31e législature, 4e session

L043 - Thu 8 May 1980 / Jeu 8 mai 1980

The House met at 10 a.m.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the constitutional resolution.

Mr. Dukszta: Mr. Speaker, in opening today’s debate, my remarks are but the first chapter of a six-chapter speech being given. The speeches today by members of the New Democratic Party are speeches outlining and recognizing the contribution of the one third of Canadians who are neither English nor French.

The speeches will be given by six NDP members representing the great multicultural ridings of Parkdale, High Park-Swansea, Brantford, Dovercourt, Oakwood and Downsview. We are talking about building a new constitution which changes the status quo. Our comments will be specifically in terms of the role of the so-called third force. We will speak of multicultural Canada, our country, in English and French but also in our mother tongue and the tongues of our constituents.

We shall be speaking Ukrainian, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, French and English. These are part of the Canadian treasure of languages and have become Canadian languages because they are the languages that Canadians use to communicate with one another.

These languages enable us at this privileged moment when the course of history is about to change to speak for almost one third of Canadians who are neither English nor French. The six of us are Canadians, some born here and some immigrants. We are “ethnics” but we are also Socialists. It is our Socialist perception that constitutes our effort to create a society fully human, just and equal, and fully Canadian.

When the British North America Act was written to formally unite Canada, only four per cent of the population was neither English nor French. Yet before the first newcomers of 1634, there were original Canadians. Before there were two nations, there were eight nations. In 1867, Canada was different from Canada of 1634. The history did not stop in 1763, 1867, nor will it in 1980.

The 1980 Canada is a multicultural, multiracial and multi-ethnic country, roughly divided into two groups, the original inhabitants and the newcomers, the French, the English and the others. It is a country with two linguas francas, English and French, which some two million people don’t consider their mother tongue and another four million people consider as their second language.

Now, Canada faces a socio-political crisis, the crisis produced by the growing conviction of Quebec French that for the sake of ethnic survival, Quebec must separate from the rest of Canada. This crisis along with the growing alienation in western Canada are only the more visible signs of structural stress in Canadian federation.

In dealing with the structural stresses which cause Canada to need a new confederation and new constitution, I will focus on four aspects. First, I will address the Quebec question, which is a question of cultural survival of Quebecois within their own territory. Second, I will discuss the need for Canada to assert its economic and cultural independence from the United States. Third, I will discuss briefly the opportunities to realign power among the various levels of government in order to extend the level of participatory democracy in this country. Finally, and with the most care, I will discuss the multicultural nature of Canada and the necessity of building the structures and institutions which reflect the Canadian reality.

Monsieur le Président, avant de tracer les grandes lignes des problèmes et des inquiétudes des minorités ethniques, alors que nous essayons de construire une nouvelle constitution, permettez-moi de répéter que mes collègues et moi n’avons aucune intention d’attaquer ou de saper les aspirations légitimes des Canadiens-Français. Nous reconnaissons que leur culture et leur langue n’ont pas été suffisamment protégées depuis 1763.

Nous croyons que la nouvelle constitution doit reconnaître et garantir ces droits. En tant que Nouveaux Démocrates, nous continuerons de nous battre contre le gouvernement conservateur, car ils ont négligé de fournir un milieu adéquat pour l’éducation des Franco-Ontariens et un niveau acceptable de services en langue française dans cette province.

Je suis d’ailleurs reconnaissant aux Québécois d’avoir placé la question du droit à la langue et à la culture au coeur du débat sur l’avenir du Canada. Parce qu’ils refusent que leur culture soit sacrifiée a la stratégie économique et continentale des États-Unis, parce qu’ils insistent que les Canadiens aient le droit d’être maitres chez nous, ils nous poussent tous à penser profondément au rôle de la culture dans le monde moderne et à l’avenir du Canada.

Mais le fait de reconnaître la nature multiculturelle du Canada n’empêche pas la reconnaissance de l’égalité entre les Français et les Anglais. Cela veut tout simplement dire que l’autre tiers de la population exige le droit d’être inclus dans ce dialogue sur la nature et l’avenir de notre Confédération. Les demandes qui sont faites pour que la nature multiculturelle du Canada soit reconnue signifient qu’il y a un groupe de Canadiens dont, jusqu’à présent, nous n’avons pas tenu compte. Un groupe qui veut pourtant qu’on les considère comme partenaires dans le nouveau Canada que nous voulons bâtir.

Le fait que les Franco-Ontariens sont froissés quand on les associe aux autres minorités ethniques, indique qu’ils ont peur du sobriquet de “citoyen de deuxième classe,” qui est étroitement lié à l’ethnicité, quand on les voit contre la toile de fond de l’Anglo-Ontario.

Mais le Canada de 1980 comprend 27 pour cent de citoyens qui ne sont ni français, ni anglais, et pour les Français, l’insistance de ce groupe d’être reconnu en tant qu’égal aux autres, leur semble être un acte hostile. Pourtant cette demande pour un statut d’égalité embrasse les Français, puisque c’est seulement si l’on aperçoit le Canada comme pays multiculturel que tous les groupes ethniques réaliseront l’égalité.

Indeed, the central problem in Canada today is the fact that we have not created equality of conditions for our people for Canada is a class society. In the broader context of North American capitalist ethos, Canadians have been socialized to believe that unlimited upward mobility exists just as the French Canadians coming to the factories in Montreal and Trois Rivieres in Quebec of 1930 found that there was no social equality for them. The new immigrants coming to Canada since the turn of the century have found that equality is often more a slogan than a reality. Our new constitution, like the Portuguese one, must contain provision for abolishing the class nature of our society.

10:10 a.m.

The second point I wish to make is briefly that any discussion of a new constitution must deal with the problem of bringing our economy home. A new constitution must put Canada first. I define Canada as the people who built this country with their hands, their backs and their lives, and not just the people who bought this country with money borrowed from Canadians and through an ethnic exploitation of working people of Canada.

Canada, through the continental equalities of the federal Liberals and through the lack of economic leadership of the provincial Conservatives, has become a vassal of the United States. We are economically, politically and culturally not our own. To embark on the writing of a new constitution which deals with the new realities and insights about our society today without taking into account the American domination of our country, is to behave like the emperor of Lilliput in Gulliver’s Travels.

In building a new constitution we want to examine the division of powers among federal, provincial and municipal governments. There is a need for a strong central government that can build and develop an industrial strategy on which an independent Canadian economy can be based; but in the context of what I have been discussing today, that of developing Canada’s particularities and responding to regional differences between our societies and giving full expression to the political and cultural communities which make up Canada, it seems to me the devolution and decentralization of power is a principle we must pursue.

The devolution of power from the federal to the provincial and the municipal level, and from the municipal to the community level, is a structural progression of democratic participation and recognition of the right of all our citizens to complete self-determination. We have called for greater citizen participation in factories, community health centres, neighbourhoods, urban affairs and the general running of political life. In the same direction we could have the means of implementing the broad concepts of multiculturalism, lessening the cultural domination and cultural inexpressiveness of our monolithic institutions.

For example, it makes great sense to have a French school board in Ottawa-Carleton. It is also appropriate to extend bilingualism or control of certain institutions to ethnic groups in various areas where an ethnic group has a significant concentration. A good example of this is the bilingualism in Edmonton schools where English/Ukrainian bilingual programs are recognized and fully supported by the government of Alberta. In Ontario one thinks of the Finns in Thunder Bay or the Poles in Renfrew county in the same light.

This is not a call for a babel of tongues or a division of Canadian society. It is in fact quite the reverse. It is the encouragement of a society that recognizes the vitality and contribution of all ethnocultural communities. This diversity can be the basis for our unity and our Canadianism.

I will now address my central concern, that is multiculturalism. Multiculturalism has at least three dimensions. If we are going to support multiculturalism in our society we must first develop an awareness and acceptance among all Canadians that there are many ethnoculturaal communities that are an integral part of Canadian society. Second, the Canadian society through its government and other agencies must act as a catalyst to encourage growth and development of these resources and right milieu. Finally, Canada must develop a means for the political articulation of the needs and concerns of minority communities within Canada.

These principles can be achieved without in any way diminishing the position and status of English, French and native people in Canada. In fact, it enriches their society and recognizes the fundamental principle of a good society -- that of equality of all persons and the right of persons to maintain and advance their cultures. The preservation of many languages in no way undermines the position of our two national languages.

[Translation from Polish:]

Given the reality of the dominant Anglo- Canadian society as expressed in mass media, political structures, cultural institutions, work places and schools, the demands of “ethnic people,” some one third of Canada’s population, to be recognized among the new Fathers of Confederation as part of their right to self-determination become understandable.

Canadian society, with some exceptions for Quebec, is organized by the standards and institutions appropriate to the English and Canadian ethnic group. This group is relatively closed to nonmembers, but it is also intolerant of practices that diverge from its own world view. The dilemma of non-English Canadians is that they are simultaneously confronted with pressures to become like English Canadians while, at the same time, they are aware of the near impossibility of becoming an English Canadian without totally sacrificing their culture and ethnicity. Most non-English Canadians do not wish to educate their children to be English.

To continue talking only in terms of two founding nations, English and French, is to do a basic injustice to the legitimate aspirations of all other ethnics; it is to take away from people of other ethnic origins the right to their own culture or differences, to deny that the Slavs in the west did, in fact, found that part of Canada. It is also to say that the fourth-generation Polish Canadian of Barry’s Bay be considered part of English Canada.

If a policy of multiculturalism is to be taken seriously, it must move from the position that ethnicity is only a matter of individual psychology, or of individual choice or style, or of individual decision to cook or dance ethnically. The principle of equality would include group equality without negating the other.

[End of translation]

What we are suggesting is two ideas that are central to ethnic rights. First, we must assume and accept that ethnic groups are permanent and are not a disappearing feature of Canadian society. This must be recognized institutionally. Second, programs oriented towards equality of groups are an important extension of the principles of equality of all individuals and citizens.

In summary, I am a newcomer to this country, a Canadian by choice. I am Canadian. I did not speak in those three languages, especially my own, out of a sense of rebelliousness or bitterness, but out of acclamation of those people who have contributed to the building of our great country. For to diminish them, to diminish me, is to diminish all of us. In the words of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) from yesterday, I am an interpreter for those people, for myself. In the words of Walt Whitman from Leaves of Grass:

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good

Belongs to you.

10:20 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I join this debate today to give my unqualified support to the resolution before this House. As the Premier (Mr. Davis) and members of all parties have pointed out many times before, even before this debate, the need to move from the status quo in the country is not an issue. That need is clear. That need is present. That need is being proclaimed from every point of the Canadian compass.

I say to this House and through this House to the people of Quebec, you are not alone. Every region in this land wants a new deal. Moreover, I am convinced that every region of this land is prepared to work creatively and diligently to forge a new deal. Every region of this land has in it men and women with the heart and the soul and the will to write a new deal that will work for everybody.

What will such a new deal be? Well, who is to say? We in Ontario certainly do not claim to have all the answers but neither, even more certainly, does the present government of Quebec. The answers the Levesque government implies in its referendum question are myopic and defeatist and in the name of cultural self-determination it seeks to enclose and encapsulate that province.

In a world that is now and will continue to be increasingly interdependent, they seek to construct and consecrate a new island unto themselves. This they seek to pass off as evolutionary. It is evolution, but evolution in reverse, an evolution that would drag us back to the social and the political stone age.

Canada, for me, is an indivisible entity. When I think of my country, my mind embraces all of it, from Blenheim to the Beauce, from Moncton to Magog, from Lethbride to Lotbiniere. That is my heritage. I was born to it. I claim it. I recognize no man’s right to take it from me.

