Depression and the world war. These problems had to be addressed by the national government; consequently, in many cases the federal government encroached into provincial areas. Canadians have by and large accepted this growth of federal power as necessary to meet national needs. However, we need to move to a phase three.

The Depression, the world wars and even the Cold War are behind us. Many of our current problems can best be handled by the provinces; environmental problems, education, health, culture and the like can better be handled by the provinces. Yet Ottawa collects a disproportionate amount of Canadian taxes that are not well placed to pay for health, education and social programs.

It is going to be difficult to agree as to what is properly a national issue or regional issue. I think that is less important than agreeing that one level of government should handle a particular matter. For instance, one area of great overlap is telecommunications and broadcasting. The federal government has the CRTC regulating telephones, but the provincial governments have 10 other regulators which regulate telephones as well. It almost does not matter who does it, as long as one is designated to do it. Broadcasting is an area which can be split off and divided. You can divide the radio frequency spectrum. Again, I do not think one should feel strongly about which, the province or the federal government, handles a particular matter as long as the lines are sharply divided.

Every 10 years we reform the Bank Act, but it has been 130, 140 years and we have not really reformed the Constitution. I think we should have regular constituent assemblies or federal-provincial conferences every 10, 20, 30 years to sharpen up the edges in the division of powers.

Some people are concerned that this would mean we are going to lose a strong federal government or that power will be transferred from the provinces to the federal government or vice versa. I do not think this really matters. I think what matters is the practical question of which level of government is in a better position to deal with a particular problem. In the next 20 years we might make a mistake in transferring a certain matter to the wrong jurisdiction, but we can transfer it back later on as long as we are open to change.

With respect to Meech Lake, some ask how we are going to obtain major transfers of power to the provinces when even the modest transfer contained in the Meech Lake accord was rejected. The answer is that Meech Lake only addressed Quebec's needs, and I think we need to address the needs of all the other provinces and the native people. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you, sir. Once again, we have your brief and we will read the complete brief.



The Chair: Harold Beatson, followed by James Boles.

Mr Beatson: Thank you, Mr Chairman. "Canada at the Crossroads." At this point in history your discussion paper is both interesting and timely, for as a Canadian who loves his country, I am of the opinion that we have been federally leaderless since the departure of the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau. However, I am encouraged by the remote possibility that a successor is on the horizon in the person of Clyde Wells, presently Premier of Newfoundland. My opinion is based on a number of examples; however, I enlarge on only one, that being the Meech Lake accord, an issue we remember too well.

Manitoba and Newfoundland were the dissenters in daring to reach a decision to ratify or reject the accord, which for the most part was recognizing Quebec as a distinct society. On 22 June 1990 I watched the final debate in the House of Assembly, Newfoundland, and also the announcement by Lowell Murray at I pm daylight time advising all and sundry that, based on the Newfoundland vote ratifying the accord, he would seek to obtain a ruling on a rolling deadline concept from the Supreme Court of Canada in order to allow Manitoba to hold a public hearing at a later date, due to the delaying tactics, I presume, of Elijah Harper. Clyde Wells, on returning from dinner, adjourned the House of Assembly without a vote, even though the Conservative opposition used every tactic in the book to force a vote. Clyde Wells said Newfoundland would not be manipulated.

The Prime Minister's chief Constitution negotiator, unelected Senator Lowell Murray, killed the Meech Lake accord by his own tactical blunder in announcing the rolling deadline concept idea before the Newfoundland vote, for he was attempting, as Clyde Wells announced, to manipulate Newfoundland. Nevertheless, the Meech Lake accord was not to be. The Prime Minister, in all his wisdom, forgot or neglected to deal with another distinct society, the aboriginal peoples. A referendum re this important legislation by the government would have sufficed and eliminated all the wheeling and dealing and rolling of the dice, which ended up for naught.

The present federal government, we know, represents only 43% of Canadians, while holding a majority of seats in the House. Unfair. And do they ever take advantage of it. Example: 80% of Canadians rejected the GST by way of voice and petitions. Result: shoved down their throats anyway.

I challenge the present Ontario government and opposition to take the lead in forging a new Canada with a united vision by reviewing and changing provincial policy as an example to other regions as follows: (1) Put God back in the Legislature. As is apparent from watching the proceedings during sittings, he is sadly missing, as is his wisdom also. (2) Declare a week of solid prayer by all faiths to reunite Canada, which will hopefully include Quebec. Call on all clergy to pick up this declaration and ensure media exposure. (3) Have House leaders of all parties meet in a spirit of co-operation to assess the province's position in respect to all issues and resolve to solve all problems on an equitable basis using the free vote by all sitting members to reach unified solutions.

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

Mr Ezer: What does Ontario want? We want to remain in Canada as always with our neighbour Quebec included while we enjoy friendly rivalry with all regions. At no time would we not be there to help if and when needed. English or French speaking, I am sure all regions are of the same opinion, and that is what makes us all Canadian.


The Chair: James Boles, followed by Sean Mulcahy.

Mr Boles: Mr Chairman, committee members, I am grateful for the chance to appear before you. I am 77 years old. I am a retired engineer. I graduated from Queen's in engineering and I have a diploma from Toronto in business administration.

