Tuesday 29 January 1991

Briefing: Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs



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

Cunningham, Dianne E. (Nondon North PC) for Mr Eves

Manikel, Tannis


Kaye, Philip, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

Murray, Paul, Research Officer, Legislative Research Office

The committee met at 1642 in room 151.


The Chair: I call the meeting to order and welcome the members of the committee back. As you know, this meeting of the select committee on Ontario in Confederation is scheduled for us to have a briefing from the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs on the discussion paper which was released earlier today by the government. We have with us again this afternoon Donald Obonsawin, the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, and with him also is David Cameron. special adviser. Without further ado. I will turn the floor over to Mr Obonsawin to proceed with the presentation.

Mr Obonsawin: I would like to take 30 seconds to introduce the people with me today. As you see, I have changed my colleagues, the group who are going to be supporting me here today.

This is Stephen Bornstein, who as we indicated yesterday is the recently appointed délégué général of Ontario to Quebec. Stephen began with us earlier this week and has already been to Quebec meeting with some of the officials over there and government representatives, so I thought it might be useful to have him, first of all, introduced to the committee, and second, if you have any additional questions later, you can take that opportunity.

I also have with me David Cameron. Since we are going to be talking today and focusing on the discussion paper, I thought it would be very useful to have David here with us since he really was within the ministry co-ordinating the intergovernmental initiative that was at hand and that in fact put the paper together. Very shortly, I will be passing the microphone to David and asking him to go over the document with you to give you maybe a bit of a better sense as to what the document is attempting to do.

Let me simply say that the document is a discussion document. When initially there were discussions as to what the format would look like and the content would look like, there was a lot of discussion if it should be a position document, which in fact outlined in a definite way what the issues were, outlined in a definite way what government positions should be or should not be. But in fact that would have precluded the work the committee is doing. The committee is here and is beginning its sessions and its audiences in fact to hear from Ontarians and others what are their perceptions of the issues and how they would like to see the government develop positions on those issues.

We thought we would attempt not to take positions but rather to ask questions, to try to give the general public a brief sense of what the issues were and at the same time ask some questions which may not be in fact all-inclusive but at least help to get the discussion under way and to help the dialogue happen.

The other challenge that we faced in putting the document together is that we did not want to focus in on the, if you wish, constitutional experts with the document. A lot of the experts already know what the issues are. There have been a number of books and articles and treatises written about it, and so we were not really aiming to that client group with the document.

As much as possible, we want to try, and I know the committee wants to try, to broaden the discussion and to try to get as many people as possible involved in understanding what the issues were. We have consequently attempted to maybe demystify certainly some of the language. We have tried not to make it too bureaucratic, although I would be interested in getting feedback from your unbiased perceptions as to how well we have succeeded in doing that. But you will see that in fact the paper is not a technical paper. At least we hope that it is not a technical paper, but a paper that attempts to sensitize people in a general way to what the issues are.

We are also faced with the challenge of length. We were somewhat concerned that if the paper was too long the general public might not be interested in reading it. Again, another element that we took into consideration was in fact, how do we put something forward that is relatively short, that will capture the interests of the reader and which would ensure that hopefully the document will be read?

It really is within these parameters, I suppose one could say, that we table with you today this document.

What the document attempts to do is invite every citizen in the province of Ontario to reflect on what we consider to be some of the fundamental questions which in fact relate to the issues which the country and the province will be facing, and we attempt to provide some maybe basic background to these issues.

We want to encourage Ontarians to think about their province and to think about the role that their province needs to play in the country, in how their province relates to other provinces in this federation.

We are also asking Ontarians to consider how they are governed, not only in an institutional sense but also in terms of which government in this country should be responsible for what responsibilities.

You will notice that we have highlighted international trends at the same time because they do affect the country as we talked about yesterday. Not only do the citizens need to consider how they are going to be living within the country but also how they situate themselves within an international context and international pressures.

Most important, I think the document strongly encourages all Ontarians to participate in this debate, which we hope will be a public debate, by appearing before this committee or by calling in to a toll-free number which is listed in the booklet or by writing to the committee, and again, there is a tear sheet in the booklet which hopefully will facilitate that.

Each section of the discussion document you have seen basically provides a brief overview of the issue and then concludes with a set of questions, which again, let me repeat, are not all-inclusive. There may in fact be a number of other questions but in order for us to meet all those other parameters that I mentioned earlier, we limited ourselves to those questions.

Having said that, I would now like to turn it over to David, who will give you a better sense of the content of the paper.

Mr Cameron: Mr Chairman, it is a pleasure to be here. I want to wish you and your colleagues all the best in what I think will be a very heavy responsibility and a fairly urgent one, not just the timetable of your work but I think the issues you are going to have to be wrestling with in the coming months.

If I could say just a word about the context of the paper before starting through it, the failure of Meech Lake I think is pushing the country into a significant crisis, but I do not think the crisis we are confronting is exclusively related to the status of Quebec in Confederation. As the paper points out, I think a range of issues are at play here now, issues relating to Meech Lake and the status of Quebec, the recession, the deficit, language questions, aboriginal rights, free trade, regionalism, questions of Senate reform and so on. There is quite a wide range of issues.

I think more than that there is a declining consensus on the values that we share as Canadians that is underlying this and helps to get all these things entangled in one quite unmanageable ball of problems.


I think one of the dimensions of this issue that you as a committee are going to be confronting is in fact the gap which exists between what Canadians in Quebec are saying and doing and what Canadians in the rest of the country are saying and doing, because this is not the first time and probably will not be the last; that is, it as if there are two universes of discourse at play here.

You see evidence of that with the Parti québécois convention on the weekend and with the Parti libéral du Québec paper that has just been released today, although I have not seen it myself as yet, and the work of the Belanger-Campeau commission and the presentations that have been made to it. So you have a very active process of discussion and quite a fundamental one going on in Quebec. It is my impression that elsewhere in the country there is a pretty low level of awareness and a relatively low level of interest in the sorts of issues that are being addressed by our fellow Canadians in Quebec.

It seems to me that one of the rationales for the committee itself and certainly for the discussion paper is to help to close that gap somewhat by inviting Ontarians to reflect on some of the issues confronting the country and to develop the interest in participating in what is going to be a really crucial debate for our society. What the discussion paper does is provide a number of suggested areas for consideration. I think the term "discussion paper" should be underlined. That is exactly what it is. It is designed to be a kind of discussion starter and I think in those senses is meant to be dogmatic with respect to the range of issues that are covered or the specific points that are made. It really is to try to encourage people to begin to reflect on the issues that the committee, I expect, will be wanting to talk to Ontarians about.

