31e législature, 4e session

L044 - Thu 8 May 1980 / Jeu 8 mai 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, before the statements and orders of the day, on behalf of members of the Legislature, I would like to pay a word of tribute on the occasion of the funeral of Marshal Tito, the great wartime leader of Yugoslavia and leader of that country from 1945 until the present time.

He was a nation builder, a man who brought together a nation out of the Balkan area which had six national languages; an heroic fighter against fascism during the Second World War; a man who had the leadership capacity, the foresight and the courage to lead his country out of the Soviet bloc; a leader, with his country, of the non-alliance nations of the world over almost thee decades, and who, with his government and his party in his country in their own way instituted experiments in the practice of workers’ management and participatory democracy which have been unequalled any place else in the world.

I think all members would join with me in paying tribute to Marshal Tito in expressing our condolences to the Yugoslav people, in expressing as well our sympathies to those Canadians who are of Yugoslav origin. He was not only a great citizen of his country; he was also a great citizen of the world.



Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, when I brought down my budget April 22 I indicated the concern of this government about the level of interest rates in Canada. Interest rates are a pressing national issue, and in my budget I looked to the federal government for leadership and action. We were, and still are, prepared to assist in designing schemes for interest rate relief. However, I also indicated the province’s willingness to act independently to assist the farming community should no action appear to be forthcoming from Ottawa.

Interest rates have been dropping in recent weeks and are expected to continue to do so. But they still remain high, and the prospects of future low rates will not help the farmer who must borrow now. Yet we have still had no indication of any federal response. The time has come for action.

Farmers face an acute problem because of the requirement for significant amounts of short-term working capital. Since cash flow would not otherwise occur until the crop was sold, farmers must borrow money to finance the cost of input, including seeds, fertilizers, livestock feed, the cost of crop maintenance and that of harvesting. This debt is absolutely essential for maintaining farm production. It is not an issue of availability of capital, since there are adequate funds available for farmers and borrowers. Rather, high interest rates put a real squeeze on many farmers, particularly those with an additional debt load.

The extra burden of high interest cost comes at a time when there are significant cost increases in farming inputs, such as fertilizer, seed, pesticides and other necessities for production. When prices for corn and other grains are dropping as a result of the boycott of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics markets and other prices are at a low point as a result of the commodity cycles, the squeeze on farm incomes is magnified.

My government feels that farming is too valuable an activity to both the people and the economy of Ontario to permit this squeeze. The long-term viability of food production cannot be a casualty of short-term interest rate policy. Consequently, Ontario will be taking action to assist the farmers with the burden of short-term interest costs through a $25-million interest rate subsidy program. My colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food will provide the details of this new program.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has approached the federal government for assistance and, on behalf of Ontario farmers, we support this request. Such federal assistance would be an important source of relief from high interest rates for farmers in addition to our program and the new federal small business development bonds.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in rising today and thanking the Treasurer for his help at this time when it is badly needed in the farming community, I would like first to introduce Mr. Frank Wall, second vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, who has been involved in the debates and who has helped us greatly in arriving at this decision. I believe he is fully supportive of our statement and I would ask him to stand.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: As members of this House are aware, interest rates in this country have been at record high levels for the past few months. These high rates have been especially hard on our farmers and, in particular, on young farmers who require short-term working capital. Therefore, the government of Ontario is stepping in to bring assistance to the farmers of this province.

It is my pleasure to announce the Ontario Farm Interest Assistance Program for farmers who qualify. The government will subsidize interest rates up to a maximum of three per cent on short-term working capital borrowed at more than 12 per cent. The maximum amount of borrowed capital on which the subsidy is payable is $50,000 and the time period is nine months, extending from April 1, 1980, to December 31, 1980.

The subsidy is available to farmers who are engaged in food production. Program criteria are being developed by my ministry in cooperation with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. We are also inviting financial institutions to take part in developing the criteria. I will be tabling these criteria in the House as soon as they are available. In the meantime, I should like to give the members a broad outline of the program.

Farmers will take out loans from institutions in the usual way. When their short-term financial dealings are completed or when the nine-month program period ends, the farmers will send in applications for the subsidy to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. The application must be countersigned by the lending institution and must state the interest rate, the amount of the short-term capital borrowed and the interest paid.

An information leaflet describing the program and setting out the criteria will be available in the near future from the agricultural representatives’ offices and from financial institutions. Application forms will be available from the same sources.

This program will bring relief to those farmers who need it most. I hope the federal government will respond positively to our program and render similar assistance to farmers. I know the federal Minister of Agriculture is concerned about the problems that high interest rates are causing in the farming community.


Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, staff in my ministry are concluding the last details of organization for Ontario Renews: Action for the 80s, a comprehensive, international forum on community renewal.

This forum, one of the largest gatherings of its kind, is expected to attract about 1,400 delegates. People are coming from every province in Canada, several American states and from farther afield. In fact, we have just received a telegram from a planner in Sydney, Australia, requesting enrolment.

Ontario Renews will cover all aspects of home renovations and home rehabilitation, community improvement and downtown revitalization. These activities will be the basis for the important industry in the 1980s, as it becomes more and more necessary to conserve energy and other material resources.

I am pleased to announce that nearly 200 speakers have confirmed their intention to take part in the forum at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel between the days of June 9 and 13. The speakers come from across Canada, from the United States and from the United Kingdom.

From the United States, we welcome Lawrence Alexander, the director of Downtown Research and Development Centre, an organization which is co-sponsoring the forum. Mr. Alexander is editor of the Downtown Idea Exchange and has been involved in downtown revitalization for more than 25 years.

I am pleased also to announce that Mr. Andrew Tait, the director general of the National House Building Council of the United Kingdom, will participate. Mr. Tait is regarded as one of the leading international specialists in the area of housing rehabilitation.

Canadian speakers will come from across this country: British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. These will include the former mayor of Vancouver, Art Phillips, and a member of the Alberta staff, who will be with us at that conference.

Several members of this House will also be speaking at the conference, and I wish to extend an enthusiastic invitation to every member of this House to pay a visit, however brief, to this important five-day conference. At this time, copies of the program are being put in the individual members’ mail boxes here in the Legislative Building.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Before the orders of the day, I would like to mention that we have a very distinguished group of visitors in your gallery, Mr. Speaker. I met them prior to the opening of the House. They are some citizens from Durham, England, who are here visiting the town of Durham, Ontario. It is a pleasure to welcome them here and in particular the chief magistrate of that municipality, Mr. Lattimer.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, just before you call the next order of business, I want to set your mind at rest. The flowers being worn by members are in aid of multiple sclerosis. I only mention it since the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) was distributing these and selling them outside. I regret -- perhaps this is a point of privilege -- that I could not get a red one. The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) has a red one for valour. The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) has a white one for purity and virginity. The Premier (Mr. Davis) has a blue one for depression. The pink, I guess, just stands for moderation and good judgement.

2:10 p.m.



Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Industry and Tourism whether he can report to the House on the present status of the negotiations between himself, the officials in the federal government and the officials of Chrysler Canada, and what might be expected by way of an announcement.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I regret to state that I cannot give the House any more information at the present time than I have given previously, because there are no developments which have resulted in official announcements or official positions being arrived at. In simple terms, the negotiations are still continuing, talks are still continuing, and an agreement has not been reached.

Mr. Nixon: I would like to ask the minister whether there is any sort of a tentative deadline, and whether he would comment on the assessment that the government of the United States has an aid program that is contingent upon outside assistance, and some of that outside assistance could be construed as that which would be forthcoming from the government of Canada; that the government of Canada is contemplating some long-term interest guarantees, but that the short-term assistance depends on the policy of the government of Ontario; and that by this long, roundabout way the future of this international corporation seems to rest in the hands of our honourable friend sitting at the end of the front row.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would find that as hard to believe as the honourable member who asked the question would find it difficult to believe. If, indeed, the entire future of the Chrysler Corporation rested upon this minister or this government, one would have thought we might have had some success on some of the requests we have had to Chrysler Corporation to meet some of our concerns.

With regard to the deadlines, may I say that there has been a series of very legitimately proposed deadlines, all of which I think were real. When we got to several deadlines, at which point we did not have agreement, there was a desire, as there often is in negotiations such as this, to extend the deadline and to make alternative arrangements, and that is what has occurred.

In terms of short-term assistance versus long-term assistance, may I say that the deal, as discussed to the present time, does not break out short-term assistance from long-term assistance in terms of the provincial government looking after the short term and the federal government looking after the long term. There has been no breakout in that way whatsoever.

In terms of whether we -- the Canadian government -- are involved in matching the $1.43 billion that Chrysler has to raise in the United States, I might comment at this time that in terms of the US loan package Chrysler was required to raise $1.43 billion from various sources. The sum of $250 million was required to be raised from what was defined in the legislation as state, local and other governments.

I am told that figure has been reached from state, local and other governments in the United States, as was intended.

Mr. Nixon: That’s triggered.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The honourable member suggests that that has been triggered. No. Out of the entire package, either the $1.43 billion figure is reached or it is not. There is no partial triggering of the US loan guarantees. They must reach $1.43 billion.

In terms of whether the Canadian government, as part of the overall aid package, has contributed to some difficulty in freeing up the $1.43 billion and the $1.5 billion, I only point out that the $250 million which was to be raised by state, local and other governments has been reached. Therefore, the Canadian government assistance, while I am sure it is important to the overall aid package, is not particularly designated under the US legislation as being required.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, will the minister acknowledge that, whatever the result of the discussions with Chrysler, there is going to be a serious jobs problem in the Windsor area for some time to come; and is the government prepared to take some specific measures in order to get new investment and more jobs into the Windsor area in the automobile sector and related sectors, specifically by increasing from $1 million or so to $50 million Ontario’s preparedness to invest in a parts research facility, by investigating the possibility of having the Dash-8 production moved to a plant in the Windsor area, and by looking into the possibility of having offshore auto makers or parts makers invest in the Windsor area?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first part of the question is yes. I fully expect that, with or without Canadian aid, there will be at least a short-term reduction in employment in Chrysler Corporation’s operations in Canada. That is a cause of very grave concern to us, and it is one of the items that have caused a certain attitude to develop surrounding our position in the talks. I think it is more a reflection of what the market is likely to be for North American automobiles, and Chrysler in particular, over the next period of time. That, in turn, will be a factor in terms of how we approach the negotiations. I do want to emphasize that I, for one, believe -- and this may be denied by others; by Chrysler, for example -- that we will see fewer jobs in Chrysler’s operations in Windsor over the next few months and, indeed, over the next year.

In terms of the second part of the member’s question, we have -- as the member acknowledged -- set up for the first lime an auto parts technical centre at the Ontario Research Foundation. Regardless of whether the amount be $1 million or $50 million, I want to assure the leader of the third party that we will fund it to the maximum dollar needed by the Canadian auto parts industry to make it happen. Dollars will not be the problem. We will fund it adequately.

In terms of providing alternative jobs in that area, one of the things we are working hard at currently, with de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited and others, is seeing that as many of the fighter aircraft offset jobs that will be coming to Ontario do go into areas in which auto workers may find alternative employment.

I welcome the position of the leader of the third party when he indicates we ought to be seeking to obtain offshore auto parts investment in this country. It is a breakthrough for the New Democratic Party to acknowledge that at this point in time, or at any point in time, we need some foreign investment in this country. I can only say that with their support -- and I am sure the soon- to-be-obtained support of the Liberal Party, if not the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) and the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) and the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) -- we will continue our effort to attract those alternative auto parts firms.

I will be attending the largest auto parts show in the world in Geneva at the end of this month, with a view to closing some deals, if we can, with six or seven major auto parts firms. To this stage, they have expressed a high degree of interest in locating in Ontario, as the result of an effort we mounted about a year ago to zero in on foreign auto firms -- auto makers and auto parts firms -- that might be interested in coming to North America.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, since Chrysler’s sales in Canada are 12 per cent to 14 per cent of their overall sales, is the minister considering that fact in his talks with Chrysler? Also, is he recommending that the Omni and Horizon, which now are being made in the United States, might be made in Canada?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment at this time on various items that have been on the table, and off the table at other times. Chrysler Corporation does have a larger share of the Canadian market than it does of the American market and the Canadian company, Chrysler Canada Limited, is a much stronger company in itself than is the Chrysler Corporation itself. In view of those circumstances and others, I believe that Canada already has earned its way in terms of major participation in whatever future the Chrysler Corporation does have.

Therefore, when we go into negotiations with them, we will begin by saying Canada is important and has earned its way and position in the Chrysler Corporation internationally, and therefore is entitled to some extra, special or long-overdue consideration, notwithstanding whatever amounts are offered to the Chrysler Corporation.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, it is clear at this point that no matter what happens with Chrysler Corporation -- whether this government participates or not -- there will be a very long-term employment crisis in the Windsor area, and there has been for a number of months. Since it now has been seven months since the minister recognized in a letter to me that this government does have a responsibility to create jobs in the short term in Windsor, will he tell us today, or within the next few days, when he has made his plan, specifically how much money this government is willing to put into Windsor to create short-term jobs to help the 24,000 and growing number of people unemployed in the Windsor-Essex area?

2:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: In fairness, Mr. Speaker, one could not accuse this government of ever being hesitant to put money into Windsor to create jobs for the auto workers. In fact, the last criticism we received from across the floor was for putting $28 million into Windsor to create jobs for the auto workers.

The track record of this government is clear. If we have the opportunity to invest money in Windsor and create short-, medium- and long-term jobs in an important and sensible fashion, then the members and the people of Windsor can be assured that this government will not hesitate. We have not hesitated before, and we will not hesitate again.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct a question to the Treasurer about his new tax grant program announced in the budget. Will he comment on the statement made by the Metropolitan Toronto social services commissioner that about 10,000 Metropolitan Toronto pensioners will lose $3 million over what they would have received under the old program if the brave new program is implemented as it now is expressed?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I would hope the member would look at the entire article that is in the newspaper today. It points out that the senior citizens in the homes for the aged and the nursing homes -- and the article says that is where they are -- who are already supported by the state, who are not paying taxes and who have a $51-a-month comfort allowance, are not even spending the $51 comfort allowance. Therefore, we directed the money to people who had obligations in society and did not have enough money to meet them.

Mr. Nixon: Would the minister consider, indicating to the House, before proceeding with the bill, that he is prepared to bring in an amendment that will make it clear that no pensioner is going to get less under this new program than he or she would have received if the old program had proceeded?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No. The key thing is that we had a program before that had some aspects of income supplementation even when income supplementation was not needed. I have explained several times in the House that we cut it into two component parts, property tax and income. Then we could cover the essential property tax that one paid even if one is on minimum income, leaving for the daily cost of living -- food, heat, clothing -- a guaranteed minimum cash balance for all people. That was done. We then transferred about $75 million more in the process to senior citizens. I think the member would agree with me that, as one goes around this province talking to senior citizens, this has been extremely well received because the people we helped are the people who are faced with higher costs of living.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Treasurer whether he is aware that the rates for single pensioners under the guaranteed annual income system are still too low and that Gains pensioners who are single are still below the poverty line. Does he not agree that it is inappropriate for a single pensioner to have to use the property tax grant to raise his or her income above the poverty line and that the problem could be solved if he would increase the single rate for Gains to a more adequate level above the poverty line?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, there are at least four poverty lines to find.

Mr. McClellan: Statistics Canada revised the poverty line.

Hon. F. S. Miller: A poverty line is a statistic. The fact remains that the cost of living varies very much according to where one lives in this province. There are some places where the cost of living is higher than in other areas. For the member to give me any one of four figures he pulls out of a book to suit him does not necessarily tell me the problems people are facing.

As of July 1, it is my understanding that the combination of the enrichment at the federal level, the enrichment at the provincial level, indexing and the present base will bring the sum total of those to $5,200, give or take a bit, in total net cash for a single senior citizen in Ontario. That is a considerable increase over somewhere around the current figure of $4,100 or $4,200.

I do not have the exact figure with me today, but I gave the honourable member a figure of $5,088 the other day. Someone challenged that figure, and when I checked my statistics -- I believe I passed them on to my critic in the New Democratic Party so he could look at them -- it was composed of about $188 for old age security, about the same amount for guaranteed income supplement, and the Ontario supplement added on; it came to $5,088.36, if I recall my figuring.

That did not allow for the indexing which was to take place every quarter in the basic federal payments, and I am assured when that indexing takes place those will add up to about $5,200. We won’t know until we have seen the exact figure.

That is cash flow in addition to the cash payment for sales tax, which is $50 per person and 100 per cent of the property tax up to $500, and free Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage and free drugs. I sense, when one calculates what a poverty line is, one assumes one is paying those things; therefore, it is not unfair to add them to the base of $5,200 in assuming what they get.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, in his response to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), the Treasurer referred to the people in nursing homes, particularly in Metro, and took a position with which we disagree. What about those other people, something like 50,000 people in this province apart from people in nursing homes, who will receive less?

Is the Treasurer prepared to entertain an amendment and to fix up his legislation before it comes into this House so that those people who receive less who are currently not in nursing homes will not receive less under the new system than they would have under the old?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I get a lot of criticisms when programs are broadbanded. The fact is, many of the people the honourable member is talking about are living with their children in a house and not necessarily paying any tax. Our program is aimed at helping people pay tax in their own homes.

Our legislation, if the member has looked at it, has a clause in it which says that any senior citizen living in a home other than his own and who pays towards the maintenance of that home shall have the right to make his claim. Has the member read that part of it? That right is there, provided the owner of that home, be it a daughter or son or grandchild, shows the money the person pays as income.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, now that the Treasurer has had time to review the points we raised several weeks ago after he introduced the budget, I would like to ask whether he is willing to introduce an amendment that will allow tax rebate to all senior citizens over the age of 65, including those Canadian citizens who acquire citizenship after three years of residence but do not qualify for old age security.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows we had a late show on this particular topic, and I feel I did cover the matter then.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services about the inadequacy of family benefits in this province. Can the minister explain why it is that, according to the Treasurer, a single senior citizen of this province in the guaranteed annual income system gets the equivalent of $433 a month, and a foster parent who takes into care two children under the age of 10 gets $459 a month from the children’s aid, while a single-parent mother with two children on family benefits allowance receives $452 in FBA?

Why does the single parent with two children receive, for the three of them, less than a foster parent would receive just for looking after two children, and what action does the government intend to take to ensure that adequate benefits are given to people on family benefits?

2:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member realizes that he is comparing some significantly different programs, some of which involve two or three levels of government in various ways contributing to the program.

If he looks at the experience historically in the area of family benefits, he has to recognize -- I think he was quite accurate when he quoted a figure for FBA -- that the FBA is not the sole source of income for persons in that situation. There are family tax credits from the federal government. There are other benefits from the provincial level. In fact, a mother with two young children, as of the month of April, taking everything into consideration, ought to be receiving a total income of $533.27 a month.

When one is looking at those things, one has to consider the additional benefits that are available by way of dental care and health care for the children, and for the parents, of course. For those who are faced with the problem of heating their own homes, we pay the full cost of fuel, which probably has inflated more rapidly and dramatically in the last few years than almost any other component of family expense. I suggest to the member that the situation is not as bleak as he has portrayed it.

If the member looks at the rate at which family benefits have increased over the last 10 years -- not taking into consideration the other sources of income available to those families -- they have increased by 103 per cent. During that comparable period of time, the consumer price index has increased by slightly more than about 111 per cent. That increase of 103 per cent is in reference to family benefits alone, but during that period of time there have also been significant enrichments in the program.

In addition to the child tax credits at the federal level, there have been improved special supplements, discretionary municipal shelter supplements, and the introduction of the back-to-school allowance, which also is effectively part of family income.

I could go on and on. I think the member is singling out only one component of family income, which over the past 10 years itself has almost kept pace with the rate of inflation. If the member compares it with the rates of increase in income of many other persons in the work force, the rate of increase has been fair. The member is deliberately distorting the situation by focusing on only one component of the family income.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister not aware that the income of family benefits recipients was far below the poverty line 10 years ago and has fallen even further behind the poverty line today because of inadequate increases? Is the minister not aware that today the income of a family benefits recipient with one child is about 36 per cent below the poverty line set by Statistics Canada; and if there are three children, it is about 40 per cent below the poverty line set by Statistics Canada? Is the government prepared to undertake to bring the income of family benefits recipients up to the poverty line and then to ensure there is an increase in family benefits every year geared to the cost of living?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Perhaps I could put the last part of the honourable member’s question in some perspective. Then he might like to respond further.

If he is referring to the most recent requests that have been made publicly by the Family Benefits Work Group, with which I have met a couple of times in the last several months -- if he is looking at their requests alone, at the present time the cost on an annual basis of introducing those changes, according to the most accurate calculations that my staff have been able to do at this point, would involve about $1.1 billion a year in increased costs to my ministry. He has to look at that in the context of the total budget of my ministry, which is about $1.5 billion.

I ask the member to consider what he is requesting me to make a commitment to do in the context of how realistic it is. With the support of my colleagues on this side of the House, I will continue -- as I have done -- to try to make the appropriate improvements as we can, as the resources are available, but the kinds of demands being made are simply impossible to attain, and the member should understand that.

Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, how does the Minister of Community and Social Services rationalize the situation in which a mother with two children is receiving $533 and has to pay up to $300 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, when subsidized housing rolls are six months to two years behind? How does he rationalize that payment for these people, in seeking living accommodation alone, to say nothing of food and clothing?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what the honourable member means when he asks how I rationalize it. He cited a number of different facts that I am not sure are capable of rationalization.

The reality of the situation in our society today is that we have to try to deal with the difficulties we face as we can and as resources are available. I do not think there is any need, for example, to rationalize intellectually what the honourable member has raised.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, if the minister cannot rationalize the question raised by the honourable member, can the minister explain why it is, as we have said many times, whenever there is an increase in the Canada Pension Plan disability allowance he takes that money away from the people? In Ontario, a person who is disabled because of medical reasons now gets, with the increase, $314 a month.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member opposite and I, and some of his colleagues, have exchanged views on this question a number of times. I will try to be brief but, once again, I will try to make two points.

First of all, as has been explained innumerable times to the honourable member, that is not a discretionary matter with the province. It is part of the requirement under the Canada Assistance Plan in terms of the requirement to take into consideration --

Mr. Laughren: Not true. The minister can change.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The other alternative, of course, is that the province can lose cost sharing. The province has the option of losing cost sharing on those increases.

The second point, for which I think there is a justification, and I don’t wish to say that it does not create some misunderstandings and difficulties, is that we don’t happen -- I don’t happen; I hadn’t better label everybody with my opinion -- I don’t happen to support the idea of a two-tier discriminatory system of income support.

What the New Democratic Party is advocating --

Mr. Martel: Is a decent standard of living for people.

Hon. Mr. Norton: We all agree with that. But what they are advocating in the New Democratic Party caucus is simply that those with higher levels of income from secondary sources should get the same benefits as those who are in greater need because they don’t have a secondary source of income. They are advocating a discriminatory system that would be harmful to those in greatest need. I ask them to stop and think about it. It is a sexy issue for the NDP, because it seems they can confuse people, they can confuse the perception; but if they sit down and be honest with themselves, they will see they are advocating a discriminatory system, and I don’t support it.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if the minister wants to talk about discrimination, $452 for --

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Treasurer, arising out of his statement, which we welcomed, about interest rate relief to farmers. That was promised in the budget, and now is a promise which apparently is going to be fulfilled.

Hon. Mr. Davis: We always do.

Mr. Cassidy: We will see about that.

2:40 p.m.

I would like to ask the Treasurer, now that the government has pledged to provide $25 million in interest rate assistance for farmers who are affected by high interest rates as they come to the cost of their planting and so on this spring, can he assure the House that Ontario will have a program at least that generous for home owners who are also affected by the increase in interest rates when they renegotiate their mortgages? Will he also assure the House that the assistance will be directed primarily to families with incomes of under $25,000 a year?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I should start my answer by giving the member one piece of good news. The central bank rate dropped 1.23 per cent today. That shows that letters from me to the federal Minister of Finance do get results. I am now about to write him some more letters.

Following what the member alleged to be his advice, and these days we are pleased to say it was --


Hon. F. S. Miller: I have been told to withdraw that.

We are making good progress with our study of the interest rate problem and, I have to say, continuing the kind of quiet negotiations with other ministers and the federal government that I hope will get results. We could take a public posture and try to make a lot of noise about it or blame them. When we are looking for solutions, I think we are better to keep the work going as well as we are, hoping that the kind of approach suggested -- that is, help to the needy for mortgage interest, for those people who are going to lose their homes -- can become a practical reality.

Mr. Cassidy: The Treasurer says the government is acting in the hope that the plan can become a practical reality. Can he tell the House when we can expect an announcement by the government with regard to interest rate relief for home owners; and can he assure the House that people who are being forced to pay more than 25 or 30 per cent of their income in mortgage payments because of the high interest rate will be provided with relief if they are on modest incomes?

Hon. F. S. Miller: That’s exactly what the study is all about. My guesstimates were that the middle of May would be about the time the work would be done. I know it is coming along quite well. I know that I will be involved with staff within the next day or two on the progress of that study. I trust it will come in roughly on schedule. I trust also that the promise made in the federal budget that wasn’t a budget, but said there would be help for people who had extreme conditions, will also be honoured by them. I would ask the member to give us the time to negotiate, as we are doing.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, given the fact that we are all very happy about interest rates coming down, probably a little faster than anticipated, and granted that they will probably continue to come down, is the Treasurer prepared to consider in this great paper of options he is going to prepare and submit to this Legislature, and which I hope will get the support of his friends to my left, the hardship of those people who have suffered, principally in the last two or three months? Those are going to become the forgotten people in this great interest rate fight.

I am hoping, as is the minister, that there will not be a problem two months from now, but we must do something to assist those people who have already been harmed very substantially. Is he looking at that problem and is he going to include it in his great study of options?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Obviously we would hope so, Mr. Speaker. I am told of a number of mortgages entered into in the last while have featured (a) shorter terms and (b) more rights to opt out without penalties. Those may apply to some of the people who have had the worst sets of conditions. We are looking at as many of the factors as we can in an attempt to get a full picture of the problem.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, when the Treasurer is proposing the plan, and when he finally brings it forth, will he assure us that to get the maximum benefit to the people who need it most, the program will provide assistance to people whose mortgage payments, including taxes and interest, will be in excess of 30 per cent, and will not be a program such as the Liberal Party proposed, which would provide assistance to people earning almost $40,000 a year?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, until we decide that there is a program and until we set the parameters, obviously I would be foolish to make promises. I have to say that kind of barrier is one we have been considering as realistic.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Treasurer regarding the announcement on the interest relief program for farmers.

Since the Treasurer and the Minister of Agriculture and Food have adopted the Ontario Liberal Party proposal almost in its entirety, why did they not see the merit in making the maximum amount of borrowed capital on which the subsidy is payable $100,000 instead of $50,000, and why did they not pledge $30 million to the program instead of $25 million, as was proposed by the Liberal Party?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in view of the editorial comment, if one uses a shotgun one is bound to hit the target once in a while.

Mr. Kerrio: Yours is a double barrel.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Now you are getting personal.

Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the supplementaries and the editorializing.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, for a party that has lectured this government for overspending for years, I find that an interesting solution.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I am really speaking on behalf of the farmers in Riverdale. By the way, has the Treasurer noticed the unseemly haste with which the banks are dropping the mortgage rate these days?

I have often heard the Treasurer indicate that the ratio between federal assistance and provincial assistance is two to one. Is he going to ask the federal government not only to pick up an equal three percentage points, but also to pick up about nine percentage points so that the floor for farmers under the assistance program will be about nine per cent on interest charge?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, as is our wont in this government, we had some time to talk to the farmers, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, because we felt we should get some practical advice from them. We understand that organization has made a presentation to the federal government. We endorse that presentation to the federal government. It asks for assistance, and I think it is best at this point to let the federal government make its assessment of what it considers to be an adequate floor level for interest assistance to farmers. We certainly hope it will assist also.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, in our discussions and questions today we have asked about home owners and farmers. As a supplementary, do we have the Treasurer’s firm commitment here that when he publishes this great study of options -- probably after the problem goes away -- he will also deal in a significant way with the problems of small businessmen? The Treasurer knows they are dropping like flies because of the problems in the economy today, compounded by the high interest rates.

Will he come up with a specific program -- and he is welcome to borrow ours if he would like to, because it would help -- and will he do it and do it fast?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member read the budget. One thing that was stated in most criticisms -- in other words, reviews, because no one could criticize it; these were critical reviews of my budget -- was that the biggest winners in the budget were the small business people and the senior citizens, properly. The budget contained $50 million of income tax forgiveness and capital tax forgiveness. That is, in my mind better than arranging loans in the bank. We gave them their money back. Surely that is the best way to help the small businessmen.

2:50 p.m.

Second, to give the federal government its due, I think a move that is still grossly misunderstood and under-rated is the income debenture bond for the small business that is incorporated. I think it has tremendous potential to cut interest costs virtually in half for incorporated farmers and incorporated small businessmen, as soon as the federal government introduces this legislation. I have written another letter urging that the legislation be enacted, and I hope it has the same kind of success as my other one to the Minister of Finance.

Mr. Peterson: They take you about as seriously as --

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh, they do.

I told the minister to be like Ontario and introduce the bills the night of the budget. I said to let the world see them so that knowing they will be passed by a majority government, that interest assistance can be available now for the small business people in Canada who so badly need it. Every day that government delays that, it is saving tax money. The member knows that. Our government is losing tax money on it too, but we are prepared to lose it. We asked them to hurry up the introduction of that legislation. The member should ask them too.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, could I put a question to the Premier? Is the Premier aware that at 1:30 this afternoon Inco Metals Limited announced the closing of its iron ore recovery plant in Sudbury? Is the Premier further aware that, at the same time we are closing out iron ore production facilities of Caland Mines, Steep Rock and National Steel and now Inco, 45 per cent of our iron ore needs are being imported from the United States? How long can the Premier sit on his apathy and watch the iron ore production facilities go down the drain?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the record will show rather conclusively that the Premier sits on his apathy far less than does the member for Sudbury. But I would not want to make that as a totally objective statement.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I am glad to know the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) has a modest sense of humour and can find a way to laugh. If I can bring a little joy into the life of the member for Carleton East, then I think I have accomplished a great deal in the course of the day. I am delighted to hear it.

I was not aware of that situation at Inco. I will look into it for the honourable member, and either I or somebody, if we have an opportunity tomorrow morning, will give him a point of view with whatever information we have.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, is the Premier aware that Canadian steel companies have invested in iron ore mines in the United States and are committed to purchasing a proportion of the iron ore from those mines based on the investment they have in them? Does the Premier think that is proper? Is he prepared to sit idly by while our production capacity is idle here and we purchase iron ore from the United States?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think we had this discussion as it related to Caland and one or two other situations. In those discussions, the government made it quite clear we would much prefer the utilization of the domestic resource whether it is for iron ore production or anything else. But I think it was also made abundantly clear that there are some types of ore that are more suitable than others. I am not sure --

Mr. Foulds: That’s not true. You swallowed that line, hook, line and sinker, without examining the facts.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to say to the member for Port Arthur that if anybody swallows lines and sinkers with the hook, he does it with great regularity. He has done it ever since he became involved in political life. If that had not been the case, he would not be a member of the party to which he bears allegiance. He had to, to have swallowed that. The member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) nearly did not. He was nearly a Tory at one stage in his history, and he made that fundamental error, for which he has been very unhappy ever since.

Mr. Renwick: Wait a minute. My colleague knows an endangered species when he sees one.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I see.

Mr. Speaker: Back to the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, back to the question, Mr. Speaker.

I said to the member who asked the question about Inco that I will look into that and have a report for the members of the House.


Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Does the minister recognize the need to make the Social Assistance Review Board a more openly democratic agency than it is now, by permitting transcripts to be taken at the hearings, by informing applicants of their rights, such as the right to legal aid, as well as continuing, until a decision is given, any previously approved benefits? Those are areas that I would like the honourable minister to comment on in relation to the Social Assistance Review Board.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly under the impression that on the points the honourable member cites, the Social Assistance Review Board is, as he uses the word, democratic. I would say it is quite democratic in its approach to dealing with appeals on decisions of persons in my ministry.


Hon. Mr. Norton: I hope the day will never come when being a Tory renders one ineligible for such a responsibility in our society, since the Tories have in their ranks some of the most capable people in this province.

However, coming back to the question the honourable member asked, he was very careful not to attempt to cast any aspersions upon the political affiliations or lack thereof of any members on the board.

With respect to the information that the member suggests be made available to the people, as I understand it, anyone who has a decision rendered, especially a negative decision, by anyone in my ministry, is advised of his or her rights to appeal to the board. He or she is given reasons for the decision by the staff of my ministry: that is required of them at the present time. I am not sure whether they are specifically advised of their right to appeal for legal aid or whatever. I will check into that and see.

The board does a very good job of attempting to be accessible to people. Generally speaking, its proceedings are informal. It is true that in some of the more complicated cases recently, especially relating to learning disabilities, with the involvement of legal counsel, there is a risk of the board’s proceedings becoming more formalized. I hope that does not become characteristic of all its proceedings, because it was intended originally to be something that would not be intimidating to an individual who had an appeal to bring to its attention.

The board travels in panels throughout Ontario to make it unnecessary for citizens to travel to Toronto. In fact, in terms of trying to be accessible they have gone so far as to have held hearings in people’s living rooms when they were unable to move from their home to attend before the board in any public forum.

I think, on the whole, the board is trying to be what the honourable member suggests is a democratic, accessible agency. If he has any specific recommendations that he would like me to consider, I would welcome them. I cannot guarantee that I could implement them all.