Among the other things that I have done is a lot of accounting, and chief in experience I guess is my army experience in the Second World War. I finished the Second World War as a major, but the thing that I think I want to say to you is that I lived in the best part of Canada when Canadians were the best they have ever been, not because I was there, but because they were there. They were hardworking, determined. They were prepared to put their lives on the line. They paid their debts. The trains ran. All sorts of things happened in my day which I do not think you ladies and gentlemen are going to see again.

Now, I have not time to cover all the points which are in my brief. The whole tenure of the meeting before you tonight has been that there is no faith in our political system, little faith in our politicians and we have no way of fixing it. I think to start at the beginning, we have a lot of troubles between the English and Quebec. We assume because the Allaire report says that there will be a referendum in Quebec within 18 months to two years that there will be and that the result of that referendum will have Quebec decide to leave or stay. I suggest to you that, as Canadians, you have half of what is to say in that, and if Quebec wants to leave, as far as I am concerned we say to it: "You go in your underwear. You don't take any part of the country."

That brings up the point that we are facing a decision about whether the country breaks up or we have a civil war. I do not want to appear bloodthirsty. I do not feel that way. I have worked in Montreal. I have lots of good French friends. I cannot see how you can think about Canada without thinking about Richard or those beautiful girl engineer students who were shot. Do not anybody tell me that we have not got a feeling for the French.

But the politicians of Quebec are playing a game and they are playing it for all the stakes they can get, so my first point is that I would like the Ontario Premier to impress upon the other premiers, and particularly the Prime Minister, that somebody has to stand up and say, "Nobody leaves Canada."

I do not care whether it is Newfoundland deciding that its entry into Canada was a mistake. They are in and they have to face the music. Quebec is not going to go because Quebeckers were the first ones in the valley or because they speak French and we do not or whatever happens. They stick around and they fight it out with us. Western Canada is not going to go just because its people like shopping in the United States. I just want to say to you that if you are a Canadian, you have to face the music. That point has not been brought up and I hope that we will not fail to clearly state that there might be some awful consequences of a split.

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

Mr Boles: Okay. The other point I want to make of main value is that we need a referendum system which overrides all other powers, a referendum system which can upset any decision made, withdraw MPs, etc. If problems are so great that we have to have a decision like that, it is to be done by all Canadians and not just a few in any particular government.



The Chair: From ACTRA, Sean Mulcahy.

Mr Mulcahy: My name is Sean Mulcahy. I am the president of the Toronto performers of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, commonly known under the acronym of ACTRA. I thought I might steal a few seconds by talking while I moved. I am also a Canadian artist and therefore quite accustomed to anonymity.

I have not found my three-hour wait unpleasant. It has given me an opportunity to walk the hallowed halls of this august building and look at the oil paintings of great men who I have played: Brock, James Wolfe and of course John Graves Simcoe, the first Governor General of Upper Canada before he was elevated to the peerage by the board of directors of an American hotel chain. These were the days when our radio was the admiration of the entire world and before the arid, bleak transmission system that we have today.

Having got your attention, Mr Chairman, much political lipservice has been paid to the importance of culture to the survival and growth of Canada. Canadians are beginning to recognize the concept of cultural distinction as the vital key to our success in the world economy. Only the province of Quebec has given it the prominence it deserves. What we need now are practical applications of the concept in the context of the economy of Ontario, which is still the engine which powers our development as a nation.

We represent almost 6,000 professional artists in the city of Toronto, and like our colleagues in Quebec, we have no legal, political or economic status except by the goodwill of our engagers. Our collective agreements exist by virtue of voluntary recognition within our industry. By enacting status-of-the-artist legislation, the government of Ontario will send a clear signal to the artists of the province and the rest of Canada that culture is an essential key to growth.

This is not a self-serving proposal. We direct the attention of this committee to the recent study by the Ontario Film Development Corp on the socioeconomic impact of film and television in Ontario. Though not exhaustive, it estimates that the industry generates over $2 billion annually to the provincial economy.

As the largest single group within the industry, ACTRA performers are major players in the fastest-growing sector of the economy: information processing. Our creative contribution is applied in commerce, entertainment, education, training and retraining. As performers, teachers, technologists and producers, we are essential to the form and content of the telecommunications media, media which must be developed if Ontario is to maintain a lead role in helping to define the future of our nation.

Historically, telecommunications has been regulated by the federal government. Quebec, for over a decade, has suggested that this ought to be a provincial domain. It has argued that it needs control of telecommunications to ensure the survival and development of its distinct culture. Ontario has held that this aspect of cultural distinction is a national priority. ACTRA has agreed. Yet now when the fabric of the country is under such stress, we may have to examine more carefully the reality of the impact of recorded media on the daily lives of Canadians.

We no longer believe that this province and the rest of the country can wait for federal leadership before acting to ensure that our economy meets the challenge of the information revolution juggernaut. With the advent of direct broadcast satellites and fibre optics distribution systems, the people of Ontario and Canada will be swamped with information products before the year 2000. Unless this process is regulated to include a significant portion of domestic product, our national identity, consciousness, whatever you want to call it, may virtually disappear.

For reasons of healthy self-interest, we the performers of Ontario do not want this to happen. The development of meaningful status-of-the-artist legislation for Ontario will be an effective step towards a renewed and revitalized Confederation. A country that recognizes its artists will find it easier to recognize itself. One only has to look at Quebec to see the link between cultural confidence and a healthy dynamism in the country.