I come to this debate as a number of people. I am a fifth-generation Canadian, born in southwestern Ontario to parents of German- Pennsylvania Dutch extraction. So I am one of those increasing number of Canadians who come from neither founding group. I cherish my own cultural heritage and the rich multicultural society of Ontario. At the same time, I am a Canadian, an unhyphenated Canadian.

I also come here as a member of the Legislative Assembly from Ottawa West. I am a member of Her Majesty’s Executive Council of Ontario charged with responsibility for cultural affairs, a resident of Ontario, and a citizen of Canada who has had the good fortune to travel and to work extensively in all parts of this country and to get to know most of it intimately.

Thanks to more than a decade in the field of international development and refugee resettlement, I have also had the opportunity to live in many parts of the world and to see Canada from the outside. Let me try to inject into this debate some thoughts that well up from those perspectives.

As I said a few moments ago, it is my judgement that the need for a new deal for all Canadians is really not at issue. Change we must and change we will. But what sort of change? A lot of people have a lot of ideas but the precise details remain to be seen. While we talk of change in the future, we must not forget that there has been major and historic change in our immediate past. I need only look at my own part of the province, the city of Ottawa, the national capital, to produce proof.

Ottawa is a splendid national capital. Not very long ago it was a somewhat spartan, largely anglophone town in which most francophones could not feel at home. It could not really be a capital to francophone Canadians. Today, however, it is a charming, attractive and cosmopolitan capital. It increasingly reflects both groups and provides a natural and a comfortable home for both founding groups as well as other cultures.

Ottawa’s physical transformation as a city has been a relatively easy and a graceful one. But its cultural, political and social transformation into a truly bilingual capital has been rather more wrenching, because that transformation has exacted a price which none of us should gloss over as inconsequential. Unilingual anglophones in the nation’s capital and especially those in the federal public service have been called upon to make enormous personal sacrifices. Many of them have paid the price in terms of disrupted careers and job opportunities that have been closed to them and they have cried out. Most tellingly, though, they have not challenged the desirability of change. On that there has been and continues to be consensus.

Rather, they have protested -- and I say protested legitimately -- against the rapid pace of change. Even so, they have pitched in to the point where the need for change to more fully reflect the founding character of the country has itself grown roots and taken on a life of its own.

There has been, for example, a significant move by unilingual anglophone parents to enrol their school-age children in French immersion classes. So intent have the anglophones been, in fact, that I suspect the majority of the people in Ottawa will be bilingual in two generations.

Ottawa will be Canada’s major spawning ground for the fully bilingual federal civil servants of the future. The change that the city of Ottawa has undergone has been necessary and right. As the capital of the country, it has to reflect the dual nature of our founding heritages in both the way it looks and the way it acts.

At this point and in this context, it would be tragically ironic if Quebec now decided to turn its back on the important and the historic initiatives that have been taken.

We at the provincial level in Ontario have taken some meaningful initiatives as well. In Montreal last week, the Premier (Mr. Davis) reminded us of the very real progress that Ontario has made in providing cultural opportunities, education services and court services in French, and perhaps I should remind the members that TVOntario, for which I am the responsible minister, provides programs in both French and English.

Permettez-moi aujourd’hui de rappeler à l’Assemblée que le gouvernement de l’Ontario s’est doté d’un Conseil des Affaires franco-ontariennes qui est responsable devant le gouvernement par mon entremise.

Le Conseil a été créé en 1975 pour conseiller le gouvernement sur les moyens d’assurer les services aux Franco-Ontariens. Il compte à son actif une grande part des progrès accomplis dans les cinq dernières années.

Sur ces conseils et avec le consentement du gouvernement, nous continuerons a bâtir sur la base solide que nous avons déjà posée.

Nous persévérerons dans notre travail.

Mais nous persévérerons en respectant le rythme et la sensibilité qui garantiront le bien-fondé de nos décisions, car nous devons également veiller à ne pas déchirer la trame sociale particulière à la province.

The council was established in 1975 to advise the government on strategies for providing services to Franco-Ontarians and it must take credit for much of the progress that has been made in the last five years. With its advice and the government’s consent, we will continue to build on the substantial base we have cast.

10:30 a.m.

We will persist in this job, but we will persist at a pace and with a sensitivity that will ensure that the right thing is done and at the same time assure that the province’s particular social fabric is not torn apart in the process. As their elected representatives in the Legislature we must not only lead the people of Ontario, we must heed the people of Ontario.

One common language is recognized throughout the world as the central pillar in the building of nationhood. Here in Canada obviously we have two founding languages. Does that mean that, after all that has happened and in spite of the best will in the world by francophone and anglophone, the prudent fact of life is that we do not have a nation? I say to that, categorically, no. Language is a pillar of nationhood, but it is only one pillar.

I feel our problem is that, like a moth drawn to the candlelight, we Canadians have focused with an almost fatal fascination on the language candle and have been largely oblivious to the far bigger world all around us. Mesmerized by this flame of language, we have failed to recognize sufficiently those other major ingredients which go into the building of a strong and a civilized nation.

We have an abundance of these other essential ingredients of nationhood around us. We share a geography, for instance, that at once defines us and sustains us. We are as yet only 23 million souls and yet we occupy in this vast land one of the richest pieces of real estate in the world, much of it yet to be developed.

We in Canada share an overwhelming complex of things that we have built together over the decades for our collective wellbeing at home. We also share relationships with other countries. We are perceived as one by the citizens of these other countries. To them there is nothing in two founding languages that negates the basic concept of nationhood. When we are abroad, whether we are francophone or anglophone, we are Canadians -- nous sommes Canadiens.

As a member of the Canadian Red Cross teams doing relief work in Vietnam, the Congo, Hungary, Chile and many other countries, I have personal experience where we Canadians were able to make contributions that were the envy of the world. We were able to make those contributions not despite our bilingual nature but because of it. So we share a history rooted in two official languages and many cultures. We share a common wealth, both natural and man-made. All of it belongs to all of us. On that basis alone, if I were a Quebecker I would defy any government of mine to try to sell my Canadian birthright for a mess of Pequiste pottage.

When we talk of a departure from the status quo and a new deal for all Canadians we inevitably come face to face with the constitution of this country. Any notion of a new deal absolutely requires change in those sections of the constitution that prescribe which governments provide what services. Whenever politicians get into a discussion of the distribution of powers we inevitably convey a sense that our only interest is our own authority.

Admittedly, politicians are human and it is only natural that we would want to exercise as much power as we possibly could, but anybody who believes a politician who talks about a more rational distribution of power is only interested in his own political ego has a pathetically limited view of the basic nature of this country.

Canada, by virtue of its size and the thin spread of its population, is one of the most intensely regional countries of this good earth. The governments that provide such personal social services as health, education, welfare, arts, culture and recreation support must by definition be close to the people socially, culturally and geographically.

I feel the federal government has become much too deeply enmeshed in these personal services that are much more appropriate for provincial and local governments. All too often the situation has been further exacerbated by an arrogantly unilateral federal attitude. A new deal for Canada requires that the federal government disentangle itself from a myriad of activities in which it has become deeply engaged, and inappropriately engaged, particularly in the cultural and the social fields.

This is not a prescription for disembowelling the federal government. Its entanglements are inappropriate, inefficient, and I believe a great source of our current national feeling of frustration and malaise.

What I propose is a service system that is more rational, more sensitive to the particular needs of the particular people in the particular regions in this country. This is a big, diverse, thinly populated land. Provincial and local governments have to serve discrete groups of people, and the government of Canada has the role to pull all of us together by creating and maintaining the strands, those sinews of nationhood, connecting all of these groups and these regions.

Common defence against external enemies. basic laws, a productive economy to which we all have basic rights to a fair share, a vibrant national and international trade system, a monetary system, the railways, Air Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation -- these are but some of the major roles for the federal government.

The government of Canada’s most important job has been, and will continue to be, the stewardship of the common wealth of all Canadians. Historically, that stewardship has involved redistribution of our national wealth and Ontario has been a net contributor in that process, willingly so and proudly so, not out of a sense of patronizing charity, but rather out of a sense of Canadian community and Canadian interdependence.

As I mentioned a few moments ago, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work and live in many parts of the world. Thanks to that experience, I have been able to develop a personal view of Canada that might be different from some others. You get a totally different picture of your own house when you look at it through the window of your friend’s house across the street.

Along with my friends from all over this troubled world I have looked and I’ve seen a country called Canada, a country with two founding traditions and many cultural groups that are to be celebrated as a blessing, not reviled as a curse, a country that is rich in natural resources, a country that is even richer in the depth, diversity, industry and creativity of its people, a country that has earned respect among the family of nations, a country worth fighting for, a country worth saving, a great and a good land that will be flourishing long after the narrow and brittle men who would tear it asunder have passed from public view.

May the people of Quebec know the resolution before this House. It says yes, may we all be maître chez nous in all of our respective provincial houses, and may we all be maître chez nous dans tout le Canada.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario I am pleased to endorse the resolution that we commit ourselves as our highest priority to full negotiation of a full constitution to satisfy the diverse aspirations of all Canadians and to replace the status quo which is so clearly unacceptable. Further, I affirm my opposition to the negotiation of sovereignty-association.

I am honoured to make this brief contribution, which reflects my views and I am sure the views of the majority of the constituents of mine in North London. I, like all members of this assembly, have received unsolicited comments on the Quebec referendum from my constituents and moreover, like some of my colleagues, I have sought input on this topic through newsletters, public meetings and meetings with interested groups.

10:40 a.m.

This process of grass-roots input is the same as that which led to our constitution. It is the same process that Laurier spoke of in such glowing terms when he said, “Our constitution invites all citizens to take part in the direction of the affairs of state.”

It makes no exception of any person. Every person has the right not only to express his opinion but also, if he can, to influence, by expressing his opinion, the opinion of his fellow citizens. This right exists for all and there can be no reason why anyone should be deprived of it. Without exception, all groups that have spoken to me want Quebec to stay within Confederation.

One of the groups I was particularly interested in was the class of senior students at Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School who shared with me some of their comments. I would like to share with the members present their comments on a few themes of the uniqueness of Quebec, the economics considerations, the cultural considerations, the racial considerations, in so far as the possibility of separation is concerned.

The students indicated to me they felt Quebec was a unique and wonderful place, particularly since it is part of us and has such a unique cultural flavour. They were also concerned that the loss of Quebec to Canada would deal a heavy blow to all parts of Canada and particularly to Ontario. They felt Ontario would be hard hit because of the large volume of trade between our two provinces. Quebec would suffer terribly because of the loss of financial support from the federal government and because of the loss of protection and support in the international marketplace. Further damage would be done to Quebec because of the possibility of investment drying up and the flight of foreign capital, and economic instability, at least for the time being, might prevail.

In so far as cultural and racial matters are concerned, the students felt the people of Quebec would be much better able to preserve their identity and traditions within Canada than if they separated. Though we outside Quebec have not had a particularly good record or perfect record in respect of recognizing their individuality, our record is getting better. Areas outside Quebec are making strong efforts to make up for past deficiencies in such areas as language programs, schools, advertising and legal procedures. Some elements of life might thrive within a separate Quebec, but they would suffer badly for those many francophones who live outside the province.

The students asked, “What really do the majority of Canada want?” It is not clear to them whether Quebec has the legal right to separate even if she wishes. If the majority of Canadians in a nationwide referendum were to refuse to allow such a move, would that not be more binding than a provincial referendum? Perhaps Canadians could choose to stop separation in that way.