We discussed the question of transcripts last year in estimates, as I recall. Given the number of hearings and the length of hearings, if we were required to prepare transcripts of every hearing, it would be a very costly matter, considering the kind of checks that would have to be made on the personnel to make sure there was a guarantee of accuracy in the reporting that did take place.

Mr. Speaker: The minister seems to be going on unnecessarily.

Hon. Mr. Norton: In cases that appear to be complex, we provide for transcripts to be made at present.

Mr. Speaker: I thought the answer was very comprehensive.

Mr. Blundy: In view of the fact that the time from initiation until a decision is handed down may be anywhere from four weeks to eight weeks, is the minister considering ensuring that previously approved benefits will be carried through until the final decision time?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, that is within the discretion of the board now.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, as you are aware, there are a number of citizens in your gallery who are here through your good offices, having come down out of concern with respect to the Three Trilliums Community Place, and I am pleased that they are meeting with the minister later this afternoon.

3 p.m.

My question is to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. In view of her involvement in the past with independent community arrangements for the physically handicapped, and in view of her previous commitment to 100 per cent provincial funding, may I ask the minister to take the issue of 100 per cent provincial funding back to her committee and to come up with a solution, based on 100 per cent funding, that will get this program back on the rails in time to save the Three Trilliums Community Place project?

Mr. Speaker: I would like to clear up something that the member for Bellwoods said. He indicated that our guests were here through my good offices; they were accommodated by the Office of the Speaker.

Mr. McClellan: I don’t want to be unclear. My reference, Mr. Speaker, was to your being so kind as to provide the space in the gallery and to arrange for the staff to assist them in entering the gallery.

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member is aware of this government’s commitment to provide home support services community living for all of those who require it.

In Metropolitan Toronto we already have programs under way, and we are hoping we will be able to work out the details with Metropolitan Toronto so that we can be assured that all of those within our midst who are handicapped and who can benefit from this kind of living will be given the opportunity to do so.

Mr. McClellan: Surely the minister agrees that it is inappropriate to charge a municipal share for these kinds of services when no municipal share is charged with respect to housing or support services provided for the developmentally handicapped, and no municipal share is charged -- I believe I am correct -- for group home programs. Why should she be insisting on a municipal share in this program?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: I am sure the honourable member knows this is a new direction we are going in. We believe very much that the local municipality has a share to pay in the development of these kinds of accommodations, and it is something we have been discussing with the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto.

We are looking very carefully at what we can do to come to some kind of agreement so that the people we are trying to accommodate will not be caught and will benefit from this kind of accommodation. We are very anxious to see that they are housed in a manner we think is appropriate for them.

Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, is the minister not aware that by taking this approach she is encouraging the very thing which she spoke of with such disappointment just the other day? There will be no such places if in some areas the municipality has to pick up its share. Does she not understand that?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, what I do understand is that municipalities have a responsibility to help provide for the citizens who live in their community. This is what we are attempting to persuade them to do, to accept that responsibility.


Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health.

Is the minister aware of statements attributed to the recently retired investigator for the Ontario Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers, a certain Mr. George Adamson, in an article that appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail of March 20? In that article, the board’s only full-time inspector at that time was quoted as saying that the present Ophthalmic Dispensers Act is simply not working in this province; that a great many Ontario buyers of eyeglasses are being served by unlicensed student opticians, cosmeticians and even receptionists; that a good lawyer could drive a “truckload of high-fashion spectacle frames through the loopholes in the present act”; and that the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers and its officials have become the laughingstock of the business?

Is the minister aware of those comments? If he is, what, if any, comments does he have by way of assurance for the people of Ontario who are buying these services?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of those comments in that article. As a matter of fact, I saw Mr. Adamson on Friday evening at a reception at the annual meeting of the Ontario Association of Dispensing Opticians. There was an opportunity there for him to pass on those remarks, but he did not.

I hope that by now the member has received the letter, which I asked to be distributed to all members of the House, which was signed by all members of the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers and which was sent to the Toronto Globe and Mail on March 27 in answer to several articles which it published. The letter very clearly refutes the allegations. Unfortunately, the Globe and Mail has not seen fit to publish it.

Mr. Conway: I have asked the minister a question, and I want him to deal with what I believe to be very serious charges. Will he undertake to pursue this with Mr. Adamson, a man who has had a very long and distinguished experience in this particular sector, to see whether it is true that the board and its officials have become the laughingstock of the business? Is it the case that a good lawyer could drive a truckload of high-fashioned spectacle frames through the current act? Is it a fact that many Ontarians are buying eyeglasses from unlicensed student opticians, cosmeticians and receptionists? Will he make an investigation to assure us that the board’s recently retired investigator, a man who said he retired in absolute frustration, does not speak for the government and that this horrendous set of circumstances is not the case? If it is the case, can he assure us he and his government will do something about it?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First, it is my understanding that at the plenary session of the association meeting last weekend a vote of confidence was passed in the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers. Second, I invite the member to look at the legislation and realize that the role of the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers is not to regulate the sale of eyeglasses. The legislation gives it the responsibility to oversee the professional activities of the individuals.

Third, I would say to the member -- and perhaps he would go back to some of the individuals, such as Mr. Adamson, on whom he relied for his information -- that the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers several months ago transmitted to me -- and we have since met to discuss them -- some proposed new regulations. One of these deals with the question of maintaining what I think is called a register of student opticians in order, at the board’s initiative, to address some problems it sees in this field. I think the Board of Ophthalmic Dispensers has the matter well in hand.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is the minister aware of the Caledon Village condominium development in North York which has been in the news recently? It has been plagued by poor building standards, horrendous property management difficulties, intricate litigation, which even involves the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and a high rate of absentee owners. Has he been approached by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) to assist with his investigation of the matter, as recently requested by a unanimous resolution of the North York council which stated a full and judicial inquiry may be warranted?

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not been approached.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: And the minister is not aware of it?

Hon. Ms. Drea: I understood the question was had I been approached by the Attorney General on a request to the Attorney General. The answer is no. I am aware of a great number of things.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: With great respect, I do not want to know all the prurient details of those other things. What I am interested in is this particular development and the minister’s knowledge of it.

As a recent North York building department report on that complex identified 120 major deficiencies in the building, including major structural problems which may very well have enormous ramifications for the condominium owners who are already facing difficulties trying to sell their properties because of the reputation of the building, does the minister believe that the Condominium Act will provide adequate coverage for those owners should there be major difficulties in keeping up those buildings?

3:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in terms of any building deficiencies, it is very interesting that North York has identified them because, if my memory serves me correctly, at the time that structure was put up, it was North York that was charged with the obligation to make sure there were not building deficiencies.

From day one, and I cannot recall the exact number of years, there have been enormous difficulties in that particular project. It has been looked at from time to time on the basis of internal disputes by the management et cetera. I think the best service I can do for the honourable member is to table, by Monday, a complete history of all that has gone on in that particular structure, rather than to give a piecemeal reply to him.


Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I rise on what I believe is a question of order. Roughly a week ago, I asked you to try to discover, if you could, when I would receive an answer to a question which was tabled many weeks ago and for which, for the last two and a half weeks at least, there has been a special notation in the orders of the day, at the bottom. It says that for my inquiry of the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) concerning whether and when he would table the report of his ministry’s committee of review for the Badgley commission report on abortion, the approximate date the information would be available is April 30, 1980. Have you been able to discover what will happen to this question?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think I can help you in that regard.

First, I am glad the honourable member has noted that we did say we would reply on or about April 30. Due to a typing error in the Order Paper, I think she was under the impression last week it was April 18, and at that point felt it was several weeks late.

Second, that answer has been signed and should be tabled today or tomorrow.



Mr. Philip, from the standing administration of justice committee, presented the following report and moved its adoption.

Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:

Bill Pr2, An Act to revive Christian Reformed Church of Waillaceburg;

Bill Pr9, An Act to revive John Madronich Limited;

Your committee recommends that the fees, less the cost of printing, be remitted on Bill Pr2, An Act to revive Christian Reform Church of Wallaceburg.

Report adopted.



Mr. Stong moved first reading of Bill 68, An Act to protect the Reputation of Innocent Persons from Untimely Publicity.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this reintroduced bill is to protect persons who have been charged with an offence from adverse publicity until such time as the court begins to hear evidence in the case or the person enters a plea of guilty to the offence.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 136, 137 and 138 standing on the Notice Paper.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the constitutional resolution.

[Translation from Ukrainian]

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, I wish to start my part in this debate on the future of Canada in the Ukrainian language. The reason I do this is to notify the people involved in this great debate that there are other than francophones and anglophones living in Canada, and although the others have perhaps been here longer, that should not preclude me or my other ethnic colleagues from making major contributions to the discussions.

I wish to point out that each and every one of us has only one lifetime to give to this country. My parents, the same as parents of thousands of other Ukrainians, worked and struggled all their lives to create a better existence for themselves and their children in this country we call Canada.

Because of our contributions and because to us Canada is also our country, we find it difficult not to participate in this great debate, for what is being discussed is the future of Canada -- and this means not only the future of English Canada or French Canada, but also the future of millions of other Canadians who are not French or English.

I want to say that nobody gave us anything; what we have, we earned. Our parents worked in the lumber camps, the mines, the railways, the factories and the farms in this land. They worked under the most adverse conditions, with no advantages, no understanding of what was happening, suffering in cold, in heat and quite often in hunger. We paid the price to this country; we helped it to grow and we are prepared to work to ensure it continues to grow and prosper.

[End of translation]

Mr. Speaker, I wish to continue my speech in the language I first heard in primary school, because in the area where I lived in Saskatchewan in my youth there were no English-speaking people around. There were Poles, Swedes, Ukrainians and a lot of Doukhobors.

Growing up among that mixture, I was able to learn and understand Polish and Russian as well as Ukrainian, which was my parents’ native tongue, although when they came to Canada from Poland the area they left was under Polish control. It has since reverted to Russian control.

As a youth I had all the advantages. I was born in a dugout near a place called Stenen, Saskatchewan. Due to the fact that during that time my family couldn’t afford a calendar, or didn’t merit a calendar, there is some doubt as to the date I was born. My birth certificate says it happened on November 1. My mother says it happened on October 14. I am inclined to believe my mother. In order not to sort of miss out, I celebrate both days for my birthday.

I want to point out that there are some advantages to poverty. Being poor, we had the opportunity to avail ourselves of the public housing that was available at that time. We eventually got it. In this case it was a large grain bin which was abandoned by the Doukhobors. They had a collective farm in the area where we moved to later, near a place called Arran and not far from a place in Manitoba called Benito. We lived in one bin, and my uncle took up residence in another bin. It was very cheap, but it didn’t have too many services. There was no light, no heat, no running water; in fact, there weren’t any windows in it, but if you opened the door you could look out.

3:20 p.m.

It wasn’t an easy existence. Sometimes when I think of the horror stories of living in those areas, and particularly the medical care we got -- it was provided by a local veterinarian who lived a few miles down the road, and he treated with impartiality the animals and the people -- I can understand why the people in Saskatchewan, particularly the ethnics, voted for medicare when it came and for hospitalization.

When the Premier of Ontario (Mr. Davis) talks about “the Canada I know,” I want to say that the Canada he knows is not the Canada I know. That is something be has to recognize, not only because it is necessary, but also because our perspectives on the Canada we live in are different.

My schooling is an example. I had a Polish teacher originally, and then a Doukhobor lady taught us in a clapboard school. We had no books. We had one scribbler. We had a nice ethnic mix. We had even some French people there. But there were no English.

The only time I started realizing there was something quite different about me as a Canadian, or that I wasn’t really a Canadian, was when the Doukhobors started telling us that we were recent immigrants and we really didn’t rate in this country. When the Doukhobors tell you that you are not quite a Canadian, later on in life you start thinking about it. They were the superior group.

We lived in a society at that time where we actually did consort with the elite. I remember when Bronfman and Peter (The Lordly) Verigin, who was the spiritual leader of the Doukhobors, were involved in a joint-venture enterprise called bootlegging in that area, and they made use of one of the bins in that area. We were on the periphery. We know there were other things happening in the world, but we really didn’t know what it was all about.

The family eventually squatted on another farm. We purchased it for $5 down and something like 10 cents an acre. We still possess it. It was the kind of life where your father disappeared during the winter; he went to work in the bush camp. You worked on the farm, and you did everything that was possible. You helped your mother, you looked after the cows and the horses and the pigs and everything else, and you tried to make ends meet and tried to provide food.

You remember the war starting in Europe -- your parents talking about relatives they had. You realized they were in occupied territory. You don’t know; you lose track. To an individual like myself the fact that you had relatives was rather an indifferent thing. You didn’t know about relatives, because you had never met them. You didn’t know what they were. You hadn’t talked to them. You had only heard about them. When the war was over you found out that a dozen or so of them had been killed or had died in battle.

You had no sense of future. You had no sense of citizenship. You had no sense of really being able to do anything about the society you lived in. The only connection you could make was the CBC. They finally relented during the war years; they used to put on a half-hour program -- I think it was called Songs of My People or something of that nature -- and we used to listen to that. The fact that they recognized there were other people in Canada besides French and English was rather gratifying or reassuring, but my parents used to laugh at some of these people who used to try to sing the songs in the ethnic languages. They mutilated it and twisted it and everything else.

I joined the armed forces, more out of a sense of adventure, but also because when you finished high school there was no hope of going to university. You never thought about it, because there was no way you could afford it; so you joined the armed forces as an escape. I joined the navy, where I found that most of the officers seemed to be more British than the British. They used to walk around with handkerchiefs stuck in their sleeves. It was there that somehow I got the feeling that because I was an ethnic I was a lesser human being.

What sticks in my mind was sitting in the officers’ wardroom where I had to answer the telephone. There was a coffee urn across the way, and I went over to get a coffee. Some officer with a British accent -- who probably was from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan -- came over and said, “You put that coffee down; it doesn’t belong to you.” He asked me my name first, incidentally. He asked me my name first, and then he told me to put the coffee down because it didn’t belong to me. I put the coffee clown and went back to discuss it with the other fellows. They said, “The English chaps didn’t mind that the coffee was -- ” They were allowed, and I wasn’t.

Anyway, there were occasions afterwards when I used to work in the kitchen in the wardroom at HMCS Naden, and at that time I thought perhaps one should strike back. It was a nice kitchen, but you would see the odd cockroach and, if you prepared the food for an officer, you made sure that you tucked in a dead cockroach in the food. It was an effort; it was my way of getting back at some of the things.

In the service, you saw people from other parts of Canada. At the odd time you would have a rumble in the barracks -- this was after I switched to the air force -- and it generally ended up with the French and ethnics against the Anglos. So we developed a very close relationship which I have continued all my life.

I flew all over the world. I also flew all over Canada. We were up north doing various searches. We were doing resupply in places like Mould Bay, Isachsen, Resolute, Alert and Snag. Some of these places now are more or less everyday places, but at that time that was the frontier. You talk about Nahanni Valley or Headless Valley, or Norman Wells. These were the places that were almost your home. You got a sense of the country. You got a feeling for this kind of country, that this was your land even though you almost found it difficult to belong to it or difficult to recognize you were a Canadian because nobody in Canada at that time would acknowledge the fact there was such a thing as a Canadian, that this was Canada, that you were part of this country and so on.

We would go overseas. We would go to London -- I was there during the Coronation -- and various other places and we would hang out in places like the Chez Moi in Paris and in Greece and Turkey. I was in Pakistan, India, Hanoi and so on. We would come back to Canada and would start to appreciate this land. Although those other areas were exciting and were great to visit, it was always great to come home and know that this was where we belonged, this was where our roots were. As a Ukrainian, in the middle of a cold war, living in Canada with absolutely no knowledge about one’s background, one had a country but, at the same time, didn’t really have a country. One didn’t have any roots and tried to establish roots in this country.

This was a matter that was discussed to a great extent in the services, between the junior officers especially, and particularly the junior officers who were ethnic, who were not Anglo. The feeling there was very positive. We felt that somehow the Anglos in this country were not very serious about the country; they did not have the feeling about the country that we had. Somehow, we sort of looked to them to provide the leadership. In all our hassles through the world -- I was bounced out of Iceland twice and told not to come back ever again. The reason was that I refused to bow to American authority. The military worked very closely with the Americans, and our people were enthralled with them; they had the bigger toys, the bigger aeroplanes and the latest gadgets, and our boys really loved them. But whenever we got into a situation where we were Canadians and they were Americans and they had no authority over us, we found that our officers quite often would just knuckle down and accept what some American officer, who had no authority over them, would tell them to do. They would do it. I didn’t, and I used to get into trouble.

I remember we once took a group of officers out to Maxwell Air Force Base. These were senior officers going on staff training. The Americans always imported officers. It’s the way they keep the people down in Latin America just as they make sure they get rid of their dissidents, by shooting them. The Americans laid on a pretty good reception. There was a group of Latin American officers and a group of Canadian officers, and when they played “0 Canada,” our fellows stood around, hands in their pockets, slouched over. Even the regulations stated one stood to attention and saluted when “0 Canada” was played. Our officers didn’t. I must admit, that night in the officers’ club at Maxwell Air Force Base -- I was on the way out of the air force at that time I made that decision -- they received quite a lecture from one Flight Lieutenant Mac Makarchuk on the benefits of Canada and the benefits they should have some concern about in this country.

3:30 p.m.

I am proud to be a member of the New Democratic Party, because we and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation have managed to build in Canada what I consider to be a reasonable and humane society, particularly when compared with the United States. We have introduced social measures that help to diffuse the frustrations, desperations, et cetera, which eventually break out in violence, as they do in the United States. Our cities are safe and livable; and it is not, as some people want us to believe, because we have a great police force, even though we have a great police force, but because we have taken those social measures to diffuse that alienation, hatred and frustration. I am grateful that movement started in Saskatchewan, and I am grateful the federal government decided they had to do something -- they were forced into that situation.

Despite the fact we feel we have a reasonable and humane society, I want to caution that the barbarians are always at the gate trying to dismantle the programs we have in effect. This is no time to relax. The crux of the matter is that the federal government has to organize a system that will ensure the hopes, the aspirations, the security, et cetera, are available to the people of Quebec in the same way they are available to the people of Ontario or in any other part of this country.

When I cannot pay a mortgage in Ontario, I have no choice if I cannot refinance it. In Quebec, if a man cannot refinance his mortgage, he can probably opt for separatism. Why not? What has he got to lose? Why shouldn’t he? If a man is unemployed in Ontario he can argue, he can change governments, he can do certain things. In Quebec, he can heed the call to separate: “We will get you jobs.” Sometimes I wonder. How long was the matter of auto industry jobs raised in this House and in the federal House before any government decided to speak on it? It is only recently they thought to speak on it. I have a feeling Levesque would have spoken on it sooner if he had any control over it.

I want to point out to my French compatriots in Quebec that the corporate elite which exploits the workers in Ontario or in other parts of Canada also exploits them in Quebec. It is the same group. It is the same corporate ripoff artists we have to deal with on both sides. We have to recognize among all of us that we have something in common, an identity of interest.

Let us look at some of the things we have done to Quebec. Under the War Measures Act, we started a war on our own people. We stand here and talk about freedom of association and freedom of speech. How would the members like to have been in Quebec or Montreal on those nights when they came to people’s doors in the middle of the night and hauled them away? I can understand the seeds of resentment planted in that kind of country and why some of the people there are upset.

I do not intend to stop fighting. I do not want out. I want in, and I am going to remain in. Being in, we can fight the battles of this country much better together than we could if we separated. I am not happy to accept the things we have, but I see solutions are there and possible.

I ask my French friends to join with us, to be with us, because we realize the hopes and aspirations of French Canadians are very similar in many cases to the hopes and aspirations of some of the ethnic groups who have been kicked around as much as they have. They also have their hopes and aspirations, the same hopes and aspirations of all Canadians. Together we will win and together we will build a better country. Otherwise, we may have to join the United States of America.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate very much the opportunity to participate in this vitally important debate in the Legislature this afternoon. I can think of no issue that is more important to us in this Legislature and to all of the people in Ontario than the one that pertains to the very survival of our nation as we know it today. It is quite appropriate, therefore, that we have seen fit as a Legislature to suspend the normal House business for this week and to engage in debate on this vitally important issue.

I have listened with interest to the speeches made by many of my colleagues in the House over the past three and a half days. I must say I have been impressed to learn that many of my colleagues have particular business or personal associations, or even kinships, with the Canadian people who live in Quebec. I have been most impressed with the fact that so many of our colleagues in the Legislature have been able to converse totally or in part in the French language during this debate, and rightfully so.

I have to be quite candid this afternoon and say that I am not able to boast of these personal associations or accomplishments. I would not dare torture this Legislature by endeavouring to impose, even in a token way, my high school French on the members of the Legislature this afternoon. But I must point out, and I cannot stress this too strongly, that even though I may not have any of these particular associations and kinships, I am no less concerned than the other members of the Legislature who have these attributes. I am no less concerned with the issue of the Quebec referendum and the consequences that are associated with this vitally important debate and decision that is going to be made later this month in Quebec.

I am no less anxious that there be an equitable solution found for the people of all of Canada to ensure that we all can live our lives in this fine nation in which there is such diversity within our economy, within our cultures and within our geography. I would challenge anyone, therefore, to suggest that I am any less concerned about this vitally important issue. It seems to me that the heart of this issue is to find a solution to preserve and accentuate the unique cultural and regional differences within Confederation.

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss briefly the political structure of Canada, and in particular to consider the constitution as it has been in the past, as it is in the present and what it will be in the future. To discuss our constitution, we must have an understanding of the nature of the federated state of Canada. I don’t think there is a finer definition of federation around than the one that was enunciated in the Pepin-Robarts Task Force on Canadian Unity. In that report we have a definition of federation as follows:

“A federation has been defined as a form of political organization by which common desires for unity and diversity within a society are accommodated by the establishment of a single political system within which central and provincial governments each exercise autonomous constitutional authority so that neither order of government is legally or politically subordinate to the other.”

3:40 p.m.

I feel there are two particularly important clauses in that definition that I would like to dwell upon for a few moments.

First, there is the assertion that there is a need for common desires, for unity and diversity. As a member of the Legislature who represents an urban riding in the fourth largest city in Canada, the city of North York, I have had the opportunity to experience at first hand the meaning of unity and diversity.

Outside of the inner Metropolitan Toronto core itself, I cannot think of any urban riding within the province that is more urban and cosmopolitan. There are, I believe, more nationalities, more cultures and more languages represented in the riding of Oriole than one would find in virtually any other ridings within the province. I find this particularly stimulating, and a challenge to me, to be able to represent the many cultures in the riding.

Over and above the two main cultures, the French and English Canadians -- and there are many of us who, of course, represent the backbone of Oriole riding -- there are these many other cultures with which I have become associated as a representative for the riding.

I am pleased to know that the French-Canadian community within our riding has its own facilities, such as the Etienne Brule high school in the community and the Ecole Jeanne Lajoie public school, which the students can attend and conduct their classes totally in the French language. I am pleased to have within the area one of the French churches of Metropolitan Toronto, the St. Louis de France church. I have the privilege of knowing many of the parishioners on a firsthand basis.

From this personal involvement, working with the many different cultures, our own two basic ones and the many others that have come to Canada and are contributing to the very fabric of our nationality and culture, I have learned to understand that we can have diversity within unity. In fact, diversity can contribute to our unity. This can be borne out when I refer to some comments made by my colleague the member for York West (Mr. Leluk) in 1978 when he was one of the keynote speakers in the proceedings of a multicultural conference on Canadian unity held in Toronto. At that time he made the observation that multiculturalism means that ethnocultural communities work together, even though these communities are not working to resolve their differences but to preserve them. He pointed out that the dedication of the different cultures to their own way of life has imparted a deep understanding of the cultural aspirations of other groups. It was in this way that he felt the nation’s ethnocultural communities would bind the nation together and help to preserve its unity.

The other clause in the definition of federation that I find of great importance is the one that states “neither order of government is legally or politically subordinate to the other.”

I have had a unique opportunity to understand how the federated system of government works. I have experienced it on a personal and more intimate basis, having served as an elected official at the local level within the Metropolitan Toronto corporation, which in itself is a federated state.

We have six local governments within the Metropolitan Toronto corporation. There is a diversity of powers, distributed between the local governments and the senior level of government, which appears to make the system work well by means of a series of checks and balances. Each level of government knows its responsibilities, its limitations and its obligations.

As one who served at an earlier point in time as an elected representative of what is now the city of North York, and as one who served on the Metropolitan Toronto council, I can see how the diversification of interests between the two levels of government can work well.

I know from that experience there has to be give and take; there has to be an appropriate form of checks and balances. This has existed and worked well within the Metropolitan Toronto corporation. In fact, it works so well it has gained worldwide recognition. People come to Metropolitan Toronto from all corners of the world to study our Metro federated system.

The same principle exists at the national and provincial levels. It is embodied in our constitution, the British North America Act. Many people have been critical of that legislation, feeling that it did not provide the appropriate checks and balances; that too much power was given to the federal authorities; that they did not recognize clearly enough the cultural differences within our nation. I suggest that the people who fashioned our constitution in the 1800s were indeed men of vision.

I believe the British North America Act is a finely honed and excellent piece of legislation that has kept our country together for in excess of 100 years. While amendments have been made to that constitution, one has to give credit to those men, our forefathers, who were able to conceive such a working arrangement, one that has been able to continue down to this very day.

They did not envision, however, some of the technological and cultural changes that would occur in our country. Because of that, they could not possibly have built into the constitution changes that we feel now are necessary in this second century of Canada’s life.

The fact that the British North America Act did spell out specifically certain powers of the provinces, as well as those of the federal authority, and gave residual powers to the federal government, has left the impression with many that the federal authorities have too much power, to the detriment of the provinces. But I would point out that historically, down through the years, through our judicial system, judicial interpretation has modified considerably any powers of the federal authorities that had been considered excessive.

3:50 p.m.

For those who would suggest that no one cared about updating and refining our constitution until the recent events in Quebec, I would suggest that those people who make that assertion have not studied the history of Canada. Since 1927, efforts have been made to determine and conceive a workable formula that would permit an amendment of our constitution which would satisfy not only those in federal government but also the needs and desires of all of the provinces of this great country.

In more recent times, two proposals have been made to bring about constitutional reform. In 1964, the Fulton-Favreau formula was developed. In more recent times, we had the Victoria formula in 1971. This latter formula appears to be the one that has received the greatest support. Unfortunately, however, it still has not gained unanimous support from all provinces. Nevertheless, we must continue to work towards a refinement of and an improvement upon our constitution. Not only must we be concerned with the repatriation of our constitution -- that is, the bringing home of our constitution to Canada from the United Kingdom, whereby on our own initiative we could make those changes without the approval of the Parliament of the United Kingdom -- but also we must work to bring about changes that will give greater flexibility to the provinces, as well as the federal government, to bring an even greater balance between the responsibilities of the provincial and federal authorities.

While there has been a long search for an appropriate amending formula for our constitution, there is no question that the urgency of the matter has been no greater than it is at this particular time because of the events in recent months in Quebec.

This province stands ready to take the initiative with our other sister provinces in going back to the table to try to work out an appropriate amendment to our constitution that would give us what is necessary to meet the needs of Canada in its second century.

Not only have federal initiatives been taken in this matter, as represented by the Task Force on Canadian Unity, but also they have been taken within this province. The Ontario Advisory Committee on Confederation has been working diligently to make appropriate recommendations for change in our system. All of these different reports that have been brought forward in recent times, including the one produced by the Canadian Bar Association in 1978, have merit and are worthy of much further consideration. They have put forward proposals that have considerable merit as to the ways and means of bringing about the necessary change.

I am satisfied that the people in Canada, in Ontario and Quebec, are determined to work together to bring about a resolution of the problems and to ensure that the people of Quebec, the people everywhere in this country, are fully recognized within the Canadian constitution.

While none of us in this Legislature may be here to celebrate Canada’s bicentennial birthday, my fondest hope and ambition is that my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren will have an opportunity to celebrate that birthday in a Canada that we know today with a stronger, unified force of people than we have ever known in its history.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure and honour to participate in this historic debate at a time when our nation faces yet another crisis in Confederation. It is a crisis which threatens to divide us, not only along linguistic and ethnic lines, but also along economic and philosophical borders.

It is significant, I believe, that this debate is taking place in a provincial legislature. While parliamentary rules do not preclude members of provincial legislatures from engaging in discussions of national issues, the present preoccupation of provincial political representatives with issues and questions of a federal nature is indicative of the fact that we, as legislators in a somewhat confined jurisdiction, are no longer prepared to permit those elected to federal office to determine unilaterally the constitutional future of this country.

In Ontario, where the nation’s capital is located, where much of this country’s commerce is conducted, and where the majority of the major financial decisions have been made in the past and now, we have not experienced the same sense of alienation that has been present in other sections of the country. Yet we are aware, through the news media, and in conversations with those whose residence is outside the borders of Ontario, that a bitterness exists amongst those who have felt left out of the decision-making process at the national level. In the months and years ahead, we will have to address ourselves to overcoming those hostilities and removing that feeling of alienation.

Although we in this Legislature could deal at some length with constitutional issues which have arisen in all parts of Canada, we recognize that the timing of this debate and the wording of this resolution are profoundly influenced by the holding of a referendum in the adjacent province of Quebec. It is appropriate then that I direct my remarks this afternoon to both the people of Ontario and the people of Quebec.

There are those who contend that a oui vote in Quebec on May 20 would not necessarily signal the desire on the part of the people of Quebec to separate from Canada -- nor, indeed, should it automatically suggest that the majority of people in that province have opted for sovereignty-association, whatever that might be.

There are many supporters of the yes option who see their affirmative vote as a prod to the federal government and the other provinces to get on with the job of constitutional reform. It would be a tragic mistake, however, for these people to assume that either the Parti Quebecois or the people of the other nine provinces would view the vote in that context.

As a political organization dedicated to independence for Quebec, the Parti Quebecois would interpret a yes vote as a mandate to bring about the kind of changes designed to realize their goal of political independence. The people of the rest of Canada, by and large, would see such a result as a rejection of Canada and would harden their attitudes towards constitutional changes. Indeed, the bitterness that would follow such a vote would poison the atmosphere and federal-provincial relations for years to come, eventually creating a lack of resolve to keep this country together.

4 p.m.

Speaker after speaker in this assembly has made it abundantly clear that a no vote would not be seen as an endorsement of the status quo or a capitulation to pressure from English Canada. Rather, it would be viewed as an invitation to renewed federalism.

No nation can be fully free until all of its citizens are free. We in this country enjoy more freedoms, more rights, more privileges than the citizens of any other nation on this planet. I shall not reiterate the list of freedoms that has been extolled so eloquently and articulately by the previous participants in this debate.

These freedoms were born of a desire by mankind to have the opportunity to fulfil the human potential, to achieve personal and collective goals without the limitations of authoritarian rule. They have been maintained and guarded by a vigilant population, quick to denounce those who would abrogate them and determined to do battle with those who would remove them.

The history of the defence of freedom in this country is a source of pride to all Canadians. We are, however, slowly yielding to the limitation of our freedom of movement as it relates to the obtaining of employment. Residential requirements for construction workers have been a source of interprovincial tension, particularly in the recent dispute between our province and Quebec.

Alberta stipulates that resource development projects should give preference to that province’s workers. Newfoundland has recently enunciated a similar policy regarding employment opportunities in the new oil industry.

The freedom of Canadians to purchase recreational or agricultural land has been somewhat limited in recent years by legislation passed in several of the provinces. No longer is Canadian citizenship a sufficient criterion to exercise the freedom to purchase land anywhere in this country. Procurement practices that allow provincial governments to establish preferential treatment of goods produced within their own provinces, or of goods having a high provincial content, once again interfere in the free market process.

Any action taken by a provincial government to limit the freedom of an individual Canadian to carry on business or to make a livelihood in any part of this country diminishes the rights of all Canadians. If such restrictions exist within Confederation, one might logically assume that those restrictions would be substantially more prohibitive between two separate political entities. Both an independent Quebec and a Canada without that province would be adversely affected in this regard.

Most of the speakers in this debate have alluded to a personal experience in their relationship to the people of Quebec or French-speaking people elsewhere in this country. They have drawn upon these experiences as a source of strength in their arguments in favour of the maintenance of this political entity called Canada. I, too, wish to relate to this House my own personal encounters with the people of that jurisdiction, which over the years we have affectionately referred to as La Belle Province.

For the past few years, I have taken the opportunity to spend a few days in the city of Drummondville during the international midget hockey tournament, which is held in the latter part of January and the early part of February. Each year I have come away with a feeling of warmth and admiration for the people of that town. I call it a town because the people display the kind of hospitality and friendliness that one usually associates with a town rather than a city.

The people from my home city of St. Catharines -- the players, their coaches, the parents, the fans -- were, and have been, for the most part, unilingual, English-speaking Canadians. The people of Drummondville, our hosts, were largely unilingual, French-speaking Canadians. Yet the barrier of language soon disappeared as we entered somewhat animated conversations, each trying to put together enough words in the other language to be understood. I came away from Quebec each of those years, with a positive, confident feeling that there was resolve in those people to continue in partnership with the people of other parts of Canada.

In relation to the kind of very personal thing that happens to us when we travel in other provinces and in other jurisdictions, I found it particularly interesting that on two occasions I experienced problems with my automobile, which required service at local service stations or along the highway. One usually anticipates that one will run into the problem of being charged an additional amount of money because of the out-of-province licence plate or, if we are in the jurisdiction south of the border, the out-of-state or out-of-country licence plate.