Properly conceived, such a bill will embrace the realities we face in education as well as commerce and entertainment. Early this month we attended a conference co-sponsored by this government and held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. There we heard from national and international leaders in education and business. We were repeatedly reminded that the work of education and commerce are inextricably connected in a rapidly changing world. Thomas Kierans, head of the C. D. Howe Institute, stated that big business, both domestic and multinational, recognizes the importance of the arts in educating the workforce for the future. The fact is that our human capital, the graduates of our educational institutions, must be prepared for not one but four or five careers as they enter the workforce. We understand this very well.

As the largest single group within the information-producing industry, ACTRA performers represent what may be the key sector for economic growth into the next century: the organized self-employed. Most of us hold at least three jobs now. The skills we have learned as artists have given us this flexibility. We who live this reality can help provide the insight and information to make adjustment and growth possible.

As a society, we must change our ways of thinking if we are to exploit the creativity of the workforce. It is vital that this new government, which is seen by many Canadians as a potential source of fresh vision for the future of Confederation, formally recognizes the importance of cultural expression to our economic growth and wellbeing. If we continue to regard our cultural industries as marginal icing on the cake, we may become the largest Third World country in the world. Ignore your artists at your peril, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Although some of the faces are familiar to some of us, we do need people to introduce themselves, if you would, or if you would introduce them just for the record.

Mr Mulcahy: Oh, sorry. Jonathan Welsh, Martin Doyle.

Ms Harper: Kyra Harper.

Mr Mulcahy: And of course my dear friend David Ferry from Newfoundland. It does not mean he is a bad person.

Ms Harper: I am from there too.

Mr Mulcahy: I am sorry. And the man who has done so much to put this together, Sandy Crawley. I will leave you with one last thought: If you want to find an actor in this city, all you have to do is stand up and say, "Waiter." Try to change that, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: We will. Thank you.



The Chair: John Hopkins, our next speaker. We have then one final speaker after that, Edith Silver.

Mr Hopkins: Thanks very much, Mr Chairman and members of the committee, for letting me have the opportunity to speak to you. I was kind of surprised at that last group of people, but it is a really funny coincidence because I came here to talk about the role of film and television in terms of programming which can help get a handle on what is happening to Canada right now.

What I have been trying to put together is a film about John A. Macdonald, who comes back from the past to find out what has happened to Canada because he is kind of turning over in his grave. He meets a journalist who becomes his eyes for him, and she goes around documenting people, the same way you are going around Ontario. You need a focus on such a thing because it is so complex, so I decided to focus on Atlantic Canada and the region as a way of speaking about what Canada is in the sum of its parts.

This debate going on right now is not a debate about Quebec and Ontario. It is riot something that is confined to that parameter. It is something that includes the whole country. I have noticed since I have been here that there has been an overwhelming emphasis on Ontario and Quebec as the players in this game, and I want to underline that that is not the case.

This John A. character idea does not seem to be working out really very well because, from my research down there, most people hate him; they just do not like him at all. It goes way back to the original Charlottetown conference in 1864, where the original concept of that conference was maritime union. It was not Confederation of all the British colonies in Upper and Lower Canada and the rest of the other colonies in the east.

I guess the figure who, in their minds, best represents their interests is Joseph Howe. Joseph Howe was someone who could speak for how they felt in terms of their pride, their feeling that, "We really didn't need Ontario." Ontario and Quebec were actually bankrupt, and they needed to build a railway. They could not get along with each other -- Quebec and Ontario wanted to split up from the very beginning -- so John A. Macdonald, through some inspiration from George Brown, decided to go down there and basically gatecrash this maritime union party and decide on proposing what eventually ended up as the BNA Act, which has been, from what I am saying, the downfall of that region.

In terms of what I am proposing, from what I have found out going around interviewing people since last spring in doing the research for this film, people down there feel a united Canada would be a desirable thing, but I am afraid that feeling is dissipating very rapidly, and there has not been enough contact between Ontario and Atlantic Canada in terms of communication on these concerns. If Quebec separates -- and the way I see it, it probably will -- between Atlantic Canada and Ontario, I am afraid, from what I can see, there definitely is going to be a split.

You have to look at the options for Atlantic Canada in that case. Can it maintain a relationship with the rest of Canada under those circumstances? Or should it decide to go as it wanted to do in the first place, which is maritime union, hopefully with Newfoundland? Newfoundland is very independent, all on its own, so where do you go from there? You can say, "Well, perhaps we'll do a sovereignty-association deal with Quebec, as they're closer, and Ontario to BC can form their own jurisdiction."

Anyhow, there is perhaps the option of joining the United States, as Buchanan mentioned. It is probably the only thing that has caught any attention in Ontario since this whole thing started, to give you an indication of the need to open up communication and perhaps take the interests of this panel beyond the borders of Ontario and really get at some of the meat in what you are talking about.

Last, I would like to say that in terms of doing this film I have talked to every major network. They are saying there is no market for films like this, that we only want movies and miniseries. Any film about Canada is not marketable. It is a real sad thing to think you cannot make films, documentaries, or whatever. The market comes first and the interest and benefit, in terms of that information getting across to Canadians, is last.