The final point I would make by way of introduction is that it does seem to me important for all of us to recognize that this is the first step in what will be a long process. I know the timetable of the committee is wondrously brief and you are going to be having to get back to the Legislature before you have blinked virtually, which is quite a challenge. I guess all of that and I think the submissions and discussion that comes from Ontarians should be informed with the appreciation that this is not going to be the first time any of us talk about these matters. We will be back at it. It is not going to go away and this is the first step in a process in Ontario that I think will extend some distance into the future.

If I could turn to the discussion paper itself and point initially to the introductory pages entitled Canada at the Crossroads, I would just like to underline a few points that are made at this stage by way of outlining the overall situation. One of the first points that the paper makes is that in a free society the capacity of a country to continue is based ultimately on the will of its citizens to have that country continue, and the observation is made that people are increasingly questioning whether that common will to preserve the country and keep it as a going concern exists with the same vigour that it has existed in the past. So that is a point of departure, I think, inviting Ontarians to reflect on some of the issues contained in the paper.

The second point, that I made a bit earlier, is the contention that it is not just an issue concerned with this or that particular political problem or public policy concern, but it is convergence of those issues and serious questions about whether we share values in the way we appear to have done in the past.

The third point is the recognition that the country is going to change. Inevitably, whether we would prefer that or not, we are faced with that reality. That being so, it seems preferable to examine what the forces are that are pushing us towards change, consider what our interests and aspirations are and, as much as possible, take charge of the forces of transformation rather than simply be subject to them.

The final point I would draw your attention to is, the question is raised about whether these sorts of issues are better left to the leadership of the government of Canada. I think traditionally the Ontario government has been somewhat inclined to do that on previous occasions that have some similarity to this, but the position of the paper, and I think of the government itself, is that the capacity of the federal government, which has preoccupations for the country as a whole, to represent the specific concerns and interests of Ontarians and of Ontario, as such, is limited. It has a different mandate, and the mandate and responsibilities confronting Ontario are distinctive and need to be addressed.

Therefore, it is really important for Ontarians to participate in these issues in two guises, one as Canadians and the other guise as Ontarians. Clearly there is extensive overlap between the two, but the perspective and posture and views are discernibly different in each case.

I would like to turn now to the questions for discussion. There are eight questions that have been identified. I suspect in the conversation that follows our presentation there may be questions about whether they are the right eight or whether eight are sufficient, but eight seemed about as high as we could count in preparing the material, so we stopped at that stage.

In each of the sections, with respect to each of these questions that are raised, there is an effort, with a greater or lesser degree of success, to try to get people to recognize that what we face are not easy answers to easy questions, but typically tradeoffs between aspirations that we hold and cannot achieve simultaneously to the same degree. What we are really needing to consider as Canadians are some of those tradeoffs and the balance that we want to strike with respect to the nature of the country and the initiatives that we would be prepared to support.

The point I made earlier, I would underline that I think in each case we are trying to underline the fact that there are forces of change that work on our society under these various headings and they do need our attention, because we will be subject to those forces, rather than creative participants, in shaping them if we do not pay attention to them.

I guess the final point is that with respect to each of these, there has been an attempt to try to ensure that what may be regarded as fairly technical matters are in fact framed in a way that permits people who are concerned as citizens about their country to discuss those. Ultimately, a country cannot be too complicated for its citizens to discuss, nor can the central issues. We have tried to raise them and present them in that fashion.

If I may, I would just take you through each of these eight areas of discussion. The first is entitled, What are the Values We Share as Canadians? The paper looks at some of the things that traditionally have been candidates to define the Canadian identity: the existence of two of the world's great languages; the fact that we combine both the parliamentary and federal government -- that is a bit recherché perhaps; maybe political scientists would identify that more readily than most people -- our non-revolutionary tradition; multiculturalism; the health care system, or even hockey.

The second point that is made is that we celebrate our diversity as a society, which really goes back to the very origins of the Canadian community with the encounter of the aboriginal peoples and the Europeans but has been enriched and expanded and deepened with the passing of time, with French-English relations and clearly with the successive waves of immigration that have hit our society and have enriched the nature of our culture and our identity.

In recognition of that, there is a note that the principle of multiculturalism, Canada's multicultural heritage is recognized in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982, in section 27. Again, a recognition of the nature of our society, the principle of the equality of men and women is recognized in section 28 of the charter.


Having made some observations of that kind, there are a series of questions and the first one asks, what held the country together in the past, whether the forces remain as strong today as they did in the past? If they are weakening, are there new forces of identity and common affiliation that are emerging that we should be thinking of building on as a society?

Again, and here is the tradeoff question or the balancing question, if one identifies these features, it is worth thinking about as Ontarians whether they are features that other parts of the community would in fact identify as well. So a useful test is to think of whether somebody in western Canada who is preoccupied with the triple E Senate, for example, and regional alienation would react the same way to the common features that we might identify here in Ontario and equally whether people in Quebec would react similarly.

The final question underlines the point that it is one thing to celebrate our diversity, but it is important as well to celebrate what we hold in common. Do we pay enough attention as a community to what we hold in common compared to the celebration of some of the things that distinguish us one from another?

The second question is, "How can we secure our future in the international economy?" This is really included because if one thinks back to the Quebec referendum period and even the last constitutional round of 1980-1982 prior to Meech Lake, I do not believe that the international economic realities were nearly as much on our minds as Canadians as we wrestled with how to shape the future of our society.

There is no question that this is a central force that is pressing in on all of us these days and one to which we have to respond. This section really invites Ontarians to consider that and to consider both the benefits that arise out of large-scale integration and the costs that typically have to be paid for those benefits. That is a lesson the European community has learned. It is a lesson we are certainly having to learn with respect to the free trade arrangement between Canada and the United States. I think the costs of that degree of economic integration are becoming evident to many people. There are costs and benefits, obviously associated with Canada itself, if one looks at it from an economic perspective: fair degree of integration, fair advantages in that integration, but also regional pressures and so on.

That section ends with some questions about whether we are managing our economy to serve people's needs effectively, whether Ontario's economic goals, as they have emerged over the past decade or so, are similar to or different from the goals of other parts of the country, and the question about our international competitiveness and how we reconcile ensuring that we are competitive on the international market with the very important domestic, social and economic goals of full employment, price stability, some equity in income distribution and so on.

The third question is, "What roles should the federal and provincial governments play in Canada in the future?" I guess one might advance a hypothesis that somebody did recently as a way of distilling what we are getting at here, some of the questions. Someone said recently that nation states may be becoming too small for the big problems and too big for the small problems. That encapsulates, I think, the issue that Ontarians are being invited to discuss in this section of the paper.