On both occasions I found to my pleasant surprise that, with my very limited knowledge of the French language, not only was I accommodated very well in technical terms, but also -- let’s face it; I was at the mercy of these particular people -- the charges that were levied were most reasonable and the service most friendly.

I guess when I visited Quebec I was not looking for the scowling faces. I was not waiting in expectation of a rude reception. I was not attempting to confirm any predetermined feeling of resentment on the part of the residents of that area of Canada towards an anglophone from Ontario. Without these preconceived ideas, I found the experience a rewarding one and one that I shall not soon forget.

Permit me to share with members of this assembly more of my personal impressions of the people of our neighbouring province to the east. The temptation in a debate of this kind is to engage in platitudinous rhetoric about constitutional questions and to extol the virtues of national unity in the federal system in either flowery verbiage or factual dissertations. But Canada is more than a federation of provinces, more than an economic unit, more than a land mass rich in resources. Canada is people, and I want to talk about those people who will be asked 12 days from now to mark a ballot which will have ramifications far beyond the borders of that province or even the borders of this country.

I want to talk about the people of Pierreville, who extended such a warm welcome to their guests from the Niagara Peninsula on a cold winter night in January at an old hockey rink in Nicolet. I want to talk about the people of Magog, who played host to a group of weary players and fans from 500 miles away, people they had never met before and would not likely meet again. The warmth of the hospitality extended by these people had to penetrate even the hardest thell of resentment and prejudice that might have existed in residents of Ontario who had never been exposed to a person-to-person relationship with their French-Canadian countrymen.

Time after time, our hosts expressed a depth of feeling for this country that would match that found anywhere from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Time after time, we were assured that the similarities between the people of Ontario and the people of Quebec far outnumbered the differences.

Let me humanize my contributions to this debate further, for I have dwelt on some dry, yet essential, facts earlier in my remarks. Let me see in a young family in Drummondville, Quebec, the Canada that offers hope for our future. The family consists of Ron and Pierrette Labbé and their three children, Michel, Lynn and Stephan. They are a family fiercely proud of their French-Canadian heritage, their distinct language, their unique, rich culture. They are a family in the strongest sense of the word: loyal, loving and mutually supportive. Yet, tied as closely as they are to their Quebec roots, they are proud Canadians, reaching out each year the hand of friendship to their fellow Canadians from our province.

When all the economic arguments have been heard, when the political rhetoric has been exhausted, when the cold logical facts have been laid before the people of this country, it will be the Labbé families of this country who will decide the fate of Canada. To them, we, the people of Ontario extend the invitation to a new beginning, a stronger, more vibrant Canada responsive to the needs and aspirations of all Canadians.

4:10 p.m.

Mr. Ziemba: Mr. Speaker, I rise to continue the speech begun by the member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta). I want to tell this House of the contribution of the working people who have come from around the world to build Canada since 1867. I want to tell this House also of the New Democratic Party’s dissatisfaction with the efforts that have been made in Canada to extend equality to all working people, whatever their origin. Our party views the new constitution as a chance to create new opportunity for the people who have been shut out and downtrodden in Canadian society.

I am not interested in a debate about constitutional law. I am interested in a new Canada where the goals which brought me into politics are realized. I am interested in a new Canada where people, no matter where they were born or what language they speak or how much money their father made, have access to health care on the same level as the richest person in this society. I am interested in a new Canada where there is full employment. I am interested in a Canada where our families are not driven apart because of lack of economic opportunities, who are not driven apart because of school systems or bureaucracies which do not understand their cultures and constantly kick them around.

The people who own this country have their spokesmen in this debate. Peter Lougheed well represents the multinational oil companies. The Premier of this province has little difficulty presenting the case of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association. The Prime Minister of this country and the Liberal Party have never had problems making the case for foreign owners of this country.

Today my colleagues and I are all speaking on behalf of the people whose backs were broken in building this country. We are speaking on behalf of those people who still believe Canada is the greatest country on earth, and we are asking only that their contribution be recognized. We seek a society where equality is real. All talk about constitutional amendment or debate over every piece of the constitution is, for me, a great waste of time if the result is not a new Canada where we have moved significantly in the direction of opening up our society to the participation of every citizen.

I don’t want the Portuguese or the Maltese or the people from the Balkan states or the Ukrainians or the Poles or the Greeks to go on living in this country, dreaming of a day when they are fully Canadian. I want the new constitution to say: “You are Canadian now. You love this country. You have sacrificed for this country. You belong.” Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, about my roots in this country.

[Translation from Polish]

My parents came to this country at the beginning of the Depression. In order to get work, my father had to take free rides on railway trains. Of course, he had to ride in the freight cars and dodge the railway police. When he arrived in new towns, the reception committees were waiting for him. They weren’t friendly reception committees. They were the local townspeople waiting to make sure that no one got off the train and took their jobs. They had big clubs to keep you going.

The only time you were allowed to stay was when they needed cheap labour to exploit for the harvest. As soon as you got your wages the railway police knew now was the time to arrest you and take your money. The police would usually tell you: ‘You’re very lucky we’re only going to take your money. We’re not going to punish you for stealing rides on the railway.” Every time I look at my MPP free rail pass, I’m reminded of the free pass my father had in the 1930s.

Like many Poles, my parents came east. Of course, they couldn’t afford to come at the same time; my father came one year, my mother the next. My father worked in heavy industry in the foundries and machine shops of this great industrial city. My mother came and worked as a presser on Spadina Avenue. I can remember how happy my mother was when she got her first paycheque. It was $9 -- exactly double what my father had earned in Regina, 20 cents an hour. I can still see the women doing piecework, the pushing and the lousy working conditions. I can remember all this. I know too, when I go to Spadina today, that although the Poles are no longer there, there are an awful lot of other people working for the minimum wage or less in conditions that are still appalling.

I can remember how my father quit one job. He couldn’t take the metal dust anymore; he threw down the piece of metal and he walked off the job. His boss couldn’t have cared less. He did not bother to put an exhaust fan in to take out the metal dust.

That’s why I say to this government I’m appalled by the way it has dealt with asbestos. How can it be that in 1980, after we have finally got an occupational health and safety bill, this government can move so slowly to do anything to protect the health of working people?

It’s easier to ignore the needs of people who don’t speak English, but it still appals me that at this point in time we have a government that ignores documented cases such as at Johns-Manville, Bendix Industries and others. It’s even more appalling to me to find asbestos contamination at Harbord Collegiate.

Why is it at the schools that have working people and ethnic minorities that we find these sorts of problems occur? I don’t believe it’s a direct plot on this government, but it’s certainly a symbol of their neglect.

There are a number of people in this society whom our government has failed to realize count. I believe in a new constitution that is going to change that.

My father continued working in plants like that for the next 20 years. Conditions were bad and he became sicker and sicker. I can remember him coughing up blood because of his work-related disease. Through all of this my parents worked harder and harder so that my brother and I would have a better life. In fact, whatever they saved they gave us so that we could start a small business. And we did have a better life.

[End of translation]

I have related this personal history, not from a sense of sentimentality, nor to show that an immigrant can make a good life in Canada. I don’t want the next generation of immigrants or the next generation of working people to have to go through needless dangers to their health. I don’t want them to be victims of exploitation. I say that because in the city of Toronto today, and in sweatshops across the province and in nonunionized shops, I know these problems remain.

The resolution says Ontario is willing to enter with all Canadians in developing a new constitution. I hope that constitution will speak to the problems of working people’s rights. I believe a healthy work place, free of unnecessary dangers, injury and disease, ought to be a right. The time has come to guarantee these things.

When I think of all the great things that have occurred in Canada, one of the greatest has been the system of universal health care, an accomplishment of this party. In Saskatchewan we fought against the most powerful lobby organized in Canada to create a system whereby everyone, no matter who they were, or how rich or how poor, had the right to health. We worked and provided a medicare system so that no one had to fear the cost of having poor health. This significant accomplishment of the New Democratic Party in Saskatchewan was then taken up by the federal government in every other province.

4:20 p.m.

The people of Ontario live in fear that they will lose their health-care system. The present Minister of Health knows he dare not totally abolish the health-care system. Yet he allows 18 per cent of the doctors to opt out; he allows doctors to extra-bill; he closes the hospital beds that are necessary to assure good health care; he underfunds hospitals so that across this province hospitals are understaffed and health-care workers are stretched to the limit. That is not good enough for Canadians. Good health care should be provided by this province as a right.

Central to this party’s concern for health care is the provision of service. One of the things that universal health care has done is to provide guaranteed incomes for doctors. They know all their regular bills will be paid, at least at the basic rate. But I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that is not why the New Democratic Party fought for health care. We didn’t fight for medicare so that free enterprisers could use it as a milch cow. We didn’t fight for medicare so that the private labs could make millions ripping it off. We didn’t fight for medicare so that pharmacists could rip off the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan. We fought for health care because we did not want people dying too young. We did not want people disabled who need not be, and we did not want people losing their life savings because of illness. We continue to be committed to that principle.

We believe that the new constitution must speak to that. We have the federal Liberals, against the advice of the New Democratic Party in 1978, giving the provinces much more control over their health-care dollars. This government couldn’t wait to cut back and take away health services from working people. The federal Liberals did not want to begin even to address the question until the New Democratic Party put the pressure on them in the 1979 election. My party will never stop fighting for one-cost health care.

In conclusion, because six of us are giving one speech, I did not have to touch on every item we would like to see changed in the new constitution. I do want to conclude by saying I am proud to be a Canadian and I am proud of my country. I want a united Canada, but I also want a Canada where all Canadians belong, be they French, English, Maltese, Greek, Portuguese, Latvian, Ukrainian or Polish.

New Democrats do not believe we are being critical of Canada when we say it can do much better. We are being critical of the people who have not had the strength to dream of a greater and better Canadian society. We are critical of the leaders who have failed to deliver the economic and social justice which our people want. We are committed to the struggle on behalf of the working people of this province and this country.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate in this debate humbly aware of the fact that I am enjoying a privilege not widely shared by approximately 4.3 million other women citizens of this province. Their opportunity to express publicly their concerns for the future of their country is, for many reasons, limited. However, thousands of them have made personal contact with their counterparts in Quebec, I believe with great advantage.

I am also uncomfortably cognizant of the fact that we Canadians have not yet learned that it is fitting and proper from time to time to demonstrate for all the world to see the deep and abiding pride and love we bear for this the most beautiful and bountiful country of the entire planet. During the past three days, almost all members of this Legislature have moved beyond narrow and parochial and partisan political vision to express not just their personal concerns and suggested solutions, but their feelings about Canada as well. I, for one, hope that each of us has found this emotional exercise beneficial and that in future we shall be very much less reluctant to wear our Canadian hearts on our sleeves when appropriate.

I speak in firm and unwavering support of the entirety of the motion before this House, because I want the Canada of the future to provide as much opportunity and as much challenge to all future generations of Canadians, from whatever background, as I have been privileged to receive in this country.

A few days ago, I was walking through a hotel lobby in Toronto -- it happened to be the Royal York -- and I overheard a conversation between two young men. One was seeking directions to York University, and the other was trying to give them to him. One’s mother tongue was English, the other’s was French, and they were, I’ll admit, having some trouble.

I am sure the Parti Quebecois would highlight that conversation as an example of their thesis that a French-speaking Canadian outside of Quebec is a stranger in a strange land and that sovereignty-association, which is their euphemism for total separation, is the only answer for francophone Canadians. I think they would be missing the whole point of that conversation. The young French-speaking Canadian and the young English-speaking Canadian were having difficulty communicating, but the important thing was that they were trying to communicate.

The francophone minority in Canada has legitimate concerns; there is no doubt about that. But so do all Canadians, no matter what their cultural or linguistic heritage. We are trying to build a multicultural nation in this country, creating unity out of diversity, and it is difficult. Very few nations have ever attempted it. But it is an idealistic concept that I think is worth the pursuit.

The people of this province want to make Confederation work. Nobody told us it was going to be easy forming a unified nation in our vast geography, out of 10 provinces, two territories, thousands of communities, and millions of citizens of differing cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. And it has not been easy. But a yes vote on May 20 will compound the difficulty immeasurably.

Despite the difficulties, this province, Ontario, is committed to a united Canada. Ontario firmly believes that francophones should be able to be educated in their mother tongue, and for more than 140 years has provided elementary education to French-language students right across this province. In the past two decades, it has undertaken many initiatives to expand the programs to the secondary school level and beyond, and has supported federal initiatives to bring about equitable linguistic policy.

As recently as January 20, 1980, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) reiterated this government’s support for the entrenchment in the constitution of English and French as the official languages of Canada, including, as well, the right to minority-language education in all provinces.

We firmly hope that an early constitutional revision will incorporate this principle, a principle to which this government has given firm support. We have already taken some steps towards its implementation, because since 1968 there has been a legislative right to French-language education in this province when requested by 25 elementary students or 20 secondary school students. There has been the election of French-language advisory committees to boards of education in order to ensure that programs and services recognize the needs of francophones. There has been the establishment of the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario to assist in the resolution of disputes concerning official minority-language education services.

4:30 p.m.

As we have heard in the past few days, the number of students being educated in the French language has grown to 100,000 in Ontario. Of those, 70,000 are enrolled in nearly 300 elementary schools, and 30,000 are secondary students in 26 wholly French-language schools and 35 mixed schools.

In addition to that, we have moved to meet the French-language school needs for personnel and materials through significant supplementary grants to school boards for every single pupil enrolled in French-language schools; through financial assistance to publishers within Canada for the preparation and dissemination of French-language learning materials; through the funding, every year, of a centre to publish and distribute French-language learning materials, which last year produced about 50,000 items; and through the provision of French-language consultative and specialized services to school boards operating French-language schools.

French-language education for francophone students is one ministry priority. However, an equal priority is based upon the recognition of the great potential for increased sensitivity and improved mutual understanding which is fostered by facility in both official languages. Thus, French-language instruction for anglophone students is an important objective of this province.

As a result of financial encouragement by the government, all school boards, with the exception of a very few small, isolated boards in Ontario, offer programs to teach French as a second language. There now are approximately one million students enrolled in French-as-a-second-language courses in this province, of whom 660,000 are at the elementary level.

This government and this province co-operate actively with the federal government and other provinces in many educational activities. Some of them are organized through the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, which is the primary interprovincial educational mechanism. The programs within this group include the summer language bursary program, which is designed to provide post-secondary students with the opportunity to learn one of our official languages as their second language. There is co-ordination of French minority language education in all provinces, which is enhanced by the co-operative activities of a committee of French-language education officials from all provinces, including Quebec. Ontario and Quebec have participated for many years in formal exchange programs for both teachers and students.

But to be realistic, in spite of all the progress to date, in spite of all the legislation that has been enacted, in spite of all the policy statements and all the good intentions, we have not yet achieved the full flowering of our linguistic and cultural objectives. But I don’t think that means we should turn our backs on them at this time. Equally, I believe the fact that the concept of full Confederation has not become totally and appropriately developed to this point should not be deemed to be the rationale for the decision of our country. It should provide us reason to improve. But reason for dismemberment of Canada? Not at all.

It would be a great deal easier to manage Canada -- if that’s the right expression -- if we were a bland, homogeneous people. Easier, no doubt, but Canada would be the poorer for it.

The loss of the French heritage, which would surely follow separation, would be a major loss for all Canadians. But the separation of Quebec, I believe, would just as inevitably dissect the remainder of Canada, leading to the loss of the many diverse heritages brought to Canada by many of our people.

The Ministry of Education in this province funds a program specifically in support of those diverse languages -- the heritage language program -- to enable persons whose mother tongue is neither English nor French, to understand, to value and to maintain appropriate linkages with their linguistic and cultural roots.

The heritage language program is not designed to make participants less Canadian. Quite the contrary. We believe that this added program helps young Canadians of other linguistic backgrounds to develop a strong sense of cultural self-worth, which enables them to be better citizens of this country.

We believe a citizen should retain a sense of his or her cultural and linguistic heritage, be it English, French, Japanese, Chinese, Hungarian, Pakistani, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, German, Ukrainian, Polish, Armenian or any of the approximately 40 other languages currently being taught in the heritage language program to ensure more complete and vigorous participation as full contributing citizens of this magnificent country.

Somehow the French- and the English-language groups, and by extension their related cultures, are often discussed as if they comprised the totality of Canada. That, of course, is wrong. One third of Canada’s population has roots which are neither English nor French. In Ontario, we are very much aware of this. In areas like Toronto, the cultural diversity of residents is absolutely staggering. But whatever the type or degree of cultural development in the different areas of Canada, all of it is important because all of it is Canada. No region, no culture, no language has a monopoly on wisdom, intelligence or talent.

There is a tremendous cultural awareness awakening in this land at this time. Its expression varies tremendously from region to region, but it is truly Canadian cultural development. The increasing interest of Canadians everywhere in the development and expression of their own culture has led to demands for greater provincial autonomy in fostering that development. Ontario, like its sister province Quebec, has constantly maintained the primacy of the provinces in establishing goals and determining priorities in all aspects of the arts and culture.

At the same time, we have recognized vital areas in which the federal government must play an important role. As Canadians, we are all familiar with the measures adopted by the government of Canada to balance the weighty influence of the American media upon our culture. As Canadians, all of us are subject to American influence wherever we live, and we have to strive to counter this influence in order to give expression to our own culture. I am sure that Quebec feels doubly threatened, because Quebec is subjected not only to the strong culture of the United States, but also to the influence of English from all over the rest of North America.

The Pepin-Robarts task force reported: “Quebec is different, and Quebec should possess the powers necessary to preserve and develop its distinct character within the confines of a viable Canada.”

Ontario supports Quebec’s efforts to give expression to its distinct character and to strengthen and extend its culture, but we believe this development can be best achieved in the context of a renewed Canadian federalism which recognizes the unique characteristics of each of the parts which make up the whole of Canada. A separate Quebec would be a loss to all of us, because we would lose the benefit of our exposure to Quebec’s ideas and customs. I believe that Quebec would surely suffer as well if it were to ignore totally the cultural awakening being experienced by Canadians of all regions.

In a land of such monumental proportions as Canada, a strong central government is an absolute necessity for unity, for international relationships and for economic policy. The government of Canada through its emanations has provided in the past, and I hope will continue to, grants to assist artists of all kinds and cultural developments of various kinds in all the regions to give expression to the growth of our cultural heritage. The federal government role in this area, I believe, is to permit cross-pollination and exchange amongst the regions and the cultural groups, all of which are vital for a vibrant, expanding and thriving artistic and intellectual community.

I hope that the ideas and the sentiments expressed this week in this Legislature will be heard and will have meaning for our fellow Canadians in Quebec. My purpose is not to coerce, persuade or dissuade any Quebecker. The decisions which they take on May 20 must be theirs. I just pray that each one of them knows one thing, that the rest of us in Canada care about Canada and care a great deal about Quebec’s role in Canada.

4:40 p.m.

I would like to say to each Quebecker before he or she casts the ballot in this interesting exercise, which I heard described as a separendum, and I think that may be an appropriate word, that we have worked very hard to build a Canada for all Canadians. We have tried, and we want the opportunity to continue to try, just like those young men in the lobby of the Royal York Hotel were trying, because millions of men and women from all parts of this country have worked for Canada because they believe in the country.

My generation played an important part. We served in Canada’s armed forces. Thousands of my contemporaries, both French and English, died for this country. I believe that if the people of Quebec decide to excise an integral part of my heritage and my country, if they really believe that we cannot work together to create a renewed Confederation, they will be stating clearly and unequivocally that our relatives and my close friends died for nothing.

I hope that history will record that we set ourselves in this country a noble goal, a goal to create a nation of equals, sharing in equality and in justice. God forbid that history record that we failed. Let history record that each one of us tried. I pray the record will show that, because each Canadian made a personal commitment to renewed Confederation, we succeeded in building a nation to match the magnificence of Canada.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to address the resolution before this assembly and express my views on Canadian unity.

The political debate on constitutional reform is certainly not new. It has been debated from its infancy in 1867 to May 1980 and will be debated in the future. For the past 52 years, many attempts by the federal and provincial governments have been made to arrive at an agreement on an amending formula. It has been studied to death, largely because the inability of governments in Canada to reach an agreement on procedure that would strike a balance between the need for protection and stability and the requirements of flexibility.

There have been nine attempts since 1926. At the most recent attempt, the Victoria amending formula was almost adopted. This formula would have replaced the present need for the unanimous consent of all 11 parliaments -- that is, the Fulton-Favreau formula of 1964.

Under the new formula, constitutional change could have been achieved by securing the agreement of Parliament and at least six provincial legislatures distributed among four regions of this country, representing about 80 per cent of the population of Canada. The four regions would have been Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and western Canada, whose consent would have been required for the more important amendments. Amendments applying to one or more, but not all provinces, would have required the consent of the provincial legislature concerned and the federal Parliament.

Frankly, I find this proposal acceptable. It provides the opportunity for full debate in the Legislature, and I would hope that if a debate of such importance took place it would involve a free vote of members.

The debate has continued in Quebec at an exhilarating pace since the election of the Parti Quebecois government. The referendum campaign on the question of sovereignty-association with the rest of Canada is of deep concern to all Canadians.

If Rene Levesque, one of Canada’s most persuasive political leaders and a determined individual, gets his way in the referendum, Canada’s union of provinces will surely disappear.

If Confederation has been successful, all Canadians can say they have been part of its evolution. However, one must admit there have been shortcomings that may well have some bearing on the grievances of any one province. Our Canadian heritage has been founded on the principle of sharing our fortunes and misfortunes. Our key interests should be to develop programs in the support and interest of various political subdivisions and to strengthen those elements in their respective cultures that elevate and protect the dignity of the individual against any measures that may impede his or her rights as a Canadian, regardless of their historical background.

A renewed federalism must be based on our national heritage and our national interests. Federalism must be considered the most appropriate political system. Although designed 113 years ago, it has provided Canadians with an avenue of coexistence between various culture groups and with the opportunity of access to two main international languages. However, the isolation of the French-speaking Canadians outside of Quebec and the neglect of their rights in a country which is supposedly dedicated to the principle of bilingualism should be a source of concern for all Canadians.

Sir John A. Macdonald in his address to the Quebec Parliament on March 6, 1865, agreed “that the use of the French language will form one of the principles on which the Confederation will be based, and that its use as it exists today will be guaranteed by the Imperial Act” (article 6-133 of the British North America Act).

The agreement reached was expressed in legal terms by the delegates from the provinces on the equality of the French language in New Canada. This was no small matter for the Fathers of Confederation to deal with. It was a delicate principle needed to guarantee the quality of opportunity and wellbeing for all individuals in Canada. For some reason, the historical facts are somehow forgotten until the matter of individual rights are placed before the highest courts in Canada.

I have had the opportunity of visiting St. Joseph’s School in Port Colborne this week, being Educational Week. St. Joseph’s is an elementary public separate school teaching French only. My colleague the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) has also brought to the attention of the Legislature the Catholic elementary French schools in Welland that are part of the Niagara South Public-Separate School Board. At St. Joseph’s, graduating students have the opportunity of continuing their education from Grades 9 to 13 at Confederation Secondary School, a completely French school with an enrolment of 670 students from Niagara Falls, Welland, Pelham, Port Colborne, Fort Erie and Wainfleet, and now including Niagara North.

Confederation school originated as a private French school in Port Colborne, but in 1988 was transferred to the Niagara South Board of Education. This surely indicates the goodwill and understanding that exists in Niagara South, an example that can and should be followed by many school boards. Tolerance and understanding are the qualities Canadians must practise if Canada is to succeed.

The present confederation in Canada is by nature a political system, not an economic association. In a sense it has provided the provinces with the power to develop most of their own economic base in fierce competition within the federal system. It is my feeling that Canada cannot be accountable to a federal economic employment strategy program. What action has been taken has been of an ad hoc nature, which is perhaps the reason that regional disparities continue to exist.

With Canada’s great abundance of wealth and its natural resources all given to us with the blessings of our Creator, Canada’s economy should be in a much healthier and less precarious state. I strongly believe, and in fact am convinced, that sovereignty-association with Quebec could not provide the people of Quebec and every Canadian with equal shares in Canada’s future. I am not convinced that giving the provinces more statutory power is the solution to our problems. I feel that the present balkanization is perhaps one of the causes of conflict between provinces now.

4:50 p.m.

Professor R. M. Burns, director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University, stated, at a conference in 1968, “No government which lacks effective authority in the field of fiscal and economic control, in foreign relations, in trade, or in the ability to support and consolidate the interest of the various political subdivisions has any hope, or even any excuse for continued existence.

“The ultimate result of a drift in federal-provincial relations would be to challenge federal authority in each of those areas. The concept of federalism held in Quebec is not far distant from that of a customs union or an associate state.”

My experience as a union member and as a chief steward sitting on a negotiating committee has put me in a solid position to assess labour-management agreements, which I believe can be compared to the process we are discussing when we talk of the need for renewed federalism, collectively. Both are a process of bargaining and, historically, in order to bargain under the principle of good faith, a new agreement can be finalized in unity in the best interests of the majority for the common good.

The new Canadian constitution should include broader provisions for economic partnership. The British North America Act of 1867 truly created a confederation of provinces with a head of state, the Governor General of Canada, representing the crown. The present Quebec referendum campaign does not follow that principle. It is clearly aimed at establishing a separate state for Quebec. Were this attempt to be successful, it would surely shatter the hopes and dreams of all Canadians who believe that this land can provide a better quality of living for the generations that follow us.

Constitutional reform cannot be achieved when the Premier of Quebec wants to separate from Canada rather than reach an obviously needed accommodation. As a result of this, the conflicts and concerns of politicians from all parties are being heard in this Confederation debate. One cannot exclude the western provinces, for their political leaders are also in disagreement with many of the existing rules of government, currently the law under the British North America Act.

Like many Canadians, I find it difficult to understand, after more than 50 years of discussion, why we have not been able to agree on a formula for amending our constitution. it seems to me that, if our politicians are not flexible enough to reach an agreement, perhaps another body should be established, which might be known as the Confederation constitution committee, to prepare amendments to the constitution. Perhaps three Supreme Court of Canada judges should be members of that body. These amendments could improve the socio-economic climate in Canada, and proposed amendments could be put to the people in a referendum to let the people decide the changes.

The Task Force on Canadian Unity has provided many recommendations for discussion, one being the abolishment of the Senate, to be replaced by a Council of the Federation composed of delegates representing the provincial governments. I believe change is required in the present Senate structure but, for fair representation and accountability, I feel it should be a body elected by the people.

Another interesting suggestion is the establishment of a national industrial council on economy, comprising members from the public sector and representatives from labour, business and other groups in the private sector. Japan and Germany have had such a council for a number of years, and it has worked very well in establishing economic policy.

The late Dean Acheson served as Secretary of State under President Harry S. Truman from 1949 to 1953. He had some interesting comments about Canadian and American relations which have some bearing on this debate. He said, “Americans take Canada for granted, and Canadians are forever saying so. By this they mean that Americans assume Canada to be bestowed as a right and accept this bounty, as they do air, without thought or appreciation. Perhaps they do; and perhaps they should. For if it were not taken as a bounty of nature, America might not grasp Canada at all for sheer difficulty in figuring out what Canada is.”

We should learn from those remarks that until we Canadians become masters in our own house foreign economic penetration will make it difficult for us to control our own destiny. Canadians are certainly different from Americans, but neither are all Canadians alike. it seems to me that Canadians, as a whole, regardless of where they were born, educated or work, have become complacent as it relates to identity. That is one thing that can be said about the Confederation debate. As a result of this struggle, the citizens of Quebec, supporting the no forces, have shown Canadian identity. This debate has now given us in the Legislature that opportunity.

I am proud to be a Canadian. I come from a large family of nine children -- seven boys and two girls -- with Irish blood on my father’s side, Scottish on my mother’s and Pennsylvania Dutch. My wife, Marie, is French and her family hailed from Brittany in France. My father-in-law, who is a rather interesting individual, believes that the Parti Quebecois is making a grave error by hoping to secede from Canada. He has often stated that in the two great wars, if it had not been for the Canadian soldiers from all the provinces, France would not be a country today, that victory has secured France’s independence.

It is my hope as a Canadian that Quebec remains within the Confederation of Canada. More can be accomplished for the common good of all Canadians with tolerance and understanding. The Bible can be quoted to serve a variety of ends. Therefore, I shall finish my remarks by quoting from Ephesians 4 on exhortations to unity. “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

I support the motion put forward by Mr. Davis and seconded by my leader, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Cassidy: “That, we the Legislative Assembly of Ontario commit ourselves, as our highest priority, to support full negotiation of a new constitution to satisfy the diverse aspirations of all Canadians, and to replace the status quo which is clearly unacceptable; and further, we affirm our opposition to the negotiation of sovereignty-association; and, therefore, we appeal to all Quebeckers to join with other Canadians in building this national constitution; and further, we hereby appoint a select committee of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on constitutional reform to consider and report with dispatch on ways to achieve this objective.”

This is a good resolution. It provides an avenue by which members from all parties will have an input in the decision-making and what direction Ontario and Canada will head in the 1980s or the year 2000. This opens the door for communications and understanding. It is to be hoped that this committee will have some dialogue with other provinces in finding some resolution to solve the problems we face in Canada as they relate to Confederation.

5 p.m.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be the sixth ethnic NDP member to take part in this constitutional debate. In many ways our contribution may be rather difficult to follow in that we six members have delivered parts of our speeches in different languages.

I would like to make my own addition and summarize what has been said thus far. We recognize that we have spoken in many languages of Canada which are not the official languages and not normally used in this House. We chose to do so because we wish to recognize symbolically and realistically that all Canadians must participate in the building of a new constitution.

Nous avons parlé des langues autres que l’anglais et le français, Monsieur l’Orateur, parce que nous sommes très convaincus que le référendum dans la province de Québec et la nouvelle constitution sont très importants pour les Canadiens. Monsieur l’Orateur, nous croyons qu’il est très important pour tous les Canadiens qui sont venus de toutes les parties du monde, qui parlent différentes langues et qui sont venus ici au Canada, leur nouvelle patrie, il est très important qu’ils puissent trouver ici leur raison d’être et de bien-être.

[Translation from Italian]

We recognize the very serious challenges which the referendum in Quebec brings to Canadian society. But we as democratic socialists also recognize that this is an opportunity to have all peoples involved in changing the rules of our society. We are, perhaps, the new parents of Confederation.

Anyone who has heard the contributions from the New Democratic Party today knows that, while we are speaking specifically of the needs of ethnic working people, their needs are held in common by many other groups. We are referring to the groups that are systematically excluded from our society. I think of the working people who work in the construction industry of this province. I think of the people with low education who toil in our factories and create our wealth. I think of the women who are denied equal pay for work of equal value. I think of the thousands and thousands of people in Ontario whose human rights are not protected by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. I think of the pensioners, and particularly those who are citizens but are denied pensions because they are more recent arrivals in this society. I think of the senior citizens and the other people who are losing their homes through high mortgage rates right now. I think of all these people who have built and worked to make Canada the great society that it is. They are not certain Canada is working for them.

Our contribution has been a call for change, a call for a new way of doing things.

We are trying today to speak for those who are not normally included in such things as constitutional debates. These are the people who we constantly try to speak for in this House and everywhere we appear as members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

We have managed to make our contribution by recognizing the complex reality of Canada. We have made our speech without criticizing Canadian society or the country we love. We have made our contribution in a positive light. Our contribution is to say that we as Canadians must have a greater say in our own society. We have faith in this country that, working together, we can build the best and most exciting culture in the modem world; that our human resources are outstanding if we will allow them to flourish and stop trying to fit them into a monolithic whole.

We believe that by allowing these resources to flourish we can develop here in Canada a culture that is very different from the American culture to our south. We believe that we can have an outpouring of working people’s culture. These are worthwhile goals, and we will continue to fight for them.

[End of translation]

As democratic socialists, we believe just as firmly that we can build an economic strategy that will lead us to economic independence, which will be the underpinning of our culture. We believe that the 1980s provide opportunities as there have never been before for Canada to come of age. This is why we have taken the time to speak against the selling off of our resources.

On a personal note, when I was first elected I remember in 1975 that my election material contained a phrase saying, “You can’t afford another Davis government; vote NDP.” That slogan is as true in 1980 as it was true when we were first elected in 1975. At that time, we referred to a number of scandals that had been rocking the government. We referred to the fact that we knew the government was unable to control ripoffs by health laboratories. We knew the government was unable to keep farm land from disappearing. We knew the government was unable to develop a policy of reforestation. We knew the government was unable to develop a fair system of property tax -- and that is still true today.

When one looks at the unemployment in the city of Windsor, when one looks at the fact that nearly one in five auto parts workers is laid off, when one looks at the crisis of the branch-plant economy developed in this country, when one looks at the frightening process of deindustrialization of Canada, one has to ask what is happening. Why do we have a government that has failed to get our fair share from the auto pact? Why are we in a situation that, when the Canadian market is buoyant, more and more of our auto workers are being laid off? The auto parts makers are the most important employers in our economy, and the Liberal government in Ottawa and the Conservative government at Queen’s Park are helpless in negotiating with the multinationals, as we have seen today.

The government of this province, at our insistence, has taken the suggestion of our leader that any new plants given to the auto makers must have iron-clad guarantees of jobs and the right type of jobs for Canada. It should have learned its lesson from the Ford fiasco, but if it does not make clear to Chrysler Canada that it wants jobs for Canadian workers, then this government will prove that it has neither the strength nor the will to represent the working people of this province.

5:10 p.m.