The Chair: Edith Silver.

Ms Silver: Mr Chairman, committee members, ladies and gentlemen -- there are still a few left. First, I would like to commend the current federal government for appointing this commission, thus showing courage and a conviction of democracy by hearing Canadians across this country. I would like to thank this committee for its diligence in carrying out this task.

This is contrary to the stifled, frustrated people who had no input when former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau foisted what I referred to then and now as a "charter of wrongs" on us. I wonder how many other Canadians found it strange that while all the negotiating and horse trading of the charter was taking place, there was a postal strike preventing communications, as well as a nationwide CBC strike which prevented millions of Canadians from hearing discussion or debate of the pros and cons. Then, just a few days before the documents were to be signed, suddenly both strikes ended with most Canadians having had no say in what would affect their daily lives then and far into the future.

The following are matters that I believe should be included in a revised Constitution:

1. The right to defend our country and ourselves is not present in the charter of wrongs. The oft-stated aim of the Soviet Union is world domination. The vice-president of the USSR is a hardline communist who rose through the ranks and does not share Mr Gorbachev's reformist bent. We have gone from having the fourth-largest and best navy in the world after the Second World War to having three and a half ships and one or two for cannibalization for parts. We have been placing the onus on the United States to defend us. So much for our vaunted independence.

2. The right to strike should be present. Essential services should be subject to fair and binding arbitration. The Toronto Transit Commission found out the hard way when it challenged in the courts a few years ago that there is no right to strike. The charter says we have freedom of association, meaning a meeting may be held.

3. The right to own property should be present in our Constitution. Property does not just mean real estate; it also includes a car, boat, jewellery and anything else you own, including the shirt on your back.

4. I believe it was in June 1981 that an order in council was passed with very wide powers re civilian internment camps here in Canada, just one of many orders in council pushed through by Mr Trudeau and his cabinet without parliamentary debate, without the knowledge or awareness, to this day, by most Canadians. This order in council should be rescinded in a so-called free and democratic country.


My last point:

5. We all value freedom of expression, but we must be careful not to confuse freedom with licence. We must have the wisdom to recognize the difference and the courage to insist on a standard of behaviour that treats all fairly and does not turn a blind eye to harm, whether physical or to the peace of mind of minorities, visible or not.

I conclude with a quote from Dr Lee Salk, who was speaking on parenting on the former radio station CKO:

"There is no such thing as freedom unless there are limits. Freedom requires boundaries or else it becomes not caring. The same way `yes' has no meaning in a language that lacks the word `no,' so does freedom have no meaning unless there are limits to what is acceptable behaviour."

I would just like to finish with one further little thing. Last Sunday on the CBC, the Air Farce asked the question, in a humorous way, "How many Canadians does it take to change a lightbulb?" The answer was: "None. Canadians don't like to make changes. They like to accept things the way they are." I think what you have heard here tonight from all the many people who had something very valuable to say will show that that is not the case. They do want to make changes. Thank you again for listening to us all.

The Chair: Thank you, madam.

I just want to check, because I know there is at least one other person in the audience who would like to be heard. I just want to see, because if we go beyond, then in fairness I think we have to also allow others. How many people would like to speak to the committee? Three still. Are people prepared to carry on? If you could be as brief as possible, we would appreciate it.


The Chair: Nola Crew I know. I do not know the other names, but we will go in order.

Ms Crew: Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to get the last three in.

If I could briefly introduce myself, although I belong to any number of groups, I am not representing any of them. I am a mother of five children working on the next generation of grandchildren, which makes the eighth generation of Canadians. I am a former trustee of the Toronto board and have a background in history of women's studies. But I think what gives me my greatest appreciation of the diversity of our country is practising in the area of family law. In there I see the same kind of tension a nation has that sometimes works and sometimes does not work. I like to think of it as a cultural tension, whether it is between what men think marriage is and what women think marriage is or whether it is what people coming from different parts of the world and meeting each other in Toronto and trying to make marriages is.

That same kind of friction I see in our country. Different people with different ideas is not necessarily unhealthy. Somehow in Canada we approach any kind of tension as basically wrong; we have to do something to solve it. I think it is a healthy tension. I am not talking about things like racial bigotry or something of that nature, just the tension, the friction that is a legitimate cost of doing business in an egalitarian democracy.

I worry sometimes about our Constitution, which enshrines differences, which gives different status, different rights to people based on religion or based on handicap or based on when they arrived in Canada or what language they speak. I would much prefer a Constitution that simply stated that all people are equal.

I think we should concentrate on our similarities, not our differences, upon our essential humanity when we come together to try and plan for our country's future. We have a tradition of evolution that somehow got mixed up a couple of decades ago and started adopting the styles of countries that have a revolutionary background. We abandoned teaching the students of our schools the traditions of our parliamentary democracy. We got into a system where we more and more associate our Queen with not being the head of the Commonwealth, which broadens us, but being the Queen of another country.

I think we need to concentrate more on how similar we are to people around the world throughout our country, instead of unfortunately becoming increasingly parochial and selfish. And I do think the recent constitutional meetings we have had over the last decades have been, to use the word, provincial. We really are becoming terribly provincial in our outlook, and it is not useful to us or to our country's future.