The students also ask, “If there is a yes vote, then what?” They feel that if a yes vote comes about, the negotiations that would follow probably would not mean separation. First, they would reveal in detail to the people in Quebec just how difficult a path lies before them. Second, they would probably result in a realization on the part of Anglo-Canadians that certain further, though not critical changes, could and possibly should be made in the present provincial-federal relations. When these two points of view have been thoroughly aired, the people of Quebec would realize that they should not separate, that their best course would be to remain within Canada. So a yes vote, in the view of the students, need not frighten us too much.

In the matter of defence, the students felt that the withdrawal of Quebec from the NORAD umbrella would present serious areas of vulnerability, not only to the United States and Canada but to Quebec itself. There is no possibility that Quebec could offer a substitute defence system. To have her as a third power in the system might offer tragic ramifications. The temptations for Quebec to seek foreign assistance in this field could also have ominous overtones.

Most students felt optimistic about the future of Quebec within Canada. They were sympathetic to Quebeckers’ aspirations and felt that with further goodwill and some reasonable concessions from us the people of Quebec would remain within Canada as partners in Canada even if a yes vote did result on May 20.

It would be nice to stop at this point in considering these comments from the students in London, and similar comments that I have had from other fellow Londoners, but this last point on national defence raises the topic that I feel must be presented to this assembly and must be presented to our colleagues in every legislature, provincial and federal, in Canada. This topic of grave concern to all of us is national defence.

What would happen to Canadian national defence if sovereignty-association became a fact? I would pause at this point to remind those present that on May 8, 1945, VE Day was celebrated, not too many years ago in the span of history of our country and countries of the western hemisphere but a day that we might be inclined to forget, along with the events that led up to it, if we become obsessed with just the present. Let us not forget the holocaust of Europe. Let us not forget our concern for national defence in 1940 and in 1945. Let us remember that concern today.

What does Levesque say about national defence?

On nous rassure, et à plusieurs reprises, en affirmant bien haut, qu’on n’entend point détruire le Canada ni en être entièrement séparé. Que tout ce qu’on recherche, c’est d’assurer au Québec une plus grande maîtrise de ses propres affaires, sans pour autant faire éclater le cadre économique canadien.

On ajoute que l’idée de la démarche est de venir à une formule qui soustraira le Québec à la domination d’Ottawa, sans briser pour autant avec une communauté économique qui s’étend de l’Atlantique au Pacifique. Soucieux de rassurer le plus possible la population, le Livre Blanc va jusqu’à préciser que le Québec merveilleux, dont on rêve, respectera l’Accord de la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent et deviendra membre à part entière de la communauté mixte internationale, ainsi que de l’ONU. De plus, il restera solidaire de l’OTAN et du NORAD, et se propose de demeurer membre du Commonwealth britannique.

In other words, Levesque and the separatists are saying they want Canada to stay the same economically coast to coast with just one piece removed, with Quebec removed. In the same breath, Levesque speaks of national defence, saying he will keep the St. Lawrence Seaway agreement and remain a member of NATO and NORAD. He speaks as though Quebec of itself is even now a member of NATO.

In addressing this theme of national defence, I wish to comment briefly on the second part of our resolution and that is to affirm my opposition to the negotiation of sovereignty-association. Sovereignty-association, which would lead ultimately to a Canada with a separate Quebec, cannot accommodate the demands of our country in matters of national defence. Our stated policy as a country or dominion is to ensure that this country remain secure and an independent entity in order that Canadians will continue to be free to decide, through their elected representatives, their own destinies.

This policy applies to all Canadians. No one group or province can make a decision that would jeopardize the defence of any other group or province. This independence will continue to rely on the capability to take adequate measures to provide for Canada’s security from aggression, actual or threatened. The paramount goal is to forestall potential hostilities by deterring an armed attack, large or small.

The defence measures taken, therefore, must be credible to any potential aggressor by clearly showing that the risks incurred in an attack are substantially greater than any advantages that might be gained. However, should this deterrent fail and an attack occur, the goal would then be to restore and maintain the security and independence of Canada.

10:50 a.m.

The Department of National Defence continually evaluates the military threats to Canada. It is clear that the major direct military threat to this country lies in the possibility, albeit remote, of a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union. Canada’s overriding defence objective, therefore, remains that of contributing to the prevention of nuclear war.

Attainment of this objective continues to rest in large part on maintenance by the United States of credible strategic retaliatory capabilities. However, it depends at least as much on sufficient conventional and theatre nuclear capabilities to discourage both non-nuclear and nuclear aggression, particularly in Europe and North America, and to prevent escalation of a conflict to general nuclear war.

Preventing nuclear war and deterring any conflict that might lead to it are not objectives which Canada, or any other nation for that matter, can achieve alone nor can Canada, given its geographic position between the United States and the Soviet Union, given its external interest and its dedication to free government, prudently follow a neutral or nonaligned foreign policy. It must in fact actively pursue a policy which seeks to enhance world stability in general and peace in certain regions of special strategic importance.

Collective security and defence arrangements are, therefore, of fundamental importance to Canada. Remaining as cornerstones of Canadian defence policy are continued participation in NATO with respect to both European and North American defence and United Nations arrangements with respect to peacekeeping operations.

Defence policy also must take account of other potential challenges to Canada, whether of a military nature or not, which could oppose the government’s right to exercise independent control over legitimate national interests. These challenges could come from both inside and outside the country and some of them must be met exclusively by Canada. Therefore, while retaining the necessary combat-ready forces that contribute to deterrence of aggression against the NATO alliance, the Department of National Defence must also be prepared to employ the Canadian forces for tasks that require a purely Canadian response.

Again, the main threat to North America is a possible intercontinental nuclear attack carried out with as little warning as possible. The purpose of Canada’s military contribution to the collective defence of the Canada-US region of NATO is to help ensure that the defence capabilities are always sufficient to ensure that credibility of deterrence is not seriously questioned.

Deterrence is enhanced by Canadian forces co-operating with the United States forces in providing air defences for the protection of Canadian and US urban centres and military installations. This joint activity is facilitated by the integrated control over forces provided by the NORAD agreement, which was renewed in 1975 for a period of five years and which is about to be renewed again.

Sovereignty-association, if it were to pass, aside from putting the other provinces of Canada in a totally untenable position in regard to national defence, would present to the people of Quebec a dilemma equal to that faced by the rest of Canada, by the United States and, for that matter, by other countries in NATO.

Consider, too, the cost of a national defence program for Quebec. It would equal at least that of the rest of Canada, which last year was $4.12 billion, to say nothing of what it would cost in the next decade with additional costs of capital equipment and new interceptor aircraft. Obviously, Quebec could not do this alone. They would have to align themselves with another major power other than the remaining parts of Canada or other than the USA. We can only speculate on the possible aligning countries but no amount of speculation that I have been able to do leaves me with an acceptable alternative.

Canada is now, was and always will be a complex country. We have always sung with pride in our anthem, “We stand on guard for thee.” We must continue to stand on guard as we did internally and externally in two great wars. Canadians of many cultural backgrounds -- French, English and others -- distinguished themselves at Vimy Ridge, at Dieppe, and sundry other military theatres. They also served in more recent years in a peacekeeping role for NATO and they continue to serve in maritime patrols of our coastal waters and patrols of our vast north.

These military efforts have always been done co-operatively as a team effort. This same team effort was evident in the development of our country from its days as a trading post and then a colony and then Upper and Lower Canada and finally a dominion. This was not done without struggle and hardship of course.

My ancestor, Sir William Van Horne, is remembered by many as a successful builder of a railroad -- a steel road which joined the west with the east in Canada, a tremendous accomplishment but one which carried with it more than its share of hardship, heartache and conflict. The conflict of 1812, the conflict in Montreal in 1837, the Charlottetown conference mentioned by my colleague from Renfrew yesterday and many other happenings are examples of conflict and hardship which we have endured and through which we have received strength.

Perhaps in conclusion, a former Premier of Quebec, Premier Honoré Mercier, can express my feelings to the citizens of Quebec. In 1882, Premier Mercier spoke to the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste on patriotism and he said and I quote:

“The citizen has rights and duties. Patriotism permits him to lay claim to the former and demands that he fulfil the latter. It is important to recognize the one as it is the other. We French Canadians have a right to our national existence as a separate race. Woe to anyone who tries to take this from us. But we must do nothing against our brothers of a different origin and different beliefs.

“We must claim our rights with firmness but without aggression. We must energetically fight everything that tends to destroy our national character, but we must respect in others the same rights we claim for ourselves. The struggle we have before us is completely peaceful. It is no longer a question of fighting our enemies with weapons, but rather of competing as a race with our brothers through education, work and integrity. We must, above all, work to become worthy of the great mission we are called upon to accomplish on this free American soil. We must draw our inspiration from the splendid traditions of patriotism of great days in the past. The patriotism must be enlightened, sincere and bountiful, but it must not be exclusive.

“Love for one’s country does not imply hate for other people. One can love one’s country without hating his brother’s country. We French Canadians must never forget that we ourselves are our most dangerous enemy. The Canadians who do not speak our language are not our enemies. They are but what we are. They stopped being our enemies the day when England, obeying the laws of civilization and inspired by an illustrious Queen, invited us to the banquet of political liberties. The general interest of Canada, our common homeland, must override the interests of race and class.

“We, the inhabitants of this country who have been called upon to create a great people, cannot forget that whether we be French or English or Scottish or Irish we are also Canadians and that this title can satisfy our pride and ought to satisfy our rightful ambition.”

Sovereignty-association is not acceptable to me. Sovereignty-association would destroy Canada. I would do everything possible to prevent that. What I can support is a serious commitment to participate in constitutional reform. Federalism is complex, but it is also flexible. It can be changed; it must be changed if we are to accommodate all regions of Canada, including Quebec, to make all parts of Canada, including Quebec, more effective components in the federal-provincial government process. Together we can do it.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I too support the resolution before the House. I believe the people of Ontario must state their commitment to seek a new constitution. Because the members of the NDP have split up the various aspects of multiculturalism in this constitution I’m going to have a very focused speech on particular programs which I think are necessary to develop a multicultural society.

At the outset, I must say that I totally agree with the analysis and issues being raised by the members for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk), High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba) and Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella). The problems of working people must be addressed in the new constitution. The problems of ethnic working people, which are specific subsections of that, must be addressed vigorously in action by the government.

11 a.m.

I also agree with the member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) on the framework of analysis which he has put forward. I acknowledge, as he has, the fundamental injustice which has occurred in this society to Franco-Ontarians who since Confederation have seen their rights denied by the government of this province. I recognize that they, like Quebeckers, have seen their culture under attack and have seen theft way of life, in many ways, destroyed by developments in Canadian society. I join with them in believing that the time has come for new action to make them secure within Confederation.

I firmly and strongly believe that an economically dynamic Canada can be created where the culture of the Quebecois and French Ontarians is secure and they will have every opportunity to continue to flourish as long as Canada continues to exist.

[Translation from Italian]

The fundamental problem facing Canada today is caused primarily by the failure of Liberals and Conservatives to build an economically independent Canada that is in the interests of all Canadians and not just a narrow elite of branch managers. The second problem has been that Canadian governments have failed to recognize the fact we have many cultures in this society and these cultures must be recognized.

Forty per cent of the people of this province come from ethnic backgrounds that are neither English nor French. I would like to ask the government of Ontario where these people are represented in our society today? Why are they not appointed to boards and commissions of Ontario? Why are they denied access to positions of power and influence? As I walk around Queen’s Park I discover the ethnic minorities are well represented on the cleaning staffs, but not terribly well represented in the upper echelons of the civil service. There is no good reason for this.