I believe a fundamental consideration in negotiation of a new constitution is getting the power to develop an industrial strategy aimed at creating full employment so that the government will work and speak for Canadian working people. I am not for a minute advocating that the government of Ontario should stand idly by and wash its hands of the responsibility of providing economic opportunities and developing an industrial strategy in Ontario. But I believe in a strong national economy and in the federal government’s having the power to create such an economy.

I also look at our resource policy. Why, when Ontario and Saskatchewan produce about the same value of materials, is Saskatchewan extracting more than 10 times as much revenue from its producers than is Ontario? Saskatchewan takes that money and puts it to work to create a better life for the people of that province. Ontario forgoes that money to make sure that the owners of our resources, residing south of the border, are able to maintain their comfortable lifestyles. We will never build a great country until we use our resources as a basis for building a strong economy.

As I watch the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) hand out grant after grant to pulp and paper companies to keep them from leaving this province, I am vitally concerned. Surely the money of the taxpayers of Ontario should be used in a more creative investment. Yes, we want the plants to modernize. But must we subsidize huge corporate interests like Canadian Pacific Investments? Have they no obligation to the people of Ontario? Must we subsidize plants to get them to recognize their responsibilities to the community?

The New Democratic Party has always said that it could build a society based on the needs of the working people and the needs of Canadians. We would not have to go about offering taxpayers’ money to help people meet their responsibilities. The New Democratic Party is convinced that the road to economic growth for Ontario and Canada goes through the creation of a strong Canadian economy controlled by Canadians for the benefit of Canadians.

Economic independence and a new commitment are crucial factors in the debate for a new constitution. I want to make it very clear that changing the rules in the constitution will have no impact if we do not change the people who are running this country. We need leaders committed to economic justice. We need a new political system where the people of Canada can judge how well and how committed our leaders are to that goal.

When we have been critical, we have had to be critical of the present government, this government which has constantly betrayed the aspiration of the working people, be they English, French, native or otherwise. As we have called for new social programs, we have been told there is no money. The people of Ontario are paying higher taxes than in any other province in Canada, and yet there is no money allocated for basic services.

The reason our health-care system is in danger, our social service system is declining and we do not have money to expand our cultural development is that this government has failed to develop and maintain a healthy manufacturing sector. It has been a government without plans and directions. It is asking the working people of Ontario, not foreign investors, to pay for the mistakes of their government.

There can be no new Canada unless we have people committed to the principles of building a Canada for Canadians. Our goal is a Canada that reflects the many cultures which have contributed to building a Canadian society and which have been refined through being in Canada. We must have a commitment to building a Canadian economy owned and directed by Canadians for Canadians.

We need a constitution which will make that possible. Ontario will participate in the negotiation of the terms of the new relationship among the peoples of Canada, whatever the result of the Quebec referendum. Today we have all been addressing the problems that are making it difficult for Quebeckers to believe there is a future for them in Canada. The fundamental problem in this country is that the people have lost faith in believing the country can work. They have not lost faith in the people of Canada. They have lost faith in the posturing of the Liberal and Conservative governments which have misled and misguided us and the people of Canada. They have lost faith in the governments which have squandered their future.

We believe a new constitution must take into account the possibility of building a new society. We believe that can best be done according to the principles of our party, along with mass participation of English, French, native, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, East Indian and all other Canadians. We have not taken the time today to spell out the specifics. We do that every day in speaking and in this House. We have tried to talk about the principle, the spirit of a new Confederation. However, if we want this debate to be truly meaningful, we should make a very clear commitment.

At this point, I want to repeat the basic concerns with multiculturalism as set out by the member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) this morning. First, a new constitution must assure that ethnic groups are permanent and not a disappearing feature of Canadian society. We want to make that very clear.

Second, programs oriented to the equality of groups are an important extension of the principles of equality of all individuals and citizens. A proper policy of multiculturalism will be carried out in a way that is not diminishing to individual human rights and civil liberties.

Third, a multicultural policy must aim at achieving greater equality in the distribution of wealth, prestige and power in Canadian society.

We have presented the spirit of a new, vital and exciting Canada, based on our belief that we can build a new constitution. We can build a new Canada which even Rene Levesque will want to be part of. But the debate is on, and the debate must continue. The people we have spoken for today must not be ignored. The problems we have addressed today must not be swept aside. They must be confronted head on. Inside of an approach such as this, there is a new Canada. It would be a new Canada which would be strong, free and democratic.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the consent of the House to revert to motions so I can move a motion to allow us to sit over the supper period, to make room for all the speakers who wish to take part in this debate.

Agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the House continue to sit from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Motion agreed to.

5:20 p.m.


Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to enter into this debate. After some four days of the by and large important contributions here, one wonders if there is any new ground left to break, although the topic has not been restricted at all; some members have chosen to speak quite widely. None the less, I am going to try to make a couple of new contributions to it.

While I think the quality and nature of the discussions for most of this week have been first-rate, I was particularly impressed with the contribution made by my colleague the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson).

I rise to support the resolution standing in the name of the Premier (Mr. Davis) and seconded by the member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith) and the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy). I join other members of this assembly in supporting a full negotiation of a new constitution for Canada to satisfy those diverse aspirations of all Canadians. I support, further, the commitment to replace the status quo, which is clearly unacceptable to me personally, as it is to most of my constituents, and to reaffirm my opposition to the negotiation of sovereignty- association. Like other members I appeal to all Quebeckers to join with other Canadians in building this national constitution.

I shall be brief and touch on three topics -- bilingualism, constitutional change and some personal comments I would like to make at the end about my own family and how they perceive not only this discussion, but also the future of our country.

Bilingualism is a sensitive topic, and no one in this assembly wants to raise issues which might aggravate our sometimes delicate position. We are here, after all, to help the cause of national unity, and it is my intention to do just that.

However, I read a newspaper column the other day which, quite frankly, made me angry. I thought, here we are prepared and even anxious to publicly discuss matters which make Quebeckers angry and frustrated. There are things that make me angry too. I would like to tell the House about one of them. Let me quote first from this article, which appeared shortly after our Premier’s visit to Quebec.

“The Premier is to be praised for having made the effort of publicly reading French -- the first time ever, according to news reports -- but it is a symptom of the problems of Confederation that the Premier of Canada’s largest province is unable to speak Canada’s other official language.”

I think that is outrageous. While it would be presumptuous of me to pretend to speak on behalf of English-speaking Ontarians, I have no reluctance to say that the vast majority of good Canadians in my own constituency would be equally outraged by the comment that “it is a symptom of the problems of Confederation that the Premier of Canada’s largest province is unable to speak Canada’s other official language.”

It is really very different. I think one of the symptoms -- perhaps one of the causes -- of many of our problems of Confederation is that group of journalists and politicians persisting to try to make language a central issue when it is not. This approach for more than a decade has served no one, and I would be remiss if I did not state that it has caused some anger and frustration in my community.

I cannot speak French. I took five years of French in high school and studied it for one year in university. I cannot speak French. I am not proud of that, but neither am I ashamed.

Hope springs eternal, and perhaps I will develop the skill and find the time and the opportunity to speak our other national language. But that is not now the case and, about this, I feel no guilt. I am no less a Canadian for that. It follows that my French-speaking, fellow Canadian citizens in Noranda, Val d’Or, Rimouski, or anywhere in that great province, who perhaps have no facility in the English language, are no less Canadian for that.

I am concerned that those people who persist with this theme, and almost all of them are English-speaking Canadians, are close to the point where they seem to be equating our patriotism with our facility in the French language. It is an unnecessary tack anyway, for the simple fact that, even if I and every one of my constituents could speak French fluently now, we would still be here today addressing this resolution, or something very similar to it, and we would all be equally determined to alter the status quo and to change our constitution.

On the matter of the constitution, the British North America Act: I am neither a lawyer nor a constitutional expert, but this document has remained intact for 113 years, with minor changes. Many experts say the mere fact that it has served so long is evidence enough that it is working. Yet that simply does not balance with the incredible rate of change and the rapidity of that change in our social and economic life. It is time to review the constitution and to rewrite it to reflect those changes.

The point has been made before in this Legislature -- forgetting Quebec for the moment -- that the matter of resource revenues and the fair distribution of revenues from the sale of those resources in itself would prompt a readjustment, a rethinking, a review and a rewriting of our constitution.

My last, and personal, comments have to do with my own family. I am a fourth-generation Canadian. My wife was born in Europe and arrived in this country at the age of six. She was born in Holland and, like her family, she can, and often does, still speak her native language, and in some ways our home reflects some of her Dutch upbringing and Dutch culture. To paraphrase a friend of ours, she is proudly Dutch and fiercely Canadian, and in that regard is no different from those other, newer Canadians in my own community and in our country who have enriched our land so much.

We have two children, my daughter Shawna, who is nine years old -- and who, by the way, is studying French in grade 4, and one would hope she will have more opportunities than many of us of my generation had to practise that language -- and my son Ryan, who is seven. I asked them last weekend what Canada meant to them. Quite frankly, I was hoping to get some answers that I might be able to use today in this debate, but I got nothing at all profound. You see, Mr. Speaker, Canada, to them, simply meant fun, a place to have fun, particularly now that it is getting warmer.

The fact that there was nothing profound is perhaps the best message of all. It is only as we get older that we consume ourselves in this search for a national identity. We consume ourselves in trying to find the one and complete answer about this country.

Not very long ago our two children were heard singing in the den, and it seemed quite spontaneous, O Canada. It might have been in response or reaction to a television program; I don’t know. We don’t always go around the house singing O Canada, just in election year, but there they were. In its way -- there has been a little humming going on in the House the last few weeks -- it was beautiful to hear because of that refreshing simplicity that younger Canadians have, that beautiful, easy and natural kind of patriotism.

Always as adults we can learn from young people, and I think we would be better served, frankly, if we stopped and relaxed sometimes; stopped in this exhausting search for the one and the complete answer to our national identity. Surely there are many answers. The major strength must be that we are, after all, a free country, it is fun here and thank God it is getting warmer.

As Canadians, we have great reservoirs of goodwill and affection for each other. We are all proud and committed to Canada, a unified Canada.

5:30 p.m.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I must admit when this important debate was first discussed, I hesitated for a while before deciding to participate. It seemed to me there were many members in this House who would make a far better job than I of stating the case for Canadian unity, of appealing to the people of Quebec, of trying to persuade those who might be hesitant about what their decision should be on May 20.

I asked myself: “Can I contribute to a debate of this kind on a question which is so crucial to every Canadian?” Of course, it is possible that all the wonderful and sincere speeches which have been heard in this Legislature over the last few days will go no further than the Hansard record, and that what we say here will have absolutely no impact on the people of Quebec and absolutely no influence on the decisions they make. That’s as it may be.

The fact remains that we all have to try. We all have to do whatever we can to preserve and protect this country which we all love. In recent years, and particularly in recent months, we have heard much from the opinion leaders, the journalists, the editors and the politicians in Quebec and the rest of Canada. As I have listened to and read all of the thousands of words which have been pouring out on this subject, I have often wondered what the people of Quebec think about it all. What do the ordinary people, those who never get quoted in the newspapers or appear on television, think of it? Do they really believe they are in some way threatened or discriminated against by other Canadians? Do they honestly want to go it alone? Or are they being persuaded, carried along almost in spite of themselves, by those who are able to use convincing arguments to rouse the emotions, to seduce with words?

Time and time again I have asked myself three questions: How can we reach out to these people? How can we make them understand how we feel? How can we convince them that we want them to stay as an integral part of our Canadian family?

Unlike some members of this House, I cannot claim to be bilingual either perfectly or partially. Whether this is my fault or the fault of our education system really doesn’t matter. The fact remains that I am not. But my lack of linguistic ability is no indication of my feelings with respect to Quebec or the people of that province.

These people are my fellow Canadians, as are the people of Ontario. I care as much about them and their future as I care about the people elsewhere in this country. I might add that we have travelled from coast to coast, and we have friends in every province. I am proud of every inch of Canada from the Maritimes to British Columbia. We are all Canadians, whatever our ethnic origins, whatever our mother tongue. We are all in this thing together, and it’s up to all of us to make this country the great place it was always intended to be.

In my riding of Haldimand-Norfolk we have a French-Canadian club, Club Laval. We have visited many times, and we have always found that the hospitality and fellowship which we shared there is exceptionally warm and strong. We have a number of French-Canadian people in the area. Many of them have come to work at the new industrial developments of Stelco, Texaco and Hydro. I have met many of them and, from what they have said, it seems quite clear that above all they want to be part of Canada, while at the same time retaining their own language and culture. They want what the rest of us want, our just deserts, no more, no less.

Last February, my wife and I had a wonderful holiday in Quebec. During that vacation we met a great many French-speaking people. If the Quebeckers we met did not always understand our words, and if we did not always understand what they were saying, it really did not make a great deal of difference to the good feelings we all had about one another. We managed with a word here and a phrase there and a lot of handwaving and a good deal of laughter, because we always enjoy a good time no matter where we go in Canada. We travelled down the north shore of the Ottawa River to Montebello to spend some time cross-country skiing. I might add that we are not the greatest cross-country skiers. We had no trouble going up the hills, but we did have a little trouble coming down and ended up with a few sore shoulders.

From there, we went to Quebec by way of the north shore of the St. Lawrence through that pretty farming country with those narrow farms. We could tell they were active. Just looking across the countryside, we could easily pick out the maple forests. We spent a few days in Quebec City, visiting the Citadel and many other historical places. We dined at many wonderful French-Canadian restaurants. Wherever we went the story was the same. There was no unfriendliness, there was no feeling of being outsiders, there was no lack of helpfulness and co-operation. We were greeted and welcomed everywhere with warmth, with hospitality and with enthusiasm.

As a matter of fact, coming out of the lobby of the Chateau Frontenac, we ran into friends of ours from Cayuga. We had been chatting with them only a couple of moments when the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) came along. We were pleasantly surprised to meet two friends within the space of a few minutes. We really enjoyed chatting with them. They were having a good time also.

One evening we had tickets to go to a hockey game to see the Nordiques play at the Coliseum. Being an old hockey coach, and a hockey player in my younger days, I was looking forward to that. Frankly, we anticipated we would be left pretty much to ourselves the whole evening because those around us would be busy talking French to one another and caught up in the excitement of the game.

What actually happened was that my wife and I hardly had a chance to say a word to one another all evening. The people who sat on either side of us, not to mention those in front and behind, were so friendly and so determined to talk to us, to make us feel at home, to make us understand what they were saying and to try to understand what we were saying, that we missed most of the game. In the process, we had a simply wonderful time just getting to know one another. As a matter of fact, the Nordiques were beaten that night by the Atlanta Flames, but it was a particularly good game and we enjoyed it.

Never at any time during our vacation did we feel that we were in a foreign or different environment. The hospitality and friendship everywhere were fantastic. We made a number of friends and returned home more sure than ever that Quebec, as it has always been, is a vital and integral part of our country, Canada.

I might also say that we stopped in Plessisville, which is the heart of the maple sugar area. They process it there, and it is the centre of the business. We also stayed in Granby overnight and did some shopping there. That is the heart of the milk processing industry, and the folks were just beautiful.

We are all aware of the importance of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste in Quebec. I was interested to read recently about the first national banquet of this group, at which one of its founding members referred to the maple leaf, which at times was considered to be the symbol of the French-Canadian people. Obviously, after one sees the woodlots there, the maple tree has to be the beginning of our heritage.

He said: “This tree, the maple, which grows in our valleys, at first young and beaten by the storm, pines away painfully, feeding itself from the earth, but it soon springs up tall and strong and faces the tempest and triumphs over the wind which cannot shake it any more. The maple is the king of the forest. It is the symbol of the Canadian people.”

It occurred to me that those words, spoken nearly a century and a half ago, might almost be prophetic. If the maple tree is indeed the symbol of the Canadian people, as we consider it to be, then we certainly have been beaten by the storm, a storm brought about by differences in culture, language and political approach. We did for a while pine away, but we turned away from the difficult task of solving the problem of reconciling the wants and needs of the people of Quebec and the wants and needs of others in this country. Recently, we have returned to our roots, feeding from the earth as we got down to the basics and recognizing the importance of coming to terms with one another.

5:40 p.m.

Shall we fulfil the rest of the prophecy? I wonder. Shall we spring up tall and strong, facing the tempest and triumphing over the winds of resentment and anger at the dissatisfactions and provocations which have attempted to destroy us? We are living in the era of the global village. Daily we become more aware that this world of ours is a very small place in this modern age. International events fill our newspapers and our thoughts. The danger and the drama in Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the flood of refugees from Cuba -- all these are brought right into the living rooms of our homes by television. As never before in the history of mankind, the people of today are made aware almost constantly of what is going on beyond their immediate surroundings. We hear almost on a day-to-day basis of the population explosion, hunger in the world, international pollution of the environment, chronic inflation, and bloodshed and warfare in other lands.

I would like to refer to an article which appeared on November 9, 1977, in the Globe and Mail. “Developing countries were warned in the UN yesterday that mass starvation could occur in some parts of the world as early as 1985 if they did not quickly move to increase their food production.

“Geoffrey Bruce, Canadian deputy permanent representative to the UN, told the economic committee that it has become clear that the current increase in population is out-pacing the increase in food production in the Third World.”

Canada has made huge amounts of food available for the struggle against hunger, contributing more than $100 million this year alone. I think that is going to be a serious problem as we go down the road and one that Canada can contribute to in providing food for the many millions.

As never before in our history, we need one another. We need friends. We need allies. We need alliances. For with unity comes strength. Nations throughout the world have recognized the importance of banding together against a common foe, be it another nation or a group of nations or rampant inflation or some natural or environmental threat. Jean Monnet, considered the founder of the European Economic Community, claimed that “the Europe of sovereign states was incapable of bringing forth, however great the goodwill of its leaders, the wise decisions that were needed for the common good.”

Against this background, it is difficult to understand the determination of some people to destroy the Canadian unity which has given this country of ours so much strength and vitality over the years. It is good to hear our friends on the left indicate -- I know there are many new Canadians over there -- that they can see the good of keeping Canada together as one strong country.

We all originated from a foreign country at one time. How can we ignore the fact that older and more experienced nations than our own have tried to go it alone and have finally come to realize, reluctantly perhaps, that they need one another if they are to survive and prosper? Here in this country, in the Canadian Confederation, we have created a society where individual liberty is respected and where human rights are protected. We have also, for many years, enjoyed an economic standard of living that is the envy of many countries less fortunate than our own. Again, our friends who have come over in recent years must be able to testify to that and to verify it.

For more than two centuries, French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians have lived side by side in political association. Over the generations, many relationships have sprung up between the people of our French-speaking communities and other Canadians. Are these years and these relationships to go for nothing? Is the Canadian dream really in danger of becoming a nightmare? For my part, I find it impossible to believe that this will happen, because I do not consider what has been happening in this country since the early days of settlement to be a dream. It is, rather, a living reality which cannot be allowed to shatter on the rocks of misunderstanding, of lack of patience, of inability to agree to compromise.

In my view, we should not be prepared to negotiate sovereignty-association which, after all, is simply another name for separation or fracturing of this country. If the vote on May 20 is a no vote, then I believe we should lose no time in beginning the process of renewing Canadian federalism. We should make it clear that we are eager and anxious to undertake this process with Quebec, the other provinces and the federal government.

In Canada we have a society that is comparatively free from prejudice and fear, in which we Canadians for the most part deal with one another in a spirit of understanding and generosity. Canada is fortunate in that it encompasses two of the most important cultures of western civilization, two cultures which have been immeasurably enriched by the addition of many other cultures as people have come here from many other countries to make a new life in a new land.

I believe we need to make changes in our system of federalism to take into account present-day needs and demands. We must also take into account the serious and heartfelt concerns which have been raised by the people of Quebec through their representatives and spokesmen. Canada is a proud and strong country. If compassion, intelligence, understanding, patience and wisdom are brought to bear on our present problems, I believe we shall find the necessary solutions and emerge from our present dilemma, if not exactly unscathed then at least victorious and united.

I would like to close my remarks by saying that what we have done for ourselves dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to take part in this debate, because I think we all have a sense that it is a significant debate just a couple of weeks before the Quebec referendum. I view this as a referendum debate, not as a debate on a new constitution, nor as a debate on the merits or demerits of sovereignty-association.

I am an unabashed federalist. As one who was born in Quebec, educated in Ontario and lived for some considerable length of time in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, I feel I have an appreciation for more than just Ontario and even the constituency I represent in northern Ontario. I get excited when I talk about Canada, and I remain convinced that we can, along with French Canada, build a stronger Canada, one with a unique identity.

My approach to Quebec and the present referendum debate is based upon the important assumption that the people of Quebec constitute a nation. The Quebecois share a common language, boast a distinct history and have their own civil institutions and cultural traditions. They possess a strong sense of national identity. In the 1760s, Sir Guy Carleton, the second Governor of Canada, recognized the potential strength of a people’s sense of identity when he said, “Barring catastrophe too horrible to imagine, this land must always be peopled by the Canadian race.” He was referring, of course, to French Canadians.

I suggest that encouraging the growth of that nation is not only possible but also desirable within Canada. If the rest of Canada is lacking in such an identity, we should look to ourselves for a remedy, rather than deny French Canada its right to full expression.

I want this country to remain intact, but I am not convinced the present arrangement is best. I do not believe there is anything contradictory with defending Quebec’s right to self-determination while at the same time declaring a commitment to the maintenance of a single Canadian state, provided both Quebec and English Canada are joined in a voluntary union.

I became a democratic socialist because I came to realize the economic status quo will not be altered by those who enjoy its rewards. French Canada has come to understand the rest of Canada will not alter the political status quo without substantial pressures. As a matter of fact, a very serious threat to this country’s existence has been necessary to drive home that point, especially here in Ontario.

5:50 p.m.

This resolution we are debating states that the status quo is unacceptable, and I heartily support that position. But I would like to make it quite clear that I do not interpret the phrase “opposed to negotiate” to mean that we in this Legislature or the federal government will refuse to talk about sovereignty-association in the event of a yes vote.

This resolution devised by political parties here will be perceived by the Quebec people as saying, regardless of your popular will, we will dictate the terms of any further discussions on a new political and economic arrangement. This government, and the Premier in particular, argues that to negotiate sovereignty-association would be negotiating the breakup of Canada. Therefore, argue the Premier (Mr. Davis) and others, they will not negotiate sovereignty-association regardless of the results of the May 20 referendum.

That kind of logic does not make sense. It is like an employer telling a union that it cannot bring certain demands to the bargaining table because they would bankrupt the company. I know there is a difference between countries and companies but the analogy is valid, because if there still is one key factor they have in common it is the need to sit down and bargain in good faith. The workers have every right to bring their demands to the bargaining table as does management, and Quebec has every right to bring its demands to a post-referendum conference on a new constitution.

New Democrats believe in the process of free collective bargaining. Provided there is bargaining in good faith, agreements are reached. What is true for labour-management relations can also be true for dealings between the people of Quebec and the rest of Canada. With good faith we can overcome our present difficulties and achieve a new agreement. We have talked to each other in the past and we must continue to do so again.

The fact that we do not like the concept of sovereignty-association is not crucial to the necessity of sitting down with our friends in Quebec. What is crucial, however, is the necessity of saying to the people of Quebec, “We want to talk to you.” We must not say that sovereignty-association cannot be on the table for discussion. How outraged we would be if French Canada said to the rest of us that they would not talk to us about anything except sovereignty-association. Of course we must talk about sovereignty-association just as we must talk about a renewed federalism, a new constitution.

Perhaps I can refresh members’ memories concerning the position taken by the Pepin-Robarts task force on national unity on this very issue. I quote from it: “If in the course of the next few years Quebeckers definitively and democratically decided to secede, ought that decision to be respected and accepted by the rest of Canada? To that question we answer an unequivocal yes.”

That was the Pepin-Robarts report, and in it they were talking about secession. If they say that about secession, do we say to the people of Quebec, “We won’t even talk to you about sovereignty-association, let alone separatism”? I am opposed to sovereignty-association, but I would never deny French Canadians the right to come and sit down and talk with us about what they decide is their preferred option. I would hope that we could convince the people in Quebec that the French-Canadian nation can thrive, not just within the borders of Quebec, but also all across Canada.

I am appalled at the message being delivered to the people of Quebec. That message is designed to convince them that if they vote yes their decision will not be recognized by the rest of Canada. That message offends my commitment to the democratic process. Our party policy affirms New Democrats’ commitment to support a federal Canada. Our party policy also states that New Democrats believe: “The people of Quebec have the right to make their choice without coercion.”

We will never build a strong Canada by dictating to French Canada the limits of our discussion with them. I am a strong and confirmed federalist, hut I must say that our commitment to a free and open democratic process without coercion or intimidation is absolutely critical if we are to maintain our own integrity. The reaction of those like the Premier who presume to speak for English Canada has been appallingly monolithic and insensitive. This government has decided, in its own wisdom, certainly not the collective wisdom of the people of Ontario, that it will not negotiate sovereignty-association with Quebec.

I am offended by the fact that this government chooses to ignore the views of a very substantial proportion of Ontario’s population. According to public opinion polls tabled by this government, more people feel Ontario should negotiate economic union with a separate Quebec, should that be the outcome of the current crisis -- and I very much hope that it won’t be -- than oppose such negotiation. Even when it comes to sovereignty-association, opinion in Ontario is not monolithic. Nearly 40 per cent of Ontario’s people want the federal government to negotiate if Quebec votes yes in the referendum.

Yet the Premier, on Monday of this week, had the following to say in his speech: “Sovereignty-association, the polite term for the breakup of Confederation, has no associates in Canada. Negotiations to pursue such a proposal have no negotiators. As a bargaining weapon, it has as much chance of winning a better deal for Quebec as I have of winning a million dollars playing solitaire. I am confident that I have faithfully represented my province on this matter.”

In my view, it is wrong for the Premier of Ontario to go to Quebec and say, “We will not negotiate sovereignty-association.” This position is not a true democratic reflection of how the people of this province feel about this very crucial issue.

I began by confirming my commitment to federalism. I would like to conclude by underlining why I believe the federal system provides the framework and the flexibility to respond to the demand for change within Canada.

The federal system is, by its very nature, a system of tension and dynamism, of dialogue and negotiation. If the provinces and the federal government come together to dialogue in good faith, then there is great potential for constructive and positive change to reflect the demands of a developing and maturing nation such as our own.

In the base of Quebec, the province has secured substantial changes in its control over its own affairs since the 1960s. In 1965, for instance, Quebec signed agreements with the French government in matters relating to culture and education. In 1968 and 1969, Quebec sent its own delegation to international conferences on education. Most significantly, in 1964, the Quebec government negotiated an independent scheme for its state-run pension plan, and to date is the only province to have done so.

In the mid-1960s, Quebec also successfully negotiated significant modifications in the cost-sharing programs in the social services field, specifically regarding hospital insurance, old age assistance, and disabled persons’ allowances. The Quebec government also secured greater control over its public housing programs.

Quebec separatists argue that the negotiations by which Quebec obtained these changes represented not an enhancement of provincial jurisdictions, but rather a regaining of powers which belonged to the provinces in the first place. This may well be the case, but the obvious point to be made is that since our federal system has provided the flexibility for this shift in powers, there is every reason to believe the mechanism exists for future constructive evolution of our federal system.

I am a democratic socialist, and I am a fervent Canadian nationalist. I believe I have some sense of the emotions felt by French-Canadian nationalists. I say to our friends in Quebec: We want you to stay. We want to talk to you. We want to bargain with you in good faith so that we can all express our will, as we believe the best expression for French-Canadian nationalism and the fullest expression for Canadian nationalism can best be done in a strong and united Canada, and we should work together to do that for all of us.

6 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I rise to participate briefly in this debate. I wish to commend the previous speakers not only for their very deep and abiding care and concern for the particular issue that is the focus of our attention, the future of the country, but also for the fact that they have been able to convey that interest and concern to the level of the individual Canadian.

I am sure that in the hours which will follow today, and in the hours tomorrow, the speakers who will follow me will continue to underline and underscore what has been said before.

There is a very fundamental question before the voters of Quebec. I think our rule in commenting upon that was best set out by the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), who said that were it another question that was being posed to the residents of Quebec, the question might be raised as to why we would comment upon their right to make a decision.

The question the voters of Quebec are being asked to vote upon -- regardless of how one chooses to vote -- is one which involves the attitudes and the policies of the other nine provinces as well as of the federal government of Canada.

The Premier of this province (Mr. Davis) has made it abundantly clear that this province will not negotiate sovereignty-association. Other provincial Premiers -- some candidly, some probably not as bluntly -- have made it plain that they cannot, and will not, negotiate sovereignty-association.

The Prime Minister of this country has made it very plain that the federal government will not negotiate sovereignty-association. Therefore, one concern the voter of Quebec must have, since negotiation involves not just his own province, but also others, is that when he or she casts the ballot, a yes vote is entirely meaningless and entirely futile.

In that vote, there is the concern that the voter of Quebec may be confused as to the impact or the real meaning of the question. The events of the past few days in this Legislature must put that to rest. There can be no excuse; there can be no rationalization: A vote of yes is a futile vote because what they are voting for cannot happen. Therefore, in one’s own conscience, when one casts a yes vote, no one can rationalize, and no one can make apologies about misunderstanding. One must accept responsibility for what that vote means. On that basis, this Legislature has done the people of the entire dominion of Canada a very great service.

The second aspect of the dialogue, because there is little debate, is the underscoring of the very fundamental principle that the people of Canada and the people of Ontario do not want to continue on with the status quo. Whether the status quo involves the rights of provinces or the rights of the federal government, or whether the status quo involves the eminence of regions or the very great disparity that has at least one major region of this country underprivileged, the people will not accept a continuance of the status quo.

That is not to say that the people of this country, the people of this province and the members of this Legislature do not respect and admire the thoughts and abilities of those who framed the British North America Act. The refusal to continue indefinitely the status quo is no reflection on the merits or the historical prominence of the BNA Act. It is a recognition that the British North America Act, with all of the evolvements that come from it, was not the finality for the orderly development in perpetuity of this country.

Instead, it is the recognition that it is a marvellous foundation that has stood the test of more than a century and has stood the test of the change in this country from a rural to an urban society with all of the implications in that. It is one that has stood the test of the industrial revolution and then the technological revolution. It is one that has met the ever-rising expectations of the individuals of this country.

The negotiations for constitutional change will be based upon that foundation. I prefer the word “change” rather than “reform,” because the changes that will come are ones that will enhance the orderly development of government and the ordinary development of self, rather than express a concern that something has to be drastically changed if, as individuals or a province or a country, we are to achieve our destiny.

In many areas there is a need for change, for clarification, for adjustment, for balance, for consideration of the matters that simply were not here 10 years ago, let alone more than a century ago. The Confederation of Canada was achieved as almost an impossible dream.

6:10 p.m.

If the political pundits of today who foresee such a gloomy future for this country had been in their same positions in the 1860s, their forecast then of, first, the achievement of a meaningful Confederation, second, a lasting Confederation and, third, a Confederation that would meet such enormous social, economic and world changes would have been even more gloomy about the initial phase than their long-term outlook for the Canada of tomorrow.

That Confederation was achieved because of the good intentions, the dedication and, above all, the personal contribution of people who were willing to make accommodations and who were willing to see other points of view but who did not engage in the politics of timidity and did not engage in the politics of expediency that any agreement was better than no agreement.

Today the politics of diversity, the politics that some call regionalism and others call provincialism, are not the politics of timidity. Perhaps that is difficult for outsiders to recognize, because nowhere else in the world are the politics of diversity as successful and as beneficial to individual human beings as they are in this country. It is all very well to talk about Europe and certain parts of Asia that have varying forms of multiculturalism. Those forms of multiculturalism are so historic that they were imposed upon those states. There was no alternative but for those states to accept them.

In the New World, the only nation that has made the free choice of enabling its individuals -- and not just as tokenism -- to preserve, enhance and expand their cultures and their traditions has been Canada. Canada is also the only nation in the New World that has inscribed not only in its documentary procedures, but also as a way of life, that there were two founding groups. It is not a situation whereby we had to accept either founding group as something that was so historic that we could not achieve a nation without it. It was the choice of free people and the recognition of the contributions of both.

When a nation is founded upon principle, when a nation is founded and continues on the basis that there can be dissent, debate and differing views, then quite naturally there is very seldom unanimity. The fact that there is not unanimity in all the degrees and in all the aspects of the call for constitutional change should not be an inhibition.

The challenge before us is to accept the expansion of time-tested principles which are based upon what was and is right, what was and is orderly. The one concern I have in all this is that there appears to be almost a spirit of euphoria that constitutional change alone will bring about the true destiny of this country. Noble as the intent may be, idealistic as the viewpoint may be, I suggest that we must be realistic.

Thirteen years ago there was a similar euphoria, the road to Expo. Many today look backwards upon centennial year as the high point of Canada. That disturbs me a very great deal, because to me it was only the beginning of the modern or second phase of Canada. But at that time there was such idealism, such good feeling, that the very significant problems that faced us then and still face us today, albeit a little bit more visibly, perhaps more demonstrably, could be overcome by that great spirit of euphoria.

That is the politics of the yellow brick road. There was idealism at the time of Confederation, but there was also realism. There was good intent at the time of Confederation, but Confederation was not made necessarily in its entirety of good intent. It was made of difficult decisions, of fair accommodations and indeed, because it has survived for more than a century, of extremely practical consideration.

Tomorrow, 30 or 31 hours from now, this Mouse will unanimously pass this resolution. To pass it is not the end or the beginning. It is a simple reaffirmation that we are going forward to build, not just a country, not just a society, not just a community, but a total environment that not only will enhance not just the economic sphere and not just the social sphere, but will enhance and bring new meaning into the life of every Canadian.