We have a chance to show the world a truly working federal model that encourages diversity in a working mosaic, and I think that is what all of us really want, instead of the kind of petty looking after ourselves that has tended to characterize certainly the Meech Lake debates, of "What am I going to get out of it?" and "What's in it for me?" -- Ontario, BC, Newfoundland, Quebec. I would ask the members of this committee, as you go into your deliberations and as you pass the word along to the other members of this honourable body, let's work at making Canada an outward-looking nation, supportive of all our peoples, where we all are equal as individuals and represent and respect the needs of our individuals.

Thank you very much for letting me speak.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Crew. Nice to see you again, Nola.


The Chair: Bill Belliveau.

Mr Belliveau: I have been waiting so long I am not sure if I have a voice left, but we will give it a try. I did submit a brief, so I am just going to lift a couple of highlights from it in the interest of time.

Your discussion paper asked the question: What holds Canada together? In my view, there are many factors, but the ones that stand out for me are the following: the principle of sharing or equalization that has permitted people in all parts of Canada to enjoy a minimum standard of living in this country; the powerful respect for the law and institutions of government; a shared belief in justice, freedom and democracy; a national transportation system; national media like the CBC, Maclean's magazine or the Globe and Mail; Foster Hewitt, Danny Gallivan and the National Hockey League; fear of absorption by the United States; 200 years of influence by the British; a prosperous east-west economy, and a love-hate relationship between the French and the English.

Decentralization: For many years, Canada has subscribed to a policy of cross-subsidization, based on the principle that all Canadians would enjoy a minimum standard of living and government services. This policy was enforced by the terms of cost-sharing and transfer payments to the provinces. The term "decentralization" used in the context of current constitutional debate is code for two philosophies of the Mulroney government: (1) give Quebec what it wants by offering to transfer powers to all provinces; and (2) cut the deficit by transferring the costs of government services from the federal to the provincial governments, user-pay by another term.

In a decentralized Canada, there would be two and maybe three classes of citizenship based on wealth and the ability to pay. In our preoccupation with Quebec, we should not overlook the fact that Michael Wilson has already started the process of decentralization without the approval of Canadian voters and without constitutional authority.

Division of powers: The principle that should govern the functional division of powers in Canada is subsidiarity, meaning that functions which subordinate or lower-level organizations perform more effectively should belong properly to them rather than to a central authority or government. In respect to Canada, subsidiarity would assign to the federal government those functional tasks whose dimensions or effects extend beyond provincial borders, while assigning to the provinces those functional tasks whose dimensions or effects are confined largely within provincial borders and relate directly to the management and delivery of services to individuals within those provinces.

In any discussion about Quebec, it is important to place certain events of history in perspective. The French were the first European explorers to Canada and the first European settlers in Canada. Indeed, at one point New France stretched from Cape Breton Island to the Great Lakes and south to the Gulf of Mexico. The British military occupied Quebec and denied the French majority self-government for 112 years after the conquest. Today, neither the French nor the English represent 25% of the Canadian population.


Is there a Canadian identity? National identity is formed by the history and actions of a nation. If Canada is defined by its differences from the United States, it is also defined by its unresolved wars between the French and the English. It is defined by more than 300 years of colonization, first by the French and then by the English. It is defined by a 200-year relationship with Great Britain. It is defined by war with the Americans and trade with the Americans. It is defined by a multicultural population unrelated to French and English that is approaching 50% of our total. It is defined by cultural invasion from the United States, burned daily into our subconscious by television, film and broadcast entertainment. It is blurred by a lap-dog foreign policy and the surrendering of our economic sovereignty. There is, however, one constant throughout, that is, the French and the English.

Two themes have been consistent in Quebec for the last 15 years, sovereignty and association. Quebec uses the European Community as a model for sovereignty-association. The European Act of 1985 provides for the demolition of trade barriers by majority vote, not unanimity. Majority vote would override sovereignty. As Europe moves towards constitutional reform and political union, it will further submerge national sovereignty, not increase it. Lise Bissonnette, publisher of Le Devoir, describes sovereignty-association as a formula for Quebec "trying to leave without going anywhere," to leave and to stay, to have it all. I am more inclined to describe it as schizophrenia. Indeed, the entire sovereigntist movement may be schizophrenic. Consider, for example --

The Chair: Sir, could you sum up please.

Mr Belliveau: All right. I am going to skip that and just go directly to my recommendations. Is there a common ground? I believe the common ground is the economy, and I make these recommendations: that we agree to declare Quebec sovereign in matters of language and protection of its culture; that we recognize the specific sovereignty by exempting Quebec in the Charter of Rights from matters of language and culture; that we give serious consideration to the government of Ontario declaring official bilingualism; that all provinces agree to initiate compulsory language instruction in both French and English from grades I to 12; that new immigrants receive or achieve some basic proficiency in French and English language and history as a condition of citizenship; that we consider a formal declaration of Canada's independence from England and the British monarchy.


The Chair: Stephen Johnson. We have added one other speaker after Mr Johnson.

Mr Johnson: In that case, Mr Chairman, you deprived me of my wonderful opening joke, which is that I hope I will be last but definitely not least. My name is Stephen Johnson. I am a graduate student at the University of Toronto, and I think I represent the most potentially endangered group of individuals in our society, that is, the group of people who spend their lives studying the Constitution. If you guys find an answer, I will be out of work, and I am very young, so please do not do anything drastic.