Let us all recognize that western Canada was built by the hard work of the Ukrainians, Poles, Icelanders and Chinese. People of southern Ontario are aware of the enormous contribution of Italians in building this society. Yet too often Italians and Ukrainians are told that if they want to succeed they had better become less Italian and less Ukrainian, or they are told that if they intend to succeed, all they have to do is wait two or three generations and change their name. This is totally unacceptable.

Any commitment to a new constitution must be a commitment to changing that form of the status quo. The making of a new constitution creates for us the opportunity to change many things. It is time to overcome past injustices. It is time when people who have significantly been left out of the society can be made part of it.

Last December I received material from the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague) about the number of people speaking third languages employed in Ontario’s civil service. In spite of the fact that close to 40 per cent of our population speaks a third language, less than nine per cent of our civil service is capable of doing so. In a crucial ministry such as the Ministry of Community and Social Services where one might expect to find many people able to provide a variety of services to all our citizens, we find that only seven per cent of the more than 10,000 employees can speak a third language. We looked at other ministries and the situation was the same.

I only have numbers from the actual government ministries, but I have heard many complaints, particularly from visible minorities, that qualified people are continually overlooked when it comes to government appointments to the boards and commissions of this province. My colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. M. N. Davison) has reminded this government that there is a great inconsistency in having a policy of multiculturalism and a censor hoard that reflects only one culture. The censor board is but one example of the failures of this government to be responsive to allow our various communities to participate.

The result of all this has been a gross lack of sensitivity to the strivings and the aspirations of 40 per cent of the people of this province. We cannot let the debate over the constitution be one that is closed to them. I and the members of the New Democratic Party totally accept that there shall be two official languages of Canada, English and French. We are asking, however, that action be taken so there is no longer significant pressure on immigrants and their descendants to assimilate totally.

[End of translation]

Culture is central to a person’s wellbeing. Canada has many cultures. One does not have to give up one’s culture to be a Canadian. Nevertheless, our society is so structured that people face enormous pressures to deny their cultures. Too little is done to promote the acceptance of our multiculturedness. Much too little is done to aid groups and people who want to preserve their culture.

Cultures help people understand what is good in life. Cultures help people express who they are and help them come to full humaneness. There is something wrong with a society that destroys the culture of its citizens. We have, and I hope will continue to have, a society made up of many cultures that interact and enrich one another. This will not be the case if we do not have an active effort to underpin and shore up the multicultural nature of our society.

Language is crucial to culture. Inside language a way of thinking and perceiving the world is embodied. Language allows the intimate expression between parent and child, between brother and sister, between compatriots, to be expressed in an immediate and affirming manner. There is no danger to the official languages if private conversations are held in unofficial languages. There is no need that everyone in this country hold conversations only in English and French.

Before being elected to this Legislature, I was teaching at the elementary level in a school in a predominantly Italian background in the west end of Toronto. Although most of my students were born in Canada, many of them came to school with only the most rudimentary knowledge of English. It was simply unfair to them to expect them to achieve in the English language at the same level and to meet the same expectations as their fellow students who grew up in English-speaking homes.

My proposal was for a bilingual English/mother-tongue program as a means to help these children get equality of educational opportunity in Ontario. The goal of the program was to make it so that the cultures of these children were not a barrier to their succeeding in our school system and in our labour market. We had to fight this Conservative government tooth and nail to get permission to use a language other than English and French in the classroom.

No matter what the educational benefit was, this government was afraid of what would happen if it permitted many languages to be spoken in our schools. Yet Alberta has had these programs for a good number of years. Why is it that Ontario’s children cannot have the same educational, social and cultural opportunities?

When Canada has a new constitution, it should be made clear that we are not afraid to have many languages spoken in our country and it should be made very clear that we are not afraid to have people from our various languages and cultures total and full participants and leaders in our society.

This Conservative government has failed the people of Ontario because of its great insensitivity to the many cultures that make up our society. The present Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) has done nothing for the causes of national unity by her total and insensitive mishandling of the Penetanguishene crisis. The question in Penetanguishene had always been a question of whether Franco-Ontarians could be themselves and maintain their Canadian culture, a culture that has been active in Canada for over 300 years. The Minister of Education tried to reduce the entire question to a matter of dollars and cents. The Minister of Education tried to suggest that a French milieu could be created by putting an artificial barrier in the middle of a hallway. It finally took the referendum vote in Quebec and the desire of the Premier to get some headlines in Ontario to finally have the Ministry of Education turn itself around on this decision.

11:10 a.m.

Ethnic working people had the same problems with the Minister of Education and her predecessor when they asked to have their language made part of the school curriculum. The Heritage Languages Program was accepted by this government under great pressure from the New Democratic Party in the 1977 election campaign. They knew it was the NDP who listened to the voices of the ethnics across this province and it was when the NDP was making a demand, they knew that by responding to that demand, they were responding to a real need in Ontario. They were right in listening to the NDP.

The difficulty was that the Conservatives brought in a half a program and not a fully acceptable Heritage Languages Program. That’s because the Conservatives have never accepted as legitimate, in a full way, the many cultures and the many peoples who have built this province.

In April, 1978, my colleague, the member for Parkdale, introduced his Right to Language bill, which would have incorporated heritage language classes into the regular school and made them mandatory when requested by parents. If we had that right to insist on proper funding, we would have done that in the bill as well. In the end, it didn’t matter because the Conservative government, while mouthing support in principle, stood up and blocked the bill. Their action left heritage language programs as activities to be pursued after school and would not allow the classes to be held during the regular school day, even if it was convenient.

This lack of enthusiasm for heritage languages and multiculturalism was clearly demonstrated in February of 1979 when the Minister of Education announced that she was slashing the funding of the Heritage Languages Program in half. The leader of our party and many members of our party continually pointed out the hypocrisy of this government which, while mouthing support for heritage languages, was in fact taking away funding. I personally tabled a very large petition expressing concern over these cutbacks. Finally, on May 15, the Minister of Education relented to the NDP pressure and restored the funding of the program.

We will fight every effort of this government to perpetuate a feeling of first- and second-class citizens in this province. We believe the great majority of the people of Ontario recognize the contributions of all of the diverse groups in building our province and recognize that our strength is in our diversity. We are a diverse people, committed to a strong, united and humane Canada.

While I’m talking about language, I must also make it clear that the people of this province who do not speak English when they come here, and those children who come from those homes, do want to learn either English or French, want to have a full and complete grasp of the official languages of this province. This government has been lax in providing that opportunity.

The English as a Second Language Program is the program which teaches people who do not speak English to be able to speak English. In Metropolitan Toronto, many important programs have been started to help people, such as West Indian people, who speak with different accents and dialects. These programs are essential for people wanting to get ahead in their jobs. They are essential for children wanting to enter the school system and not be disadvantaged.

This government has made these programs a constant victim of the cutbacks. This government has not had the will to make English as a second language the right for anyone who wants to study and to participate that way in Ontario society. We believe the time has come when the right to learn the official languages should be supported by this government and the government of every province in Canada.

In arguing for the rights to language, let me say that an even more serious problem exists in our society. The Toronto Board of Education published figures last year that indicated there was significant streaming going on in our schools. It indicated that children who came from homes where English wasn’t spoken, who came from homes of single parents, who came from homes where there was lower income, who came from homes in areas where there is a great deal of public housing, all were much less likely to succeed in our school system. Indeed, very few of these kids would end up in a university.

I believe this is a very serious matter. A study of the Toronto Board of Education showed we have a class system that keeps children in their place. It showed the government had totally failed to achieve equality in its educational system. The researchers for the Toronto Board of Education made it very clear the major problem young kids face when they enter the school system is that they do not have the verbal skills.

Many lack the verbal skills because both parents work at the minimum wage or less in order to make ends meet and therefore have inadequate time and energy to spend with the kids. Many of the kids lack the skills because the parents have never had the opportunity to learn an official language fully. These are problems which any government committed to equality would address immediately. There are certainly problems which the Canadian constitution must address. In a new constitution we must address the problems of inequality in our society and the need to provide the programs that will overcome that inequality.

As I conclude this section on multiculturalism and the new constitution, I want to express my disappointment at the policies of the federal Liberals and the provincial Conservatives who have used multiculturalism as a folkloric celebration rather than a recognition of a Canadian way of life. Both the federal government, in its 1970 acceptance of multiculturalism, and the provincial government, in the Premier’s statement on multiculturism in 1977, showed in words a recognition of the contribution of many ethnic groups in our society. The dilemma is that they have failed to deliver the programs that are necessary.

The actual program labelled “multiculturalism” itself has done little to advance multiculturalism in Ontario. The failure of this government to promote the ideal of multiculturalism and the concepts of human rights and equality in society have already had their impact. Many people really question multiculturalism and view it as a boondoggle or as a means of giving extra privileges to groups which don’t deserve them.

I look forward to the day when we will have things like the Ukrainian Institute that exists in Edmonton as an institute that allows Ukrainian Canadians to pursue scholarships about the contributions of Ukrainian Canadians to Canadian society. It gives people of Ukrainian descent access to literature in their language and the possibility to write about their Canadian experience in that language as well. It also gives other Canadians access to an opportunity to become acquainted with what Ukrainians are doing in Canada. The outpouring of art, literature, political science and other cultural projects is a contribution to Canadian society and a means of assuring the permanent role of Ukrainians in Canadian society. I want to see more of these centres in Canada.

Our message today is a call for an end to tokenism in a multicultural society and the beginning of a new society where all groups who have built Canada are equally at home. They will work together within the two official languages, but they will not have to give up their ancestral tongue. We will stop the policies and practices that disadvantage workers whose background is in unofficial languages.

In these things, I see a new Canada. I see a new and exciting society built on our great heritage, a society of great equality, a society of great sensitivity and a society where we understand the dynamic Canadian culture as multiculture.

11:20 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Monsieur le Président, je suis heureux de prendre La parole devant mes collègues de l’Assemblée législative, et de participer à ces débats sur une question d’importance primordiale -- l’avenir même de notre pays.

Monsieur le Président, il est toujours facile de mettre en relief les faiblesses du passé, les erreurs de l’histoire, les injustices commises, les abus et les défauts. Il y en a eu. Nous ne le nions pas. Les souvenirs sont encore là pour nous le prouver. Et l’amertume aussi, trop souvent.

Monsieur le Président, je ne désire pas réciter une litanie des injustices commises dans le passé envers nos compatriotes francophones. Mais c’est de l’histoire ancienne, et nous ne pouvons pas changer l’histoire. Nous nous devons plutôt d’examiner attentivement le passé plus récent et aussi de fixer notre attention sur l’avenir qu’il nous reste a bâtir ensemble. Aujourd’hui c’est le Québec qui est le point de mire, mais en réalité c’est tout le Canada qui est a l’heure du choix.

En Ontario, nous observons le cheminement de la campagne référendaire au Québec avec grand intérêt, et aussi, je dois l’admettre, avec inquiétude. Certains souverainistes québécois tracent une très mauvaise image des attitudes de leurs compatriotes anglophones envers eux. Ils prétendent que le reste du Canada n’est pas du tout sympathique aux aspirations des Québécois. Ils prétendent que les Québécois ne sont pas bienvenus ailleurs au Canada. Ils prétendent même qu’il existe une certaine hostilité de la part des anglophones envers tout ce que les Québécois tiennent à coeur.

A mon avis, Monsieur le Président, c’est tout à fait le contraire. S’il est vrai qu’une minorité anglophone ne parvient pas à comprendre tout à fait la place légitime des francophones partout au Canada, soyez réassurés qu’il en existe beaucoup plus qui appuient sans réserves les aspirations des francophones au pays.

En somme, le Canada anglais que les indépendantistes rejettent, c’est un Canada qui ne correspond plus du tout à la réalité de notre pays. Les Québécois eux-mêmes ont connu des changements profonds. Depuis la révolution tranquille, le Québec a été transformé et les Québécois en sont fiers. Et avec raison. Mais l’Ontario aussi a changé. Et nous en sommes aussi fiers.