Mr. McEwen: Mr. Speaker, first, I want to say that I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak in regard to the situation that exists in our country today.

As the citizens of this country attempt to follow the activities of its political leaders, they cannot help but notice the strong regionalism that exists in Canada. On almost any given day the newspapers are very likely to contain articles about a difference of opinion between the central government and the provincial governments or a similar debate between provincial governments. There are those who would seize on these issues as examples of the failure of the Canadian federation and would therefore despair of Canada’s future.

6:20 p.m.

Such doom and gloom fails to recognize that Canada is a federation. As a result, the individual partners in this union have powers which are legitimate and must be recognized. The use of these powers does not in any way indicate a lessened commitment to Canada as a whole. To say that the provincial governments’ use of their powers is a threat to Canadian unity is unfair and incorrect.

Federalism is an appropriate form of government for Canada. For too long some Canadians have failed to appreciate that federalism has made this a country which finds strength through diversity. Canadian unity does not hinge on all parts of this country being the same, or on all its people acting the same. What it does entail is that all Canadians must recognize a greater commitment to the wellbeing of the entire country.

This recognition must be accompanied by the acceptance by all Canadians of the deep ties that link people of this province together into one united country. These ties run deeper than purely economic consideration.

It has often been said that Canada is a nation that defies geography. Indeed, any schoolchild can tell one that geography would decree the movement of people and goods would naturally flow north-south and not east-west. In addition, economics would have long ago denied the logic of those pursuing a confederation from sea to sea.

These two observations -- that Canada defies geographic and economic considerations -- are perhaps clichés, but this is only because they are so obvious and true. it is not true, however, that Canada defies logic. When the conferences which resulted in Confederation were held during the 1860s, Canadian politicians had to decide on the path to be taken by the former British colonies in North America. They came to the conclusion that the differences between the regions were unlikely to disappear and that the federal form of government would provide the means to reconcile differences. From these beginnings has sprung the historic preference of Canadians for conciliation over confrontation.

While in the past there has not always been unanimity, we have had unity. The people of Canada can take pride in a system which does not force one political opinion over all participants. Rather, it allows differences to be aired so that solutions may be found. Within this system, Canada has provided a wide range of opportunities for people from all provinces. Consider how different the lives of Canadians would have been if they had been forced to confine themselves to one province or one region of our country. I believe it is at this personal emotional level that we must consider the benefits of federalism.

This great nation of ours has found strength through diversity, not only at the level of intergovernmental relations, but also in the lives of individual Canadians. Their lives have been made more rewarding because we, as people, have been made aware time and again that differences between people are not barriers to co-operation and trust. There is no provincial border which even remotely represents a barrier to freedom or goodwill. There is no Canadian who would deny himself access to the opportunities which can be found throughout our federation. Surely all Canadians realize that these opportunities exist not only because of our approach to political unity, but also because individual Canadians have been raised on the good common sense which is the basis of courtesy, respect and goodwill between people of different backgrounds.

I said earlier that Canadian unity has not entailed unanimity, but Canadians can be unanimous in taking pride in our country. This pride is justified by our ability to overcome geographic and economic obstacles, to create a country with one of the highest standards of living in the world.

While I could go on for some length about our economic strengths, they are by no means my only reason for supporting Canadian unity. There are many things in life that can be put on a ledger or added up on a balance sheet, but the future of this country is certainly not one of them. Canadian unity has preserved for all of us things that money cannot buy. We can justly take pride in the multicultural heritage of Canada and the way in which native-born Canadians traditionally have recognized the contribution made by all ethnic groups which have made Canada their home.

We can also take pride in Canada’s role on the international scene. Negotiations, discussions and expressions of loyalty to the concept of peace and democracy, which have always been taken for granted in Canada, are the exception rather than the rule throughout most of the world.

While in a typical newspaper we see articles on problems within Canada, we also see articles describing acts of terrorism and civil war between groups which have abandoned all hope of finding a peaceful settlement of their differences. Indeed, some nations have never brought their differences to a conference table, and in some cases no hope has ever been expressed that a peaceful settlement can be found.

Canada has had a great tradition of peacemaking during international crises. We have played a leading role in the League of Nations and, later, at the United Nations. Our armed forces have been an integral part of the UN peacekeeping forces in Cyprus, in Indochina, and in the Middle East. I am sure we all remember this country’s justifiable pride when Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his efforts in bringing about reconciliation in the Suez Canal incident.

If we cannot find a basis for settling our own discord, this country’s voice for reconciliation and compromise will lose its credibility. In a world where so few people enjoy the many benefits which we have as Canadians, our failure to solve our internal dissensions would surely severely damage the hope of other nations finding a peaceful solution to their problems. At this time in our history, we here in Canada are in a unique position to show a world troubled by discord and disunity that people of good will can reconcile differences and reduce tensions.

In a federation, the partners in the union are not expected to agree on all details of day-to-day life. In fact, the federal system provides for airing disagreements among the partners. Today, with various members of the Canadian federation voicing their unhappiness with the present arrangements, a new form of federalism is being discussed openly and honestly. It is a discussion that does not bury the differences but airs them so that a solution satisfactory to all parties can be found.

There is much that must still be done to make Canada a better, more united country. We must reach out to those who are dissatisfied with the present system and work towards bridging the gap between diversified groups within our federation. We can do this only by continuing to respect our varied characteristics and by giving new life to our tradition of mutual goodwill within Canadian federalism.

What can Canadian federalism achieve that 10 separate provinces could not? The answers are obvious when one realizes we are pooling not only our physical and economic resources but our human resources as well.

The trade in goods and services that goes on between provinces is only part of the movement of ideas and people that all countries should enjoy. By working for a new federalism for Canada, the interchange of resources should be enhanced, so that we can take new strength from our country’s existence.

Confederation remains a good deal for all Canadians. It provides us with a free and open country, with room to grow and prosper. It has permitted our development as a sovereign nation and strengthened every ethnic group within it, because of the respect that federalism gives to different people of different regions. We are therefore not burdens to each other, united by a fear of the unknown, but partners in a great country which can grow even greater.

Our nation is rich in resources and resourcefulness, and I say with all confidence that people from every province will resist the pressures that challenge our unity. Clearly, at this time we need to retain and strengthen the legacy of those who worked together to create Confederation, a difficult task which required the co-operation of people from all regions. Those people saw in Canada what most Canadians see today: unrivalled opportunities for freedom, for growth and for individual civil liberties.

6:30 p.m.

Unfortunately, our history is taught in a way that makes it seem boring and dull. Lists are given of important dates and the men and women who achieved great things against tremendous odds. But the true history of our country, like the true history of any country, is made up of the day-to-day stories, the exchanges and the co-operation of people from various social backgrounds, ethnic origins and different regions.

Canadians have drawn from every possible source in order to advance our culture, our economy, our society and our country. If we had not been united, could we have lasted out the great Depression? Without unity, would we have been able to take the role that we did in the two world wars? Could we have provided the social services which exist to help those in need throughout the country? In fact, would we have survived until now but for Canadian federalism?

We need to retain and strengthen the flexibility which has been an essential part of our federation at the same time as we attempt to refine and adapt it to present-day politics. The flexibility which is built into our system has permitted, and will continue to permit, accommodation and change. Because of this flexibility, I believe that Canadian unity today does not face a threat. Rather, it faces a challenge to respond to fair and just demands for change. I believe we should face this challenge with a determination combined with optimism. Canadian federalism has always needed to respond to change. The differences of opinion which exist in Canada today are not new. What is new is that they are now being presented with a greater forcefulness. I do not believe we should be disheartened by this forcefulness. We have responded to great challenges in the past and we shall do so at the present time. However, we must retain our willingness to compromise.

The conditions which encouraged the Fathers of Confederation are still present today, and we should consider this a major reason for working together. Together we can preserve our historical heritage and our multicultural background, and we can maintain the atmosphere of respect and trust that has been the core of Canadian federalism. Canada has always been, and is today, a great country, a country which is second to none. To splinter it would be a tragedy.

The benefits that we Canadians enjoy justify a sense of pride and patriotism. Patriotism does not lie in being faithful to just one small part of our country. For Canada, it lies in being proud of all this great and beautiful country, from the rugged Pacific coastline to the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, I do not believe that we should negotiate sovereignty-association, because we know this is another way of saying separation. I do believe that a no vote should be a signal to begin the process of renewing Canadian federalism, a process that we are eager to undertake with Quebec, the other provinces and the federal government.

I support the resolution which is before this House. In closing, I appeal to all Canadians to be proud of this homeland with all of its diversity. Let us draw on this diversity to build a unity which graces our differences. If we can succeed in the great endeavour of preserving a nation which has overcome its internal obstacles, we shall be the envy of other countries and, I hope, we will encourage others to follow our example.

Finally, I appeal to all Canadians to stand up and be counted when it comes time to demonstrate our faith in our future together and our trust in the goodwill of our fellow citizens.

Mr. Lawlor: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Cry the beloved country! This will not be an inspired or inspiring speech. It will be limited to largely concrete matters, the division of powers within a new constitution, an abstract concreteness, I suppose, the terms of which would be such as would be in a new constitution itself. First, may I say that I agree with the sentiments of most of my colleagues in this House on both sides of the assembly about the beloved country and our recognition and concern, which is not only economic or in any way primarily economic, but for the true aspirations, distinctiveness and heritage of the people of Quebec. This is not a time for partisanship here or anywhere else. We must for a few minutes seek to become statesmen. However, soon that begins to dissipate.

We are ready and willing in Ontario, even anxious, for change and ask the people of Quebec to participate with us like brothers and sisters in a common destiny. For us too, “Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ignore,” as Pascal said. The heart has its reasons of which reason does not know.

For a long time, since law school days when I studied constitutional law under our prime federalist, leaving aside Pierre, the now Chief Justice Bora Laskin, I dreamed of assisting in the writing of a new constitution. It was needed 35 years ago, but with even a small group of people it was too massive, too formidable an undertaking to tackle. Today it is much easier because of the numerous studies, assessments and reports which have been forthcoming in recent years from the western provinces and from a dozen groups.

The five major documents on which this speech is based are the Ryan, or beige, paper; the Pepin-Robarts report, which report has great merit and regretfully -- I think we all say regretfully -- was shelved, disregarded when it might easily have been taken up; the Ontario Advisory Committee on Confederation which I term the Macdonald Study; and the fine work, generally speaking, done in the Canadian Bar Association report, Towards a Better Canada.

Any one of these reports might be taken as a basis for discussion on negotiations for a new constitution. All four of these together, with others, disclose striking resemblances internally, anglophone and francophone or concordances of thinking among them. It would take several hours to go over and analyse these reports and I have only 20 minutes, and besides, it is the basic job of the new select committee of this House being set up under this resolution.

We are for profound constitutional change, not simply to meet Quebec’s legitimate aspirations but because the British North America Act is archaic and does not at present meet the needs of all the people of Canada. Rene Levesque’s proposals are, as another great French speaker, Charles de Gaulle, said, “inacceptable,” because they are unworkable, and for other reasons which I hope to get a chance to set out. Now, to get to work:

I shall for convenience and because of its relative logic, clarity, distinctiveness -- the old Cartesian categories -- and magnanimity use Claude Ryan’s so-called beige paper as the basis of my remarks. It can be well used as a pregnant starting point for any reform. Basically, I agree with Ryan with certain serious reservations, as the House will see. A considerable measure of decentralization is necessary if this country is to survive or be saved, and I have not just Quebec in mind.

Taking point by point, as far as I can get within the limits of this speech, the various matters that a new constitution must contain, let us take a look at the several reports involved. The first area would be what Ryan calls unilateral powers. Those are those very broad and vague powers utilized in or outside our constitution as at present written, which many of the provinces, and for quite justifiable reasons, feel invade their territory, impinge upon what they think is their right and have been construed to do that over the years.

6:40 p.m.

The first of the powers is the power of reservation and disallowance and Ryan says abolish it. Curiously, the Pepin-Robarts report says the same thing and the Macdonald study doesn’t discuss the matter particularly. Some mention of it is made in the Canadian Bar Review but not very much because I think they take the same position, they don’t place the matter under severe discussion.

The declaratory power, that power of declaring a work for the general advantage of Canada, et cetera, which has been used quite invalidly on occasion and sometimes supported in that regard in the old days by the Privy Council which set it up, Ryan says abolish and so do I. Pepin-Robarts says keep it but subject to the consent of the province involved. The Canadian Bar Association review wants a two-thirds majority of what it calls the upper house unless the province concerned agrees.

In terms of the spending power, that critical power, that’s a shared-cost program. Ryan would retain the spending power, which may be quite surprising because others take great exception to it, they want to limit it severely. He would retain it, but in fields where that power, the new spending policy, impinges upon provincial jurisdiction, he wants that two-thirds majority, which I find questionable, of what he calls his federal council to agree to it, and the right of the province to opt out and get compensation in the process. The opting-out formula and the compensation thing seem to me perfectly acceptable and valid.

On the residual powers of the constitution called the peace, order and good government clause, Ryan basically comes down on the side of putting those powers, the residual powers, those powers that are not spelled out as belonging to anybody, where they fall and on whoever has possession of them -- until now, under the federal constitution, the federal government has taken them -- Ryan said it should be the provinces and, hold on to your hats, so does Pepin-Robarts and so does the Canadian Bar Association review and so does Macdonald’s report.

They have a consensus on this particular issue and it would be a matter of negotiation of when they come together or lock horns, but bear it well in mind that there is a strong case which I, at this moment -- I could change my mind -- am in fundamental agreement with, that the province should have the residual power and that is a major step because it is a reversal of the whole present situation and would appease many provincial sensibilities.

It doesn’t, to my opinion, hurt the federal government all that much because it will retain an emergency power and will retain a spending power besides the enumerative powers that would be negotiated for. Once that is all set down, then it would be possible to take a major step forward in conciliation, in coming to terms, et cetera.

The emergency power -- Ryan says that should be retained. Again, there are all kinds of critics who say that iniquitous power ought to be abolished, but Ryan doesn’t go that far. He says it should be retained and be retained under certain circumstances, again impinging upon provincial jurisdiction, again two-thirds vote in the federal House, that federal assembly that he put forward.

And so for those basic vague powers. Coming down to a series of other matters, Ryan suggests all judges in the province be appointed by the province, and I can see no harm in that. I would like to hear counter arguments against that and no doubt we will eventually hear those. At the present time, the federal government appoints Supreme Court judges and county court judges and the province appoints the lower court judges. This proposal is that the provinces should have appointment power over all levels of judgement except, of course, the Supreme Court of this country.

In constitutional matters Ryan says there should be court of parity, an equal number of French Canadian or Quebec judges and judges coming from the rest of Canada to adjudicate constitutional issues. In that narrow area, I think that again it can be well accepted. To save this country I think we’re going to have to make some moves in this direction and be very open with respect to these things. If an odd thing sticks in the craw, we’ll just take a long drink of water and get it down.

In terms of penitentiaries and parole, Ryan says turn them over to the provinces. Our federal penitentiary system is in such a lamentable condition that we couldn’t do anything better. Besides, our present system is truncated with the reformatories under provincial and the penitentiaries under federal, and the two-years-plus-a-day business all the time. That can be resolved. Why shouldn’t the provinces, if they want it, accept that responsibility -- and Ryan wants to accept that.

In international relationships, the provinces will have a role. I think that’s to be conceded to them. We’ve always exercised it informally and outside the constitution. Ontario House in London -- no one has ever raised an objection. I’m sure it is unconstitutional, but what a delightful place to visit.

The province is to have a role, but the federal government is to retain its traditional role, except in treaties and matters pertaining to provincial jurisdiction when the consent of the province concerned would be required. The provinces may establish offices abroad, acting subject to the federal diplomatic policy, and conclude their own treaties in matters within provincial jurisdiction within the overall diplomatic framework and foreign policy of the country.

Wouldn’t that go a long way to meeting the objections of Rene Levesque and others who take off for North Africa and former French colonies, et cetera, and under our present system are obliged, much against their will; I’m sure, to thumb their nose as they go?

Citizenship would be exclusively federal and all these reports all agree to that.

Immigration -- Ryan says this should be a shared responsibility. The feds authorize the entry, the provinces participate in the selection, and the Pepin-Robarts report advocates that. In other words, there is a concurrence there, with divided jurisdiction, where they work together. Surely the province should have a role since the new immigrants coming in become the responsibility of the provinces in a very direct way, in the business of settlement and training, and have a voice as to the selection that would go on.

In taxation -- now we’re getting to the nub of the bourgeois virtues -- things begin to stir. Who cares about other things? Ryan, and I think all the others too, say -- and we’ve all said it for a long time and done nothing about it -- that both levels of government ought to be able to tax by any means they wish, excluding tariffs and custom duties which would be a federal responsibility. I don’t think I have to labour that proposition.

In monetary matters -- and here’s where Rene Levesque joins the entourage -- he wants a monetary union. How self-serving can you get -- to give nothing and to want to retain whatever benefits there are. Ryan says that should be exclusively federal. The control of banking, regulations of interest, foreign currency, competition policy, the federal cornpanies strictly as federal enterprises, all fall within the federal jurisdiction. Provincial jurisdiction covers co-ops, trust, insurance and loan companies.

I would go one step beyond Ryan in this matter. I would give recognition -- official, constitutional recognition -- to provincial banks. They all exist now. Two banks amalgamated recently in British Columbia. We even have our own, believe it or not. We’ve come that far forward. So why shouldn’t the provinces be given that authority, of course, within a central banking system, as would be necessary?

Marriage and divorce and juvenile law all should be provincial. There are reservations in the bar report. They say the divorce law should continue to be handled by the federal government, to get uniformity of divorce grounds and procedures right across the country. These matters are very close to the heart and I think the more local they are, probably the better-handled they are. There can be arrangements among the provinces as to mutual recognition in this regard.

6:50 p.m.

Defence really bothers me. What does Rene Levesque say about defence, except for some vague mouthings to the effect that he is prepared to carry out some obligations vis-à-vis NATO on the one side and try to make some accommodations with the rest of the country? If one starts making accommodations in defence, they reach very deep indeed into the whole financial apparatus of the country and into the contributions being made.

In effect, what Levesque does, as I read it, is to strip us of defence, as some countries do -- and do rather well -- by not spending any money; they rely on others to do that, according to the domestic economy, to their own aggrandizement. We have some responsibilities in this regard, and so has Rene Levesque.

However appealing a human being he may be, he is intransigent in the extreme. My remarks are all predicated upon the fact that one really cannot deal with him. He may be only holding a posture at the moment in this referendum, but he can hardly back up, having taken such adamantine positions. The repudiation by his own people, who have supported him throughout this thing, would be too great. He does not leave himself any room whatsoever, and has not indicated the slightest interest in doing so. How is it possible to negotiate subsequently, even as he is appealing to the Quebec people on that very ground that he wants a mandate to negotiate?

Negotiate what? Negotiate a community council on his terms? Will one get complete parity and a double veto on every conceivable important issue under the sun? Sometimes it is difficult in the United Nations to keep the assembly going, but they have to do it, perforce, if there is to be any world stability at all.

We are not quite in the same position as that. On the first veto, I am sure the whole apparatus, the house of cards, would fall apart. This extends all the way down into his court of justice and his monetary authority, where he does make the only concession that he ever made. He says that monetary authority ought to be proportional to provincial products and Canadian products in terms of numbers, but he immediately, of course, takes away with the left hand what he has just given with the right by saying that it can be appealed up to the council when the veto exists.

Then there is trade. Ryan says interprovincial and international trade are basically federal and so do all the others. There is federal primacy and no provincial veto. As to bankruptcy, Ryan says personal bankruptcy ought to be in the provincial jurisdiction and commercial bankruptcies of all kinds in the federal. It does not seem to me to make much difference. I do not feel we are going to have a civil imbroglio as to where bankruptcy resides, whether up in Ottawa or down at Osgoode Hall. It could be provincial. The provinces could handle it, except for criminal law which has to be federal.

My next topic is the areas of disagreement, as though I have not got a few already. One is with respect to the proposed Senate -- what Ryan calls the federal council and Robarts calls the council of the federation. There are all sorts of flowery terms, as for racehorses, in connection with this new assembly body. I believe the body to be absolutely critical, necessary to have. The Senate has to be abolished and something substituted. There must be a buffer, it seems to me, between those two levels of government.

The meeting of the first ministers has not really worked over the years, and even the meeting of the second ministers has not done very well. Therefore, we are going to have to have some middle, balancing mechanism. I do not think it will be elected because that sets up a parallel competing house against the House of Commons in Ottawa. It, therefore, has to be appointed. The question is, and it is a hard enough question to deal with, how appointed? Does one use proportional methods in the process of dealing with it? I leave that kind of thing open, and this is precisely the point of the discussion. But such a house has to exist.

Where I find my greatest aggravation with Ryan is that he says a very broad area of things has to have a two-thirds approval in that house, many fiscal matters and anything impinging upon the provinces. Everything touches the provinces one way or another these days.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Maybe the member can continue this in the budget debate.

Mr. Lawlor: What is that curious light doing on there?

Mr. Acting Speaker: it is the first time we have had it in this House.

Mr. Lawlor: I will finish up very quickly. This country is and can be a marvellous, unique and historical experiment, a coming together of many peoples, but particularly of the two founding peoples. The vision of a homeland and a demesne of the north, uniting two distinct cultures, both with diverse and complementary native ways and languages, enriched by many other racial and linguistic traditions is, and can be, if we have the will, a sense of sacrifice, and the dedication a beacon to the world and the fulcrum of an enhanced destiny for each and all of us.

The active presence and contribution of Quebec in this mosaic is the raison d’être of this country. It is our genius and our possible contribution to the world. In separation, Canada would lose its soul. I believe such a folly would be as detrimental to Quebec in its new sense of direction, in its precious cultural heritage, its linguistic integrity and, lastly, in its straight economic interests, as it would be to the rest of the country -- probably more detrimental.

We need Quebec and Quebec needs us simply to be and grow as a just and compassionate society. Quebec has suffered much wrong for too long a time. I acknowledge this and, personally, I deeply regret it, but we are willing to change and to meet more than half way the legitimate aspirations of Quebec and others.

By the bowels of Christ, let us sit down, talk and set some harmony in this Canadian house which we all ineluctably share and love. Cry the beloved country!

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate and particularly pleased that my friends, the member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) and the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) are here this evening. As members know, the member for Stormout-Dundas-Glengarry has spent 32 years in service to the people of Ontario and Canada. Members will be pleased to know that the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development will celebrate his 22nd year in this House on Monday. I know and members know they understand what this debate is all about much better than do some of us on both sides of this House.

In the course of this Confederation debate there have been several interesting historical references to the people who shaped the pattern of relations between Ontario and Quebec. We have heard about Lafontaine and Baldwin and their creative solutions to the problems of the early reform movement. The deep personal commitment elf men like Macdonald and Laurier produced the first evidence that the true differences of a bi-cultural country could be fostered by a national government. I have a different kind of reference to make, but one that I believe clearly describes the kind of effort Canadians have been capable of in the process of building their country.

My constituency includes part of Simcoe county, named for the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, John Graves Simcoe. Simcoe is possibly best remembered as a capable civil administrator who laid out the first roads in the colony. I refer to him because of his efforts to establish, while the country was still young, a British province based on the traditional aristocratic principles of class structure and hereditary privilege. His vision of a new colony permitted the development of the Family Compact and brought Canadians quickly to a crossroads in their history. Simcoe failed to see that the electorate would refuse to be stratified in this system and within a generation the Family Compact came under attack.

7 p.m.

Among those items that record Simcoe’s place in this country was the fact he was the representative of a system that Canadians ultimately chose to reject. It is not a very flattering reference to Simcoe, but the reason I raise it is it shows quite clearly that Canadians made a conscious choice in those eariy days about the kind of Canada they envisaged. Responsible government for both Ontario and Quebec was the logical result, and the next generation set its mind to the task of nation-building.

My constituency of Dufferin-Simcoe was settled at the beginning of the last century by Irish, Scottish and English immigrants, most of whom made their homes on the farms. It is still very much a farming community, although, with industrialization and the proximity of the city, the split between urban and rural is now about equal.

It appears to me that the people of Quebec have a perception of rural Ontario that might lead them to think we have little in common. We tend to be perceived as reluctant to change and accepting the status quo. Whatever the reason for this might be, I believe if we were to take a closer look at the people of Dufferin-Simcoe, we might find we have more in common with a similar community in Quebec than may be evident at first glance.

Everyone knows what a small community is like. We work hard. We go to church. We are good neighbours. We have a strong sense of community and understand the strength that comes from working together to achieve common goals. We have a deep emotional commitment to Confederation and the historic ties that link us to other provinces. We are not cosmopolitan. We tend to stick close to home simply because that is where we feel most comfortable.

In a country such as ours, with its variety of people and languages and cultures, we understand it isn’t realistic to think we should feel completely at home wherever we go, but that doesn’t stop us from travelling. What makes us proud of our country is that wherever we may visit we are treated with respect.

It is true we are not quick to change, and at times that might make us appear unwilling to change, but that is a characteristic common to all small communities, whether it be a town in British Columbia or a farming community in the Eastern Townships. I think you will find that we make a special effort where our children are concerned because we naturally recognize what is best for them and for their future.

While many of my generation may not speak French, we are proud that our children do. We may not take many vacations in Quebec, but we find it exciting that our children travel there on a school trip or a hockey exchange. It is reassuring to see that they are at ease with a second language and coping very well on their own in a different culture. It is a small thing, but it still makes us very proud of them.

I say these things to show that, for all our differences, there is much we have in common. I have tried to show that whatever the perception may be, we are sensitive to the concerns at present being expressed in Quebec. I have tried to explain there is a growing realization, especially among our young people, that there is a genuine need for change. After 100 years, it should not surprise any of us that the constitution is in need of review.

For my contribution to the debate, Mr. Speaker, I would like to join with my colleague in support of this resolution and urge that we seize upon this opportunity to strengthen the partnership that has served this country so well.

Mr. Peterson: Merci, M. l’Orateur, je veux dire que ça me fait bien plaisir de vous adresser la parole aujourd’hui au sujet du référendum et de l’avenir de notre pays. A mon avis, c’est un débat de très grande importance.

Je veux dire que je suis très fier de tous mes collègues de la Législature, de l’esprit et des paroles qu’ils ont dites au sujet de mon pays et du pays de tous les Canadiens.

Je veux dire que j’ai eu l’opportunité, M. l’Orateur, de voyager au Québec et d’étudier dans le petit village de Trois Pistoles. C’est un joli petit village sur la rive sud Saint-Laurent. Il y a une école d’été de l’université de Western Ontario. Comme vous savez c’est dans la circonscription de London Centre. J’ai passé deux étés là en étudiant le français. J’ai fait la connaissance de beaucoup de Québécois, et j’espère à ce moment de l’histoire de ce pays qu’ils ont la même impression de leur pays que moi-même. J’espère qu’après le référendum nous pourrons dire que nous avons choisi notre pays ensemble, et nous pouvons fabriquer ensemble une nouvelle constitution, un nouvel arrangement pour ce pays.

Et je veux dire, il importe beaucoup au cours d’un débat sur l’avenir de la Confédération de souligner les liens affectifs qui nous unissent les uns aux autres et qui nous attachent à notre pays. On doit prendre également un certain recul pour réfléchir aux raisons économiques, commerciales et pratiques, et nous devons souhaiter vivement la survie du Canada en tant que pays formé de dix provinces et de deux territoires. Les provinces et les régions de notre pays ont besoin les uns des autres. Cent treize ans de confédération ont prouvé que l’interdépendance et le partage des richesses qui caractérisent le Canada profitent à tous.

Nul autre pays n’offre une démonstration aussi éclatante du fait que le tout est plus grand que la somme de ses parties. Lorsque le gouvernement du Canada décide d’encourager et d’aider financièrement une entreprise canadienne qui réside dans une partie du pays, c’est nous tous qui en profitons. La raison de notre activité économique a toujours été la redistribution de nos richesses. Différentes régions sont ainsi venues en aide aux autres à diverses époques de notre histoire.

7:10 p.m.

De 1961 à 1972, l’Ontario, le Manitoba, la Colombie-Britannique ont acheté le pétrole canadien à un prix supérieur à celui du pétrole importé. Les subsides ainsi affectés à la production de pétrole en Alberta et en Saskatchewan ont dépassé $600,000,000. Depuis 1973 en revanche, les prix internationaux de pétrole et de gaz sont plus élevés que les prix canadiens. Ce sont donc l’Alberta et la Saskatchewan qui aident maintenant les provinces consommatrices à supporter les prix élevés du pétrole et du gaz.

Depuis l’époque déjà reculée de la politique nationale de Sir John A. Macdonald qui présidait le premier aux destinées de notre pays, nous avons adopté une politique d’encouragement à toute région et à tout secteur dont le potentiel nous semblait de nature à profiter à tous les Canadiens. L’un des buts de cette politique nationale a été de favoriser la croissance de nos secteurs manufacturiers en augmentant les droits de douanes aux articles fabriqués à l’étranger de 17 pour cent à 30 pour cent. Ce système permet aux producteurs canadiens d’augmenter le prix des articles à un montant juste un peu inférieur au tarif. Cela revient à imposer une taxe indirecte au consommateur pour soutenir les industries protégées. Dans ce cas particulier, le secteur manufacturier important surtout, Monsieur l’Orateur, au Québec et en Ontario le tarif a donc engendré une source de subvention considérable pour le Québec et pour l’Ontario.

Il y a d’autres exemples, peut-être moins frappants, d’avantages économiques qui favorisent une action coordonnée. Il est impossible d’estimer la valeur en dollars des services offerts par le gouvernement national.

On peut toutefois tenir pour acquis que chaque province réalise des économies non négligeables du fait qu’Ottawa se charge de la représentation diplomatique, de certains aspects de l’application des lois et la protection militaire, de la promotion de nos ventes à l’étranger, de la recherche scientifique, de la protection des pêcheries, des services de main-d’oeuvre et des réseaux de communication.

La Confédération est également source d’autres bénéfices qui échappent à nos calculs. Comment évaluer, par exemple, les gains réalisés par chaque province au niveau du développement économique grâce aux sommes que contribue le gouvernement fédéral aux chemins de fer, aux routes, aux ports, aux aéroports? Les avantages issus de la libre circulation des produits, de la main-d’oeuvre et des capitaux partout au Canada? Des profits apportés par les travailleurs qui font des études dans une province pour ensuite travailler dans un autre? S’il semble indéniable que toutes les provinces bénéficient des services communs offerts par le gouvernement fédéral, on entend encore trop souvent répéter que la redistribution des richesses au Canada se traduit en l’enrichissement de l’une ou de plusieurs provinces aux dépens des autres. Pourtant, rien n’est plus faux. L’existence même d’une société canadienne plus grande, plus variée et plus capable que ne le serait n’importe quelle province prise isolément, présente d’énormes avantages.

Tout d’abord, comme je l’ai déjà mentionné, nous partageons les frais généraux qui couvrent l’administration et le maintien des services utilisés partout au pays. Viennent ensuite les avantages de notre marché commun intérieur. Le marché canadien est suffisamment large pour permettre l’existence d’une industrie de l’automobile, d’une industrie sidérurgique, d’une industrie de produits chimiques et d’articles ménagers, des industries du textile. Ce genre d’activités ne pourrait exister dans la plupart des provinces prises isolément en raison des cycles de production plus grands qui assurent la rentabilité.

Constituant un marché unique, le Canada peut se lancer dans une production plus spécialisée et plus efficace dans de nombreux secteurs. Nous profitons également des échanges interprovinciaux en matière de recherche et de développement technologiques. C’est d’ailleurs mon dernier argument. En tant que pays, notre reserve de personnes-ressources est beaucoup plus considérable que celui de n’importe quelle province. Quant à nos relations avec le reste du monde, il va sans dire qu’un Canada uni a un pouvoir de négociation autrement plus fort dans le contexte commercial hautement compétitif du monde actuel qu’aucune des provinces prises séparément.

Nous participons aux importantes rencontres des pays industrialisés de concert avec les Etats-Unis, la Grande-Bretagne, l’Allemagne, le Japon, la France et l’Italie.

Lors des négociations qui ont abouti aux accords du GATT, il nous a été déjà assez difficile de nous faire entendre en tant que pays. Il est certain qu’une région ou une province à elle seule n’aurait pas une voix forte. Maintenant que les accords ont été conclus, nous avons plus que jamais besoin d’un vaste marché national intégré pour préserver nos industries et pour tirer profit de la libéralisation qui va marquer le commerce international.

Il suffit d’observer les relations qui unifient le Québec et l’Ontario pour réaliser que nous avons bien des choses que nous partageons outre nos frontières communes. Nos deux provinces sont l’une et l’autre vastes, riches en ressources naturelles et humaines et nous constituons ensemble le pivot de l’activité manufacturière au Canada. Nos deux provinces sont pareillement concernées par l’avenir de nos secteurs manufacturiers et ont le même désir de les soutenir et de les encourager autant que faire se peut.

L’Ontario et tout particulièrement le Québec dépendent l’un et l’autre fortement du marché intérieur pour la vente de leurs produits manufacturiers. En 1974, l’Ontario a vendu plus de 78 pour cent de ses produits manufacturiers à l’intérieur du Canada et 21 pour cent à l’extérieur. La dépendance du Québec envers le marché national était et demeure encore plus grande. Quatre-vingt-cinq pour cent de ses produits fabriqués étaient vendus au Canada contre 14 pour cent à l’étranger. La plus grande partie du commerce national de produits manufacturiers s’effectue entre l’Ontario et le Québec.