This commission is empowered or in charge of a number of things. One is functional and one is perhaps practical. The practical one is that this committee, like the others travelling the country right now, is more of an end in itself than a means to an end. The facility of giving people the feeling of being heard and articulating views which, by and large, have nothing to do with the Constitution, is a very valuable one.

I would like to focus my very brief comments -- I have written a brief and it is in there somewhere, I have no idea where, but maybe it will be found. Who knows? Maybe it will be read. I would like to focus upon two general points leading to seven assumptions and 12 definite recommendations.

The two general points are these: First, the nature of a Constitution is not a document which is meant to be a blueprint encompassing all of the preferences of a given society. To have people articulate concerns, legitimate though they may be, ranging from the municipal structure to the use of certain elements in different areas is all very interesting, but not constitutional. A Constitution is meant to embody fundamental principles and the structure of governance. When we look at our own Constitution as it presently stands, we find it embodies a great many contradictory buzzwords or isms.

If we look at it, we find we are attempting to reconcile a great many contradictory things, which begs the question:

What is the unit of analysis we choose to use? Is it to be the province, in which case we will adopt provincialism? Is it to be the region, in which case we will adopt regionalism? Indeed, is it to be that which the charter envisions, individualism? Is our unit of analysis to be that which our friends in Quebec would advocate, perhaps a dualistic notion of our nation? Are we to then empower races and have multiculturalism be it, or are we to succumb to a sense of collective historic guilt and weep for environmentalism and aboriginalism? All valid concerns, yes, but we must decide what is to be the unit of analysis.

I would refer you to section 22 of the Constitution, which is the only section where we can have any idea of what perhaps the original intention was. When we read the section, we see it discusses the sections of the country, that being the 19th-century conception of what we would call a region.

I work from the following assumptions:

My first assumption is that our system is unnecessarily marked by executive supremacy. That which we have in our government does not resemble representative or responsible government, as any political scientist would understand it. You are neither representative nor responsible, as given the constraints of party dominance of our executive system. We vote once every four years and that is it.

The second assumption is that executive supremacy at the federal level has made central institutions, such as the cabinet and the Senate, ultimately meaningless, especially as articulators of regional concerns.

Third: As an effect of assumptions one and two, there has been a loss of identification with and faith in Ottawa.

Fourth: Given the failings of the central government, forces of regionalism and provincialism have taken on entrenched and defining roles in Canadian politics which have served to balkanize the nation at the expense of any sense of national consciousness.

Fifth: The lack of national consciousness has led to the institutionalization of what I would call solitudes, not the traditional two solitudes but solitudes of different groups, as people seek to identify themselves with a cause or a symbol, be that the cause of women, the cause of a certain sexual orientation or whatever, all valid preferences and political concerns, but fundamentally not issues of Constitutional merit.

Sixth: People lose faith in politics and politicians. They move ever and ever and ever more towards a legalization of politics, and a greater reliance upon writing things down, such as we find in a written Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This inevitably leads to the substitution of a legal for a political conception of our society, and fundamentally impoverishes the political discourse of our nation.

The seventh assumption is that Canada is a function of political will, as it makes no economic sense whatsoever.

Now let us look at some ideas. It is my belief that we can reform our central institutions so as to try and locate the forces which are tearing us apart at the central level. I would advocate a preferential ballot, that is, one in which a set of markings actually would rank the candidates one, two, three, so you would arrive at people being elected not on a simple first-past-the-post plurality system but on a basis whereby the individual chosen would be at least the first or second choice of the majority of the constituents. I would also move to have a special ballot for our aboriginal peoples, one with equal weight, yes, but it would identify them as aboriginals, and that becomes important now.

There is a lot of talk about elected senates, but we must understand that ours is a representative government in which the executive depends for its survival upon the confidence of the Parliament, both houses. We cannot elect our Senate in the exact way as the Americans do. We cannot pretend we are the United States of America, for theirs is not a responsible system. Ours is.

I would advocate a system of indirect election of the Senate. It would work as follows: In every federal election you have an aggregation of the vote in the different regions. You would then determine from that, for instance -- let's be very ambitious and please the will of the majority of the committee -- let's say the NDP won 50% of the vote in Ontario in a federal election, the Conservatives won 25% and the Liberals won 25%. Ontario would be allocated a certain number of senators; I would advocate 24. The NDP would get 50% of those, that is to say, 12. They could then use these appointments to bring forward a number of causes, a greater representation. The majority of you are white and the majority of you are men. You are not representative of our society, but if you had 12 appointments you could use, you could put in women and aboriginal groups or whatever you choose.

I would choose to have a regionally equal Senate, that is, it would be consisting of regions, the ones that we normally define, but also a special, what I would call northern and aboriginal region. This would be a political myth -- but then again, ours is a nation full of political myths -- in which we would say, "There is a region with 24 senators and they are aboriginal." The appointments of this would be on the basis of the votes -- yes, going back to recommendation number 2, the aboriginal ballot, how those individuals voted. The seats would be allocated by whatever body: a political party if the native groups chose; I would move for the first nations.