J’ai depuis longtemps plaidé que les anglophones de l’Ontario doivent faire un effort particulier pour rapprocher les deux solitudes linguistiques au Canada. Ce n’est qu’en se parlant que nous pourrons arriver à nous comprendre et à nous respecter mutuellement.

Je disais un peu plus tôt que l’Ontario aussi a changé. Bien sûr, l’Ontario est une province à majorité anglophone. Mais on ne peut certainement pas qualifier l’Ontario de province exclusivement anglaise. Trop peu de Québécois sont conscients du fait qu’il existe en Ontario une communauté francophone dont la demi-million de citoyens font la plus importante minorité francophone au Canada. Trop peu de Québécois réalisent que, pour ces centaines de milliers de francophones, il est possible de vivre sa vie en français en Ontario. Combien de Québécois savent qu’il existe en Ontario un système d’éducation français, c’est-à-dire un réseau complet d’écoles primaires, d’écoles secondaires, de collèges et d’universités, tous financés par l’appui du gouvernement ontarien?

Aujourd’hui en Ontario, plus de 100,000 jeunes Franco-Ontariens jouissent d’une éducation en langue française, dont plus de 32,000 dans les réseaux d’écoles secondaires publiques. La circonscription de Cochrane-Sud, que j’ai l’honneur de représenter, en est un excellent exemple. A la Commission scolaire de Timmins, il y a deux programmes de langue française: d’abord, le programme d’immersion est subventionné par le gouvernement ontarien, et 305 étudiants y sont inscrits. Au niveau secondaire, 1,671 étudiants sont inscrits au programme de français-langue primaire. Ce programme reçoit une subvention de $402,935 du gouvernement ontarien. Quant à la Commission scolaire des écoles séparées, il y a 3,597 inscriptions au programme de langue française, et ce programme bénéficie d’une subvention de $549,810 du gouvernement ontarien. Et au Collège Northern, plusieurs programmes sont offerts en français, à tous les niveaux.

Le gouvernement ontarien appuie aussi directement l’épanouissement de la culture canadienne-française. Il en existe quelques exemples frappants dans ma circonscription.

La Centre culturel La Ronde a reçu une subvention de $130,294 pour terminer des travaux de construction. Egalement, le Centre culturel Des Copains a Iroquois Falls a reçu une subvention de $41,793 pour finir des rénovations. En effet, depuis 1978, le Nord-Est ontarien a reçu un total de presque $3 million en subventions destinées a des programmes culturels francophones.

Plusieurs Québécois seraient peut-être agréablement surpris de la vivacité de la culture franco-ontarienne à tous les niveaux. Par exemple, à l’Hôtel de Ville de Timmins, 47 per cent des employés sont bilingues. Donc, les francophones peuvent être servis en français sur demande.

Quant aux services hospitaliers, toujours sous juridiction provinciale, à l’Hôpital Général Sainte-Marie de Timmins, les francophones peuvent invariablement obtenir des services dans leur langue maternelle. Parmi un personnel de 222 employés, 97 sont bilingues; soit, 44 pour cent.

Bref, le gouvernement de l’Ontario s’est engagé, depuis maintenant 10 ans, à fournir un réseau de services en français, là où le besoin existe et le nombre le justifie. II existe dans tous les ministères et les agences gouvernementales un coordinateur en bilinguisme qui voit à trouver les moyens de servir en français la population francophone. Et le progrès se fait rapidement, Monsieur le Président. Dans Cochrane-Sud, tous les bureaux régionaux du gouvernement ontarien fournissent les services aussi bien en français qu’en anglais.

Et finalement, concernant le système judiciaire, un progrès important a été réalisé depuis quelque temps. Tout accusé a maintenant le droit d’être jugé par un tribunal criminel qui comprend sa langue, que ce soit français ou anglais.

Monsieur le Président, M. René Levesque, avant qu’il ne devienne premier ministre du Québec, qualifiait des francophones hors Québec de “dead ducks,” c’est-à-dire soit déjà morts ou en train de mourir. Mais qualifier la grande majorité des Franco-Ontariens de “dead ducks” présente une fausse image de la réalité. C’est pourquoi, Monsieur le Président, j’invite tous les Québécois à venir nous visiter en Ontario. Ils pourraient alors constater eux-mêmes de la vivacité de la culture franco-ontarienne.

C’est pourquoi j’invite également les Québécois à considérer sérieusement les conséquences de leur geste lors du référendum. Un “oui” majoritaire ne serait ni plus, ni moins que de tourner le dos non seulement aux centaines de milliers des Franco-Ontariens, mais à tous les francophones vivant à l’extérieur du Québec.

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of representing a riding that is fully 50 per cent French-speaking. It is a constant source of pride for me to witness and to be a part of the day-to-day co-operation between French- and English-speaking residents of northern Ontario. Our ability to work together in common causes reflects the basic respect that each linguistic group has for the other. Throughout northern Ontario, English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians work side by side in mines, in pulp and paper mills, in the forests, on farms and in small businesses.

11:30 a.m.

This same harmony and spirit of co-operation also exists between the whole of northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec. Both regions share a similar geography and, as people, share similar lifestyles and even similar attitudes. In fact, both northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec are highly interdependent.

I would like to share with you, Mr. Speaker, a few thoughts on these strong traditional and binding ties with our Quebecois neighbours only a few miles to the east of us. Throughout northeastern Ontario, these ties to our Quebec friends and relatives are highly valued. These bonds exist in the fields of transportation, communications, industry, small business, social clubs, religion and education. But most important, these bonds exist between people. We would feel a deep sense of loss if they were to be diminished in any way.

If you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to provide a few examples of our interdependence with Quebec. A good deal of the food that northwestern Quebeckers consume and the clothes they wear are delivered to them by rail and truck from Ontario. Travelling along Highway 101, on Highway 66 and along the CNR track, consumer goods enter Quebec through New Liskeard, Kirkland Lake and Temagami. In return, a number of products cross into Ontario, particularly furniture for our homes and refined metals.

The history of our co-operation began quite a long time ago. Between 1902 and 1908, the Ontario government built a railroad joining North Bay with Cochrane. The Timiskaming and Northern Railroad, now known as Ontario Northland, connects at Cochrane with the CNR. The old transcontinental line, which starts in Quebec, passes through Abitibi and crosses the northern part of Ontario.

Less than two weeks ago, Austin Airways expanded its passenger, mail and freight flights from Timmins to include Val d’Or. It already served the Quebec communities of Mattagami, Povungnituk, the east coast of James Bay and Hudson Bay.

In the communications field, several French-language television and radio stations and newspapers are designed to serve the needs of both regions. From Ontario, CFCL-TV in Timmins, CBLT-TV in Toronto and CBF-FM in Sturgeon Falls are well known in northwestern Quebec. Similarly, the Ontario towns of Cobalt, Haileybury, New Liskeard, Earlton, Belle Vallee and Kirkland Lake welcome the television and radio services of CKRN from Rouyn-Noranda and CKVM from Ville Marie, both in Quebec.

The Ontario newspapers such as Franco Temps, Le Nord and Le Temps all serve to bring together the francophone community in both provinces, as does Le Temiskamien which is published from Ville-Marie, Quebec, and distributed to 1,125 families in the Timiskaming region of Ontario.

A similar interdependence exists in business relationships. A number of businesses from northwestern Quebec have important investments in northeastern Ontario, particularly in the lumber industry. Interdependence between our regions includes medical and hospital services. We welcome Quebec residents in our hospitals when, for important medical reasons, they seek advice from a medical specialist or treatment utilizing special medical equipment. What I would like to know is, would sovereignty-association destroy these benefits too?

The interrelationships between our two regions are numerous. The bonds are deep and they are usually taken for granted. A number of social clubs have memberships that straddle both sides of the border. The district Lions association, for example, takes in not only northeastern Ontario but also 400 club members from 13 towns and cities in northwestern Quebec, including Chibougamau, Chapais, Mattagami, Val d’Or, Rouyn, Noranda, La Sarre, Macamic, Lebel-sur-Quevillon and Amos.

The Timiskaming and District Curling Association has members from Noranda. The Northern Golf Association straddles both sides of the border. In the area of recreation, important bonds are cemented between residents of both provinces. Consider, for example, the Northeastern Ontario Softball Association, the Timmins and District Ladies Golf Association. Both include significant membership from Quebec.

One of the most deeply moving aspects I have had the opportunity to witness involves French-speaking school children in my riding. Primary school students from the Cochrane-Iroquois Falls separate school system are drawing posters in support of Canadian unity and are sending them to their relatives, schools, fellow students and parents of school children in Quebec. It is actions such as these that I believe will give Quebeckers reason to pause and consider the negative consequences of a yes vote in the referendum.

Monsieur le Président, la cause des Canadiens Français en général, et des Franco-Ontariens en particulier, m’a toujours tenu à coeur. J’ai depuis longtemps acquis une sensibilité et une amitié pour la culture française. A un tel point, que j’ai appris à m’exprimer en français -- ce qui n’est pas la plus facile des tâches pour un anglophone né en Ecosse et élevé et éduqué en Ontario. Alors, je me sens à mesure de comprendre les opinions et les attitudes des francophones de ma région. Je sais que la Fédération des Francophones hors Québec, en appuyant un “oui” au référendum, a rendu un très mauvais service aux francophones vivant à l’extérieur du Québec. La grande majorité des francophones de ma circonscription souhaitent ardemment une victoire du “non” au référendum. Ils savent très bien qu’ils n’ont rien à gagner et tout à perdre, advenant l’indépendance politique du Québec.

Monsieur le Président, je crois qu’il est important que les Québécois sachent que le gouvernement de l’Ontario rejette le statu quo et appuie sans réserves l’appel au changement qui se fait entendre dans tous les coins du pays.

En deux mots, le gouvernement de l’Ontario est engagé au concept de fédéralisme renouvelé.

Many of my constituents, both French-speaking and English-speaking, often express the view that French/English divisions are exacerbated, if not created, by politicians and other opinion leaders. The insinuation, of course, is one of ulterior motives. There is more than a grain of truth to such statements and yet today powerful emotional forces are being purposely unleashed which threaten to divide even the strongest ties between communities and families.

In view of the historic relationships that have existed between northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec, I appeal to the Quebecois of that region to consider their families, relatives, friends and associates in Ontario on May 20, and I urge them to vote to continue that relationship in a strong united Canada -- a Canada that has given us all tremendous opportunities, a Canada in which renewed federalism can continue to provide liberty and prosperity for the two founding nations and for all regions, a Canada we will still be proud to call our nation for generations to come, a Canada we are all a part of and a Canada we all love.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Monsieur le Président, c’est une honneur pour moi de participer à cet important débat sur l’unité nationale. Je crois que notre réaction à ce débat déterminera l’enjeu final.

Let me begin, Mr. Speaker, by saying that I believe this great country of ours, Canada, is more than the sum of its parts. It is my deep-rooted belief that the legitimate aspirations of Quebeckers and of other regions of Canada can be met within the framework of a united Canada. I will therefore avoid any battle of figures where, if the minus side of the balance sheet is less than the plus side, a region or province loses by remaining within the federal structure.

Federalism, by its definition, is a flexible system capable of changes when changes seem necessary. We are now at a crossroads. We have an opportunity to shape the Canada of tomorrow for our sake and for our children’s sake. Let us not betray them.

When we sit down and draft this new constitution we should make sure that those things we reject are those which hinder or prevent the growth of the individual province and/or region. Also, we should keep the positive aspects of the federation, and I believe they are numerous.