En 1974, les ventes de l’Ontario au Québec dépassaient les $300,000,000. Le Québec est réellement un marché de très grande importance pour l’Ontario.

Bien que l’Ontario est son principal acheteur, le Québec tire d’avantage de profits en termes de balance commerciale intérieure de ses ventes au reste du Canada. Il est bien connu qu’une grande partie de l’activité manufacturière du Québec s’exerce dans les secteurs mous, c’est à dire dans les domaines qui ont besoin d’une importante protection tarifaire pour soutenir la compétition.

En 1974, le Québec a vendu pour plus de six milliards de dollars de produits manufacturiers au reste du Canada dont plus de $358 millions provenaient d’industries telles que le tricot qui jouissent d’une protection tarifaire supérieure à 20 pour cent, tandis que 1.7 milliards provenaient d’industries dont la protection tarifaire se chiffrait à 10 pour cent, et 3.6 milliards des industries jouissant d’une protection tarifaire de plus de 5 pour cent.

Plus encore que l’Ontario, les exportateurs Québécois ont besoin non seulement d’avoir accès au marché canadien pour vendre leurs produits manufacturiers mais aussi de bénéficier de la politique tarifaire du Canada qui empêche l’importation de produits qui feraient concurrence au Québec sur le marché intérieur. La politique tarifaire au Canada a permis à l’Ontario comme au Québec de bénéficier de subsides considérables. Bien que des changements soient prévus aux termes de GATT, il a maintenu dans une large mesure la protection canadienne dans les secteurs mous tels que les vêtements, les textiles et les chaussures.

Si l’on pousse l’analyse au delà du Québec et de l’Ontario, on se rend compte que si le volume d’échange est moins important, l’interdépendance des provinces est cependant très grande en ce qui concerne les produits manufacturiers.

En moyenne le commerce interprovincial compte pour 25 pour cent du mouvement de produits manufacturés au Canada. Le reste du Canada est un important marché pour les produits manufacturiers de chaque province.

En 1974, la Colombie-Britannique a vendu plus de 14 pour cent de sa production aux autres provinces, les Maritimes, 18 pour cent, les Prairies, 23 pour cent, l’Ontario, 24 pour cent et le Québec, Monsieur l’Orateur, 31 pour cent, plus que 31 pour cent. Le Québec était la province qui dépendait le plus du marché intérieur canadien. Les statistiques parlent d’elles-mêmes.

7:20 p.m.

Nous avons besoin l’un de l’autre. Nos gouvernements provinciaux et national ont reconnu cette interdépendance et ont travaillé ensemble lors des rencontres fédérales-provinciales pour renforcer notre pacte économique et industriel sur le plan national comme sur le plan international.

Nous avons fini par reconnaître que la vigueur des régions est la raison de la vigueur du pays tout entier. A cet égard, les mesures d’encouragement du ministre de l’Expansion économique régionale ont joué un rôle de très grande importance et ont encouragé la croissance des régions moins dynamiques du Canada. Toutes les provinces ont tiré profit du soutien ainsi apporté.

En 1978, le financement de MEER s’élève à 68 millions de dollars en Colombie-Britannique, plus que 602 millions dans les Prairies, presque 200 millions en Ontario, 1 milliard au Québec et 1.5 milliard dans les provinces de l’Atlantique.

Il y a plusieurs années, les 4 premiers ministres des provinces de l’Ouest déclaraient dans un communiqué à la fin d’une rencontre: La force et la raison d’être du Canada sont fondées sur le fait que les régions se complètent et que les points forts et les faiblesses s’équilibrent.

Un oui au référendum signifierait un bouleversement radical de nos rapports, dont les conséquences seraient néfastes pour tous. Un non nous permettrait de renforcer nos liens économiques tout en effectuant les changements nécessaires pour renouveler et revitaliser notre système fédéral.

Merci, Monsieur le Président.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, as I take my turn in this constitutional debate I want to speak to a couple of themes. Firstly, we in this party are stating our commitment to negotiate a new set of relationships among Canadians. Our party is insisting on that commitment, regardless of the vote on May 20. I said negotiate a set of new relationships; I did not say negotiate sovereignty-association. I will come back to that later in my speech.

One of the most creative, imaginative and helpful suggestions put forward in this debate so far is the proposal by my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) for a constitutional convention of Canadians -- not first ministers, but Canadians -- to write a new constitution. That seems to me to be a brilliant suggestion for the proper forum for the negotiations. I encourage all members to give serious thought to that proposal.

Another theme I wish to discuss is what we negotiate and what things Ontario will negotiate. We know what Quebec wants. Quebec has been rebuilding its institutions for the past 20 years. The two documents, the beige paper by Claude Ryan and the white paper of the Parti Quebecois, tell us what Quebec wants. The question we have to answer is what does Ontario want? Here we are confronted with a major failure of the government to give leadership, failure over the years, failure in recent months and, I must say regrettably, failure even during the course of this debate.

It is clear to me we need a select committee of this Legislature, if for no other reason than to force the government to think out its position. I want, therefore, to spend most of my time in this debate addressing at least a part of the question: What does Ontario want? I want to try to make some specific suggestions. I want to do this in the area that is closest to my own heart and in the area most closely associated with the history of the CCF and the NDP, that is, the area of social policy.

In the area of social policy -- and I may say in all other areas -- we know what Quebec wants. Let me cite very briefly from Claude Ryan’s document. On page 93, he recommends, “The constitution should reserve and redefine a complete jurisdiction over the fields of health and social services for the provinces.” He goes on to say, “The provinces should have exclusive jurisdiction over social insurance.”

These ideas, exclusive provincial jurisdiction over health, social services, social insurance and, I would add with Ryan, manpower programs, are initially unsettling to those of us in Ontario who have traditionally looked to the federal government to enforce and maintain national standards in our social programs. But let us look at the reality for a few minutes, and I say the harsh reality. Let us look first at the most startling proposal put forward from Quebec, that the provinces have jurisdiction over social insurance. Let us look at that in light of the reality. The reality is that almost alone -- and I say “almost” because of the position of the United States -- among the western industrial nations Canada lacks a modern social security system. The reality is that the British North America Act and our present constitutional and jurisdictional arrangements prevent us from achieving a modern social security system.

The basic component of our public insurance program, the Canada Pension Plan, quite simply, is preposterous. It pays in maximum benefits 25 per cent of a worker’s pensionable earnings, and the pensionable earnings are set at a ridiculously low level. The program is totally regressive in the way that it raises money. The Canada Pension Plan is facing bankruptcy by the end of the decade.

With maximum Canada Pension Plan benefits set below $300 a month, retired Canadians have to turn to a bewildering hotchpotch of programs -- old age security, guaranteed income supplement, Gains, tax credits, tax grants and municipal welfare -- in order to put together a sub-poverty level of income. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are retired live in poverty or just barely above the poverty line.

Who is to blame for this? Who is the politician and where is the government to reform our social security system? The awful answer is all 10 provincial governments, together with the federal government, acting together, meeting behind closed doors and taking decisions away from the public view. Any one of these 11 governments can veto change in the social securities system. All 11 governments must agree before there is any reform in the social security system.

Working people in this country and in this province cannot elect a government at any level in the country or in this province that has the power to change the Canada Pension Plan. It is impossible for the people to give a mandate to any government in this country to reform the social security system. The people cannot vote on the issue of a social security system. It is a travesty of democracy; it is the very antithesis of democracy; it is a pervasive paralysis. This is the present constitution of this country and the present jurisdictional arrangement. Who does it serve? It certainly doesn’t serve the needs of ordinary working Canadians who want a decent public retirement insurance program.

Take another social insurance example. Take the example of a group of citizens here in Ontario who are even worse off than the elderly. I refer to the physically handicapped, to the disabled and to their families. They are even more badly served by the Canada Pension Plan’s disability benefits than are the elderly. The disabled must somehow put together a package of income from the Canada Pension Plan, the Workmen’s Compensation Board, social assistance, family benefits at the provincial level and municipal welfare, all in order to achieve a level of income far below the poverty line.

Again, we are confronted with the same absurd tangle of jurisdictional confusion. No single authority is responsible; no one government is accountable. In this tangle of government and jurisdiction the people cannot cast their vote for change, for reform, for rationalization or for social justice. So when Quebec says to give social insurance to the provinces, I say yes, that makes sense -- not because it accommodates Quebec, but because it could accommodate the needs of working people here in Ontario.

7:30 p.m.

Let’s try to envision an Ontario pension plan. Let us try to have the imagination to see an Ontario pension plan structured and funded to provide a decent retirement income to the elderly, capable of meeting the pension needs of the disabled, capable of being expanded at the decision of the government of Ontario, on mandate of the people, to a comprehensive public insurance program covering retirement, sickness, accident and injury insurance.

We could have an Ontario pension plan with one level of government clearly responsible and clearly accountable to the people for its operation and for its structure. Then let the government face the people with the kind of public insurance program they would enact. I trust the people would answer the question in this area -- what does Ontario want? -- if they were given a clear choice and the opportunity to vote on it.

Let us look at the rest of the social security system -- for example, our social assistance program. The recent report of an interprovincial task force on the administration of social security has talked about 80 different social allowance programs across this country operating inadequately, overlapping, duplicating, working at cross-purposes, with their only common feature being that they keep people in poverty.

We spent a whole decade attempting to reform this nonsensical system from 1971 to 1979. We remember the federal-provincial income security review, and at the end of an endless round of ministers’ conferences behind closed doors, nothing happened, nothing changed. There has been no change in this area for 15 years. So I say, let the provinces have jurisdiction and we can replace the present punitive welfare programs with a guaranteed adequate income which would operate within the framework of a provincial manpower program.

Rene Levesque in his white paper talks about the aspirations of his party for a rational manpower program. He says on page 92 of the white paper: “With separation it will become possible at last to establish closer links between the requirements of the labour market on the one hand and vocational training of young people and adults as well as rehabilitation of welfare recipients on the other band. Education, vocational training, social rehabilitation, employment and mobility are all aspects of a single reality. Entrusting them to a single authority could lead to an integrated efficient policy on human resources.”

Do we have to say to Rene Levesque that the only way those goals can be achieved is for him to separate? Is that how inadequate we are as a people or as a province? Of course not. The goals set out in that paragraph are consistent with the goals that have been set out over the years in this House by my colleague the former member for Wentworth, Ian Deans, and by my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel). There is nothing new in those statements; they are eminently sensible and we can achieve them if we have the will and the vision to do so.

Let us look at social services. The present federal-provincial shared jurisdiction under the authority of the federal Canada Assistance Plan has been a total failure. It has retarded the development of preventive social services, and even worse, it has perpetuated the welfarization of essential human services like day care. It is still necessary to go to the welfare office to apply for day care in this province. That’s because of the requirements of the Canada Assistance Plan.

The Canada Assistance Plan has been a block to the development of work incentive programs and my friends across the aisle in the Conservative ranks will testify to that. The entire federal apparatus of social service supports would serve us all best by being dismantled, with the appropriate tax powers being transferred to the provinces so they can get on with the job.

Finally, there is the matter of health care. Again we have made some progress in moving towards exclusive provincial jurisdiction with respect to health care, although there is still a residual federal role. We have seen in the last two federal elections just how much preposterous humbug that residual federal role is able to generate. David Crombie huffed and puffed about the crisis in medicare and acted by appointing a royal commission. Monique Begin did very little better than David Crombie.

The decision on health care will be decided here in Ontario by the people of Ontario, and the federal government will not change the equation. It will be the opinion of the electors of Ontario on the state of our medicare system that will determine its future. I am quite comfortable with that; I think all members should be.

My point very simply is that these shared jurisdictions produce paralysis, bad programming, bad services and worse, because they deny the people the right to make meaningful choices through the democratic process; they prevent reform. So I am prepared to say that for Ontario, in this area of social policy, this very crucial area, we can negotiate not just for a strengthened provincial role but also tax transfers that would permit exclusive provincial jurisdiction over health, social insurance, social services and manpower. To guarantee standards, this will be done by the people when they cast their ballots.

We can proceed in this area and in all areas to negotiate new relationships between Canadians with a sense of optimism, of courage and of vision. So let us hammer out the answer to the question, “What does Ontario want?” And then let us negotiate.

If we lack the courage and if we lack the wisdom, the leadership and the vision to refashion our Canadian federation, what then? What if we fail to rise to this challenge? That leads me back to the question of sovereignty-association.

For me, sovereignty-association would be an act of despair, an acknowledgement of failure and a dead end. But whether we will stand at that dead end some day, I cannot say; I am not prepared to stand there today. But I do know one thing, and I know it with an absolute certainty: This country cannot, must not and will not be held together by force or coercion. That is an absolute for me and my party.

There is only one way to hold this country of ours together, and that is to negotiate; to negotiate in good faith and to negotiate out of a sense of social justice and equity; to negotiate a new constitution, perhaps through the kind of constitutional convention of Canadians that the member for Riverdale was talking about; and to negotiate regardless of the outcome of the vote on May 20.

Mr. G. Taylor: Monsieur le Président, chers collègues, je suis député de Simcoe-Centre et membre du parti Progressiste-Conservateur. Je représente également la vile de Pénétanguishene et la région. Je suis des leçons de français depuis un an bientôt. Actuellement, c’est le présent qui compte. Le futur viendra plus tard. Je comprends ce que les Ontariens veulent. Ils veulent garder le Québec au sein du Canada. Je souhaite donc que les Québécois disent non au référendum et oui au Canada.

Today I want to give some of my views about Confederation. Naturally, in this debate, we have had some time constraints that we have not had before in our debates on as serious a subject. We have heard many statements from many of our colleagues here about, if we can use the vernacular, their roots, their background. Which is all very well and very good. However, as much as that may be put forward and is of great interest, it is the future we must be concerned with.

7:40 p.m.

Where I come from, where my family came from, where they resided, although it may be for many years in this country, does not matter. What we have done in the past is not as great as what we should be doing for our future. The present and the future are the problems at this particular time. However, one cannot go to the future without looking somewhat at the past. I have done that in the last few weeks, as I have many times before.

To refresh my mind a bit on Canadian history, I pulled out one of my high school Canadian history textbooks that have been gathering considerable dust on my library shelves. It was a bit of a mini-refresher course for me. I highly recommend it to all members of this House to see what a great history we have had and the scope of things Canadians have become involved in.

Consider the things we have done, the things we have invented. We have fought for causes which have affected the course of world history. We have also put together a politically, economically and socially very complex but great country over these past years we have been together.

Think of some of the everyday inventions we can be proud of that Canadians took part in -- not in any particular language, not in any particular culture -- which came forward from the inventiveness of the minds and talents of Canadian people.

We might all take a dose of it in here, but pablum is one of the great Canadian inventions, as are the zipper, the snowmobile, the cobalt bomb, insulin and all types of inventions.

Then look at the bravery in other fields when I talk about world causes. We made great, distinct and valiant efforts in the Second World War and in the First World War. We have fought just as hard for peace since those times and for the dignity of mankind. But we are not bold movers and shakers, as some would describe us in the media. That is not our style.

Has anyone come up with a definition of a Canadian? We are not American. We are not exactly British. We are not exactly Chinese. We are not exactly German. What are we? It is very difficult to define. Probably we spend more time in this country trying to define what we are as Canadians than we do on any other item. Yet, at the same time, we are a mixture of all aspects of some other cultures which happen to have been put together to build this great country.

I spoke about wars. Let us look at them, and at one day in particular, November 11, when all this country is united. We can travel to practically any small or large community in this country, and see a monument to the soldiers who died in the wars we fought. The names encompass a cross-section of cultural and national backgrounds. No one was unaffected by the suffering. The threat of the loss of the freedoms we fought for, and the self-determination this country has arrived at, could not be understood, and yet we acted solidly and with vigour. Canadians fought valiantly in battles: the Van Doos, the Montreal Fusiliers, the Princess Pats, the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. As a child, I remember when they returned home and how some of my neighbours lost their loved ones in that infantry battalion. There are many other regiments as well.

We showed the world that Canadians had the strength, the will and, indeed, the courage to fight some of the toughest battles in this world for our country. In some of those battles and in their political sidelights, Canada gained its independence from what some people may have thought too long a dependence upon the mother country, England. Political independence was gained as a result of those wars.

What has gone wrong today? Some say, “We have seen the enemy and it is us.” Does that mean us as politicians? It may be. Or it may mean us as Canadians. Have we taken for granted too long what we have and not been willing soon enough or hard enough to straighten it out? Have we not given enough to each other? Have we not been pliable enough to work out a new arrangement? It is the future of our country we are debating.

We are 113 years old. Chronologically, many of our forefathers have been here much longer and worked out accommodation for each other. The rules, the designs, the framework of Confederation were formulated more than 100 years ago. The reasoning that prevailed in 1867 obviously does not prevail today, but the need to put and keep us together and make some new accommodation is there. It is better to change, reform and put in place some minor amendments, maybe not great ones, to that federal operation which are long overdue. We worked hard at it before; we can work hard at it again to achieve that.

Naturally, the federal and provincial needs have changed, and positive amendments and adjustments can and must be made to make more room for everyone within Confederation. I wholeheartedly support the concept of a restructured federalism, but let me stress the word “federalism.” The nature of it is complex, and it always has been. In order to survive, it must adapt to new conditions and surroundings, and social and economic changes. Are we going to give that evolutionary process a chance to work? Look at what we have. We must make it work.

One of the things that can he said for Canada, naturally, is its size. It is incomparable in its physical size, its magnitude, the land versus the sea, mountains and plains, ruggedness and tranquillity. It is all there in geography. It is there for us to behold, and for us to use to make our great futures.

The pioneers built a great country. They faced hardships; they faced crop failures, sickness, isolation and all the variables and harsh weather this country can hand out, as well as pleasantries. Despite the size, the harshness and blessings of this great country, there is something more. There is something about being a Canadian, whether French-speaking or English-speaking, a new arrival or a descendant of many generations. It is something that unites us, no matter if we are from the east, the west, the north or the south. There is something reassuring, something to be proud of. It is not something you can intellectualize about or identify. It is purely emotional. It comes from the heart. It is being a Canadian.

Many events have put this forward. Just think of the big events we have had, as well as some of the smaller ones: the Canadian National Exhibition, Expo 67, the Olympics, Canada Cup hockey, and some of the smaller local events such as the Beaver River Rat Race, the Elmvale Maple Syrup Festival and the Barrie Winter Carnival. All these put us together as Canadians. We watch this great country grow, and we live in it. We look around us and we can say what a good thing it is that we can enjoy these blessings and those freedoms and these hopes for our future. Of course, there are disparities, regional differences, some shortages, some surpluses, but they can all be resolved in the spirit of co-operation.

I repeat what has been said before by the Premier and by this government: “We will go anywhere and negotiate with anyone to accommodate constitutional reform and change which strengthens the capacity of Canada to better serve the regions, language groups and provinces of our nation. Our minds and our hearts are open. Our spirit is positive and creative. That is our commitment; that is our resolve.” There is that spirit of wanting to change, there is that resolve of putting forth the ability to change, and we are willing.

7:50 p.m.

Let me return to our history: That spirit, that creativity, that courage of early settlers and pioneers can be found wherever we may travel. The area where I live is sometimes referred to as the cradle of history of Ontario, and was the cradle of some of the history of not only this great province but also, indeed, North America.

Think of the area called Ste. Marie-Among-the-Hurons, and it is difficult not to be moved by efforts of raw courage that could go undaunted -- the faith and the courage of the early Jesuit missionaries. That settlement was prospering in the 1640s, a long time before Confederation was even a dream in the eyes of the Fathers of Confederation, as they are known. Champlain, Brébeuf all those people from that cradle. Later, Simcoe and the road from York to Penetanguishene. It was for military purposes, but it was there -- that cradle of this history, of this country, and of this nation, in many languages and in many cultures.

Penetanguishene, with its historic naval and military establishments, is an Indian won meaning the place of white falling sand. I am sure many people in this country have thought the name Penetanguishene to be of another origin, from the debate that has been going on. But it is an Indian name.

Just look at this great country, where we can infuse and absorb and retain the present in our social structure from our diversity of cultures in the past. Those names are just some of them: Manitoulin, Wasaga, Toronto, Simcoe, Huronia and many more -- names of our past. The list goes on of those names that are now with us, and they put together our historical significance.

Canada draws its strength from its many backgrounds and many cultures, some older than ours. From the many people who have settled here we draw from. Similarly, people coming here cannot remain unaffected by the influence of the ruggedness of the land and the diversity of the cultures now existing.

Canadians are emotional about such a relationship, and we have managed to convey our feelings to the world about such a relationship in a number of ways -- but always as Canadians.

We have given the world many things. I mentioned some earlier. Some are indigenous, such as the birchbark canoe, totem poles, potluck suppers, soapstone carvings, the paintings of Emily Carr, the Group of Seven, Cornelius Krieghoff, the poetry of Pauline Johnson and that of Robert Service with his Dangerous Dan McGrew, the humour of Leacock, the inventions of Bombardier. These are just some of the people who have tried to find their ways of expressing their feelings about Canadian life.

When I think of how many Canadians there have been in our past I think of how they would ask what are we doing now to our future. Are we dealing with it so very lightly that we have forgotten what they have given us?

I think of other things: Bell’s telephone, lacrosse, basketball, marquis wheat, Sir Sandford Fleming and standard time; politicians such as Macdonald, Brown, Laurier and King; athletes such as Percy Williams and Bobby Rosenfeldt, and the Toe, the Rocket and the Cyclone in hockey; and our heroes, Billy Bishop, Laura Secord, Montcalm, Wolfe and Riel, and all those men who went before us.

Are we about to betray what they gave us in trust for the future? Are we ignoring that and not paying enough heed to it in this debate? And are we not working seriously, with as great a zeal and determination to resolve our problems at this time in our history?

Canada as a whole is trying to understand itself. It’s trying to ask “Where shall we go? In what direction?” Are we working on that direction hard enough and with enough ambition to get it done?

Sheer size alone has tended to influence the way we think sometimes. It’s a vast country, a vastness of people. I guess we’ve often taken this whole thing too many times for granted.

But I can understand one thing, and I would like to present that to this House. I can understand that a loss of that enormous entity, Quebec, is not within my feeling. I would not like to see that happen.

We are too intertwined, and have been throughout history, to let that large chunk of land, and particularly of people, disappear from the future of this country. That loss, whether it be a physical break or a psychological alienation, is raising serious questions in every part of the country.

I am worried that the stage has been set, the directors have given their instructions to the cast, the cameramen are at the ready, the props have been made up, the makeup has been applied, the audience sits uneasily waiting for the curtain to rise, and the critics have their notebooks in their hands. We shall find out very shortly whether the production is a dry run or a full-scale dress rehearsal. It is my fervent hope that the playwrights of the future do not write Canadian history in separate parts. In staying together we have greater strength, which has been mentioned throughout this debate. I personally believe that is the only possible way to go.

Last weekend, in my home town, was a now world-famous photographer by the name of Bud Watson -- he is now recognized as one of Canada’s best, if not Canada’s foremost, landscape photographers. He has travelled, by commission, for Kodak and for the federal government throughout Canada, taking pictures. Those slides show, so very recently on this debate, what Canada is about -- its people, its vastness, its beauty -- and that it is worthwhile saving. Those slides were profound in designating the greatness of this country.

Although the motto is close at hand, the motto of Canada, those words of Latin with a loose translation, of sea unto sea, should remain that: a country from sea unto sea. I would not in any way or form, or by any method, be willing to exchange that for a motto of being from sea unto the St. Lawrence should Quebec or that referendum decide that might be the route they would wish to go. This country should stay together and be from sea unto sea.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to join this debate, and I would first like to commend those people who have taken the high road in this debate, who have used this forum to reach out to the people in Quebec, to tell them that we want them here with us in a united Canada. I am distressed that there are some who would use this forum for self-indulgence and self-interest and set aside the main purpose of why we are all here, which is to make this appeal.

As long as I have been here, I have never felt so distressed about an issue, one that should be a cause for all of us to support in exactly the same way. I hope that from now to the conclusion there might be some second thoughts about the direction this whole debate takes, and continues to take, to convince those good people in my riding, across Ontario and, yes, in Quebec and across Canada, that Quebec is important to us, and we want them to stay with us.

I would say at the outset that I am in full support of the resolution before the House, and I believe we should not negotiate sovereignty-association. Let us hope the vote on May 20 will be a no vote, and I believe we should then begin the process of renewing Canadian federalism, a process that we are eager to undertake with Quebec, the other provinces and the federal government.

On April 22, 1980, the Niagara Falls Review had a very special issue. It launched a campaign -- not in connection with yet another election, but to save Canada as a united country. It was called, You Can Help Canada, and readers were urged to “send a friendship letter to Quebec”; to “tell someone that they care”; and to “spread hope for unity.” Sample letters were printed in English and in French, and as the member for Niagara Falls but, above all, as a Canadian, I was proud to be associated with that campaign. I circulated the newspaper to every member of this Legislature with a covering letter urging each of them to encourage their local newspaper to take a similar initiative. Meanwhile in Ottawa, at approximately the same time, the federal member delivered those newspapers to each of the members in the House of Commons.

8 p.m.

As a part of this campaign, the city of Niagara Falls was twinned with the city of Nicolet in Quebec. I, therefore, took the opportunity of contacting my counterpart in the National Assembly of Quebec. This was a Serge Fontaine, the member representing the riding of Nicolet-Yamaska. We discussed for some time our mutual concerns about the future of this country because I felt it was important to share my thoughts with someone in Quebec who was involved in the life of that province in the same way that I am involved in the life of Ontario through my responsibilities as the elected member of the Legislature for Niagara Falls.

I would like to say that I am proud to represent a constituency which is part of Ontario’s beautiful Niagara region. The history of our area has been an inspiration to me and I believe that it can be inspiring to all of us as we consider the shape of Canadian federalism.

For a moment or two, I would like to speak about the history of Niagara’s native Indian people. The tribes reached their peak in the early 1400s. At that time, a leader of the Onondaga tribe, Hiawatha, the hero of Longfellow’s famous poem, called for an end to the constant battling. He succeeded against great odds in bringing peace to the native people of what is now known as southern Ontario, upper New York state and the Niagara Peninsula. Hiawatha did more than establish a peaceful co-existence among the tribes. He brought together five Iroquois tribes -- the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas and Mohawks -- to form the League of Five Nations, and he integrated them into what has been called one of the most sophisticated and democratic forms of government the world has ever seen.

The style of this government is worth mentioning. Within the tribe, political decision-making was a very loose and informal process, with everyone’s opinion asked for and everyone’s consent required before action was taken. Within the league the same unity was required among the tribes before the league would act. This sophisticated democracy was part of a very warm communal society which placed great importance on the family kinship and the role of women. The culture was rich and their agricultural economy permitted them to settle and prosper. Their language was, incidentally, one of the most eloquent and elaborate of all the native peoples of North America. It is not mere coincidence that all of this occurred within one of the most developed federal systems in history, which was a model for the first constitution of the United States of America.

A source of great inspiration also is the bravery and determination of the French explorers who were the first Europeans in the Niagara region, as well as in the greater part of the interior of this continent. Champlain arrived in this region in the decade following 1610, and his lieutenant, Etienne Brule, explored southern Ontario while living with the natives and learning their customs. The first Europeans to see Niagara Falls were French. The famous French explorer, La Salle, reached the Niagara River in 1678, and later that year an advance party led by Father Hennepin discovered the falls and wrote an exhaustive description.

Subsequently, La Salle established a small fort on the site of what became the French outpost of Fort Niagara. La Salle also built the first ship to sail above the falls, the Griffin, which sailed as far upstream as Lake Michigan. Among his many later accomplishments was the finding of the overland route to the mouth of the Mississippi.

The Jesuits also played a significant role in the French exploration of the Niagara region. The Relations of the Jesuits, testament to one of the most courageous and devoted group of men who ever lived, recount their experiences among the Indians of southern Ontario. While attempting to bring Christianity to the Indians of the Niagara region, the Jesuits made careful records of the area’s geography and the cultural life of the people living there. It is clear that from the very earliest days, the Niagara region had frequent contact with French-speaking people.

Today, my son manages a family business in Niagara, a business established some 60 years ago by my immigrant father. Our company does business with firms in Quebec and, in so doing, has a feeling for the small business community in our sister province. My party, in keeping with our pledge to reach many citizens of Quebec to whom we can personally relate to, has asked me to direct some of my remarks to the small business entrepreneurs of La Belle Province.

In particular, we have an associate who deals with a large company in the Sorel area that also has a plant in Niagara. From our discussions with our friends in Quebec, it has become obvious that operating a small business in that province is very little different from operating a small business here in Ontario. There are the same difficulties and frustrations. While many workers have protection because of union involvement, and while large companies have greater access to financial resources, not to mention accessibility to governments through lobbying practices, small businesses find they are at a tremendous disadvantage. In fact, my Quebecois friend was telling me that things have become so bad at times that his son, seeing the struggle that is involved to keep a small business afloat, is seriously considering not following in his father’s footsteps. He will probably find a job that offers more security and a lot fewer problems.

Small business people in Quebec are understandably troubled about their difficulties in obtaining finance and about the bank interest rates. They feel very threatened by the large companies, which appear to be impervious to fluctuations in the marketplace rather than victimized by them as smaller operators are.

I implore my fellow business associates in Quebec to vote no on the referendum. Problems related to small business are nationwide, not only centred in Quebec. We must therefore unite our efforts across Canada to achieve status, success and prosperity, and fulfil our role as the nation’s largest group of employers that employ the largest group of the working force.

All in all, dealing with our counterparts on a business level has always been a very pleasant and interesting experience. The same is true of any visits we have made to Quebec. I remember particularly, back in 1967, my wife and I went to Montreal to attend Expo. We stayed with friends who live in Repentigny, and we had a great time with them. Throughout our visit, we were treated with courtesy, warmth and friendliness. The hospitality was truly remarkable. If we made the slightest attempt, in our very limited way, to speak to them in French, they would go more than halfway to understand us and to help us. Frankly, I do not know when I felt such pride in being a Canadian as I did during that memorable stay at Repentigny during Expo 67.

Living in Niagara Falls, of course, we have, over the years, had a considerable amount of contact with our friends and neighbours on the other side of the border in the United States. There are times, quite frankly, when it seems there is no border at all. Frequently, Niagara Falls, Ontario, is filled with American visitors. The same can be said in reverse of Niagara Falls, New York; it is filled with Canadian visitors.

I cannot begin to count the number of times American people have told me how much they admire this great country of ours, how much they envy us our French-speaking people and the fact that we have, right here in our midst, the French language and the French culture. I suppose over the years we have tended to take our good fortune in this respect for granted, just as members of any family tend to take the other members for granted.

8:10 p.m.

We have achieved much here in Canada and we have good reason to be proud of our achievements. But it would seem we have failed in one of our most important responsibilities. We have failed to articulate a vision of what Canada might be in the future for each and every one of us, whether we are English, French, native or any one of a dozen or more nationalities which have come to this country to be a part of the Canadian family.

Quebec and its people are an essential part of this country, the other half of our reality. Some efforts have been made in recent years to understand and meet the desires of our French Canadians, but clearly those efforts have not succeeded or they have been misunderstood. It would seem that some Canadians have been guilty of wishful thinking, of turning their thoughts to other things, in the hope that the situation vis-à-vis Quebec will resolve itself without any effort or contribution on their part.

If we are to come through our present crisis, if we are to have any hope of achieving what we want here in Canada, we have to do some very clear thinking and make some very intelligent and important decisions. Canadians are going to have to accept the fact that the full and free development of our two main cultures is an integral part of our country and our national identity.

There has been a desire on the part of all Canadians to live together in mutual respect and to work together to achieve these things which are valued by other Canadians. If people are not prepared to do this, if the people of Quebec remain unconvinced that the future will be any different from what they consider to have been a past, which has seen many Canadians cold and hostile to their language and culture, then we have to face the fact that this country’s unity will be severely endangered, regardless of the outcome of May 20.

I believe that what the people of Quebec want, what all Canadians want, is to feel at home wherever they are in this country. They want to feel this way, whether they are in Quebec, in Vancouver, in the Maritimes, in the Yukon, in small-town Ontario or in boom-town Calgary. Because I believe this is the case, I would like to say to them: Nous sommes tous membres de la même famille canadienne. Restons ensemble, travaillons ensemble pour le bien de notre grand pays. We are all members of the same Canadian family. Let us stay together, let us work together for the good of our great country.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I rise with great joy to take part in this debate for a variety of reasons, not the least of them being that it is the first time since my marriage that my wife has joined me in the House to witness one of my contributions. I cannot think of a more appropriate one since I cannot imagine that anything I could say in this House or outside of it in my political career could be more important than what I might say about the future of the country that our children and their children will bear.

Let me associate myself most heartily with the remarks of the member for Niagara Falls when he spoke about the fact that most of the members of this House have put aside their narrow, self-serving, partisan interests to discuss what should be a matter of mutual and common concern, namely, national unity.

I cannot help but wonder how the country could have ever begun if people of the likes of Brown and Macdonald had not done just that. Fortunately, there was not an element at that time that put partisan interests ahead of the national concern.

During the 1960s, Canadians of my generation, anglophones and francophones alike, believed that the world was entering a new era of understanding and of peace. Looking back, I would have to acknowledge we were probably naive when we felt that the impact of modern communications was somehow shrinking the world and breaking down the barriers of mistrust. Yet I think something important remains of the belief that understanding between men and women of different cultures and of goodwill can be something more than just a dream.