The idea here is that you provide for a Senate which is regional and is equal and has legitimacy through having a democratic mandate, but a democratic mandate which is not identical to that of the lower House. For if you have an identical mandate, you lead to an inevitable conflict between two Houses with the same constituency. By having a directly elected lower House and an indirectly elected upper House, you give both Houses legitimacy by being democratically accountable, but you do not build into your system the conflicts of the American system; nor, for that matter, by tying it slavishly to parties do you build into the system the difficulties as faced in Australia, where they have a proportional representation system.


I would also put forth the notion that this Senate should be elected at the same time as the lower House. In terms of its functioning -- and I will try to make this very quick --

The Chair: Be very brief, Mr Johnson.

Mr Johnson: In terms of its functioning, I would look for double majorities: Aboriginal issues require a majority of the aboriginal senators and majority of everybody else; linguistic issues, the majority of the French, the majority of the English.

I have outlined other concerns, but to raise them very quickly, I think we need a constitutional court separate from the Supreme Court of Canada. We need an amending formula more in line with that of the Victoria Charter. We also need, I think, to give some meaning to mixed government by giving some power and legitimacy to our Lieutenant Governors and our Governor General. I would have this brought about by a means whereby these appointments would be made and ratified by two thirds of the legislatures in the case of the provinces and by a vote in the Senate and the House of Commons.

In this way we give meaning to these appointments so that we can indeed attempt -- I emphasize attempt -- to give some meaning to responsible government and try to return somewhat to our heritage, which is that of mixed government.

I have outlined fully the proposals. They are in the brief, and somebody might read them and pass them along. Thank you for your time, especially given the hour.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: Our final speaker, Bozena Kolar Eisenhauer.

Ms Kolar Eisenhauer: Thank you very much. I am glad you did not forget me. I would like to thank all of you for staying so late. I brought this along not to wake you up, but to make sure I get my full five minutes.

The Chair: Oh, you will.

Ms Kolar Eisenhauer: I need to tell you a little about myself before we go too far. My first language is not English. My first language is Polish. My name is Bozena; it means "child of God." My mom and dad were refugees after the war in England, and that is where I was born. I have been in Canada since I was 13 years old. I left on my 13th birthday and I have been preparing for this day for the last 21 years. This is the most important thing I have ever done in my life, and I have done a lot of important things. I have two teenage daughters, 17 and 16, and I spent the last 13 years of my life running a business out of my home after leaving law school, because I could not be supermom. I could not go to law school and raise my kids and do a hundred other things.

I am like every other Canadian in this country. I am very ordinary, and I am just that little bit extraordinary, just that little bit extraspecial. I think Canadians are that way always, for two reasons. One of them -- I am going to get emotional; this is very emotional for me -- is that we hold a set of values that are so strong and so clear and so Canadian. We do not talk about them very often, but it binds us together from sea to sea, and as my friend Jasper said to me in the hall -- how did he put it? -- from the Atlantic to the Pacific and to the Arctic. I am going to talk to you about that vision, but it is not vision.

Since I have come to Canada, I talk too much but I listen a lot. I listen to people on buses. I was raised in a small farming town called Killem, Alberta, where the welcome sign reads, "Drive carefully, Killem." I have been in Ontario 18 months; I am a new Ontarian. I am a westerner, and you will never take the prairie out of the girl, ever, but I love this country and I love Quebec. Jasper has been helping me now; I just met him this evening when I listened -- I wrote in French, from my grade 10, 11 and 12 high-school French; where we had books in which the most useful thing we learned was "Mon cousin est dans la marine." I tried to write in French what this country means to me, and he helped me translate some of it. It should take two minutes, guys, so bear with me.

The other reason we are all special is that I have never talked to anybody I can remember from whom I did not learn something. We are all experts somewhere on something. I do not have all the answers and neither do any of you. I have been watching your faces and you are all really tired, but I see something else. I see two things, I think and I hope and I pray. One thing I see is a sense of respect for the wisdom you are hearing. I sometimes see disagreement; I sometimes see annoyance, but I do see that sense of respect. I can see it in your eyes. I think you are listening. I think Canadians all across this country, here in this province and across this country, are going to be telling us something really important in the next few weeks before 1 July.

Last Friday, I phoned up the Spicer commission and I said, "Look, guys, I have to talk to you." They said okay and they phoned me back and said: "We are doing a forum at the Westin. Keith Spicer is going to be there, and Jean Lapierre. We have invited 10 other Canadians. Can you come?" This is Thursday afternoon. The forum was 8:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon.

Can you do that anywhere else in the world? I do not know. But you can sure do it in my country. I am nobody special. I am as special and as ordinary as the rest of us. We talked about my country and we laughed and we cried and we got angry with each other. There were people that spoke in French. Pierre from Montreal has been here just for a few years in Toronto. He works here. He says: "Everybody eventually comes to Toronto. This is where Canada must be."

Keith told us we were afraid, and we came there and I said to him, "I am here with great hope and I am here with great fear," and I am the same way before you tonight. We said: "What are you hearing across the country? We are scared. Is Quebec going? Are they leaving now?" and he said: "You know what I am hearing? I am hearing that there are two Canadas. There is a real Canada, the people, and there is a political Canada, and the two are entirely out of sync."