The questions are asked at the end of that. What are the appropriate economic and social responsibilities of the province and of the federal government? What kind of sharing is appropriate among the various parts of our national community? What principles should guide us in that sharing and redistribution practice?

The fourth question asks, "How do we achieve justice for Canada's aboriginal peoples?" A way of summing this section up is to say that aboriginal peoples are the longest here in the country, the worst off and the fastest-growing community in Canada. A lot of emphasis is put in this section on the fact that aboriginal peoples are, by almost every indicator, worse off than other Canadians and that has been the case for a long time. It is still the case now and there are therefore both constitutional and broad policy ramifications for that, and there are policy implications if governments are going to try to address themselves to improve the quality of life of aboriginal people.

It is clear that with the summer of discontent that followed Meech Lake last summer, there is a message I think for the majority society in that necessity of addressing aboriginal issues. As I say, they have both constitutional and non-constitutional dimensions. So the questions at the end of that section are, "How can the right of aboriginal peoples to manage their own affairs be most effectively related to Canadian society?" Again, that relationship issue: How can they be related effectively to Canadian society as a whole? Second, "What approach should be followed to ensure that the needs of aboriginal peoples in Ontario and in Canada are addressed effectively?"

The fifth issue is, "What are the roles of the English and French languages in Canada?" The points made in that section are that the relations between the French and English languages have historically been both a source of pride and a source of conflict in this country, right from the beginning or at least since the English and the French have begun to live together in this part of the world.

Another point that is made is that demographically the two language communities are becoming increasingly concentrated, so that Quebec is becoming more French and the rest of the country is becoming more English. That seems an inexorable demographic reality that has gone on for some time and would appear likely to continue; worth reflecting on, I think. Then the observation is made that despite that, there are significant French-speaking minorities spread across the country, the largest numerically of which is in Ontario, in this province, and that there is a significant English-speaking minority in Quebec. I hope I got that right: French across the county, English minority in Quebec.

Then there is an observation on the efforts of the various governments to deal with the language issue in some productive fashion over the past 20 years or so, both provincial governments, Quebec specifically, and the federal government. It does seem to be the case that a good many Canadians in the light of some of the events that have occurred recently believe that something is amiss with how we are tackling the language question in this country. I am thinking of the reaction of many English-speaking Canadians to Bill 178 in Quebec and the use of the "notwithstanding" clause and the reaction of many French Canadians to some of the initiatives provinces have taken to cut back support of the French language in their provinces.

So the questions are raised: "How can we better support the needs and aspirations of our linguistic minorities?" How can we lessen the tensions between the two communities and what should be the roles of the federal and provincial governments in that field?

The sixth area: "What is Quebec's future in Canada?" The point is made citing the Task Force on Canadian unity which was co-chaired by John Robarts, the former Premier of Ontario. The point is made that there are six distinctive features of Quebec society that were identified by that commission: first, a distinctive history; second, the predominance obviously of the French language; third, the existence of civil law in that province as well as common law, unlike elsewhere; fourth, "the common ethnic origin of a majority of its population;" fifth, "the shared desires, aspirations and even fears of Quebec's population;" finally, "the unique role that politics and the Quebec government play in shaping Quebec society," of which we have evidence in front of us as we speak.

The other point that is made by way of introduction is to underline the degree to which Quebec and the rest of the country have a good deal in common, and particularly Ontario, and some data are advanced, including the fact that about $30 billion in reciprocal trade occurs each year between the two provinces and about 1.5 million people travel by air between Montreal and Toronto every month. It is an indicator of the kind of economic and social integration that exists certainly between Ontario and Quebec.


The questions then are: "Is the formal recognition of Quebec's distinctiveness consistent with your own conception of Canada and Confederation? How do you think that might be expressed within the framework of Confederation?" Second, "If you don't think that Quebec's distinctiveness should be formally recognized -- and yet this proves to be essential for Quebeckers -- what alternative arrangements" would you have in mind? -- the tradeoff question again -- and finally, "What arrangements with Quebec will enhance our mutual prosperity?"

The seventh area deals with regionalism, "What is the place of the west, the north and the Atlantic region?" The regional issue surfaces with respect to provinces outside of Ontario and Quebec. We are all regions, but the way regional alienation has emerged, for example, is in the context of either provinces outside of Quebec or groups of provinces outside of Quebec and both of those are discussed here.

Much of the impulse based on a sense of discontent -- with the arrangements of Confederation that is felt by the regions of Canada outside of Ontario-Quebec relates to a desire for stronger representation in national policymaking, including better representation in some of the key national institutions. Here the triple E Senate proposal -- an equal, elected, effective upper chamber Senate -- which attracted a lot of support in western Canada and in parts of the Atlantic region is a major factor or representative of that.

A further element of information that is mentioned is the fact that Canadians have typically over the past decade or so felt a growing attachment to their home province. Indeed there are surveys over the past decade that have shown a declining loyalty on the part of Canadians across the country for national institutions and national symbols, so whatever question you ask, if it is the flag or the Governor General, Parliament, whatever, there is declining loyalty, a declining sense of identification of Canadians with those national institutions.

That is true across the country. The biggest drop in fact is in Ontario. It is true, being an honest social scientist, that the drop is from the highest point. In other words, the strength of attachment has been and continues to be highest in Ontario, but the fall-off in support is largest in this province.

The questions that are asked under this rubric: "How could regional identity best be expressed within the framework of Confederation -- by provincial governments or by better regional representation within national institutions in Ottawa?" "How could we strengthen regional or provincial representation in our national institutions?" And, "What arrangements with the Atlantic region, the west and the north will help secure our economic future collectively?"

The final question, the eighth question, is in some respects the key question for the committee, "What does Ontario want?" Typically, that is a question that was put to Quebec in the not-so-distant past. People do not ask that any more. They are pretty good at telling us. But I think that question -- "What does Ontario want?" -- is based in part on the premise that Ontarians have not traditionally thought of themselves as much as Ontarians as they have as Canadians, and they have not thought of their province and the interests and aspirations of their province within that frame of reference.

The assumption in this section is that it is desirable that Ontarians begin thinking about those matters, that there are features of Ontario society that are distinctive from and different from the rest of the country, and there may be a way of coming at the common interest that is typically Ontario and not synonymous with some general national interest, which is perhaps the way Ontarians have thought about it traditionally.

Ontario is more diverse culturally and racially than the rest of the country. The population has been growing more rapidly in Ontario than is the case elsewhere. Our economy is less and less dependent on trade with other parts of the country, and we rely less on other provinces than any other province on the national market, so there are a variety of forces that are at work that are shaping our situation in Confederation and probably warrant our considering what our interests and concerns are.