11:40 a.m.

One of the best examples of a positive aspect of Canadian federalism is a possibility to share each other’s resources. It is, to a large extent, the geography and resources of Canada that define us as a people and as a country. When we look at the world as a whole and Canada’s place in it, we cannot help but be amazed at our good fortune to live in Canada and be Canadians.

As the geography and natural resources of this country shaped our history, so they will our future. Our country cannot exist without the geography as we know it now or without the resources and the free movement of these resources back and forth across provincial boundaries, nor should we break up the natural flow of our waterways, such as the St. Lawrence, and have a country within a country. I suggest to you that it is impossible even to contemplate it.

I do not believe that I have to repeat the history of exploration and of the exploitation of the natural resources that brought the earliest people to Canada. If I may, however, take a few moments to reiterate the early explorations of the Vikings, Portuguese, Spanish, French and English who were searching for a new world and new opportunities, perhaps we can put the present debate in that kind of context.

Our economic history begins with the development and exploitation of fisheries off the coast of Newfoundland and the other maritime provinces. This westward movement then spread to the agricultural areas of the Maritimes and of Quebec, which was followed in due course by the fur traders looking for fur, and moving westward across Ontario into the prairie provinces and farther west and north.

This was followed by the timber trade and then the discovery subsequent to that of vast mineral resources of Canada in the northern shield of Ontario and Quebec, the great prairie wheatlands of the west, the great timber resources of British Columbia and fishery on that coast, and in the not too distant past the development of our energy resources of gas, oil and coal in the western provinces, and of course the abundance of hydroelectric power that we find across Canada.

It was these resources that first attracted people to the country and have given shape and form to the economic life of Canada. One can argue, and I am one of those, that we do not have sufficient control over these resources. The fact remains that they provide Canadians with a living standard sixth in the world and make us, after the United States and Russia, a people most bounteously blessed by natural resources.

Of course, the difference is that we have a relatively small population in relation to the amount of resources that we have in Canada. I suppose we often underrate ourselves and the benefits we have by living in a united Canada. I have always been struck by the fact when I have travelled abroad how rich and diverse a country Canada is in regard to other countries that I have visited.

Last June, when I was in Ireland on my honeymoon, I could not help but be struck by the meagre amount of natural resources that that country had in relation to what is available in my own riding of Rainy River, let alone in the whole country. When we look at the richness of these natural resources we have to consider that federalism is a great advantage. When we look across Canada we see a common market for goods and services which flow freely across the 10 provinces from sea to sea.

An unfortunate trend, I believe, is the nontariff barriers that sometimes are put up by the various governments to restrict this common flow of goods and services across our country. As the Pepin-Robarts report referred to it, “On occasion perhaps some of the provinces will have a valid reason for some such barriers, but on the whole it should not be a principle that is accepted by Canadians.”

Federalism, as we know it, allows this common market to function and also permits us to pool our resources. E. P. Neufeld, formerly the Deputy Minister of Finance for the federal government, put it this way:

“An especially interesting element of the Canadian federation, from the economic point of view, stems from the strength generated by the pooling of each region’s varied resources. Thanks to the federation, the diversity of regional resources has become a source of vigour to all parts of the country, each having a much more reliable supply of a much greater variety of resources than if it had not been part of the federation, benefiting from the maintenance of prosperity in the rest of the country in case of an economic downturn -- as a consequence, for example, of climatic conditions or a gloomy export market.

“The history of Canada offers numerous examples of serious recessions in certain industries and particular regions while others maintain some degree of prosperity. In these cases, automatic movements of revenue and capital, which are an integral part of the federation, helped to reduce the effects of the depression in the affected regions.

“In addition, the diversity of exports gives greater stability to Canada’s balance of payments and to the national currency. The federation provides a mechanism allowing it to benefit from the strength of all regions and to increase the economic stability of each. Security of supplies will probably be a very important question in the future. This question is arising undoubtedly for the first time since the two great world wars, but it got its true dimensions from the oil embargo of 1973.

“It is impossible to foresee the political influences likely to impede resources supplies in future, or the shortages that are most likely to appear. It is certain, however, that the capacity of the regions of Canada to overcome these obstacles, thanks to their access to the resources of other parts of the country, is much more substantial within the federation than outside it.

“Another distinctive advantage of our federal system has been the development over the years of a transportation system which is the envy of all other nations. Whether we are talking about air, rail, road or seaway, our transportation system is effective and competitive.”

I would like to make an aside here. One of the things that has bothered me in my experience is that Canadians, from all parts of the country, have not really had the experience of visiting all parts of Canada. Many people, many in this chamber, have probably been to Europe, perhaps to Asia, certainly the United States and the Caribbean countries and perhaps to South America, but I would think that there is not, and has not been, enough travelling across Canada so that we can all, as individuals, have that experience that shows us what kind of a great and rich country we are and to have that individual experience with our neighbours and the other parts of our family as a country that live either in the west coast or in the east coast or in central Canada.

I think that is a situation that has led to this kind of communications breakdown and this feeling of isolation in that Canadians do not travel across their country and see enough of it and their neighbours. One of the problems is due to the fact that while we have an excellent transportation system for moving goods and services in some cases, in terms of a tourist type of approach or experiencing our own country, it is often cheaper to go somewhere else, given the air rates and the rail rates that we have for people to travel across this country. It’s a sad fact of life that for me to fly home to my riding in Rainy River, some 1,200 miles from Toronto, it costs more than to travel to Florida or to San Francisco or any of those areas in the United States and, of course, the same holds true of flying to British Columbia or to the maritime provinces.

In regard to our transportation system, numerous books have been written about the great and historic St. Lawrence Seaway and the St. Lawrence River, which still continues to be one of the main arteries for traffic in Canada. According to a recent federal study, $40 billion will have to be spent within the next few years to keep the system dynamic and competitive. This can only be done by drawing on the resources of a large and prosperous country. The financial system, the banking system and currency system provide the fundamental unit of our system. The infrastructures are in place and can deal more effectively with the problems particularly in times of world economic problems, rather than a divided country or a country with a nation within it.

11:50 a.m.

Canada is the envy of many countries in terms of expertise in various fields; communications, banking, mining, engineering, transportation, industrial and residential construction, and in our style of management. Let us not destroy this tradition. I believe in this economic system there is a place for diversity and prosperity in the coming years.

As I have mentioned, Canada is third behind the United States and the Soviet Union in terms of resources. In Canada the export of our natural resources constitutes 62 per cent of our total exports. A sound, long-term planning of our export policy can assure us that not only do we survive the 20th century and prosper, but in the 21st century we are also able to grow.

I support a new constitutional project as long as this constitution is adapted to the needs, rights and aspirations of the various regions and groups which compose this country of ours. A new constitution must be adapted to the needs of the 21st century. Obviously, one of the things that make us a country called Canada is a shared tradition and experience. We have to look at our own experience to place ourselves in the context of being a Canadian.

It is interesting that a few years ago I recall reading an article in Maclean’s magazine in which the author indicated that the national bird of Canada should be the grouse, because Canadians as individuals and people were grousers. It is not parliamentary to use a stronger word at this time, but it frustrates me as an individual and as a Canadian that we very seldom put stock in what we have in this country -- in our history, in our resources, in our people, in our diversity. Why we are constantly grousing about Canada, quite frankly, is beyond me.

We have too many people like that in Canada. This current debate all across Canada seems to emphasize those aspects, those me-first attitudes and the petty regionalism of the various places, rather than what we have together as Canadians. Mr. Speaker, I say to you, we do not need those kinds of people; we do not need the grousers in Canada. What we need is nation-builders, not nation-destroyers, which activity we seem to be embarked upon. Unfortunately, the nation- destroyers are the ones who seem to get the media attention.

As my friends across the way would say: “It is always easier to criticize.” Of course, we on this side are always constructive in our criticism. Always. It is easier to be negative and to criticize rather than to create some -- thing out of something that is already there. I say again, we do not need a grouse as a national bird to represent us. What we need is individuals who are nation-builders and who will be intent on getting on with the job of a new constitution and of making this country even greater and a better place to live.

Most of the people who have participated in this debate have called upon their own backgrounds and experiences to tell us in this Legislature, the people of the province and of Quebec particularly, their own personal and individual feelings about what they feel about Canada and the way they see themselves in this country. In my own case, as a student at the University of Manitoba, I was chosen to attend the McGill Conference of World Affairs in Montreal in 1962. It was my first visit to Quebec and it opened a whole new world to me.

The most vivid recollection of that conference was not the many notable speakers or some of the ideas that flew around in regard to solving world problems, but the night I got into an intense battle with some French-Canadian students from the University of Montreal. The quiet revolution was not so quiet that evening. We resolved the differences of the west and Quebec and wound up spending a very convivial evening touring many of the night clubs in Montreal.

One of the earlier speakers referred to that historic occasion when the Premiers loaded up the ferry boat with good spirits of one kind and another and went down to Charlottetown. Perhaps this is the way to resolve our problems. We certainly did that night. I recall that night in Montreal as if it were yesterday. The three of us were standing on the tables in some of these taverns, singing the Marseillaise at the top of our voices. It is those kinds of shared experiences of being thrown out of places like that which I think really come home to me when I contemplate perhaps the breakup of this country.

Again as a personal experience, my engagement took place in Quebec City. My fiancée and I were skiing at Lac Beauport and we were staying in Quebec City, which has to be the gastronomic capital of the world. It was there on a ski lift at Lac Beauport that my wife proposed to me, although I must admit, as in this Confederation debate, her reading of the history of that occasion may be somewhat different from mine.

If I may refer to my own area of Canada, my constituency of Rainy River, we have a great history in that part of the world because of the fur trade and the co-operation between the native people who lived in that area and Sieur de la Vérendrye and his sons who first came to the area in pursuit of the fur trade and the economics of that situation.

It is unfortunate in my mind that we who have so much in Canada should be so bitterly divided among ourselves -- west against east and Quebec against the rest of the country. I think, however, that this debate we are having is worth while in the sense that all of us have examined what it means to as to be Canadian and the great wealth which we have inherited and which we will pass on to our children and their children.

Canada has always been a country of compromise where men and women have put aside their personal dislikes, their personal animosities and their regionalism to rise to a higher challenge, that of the nation and of the country. I believe we will do this again and that the people of goodwill will be able, in the Canadian tradition, to sit down and negotiate and arrive at a solution which, while it may not satisfy everybody completely, will lead to the survival and prospering of Canada.

Perhaps Sir. Wilfrid Lauder’s ringing declaration that the 20th century belongs to Canada has not been fully achieved in some people’s minds. I invite them to look at those things that matter in this life, such as their economic wellbeing, their freedoms and liberties, a system of justice to protect them, the democratic system, the right to free speech and the spiritual values and the decency of Canadians that are known around the world. I would suggest each one of us look and see how fortunate we are and what we have together before we contemplate divorce.

I say again, now is the time for the nation- builders to come forward. Sir Wilfrid Laurier said the 20th century belongs to Canada; I say the 21st century belongs to the new Canada we are about to create.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier a déclaré que le 20e siècle appartenait au Canada. Moi, je déclare que le 21e siècle appartiendra au nouveau Canada que nous sommes à créer. Merci.

12 noon

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate and support the call for Canadians to work together to build a new constitution. I agree with all of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party who have spoken in this debate and, specifically, those who are speaking today on the matter of multiculturalism. The people of Dovercourt, like all working people in Ontario, need a new constitution. They need a new vision of Canada and a new commitment to economic, social, political and cultural equality.