He said: "The people across the whole country are telling us the same thing. They are telling us this in the north, they are telling us this in the prisons, they are telling us this in Quebec, for God's sake. They are saying: `We want one country, but we need a new deal, folks. We want the politicians to listen to what we are saying. We think we know what is best for our country."' Canada is made up of 26 million Canadians who are experts on lots of different issues.

I very much hope and pray that one day I will be a politician. I want to do that because I believe that politics is the job of leading from behind. It is the job of listening and it is the job of responding and making mistakes and saying, "Is that what you really meant? This is what I think is good," laying it out honestly and then going back and checking.

I think that is what you are doing here. I think in this exercise in this committee what we are seeing is the rise across our country of -- what can I call it? I do not know, but the word came to me tonight -- a unity government. That is what I see the people forging here in a real democracy. We have not worked out the details yet, but we are working on it.

Last Friday -- it is not my idea, but it was a word that came up -- someone said, "We are looking at a re-Confederation in this country." Everything is on the table. I believe in my heart of hearts in a strong, central government. We need somebody in charge that looks after the poor, that looks after the homeless. We need someone to stand for justice and for strength and for peace and for economic fairness and we need a financial watchdog, and that is the federal government. I do not want to get into division of powers. Let's work it out.

All I am saying to you is that it is workable. This is not some ranting of an idealist. Sure, I am an idealist, but I also worked for Peter Lougheed as a legislative intern and I worked for the Leader of the Opposition and I understand some of the games. I wrote hard news for the Edmonton Journal and I am a businesswoman who still has her business in Calgary. I raise funds for the Family Service Association here in Ontario and I try to stay sane and put together a happy family.

I would like to talk for a minute in French, if you can indulge me, and I do not think it will take too much longer -- I see my time is running out. Jasper and I got through half of it --

The Chair: You have a good clock. It is a little slower than mine but --

Ms Kolar Eisenhauer: I think it keeps terrific time, ladies and gentlemen, don't you?

The Chair: It is a Canadian clock; it is on Alberta time.

Ms Kolar Eisenhauer: It is on Alberta time. Thank you. This I am going to have to read because I am struggling.

Je ne parle pas bien français, j'ai étudié du français à l'école, en dixième, onzième et douzième année en Alberta, mais je voudrais que vous m'écoutiez parce que je pense que j'ai un message très important pour tous les citoyens de mon pays. Je suis une Canadienne. Je suis née en Angleterre. Mes parents sont des réfugiés. Ils sont arrivés ici, après la Deuxième Guerre, de Pologne. Ma famille n'est pas riche. Ils ont travaillé très fort. Le Canada, c'est ma première home. I do not know how to say it in French. It was my first home, my only home.

Notre famille a décidé de venir ici parce que nous savions dans notre coeur, dans notre brain et dans notre soul qu'ici nous trouverions l'opportunité, que le Canada est une vraie démocratie. When we have problems, tous les citoyens, notre gouvernement nous écoute. Vous nous écoutez.

J'ai deux filles et de temps en temps je suis très malheureuse avec ces filles, mais parce que nous sommes une famille, parce que nous sommes différents, parce que nous les aimons, nous discutons. Avec une famille, avec la grande famille canadienne, nous avons des choix. Mais j'ai écouté tous les choix et que tous les autres Canadiens m'ont dit et vous ont dit. Et je request que vous écoutiez très bien, okay ?

I will not talk too much more, just finish up and say two things. I wanted to read every word of Gordon Lightfoot's Canadian Railroad Trilogy, which is fantastic and really sums up right now -- I played it five times before I got here, guys, and I have every word written down -- our future and our past and our dream.

What I want to ask of you is this: I want Canada to speak up and speak out now. We came up with the idea last Friday of asking all Canadians to do this, and we are going to be in Canadian Living magazine because it is the one that sponsored it. There are 2.4 million Canadian households that that magazine is going to, and this idea is going to be in it. We are really afraid that the politicians, you, the Spicer commission and all the other commissions across this country will not listen, and the hard work you have done will sit on a shelf somewhere and it will gather dust. This is way too important for that.

What we are going to ask is that on Canada Day, which is the day that that report is supposed to come down -- I am not sure, my regrets, that I know when yours is coming down -- all Canadians that care about this country go over to their local government office -- I do not care if it is your local coffee shop, I do not care if it is Queen's Park, I do not care if it is Vegreville town hall at noon on Canada Day, because we cannot all come to Ottawa and we cannot all come here.

We are all going to go there at noon, and I do not care what we do. We can sing 0 Canada, some people are going to read poems, some are going to take art, do banners, whatever, and we are going to say: "Although we are coming back tonight to set off the fireworks, this means we have told you the best way we know how that we want to work it out and we have told you we love Quebec just like we love Alberta," even though sometimes, as Laurier said to me, "Albertans are a pain in the ass," and he was talking about us specifically.

We want you to listen, because that wisdom will keep us strong in our country and in the world and, by God, we need each other and this world needs us.

The Chair: Thank you, Ms Eisenhauer. I think I speak on behalf of the committee in saying that I am glad we have extended the time. Thank you very much.

I think that concludes this day of hearings for us here in Toronto. We are recessed until 9 o'clock tomorrow.

The committee adjourned at 2335.