The questions, then, are: "What are the interests and aspirations of the people of Ontario? To what extent are these shared with other Canadians and to what extent are they distinctive?" And then, "How can we build bridges between the interests and aspirations of ourselves and those of other Canadians?"

Those are the eight questions. The paper, as you know, winds up with an invitation to Ontarians to participate in this process and notes that your report must be ready by 21 March, so time is short, and then provides information about the 800 number and the card, how the members of the community can get in touch with you and your colleagues to participate in this process.

The Chair: Mr Obonsawin, do you have anything else that you wish to add?

Mr Obonsawin: I do not think so. Maybe the only additional comment is that one of the underlying themes of the paper, I believe, and that was certainly on our minds when we put it together, was to try and get a sense of values. There is an opening statement at the beginning which says that -- I forget how it is said -- we could maybe get a consensus on issues, but unless we get a consensus on the values that are going to hold us together, then that consensus on issues will simply fade with time. I certainly believe that consensus on values is very important. That is why the paper attempts to start with that discussion, to try and get a sense as to what are the values, what are the beliefs, that we want to share in the country and then hopefully some of the other questions will become a bit easier to answer.

The Chair: Before opening up for questions or comments from members of the committee, I thought it would be useful to perhaps indicate again, for the benefit of those who might be following the committee's proceedings over the parliamentary network, that the discussion paper will be distributed widely. As we understand it, it is going out to every organization or group that is on any of the mailing lists of any of the ministries of the government, so in fact it should reach people far and wide. But obviously there may be people who will not get it who want to get the paper and they can get that by calling the 1-800 number, which I am told should be appearing also on the screen throughout our meetings, but certainly over the next days and weeks will appear from time to time on the parliamentary channel and in various advertisements. That number is 1-800-668-7275.

That number can also be used to get any additional information people might wish to get as well as to indicate that they wish to speak to the committee. Again, I think perhaps later on in the process we will also outline the places we will be visiting over the next four weeks for members of the public. Again, that information is also something that we will try to provide over the parliamentary channel as well as in community advertisements over the next little while. Hopefully there will be a variety of ways in which people can get to us over the next little while.

The 21 March deadline was mentioned in Mr Cameron's presentation, I think, and it is also clear on behalf of the committee to point out that it is for us the end of the first stage of our work and by that time we are entrusted in pulling together an interim report which will hopefully reflect, and obviously reflect, the kinds of things we will have heard, but that we do not see that as a final deadline. It is the first stage of work that we expect will continue, certainly until the time of our final report which is due at the end of June.

Je voudrais aussi ajouter que, certainement, le document de discussion est disponible aussi en français. En effet, c'est publié en anglais et en français dans le même document. II y a aussi le numéro de téléphone pour informations que j'ai indiqué ; il y aura là des gens qui pourront certainement vous donner des informations et des renseignements en français.

In addition to that, I would like to say that there is also going to be a short version or a summary, I suppose, of the discussion paper in both English and French as well as a number of other additional languages: Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Spanish and Greek. It is also an attempt to try to reach out in a wider way to people who maybe have an easier facility in some of those languages. With that, I will open it up to comments or questions. Mr Malkowski was first.


Mr Malkowski: I have two comments. First, we have a 1-800 number. Is that also a telecommunications device for the deaf line?

The Chair: The clerk is not here at this moment, but I think she had indicated yesterday, Mr Malkowski, that was something that was being looked into. I do not know what the answer to that question is at this point.

Mr Malkowski: Normally, to indicate, you need to have it printed clearly -- voice flash TDD or teletype -- to indicate so.

Mr Bisson: For the information, one of the things the subcommittee looked at was the question of being able to provide that. The difficulty we are in right now is trying to set it up technically in time. My understanding is that there is a strong possibility that it will be in place, but it is something that we have turned our attention to.

The Chair: I think, Mr Malkowski, as soon as we are able to set that up we will also again use whatever facilities we have to advertise the existence of that number.

Mr Malkowski: Okay, if you could please be sure to include that. Another brief point: You were talking about the Constitution and non-Constitution. Are you talking about charter rights? What are you referring to when you use the term "non-constitutional" or "non-Constitution"?

Mr Cameron: The point that I was trying to make is that I think the issue, if you treat it as a single issue, that we are confronting as a country is complex, and the kinds of responses that will be appropriate are not going to be exclusively constitutional. There may be arrangements between the national government and the provincial governments that will be worked out within the framework of the existing Constitution and will require no change. There may be public policy initiatives that governments in Ontario or the government in Ottawa could undertake that will not be constitutional in character. So there are a variety of potential responses just as I think the issue itself is more than purely constitutional. When one talks about the declining consensus on values, that clearly is not something that can be responded to purely in constitutional terms.

Ms Harrington: When I first picked this document up this afternoon I was very pleased. I would like to commend you on it. First of all it was very light, and when I think of sending out 80,000 copies that is a consideration. It is also an inviting type of document, something that I believe people will actually read. It is involving, and I really was gratified to see this invitation card to send back as well as the 800 number.

I wanted to note that I would hope that possibly schools across this province will make use of this document. As a one-time teacher, I think it would be good either at a senior public school level or even at the high school level. So I certainly hope that schools will have access to this document. Are they automatically sent to schools, Mr Chairman?

The Chair: I believe, in the list that I certainly saw, there were actually provisions for copies to go to schools. But, Mr Obonsawin, you may want to comment more on that.

Mr Obonsawin: It very definitely will be going to the schools. We have not had a chance yet to talk with the Ministry of Education to see if they are going to be doing maybe some animation to ensure that there is some sort of follow-through in the school systems. But they definitely will be sent to the schools.

Ms Harrington: I want to make one other comment. I have not really thought this through completely, but on page 9 you are talking about international economy, and in the middle of the third paragraph it says: "The benefits of a larger market do not come without costs. Jobs will be lost as companies and their workers are forced to adjust to the new economic circumstances." I know you are talking about Europe, but it also applies to Canada and Ontario and I think it is a little bit confusing trying to deal with the whole international economy. I think people may find this paragraph a little bit difficult. I just wondered if you would have any comment on that.

Mr Cameron: If it is the only paragraph they find difficult, I would regard it as a success. I take your point. I think those who were preparing the paper at every step of the way thought: "How consistent with one page of text, with a lot of white surface on the page. How can you say something useful and helpful and what is it you should say?" I would be amazed if there were not serious lapses along the way in the capacity to express the right thing and the right thing clearly.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: First of all I want to congratulate you, Mr Chair, and the clerk for having these documents right at the precise dot of 1:30 in my office. I was overcome by that commitment.

The Chair: It is a sign of things to come, Mrs O'Neill.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I hope so. I just hope that has something to do with the way our travel is going to unfold.