I recognize this is certainly not a new belief, or a belief unique to the 1960s. But all the same it is with some sense of irony that, despite all the intentions of my generation, I rise now in my place in this assembly, two decades later, to speak to the survival of a single nation.

Today, words and ideas move around the world at the speed of light. Yet here in this country, we are having difficulty talking to one another. Today we are known abroad in virtually every nation of the world for our tolerance and our goodwill. Yet here, at home, we are struggling with these very same concepts within our borders.

It is with this paradox in mind that I approach this referendum debate. When I look at our nation, I am frankly dismayed by the forces of divisiveness. Canada is a victim of the rack of regional interests, being pulled each and every day in four or more directions, depending upon who is being quoted in the morning papers.

Throughout our history, regionalism has been a fact of Canadian life. Sir John A. Macdonald had to contend with it; we have to contend with it. In the past it has helped us to maintain a healthy tension, an equilibrium, if you will, within Confederation. It has allowed each and every part of the land to develop in its own way. But now it appears more like a tumour enveloping whole sections of the country. In this regard I am not speaking just of Quebec; I am speaking of the entire nation.

Monsieur l’Orateur, je pense qu’il est temps que tous les Canadiens se posent ces questions: Sommes-nous prêts à laisser cela continuer, à permettre que la volonté nationale soit affaiblie, à rester en spectateur à la dissolution progressive de notre pays? De plus, il est temps que les Canadiens pensent sérieusement à leur pays, à son passé et à son avenir et qu’ils choisissent en pleine connaissance de cause.

Monsieur l’Orateur, un pays n’est pas défini seulement par ses frontières ou par sa force militaire. On ne peut pas mesurer la fibre d’une nation par son PNB ou par la richesse de ses ressources. On ne peut pas réduire à des symboles ou à des hymnes l’essence d’une nation.

Une nation, Monsieur l’Orateur, se bâtit sur l’expérience commune, bonne et mauvaise. C’est l’histoire qui, d’année en année, construit la charpente à partir des réalisations de ses hommes d’Etat comme de l’interaction quotidienne de ses citoyens.

Dès ses débuts, le Canada a été la cible de nombreuses critiques. Une fédération maladroite, impratiquable disait-on, une configuration géographique artificielle, assemblée il y a cent ans par crainte de la puissance émergeante de nos voisins du sud.

Tout cela, Monsieur l’Orateur, est peut-être vrai. Mais je crois que dans l’acte d’une Confédération, on trouve une vérité plus profonde, notamment la vision des Pères de la Confédération, qui se sont unis pour préserver un mode de vie, pour conserver un fonds commun d’expériences partagées, d’où naissait déjà la forme d’un pays doté de ses propres caractéristiques.

8:20 p.m.

How can I speak of common experiences in the context of two different and two vibrant cultures? Let me answer by speaking of common aspirations that have become realities through nationhood. I point to Canada’s social programs as tangible evidence of successful co-operation within Confederation. The goals of these programs are perhaps more fundamental than one’s particular cultural heritage. I ask: Which parents don’t want first-class health care for their children? Or who doesn’t want the benefits of a solid system of social security to meet the needs of the disadvantaged in their own community?

As Canadians, we have shared the view that all citizens, no matter who they are, no matter where they live or move in our country, should have access to these services. As Canadians, we have gone further and have collectively identified these programs as a right for all Canadians. The result has been the creation of health and social systems that are the envy of most of the nations of the world. The fact is, this is something we take for granted. Consider the quality of health care being rendered at this moment in hospitals in Vancouver, in Montreal and in Toronto. Consider too the social justice offered today to the aged, the infirm, the unemployed, the destitute.

I am the first to acknowledge that the system is by no means perfect. Inequities do exist but, by and large, it is a good system. It is comprehensive, universal, responsive to local requirements and secure. Significantly, our success in these endeavours has been the result of a sharing of resources and ideas among the provinces and between the federal government and the provinces.

The simple truth is that we would not enjoy the same level of services today had we proceeded on our separate ways. Certainly, the provinces individually could not have introduced services as quickly as they have without the benefit of cost sharing by the federal government.

Our federation has fostered these accomplishments while permitting great flexibility in their operation within each province; so while we have national expectations with regard to our health and social services, we also have full recognition of the different requirements of each of the partners.

Herein lies an aspect of the brilliance of our Canadian Confederation. The ability to adequately meet unique social and health requirements of, for example, a citizen of Ste. Anne des Monts in the Gaspé, and at the same time a citizen of the Okanagan Valley, shows diversity within a common framework.

In recent years, as our health and social systems have grown more sophisticated, we have seen an increasing need for adaptability in the arrangements between governments. As cost sharing became confining to the provinces, inhibiting their ability to respond to the changing needs of their citizens, we saw a negotiated move to an alternative structure of funding under what is known as the Established Program (Interim Arrangements) Act.

Through this new arrangement, the federal government and the provinces have taken a giant step towards disentangling and rationalizing social programs in Canada. Much greater latitude now rests with the provinces, as it should, for the delivery of the most appropriate services to our people. The manner in which this reform was accomplished is perhaps as significant as its effect on the services. It was through negotiation within Confederation that this change took place, by dialogue, bargaining and the meeting of minds between provincial and federal governments. The process worked and worked well.

I ask, why shouldn’t it work? Whenever I sit down at a federal-provincial conference, regardless of the traditional and the expected tension between the provinces and the federal government, I cannot help but think that the them is really us. I cannot help realizing, despite the posturing that all politicians are prone to, we do share common concerns for all of our citizens and we do share common objectives.

The reform of our funding for social programs is a not insignificant example of how our federal system proves capable of adjustment to enable the provinces to carry out their constitutional mandates with regard to social services. This mandate of the provinces is worth stressing. The logic of provincial primacy in the field of social services is as valid today as it was 113 years ago. There was then, as there is now, a recognition of the distinctiveness of each partner in Confederation and of the consequent necessity for the administration of social programs to remain at the provincial level where they can be most responsive to people’s needs.

Again I come back to the theme of diversity within a common framework and point to this aspect of our constitution as the cornerstone of our federal system. This flexibility recognizes the positive side of our country’s regional nature. Because of this inherent flexibility we have seen distinctive patterns of cultural growth in all parts of Canada.

As a people, Canadians have cherished these differences and have prospered. In no small measure, this can be attributed to the design of our government and the sharing of powers as set out in the British North America Act. This not to say, however, that the federal government has no role to play in the social field. As I have indicated, it plays a fundamental role with respect to funding and through this mechanism ensures a national strengthening of social programs.

The model has served us well to this point in our history. But as we look to the future, we should not be content to rest with things as they are. Clearly we must make improvements. We must achieve greater harmony between the federal government and the provinces in pursuing social reform. For instance, it is totally illogical to have the federal government, on the one hand, expanding its manpower at a time when the provinces, on the other, are actively pursuing efficiencies and adjusting programs to meet emerging social needs. Such anomalies are costly and point to the necessity to further revise federal-provincial relationships, especially with regard to the areas of federal spending power having a direct effect on the provinces.

Such revisions will be forthcoming because all of the partners in this Confederation are committed to this objective. The requirement now is for a continuation of the dialogue and a co-operation that has fostered the construction of Canada’s elaborate and comprehensive social system. A solid structure is in place, providing security to all Canadians. Now we must plan our additions and renovations together, while we capitalize on the firm foundations that every day bring comfort to the people who need these services across this land.

It is my belief that further refinement and improvement of these programs can be accomplished only if we work together. To plan in isolation, particularly at this stage in our country’s development, would be to invite unnecessary duplication of effort, dissipation of resources and perhaps fundamentally to jeopardize the whole of our social security system.

Canada is a nation both blessed and afflicted by its size and its diversity. The blessings are obvious despite our tendency to reflect on our problems and to look elsewhere for our solutions. One need only consider our standard of living in the international context to see the tangible merits of our nationhood. The afflictions, on the other hand, have come with our historical development and with our geography itself. I suppose these tensions are inevitable. This does not mean the disintegration of our country is inevitable. It does mean, however, that we must dedicate ourselves to the task of regenerating our Confederation.

8:30 p.m.

Monsieur l’Orateur, j’ai commencé mes remarques en faisant allusion à l’espoir de ma génération de voir une plus grande harmonie et une meilleure entente s’établir entre tous les humains. J’ai aussi dit qu’il me semblait ironique qu’en tant que nation, nous ayons réalisé beaucoup en ce sens sur le plan international, alors que ces mêmes qualités nous manquent quand il s’agit de nous entendre chez nous.

Il est clairement temps que nous abordions nos problèmes internes avec plus de confiance mutuelle et de compréhension. Le référendum québécois nous donne l’occasion de réfléchir sérieusement à la richesse -- et j’emploie ce terme dans son sens le plus large -- de notre société. Une richesse née de la poursuite d’objectifs communs.

Nous sommes au seuil d’une nouvelle décennie. Un nouveau siècle s’approche. J’espère, Monsieur l’Orateur, que les Canadiens n’oublieront pas les avantages de notre fédération, et qu’ils feront de l’espoir en l’avenir d’un Canada meilleur une réalité. C’est pour cet avenir meilleur que je demande aux Québécois de se prononcer le 20 mai. Merci, Monsieur l’Orateur.

Mr. Bolan: Mr. Speaker, I feel privileged to have this opportunity of expressing in the Ontario Legislature my own thoughts and feelings on the question of Confederation and the future of Canadian unity.

In the course of my remarks I propose to speak about, among other things, the role of Franco-Ontarians in the riding of Nipissing, which I have the honour to represent. However, before embarking on this very specific matter, I would like to make some general observations.

First of all, I, as an individual and as a member of the Legislature, have absolutely no hesitancy in urging my fellow Canadians in Quebec to vote no on May 20. In my view, a yes vote would be devastating for this country. I certainly do not intend to stand aside and let Canada break up around me without at least trying to do something about it. And I don’t intend to stand idly by and have a demagogue break up what was built on blood, sweat and tears.

There is a crying need for the members of this House, as legislators, to urge the people of Quebec to listen to our plea and our call for a renewed form of federalism. Somehow we must find the right words to make the people of Quebec realize that a recreated federalism would ensure that they achieve the objectives which are so important to them. At the same time, we must meet the needs of other regions and other Canadians.

It is well over a century since Confederation, and in the intervening years many and far-reaching changes have taken place in this country, indeed, throughout the world. Obviously, we can no longer postpone the task of restructuring Canadian federalism to meet current realities.

En parlant du Nipissing, on peut dire en toute honnêteté de Nipissing, qu’il partage ses racines avec la belle province. Samuel de Champlain, l’explorateur qui a donné son identité au territoire qui longe le Saint-Laurent et l’a nommé la Nouvelle France, a été en fait le premier Européen à découvrir le lac Nipissing en 1615.

Là où devrait plus tard se situer la ville de North Bay. Et c’est en découvrant l’immense étendue du lac Nipissing qu’il sentit, dit-il dans son journal, qu’il avait enfin franchi la barrière de l’ouest. Trois cent soixante-cinq ans après ce moment historique, je me sens en droit de dire de ma circonscription qu’elle peut continuer à servir d’exemple, quand il y a des obstacles à franchir.

Je trouve affligeant qu’il y ait de gens au Canada pour dire que la coexistence des deux cultures fondatrices est impossible à quelque niveau que ce soit: communal, provincial, ou national. Les Canadiens de culture anglaise, comme de culture française, se sentent chez eux à Nipissing, à l’abri de la pression de l’assimilation et de la peur des préjugés. Ils ne sont pas les seuls à pouvoir s’enorgueillir du mode de vie réellement bilingue de leur collectivité du nord de l’Ontario. Il n’est pas rare de trouver des lieux semblables en Ontario et dans le reste du Canada. Il y a bien des collectivités semblables au Canada. Mais Nipissing est un exemple particulièrement remarquable de communauté qui a su tirer parti de l’histoire du Canada. Comma le reste du Bas Canada nos premiers résidents ont suivi des coureurs des bois français. Il y avait les Brulet, les Nicolin, les Groseillers et la Vérendrie par exemple. Et les voyageurs anglais, comme les Henry, les Mackenzies et les Garrys.

Aujourd’hui, la répartition de la population de Nipissing reflète bien nos racines culturelles. Tandis que 62 pour cent de nos habitants ont l’anglais comme langue maternelle, 33 pour cent sont d’origine française. Beaucoup d’écoles, d’organisations et d’entreprises fournissent des services à la collective anglophone, les citoyens francophones son traités sur une base égale. Par opposition au Canada, l’éducation en langue française s’est développée dans le cadre du système des écoles séparées. Donc leurs droits sont garantis par l’Acte de l’Amérique du Nord Britannique de 1867. Le Conseil des Ecoles Séparées de Nipissing compte ainsi 10 écoles primaires dans notre région. Mais le Conseil Scolaire de Nipissing, qui est un système d’écoles publiques, a organisé un réseau d’écoles francophones qui pourraient servir d’exemple à d’autres conseils scolaires.

I might just talk about the bilingual or French-speaking high schools we have in the city of North Bay. I remember in 1968, when I was on the school board of what was then called the North Bay Vocational and Collegiate Institute, that there were no secondary schools where the French language was the language of instruction. At that time it was quite obvious there were many students coming out of elementary school through the French branch of the separate school system. Those people did not have a proper school for them to continue their education in the French language. Members of the school board became very concerned when it was brought to their attention by certain citizens in the community.

After much haggling and debating in 1968 we passed a resolution -- this was before the advent of Bill 141 -- authorizing the construction of a bilingual high school. We wanted this resolution implemented in September 1968 but we didn’t have the school to house them. So we went to the principal of Widdifield high school and asked him, “Would you like to try to share your high school until such time as we have another one built?” He was taken aback and he said, “I won’t try; I will, and I will make it work.” As a result of this, a shift system went into effect, and we were able to have a bilingual and French-speaking high school starting in September 1968. The following year a new high school was constructed, and we now have the Ecole Secondaire Algonquin.

8:40 p.m.

Only a few years ago, the Nipissing Board of Education again launched a French immersion program. The response was so enthusiastic that the school quickly outgrew its original quarters. This program, which was originally intended to be only for the junior grades, soon expanded during its first year to include older students up to grade six. By 1981, by next September, the immersion courses in French will be available up to grade eight, and they are going beyond that. Already there are plans by the board to establish a secondary school immersion program to coincide with the graduation of the grade eight class which has been educated in French from Dr. Carruthers Public School.

At a time when many schools in our province are facing severe cutbacks and closures due to declining enrolment, the primary-level French immersion program of Nipissing school board will expand from this year’s 305 students to a forecast 584 students in 1984. It is important to bear in mind that the majority of these immersion program students come from homes where English has to date been the only language. In other words, the parents of these children have decided they shall be educated in the other language of our country because they have recognized the opportunity this provides for the enrichment of young lives.

Of course, the community also benefits immensely from this program. These young people will grow up with a far greater understanding of both French and English cultures. The families will, in turn, profit from their increased awareness and greater knowledge. I would also like to mention that both post-secondary institutions in our area, Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology and Nipissing University College, offer full-time and extension program credits, again in the French language.

We have in my riding many and varied cultural groups and clubs. For example, we can if we wish become members of the Germania Club, the Davedi Club, the Ukrainian Club, the Polish Club. We can also join l’Association Canadienne-Français de l’Ontario, l’Union Culturelle des Franco-Ontariens, the IODE or the Rotary Club. There are, in adclition, many other clubs and organizations too numerous to mention. These opportunities exist in Nipissing, and I am quite sure they exist in other Canadian communities.

Language barriers, which at one time were considered insurmountable, have been overcome. Here in Canada our choices are wide open. The opportunities to pursue the culture of a person’s choice are almost limitless and, whatever some people may say, assimilation into the so-called English community is no longer the threat it was once thought to be.

In the Nipissing area, people can walk into virtually any business establishment and expect to be served in the language of their choice. Doctors, lawyers and other professionals offer their services in both official languages. Services are frequently offered in Italian, German or Ukrainian. Many services are offered in both the official languages of Canada. Marriage Encounter, for example, has its French counterpart, Renouveau Conjugal. Girl Guides and Boy Scouts are known as les Guides et les Scouts. Hospitals and social service authorities are dedicated to assisting their patients in the language which gives them the greatest freedom and ease of expression. On top of all that, because of recent legislation, we now can have a trial in the French language, something which was unheard of in Ontario five or 10 years ago.

French for Franco-Ontarians is not a theory and it is not a catch-phrase; it is a way of life. The need of Franco-Ontarians to be able to express themselves freely and fully in their language is recognized and accepted. We acknowledge that they also need to receive a response in their mother tongue.

In Nipissing, Franco-Ontarians have access to three French television channels. French Radio-Canada programming is available out of Sudbury. Sturgeon Falls has its own bilingual newspaper, La Tribune. Nor is it uncommon for an English-language radio station or for English-language newspapers to run French-language advertisements and public service messages.

I believe the situation I have outlined as existing in my riding is extraordinary, even unique. In Nipissing, the options are there, the options are available. They are not merely promised; they are in place right now. Self-expression is possible, I say, for every Ontarian, regardless of his ancestry. Education in the language of choice is available now, as I indicated earlier, up to grade eight and will soon be available for secondary school students. Canadians of both French and English extraction have broken down the barriers which appear to be such an incredible stumbling block to Canadian unity.

We still have a long way to go, but 100 years ago, even 25 years ago, who would have thought that we would today have come so far? This country has reached a point at which the options I have mentioned as being available in Nipissing are to be expected and should be accepted elsewhere in this country.

I am proud to claim that the people of the Nipissing area have proven themselves to be pioneers in this connection. We knew that bilingual services and facilities should be available. We decided they would be available and we made bilingualism a way of life in my riding.

Un grand nombre de résidents de la région de Nipissing ont de la famille dans la province du Québec. Nombreux sont les électeurs qui nous disent qu’ils craignent une séparation géographique, car cela risquerait de signifier une séparation de famille. Il me semble aussi que nombreux sont les Québécois qui ne croient pas à le survivance à l’extérieur de leurs frontières. Je leur réponds qu’ils n’ont qu’à regarder les francophones, les Franco-Ontariens de Nipissing, pour voir ce qui peut être accompli à force de compréhension, de travail et de dévouement.

I would hope that the government of Ontario would take heed of what has happened in Nipissing. I would hope and expect it would continue to develop not only a French policy, but a constitution to implement the availability of French-language essential services.

In closing, I would like to say I believe the time has come when every Canadian should examine his or her own conscience. It is time for us to acknowledge, sincerely and honestly, exactly where we stand vis-à-vis one another and Canada. Twice in our lifetime, twice in this century, Canadians have gone to war to defend this country and to help free the world. As a result of those wars, thousands of Canadians suffered grievously. Many of them were seriously wounded. Others returned to this country to become embittered at the difficulties of taking up the threads of their lives. Many did not return.

I ask, is the sacrifice which they made to be in vain? Are we going to repay them by allowing the country for which they fought and for which many of them died to disintegrate? When they were called upon to stand up and be counted, they didn’t hesitate. Last November I attended a memorial service. A program was given to all of us there. I thought what the program said was very significant. The front of the program said: “Think Canadian. They did.” We should not hesitate either in doing whatever has to be done to ensure that this country continues to be a united country, one Canada from coast to coast. They thought Canadian. Let us think Canadian, let us act Canadian.

8:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to take part in this debate. I am also delighted at what I sense is a great degree of co-operation with members from the opposition benches drifting over here, some a little more ambitious than others. But it may portend great thoughts and great events in the years to come as common sense pervades the whole Legislature.

In any event, as colleagues on both sides of the House have said, it is indeed a rare occasion when the usual business of this Legislature is eclipsed by an issue of such magnitude. Although less rare, it is nevertheless gratifying to have the degree of consensus I’m sure we all see in this House over this particular issue that is so close to all our hearts.

All members clearly feel there is a personal and collective message they want their fellow citizens in Quebec to hear. Perhaps, as a former Toronto newspaper columnist has said, we feel this way because “members of the Ontario Legislature wish to see themselves doing something, even though in their heart of hearts they know that Quebeckers will make their own decision about their own future.”

Perhaps the very unusual nature of this debate, if one can call it a debate, is based on our own personal and collective desire to do something. But with the alternatives being what they are, surely we can all be forgiven for trying in our own way to influence events that are taking place. Surely that is understandable. There is, after all, no other single issue that could come before this Legislature that is more spectacular in its impact than the sobering spectre of Quebec’s separation. Surely there is no other challenge for this country that is more troubled than the real potential for its geographic and political dismemberment.

Speaking for myself, I can’t recall another discussion on this issue since my election to the Legislature which has actually put us in a position where we face a date, a referendum and a question that puts the potential for separation so close. Perhaps that is why I have at this time, as I sense other members have, a need to put my own feelings on the line and to say very frankly and openly that in my heart of hearts, in my gut, I feel that the ordinary Canadian loves Canada, wants it to survive and wants Quebec to stay in.

I know that we here in Ontario are often accused of being emotionless pragmatists and of not articulating our feelings well. That is why this debate this week is so important. It gives us, and through us our constituents, an opportunity to reaffirm our faith in this country and in its heritage and to say in very clear and unequivocal terms that we are not indifferent to the future of this nation, nor are we indifferent to the legitimate aspirations of various regions in this country.

But surely we cannot, and will not, stand or sit passively and silently by while our fellow citizens in Quebec consider a proposition which, if approved, could lead to the dismemberment of a nation that our forefathers have nurtured and that we have shared and cherished. Surely we owe ourselves more than that and we owe our children much more than that.

I can recall my own days as a student at la Faculté de Médecine de l’Université d’Ottawa sensing some of the cultural frustration of my fellow medical students. But there seemed always to be a common acceptance and understanding that we were all Canadians and that rational human beings and fellow countrymen with an intrinsic respect for each other and for each other’s views and values could resolve most problems and that really in the long run there were very few barriers that could not be surmounted.

Personally, I find it very difficult to accept that the aspirations of my fellow citizens and of my colleagues in Quebec are really so unique that they could not be accommodated within a federalist concept of Canada. Others who are far more eloquent than I am have more clearly articulated the case for a united Canada, but I would like to take a moment to put some of my views on the record and to reinforce the position of the government in this most important debate.

We have heard several arguments in support of the preservation of this nation of ours, not the least of which has been the rich heritage that has been produced by the co-operative interaction of the cultures of our two founding peoples, a heritage that has been richly augmented by a myriad of immigrants who have chosen deliberately to make Canada their home and who, if I might share some of the words from my colleague from Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey), are fiercely Canadian and are sincerely disturbed at the prospect of a fractured Canada.

When one speaks of heritage many images come to mind. The major ones, however, emphasize our intertwined history, our similar values and our shared benefits. Our history is highly intertwined occasionally, quite frankly, by controversy but also enhanced by higher points of co-operation and agreement.

Ontarians and Quebeckers hold similar views and values. We share a fundamental and intrinsic respect for the law, a deep respect for the individual in society and a deep commitment to the family. The positive climate this shared relationship has produced and created within this bountiful nation has attracted a multiplicity of people eager to share in the benefits of this great land.

Surely this is a foundation we should build upon rather than replace with what has been termed as sovereignty-association, a proposal that discards two centuries of nation-building, a proposal that would impede the evolution of Canadian nationhood and, in my view, would achieve nothing that cannot be achieved effectively within a federalist framework.

In looking back at how our founding peoples have developed the spirit of this great nation, I must point out that many of the most important events in our history have indeed involved some disagreement or some confrontation. Our goals, aspirations and perceptions have occasionally led to these confrontations. But I think it is important to note, and to remember, that from these disagreements has come an increased awareness by each of the desires and the aspirations of the other. Several turning points in our history suggest that Canada has weathered each of these crises well and has emerged from each stronger and more vibrant.

Although there have been these occasions of disagreement, there have also been numerous examples of co-operation. The most significant, of course, was in the very creation of this nation in 1867 as a result of the collaborative efforts of many great Canadians, such as Sir John A. Macdonald and Georges Etienne Cartier. The British North America Act, the founding document of this nation, was premised on the reality of the existence of those two founding cultures.

It is certainly not too late to restructure that federation to reflect more accurately the changing legitimate needs of our fellow French-Canadian citizens and, indeed, of those of other regions in the country who feel the need for alterations in the face of several years of constitutional status quo. Ontario has made that commitment to negotiate constitutional reform, to endeavour to achieve a new, fair and just equilibrium within Confederation, a constitution that might better serve the needs of the people of each province.

This commitment, in effect, is a continuation and a reaffirmation of the tradition of co-operation which was begun by Ontario’s Premier Oliver Mowat and Quebec’s Honoré Mercier in the late 19th century. This Quebec-Ontario co-operation has been a cornerstone not only of our political development, but of the evolution of our economic, social and cultural way of life.

9 p.m.

Many of our co-operative efforts, ranging from the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s to a common position on a new federal-provincial communications policy still under discussion, demonstrate the benefits of our co-operation. The federal system under which that development has taken place has allowed Ontario, Quebec and other regions of this country to retain their individual historical identities. At the same time, we have each benefited from the larger association.

I would hope that any sense of dissatisfaction with our federal system is less pronounced in matters relating to labour and labour relations than it might be in other areas. I would suggest this is because under present arrangements, as members know, the labour laws affecting the overwhelming majority of citizens are enacted and administered by the provinces. In practical terms, the provinces have full autonomy in several key areas, manufacturing, mining, construction, wholesale and retail trade and the service industry generally. In this connection, it is worth while to note that a Canadian province under our system has much greater legislative responsibility than a state does under the United States constitution.

In making this observation, I am not suggesting what we have is perfect. For example, as we move to a total review of our constitutional arrangements I would hope and urge that careful attention be given to any unjustifiable reliance on federal powers. In saying that, I refer in particular to the scope and the ambit of the declaratory section. Subject to this important reservation, I think it can fairly be said that in labour matters the provinces in Canada have, on the one hand, autonomy in key industrial and commercial sectors within their boundaries and, on the other hand, the opportunity to consult and collaborate with each other and with the federal authorities on matters of shared and common concern.

In a Canada without Quebec, the substantial benefits, be they formal or informal, that flow from this unique constitutional arrangement would surely be jeopardized and to the detriment of all of us. Some Quebeckers have doubted that the Canadian federal state can offer them any continuing benefits or can allow for a realistic fulfilment of the Quebec national consciousness. That narrow argument put forward by anti-federalist forces holds that this association with Canada and with its provinces has limited Quebec’s development.

The solution offered by the Parti Quebecois to rectify the perceived situation is sovereignty-association -- effectively, some sort of separation from Canada. Ontario’s response as a province is simple and direct. Quebec should remain within the federal state and should continue to co-operate with Ontario and with the rest of the provinces to redesign a constitution that will accommodate the legitimate roles of our province, those of Quebec and those of the other regions and people in Canada.

The people of Ontario also have a simple and straightforward message for the people of Quebec. The strength of Canada and our very existence, in the face of what surely has to be a very awkward geographical distribution, depend upon each region of this diverse country accepting that it has a complementary role to play with regard to each other region and, as a result, there flows a beneficial balancing of each other’s weaknesses and strengths and allows national survival and prosperity.

In spite of those intertwining needs, over the past 113 years we have, as a nation, still managed to preserve regional diversity. Given this fact, I would submit that there is little danger of Quebec’s identity disappearing in a renewed Canadian federation. The Canadian commitment as well as the Canadian challenge has always been the retention of our individual and collective historical identities. In the coming years and months we must find new ways of meeting this challenge, but we must do it positively, not negatively.

In the debate that has surrounded the issue of separation, the actions and views of the people of Ontario as well as our supposed intentions have sometimes been distorted and misrepresented by some proponents of the separatist cause. To those who have made such negative statements and accusations, I can only say that Ontario’s vision is not narrow. Our desire to create a strong and just Canada in all its regions has never failed us. We have always viewed our compatriots in Quebec and in other parts of the country as partners in the work of building this nation. To imply otherwise is, frankly, to attack the integrity and the goodwill of Ontario’s people. To advance that cynical and, I submit, questionable argument also underestimates the intelligence of Quebeckers, who must surely know otherwise.

At this fragile time in our history, surely it is counterproductive to resort to any inaccurate negative rhetoric. Today we have the opportunity and capacity to build a stronger and more positive nation. At this time of crisis let us share a renewed sense of national purpose. Let us accept the challenge and build the nation together rather than choose the sad alternative of setting ourselves apart from each other.

Monsieur le Président, comme le grand historien M. Arnold Toynbee l’a démontré, les grandes civilisations ne sont pas nées d’événements et de circonstances fortuites, mais de la volonté des hommes de surmonter des obstacles qui paraissent infranchissables. Devant cette question capitale, il serait certes facile de ne pas intervenir et de laisser notre pays se morceler. Mais avec du courage, de la détermination et de la volonté, nous pouvons surmonter nos difficultés. Ainsi nous atteindrons inévitablement notre but -- celui de bâtir un Canada plus juste et plus fort. Et je propose, Monsieur le Président, que nous travaillions ensemble afin de réaliser cet objectif commun.

As the great historian Arnold Toynbee has shown us, great civilizations have been created not by fortuitous events or conditions or accidents of time but by the ability of people to overcome adversities. In respect to this momentous matter before us, the easy course would surely be to sit back and allow this country to balkanize. But with courage, determination and goodwill, I submit that we can overcome our present difficulties. We can achieve the inevitable result of a stronger and, indeed, a better Canada. I say, let us join forces and continue our work towards that common goal.

Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to say I support enthusiastically the resolution before the House. On a personal note, and I know a number of other members have mentioned this, which I suppose gives me the freedom to do the same, my roots in this province go back to 1849. As far as I am concerned, I am not in any way at any time prepared to negotiate the breakup of this country.

My forefathers were of Scottish and English descent arid came out to Ontario in 1849, first landing at Kingston. They then made their way down to Huron county and eventually to West Wawanosh township. My mother’s ancestors are pure Irish, although there are some who say to apply the word pure to the Irish is in itself a bit of a contradiction.

9:10 p.m.

Others who have spoken in this debate have indicated their varied and diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences. I feel a certain deficiency in that respect because I come from an Anglo-Saxon background and have never lived in any other province but Ontario. Notwithstanding that, I still have a keen feeling for this country, for its history, for its two founding races, the French and the English, and its present multicultural composition.

It is an honour for me to participate in this debate, a most important one, as witnessed by the fact that all members and most of the cabinet ministers are taking part, because I think all of us sense that Canadians are faced with the greatest internal crisis since Confederation. The separatist movement in Quebec is but one manifestation of that crisis. And so I think it is appropriate that the assembly of Ontario is setting aside this entire week for such a major debate. As was pointed out several days ago, this is the first time in the history of this House that such a procedure has been followed. While there is bound to be repetition, I think it is a useful exercise.

The election of a separatist government in Quebec has focused public attention to an unprecedented degree on the adequacy, or otherwise, of our constitutional and institutional arrangements. Questions such as what do we expect from our central government, what responsibilities can be handled as well, if not better, by the provinces, how can we further the cause of national unity and restructure government to give a more accurate reflection of and respect for regional and cultural diversity are all questions that the Canadian public has been asking in the last four or five years.

I think it has become obvious that we must rearrange the terms of the constitution to make Quebeckers more comfortable within the Canadian federation, a constitution that reflects the social and economic facts and responds to the needs of the country as a whole. Simply put, the constitution has just not kept up with present-day realities. Since Confederation, there have been only three amendments to the BNA Act that actually transferred legislative powers from one level of government to another.

All three amendments were post-Second World War and all three involved transfer of power from the provinces to Ottawa: first, with respect to unemployment insurance; second, with respect to old age pensions; and, third, with respect to supplementary benefits to pensioners. The courts have made various judgements in respect to the division of powers over the years, but I don’t think that is any substitute at this point for a new constitution.

There is much to recommend a thorough reassessment of our constitutional arrangements because this is a very different country from the collection of colonies assembled by the Fathers of Confederation 113 years ago. Canada’s boundaries have expanded to the point that we are now the world’s second-largest nation in terms of area. Political independence has been achieved. The country’s economic centre of gravity has been moving west and so has the political balance. The last redistribution gave the western provinces for the first time more members of Parliament in Ottawa than Quebec has. I think It is obvious that the constitution has to reflect present-day realities, not only in Quebec but in the rest of the country as well.

One of the fundamental issues that has caused major disagreement is the degree of centralization. When the federal government usurps, or is seen to usurp, powers given to the provinces under the BNA Act, then there is friction and bitterness. This can be seen not only here but in the United States and Australia as well. A lot of the friction in this country has resulted from the central government using financial power at the expense of the provinces. The Canadian constitution, as originally designed, provided for a strong central government. Although there were differences of opinion on this point, it is felt that a higher degree of provincial autonomy was contemplated in some areas than the federal government has been prepared to concede.

The point is that the constitution drafted in 1867 did not envisage the independent and fully sovereign Canada which has evolved. The federal government had veto power of provincial laws. The imperial government had veto power over the Canadian government in Ottawa under the terms of the BNA Act.

As I mentioned before, the Canada of 1867 has evolved into a county so different from that which was contemplated a century ago, but arguments proceeding from original intent must be recognized as not being all that useful for charting a constitutional course for the future. Complete domination from the centre was unacceptable then and it still is. It would have imposed strains on Canadian federation which would have proved unacceptable.

In 1988, Pierre Trudeau, in speaking of the tendency of the Privy Council to favour the provinces, said, “It has long been a custom in English Canada to denounce the Privy Council for its provincial bias, but it should perhaps be considered that if the law lords had not leaned in that direction, Quebec separatism might not be a threat today; it might be an accomplished fact.”