The governments of Canada and Ontario have failed to address the problems of working people. The Liberals in Ottawa have tried to create full employment by selling our resources to Americans and encouraging a branch-plant economy. The result has been that the wealth of society has been exported and that we have failed to create job opportunities for our citizens. As a result of these misguided policies, we are unable to control interest rates in this country. We see massive layoffs in the auto industry. We have a shortage of skilled workers. We have workers across the province facing layoffs and plant shutdowns.

When our party asks this government to take action and resolve these problems, we are told that it cannot be done. This government seems to believe that if it gets tough with the multinationals, the multinationals will take their money and run. That’s because this government doesn’t really know how to get tough in the name of working people. It doesn’t know how to protect our resources and our workers.

That’s why I believe a new constitution must speak directly to the fundamental problem of building a Canadian economy for Canadians. It must give government power to do that. Not only has this government failed to build and create wealth, it has failed to protect working people in their work place. We have workers working on wages that are too low to support a family adequately in this society. We have labour laws that are so lax that they are flouted with impunity. I need only mention Fleck, Radio Shack, Westinghouse and Johns-Manville.

Our working people still do not know in many areas if union security will exist. I think of the efforts to organize banks and how they have been resisted so strongly and within the law, in many cases. I think of the indignities of the work place such as the electronic surveillance devices that this government seems unwilling to outlaw or restrict. I think of the women of this province to whom this government is willing to deny the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

This government, in a most despicable action, denied women the right to have the same pay for work of the same value as a male worker. How can we ever hope for a just society if the government of the largest province endorses a principle that says if a man does a job he should be paid one rate and if a woman exerts just as much effort and responsibility she should be paid a lower rate?

This government’s record on preventing layoffs is just as bad as its record on creating jobs. The NDP realizes the difficult time, the tough action and the tough solutions. We are deeply disappointed by the federal Liberal government whose lack of leadership on the economy and the continual failure of the Conservative government of Ontario to come up with specific proposals to create jobs and build an industrial structure so that our working people will have job security. We do not believe that a country with our resources, with our labour force, with our market, should be in a constant state of economic insecurity.

As an aside, I am not at all impressed by this silly posturing of the Liberal Party of Ontario. Lusting for power and calling an election does nothing unless you have the policies that you are willing to put into place. The NDP is more than willing to go to the people of Ontario and discuss economic strategy. But we want to do it at a time when the people of Ontario are again ready to listen to politicians. The performances of the Liberals and the Conservatives have so disillusioned people with politics and elections that it does not make sense to hold an election until they have had time to recover.

[Translation from Italian]

Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to you generally about the creation of wealth for all of society generally to this point, and I have made it very clear I am concerned that many people are left out. As I go through my riding in Dovercourt, I see a lot of houses on small lots. I see a lot of people who are renters and who have very small rooms. I see a lot of industry next to homes around my riding. The same is true when I visit the ridings of Parkdale, Bellwoods and Oakwood. If I were to visit the riding of York Mills, I would see very large houses on very large lots. I would see three or four people living in 12-room houses, unlike my riding, where 12 people live in four- and five-room houses.

The people of Dovercourt work every bit as hard as the people of York Mills. The people of Dovercourt have contributed as much to society as the people of York Mills and yet the conditions and the rewards for their labour are very different. If we are ever to have a just society, we must work to overcome that inequality.

I am also aware that the majority of the people in my riding are considered to be “new Canadians.” That is, their ancestors did not grow up in Canada. Nevertheless, these people do make an important contribution to our society and have chosen Canada as their home.

[Translation from Portuguese]

For that reason, I believe we must make special efforts to include them in our society and to guarantee their rights as citizens. I know that all of the members of the NDP spend a great deal of time fighting cases with the Workmen’s Compensation Board. As we have shown in the area of asbestos and other work place diseases, the Workmen’s Compensation Board has been very slow in responding to all sorts of important demands.

There is also a special problem which concerns me. If one does not speak English it is often much harder to get one’s claim heard, particularly if there are complications and trauma as a result of injury. Italian and Portuguese workers are often treated as if they are trying to deceive the board. I believe the Workmen’s Compensation Board should provide compensation to all workers who are injured. It is unacceptable to me that we spend so much time investigating claims and so little time on rehabilitating injured workers.

There are other problems if you are a new Canadian. We allow our people to become citizens after three years. However, you have to wait 10 years in order to get Gains payments. The Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. F. S. Miller) attempted to compound that area in his budget until he was confronted by the member for Downview (Mr. Di Santo). We believe pensioners need that money to survive in our society. We should not punish citizens simply because the length of their residency is shorter than other people’s.

12:10 p.m.

I am also concerned about the many visible minorities in our society. Our citizens often walk our streets with fear because we do not have the strong human rights laws we need. Our citizens have not seen their government be particularly diligent in denouncing racism. They know the government denounces it; however, they see such weak action by government on many levels of basic human rights. The government simply must back up its commitment with action if our people are to feel safe and secure in a multicultural, harmonious Canadian society.

Because our people frequently have great difficulty getting jobs, the ethnic workers are sometimes most drastically affected by the failure of government economic policy. They are easier to lay off and easier to replace.

[End of translation]

Moreover, these are the people who are most affected by the failure of the government to develop a strong social policy. The government, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) are constantly telling us that we simply cannot afford the protection and the positive programs which our people need. The reason we cannot afford it is because the Conservatives of Ontario and the Liberals in Ottawa have totally mismanaged our economy. The poorest people in our society are now being asked to bear the cost of that neglect.

This government’s lack of leadership is creating a chaotic environment which has the potential of becoming explosive. Unless all our people feel part of our society and feel included in it and understand it and have economic opportunities, there can be dire ramifications for this society. The government continues to so mismanage our economy that it is unable to develop the social and the cultural programs we need. We have to expect social unrest.

We must commit ourselves to removing all barriers dividing our society into first and second-class citizens. We must not have two grades of people: those who exploit and those who are exploited. We must not have two types of people such as those who are paid 10 and 20 times as much for the same amount of work.

Considérons brièvement la situation au Québec, Monsieur le Président. Si les Québécois sont actuellement en train de fixer leur avenir, c’est parce que les gouvernements n’ont pas su faire du Canada un pays économiquement fort. C’est pourquoi nous n’avons pas cessé de faire des propositions concrètes pour rebâtir notre économie et montrer aux Québécois que le Canada a un avenir économique assure et stable.

Si l’on ajoute à cela la garantie qu’ils pourront préserver leur patrie, leurs droits, leur langue et leur culture, je pense qu’ils auront toutes les raisons du monde de choisir le Canada. C’est parce que les libéraux fédéraux et les divers grands gouvernements provinciaux n’ont pas fourni le leadership économique qui aurait fait du Canada un pays où il fait bon vivre, que les Québécois et tous les citoyens se sont sentis trahis. C’est parce que Ottawa et les conservateurs ici n’ont pas su créer une politique culturelle telle que les gens ne craignent plus d’être assimilés en un block monolithique, qu’ils ont contribué à la division de notre pays.

Les Néo-Démocrates croient que ce mouvement est réversible. C’est à nous de veiller à ce que l’égalité soit un objectif accessible à notre époque et dans notre société. Nous nous réjouissons de ce débat sur la constitution car nous y voyons l’occasion pour les Canadiens de progresser vers ce but. C’est l’occasion de bâtir un Canada où les travailleurs puissent affirmer avec fierté que leur apport et leur culture sont respectés. C’est l’occasion de faire savoir à chaque travailleur qu’il a autant de valeur que quiconque. Telle est la vérité concernant le travailleur et il est temps que notre société la reconnaisse.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate today in the historic debate on the future of Canadian Confederation. In view of the unusual circumstances surrounding this week-long debate on the future of Canada, I wish to speak as a northerner, a resident of this great province and a citizen of Canada.

I bring to this debate a sense of emotion because the subject of discussion relates to my own background, the history of my family in this country, and my role in the Legislature as a representative of the Kenora riding. I speak first as a Canadian, a very proud Canadian, proud of my French ancestry and the traditions of the Bernier family whose roots in New France date back to the 17th century.

The Bernier family has always been a close-knit family. Its Canadian origins date back to the arrival in New France of Jacques Bernier, who settled on the Ile d’Orleans in the year 1656, 20 years after his birth in Paris. He was married to Antoinette Grenier in the parish church of Notre Dame de Quebec by Father Jerome Lallement, superior of the Jesuit Mission of New France and the uncle of another Jesuit priest martyred at the site of the present shrine at Midland, Father Gabriel Lalemant.

During the past 300 years, members of the Bernier family have played their part in the building of Canada. Two may be recalled by the House. The first, of course is Serge Bernier, a member of the Quebec hockey team, undoubtedly the best-known Bernier in Canada today.

The second is Captain Joseph Elzear Bernier, who devoted 35 years of his life in the last century to the exploration of the Canadian Arctic. In honour of his accomplishments, a commemorative stamp was issued by the Postmaster General to mark his pioneering efforts to lay claim to the North Pole for Canada. Although he did not realize this one dream, he did discover and lay claim for Canada to the following Arctic islands -- I will name them for the record: Bylot, Griffith, Young, Davy, Garrett, Cornwallis, Bathurst, Byam Martin, Melville, Eglinton, Prince Patrick, Lowther, Russell, Cone, Coburg and Ellesmere. His many accomplishments and his service to Canada have also been recorded in a publication of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development released in 1978 under the title, Captain J. E. Bernier’s Contribution to Canadian Sovereignty in the Arctic.

With the construction of the transcontinental railway at the turn of the century to western Canada, the Berniers began moving westward, settling in St. Anne, Manitoba, where my own father, Joseph E. Bernier, was born and raised with his two brothers and four sisters. The great gold rush which followed the discovery of the Red Lake gold fields prompted my father to settle at Hudson in northwestern Ontario, at that time the principal supply centre for shipping goods and materials to prospectors and miners who developed that ore body.

The Bernier family is unique in the sense that it has its own publication and its own association to which we all subscribe. This quarterly publication is made possible by a devoted member of our family and I would like to recognize him as Cyril Bernier of 6050 Est Rue Belanger, suite 310, Montreal, Quebec.

12:20 p.m.

I have summarized the history of this family because in my view it demonstrates an important principle of this discussion. French Canadians are merely people who speak a common language. They, above all, are a people with a sense of identity and a way of life who have a stake in the roots of this nation that they will never relinquish.

The fact that we today still speak of Quebec as French Canada demonstrates the essential cohesiveness of French people. Their determination to make their identity and their skill at the time of Confederation to obtain the necessary political instruments to preserve their language and their culture, and their success in accomplishing these goals is self-evident today. Their tenacity in working to preserve this identity is at the base of our discussions in this Legislature this weak.

Across Canada the debate of the future of Confederation and the place of Quebec continues to generate a great deal of emotion. Understandably, passions are aroused and extreme positions are taken by partisans on each side. Let us not in this House forget that the French colonists of New France chose New France as their home. The dream of the French colonists was to find a land without oppression, a land that offered them the opportunity to prosper and a land in which they could create a new society -- a greater society than the one they chose to leave behind.

I do not believe we can overestimate the significance today of this essential element of choice and the passionate determination of these colonists to succeed. We are all familiar with the obstacles they fought to overcome. The obstacles of a harsh and forbidding climate, the vastness of the continent itself, the dangers of trading and sailing ships across the North Atlantic, they overcame. They met the challenge of the frontier. They prospered, they increased in numbers and they preserved their identity for over 300 years. They chose New France then, they chose Canada in 1867, and I believe they will choose Canada again when the challenge is clearly presented.

I feel it is tragic for my family to have had the feeling in recent years that it was somehow necessary to question their origins and question their feelings towards Canada. This is what has happened, not only for the Berniers but to all members of the French family as a direct result of the election of the Parti Quebecois and the strength of the separatist movement in that province.