I would like to ask a little bit about the short version. For starters, what is it going to look like?

Mr Obonsawin: The short version right now is a first draft that has been prepared. I unfortunately have not seen it yet. I have been busy with a few other things today. It will basically review the headings and give a sense of what the issues are, and then simply indicate to people that if they want to know more, they can apply through the 800 number or whatever for the full text. So it is maybe simply a bit of a teaser to try to get them to read the full text, but it will be easier to mail and it will be easier to ensure a full distribution.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I guess my main question is, will it contain these questions that are following up to the questions?

Mr Obonsawin: Peter Sadlier-Brown has seen it. Peter, do you want to maybe just tell them what you have seen? It is still a draft, but Peter tells me that it has some of the questions but not all the questions.

Mr Sadlier-Brown: The draft that I saw this morning contained some of the questions. It is a summary. It is supposed to be really a précis of the larger document. In that respect, it précises the questions too, it takes sort of the most pointed or the most appropriate of the questions. There are, I think, at most, in the current version or the current draft, two questions in each section.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: So we are talking about a document that runs to about eight pages or six pages. Well, that is enough.

The Chair: I am sorry, can we just be clear on that? When you say it takes only a couple of questions in each section, I think maybe, Mrs O'Neill, were you asking whether in fact the eight major issues or questions are there?

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Yes.

Mr Sadlier-Brown: I am sorry. All eight headings that are here, all eight major questions are there. Under the eight headings only one or two of the particular questions that are in this document in the bold type at the end of each section are repeated under the individual heading questions.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: And as you were saying, there will be an invitation to extend to the larger document if the group or individual so wishes.

Mr Sadlier-Brown: Yes.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Okay. I had a couple of others. The dates for the ads: we are starting Sunday. How long in advance are these ads preceding our arrival?

The Chair: I am going to ask the clerk to comment on that. The ads have begun to run in a general sense, I think, all over the province, but I think the intent was to then add to that ads in the local communities where we will be going prior to our arrival, obviously, in terms of timing of that.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I am starting to get questions about this and I would like to have the most up-to-date information that I possibly could.

Clerk of the Committee: I am in contact with our media people. They are supposed to fax me a list of the radio spots, because we are doing radio advertising as well.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: That is good.

Clerk of the Committee: I will send out the revised list of when the ads are running in all the community newspapers. I will try to get that out to your offices tomorrow.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I think people wish to hear the ads simply because they do not know where we are going to be. They know what city we are going to be in, but where the meeting is going to take place, I think that is pretty crucial information, since we are going to be whizzing through. We do not want them to spend half the day looking for where we are.

Clerk of the Committee: That is part of the problem we are running into, that we have not confirmed a number of the sites, but the ads in the specific locations -- for example, Kenora's will be in the Legion there. Originally we gave our advertising people the street address. I do not think they are going to put that in because they felt, talking to the people in Kenora, that they knew where it was. The same with the school in Sioux Lookout. It is small enough that everyone knows where the school is, but they want to put in the street address as well. This will go in the radio ads as well as in the newspaper ads in the specific communities we are visiting and the areas.


Mrs Y. O'Neill: If you can give us what you have to this point, it would be helpful.

My final question is to Mr Cameron. You made a very interesting comment and you kind of hesitated. I would like you to say a little bit more about the attachment of Ontario to the Canadian federation. I do not even know whether you can go back to what you were thinking at that moment, but maybe you can.

Mr Cameron: It is data that have been collected by Michael Adams of Environics.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I am not sure he is still one of my favourite people, but we will go with it.

Mr Cameron: This is not a plug, it is simply an acknowledgement that that is where it came from. It is some survey work where repeated questions were asked over a period of approximately a decade. They were asked with respect to what sense of loyalty they felt as citizens to the following, and then they had a series of things: the flag, the Mounties, I think the national Parliament and so on, a number of those sorts of what are regarded as national symbols. Across the board, in every province there is a decline in the sense of identity. That was my point. Then, with respect to Ontario, I am saying that the commitment throughout to national symbols is highest in Ontario, but so is the drop the largest. The drop in commitment is largest.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: It is hard for me to understand. We are still the highest but we have dropped the most.

Mr Cameron: Yes, because we were streets ahead of most other parts of the country. We still are ahead, but we are less ahead than we were before.

Ms Churley: Mr Cameron. I just am not clear on your role in this whole process. I understand that during the Meech Lake discussion you were a special adviser to Quebec. I am not sure, could you clarify your role in this whole process now?

Mr Cameron: All right.

Ms Churley: Are you a constitutional expert?

Mr Cameron: I will tell you what I was doing and what I am doing now. I will not answer that question.

Interjection: Just do not tell us you are a two-fisted economist.

Mr Cameron: No, I will not. Until July I was fully and formally with the government of Ontario. In the last year I had two roles: I was the adviser to the Premier on the Constitution and I was the Ontario government representative to Quebec, so it was a double role. I resigned from the government at the beginning of July and returned to the University of Toronto. If you really want to know this, I am telling you. I love talking about myself. I continued through the summer as Quebec representative and I continued from the beginning of July, on a part-time basis obviously, consistent with my work at U of T, to work with the government on the post-Meech situation. I am still doing that. That is my role.

Ms Churley: My question is related, I guess, to constitutional experts. I assume there are not that many in the country and I expect that there --

Interjection: There are more every day.

Ms Churley: There are more growing every day. The issue I am getting at, I guess, and you would know more about this than I do, is, one of the prevailing images throughout the Meech Lake accord for a lot of people, and I think particularly women, is that there were a bunch of men who got together in a room and made some pretty important decisions. Not only women, of course, other disadvantaged groups felt very shut out and were complaining, I think quite justifiably, that in many of the processes there was not enough access and opinions were not being listened to.

Of course, we want to do things differently now and we want to make sure that those voices are heard. I just wondered, if you would not mind talking a bit for a few minutes, about how you see we can do things a little differently so that the people who felt so shut out before -- I know that women, for instance, and I am sure you do as well, the feminist groups and other groups were quite concerned about their constitutional rights being tampered with and that they were not taken seriously, that they were not listened to and it was mostly a bunch of men who were not listening to them, the status quo. I just wanted to hear what you have to say about that.

Mr Cameron: I do think what we have been living with throughout this decade has been an increasing democratization of the constitutional process, so the old ways of doing things, which may have worked at one point, do not work any longer. Executive federalism, ie, 11 men in a room, has become a term of real opprobrium in this country for the reasons that I think you are suggesting.