That suggests to me that in the future more power will have to be transferred to the provinces if this country is going to stay together. Whatever the Privy Council did or did not do in maintaining a balance between the provinces and the federal government, it did establish formally the principle that the federal and provincial governments were not in a relationship of superior to inferior, master to servant; rather each was sovereign within the area of jurisdiction assigned to it by the constitution.

Over the years it has turned out that the real action has been at the provincial level in terms of delivering services to people on a day-to-day basis. Many programs, particularly social programs, had a high visibility and voter appeal at the provincial level. As a result, the temptation has been strong for federal politicians to encroach upon areas of social policy which the constitution assigned exclusively to the provinces. This was encouraged by a developing imbalance in the federal system where the legislative authority was located at the provincial level but the big money was in Ottawa. Instead of Ottawa making some fiscal arrangement with the provinces to allow the provinces to carry on these programs, the central government assumed a policy-making and program role in these areas of provincial responsibility.

The exercise of federal spending power in this fashion, along with the conditional grant program, has been a source of continuing tension with Quebec and Ontario and other provinces and is one matter which will require attention in any constitutional reform, because the provinces do have constitutional authority over such matters as health, education and highways, just to mention three.

When the federal government offers, for example, to pay half the cost of a new program subject to certain conditions, the pressures on a province are very strong to take advantage of that program, usually based on the federal government paying 50 per cent of the cost. This sometimes means the conditions imposed lead to a very different kind of program from the one the province would otherwise have developed. Added to this is the realization that the province could be left to carry the full cost of the program should Ottawa choose to terminate its cost sharing. So provincial priorities become distorted in areas which are supposed to be entirely within the provincial realm.

At the constitutional discussions in Victoria in 1971, a formula was developed for requiring provincial consent before new spending programs of this kind could be initiated by Ottawa. That provision was not included in the charter, but this type of constitutional amendment would go a considerable distance towards meeting some of the concerns Quebec has expressed in the past. Therefore, the tendency over the years has been for more centralization at the federal level while the whole thrust at the provincial level has really been in the opposite direction, putting considerable strain on the system.

Another stress point as far as Quebec is concerned is the reality that since Confederation, and indeed for a century before, Quebec has been very conscious of the need to preserve and protect its position as representing the French fact in North America.

Kenneth Lysyk, in one of his lectures on reshaping Canadian federation, said: “For many years and, generally speaking, extending through to the Duplessis era, the concerns were largely to protect the authority the constitution already conferred; that is to say, the constitution as it had been interpreted by the Privy Council when it was the court of final appeal in constitutional matters.

9:20 p.m.

“More recently, following the so-called quiet revolution in Quebec, the governments of the province moved towards a more affirmative position. It was no longer thought sufficient to react defensively and negatively towards some proposed new federal program. Increasingly the constitutional position of that province has been defined in positive terms. The overall objective was expressed in terms of the importance of Quebeckers being masters in their own house and what was sought was increased control over their own affairs.

“There can be no doubt at all that this constitutional direction, charted well before Mr. Levesque joined the Parti Quebecois, will be continued even if his government is defeated at the next election. That continuity is one reason why the constitutional issues must be seriously addressed now, even if the prospects for successful intergovernmental discussions in the short run are not right.”

Essentially from the provinces’ point of view, a number of constitutional reforms are necessary -- and this province is now committed to constitutional reform -- to guard against over-centralization by the federal government and to protect the interests of the provinces.

At the Victoria conference in 1971, the Victoria charter embodied a package of proposals that were at the time acceptable to Ottawa and to all of the provinces except Quebec, which felt that the proposals did not go far enough in terms of protecting the provinces’ interests, particularly with respect to social policy. However, I think this is the time to pick up where the Victoria conference left off and try once again to achieve some acceptable compromises in terms of the distribution of legislative powers.

To say that such a further reallocation of authority in favour of the provinces would weaken the central government to the point where it could not pursue legitimate national goals is not so in my view. In regard to these proposed constitutional changes, they are the ones which have a strong provincial flavour and need not inhibit the central government from addressing the truly interprovincial, national and international responsibilities. At the same time, the constitution must allow enough latitude in terms of constitutional authority and financial resources to encourage significant political and cultural self- expression at the provincial level.

So much for the distribution of specific legislative powers. Things like constitutional reform, Senate reform, ownership and control of provincial natural resources and incorporating a Bill of Rights into the constitution are all important matters. In the final analysis, however, the continuance of Canada as a country depends on the heart, not on the head. In my view, it is going to be the depth of feeling we have for the country, the commitment we have to it, the courage and determination to resolve our problems and the sensitivity to appreciate each other’s problems that are going to determine whether the country remains or breaks up. That is going to demand vision, total commitment, total determination and above all, hope and goodwill and belief in this country and what it can offer.

In the days ahead, attitudes of government will be more important, I suggest, than the letter of the constitution. Whatever the outcome in Quebec on May 20, we have to negotiate to resolve our differences. We owe the future nothing less. This is my country; this is our country; I love it; I want to see it continue.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to participate in this very serious and very important debate. It is a very personal debate because all of us have our own very personal feelings about Canada and about our desire to have the people of Quebec make a decision to remain as part of this exciting, evolving and growing country.

My ancestors came to Canada before the turn of the century. They came from Scotland and Ireland. They came, not so much to join an English or a French-speaking culture, but rather because conditions were so bad in the home country that the result of not coming would be abject poverty or even starvation.

If we are to be honest, many of us who can trace our roots can say that our forefathers in all probability never chose to be assimilated into cultures of one or the other of the founding cultures. Instead, they consciously chose to survive, and survive they did, but at considerable loss of much of their own culture.

The member for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) pointed out that his ancestors spoke Gaelic, as did mine. Unfortunately, neither he nor I is capable of speaking in the Legislature using the language of our roots in the eloquent manner of members who today were able to speak in their own home language.

I believe that my ancestors, the Scots, have been for the most part a tolerant and empathetic race of people. I quote from Benjamin Sault in Les Ecossais au Canada in la Revue des deux France, 1898, in which he says: “Of the three groups who form what we now call les Anglais, those who have been here the longest and those who are the most remarkable are the Scottish group. For us French Canadians, this is the most sympathetic and most understanding of the three groups concerned.”

We Canadians of Scottish and Irish ancestries are in a good position to understand the aspirations of the Franco-Ontarians, for in many ways we have lost much of what French Canadians are afraid of losing. Although Canada is a country of two founding ethnocultural groups, it is now a country of many cultures. The way to help us, of Irish and Scottish extraction, to come to a more tolerant view of others is to provide us with some of the action.

The whole concept of multiculturalism is a noble one, but it must include not just those who came to Canada more recently but also those whose ancestors, like mine, came many years ago. In 1976-77, Irish cultural groups received about five per cent of the federal grants given to ethnic groups. In 1978-79, they received only one per cent. In 1976-77, Scottish associations and groups received about five per cent of the total federal grants given to ethnic groups. In 1978-79, they received only two per cent.

After 1971, the federal government stopped collecting population figures on English, Scottish and Irish Canadians and, instead, labelled us all as English-speaking. We all understand the pressures that brought this about and the reasons why the federal government moved in that direction. We also recognize that there is probably no conscious move on the part of the government to undermine the Scottish or Irish culturally. We have the greatest love and respect for our friends who came, or whose ancestors came, from England but we are not English. Hostility often springs not from reality but from a perceived reality, and we must always be conscious of that.

Many of the associations and groups that have promoted and encouraged the Irish and Scottish Canadians to hold on to our traditions, and to study our original languages have certainly done a tremendous job, often with little or no government support. Some have not had the need for government support, but what I am saying is that for those groups to feel comfortable in a multicultural system they must at least feel they can be part of that action if they wish to or have the need to.

This brings me to the problems inherent in the present multicultural programs. The federal multicultural program was both timely and positive. However, since the Secretariat of State for Multiculturalism was established in 1971, the focus has been on facilitating and assisting different cultural groups but has put very little emphasis on developing education and understanding among groups.

Multiculturalism, I believe, must have two thrusts. One is the thrust of assisting individuals to discover the richness of their own heritage. The other thrust is the one of exchanging cultural experience. One thrust provides a sense of pride and self-worth. The other thrust provides a sense of empathy, appreciation and understanding. Over-emphasizing one brings out narrow nationalism and division. A balanced approach is what is needed.

9:30 p.m.

At the provincial level, we in Ontario must do everything possible to promote a balanced multicultural program. Some of my colleagues have already dealt with some aspects of this. I would like to mention one concern which has not been mentioned. In May 1979, the multicultural development branch of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation was merged with the newcomer services branch, under the title of citizenship development branch. The rationale was that the multicultural development branch tended to separate people.

However, with the new direction we must be ever-cautious of a tendency towards conformity. One way of avoiding this is to give citizens a direct input into the programs. The government may well have thought it was doing this by expanding the multiculturalism council. This body, however, is merely an advisory council, with no decision- making powers. Its members are appointed by cabinet.

There is suspicion in my community -- a multicultural community -- that this council can be used as a propaganda weapon by the government, and the appointment of the defeated Tory candidate Yuri Shymko as the new chairman, with a $40,000-a-year salary, has done little to remove these suspicions. Multiculturalism is too important to Canada. It must not be used, or even appear to be used, as a political tool.

I was disappointed at the absence of any concrete statement of multicultural fact in the Ryan paper, put out by the constitutional committee of the Quebec Liberal Party, A New Canadian Federation. Recommendations in chapter 17, dealing with the rights of native peoples are very interesting. Let me read just two of the several recommendations it makes.

It says the constitution should guarantee respect for their rights and their cultural inheritance. It also says, “In the course of negotiations on the adoption of a new constitution, the native peoples should be represented and consulted.” These two recommendations should also be applied to other cultural groups in Canada.

What I have attempted to do is to present some of the feelings I have on the importance of multiculturalism as a way of promoting understanding and growth among all cultural groups that make up Canada. I believe an extensive, two-pronged approach to multiculturalism creates an environment in which many of the aspirations of the two founding cultures can be met, as well as the aspirations of other groups.

I believe in Quebec’s right to make its own decision. If it is divorce, rather than intercourse, I will not advocate rape. However, I cannot understand the concept of sovereignty-association. I can understand sovereignty, and I can understand association, but I cannot understand sovereignty-association.

If the people of Quebec choose political independence at some point, I do not feel that most Canadians would advocate force to prevent them from withdrawing. It might well be that some time after that separation some agreement could be reached between the two countries. That would remain to be seen.

I am talking hypothetically about two separate actions. I quote from Premier Allan Blakeney, who said, in speaking about the concept of sovereignty-association: “It is the essence of the concept, sovereignty-association, which presents some real obstacles that Premier Levesque continually glosses over. Part of that glossing-over is accomplished by the marrying of the terms sovereignty and association. These conditions, presumably, are to be arrived at simultaneously. Try as I do, I cannot understand how this can be done. How can Quebec, as one of the 10 provinces, both negotiate itself out of Canada and negotiate itself into associate status as a sovereign state at one and the same time?”

“I can understand,” Premier Blakeney says, “how this might possibly be done by two separate and distinct steps, necessarily separated by a considerable period of time, and assuming that some bargain could be struck between two sovereign states, but as I understand it this is not the proposal by Premier Levesque.” A yes vote for sovereignty-association is merely a vote for confusion.

I would like to conclude with one last quote from Premier Blakeney: “A no vote in the referendum is not a vote for the status quo but a yes vote will do nothing save bring a stalemate and lend support to those who say the best thing to do is to wash our hands of Quebec. It is for the people of Quebec to decide how they will vote.”

I hope their answer will be, “No, merci.”

Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to take part in this debate. There have been many debates in this Legislature which have been of great significance to the development of our province, yet I believe there has never been a debate as significant or as important for the future of Ontario or for the future of Canada as a whole as the one we are engaged in this week.

Fundamentally, we are talking about the future of our nation, we are talking about the survival of Canada as we know it, we are talking about the preservation of the precious heritage that we have inherited from our forefathers and which every one of us will want to pass on to our children and children’s children. In many ways, my vision of Canada is shaped by my background and that of my family. Indeed, my family’s history demonstrates the diversity and harmony of our country.

My family, the Kerrs, have been resident in Canada since the 1830s. My great, great grandfather was a Scot and when he came over he decided to settle in one of the many Scottish settlements that dot the Gaspé region of Quebec. They are people of French, Scottish and Irish backgrounds. As Quebeckers, they live peacefully side by side, each preserving the best of their own culture while developing a loyalty and love for their new home, Canada.

My great, great grandfather, Archie Kerr, used to deliver the mail in our region. It was a 60-mile route. During the summer months he would wear his kilt while walking his rounds. Although he was proud to wear the ancestral tartan of his clan, my forefather did not consider himself any less a Canadian than any of his neighbours, many of whom had ancestors who settled in Canada in the days of Champlain.

As I remember, while I was growing up in the Gaspé during the 1930s, there was no real animosity between people. We all had respect for each other. We all appreciated the differences that separated us but also recognized those things which brought us together as people of different heritages, as Canadians, and as individuals. I had many school chums who were French-speaking Quebeckers. We would switch from one language to the other as if this was the natural thing to do, and appreciate each other’s struggle.

Conditions were fairly tough in those days on the Gaspé coast. No one had more than the basic necessities and this is why we were close. There were nine months of winter and about three months’ poor sledding. This helped us, I am sure, to appreciate each other for our distinctive personal qualities, regardless of what language we spoke, what church we prayed at or where our parents came from. We were all Canadians doing what we could to take advantage of the opportunities that were provided to us by living in a land that we believed had great potential. Certainly, we were all prepared to do what we could to enhance the role and prestige of our community and our province, but we were Canadians first, last and always. If you asked a Quebecker in those days, “Are you French?” His answer was, “Je suis Canadien.”

As honourable members know, there are many regions of Quebec that have this multi-racial mix -- Montreal, the Eastern Townships, the upper Ottawa Valley, to name a few. This mosaic is a mirror of many other parts of Canada that exist today. The only difference is, depending on the province, the so-called minority status of one group may change and, therefore, their efforts to maintain their culture and background require varying degrees of tolerance and co-operation.

9:40 p.m.

The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) and other speakers have reminded those who would vote yes in the referendum that there are Franco-Ontarians and other citizens of French-speaking background in other provinces whose efforts to maintain their heritage and equality could be set back if the principle of sovereignty-association received majority support, which could result in Quebec becoming a separate state.

Those of us in public office should not be deterred from enhancing that equality and those rights, regardless of our constituencies. However, there is no question in my mind that those efforts may be severely set back if Mr. Levesque and the Parti Quebecois are successful in the referendum.

I doubt very much if you will find many people who proudly call themselves Acadians in the Maritimes, or Franco-Ontarians, or French-speaking Canadians anywhere outside of Quebec who support the principle of sovereignty-association. They know that their future and opportunities are much brighter in a united Canada where they can continue to move and work anywhere across the country, speaking for the most part their own language and continue to enjoy and promote their cultural heritage.

I was frankly disappointed when I read recently that a former cabinet minister in the Bourassa government, an English-speaking Quebecker who represented Westmount in the National Assembly, announced he was going to vote yes. This man is one of the heirs of a very well-known and well-respected Quebec family. I suppose he felt that in some way he was protecting his own interests in the event that Quebec separated in the future. His announcement caused a great deal of controversy, and well it might, as most English-speaking Quebeckers have benefited greatly from Confederation in our present political structure.

What concerns me is that, because of that family’s prestige, many of his former constituents and many other English-speaking Quebeckers may follow his intention, thereby greatly undermining the basic support for a united Canada that exists among his compatriots, who know they have nothing to gain and much to lose in the event the country splits up.

That gentleman’s announcement could also help allay some of the concerns and fears that many French-speaking Quebeckers have about voting yes, thereby tipping the scales in a way which could be very unfortunate.

The federal system, with its checks and balances, our laws and court systems and the administration of justice generally, is for the equal benefit of all Canadians. Legislation passed in provincial legislatures which may prejudice minorities now is subject to future scrutiny. In areas of language rights, education, communication and even religion, the federal Parliament and Supreme Court have a credible record of changing and even disallowing such legislation in the protection of minority rights.

Let us consider for a moment the great progress that has occurred within each region of our country over the past century. As Canadian provinces, we have advanced from small agricultural communities huddled on the shores of rivers, lakes and streams. We have developed industries, built huge cities and harnessed the energies of nature. Each and every one of us has had the unique opportunity to grow and thrive in one of the most diverse regions on earth.

Just as there was in the Gaspé region of my boyhood, there is room enough for all of us in Canada. There is room enough for different interests, both cultural and economic, to develop in an atmosphere of harmony and freedom.

As has been said in this House, particularly by Franco-Ontarian members, the Rockies, the Prairies, all that wheat, all that oil and all those fish belong to me. I believe this debate should not be seen as a gloomy affair, as an admission of defeat or, to borrow the expression common in the media these days, as something too little, too late. I believe we should use this debate as an affirmation of Confederation, even a celebration, if you will, of all the good things that are involved in being together as Canadians.

I hope this debate will breathe new life into the concepts of Confederation and renew in every one of us in this chamber, and in those reading the debates or following them on television and radio, a commitment to keep Canada united.

Each and every one of us should take down the Confederation documents from the library shelf, dust them off and see them for what they are: a living and breathing influence on our day-to-day affairs in this Legislature. Confederation isn’t just something we learn in school. It is not just the drab-coloured painting of the Fathers of Confederation that hangs in the wall space over the entrance to the library of this Legislature. No, Confederation is what we are all about in this House and what our colleagues in similar legislatures in other provinces are all about. In other words, Confederation is our business.

Each and every one of us here and throughout Canada is working together for the benefit of all. We are working to ensure prosperity for our own communities, but not in a selfish sense. We are working for the kind of prosperity that will benefit not only ourselves but others as well. We are working to link both the success of our communities with that of our nation as a whole and so to create a nation that is greater than the sum of its parts.

That in an ideal form is what Confederation is all about. Naturally, it is a worthy goal, one that makes us a greater people and a greater nation the closer we come to achieving it. It is a goal that each of us as politicians and citizens should keep in mind as we go about our business.

In order to ensure that this freedom and opportunity continues, there must be some change in the administration of Confederation. Our constitution, the British North America Act, requires reform. It has required reform for 20 years and, in spite of many efforts, no change has yet come about.

Ontario, I am happy to say, has been in the forefront of the movement to reform the constitution. It was Premier Robarts who took a leading role in organizing the Confederation of Tomorrow conference in 1967. This government has presented papers on a new economic policy for a new formula, the taxing of strategic inner resources and a recommendation for the repatriation of the constitution. Ontario has been doing its part. It has been in the forefront. And this debate this week is evidence the position of Ontario continues in the forefront.

I believe that changes must be made to our constitution if Confederation is to flourish and prosper. The constitution was designed in the spirit of English common law. That is to say our constitution is not a document whose resolutions are written in stone; they are open to change and reform so as to better serve the circumstances of the time.

All over the world people are flexing muscles, demanding rights, exposing injustices. The remedy in some areas is resolved either by bullets or by ballots. In some cases they are justified. In many countries change is not an improvement; the natives are fleeing their own land. This is not the situation in Quebec, because that province is one of the most civilized, tolerant and cultural regions in the world. In spite of the fact that many politicians have strained that fabric, the province continues to thrive. To do so in the future requires its scholars, writers, entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, clergy and all of its people, with their innate sense of decency and justice, their joie de vivre, to be always the vibrant heart and sensitive soul of Canada from sea to sea. Let them all breathe and roar and influence so that we may benefit.

I say to Mr. Levesque, my former Gaspésian neighbour, that if the result on May 20 is non, merci, he should accept it as a mandate to enhance and expand his province within a renewed Confederation. He and his successors would have all the power they need to govern without inhibition. I am sure he will find his colleagues and counterparts in Ottawa and the other provincial capitals to be very receptive, thereby assuring his positive role in Canada’s history and the future prosperity and destiny of the people of Quebec.

9:50 p.m.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I had not originally intended to speak in this debate. This was not because of any lack of real concern over the serious situation I think we find in our country today, but because I was not sure if I could put into words my concerns and because of my own feelings, which are not necessarily in accord with those of my own caucus colleagues.

I have had difficulty for a long time in accepting that self-determination was a right of Quebeckers only. I thought of it and I tried to come to grips with it myself, but in my own heart what cried out all the time was: “Hey, this is my country too. I believe in it. I think I am part of it. I don’t think, even if we are two founding races, that you have the sole right to decide on determination when that could mean the breakup of our country.” I have had serious problems coming to grips with that.

Having said that, I also recognize, probably more than some and in a very personal and practical way, some of the differences and some of the problems that exist. I grew up in the town of Buckingham, Quebec. We were the privileged in that town. My dad was secretary-treasurer of a very large corporation, the major employer in the town. I went to Buckingham High School. We played in competition with St. Joseph’s, the French Catholic school in town. Unfortunately, in those days we were as likely to end up in a good fight, not necessarily only in sports, but sometimes over who controlled some of the local ponds for skating and for hockey practices around the town. I well remember what childhood I had in that town and the kind of conflicts that were there and the inconsiderate attitudes that many of us took. I have to tell the people in this House that the Anglos were more often the inconsiderate than the Francos in that town.

I also know that when I went to sea in 1943 during the war I got a pretty good lesson in trade unionism. That is where it started with me, with the Norwegians because I sailed with the Norwegians. When I came back in 1945 to Buckingham, I began to realize some of the things and some of the problems that existed in that town and in this country in the Confederation we have.

There were a couple of very simple matters, for example. When I said we were the privileged, we really were the better-paid families. There were many things going for us in the town. The town at that time was probably about 50 per cent English and 50 per cent French. In that plant where my dad was one of the senior management people, there were probably 400 people in the plant and 70 people in the office. When I started checking, I found out there was one of the 70 office staff who was a French Canadian. One simply didn’t get into the office staff in that plant if one was French Canadian, and that was in a town that was 50-50. There was not a foreman in the mill who was a French Canadian, and many of them had good work records.

To get ahead at that time, a French Canadian had to get out of that mill.

I could go back to Buckingham today and point out some of the stores on the main drag there. I can remember, in particular, one druggist and one hardware store. After 15 or 16 years of service in that mill, people who had real ability ended up by getting out of the mill and opening up private businesses. They became entrepreneurs because that was how they made their name and got ahead in that town. They couldn’t do it in that particular plant. It drove home a lesson to me. I realized there were some injustices.

I have long since left Buckingham, Quebec, and so has my family. I know that things have changed there. I know there is new management and new positions of authority and that many of them now are held in that town by French-Canadian citizens. But I wonder if what has happened in the last 10 or 15 years makes up f or 50, 60, 70 or 100 years of injustice. If there should be any doubt or wonder in anybody’s mind why we have some of the things happening that we have in this country of ours today, then who is at fault, the privileged or the underdogs?

I don’t want to try to establish that fault, but I think of comments made by one of my kid brothers, who is still in Buckingham today and who is farming there. I talked to him only three or four weeks ago. I guess you would classify my kid brother as a very enterprising and yet small-c conservative person. He certainly does not hold the same views I do, though I have tried. I do not mean he is a wild conservative. He said to me, and I thought it was significant, “I don’t like what is going on. I don’t like the language bill” -- that would be his prejudice showing -- “I don’t like the separation bit. But apart from those two issues, I have to tell you, Bob, the best government and the best initiatives and support for the people that we have had in a long time have come from the Parti Quebecois in Quebec.” That is a fair comment from someone who is as conservative as he is. It should raise questions in people’s minds.

I personally hope very strongly there is a no vote in Quebec. That is my hope and that is why I support this resolution before this House. I want it, but I want it for possibly different reasons than some others in this House may have. I think a no vote presents a challenge to Ontario, to English Canada, and to the rest of Canada -- all the other provinces with the rich ethnic mix they have in their populations today -- a challenge like we have never had before. We are going to have to show our sincerity in coming to grips with what is obviously a problem in our country and with a need for a new constitution. We are kidding ourselves if we think otherwise.

I hope if we have a yes vote we are not so blind as to think we will not have to sit down and negotiate regardless. I do not think it gives the added leverage some people feel it might. I think a no vote is the one that puts us on the spot. The rest of Canada should be put on the spot in this particular debate. We are going to have to respond in terms of guarantees that do protect the language and culture rights of the people, and that do not involve the automatic assimilation talked about by my colleague from Sudbury East (Mr. Martel).

We are also going to have to be sure we see some redress in the economic problems that are so obvious and some feeling for the people of that province, as well as working people in the rest of the country. I think my colleagues have ably touched on this in the debate today. There can be some justice in terms of our economic system and how it relates to people. It need not be an establishment economic system.

We have to indicate clearly we are willing to sit down and negotiate a new constitution that puts Canada back in the hands of all Canadians. We have to be sure we are going to meet the challenge being tossed to us by the people in Quebec. We have to negotiate our differences. In those negotiations we do not necessarily have to be weak. If I have learned anything in the trade union movement it is that one does not usually negotiate from a point of weakness. I hope, if we are sincere, it will get through. I guess we have to have a little faith as well. It seems to me we have to negotiate on the basis of, “You may not get everything you want, but there are some obvious and serious differences and they have got to be redressed in our country.”

We can get a handle on this and the rights of the two founding nations can be guaranteed. It will then be a lot easier to make the new citizens in this country, the variety of ethnic mix we now have, understand they also can achieve justice in the kind of mosaic that is Canada. There are problems also in offering services to new Canadians, not necessarily -- and I might disagree here with some of my colleagues -- as an equal to the two founding partners, but not as a non-equal either. I have not worked out in my own mind exactly how we do it. But new Canadians should have every right that either an English Canadian or French Canadian has in this country when we are sitting down to discuss this new constitution.

If we can get this out of the way, and I think it is important we respond to this kind of challenge, then we can move on to take a serious look at what I think has become a very grave problem in Canada, that is, decentralization, the turning-over of authority and autonomy to the provinces. We have been consistently and steadily weakening our central government.

10 p.m.

I do not think anything else can happen until we come to grips with whether the people who make up Confederation believe and feel they are operating as equals. If we can resolve that, if we can address some of the fears that are felt by some of our new Canadians, then maybe we won’t be so unwilling to tackle the serious problem of saying, “Hey, we are going to be a Confederation of 10 provinces and the territories, and we have got to see that there is some pretty strong authority in the central government.” I think that problem has to be attended to and attended to before much longer or it’s not just Quebec that will be threatening to pull out of this Confederation.

I guess I am saying as a Canadian, and a concerned Canadian, and saying very clearly to the people in Quebec: “Don’t leave us. We need you. I need you. I want you. Our country is not going to be the same without you. It’s very clear that we are facing a serious problem, but sit down with us, let us once more show our willingness to negotiate.” We haven’t done that at many conferences that have been called over the last few years at the federal level. I am saying: “Let us show our willingness to sit down and negotiate a new constitution. Give us the opportunity.” I don’t think we should feel weakness in asking that kind of an opportunity from the people of Quebec. “Negotiate, don’t negate Confederation.” I say that to the people of Quebec as strongly as I can.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I am also pleased to have an opportunity to make a few brief comments in this debate. I must apologize to my colleagues that my speech is rather short, but I had been told I was going to have five minutes to speak. I will, if I might, as we say, ad lib a little bit prior to getting into my written comments. As many others have done, perhaps it would be wise for me to go back in history a little bit and trace the Maeck family.

We have talked a great deal about assimilation in various speeches, and I know the French Canadians are very much afraid of losing their culture and their language. I can understand it perhaps better than some of the other members in this House, and I think if I explain what has happened to the Maeck family over the years maybe we will all have a little better understanding of the fears that our French-Canadian friends have.

My father came to Canada from Germany when he was five years old. My mother was born in Canada, and her parents were German. They attended a German-speaking school in a German community in a rural area not far from where I live today. They learned to read and write in German, they spoke German, and actually at that point in time in their lives English was a second language.

As everyone knows, there were two World Wars. There was the war in 1914 and, of course, the Second World War. I might tell you, Mr. Speaker, that particularly during the First World War the German people who could not speak English were not what you would call the most popular people in Canada. My parents, at that point in time, made the decision that they would become English-speaking Canadians, that they would not use the German language any more, that they would learn to read and write in English, and they did exactly that. There were eight children in our family -- I happen to be the youngest one -- and none of the children learned German. None of us at any time spoke German in our household. In other words, what I am saying is my family made the decision to completely discard their German heritage and become, as they saw it in those days, Canadian. They became strictly Canadian so they couldn’t be criticized because of the things that were going on with the German people in Europe in the two World Wars.

That is a rather sad tale in this day and age, because I have a sense of loss because of any past heritage. I could not tell any of the members in this House where my family originated in Germany. I have no idea whatsoever as to whether I have relatives in Germany. To me, that is a sad thing. I can understand the fears of the French Canadians when they feel that they may be losing their culture and their language. I can understand why it is important for us in this Legislature and in this country to take just a moment and think about the problems that would face our French-Canadian friends if this were to happen.

I would also like to mention a little about the Mattawa area of my riding, which is basically French Canadian. I don’t speak French, other than a little bit of high school French that I learned a great number of years ago.

Mr. Martel: Fifty?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Yes, at least. I go to Mattawa very regularly. I have a great many French-Canadian friends in Mattawa. My wife and I go there at least two or three times a year to attend social functions and so on. I must say, and I have said this many times, Mattawa and area is probably the friendliest part of my riding. I have to say the French Canadians I know are not that familiar with Quebeckers, but I am sure there is no difference. The French Canadians I know are fine, upstanding people. I think they feel they are Canadians and there is no reason why they should not.

To me, it is a very sad day when we have to debate whether Canada is going to remain one country. We are Canadians and, as such, as far as I am concerned, we will not discuss or negotiate sovereignty-association. This government will not be a party to any agreement which has as its goal the destruction of Canada or of the federal system.

That said, I wish to speak about the significant opportunities that the national debate on this issue presents. We now have a chance to discuss the present status of our constitutional structure and to consider the future with a view to bringing about reforms in our present federal structure. Our government has already indicated a desire and a willingness to achieve constitutional reform through negotiation with all provincial governments and the federal government. Ongoing discussions between the federal and provincial governments are the great strength of our constitutional framework. The phrase “negotiation and compromise” does not appear in the British North America Act. However, our constitution is more than just the BNA act. Negotiations and compromise are central and important parts of our constitutional structure. Canada’s constitution is not a static and unchanging entity; instead, our political structure is dynamic, flexible and ongoing. In short, we have an evolutionary constitutional process.

Emerging regional pressures are accommodated, while at the same time maintaining a strong federal government to pursue the national interests. It would be a betrayal of the people of Quebec if their government acted to eliminate the possibility of future discussions and ongoing compromise, which has held this country together for more than 100 years during some of the most turbulent decades in human history. I believe this government has made it very clear that there will be no discussion and certainly no compromises with an independent Quebec.

I would like to outline just a few of the ways in which my ministry, the Ministry of Revenue, has been involved with Quebec and other provinces in various interprovincial discussions on matters of mutual interest. We have an interprovincial committee, consisting of the directors of the provincial assessment divisions, which meets semi-annually to discuss property assessment theory and practice.

The Ontario Ministry of Revenue co-operates extensively with its Quebec counterpart through direct formal administrative agreement with Quebec and regular informal meetings with tax officials from Quebec and most other provinces. Four administrative agreements were signed in June 1979 with the Quebec Minister of Revenue.

10:10 p.m.

These agreements provided for the exchange of information and other joint co-operation relating to the retail sales tax, the corporations tax, gasoline and diesel fuel taxes and special investigations, These agreements are concrete examples, in my opinion, of the benefits which Quebec and Ontario gain as partners in Confederation. The citizens of Quebec benefit from the agreements just as much as do the people of Ontario.

These arrangements extend in formal understandings the co-operation between Ontario and Quebec, dating back to 1965. As a result of frequent discussions between revenue officials from Ontario and Quebec, progress has been made in achieving more uniform interprovincial procedures and reporting forms for taxpayers operating in two or more provinces, and reducing conflict on goods moving between provinces. This kind of interprovincial co-operation obviously will not be available to a separated Quebec.

Federalism, by its nature, is a compromise. There is a necessary and continuing tension between provincial and federal governments, as the one seeks to represent its regional interests and the other seeks to accommodate matters of national concern.

I ask the people of Quebec, on behalf of myself and my constituents, to join with all Canadians in rejecting the despair of sovereignty-association and to join with Canada in a real and ongoing commitment to constitutional reform.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, while I am tempted to begin now, I think, on balance, I will move the adjournment of the debate. I believe we will appear on television about six o’clock tomorrow morning.

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


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, as is the custom pursuant to standing order 13, I would like to indicate to the House the order of business for tomorrow and next week.

Tomorrow will be the conclusion of this debate. The debate will conclude with a vote and, I understand, a five-minute bell around 1 o’clock.

On Monday, May 12, the committee of supply will meet to consider the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Mr. Nixon: That will be great.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Another debate beginning.

On Tuesday, May 13, the House will consider legislation in the afternoon and in the evening. In the afternoon, we will consider third reading of Bills 202 and 203, and second reading of Bills 56, 52, 53, 54, 61 and 62. In the evening, at eight o’clock, we will consider Bill 45, followed by Bill 46. If any of the revenue bills from the afternoon have not been completed we will move back to those bills. If any time remains on Tuesday evening we will continue the budget debate.

On Wednesday, May 14, the general government, justice and resources development committees may meet in the morning.

On Thursday, May 15, in the afternoon, we will consider private members’ public business, ballot items 13 and 14. In the evening, the House will debate the budget motion.

On Friday, May 16, the committee of supply will look at the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The House adjourned at 10:14 p.m.