I see no conflict whatsoever between my being of French origin and my being a Canadian. I am not ashamed because I am French and my being a Canadian does not make me less a descendant of Jacques Bernier. We chose Canada as a family 300 years ago and, if we must, we will choose it again on May 20, 1980, or any subsequent date of the referendum.

The separatist movement in Quebec does not speak for me because I am French. Its vision of statehood is not my vision. It speaks the language of the past as if wrongs had never been righted, as if the French in Canada had not prevailed as we have in preserving our heritage, our pride of culture and a sense of our worth as Canadians. As we fought to build our homes and make our way in this continent, so too we have fought alongside other Canadians in time of war and of peace to keep this country safe and strengthen its economy and its place among free nations.

We will not choose to relinquish that past or turn our backs on accomplishments of untold millions of our ancestors who lived and died in Canada, whose roots are our roots, and of whose accomplishments we are justifiably very proud. I do not agree with this proposition whatsoever. Quebec, like Canada, can never be a private preserve of one cultural group. There is no place in the modern world for a one-culture state. Not even France itself would attempt such a claim, or England or Germany or Belgium.

To claim that in Quebec, as in France, there must be a place for the French language in commerce and in government and in education is self-evident. To go further and suggest that no other ethnic group should have rights, privileges and a role to play in building the future, is to ignore an essential ingredient of modem life. Surely we have learned from all the wars that we have fought in this century, as in the last, that there is no place for the politics of religion, of language or of race. The French in Europe surely suffered enough from the madness of the delusions of the Third Reich not to permit a version of cultural mania to grip them in Quebec today.

The separatists may speak of returning to the past, of shutting themselves off from the mainstream of life in the world and in North America, but they will never carry the day when the day of decision is at hand. The separatists may argue that purity of language is essential to maintaining an identity as a Frenchman. This is nonsense.

There was a time when I could speak only French. Had there been a separatist movement in my home town of Sioux Lookout when I was a child, telling me that I could only speak French, that I would be a traitor to my family and my ancestors if I spoke any other language, I would still be in Sioux Lookout, looking into a minor.

There were no separatists then in Sioux Lookout, and there are none there today. I was encouraged to learn English by my family. Although my father’s first language remained French throughout his lifetime, with, I might admit, a little bit of Ojibway he picked up along the way so he could relate to the native people in the area, I was never considered to be less a Bernier because I chose English as my first language.

As a people in a modern world, we have come a long way from the narrowness of the separatists. We do not need a separate state to preserve our culture any more today than we needed it in 1867. What is vital to us, what is alive in the context of a modern world and what is worthwhile about us as French people will live and flourish more as we move out into the mainstream and take our places as a strong people able to compete effectively in business, the arts and politics. There is no place for separatism.

This is not to say that the time has not come to rewrite the terms of the Canadian federation. There are important structural changes that must be made to improve the way of life of all Canadians. The Premier (Mr. Davis) I am privileged to serve under has said on many great occasions that he will go anywhere, any time, to negotiate a new constitutional framework for Canada but he will not negotiate the dismemberment of Canada.

A new constitution is needed, not just to serve the interests of the French, but to serve the interests of all the regions of Canada, all the cultures that today make up this country, including all of the native Indian cultures from Labrador to British Columbia and to the Arctic regions.

The commitment of Ontario to Canada is a crystal clear commitment that is based on a faith that Canada can be a greater nation than it is today. It is a commitment that is founded on the strength of Canadians and not based on unfortunate weaknesses, our doubts or our fears as separatism is.

12:30 p.m.

Independence from Canada would be disastrous for Quebec. It would succeed merely in creating yet another mini-state, one which our ancestors fought against and succeeded from preventing at the time of Confederation. It would result in culturally impoverished Quebecois without the resources or the economic tools to protect themselves in a world that has made mincemeat of dozens of tiny states, as Quebec would then be. Independence is not an option for Quebec nor is its equivalent, sovereignty-association. All it is is rhetoric.

The government of Ontario has put forward a wide-ranging set of constitutional proposals to be discussed in concert with the proposals put forward by other governments. These proposals demonstrate the preparedness of the citizens of this province to find new ways to relate to other Canadians in all our provinces and the national government.

Within our borders we have also sought to find new ways to help the citizens of Ontario relate to each other. An important new political initiative has been taken in this province to recognize frankly the need to deal with the question of regional disparities. In the past we have tried to decentralize our administration of government in the hope that in some meaningful way this would come to grips with regional needs. However, we recognized there are regions in this province with needs far greater than we could address in this way.

For this reason, the government established the first regional ministry in the history of this province. The mandate of my ministry, the Ministry of Northern Affairs, is quite simply stated: to meet the needs of northern regions. The federal government also has made an effort to address the same problem through the establishment of the Department of Regional Economic Expansion. It has a somewhat narrower frame of reference than that of my ministry, but it is at least a recognition that regional needs are important to the proper governing of Canada.

Other provincial governments have established a variety of mechanisms -- none as broadly based as we have in Ontario -- to move towards the same goals. This political recognition of regional disparity is a new phenomenon for Canada, although other countries, such as Denmark, have experimented with it much earlier than we did.

As I look at the constitutional debate taking place today, I cannot help but feel that Canada must make new efforts to develop national political tools to deal effectively with the myriad of regional disparities that beset us. The language of separatism is also the language of regional needs. We have had a fledgling separatist movement in northern Ontario. There is a separatist feeling among some residents of our western provinces. There has always been a certain attraction towards separatism in the Atlantic provinces.

In each case, however, the language is of neglect, of opportunities missed of the centralization of power elsewhere -- on Bay Street, on Water Street, on James Street, but always someplace else. It is a language too of despair, of powerlessness to influence one’s own destiny, to protect one’s own children from the need to go away to make a living. Canada is not unique in having this problem, but the problem has been aggravated over many years. From feelings of powerlessness and despair, separatist movements will forever emerge.

We must deal with this reality when we negotiate a new constitutional framework for Canada. I hope that Ontario will play a leading role in these negotiations because I believe that we have made important steps in recognizing the nature of the problem within our own borders in this province. We have now had the experience with some political means of dealing with that particular problem.

We have a long way to go in this province in meeting the needs of the north, but we have accomplished some things that others have not. We have moved into areas that are unique to Canada. I hope we will have an opportunity to share this experience when we negotiate a new constitutional framework for Canada.

These are all feelings common to many northerners. Our landscape is dotted with single-resource-industry communities vulnerable to every shift in fashion and to world crises. Our commercial fishermen have been hard hit by changing price levels and by the effects of pollution. When an ore body has been exhausted or when the world price for that ore has dropped below the breakeven point, our mining communities have suffered. But separating from Ontario when these problems present themselves is seen by the overwhelming majority of northerners as being ridiculous. It is a ridiculous alternative and is not even considered.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I would draw to the honourable member’s attention that his time has elapsed.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I have just a few brief words in closing.

A new constitution for Canada must not only address these regional needs, but it must do so in a manner that is clearly evident to the eyes of every Canadian. It must also meet the needs of our native people in a very profound manner. To do this will require a considerable strengthening of provincial governments all across Canada because this level of government, in my opinion, is far better able to meet the day-to-day needs of Canadians than a national government could ever do. If Canada is to survive into the 21st century, this is the road we must all take.

Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to observe that each of the participants in this debate has made a special contribution according to his or her ancestry and according to the environment in which he or she was brought up. I refer particularly to the previous speaker, the Minister of Northern Affairs, who spoke very proudly of his francophone heritage and of northern Ontario and presented a viewpoint on this debate that I think was special.

As a citizen of Ontario with an anglophone heritage I feel that I too have a special responsibility to help in my own humble way to bring the message of this resolution to Quebec, since my riding originally was almost 100 per cent Anglo-Saxon in origin but has in recent years become quite cosmopolitan.

I feel the message I bring must be directed to those people of Anglo-Saxon roots in my riding who were brought up in an environment similar to my own and who, in my view, have a very special contribution to make to Canadian unity. While this question must be initially resolved through our determination to build a new Canada, it must eventually result in a change in the hearts and in the minds of all Canadians.

The first is easier to accomplish than the last, but it is only in that accomplishment that a newer and stronger Canada will emerge. I have watched the country I love so much being held back by needless prejudice born out of fear and often fulfilled in ignorance. I have seen the people I love and whom I now have the privilege of serving often bound with the chains of misunderstanding, each link forged through the prejudice of the past.

If Canada is to fulfil its destiny, those links must be undone and we must be free. I truly believe the citizens of my riding are willing to accept this tremendous challenge in the name of Canada. I believe they are ready consciously to put by the fears that have held us back and to be prepared to allow Canada to become the greatest nation on earth, not just in material wellbeing but as an example of that generosity of spirit that can lift us all above ourselves for the greater good of our nation.

12:40 p.m.

If there is a message I can send to our brothers and sisters in Quebec it is that we are willing to move ahead and we, therefore, urge those voters in Quebec to remember that the small riding called Halton-Burlington is prepared to do its part to take up the challenge. Let there be no mistake, Mr. Speaker, in our view a no vote in the referendum is only the beginning of that long walk together.

We have another message to bring to Quebec as well, that is, we cannot contemplate, let alone negotiate, such a concept as sovereignty-association. We have too much to share with each other to our mutual benefit. As the energy critic for the official opposition in this great province, I see great resources in Quebec in hydro-electric power but I also see that Quebec has no petroleum resources. Indeed, although the province is able to export electric power it must import over 70 per cent of its energy requirements from outside the province.

I think it is reasonable to observe that a Quebec left to its own devices would immediately have a deficit balance of payments in the billions of dollars for petroleum costing at least double the present price. Since energy will be the economic key over the next 20 or 30 years, until that range of energy options is expanded Quebec would become the most economically vulnerable part of North America.

As the rest of this continent and particularly the rest of this country presses hard for optimum conservation and optimum energy development, Quebec’s continuing dependence on petroleum, outside of the benefit of the federal equalization system, would be disastrous for its people. On the other hand, within the framework of Confederation, Quebec could continue to enjoy equalization which is giving all of us who are Canadians the time so badly needed to move from the era of petroleum into the era of alternative energy and conservation.

Also necessary at this time is a sharing of technology among all provinces. There may be some misguided idea that because of Québec’s wealth of hydro-electric capacity it can manage huge transfers of energy consumption into that medium. The lessons have already been well learned in the United States and certainly in Ontario. While some transfer of utilization is possible and some is desirable, the wholesale transfer into an all-electric economy is prohibitively costly and technically impractical. It therefore stands to reason that in the area of energy each province has something to give to the other and each has a benefit to receive.

Our country is a diverse land containing yet unimaginable wealth, the development and exploitation of which has often been held back by the time and energies wasted on our differences instead of being invested in those aspirations that are common to us all and in a sincere attempt to understand and walk hand in hand with each other. The very fact that we recognize Canada as a mosaic rather than a melting pot indicates we expect from each other a level of maturity and generosity of spirit that is perhaps not expected or demanded in other countries.

The benefits to be gained by recognizing this fact of Canada are such that make us unique among nations and give us a potential for fulfilment greater than any other country. Let the word go out by the means of this resolution that a no vote will confirm our resolve in Ontario not to accept the status quo but to work with all of our talent and our ability for a greater Canada, one in which the fears and inhibitions of the past will be replaced by the light of courage, challenge and opportunity.

Canada was created not out of an act of revolution, not out of an act of war, but out of legislation, in peace and as an act of love. Let us continue in that spirit.

On motion by Mr. Makarchuk, the debate was adjourned.

The House recessed at 12:45 p.m.