My perception is that people learn over time and come to grips with a new situation over time. They do not all do it at the same pace and they do not all do it instantly. I think there were some assumptions that animated the putting together of Meech Lake, and that were proven to be incomplete, about public participation, the degree of public interest in the constitutional process and the need to have an openness when there was still a capacity to have an effect. Clearly the process we are engaged in now, as are a number of other governments, is in response to that evolution of political culture in this country.

I guess one observation I would make is that I think it is easier to attack executive federalism than to replace it. I do not think the issue is that it is a bad thing and you should get rid of it, because at the end of the day, at least as things stand, one still has a parliamentary form of government with the heads of government -- prime ministers, premiers -- who have to strike some kind of an understanding. But I think it is possible, and this is what we are embarked on, I think it is possible, if you like, to tame and democratize the process and ensure that people who are interested and concerned and whose interests are affected by the outcome are given ample opportunity to express their views and have a role in shaping the ultimate outcome.

I do not think that makes reaching agreement easier. I think, arguably, it makes it more difficult because then what you are looking at is finding a ground of accommodation that is much more fundamental and more popularly based than perhaps was the case before. But I do think that is the reality of the country now.

Ms Churley: But you could also say that in Meech Lake there seemed to be a willingness to compromise -- I should not say compromise, actually, but perhaps to not listen enough to the diverse groups that had some problems with it, and that in fact it was almost, "So let's get this through at all costs or the country will fall apart." It failed, of course. That certainly did not work either. I guess it is finding that balance.

Mr Cameron: Once the Meech process was embarked on, there was a technical problem in listening to anybody; in the sense of actually taking into account what people were saying, that it was a packaged deal and it was put together using two amending instruments in the Constitution, one that required seven provinces and 50% of the population and the other unanimity, all provinces. Because there were those two elements, it was judged that the package required unanimity plus the three-year deadline, which is a function of the 7-50 formula -- but unanimity for the purposes of this discussion.

Any change in the package of amendments would then require it to be changed by all of the participants as soon as anybody had passed it. Quebec was the first province within I think three weeks of the Langevin accord that had passed Meech Lake. You change a comma in that package to deal with the quite understandable concerns that people had and you had to go back to Quebec and say. "Pass it again through the Legislature." There are politics in Quebec, as there are everywhere else in the country, and then when each one was added the difficulty was heightened more and more.

That was the technical constraint on actually responding to these concerns. In a sense, what did not happen was that between the Meech Lake agreement at Meech Lake itself, where the outline in principle of Meech Lake was established, and the Langevin accord, which was a little over a month later, where the actual text of Meech Lake was committed to, there was only a month. I think Quebec was the only government that actually consulted with its Legislature, let alone held hearings.

If that stage in the process had been opened up to a year and all governments had gone back to their legislatures and there had been committees and hearings, you would have dealt with that sense of being excluded and not being heard. Whether you would have ended up with Meech Lake at the end of the process is a question I think you committee members and all of us have to ask ourselves.


Mr Beer: I wonder if Mr Cameron or Professor Cameron, given your dual role, you might reflect on the experience you had as a representative in Quebec in this context. I think we all recognize that the historical relationship of Ontario and Quebec, as has been pointed out, has been very important. There is a whole series of things that has linked us together. In the current situation, that would seem to me to be still a very critical role. At the same time, we know that Quebec has said that after Meech, it wants to deal with the federal government in any of the discussions. There is bound to be, among some people as we go around, a certain sense of what in fact Ontario can really do at this juncture when we see either the Quebec Liberal Party's submission or what may come from Bélanger-Campeau, certainly listening to Jacques Parizeau.

How do we find a role for the province? From your experience in working closely with the Quebec government, both elected officials and other groups there, would you say that that role of Ontario has changed significantly over the last couple of years? And from that, is what we do still of perhaps a different kind of importance than, let's say, a report that might come from another province or even in fact from the federal government? Are they still interested in what we think about the future of the country, about the links between the two provinces, about their role in Canada, or in our views on different kinds of sovereignty or even independence?

Mr Cameron: I can give you my observations. Stephen is not here but --

Mr Beer: I was going to ask him as well.

Mr Cameron: He has escaped.

Mr Obonsawin: He apologizes. He had to go to an interview.

Mr Cameron: One thing that struck me while I was functioning in that capacity was the openness and interest of the Quebeckers that I dealt with in Ontario, Ontario practices. in information about what was happening here and in working with Ontario. That surfaced in all kinds of ways.

One of the most obvious connections was among the governments, where the scale of the two governments is more alike, setting aside the federal government, than any other provinces to Quebec or Ontario. So we have a lot to talk to just because they are big governments, they are complex organizations and they are large societies. There was a very strong curiosity about what was being done in Ontario and an interest in exploring that, a lot of exchanges and movement back and forth.

But that was broader than purely the government. I guess parenthetically, I would say that throughout the period we are moving into, the more we in Ontario can sustain and expand the relationships on all fronts with Quebec, the better off both will be and so will the country. I think those are really important and nobody should be pulling down the shutters at this juncture; quite the reverse.

Another point that struck me was that I did have the impression that, for many Quebeckers, their predominant information about the rest of the country and their general understanding of the rest of the county was grounded in an understanding of Ontario more than anywhere else. Ontario was the symbol.

In some cases, Ontario was mistaken to be the rest of the country, but it was certainly regarded as the most reliable representative of English-speaking Canadian views and positions and attitudes in English-speaking culture. I think that is extremely important for the province, for this committee and for the government as they think about what they do over the coming months and couple of years.

To get to the question about the weight to be attached to what we do here, setting aside the federal government again, I think the government of Ontario, the position of Ontario, what happens in Ontario will be paid far more heed to in Quebec than will what happens in any other jurisdiction in the country, without question.

My impression is that because of the post-Meech environment, the discussion is very internalized now in Quebec, so people are not really thinking that much about the rest of the country, particularly with the Bélanger-Campeau process still under way. But I think at some point fairly soon they are going to lift their heads and be thinking, "How does what we say we want relate to other parts of the country, to the rest of the country?" So I think a sense of exchange and openness and a presence in Quebec on the part of Ontario is very, very important.

Mr Beer: If I might ask a second question which is related, in Quebec and Ontario, we have the largest of the so-called official-language minority groups, and geographically those tend to be concentrated. Certainly one of the concerns that Franco-Ontarians, Ontario francophones, have as we go forward is what place might they have in anything that would be different than the status quo, and I think that same question would obviously be posed to the anglophones in Quebec.

What is your perception of how Quebec sees the francophone minority within Ontario? How important is that to them? What role does that issue, in a sense within the two provinces, of how we deal, each one of us, with our linguistic minority, play in trying to find some kind of solution, whatever the change may be in a constitutional sense?

Mr Cameron: I think the degree of preoccupation with the francophone minorities elsewhere in the country, and particularly in Ontario, on the part of Quebeckers waxes and wanes to some extent, given their preoccupation with their own fortunes and their own circumstances. Again, my impression is that because of the internally focused discussions that are going on, like the rest of the country, perhaps the status of the francophone minorities elsewhere is not on everybody's agenda for discussion, but I do not take it from that that they will go away or have gone away. I think that resurfaces consistently, because there is a constant preoccupation in Quebec with the fortunes of their francophone colleagues elsewhere in the country. So it seems to me it will be a recurring important dimension of the discussions that are carried on between Quebec and other governments.

With respect to the second part of your question, I guess I would make one personal observation. I do think that certainly in Ontario and in Quebec there is a maturity in governments and a maturity growing within the societies. The sort of slightly paternalistic role of the national government with respect to the arrangements for minorities in the provinces was something we experienced in the past.

I am not sure that is as necessary or as profitable a public policy today as it was in the past. It seems to me there is a fair degree of evidence on both sides of a realization that this is an abiding public policy concern for the province and that there need to be recurrent efforts to try to work that out and improve the situation of the two sets of minorities.


Mr Harnick: There is no specific mention in the paper about the amending formula, and it is a difficult, complicated area. Would you anticipate that our examination of some of the people who come before the committee should elicit some ideas about amending formulas?

Mr Cameron: I think the conception of the process and the conception of the paper was that this should be open to people who do not have constitutional expertise. It is their country; they should find the vocabulary to address it and identify the issues as they see them. Perhaps it is not a committee process.

That is for you people obviously to determine, but the conception that I think was in mind was that it is not a process that should automatically invite the usual suspects. You should be getting Ontarians coming, not constitutional experts, at least in this first round. Indeed, the first step in the process is the discussion and ventilation of priorities and values and views about the fundamentals rather than the technicalities of the Constitution, which will come soon enough.

For example, if you move from the interim to the report in June or the committee and legislative process continues beyond that, then it seems that that will be very much a period when having had the general discussion, one can turn to the more specific matters, where there are constitutional proposals, where the amending formula can be tackled, where the kind of blockage that exists because Quebec wants to proceed bilaterally can be examined and ways can be found for dealing with that.

But that is a bit further down the road; not a lot, but a bit. I think that was the conception that animated the nature of this paper. The Constitution has to be mentioned in the paper, but it is not mentioned very often, and that is why.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I have a couple more questions that have come to mind as we have been discussing. In the reading I have been doing lately there seems to be a new realization among, I presume, business leaders and maybe even the general public in Quebec that separation or whatever is going to have more economic outcomes than had been originally anticipated or maybe even thought about. I wondered if you could comment on whether that is the same perception you have. I am only getting it at second hand.

Mr Cameron: I guess my perception is that I am not sure that that penny has dropped -- an appropriate image -- entirely yet. When the PQ formed the government in 1976 and during the runup to the referendum in 1980, one of the dominant themes was the discussion of the financial cost of separation. Very few people were arguing that there were financial advantages. It was a question of how much it would cost to do it. That was one of the most potent messages that Quebeckers had in mind, I think, as they went to the voting booths in 1980.

One of the striking features this time around is that I do not get a strong sense, either inside Quebec or elsewhere in the country, that people are spending much time thinking about the economic impacts of the country breaking up. I think part of it goes back to some of these questions. We have free trade, which we did not have before. There is globalization in the international marketplace. The role of the national government has been changing. There is a huge national debt that they are wrestling with, so they cannot be the sugar-daddies of Confederation any more. A lot of those factors are playing on people's minds as they think about this, and the economies, the pattern of trade, as we saw with the Ontario economy, have evolved as well.

I think it raises a series of fundamental questions, but my own impression is that neither in Quebec nor elsewhere in the country are people thinking about the remaining costs. Quite apart from anything else, it seems to me that it is going to be at least as expensive to break up the country as it is to break up a marriage. It costs money to divorce, and I have no reason to believe it would not cost heavily. If nothing else, the transition costs would be heavy in the breakdown of the country, unless we have a degree of political maturity that has been unseen on the face of the globe.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: The other question I have, again from what I only can pick up in my reading, is there seemed to be a long list of things -- well, not too long, but 8 to 10 items -- where Quebec wants to be independent. I have not seen a list of items where they want to maintain a strong tie. Is there such a list, a short list, however it may be? Can you speak to that?

Mr Cameron: There are certainly lots of lists about what should be, as the phrase goes, repatriated. For example, the Quebec Chamber of Commerce listed 22 items that it thought should come into Quebec's jurisdiction. People do not make lists of the things that should be tying us together, but the way the ties emerge in the discussion is typically through talking about the economic relationships that ought to continue and be preserved in the country. People will say: "Well, there should clearly be a monetary union. We should clearly have open borders between Ontario and Quebec, for example, because we both benefit from the trading relationship. There should be free movement of people and capital and goods inside Canada and Quebec." That is, in a sense, the list that is being formed.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: So they are not really talking about things like defence. They are saying something about monetary systems.

Mr Cameron: Sure, they would mention defence. The focal point tends to be on economic matters, but defence would be a matter. International affairs would be very much up for discussion. There is a range of those matters that are then put forward as areas where common institutions would make sense, or shared responsibility would make sense.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Let's hope we will evoke some clarity on that particular issue, that which can tie us together. I represent one of the ridings in the Ottawa area. Ottawa-Rideau is my riding. I am wondering if you feel there is any particular role or special role for Outaouais, Ottawa-Carleton, simply because of the kind of daily living we do there. I could say more, but I would like to hear your response first.

Mr Cameron: I would like to hear you say more.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: I guess I could be very honest in saying we have not, as Ontario MPPs, been successful in getting the MLAs from Outaouais very involved in meeting, joint discussion, and we have tried. I am not saying our efforts were endless, and maybe could have been done in different ways, but there does not seem to be at the moment a great affinity to coming together. The only joint body is the National Capital Commission. As you know, our mayors sometimes meet on the bridge, and sometimes they do not, on 1 July. I am just wondering if you can speak to that at all. I know it is something that is very close to many people I represent.

Mr Cameron: I go back I guess to a point I made earlier. I am not really surprised that there is relatively little taste for that kind of contact coming from the other side of the river at this juncture. First of all, I think it is important that people who have contacts and associations and business to do in the other community keep doing it and keep doing it actively throughout the piece. I think that we are likely to move towards a stage where the question of the relationships between Quebec and the rest of the country becomes increasingly important for Quebeckers as they think about that dimension of the issue. Rather than think about themselves on their own or what they want, how do they relate their priorities to what is the economic, social, political, constitutional reality around them? They have to deal with that, just as we have to deal with what is going on in Quebec. I think that one can expect that to open up more, and it seems to me there will be some -- I would hope there would be some -- opportunities as a consequence for there to be more fruitful contact between the two.

Mrs Y. O'Neill: The bridges are pretty busy at rush hour between those two provinces.

Mr Cameron: They certainly are.

Mr Obonsawin: Just as a supplementary there to the answer that Mr Cameron gave to Mrs O'Neill, just to remind you that you will be hearing a lot over the next few months about what different opinions are in Quebec as to who wants what. Today, with the Allaire report, which I have not seen yet --

Mrs Y. O'Neill: Everybody says he has the Allaire report, but I have not seen it.

Mr Obonsawin: That is right. We know it has been released. I guess we do not have any questions on it right now. Again, that is what the constitutional committee of the party is recommending and it will be dealt with at the party conference next March. Bélanger-Campeau has not yet submitted its report, so all we can really do at the current time is speculate what various groups have tabled at those various forums, what Quebec might want and what it might want to share and not share. So I think we will only know later on this summer, when the Quebec government has had an opportunity to consider those submissions and those reports and will probably then be a bit clearer as to what are the areas it wishes to negotiate or what are the areas it wishes to pursue with Canada and what are the areas it wishes to pursue by itself, just to make sure that people are clear on the fact there really does not exist at this point in time an official magic list.

Mr Bisson: Just for clarification for those watching out there, it may be a good idea just to touch on the process by which people will be able to approach our committee in regard to either oral or written submissions. I know questions have come to my office, "Do I need, as a person, to give a written submission to the committee?" Maybe we can just touch on that.

The Chair: I was going to do that, actually, at the end. There was one other question or comment from Mr Offer. I think that is a good point. We should do that, Mr Bisson.

Mr Offer: I have a question of Mr Cameron. We have heard today, of course, that the Allaire report has been released. We know that Bélanger-Campeau is coming down the line, as well as Spicer in July. What I would like to get from you, from your experience, is your observation as to the speed or the rapidity of events that might take place in Quebec. I think that is important for us in our committee and in our dealings to have some sense from yourself as to, on the basis of your experience, how you feel Quebec -- without dealing with the substance of the matter, dealing with the matter itself. What time do we have, in your opinion? I ask the question because I note in your opening remarks you spoke about this process here being a long-term process, that it is not the last time we will be before this particular committee. I am wondering if you might be able to expand upon that.

Mr Cameron: My observations, for what they are worth, are built on what I see going on in Quebec. First of all, the wind is in the sovereignty sails, and the interests of the PQ and Mr Parizeau lie in having an early referendum that would put the question and move the thing a whole new stage forward.

The interests of the Premier of Quebec, Mr Bourassa, I think lie elsewhere. I do not believe that he is anxious to see this process rushed, because I do not believe he thinks it is in the interests of Quebeckers that it be rushed. I think a more evolutionary process, not something that will drag on for ever but one where there are stages and there is a capacity to think and there is a capacity to send messages to the rest of the country and hear whether there are messages back is what he will likely be wanting. He is the Premier, he is back in office. I presume his health is good.

In fashioning my own reflections on the timetable, it seems to me that one of the key future events is the next provincial election, because the Premier is bound to be very concerned about the position that he is in to deal with the next provincial election. So I guess I would say that the likely framework within which he will want to work will be one in which he will have resolved something prior to the next election. He cannot go into the next election with the thing still in train and it being unclear whether the rest of the country wants to talk turkey or not. So I think it will be a timetable within that framework that will push to a conclusion of one kind or another and put him in a position to then go to the people with a platform and a proposal that will make sense and, he would hope, get himself re-elected. There are some conditions and ifs in all of that, obviously, but that would be my working assumption.

It seems to me that we might be looking at an 18-month period, where at the end of that there would need to be some kind of conclusion arrived at. But when I say long-term process, whatever that conclusion is will not be the end of the day either. So whatever way this plays out, it is unfortunate to say it, we are into five years to a decade of this kind of turmoil, I am afraid, and that is why I think we are in it for the long haul. It is the long-distance runners who are going to succeed finally.

The Chair: Given the understanding that we had reached yesterday that we would try to end this by 6:30, it being now 6:05, and the fact that we also do have some items dealing with our travel arrangements and itinerary for next week that we need to deal with in private session, I think it is probably useful to bring this section to a close and thank Mr Obonsawin and Mr Cameron for their comments and being here to go over the discussion paper with us.

I think certainly one could end on a number of notes, but perhaps it is appropriate to do so with the last question that is in the discussion paper, which is, "What does Ontario want?" I think over the next month that certainly will be one of the major tasks for us, to try to sift out and encourage people to come and talk to us so that in fact we can come out of this process having a clear sense as to where the people of Ontario are on the variety of issues that you have touched upon and indeed on many other issues that they wish to talk to us about.

With that in mind, I will pick up on Mr Bisson's suggestion and in effect point out again for the people of the public who may be following us over the parliamentary channel that we will of course be beginning our hearings next week. We will be travelling over the next four weeks to various parts of the province, beginning next week in the northwest part of the province. In Kenora on Monday we will be at the Royal Canadian Legion hall; in Dryden and Sioux Lookout on Tuesday. In Dryden we will be at the senior citizens' activity centre and in Sioux Lookout at Queen Elizabeth District High School. On Wednesday we will be in Thunder Bay at Lakehead University, and on Thursday in Sault Ste Marie at the Civic Centre.

In the weeks following, we will travel, as I said, throughout other parts of the province, the week of 11 February in Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay, Orillia and Collingwood; the week of 18 February in Toronto, Windsor, London, Kitchener, Brantford and Hamilton, and the last week of February in Ottawa, Cornwall, Kingston, Peterborough and Toronto. That information will obviously, as I indicated earlier, be also made available through the parliamentary channel and people can also get details, again, by calling the 1-800 number, which I hope will also be flashing from time to time across the parliamentary channel. That number is 1-800-668-7275.

I will just conclude by saying that we want to hear from people. The format is really much less relevant. How formal or informal is simply up to the individuals and we will welcome any comments that people have, however structured or unstructured they may be, and encourage people to in fact come and talk with us in any of those locations; or if they are not able to do that or do not wish to do that, to take the opportunity to write to us as well here at Queen's Park and give us any views that they may have in writing. Certainly all of our proceedings will be televised, that is the intention, so people are able to follow that as well over the parliamentary channel.

Unless there are any other comments or questions from members of the committee, we will end the public session. If members of the committee could remain for, hopefully, another 10 minutes or so, we can just straighten out some of the technicalities of travelling during the next week.

The committee continued in camera at 1810.